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Bandar Lampung is a pleasant and quiet city, priding itself in picturesque bay views, tasty, authentic dishes and good-natured inhabitants of an amiable culture. It is the capital city of Lampung, the most densely populated province in Sumatera with about 7.5 million people calling the place home. Although those of Chinese ancestry represent just a small portion of its population, Lampung is sprinkled with numerous Chinese temples, the most prominent of which is Thay Hin Bio.
The Thay Hin Bio Temple was constructed by Po Heng in 1850, after the eruption of Krakatoa. It is kept in very good condition by the lively Chinese community of Bandar Lampung, and still functions as a place of worship till today. The temple is the largest Chinese temple in Lampung, the oldest in Teluk Betung (or Betung Bay) , and though the topic may be open to debate, some say it is among the most beautiful temples on the island. This historical landmark is easily recognizable from afar, due to its striking color and significant size. Most of the antique structure is painted with a bright, red hue, clearly displaying the influence of Chinese heritage and architecture. Its wooden walls are decorated with elaborately engraved and artistically painted reliefs and murals. Intricately carved golden dragons spiral down the building’s supporting pillars, bringing good fortune to all who enter. Two more dragons, green and snake-like, sit face to face along the peak of the building’s roof.
The temple is located along Jalan Ikan Kakap in Teluk Betung , probably the closest thing to a “Chinatown” in Bandar Lampung. A number of Chinese shops also line the road, selling a variety of goods from food, to charms, to candles, and other items unique to Chinese heritage and culture. You can also find some local specialty snacks from the area as well as souvenirs to take home.
Another nearby attraction that can be combined with your visit to Thay Hin Bio is the nearby Krakatoa Monument. The legendary Krakatoa - or also written Krakatau - was a volcanic mountain, estimated to have risen over 2,000 meters above sea level. On August 27, 1883, a powerful eruption heard 6,000 kilometers away blew the mountain apart. The force of the explosion resulted in tidal waves over 40 meters high, which swept across Lampung, leveling most of the city.
The monument itself is a 500-kg buoy which belonged to a steamship anchored in the bay. This massive marine beacon was carried 2.5 kilometers inland and up a steep slope to where it rests today.
The buoy serves as a memorial of the devastating events that occurred and in commemoration of those who perished. The Krakatoa Monument is located on Jalan W.R. Supratman, at Teluk Betung.
If you travel during the Chinese Lunar New Year festival, the entire area will be alive with activity. The temple and surrounding areas will be lavishly decorated with glowing lanterns, huge candles, flowers and offerings, and attractions such as the Barongsai Chinese Dragon Dance will also takes place in the temple during this time.
Alternatively, you could travel by sea across the Sunda Strait, the passage of water between the islands of Java and Sumatera.
Once in Bandar Lampung, make your way to Jalan Ikan Kakap in Teluk Betung. The area is easily accessible by public transport or private car.