International Silat Federation of America & Indonesia

Silat Tuo, Silat Tradisional,

Silat Minangkabau

Regions of Indonesia

Click on a name to jump to a description of that region (also the labels in black in the map below):

Bandung | Bukittinggi | Jakarta | Lake Toba | Medan | Padang | Riau | Surabaya


Located 180 kilometers southeast of Jakarta, Bandung is the capital city of West Java province. It takes only 2 hours by car from Jakarta via Cipularang highway. Or you can also take a three-hour train ride with nice mountain scenery.

Bandung is surrounded by mountain range which gives the city a cool climate throughout the year, and is home to a population of over two million. The Sundanese ethnic group makes up the majority. Bandung is an important city of education that lures many students to study in various universities. Also, Bandung is one of the most popular cities in Indonesia for shopping and tourism. Bandung's prosperity is in part due to vast tea and coffee plantations around the area. However, high tech industries such as textiles and aeronautics are increasingly playing greater role the city's economy.

There are short drives up to the mountain resorts of Lembang and Bosscha observatory, and higher to the volcanic crater of Tangkuban Perahu, the only crater in Java fully accessible by car. It is an awe inspiring sight of emanating sulfur fumes. Bandung itself is very exciting, beautiful place. The city has many old art deco buildings, beautiful parks, and fine landscapes. In addition, Bandung is also known as a center for fashion. In the past, Bandung was known as "Parijs van Java" because of the beauty of this city.

Official website » www.bandung.go.id


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Photo Gallery - Bandung



Bukittinggi (Indonesian for "high hill") is one of the larger cities in West Sumatra, Indonesia, with a population of over 91,000 people and an area of 25.24 km². It is situated in the Minangkabau highlands, 90 km by road from the West Sumatran capital city of Padang. It is located near the volcanoes Mount Singgalang (inactive) and Mount Marapi (still active). At 930 m above sea level, the city has a cool climate.

The city was known as Fort de Kock during colonial times in reference to the Dutch outpost established here in 1825 during the Padri War. The fort was was named after the then Lieutenant Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies, Hendrik Merkus de Kock. During the Indonesian War of Independence, the city was briefly the headquarters for the Emergency Government of the Republic of Indonesia (PDRI). The city was officially renamed Bukittinggi in 1949, replacing its colonial name.

It is a city popular with tourists due to the climate and central location.
Attractions within the city include:

  • Ngarai Sianok (Sianok Canyon)
  • Lobang Jepang (Japanese Caves) - a network of underground bunkers & tunnels built by the Japanese during World War II
  • Jam Gadang - a large clock tower built by the Dutch in 1926.
  • Pasar Atas and Pasar Bawah markets
  • Taman Bundo Kanduang park. The park includes a replica Rumah Gadang (literally: big house, with the distinctive Minangkabau roof architecture) used as a museum of Minangkabau culture, and a zoo. The Dutch hilltop outpost Fort de Kock is connected to the zoo by the Limpapeh pedestrian overpass.
Official website: www.bukittinggi.go.id

Photo Gallery - Bukittinggi



See Also:

Jakarta, formerly Batavia, is the capital and largest city of Indonesia. Located on the northwest coast of the island of Java, it a population of well over 8 million. Jakarta has been developed for more than 490 years and currently is the ninth most densely populated city in the world.

As the economic and political capital of Indonesia, Jakarta attracts many foreign as well as domestic immigrants. As a result, Jakarta has a decidedly cosmopolitan flavor and a diverse culture. Many of the immigrants are from the other parts of Java, bringing along a mixture of dialects of the Javanese and Sundanese languages, as well as their traditional foods and customs. The Betawi is a term used to describe the descendants of the people living around Batavia from around the 18th century. The Betawi people are mostly descended from various Southeast Asian ethnic groups brought or attracted to Batavia to meet labor needs, and include people from various parts of Indonesia. There has also been a Chinese community in Jakarta for centuries. The concentration of wealth and political influence in the city means that it has a much more noticeable foreign influence on its landscape and culture as well.

Jakarta has several performance centers, such as the Senayan Center. Traditional music is often found at high-class hotels, including wayang and gamelan performances. As the largest Indonesian city, Jakarta has lured much regional talent to relocate in hope of finding a greater audience and more opportunities for success.

