Eighteen kilometres south of Medan Merdeka, on the road to Bogor, is the Taman Mini Indonesia Indah theme park. This peculiar oasis is like an Indonesian Neverland celebrating the archipelago’s rich ethnic and cultural diversity with gondolas offering the best view of the sprawling complex. At its centre is a man-made lake, around which are 26 houses, each built in the traditional style of Indonesia’s provinces.
The park also contains a reptile garden, bird park and several museums. Among these are the Museum of Indonesia, which has displays on the country’s people, geography, flora and fauna, and the neighbouring Museum Purna Bhakti Pertiwi, which displays a fabulously opulent collection of gifts presented to President Suharto, including a whole gamelan orchestra made of old Balinese coins, a series of carved wooden panels depicting Suharto’s life story, and an enormous rubber-tree root decorated with the nine gods of Balinese Hinduism.