I joined a group called Indonesian Heritage Society. It is a non-profit organization offering the opportunity to learn more about the rich cultural heritage of Indonesia. (You can learn about it here.)
Once you belong to the society, you choose either or both study group or explorer group. Then you will be assigned into a small group. I went to a first tour with the explorer group I belong. Our first tour was to Roemah Djawa (House of Java). I heard from others that this is quite interesting. As I love seeing architecture and interior designs wherever I go, I got very excited.
I got to the location by taxi. I stepped inside the gate and it was a different world. Jakarta is just like any other big cities. Jakarta is very modern and you don’t see too many traditional or cultural pieces on a daily basis. Seeing and being in the Roemah Djawa was a whole cultural immersing experience to me.
The house was decorated with the items collected over the years from all over Indonesia as well as the world. The owner is an Indonesian Cultural expert and is well-traveled. His wife said that in Indonesia you didn’t find many Indonesians who traveled much within Indonesia. You might meet kids from wealthy families who have been to Disneyland in Hong Kong, but have never traveled to Yogyakarta to see Borobudur (biggest temple in the country). If you are interested in learning more facts about their house, I recommend you read this article which describes their house beautifully.
I was requested not to display any photos of the Roemah Djawa on my blog by the owner. Unfortunately there is no longer visual images for you to see on this post.
I joined the Indonesian Heritage Society a couple of weeks ago. I thought that I would be able to go visit places that I would not go by myself. This is true and joining this group provides you with many opportunities for that. If you are new to the country, it is a great place to learn about Indonesia and also meet people and make friends. If you are brand new to the city and do not have a car, it would be better to join the group with someone you already know and ask to be assigned in the group with your friend(s). You also have to participate in planning trips, so knowing someone in the group makes it easier for you to plan a trip together and that is more fun. I joined the group hoping that I would be able to go on a tour with my friend, but she joined a weekly explorer group and I was a bit overwhelmed to join the weekly group, so I decided to join a monthly explorer group. Therefore, I ended up joining a group not knowing a single person, which is fine as I am not at all shy. However, because I don’t have a car and I could not find anyone who could give me a ride, I ended up taking a taxi to a site. It was fine as I use taxi all the time and used to it, plus I have a little bit of Indonesian to get by, but it would be hard if you don’t. This probably doesn’t happen to many people, but if there is anyone out there who is interested in joining the IHS, but you are a bit shy, I think you feel more comfortable joining the group with a friend or two. Just a little two-cent from my own experience.