Official website: www.jakarta.go.id
The Jakarta Post, Indonesia’s Leading English Newspaper: www.thejakartapost.com

Photo Gallery - Jakarta


Jakarta Destination:

IPSI – Indonesian Pencak Silat Association

The Ikatan Pencak Silat Indonesia (IPSI) or Indonesian Pencak Silat Organization is a national umbrella organization for Indonesian pencak silat schools. It was funded in 1948 after Indonesia gained independence from the Dutch colonialists to foster the development of pencak silat in the new country as part of a broader effort to promote cultural unity. The members of IPSI are independent pencak silat perguruans spread all over the country. It is said (but official statistics are lacking) that IPSI counts more than 800 pencak silat perguruans from 26 provinces as its members. The structure and organization of IPSI is based on a set of written statutes and rules approved by all the members. IPSI's three main aims are:

  1. To develop its members and to maintain unity
  2. To coordinate and lead its members dealing with its efforts to perpetuate, develop and
    socialize pencak silat and its values.
  3. To use pencak silat and its values as means to build up good quality humankind, in a
    mental, spiritual and physical sense.

The Indonesian government recognizes IPSI as the only official pencak silat organization, which has the legal right to deal with all matters concerning pencak silat nationally. The national offices of IPSI are located in Jakarta, at the Padepokan Nasional Pencak Silat Indonesia.

Official website: www.persilat.net/ipsi/ (Indonesian)

Photo Gallery - IPSI


Jakarta Destination:

Taman Mini Indonesia Indah

Taman Mini Indonesia Indah is Indonesian for “Indonesia, the Beautiful, Miniature Park” A good introduction for knowing Indonesia as a whole, this place is worth a visit to learn about Indonesia’s diversity. The park represents Indonesia’s 27 provinces and their characteristics, reflected most strikingly in the exact regional architecture of each province. The park is huge, covering over 250 acres. The park also boasts its own orchid garden, a bird park with a walk-in aviary, a fauna museum and recreational grounds, as well as an Indonesian art and handicraft market. At the Keong Mas (golden snail) theatre the Indonesia promotion film “Beautiful Indonesia” is projected on a gigantic screen using the latest Imax technology. The crowds on weekends certainly make it one of the most popular tourist spots. It often hosts art performances such as wayang kulit (leather puppet) and traditional dances. It also has several fascinating museums including the Indonesian museum, sports museum, telecommunication museum, Asmat museum, insect museum, army museum, transportation museum, Komodo museum, and stamp museum. The museum housing Suharto’s gifts (former president) has some amazing exhibits. This place takes more than one day and a fair bit of effort to visit completely.

Official website: www.tamanmini.com (Indonesian)

Photo Gallery - Tamam Mini


Lake Toba

Lake Toba (Indonesian: Danau Toba) is a large lake, 100 km long and 30 km wide, in the middle of the northern part of the Indonesian island of Sumatra with a surface elevation of about 900 m (3000 feet).

In the Batak highlands is the world famous crater lake, Danau Toba, approximately five hours drive from Medan. Danau Toba is the largest lake in South East Asia and also one of the most spectacular, surrounded by tall mountains and with the large island of Samosir in the middle. If we descend from the mountain we see the lake glittering in all its beauty. It has been called, 'the most beautiful place on earth'. In general people stay several days on Samosir to discover the island, to visit traditional Batak villages, to swim in the lake and go to the hot springs in Pangururan.

Most of the people who live around Lake Toba are ethnically Bataks. Traditional Batak houses are noted for their distinctive roofs (which curve upwards at each end, as a boat's hull does) and their colorful decor.

Photo Gallery - Lake Toba



Medan is the capital of North Sumatra Province, a trading center and important harbor. Once part of the Deli Sultanate, Medan is home to the Mesjid Besar (Grand Mosque) and the Palace of the Sultan of Deli or Maimum Palace, both of which have been restored to their past grandeur. Medan’s harbor, Belawan, is the sea link to Penang, Malaysia.

Medan is the largest city in Sumatera with a population around 2 million. Many travelers stay around the Grand Mosque, or Mesjid Raya where there are many accommodations. The Mosque, one of Indonesia's largest, was built in 1906 in the Moorish style. Remember if you want to look inside to dress respectfully, no shorts or bare shoulders, take your shoes off before you enter (and make sure your feet are clean!)

There are many older buildings in Medan that still retain their Dutch architecture. These include the old City Hall, the central Post Office, the Water Tower, which is Medan City's icon, and Titi Gantung - a bridge over the railway.

