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Besides offering an enchanting coastal landscape decorated with fascinating granite boulders and the age-old Tin Mining legacies, the twin islands province of Bangka–Belitung still holds other charms in the shape of an old heritage town. Located in the western region of Bangka Island, the town of Muntok is not only the capital of the West Bangka Regency, but is also a historical town rich in the legacies of European, Chinese, and Malay cultures.
Muntok or also known as Mentok was once an important harbor town. Through this harbor, top commodities of Bangka-Belitung including pepper and tin were hauled to Dutch merchant ships before they found their way to the major cities of Europe.
Considering the town’s significant role in the Dutch colonial era, no wonder that you will find the town filled with a large number of Dutch heritage buildings that still stand tall today as witness to a golden bygone era. Besides Dutch legacies, the town is also decorated with Chinese and Malay architecture. The very existence of these unique buildings divides the city into three major clusters: the old European town, The Chinatown, and the Malay Town.
The old European Town is situated in the heart of Muntok, north of the Malay Town. It is here, that a Dutch Tin Mining Company, the Banka Tin Winning Bedrijf was once established. Along with the Mining Company, several European style building were then erected as supporting offices as well as residences Dutch employees. With the Banka Tin Winning Bedrijf’s office as the most prominent, remnants of the Dutch Tin Mining era can also be seen in other European architecture including that of the Dutch Resident’s Office along with the Wilhelmina Park, the Tin Mining Employees residential complex, the Post Office, and the Pesanggerahan Muntok.
Situated in the most western part of Muntok, the Chinatown –as the name suggests- is filled with various Chinese style buildings. The Chinese architecture is not only found in temples and shrines, but also in common houses, shops, and kiosks in the marketplace. Among some of the most notable buildings in this area are the Muntok harbor, petak 15, the Yellow Building, the Chinese Mayor’s House, the Old Market, The Temple (kelenteng), the Capitan’s House, the ex-Samudra Theatre, ex-lemonade factory, ex-Chinese Elementary School/Chung Hua School, and the former Sentrum Hotel.
Whereas, the Malay Town is divided into three sub clusters: Kampung Tanjung (West), Kampung Teluk Rubia (Timur) and Kampung Ulu (North). The oldest Malay residential houses can be seen at Kampung Tanjung where there are still several well preserved Malay traditional houses. Other interesting Malay buildings are the Jamik Mosque, the Kute Seribu Fort, the Malayan Royal Cemetery, and the SurauTanjung.
Muntok also played a role in the national history of Indonesia. There are two historical building within Muntok namely Pesanggrahan Menumbing and Wisma Ranggam that were once used as exile homes for the first President and Vice President of Indonesia Soekarno and Mohammad Hatta between 1948-1949.
The town of Muntok is situated about 140Km from Pangkalpinang, capital of Bangka Belitung Province, on the island of Bangka, or an approximate 3 hours’ drive. You can reach this town by public bus, or special transportation (travel mini buses) talomg the Pangkalpinang-Muntok route. If you prefer ease and convenience you can rent a car from Pangkalpinang.