Bangka is a small archipelago that is rich in acculturated culture. It has a brief history of world-class tin mining business. Due to that, many people from several countries come to the islands and have long stay. During their stay, these foreigners left influence of cultures to the local people. From so many cultures that came to the land of Bangka, the Chinese culture is one of the strong ones. The influence even exists up until now. You can see it yourself on Gedong Village of Bangka.
How to Get There
Gedong Village is a little bit difficult to access. It is located about 90 kilometers north from the city of Pangkalpinang, the capital of Bangka. The roads heading to the village are not always asphalted. Some of them are still just flattened soil. Bumpy roads are the problem you might encounter several times during your trip there.
There are public transportation and buses that can take you from Pangkalpinang to Gedong Village. It will take two hours to get there. But it is highly recommended for you to just rent a car along with the driver in Pangkalpinang. The car will be useful as well for going around the village and for heading back to Pangkalpinang.
To reach Pangkalpinang, you have two options; by plane or by ship. Depati Amir Airport of Pangkalpinang only serves two routes of flight; Jakarta – Pangkalpinang, and also Palembang – Pangkalpinang. If you are not from those two cities, you need to have a transferred flight. Luckily, both Jakarta and Palembang has international airports that serve flights from several countries and cities.
Other choice to reach Pangkalpinang is by the sea. Bangka islands have a huge port in Muntok, called Muntok Seaport. The port is just 140 kilometers away from Pangkalpinang. It is similar to three hours of drive. To reach this port, you can take the ferry ship from Tanjung Priok Port of Jakarta or from Bom Baru Port of Palembang.
Where to Stay
Although Gedong Village is officially a tourism village, there is no chance that you will find any hotels in the area. Most tourists book their stay on Pangkalpinang. Besides that, the facilities and amenities in Gedong Village are not as complete as the ones in Pangkalpinang. Thus, staying the night in Pangkalpinang would be better anyway.
If you think Pangkalpinang is too far for only spending the night, you can also book your accommodation on Belinyu or Sungailiat. These two towns are much closer to village. Belinyu is only 14 kilometers away from the village. Meanwhile, Sungailiat is about 53 kilometers away. Here are several accommodations on those three places that you can book for your tour to Gedong Village:
- Indri Inn
- Location : Jalan Kartini, Belinyu
- Phone : +62 715 321349
- 2004 Inn
- Location : Jalan Jendral Sudirman, Belinyu
- Phone : +62 715 321876
- Wisma Timah II
- Location : Jalan Depati Amir, Belinyu
- Phone : +62 715 321360
- Parai Beach Resort
- Location : Jalan Parai Tenggiri, Sungailiat
- Phone : +62 717 94888
- Fax : +62 717 94000
- Hotel Sejati
- Location : Jalan Jendral Sudirman 107, Sungailiat
- Phone : +62 717 92608
- Hotel Teluk Uber
- Location : Jalan Pantai Rebo, Sungailiat
- Phone : +62 717 435564
- Wisma Flamboyant
- Location : Jalan Sam Ratulangi 7, Sungailiat
- Phone : +62 717 92076
- Hotel Mitra
- Location : Jalan Depati Amir 3, Pangkalpinang
- Phone : +62 717 439071
- Email : [email protected]
- Location : Jalan Girimaya Bukit Besar, Pangkalpinang
- Phone : +62 717 7020835
- Fax : +62 717 434835
- Email : [email protected]
- Hotel Grand Millenium
- Location : Jalan Soekarno Hatta No. 198 A-B Pangkalpinang
- Phone : +62 717 437600.
- Email : [email protected]
On the 18th century, Bangka has a world-class tin mining company. The company was ruled by the Dutch because during that time, Indonesia was still colonialized by the Dutch. The Chinese people were from Hakka Chinese ethnicity. They came to Bangka for tin mining business as well.
There are two versions of history regarding how Chinese people could ever be in this island. First version says that the Dutch intentionally bring up lots of workers from Guangdong, China, to work as miners. Other version says that those Guangdong people were already there and owned their own tin mines. Anyway, Guangdong people were indeed famous for being the best tin miners. It is also estimated that the name “Gedong Village” was taken from the word “Guangdong”.
Whatever the history might be, these Hakka Chinese people of course need places to stay. Therefore, they started to build houses. When building, they use the architecture and construction technique of traditional Chinese, because that was all they knew. Besides that, they wanted to make it feels more like home.
The houses were not using any nails to connect the joints. Instead, they used wooden pegs. The roof is covered in clay tiles. Some of the houses in the village have already used a little bit of modern technology such as nails. But still it is not hard to find the pure original ones. Some houses are even more than 100 years old. On the 2.5 hectares area of the village, there are about 50 households living on it. Thus, the village is not crowded. Instead, it is very quiet and peaceful. It is perfect for a ethnical vacation.
The majority of Hakka Chinese people were embracing the religion of Kong Hu Cu. Most of these people were still Kong Hu Cu even after years of living in Indonesia. Therefore, you will find several Kong Hu Cu shrine or temple inside the village. They mostly worship Sun Go Kong, the God that they believe to be The Protector of the Village. If you visit the village on Kong Hu Cu holidays, you can even see and join the celebration they hold. Thus, it is recommended to visit the village on Imlek Day, Peh Cun, or Qing Ming Day.
After the glory of tin mining business degraded, many Chinese tin miners on the village changed their profession so they could still make money for living. To that, most of them became Kemplang maker. Kemplang is traditional fish chips of Bangka. The snack is delicious and has unique taste. You must try this food while visiting the village.
Another thing to notice about Gedong Village is that there is no electricity runs on the village. People use generator for power supply. Some still use traditional lampion to light up the room during the night. Therefore, make sure to save up the battery on your phone and any other device.
Walking around the tourism village of Gedong would feel like walking in a real old village in China. From the architectural, the culture, and the atmosphere, you can surely feel a strong atmosphere of ancient Chinese culture. Gedong Village has officially become a tourism village in 2000. That means the originality of Chinese culture will be preserved.
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