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Introduction

View of Bima from Goat Island

View of Bima from Goat Island

© theo1006

Bima town, approximately 150,000 inhabitants, is the capital of Bima regency (450,000 inhabitants). At 42 kilometres, a good hour’s drive from Bima, lies Sape, the harbour town from where the ferries for Flores (Labuan Bajo) leave. Bima regency consists of two disjunct parts and several islands. The main part is the eastern end of Sumbawa island. Separated from this by Dompu regency is the northern half of Sanggar Peninsula with Tambora Volcano. Among the islands are the volcano Pulau Sangeang, Pulau Satonda and little Pulau Ular (Snake Island).

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Sights and Activities

  • Asi Mbojo Museum - Museum of Bima regency in the former sultan's palace.
  • Dana Taraha Royal Cemetery - Officially named Komplek Pemakaman Kesultanan Dana Traha is located on a hill overlooking Bima and Bima Bay. It is a favourite spot for locals to enjoy the breeze after a hot day and see the sun go down. A modest warung sells refreshments. The royals buried here are the first, second and third sultans of Bima, as well as the fifteenth and last sultan, Abdul Kadir II. Other members of the dynasty are buried elsewhere. Directions: about one kilometre due east and uphill from the Bus Terminal.
  • Dutch Cemetery - The former Dutch Cemetery, locally known as Kuburan Belanda or Kuburan Kristen, is located on Jalan Yos Sudarso, half a kilometre north-west of Merdeka Square. Most of the pre-war monuments are dilapidated, a few surnames can still be read: Johannes, Broers, Tomasowa. There are also new graves, of the small Christian community in Bima.
  • Goat Island - Pulau Kambing in Indonesian is a small island in Bima Bay. It is pretty dry and there are no goats, but there are some monkeys. It is a popular destination for picnics and school outings. The main reason to go there would be for the views, if one is willing to make the effort to climb to the highest point of the island. Located at two kilometres due west from Bima harbour. Preferably visited by chartered boat as part of a trip to Wadu Pa’a historic site.
Roka Dam

Roka Dam

© theo1006

  • Roka Reservoir - Roka Reservoir or Waduk Roka is an artificial lake created by a dam between two rocky hills. Villagers go their way by perilous paths along the rocks upstream of the dam. Children use to play in the irrigation canal that is fed by the lake. Buffaloes come unherded to drink from the river downstream. Recently recreational facilities have been built on the field at the foot of the dam. Address: Roi village, Lambitu district, about 20 kilometres from Merdeka Square. It’s on the way to Sambori village, so one can combine the two sights in one trip.
  • Samparaja Museum - This is a private museum established by of one of the daughters of the last sultan, mrs Haji Siti Maryam Salahuddin. Of course there is a lot of family history in photo's and memorabilia. Among these a photo of mrs. Siti Maryam meeting the late Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. Also there are traditional dresses for ceremonies and weddings, as well as ceramics and other artefacts from he former royal household. Hours: daily 8:00am to – 1:00pm, except Fridays. Admission: Free. Address: Jalan Gajah Mada 2, Bima. Phone: 0374-42010.
  • Snake island - A rock at 400 metres from the coast where sea snakes hide and let themselves be handled. Also a good place for snorkeling.
  • Traditional Houses - Uma in Bima language means 'house'. An uma lengge is a house of traditional design, made of wood featuring a steep thatched roof. Originally an uma lengge counted three floors, each with their own door. The lower floor served to receive guests, the middle floor was for sleeping, and food was stored in the top floor. However, the surviving uma lengge are of a simpler design, consisting of an open floor (bale-bale) and a room under the thatched roof. There are three villages around Bima town, where one still finds uma lengge. At Maria village in Wawo district they are still functional, being used for food storage. This happens to be also the place most easily visited. At Mbawa on the west side of Bima bay and at Sambori south-east of Bima uma lengge are preserved for attracting tourists and one can sleep in them.
  • Traditional Weaving - Few places remain where they make the traditional woven Bima cloth, songket. They are sold at Hotel Mutmainah. A place in town where the home industry survives is Mekar Sari, on the corner of Jalan Ir Sutami and Jalan Jeruk in suburb Rabadompu.
  • Wadu Pa'a historic site - Pre-islamic rock sculptures on cliffs bordering Bima bay.

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Events and Festivals

  • Bima Regency Anniversary - On the 5th of July Bima regency celebrates its anniversary with official ceremonies. During the days around July 5th other events take place, in which a large part of the population participates. Among these events is horse racing.
Father, son and horse

Father, son and horse

© theo1006

  • Horse Racing - Bima men are addicted to horse racing and betting. Their little sons, preferably of pre-school age, have to act as jockeys riding the horses bareback. At least three times a year, several days following main holidays are devoted to the races, to wit: following Independence Day August 15th, Nusa Tenggara Barat Province Anniversary December 15th and Bima Regency Anniversary July 5th. The horses are classified according to their height at the withers and run five by five against each other. The venue is Panda circuit, 10 kilometres south of town.

