Museum Kata Andrea Hirata: Literally Literature at the First Literary Museum in Indonesia

What would come up in your head when you heard the word ‘Belitung’ in the firsthand?

Belitung and its beautiful scenery and beaches might be the first thing that came up when you heard the name of the island located on the east coast of Sumatera.

For Indonesians going political, Belitung might also be associated with Basuki Tjahaja Purnama known as Ahok, the incumbent of DKI Jakarta who’s currently running on the election for the second period as the governor.

For international travelers, Belitung might not be as popular as Bali but for those who are interested in visiting beach area with more laid back vibes, Belitung could also be your option to relax and enjoy the view.

However, it’s fair to say that Belitung has gained its popularity after the release of Laskar Pelangi movie in 2008. Laskar Pelangi (English: The Rainbow Troops) is adapted from the novel with the same title, written by Andrea Hirata. The novel itself was a big success that it has been translated and published in at least 20 countries.

The autobiography of Andrea Hirata who’s originally from Belitung, the author has transformed his childhood home into the first literary museum in Indonesia, Museum Kata Andrea Hirata.

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Although I’m quite an avid reader, I have never read Laskar Pelangi. I have watched the movie, but I have never read it. Quite ironic, I know. But the fact of never reading the novel didn’t stop me from visiting the museum as I am naturally a lover of literary stuff myself.

Located in Gantung, the eastern part of Belitung, it took around 1.5 hours to get there by car from the center of Belitung. It was worth the trip as well as the view.

To enter the museum, we had to pay IDR 50,000 in which for exchange, we would be given the pocket book of Laskar Pelangi. The pocket book itself is the summary of the whole novel of Laskar Pelangi. In a way, it is great for me as I have never read the novel myself. But for those who have read the novel, I suppose the book didn’t really do the magic. 😉

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As mentioned before, the museum was Andrea Hirata’s childhood home whereby we could see the picture of his parents pinned on the wall with some of the memorabilia related to Laskar Pelangi.

At first, I thought the concept of this museum would be all about Laskar Pelangi and Andrea Hirata. To my surprise, it is not. In fact, we could see the quotes from some famous author like Mark Twain or even Mitch Albom written all over the walls and floors. It was really great!

I was even more surprised when I saw the overview of my favorite novel pinned on some other corner. I got really excited when I saw it to the point my friends had to sigh so hard for my excitement. Hahaha.

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So, The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson is totally on my top list of favorite books because this is the kind of book that could make you think and laugh at the same time. A parody of historical period from Lenin, Hiroshima bomb, to Indonesia under SBY’s tenure as president. If you haven’t read it and it doesn’t excite you, then I don’t know what does. :p 

So yes, Museum Kata Andrea Hirata turns out not only a museum with his own memorabilia but also the museum that promotes literature in general. It has even a special corner that introduces us to literature in some different countries, from Australia to Vietnam. For those who loves books like I do, this place is great! 😀

Even for those urban travelers who like to just chill and enjoy coffee, in the area that used to be the kitchen of the house, they also have a small corner where you could just relax and try Belitung coffee.

When I went there, we didn’t try anything there. But as it turned out, when I spoke to a coworker after I came back from holiday, she said that the coffee was really good. So if you’re planning to go, then I suggest you to try that as well. Otherwise, you might regret it like I did. :p

Not only that, Andrea Hirata also opens a school for free “Sekolah Gratis Andrea Hirata” with two small rooms opened at the back of the museum. When I went there, it was around 3PM so the school was already finished by the time I came there.

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So, here’s my two cents about Museum Kata Andrea Hirata that could be considered if you’re planning to visit Belitung anytime soon.

Pros:

  • This museum is not only about Laskar Pelangi and Andrea Hirata, but you may as well find some familiar international authors like Charles H. Towne or William Shakespeare around. 
  • You’ve got the book in the exchange of entry ticket to the museum. 
  • I gotta say, for those who like to show off on your instagram, so many spaces in this museum that are instagram-worthy. The building itself is so colorful!
  • They also have a small corner in the kitchen area that has coffee and some snack with additional charge. 

Cons:

  • Honestly, I think IDR 50,000 is still rather expensive. 
  • The pocket book for the entry ticket is in Bahasa Indonesia, I suppose the target audience for this museum is domestic tourists. 
  • Minimum parking space available. 

The museum itself opens every day from 10AM to 6PM. Also from there, you could visit the replica of SD Muhammadiyah Gantung which takes only around 5 minutes by car.

Museum Kata Andrea Hirata is actually my first literary museum that I have ever visited because I failed to visit the Museum of Innocence when I was in Istanbul a couple of years ago. 😦

Have you ever been to any literary museum? Share your experience in the comment section, and cheerio!

-Marya The BeauTraveler-

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