Nine Reasons to Visit Sumenep, The Forgotten Corner of Java

Tom D

Sumenep, on the island of Madura, is one of Indonesia’s great mysteries. Once the crucible of the country’s modern foundations, it is now an oft-neglected regency of rural calm, vibrant culture, delicious food and deserted beaches. The welcome is extremely warm, too…

  • Slopeng Beach

    Image of Slopeng Beach on Seeker
    • tomas.d

      Most come for the beach, but of even greater interest are the traditional topeng dhalang masks. Crafted exclusively in Slopeng, they form the centrepiece of traditional dance performances across the archipelago, and are highly treasured.

  • Keraton Sumenep

    Image of Keraton Sumenep on Seeker
    • tomas.d

      Keraton Sumenep, the former palace complex, offers an authentic glimpse into the region’s past. Ancient relics, weapons, manuscripts and assorted ephemera, including a horse carriage from the Queen of England, are featured, and there is often the chance to witness Madurese folk ensembles ply their trade.

  • Stadion Karapan Sapi - Giling

    Image of Stadion Karapan Sapi - Giling on Seeker
    • tomas.d

      The notorious karapan sapi bull races have their home at Stadion Giling. Bribes and subterfuge are said to be commonplace, as is the deployment of black magic magicians to weave their spells on opposing bovines.

  • West Legung in East Java, Indonesia

    Image of West Legung on Seeker
    • tomas.d

      One of Sumenep’s more obscure tributaries, where each family home has a small room entirely covered in sand.

  • Great Mosque of Sumenep

    Image of Great Mosque of Sumenep on Seeker
    • tomas.d

      This iconic landmark stands as one of Indonesia’s oldest mosques and dominates the centre of Sumenep thanks to its striking white and yellow gateway. The masjid, which offers a distinct blends of European, Javanese and Chinese architectural influences, oftern forms the backdrop of the myriad markets and cultrual celebrations that punctuate the Madurese calendar.

  • Pulau Oksigen Giliyang

    Image of Pulau Oksigen Giliyang on Seeker
    • tomas.d

      Known as Pulau Oksigen due to the island’s higher-than-average oxygen levels, Gili Iyang's inhabitants can enjoy long and healthy lives. Indeed, it is not uncommon to witness older generations scaling palm trees with the speed and grace of someone a fraction of their age.

  • Batuputih in East Java, Indonesia

    Image of Batuputih on Seeker
    • tomas.d

      The mined limestone cliffs of Bukit Kapur are worthy of an excursion to Sumenep’s northern coastline. Their distinct carvings and angular forms dominate the surroundings and create a surreal landscape reminiscent of the skewed artwork of M C Escher.

  • Gili Labak

    Image of Gili Labak on Seeker
    • tomas.d

      Perfect for those seeking solitude, this pocket-sized teardrop, home to only 50 people, offers a real insight into local fishing practices, with triangular bagan frames dotting the shoreline. It’s also a great place to see traditional selerek boats, many of them bedecked with colourful liveries in tribute to the Goddess of the sea.

  • Makam Raja Sumenep Asta Tinggi

    Image of Makam Raja Sumenep Asta Tinggi on Seeker
    • tomas.d

      A renowned pilgrimage site, the royal burial ground of Asta Tinggi demonstrates a unique blend of Hindu, Chinese and European architecture, while also offering a prime elevated spot to enjoy Sumenep’s rugged, windswept terrain.

Nine Reasons to Visit Sumenep, The Forgotten Corner of Java

By Tom D
Updated · 36 views
Sumenep, on the island of Madura, is one of Indonesia’s great mysteries. Once the crucible of the country’s modern foundations, it is now an oft-neglected regency of rural calm, vibrant culture, delicious food and deserted beaches. The welcome is extremely warm, too…
Viewing 9 places
  • Slopeng Beach
    See & Do
    1
    • tomas.d Most come for the beach, but of even greater interest are the traditional topeng dhalang masks. Crafted exclusively in Slopeng, they form the centrepiece of traditional dance performances across the archipelago, and are highly treasured.

         
  • Keraton Sumenep
    See & Do
    1
    • tomas.d Keraton Sumenep, the former palace complex, offers an authentic glimpse into the region’s past. Ancient relics, weapons, manuscripts and assorted ephemera, including a horse carriage from the Queen of England, are featured, and there is often the chance to witness Madurese folk ensembles ply their trade.

         
  • Stadion Karapan Sapi - Giling
    See & Do
    1
    • tomas.d The notorious karapan sapi bull races have their home at Stadion Giling. Bribes and subterfuge are said to be commonplace, as is the deployment of black magic magicians to weave their spells on opposing bovines.

         
  • West Legung
    1
    • tomas.d One of Sumenep’s more obscure tributaries, where each family home has a small room entirely covered in sand.

         
  • Great Mosque of Sumenep
    See & Do
    1
    • tomas.d This iconic landmark stands as one of Indonesia’s oldest mosques and dominates the centre of Sumenep thanks to its striking white and yellow gateway. The masjid, which offers a distinct blends of European, Javanese and Chinese architectural influences, oftern forms the backdrop of the myriad markets and cultrual celebrations that punctuate the Madurese calendar.

         
  • Pulau Oksigen Giliyang
    See & Do
    1
    • tomas.d Known as Pulau Oksigen due to the island’s higher-than-average oxygen levels, Gili Iyang's inhabitants can enjoy long and healthy lives. Indeed, it is not uncommon to witness older generations scaling palm trees with the speed and grace of someone a fraction of their age.

         
  • Batuputih
    City
    1
    • tomas.d The mined limestone cliffs of Bukit Kapur are worthy of an excursion to Sumenep’s northern coastline. Their distinct carvings and angular forms dominate the surroundings and create a surreal landscape reminiscent of the skewed artwork of M C Escher.

         
  • Gili Labak
    See & Do
    1
    • tomas.d Perfect for those seeking solitude, this pocket-sized teardrop, home to only 50 people, offers a real insight into local fishing practices, with triangular bagan frames dotting the shoreline. It’s also a great place to see traditional selerek boats, many of them bedecked with colourful liveries in tribute to the Goddess of the sea.

         
  • Makam Raja Sumenep Asta Tinggi
    See & Do
    1
    • tomas.d A renowned pilgrimage site, the royal burial ground of Asta Tinggi demonstrates a unique blend of Hindu, Chinese and European architecture, while also offering a prime elevated spot to enjoy Sumenep’s rugged, windswept terrain.