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An Adventure Amongst The Bulls in Madura

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Famous for colourful bull races, a drink that is said to put fire in men’s belly’s and a distinctive traditional culture, the island of Madura off the coast of East Java is a fascinating place to visit. It is believed that the name of the island comes from madu (honey) and dara (girl).

Located just across Surabaya , Madura is accessible by the new Suramadu bridge, or is half an hour’s ferry ride from Surabaya. The island is 160km long and about 35km wide.

It is the karapan sapi or bull races which attract most visitors to Madura. The colour and festivity of a Madura bull race cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The excitement is palpable as in each race, traditional gamelan music is played to excite the bull.s After being fed with the potent arak, the bulls are released and charge flat out down the track. The race is over in an instant. The quickest time recorded so far is nine seconds over 100 meters.

Bull races are held throughout Madura from around the end of July until October. The Karapan Sapi Grand Final is held in Pamekasan, the capital of the island, in October. The grand final involves an enormous festival with up to 100 bulls decorated in ribbons and flowers, paraded through town.

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An Adventure Amongst The Bulls in Madura

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