Official website: www.pemkomedan.go.id

Photo Gallery - Medan



Padang is the capital and largest city of West Sumatra, Indonesia. It is located on the western coast of Sumatra. It has an area of 694.96 km² and a population of over 750,000 people, mostly speakers of the Minangkabau language. An important port, it has a large trade in coffee, copra, rubber, spices, tobacco, and cement, which are shipped principally from its port, Teluk Bayur. The city has an airport and is the seat of Andalas University.

The Minangkabau ethnic group is indigenous to the highlands of West Sumatra, in Indonesia. Their culture is are the world's largest matrilineal society, with property and land passing down from mother to daughter, while religious and political affairs are the province of men (although some women also play important roles in these areas). Today 4 million Minangs live in West Sumatra, while about 3 million more are scattered throughout many Indonesian cities and towns.

The roofline of traditional houses in West Sumatra, called Rumah Gadang (Minangkabau, "big house"), curve upward from the middle and end in points, in imitation of the water buffalo's upward-curving horns.

As early as the age of 7, boys traditionally leave their homes and live in a surau (a prayer house & community centre) to learn religious and cultural (adat) teachings. When they are teenagers, they are encouraged to leave their hometown to learn from schools or from experiences out of their hometown so that when they are adults they can return home wise and 'useful' for the society and can contribute their thinking and experience to run the family or nagari (hometown) when they sit as the member of 'council of uncles'.

Due to their culture that stresses the importance of learning, Minang people are over-represented in the all walks of life in Indonesia, with many ministers from Minang and the first female minister was a Minang scholar. The Minang have also produced some of Indonesia's most influential poets, writers, statesmen, scholars, and religious scholars.  Furthermore, the presence of these intellectuals combined with the people's basically proud character, made the Minangkabau homeland one of the powerhouses in the Indonesian struggle for independence.

Randai is a folk theatre tradition of the Minangkabau people of West Sumatra, Indonesia. It incorporates music, singing, dance, drama and the silat martial art. The performances are often based on semi-historical Minangkabau stories and legends. Men traditionally play both the male and female characters in the story, but in modern times women also participate. It is performed as a theatre-in-the-round to achieve an equality and unity between audience members and the performers. Randai is usually performed for traditional ceremonies and festivals.

Official website: www.padang.go.id

Photo Gallery - Padang



The territory of this rich province includes a sizable slice of the eastern Sumatran coast and more than 3,000 islands of all sizes.

Riau, although comparatively small in both size and population (about 2.5 million), is the heartland of the Malays and the cradle of Indonesia's Malay-based national language and culture. The first book of Malay grammar, the Bustanul Katibin, was written and published here in 1857. Its links with Johor on the West Malaysian mainland have been long and strong.

Sitting astride one of the world's oldest and busiest trade routes, the Strait of Malacca, the Riau islands have for many centuries provided a safe haven to ships plying the sea lanes between Europe, India and China. The smallest islands of the Riau archipelago are no more than rocky reefs, about one hectare (2.5 acres). The larger Bintan, Lingga and Singkep islands are about 1,000 hectares in size.

Official website: www.riau.go.id

Photo Gallery - Riau



Surabaya, provincial capital of East Java and Indonesia’s second largest city, served for over half a millennium as trading port for the inland empires of Java. Situated at the mouth of the Brantas River, the city was officially founded in 1293 when raden Wijaya established Majapahit, Indonesia’s most glorious empire on the site of a legendary battle between a shark (sura) and crocodile (baya).

Surabaya, known as the “City of Heroes” because of its role in nation’s independence struggle, has grown into an elegant city of large, colonnaded buildings bordering broad, tree shaded avenues. It serves as the commercial centre of a thriving industrial and agricultural hinterland. The city’s historical sites include Kali Mas harbor with its tall-mastered trading schooners and, nearby, the narrow alleyways and shops of the Arab quarter, reminiscent of the Middle East.

The historic Hotel Majapahit, where Indonesia’s war of independence was begun, and the elegant Grahadi State Buildings, an 18th century mansion, have been restored as monuments to an era of colonial grace. Surabaya is also home to one of Southeast Asia’s oldest and largest zoos. For travelers in East Java, Surabaya serves as a convenient base for exploring the regions many charms, including Mt. Bromo, the cool mountain retreats of Tretes and Malang and the natural wonders of several nature reserves.

Official website: www.surabaya.go.id

Photo Gallery - Surabaya


June 23rd, 2009 by Staff

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