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Eat

  • Mahkota Mawar Restaurant - The best fish restaurant in Bima town. Located on a cliff facing Bima Bay, on the main road south at Ama Hami beach. Not for the disabled, because one has to climb a flight of several stairs after placing one’s order at the counter below. The waiters do not carry the plates up and down. Instead they stay upstairs and haul the food up by way of a manually operated lift.
  • Rumah Makan Optimis 2 – In Calabai the only place to get a decent meal - breakfast, lunch or dinner -, and also the place to meet locals. The restaurant is run by a Javanese lady. She does a good job with the limited choice of ingredients available locally. Why the name “Optimis 2”? there is a “Optimis 1” at Kadindi village at 5 km distance. Address: Calabai village, Pekat district, Dompu regency.

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Sleep

  • Hotel Mutmainah - If you have no need to stay in the centre of Bima town, Hotel Mutmainah is your best choice. The hotel is located in suburb Raba, at 5 kilometres east of Bima town square. The hotel has a good, airy restaurant, which serves a buffet breakfast (included) even if occupancy is low. A souvenir shop specializes in original Bima apparel. Rates: from Superior Room IDR 350,000 to Presidential Suite IDR 990,000. Address: Jalan Gajah Mada 8, Raba, Bima regency.
  • Hotel Marina - There are three hotels in downtown Bima, of which only Hotel Marina (IDR 388,000-448,000) qualifies as mid-range. Budget choices are Hotel Lila Graha (IDR 130,000 - 220,000) and Hotel Lambitu (IDR 120,000 - 350,000).
  • Accommodation in Sape - If you stay in Bima and want to catch the ferry to Flores, you have to rise early. The alternative is a night in Sape, where there is only budget accommodation. Losmen Mutiara has the advantage that it is located next to the gate to the jetty, and Restaurant Arema is close by. But the rooms are dark and damp, except the ‘VIP room’ with balcony and squatting toilet. If the distance of one kilometre is not a problem, Losmen Mustika is a better choice. There the lady of the house will prepare your dinner if given sufficient notice.
  • Ex Veneer Guesthouse - If your goal is Satonda Island, your best accommodation option is the Ex Veneer Guesthouse in Calabai, because it is close to the harbour and to Rumah Makan Optimis 2. The guesthouse of the defunct logging company Veneer, now goes by the name of AWB Tambora Basecamp, after the company P.T. Agro Wahana Bumi. But if you want to go Tambora volcano trekking, you better go the extra 10 kilometres to the guesthouse of Tambora Coffee Plantation near Pancasila village. The Ex Veneer Guesthouse is located in a compound with abandoned warehouses where goats run free. But the beds are ok, there is plenty of water in the bathrooms, and the verandah looking out over the sea is superb. The bedrooms are built on poles above the sea; one is lulled asleep by the sound of waves.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet is becoming more widely used in Indonesia, and warung Internet (warnet) - Internet cafés - are emerging everywhere. A lot of restaurants and cafés in big cities normally have wireless internet available for free. Internet connection speed in Indonesia varies between ISP and location. Prices vary considerably, and as usual you tend to get what you pay for, but you'll usually be looking at around Rp3,000 to Rp5,000 per hour with faster access than from your own mobile phone. In large cities, there are free WiFi hotspots in many shopping malls, McDonald restaurants, Starbucks cafes, 7 Eleven convenience stores, and in some restaurants and bars. Some hotels provide free hotspots in the lobby and/or in their restaurants and even in your rooms.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

You can use 112 as an emergency number through mobile phones. Other numbers include 110 (police), 113 (fire) and 118 (ambulance).
The international phone code is 62.

If you have GSM cellular phone, ask your local provider about "roaming agreement/facility" with local GSM operators in Indonesia (i.e.: PT Indosat, PT Telkomsel, PT XL Axiata). The cheapest way is buying a local SIM card, which would be much cheaper to call and especially use internet compared to your own cell phone's sim card.

The Indonesian mobile phone market is heavily competitive and prices are low: you can pick up a prepaid SIM card for less than Rp 10,000 and calls may cost as little as Rp 300 a minute to some other countries using certain carriers (subject to the usual host of restrictions). SMS (text message) service is generally very cheap, with local SMS as low as Rp129-165, and international SMS for Rp400-600. Indonesia is also the world's largest market for used phones, and basic models start from Rp 150,000, with used ones being even cheaper.

Post

Pos Indonesia provides the postal service in Indonesia. Pos Indonesia is government-owned and offers services ranging from sending letters and packages to money transfers (usually to remote areas which have no bank branch/ATM nearby) and selling postcards and stamps. Sending a postcards, letter or parcel is relatively expensive, but fairly reliable. It takes several days at least to send it within Indonesia, at least a week internationally. It is recommended to send letters from a Pos Indonesia branch, not by putting it inside orange mailbox (called Bis Surat) in the roadside, because some of the mailboxes are in very bad condition and aren't checked regularly by Pos Indonesia. Opening times of post offices usually tend to follow general business hours: Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 4:00pm (sometimes shorter hours on Fridays), Saturdays from 8:00am to 1:00pm, closed on Sundays. Bigger cities, tourist areas and central post offices tend to keep longer hours, into the evenings.

Private postal services based in Indonesia include CV Titipan Kilat (CV TIKI), Jalur Nugraha Ekaputra (JNE), Caraka, and RPX. There are also foreign postal services that have branches in Indonesia, including DHL, TNT, UPS, and FedEx.

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This is version 33. Last edited at 20:05 on May 15, 18 by theo1006. 7 articles link to this page.

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