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A Sneak Peak of Belitung Island's Colourful Museum


August 08, 2018

By Kim   March 02, 2018

Does it ring a bell? Probably not. Most people probably don’t know the name of the world’s top producer of tin and tin-mining. But, now that the island is going by another name, more and more people are flocking the area, reviving the once-lost interest of an island found off of the eastern coast of Sumatra, for the reason that probably comes off as a story taken straight from fantasy.


Because of a local named Andrea Hirana, who grew up to become a writer, and his book-turned-movie, the “Laskar Pelangi”, or “The Rainbow Troop” in English, the beautiful island of Billiton, which now goes by the name Belitung, is now a tourist spot after so many years. 

Image Source: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1301264/mediaindex?ref_=tt_mv_sm

The “Museum of Words” was created to commemorate the importance of the island-born writer, and to serve as a shining beacon to the island dwellers that you can always push through any drawback.

Found on Jalan Laskar Pelangi No 7 in the Bangka Belitung Province, the Museum of Words has the distinction of being the only Museum on Literature in Indonesia.

The author himself was the one who took the initiative to establish the Museum 2010, which later opened to the public after two years in 2012.

The aforementioned novel “Laskar Pelangi” took no time flying off the bookshelves after being published in 2005. It was an international success as well, having been shipped off to various countries and translated into their respective languages, like Malay, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean.  

Image Source: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1301264/mediaindex?ref_=tt_mv_sm

“The Rainbow Troop”, tells the tale of a young boy who grew up on a remote island and managed to fulfil his dream of being able to travel around the world despite his upbringing. Three years after it was published, the novel was turned into a movie in 2008, and that was when the floodgates opened, and the Belitung Island was finally introduced into the rest of the world.

A testament to how big of a deal the success of the novel was to the island’s local economy, the island’s seaport was renamed to “Laskar Pelangi” follow the movie’s critically-acclaimed and financially-successful release.

“The Museum of Words” takes inspiration from the Muhammadiyah Gantung Elementary School. This school was central to the story of “Laskar Pelangi” as it was where Andrea went to as a young boy. A real school, the original Muhammadiyah Gantung Elementary School, was used to as the central location of the movie and is just a stone’s throw away from the museum.


How to Get There

The area is a key part of any Belitung Island tour package. As for getting to the island itself, you can drive for around two hours from the main city of Tanjung Pandan to the Gantung Sub-district.

You can take either a rental car from the Tanjung Pandan, or take buses and minibuses. The latter isn’t an oft-recommended option because public transportation going to Tanjung Pandan-Gantung is scarce and only operate from morning up until noon.

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