Enchantment of Bangka Belitung – post-mining

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Kaolin Lake is a lake that has a clean white earthen color and bright blue water. (photo: Pramitha Hendra)

IO – The Bangka Belitung Islands (Babel) hold an extraordinary maritime charm that sounds throughout Indonesia and is even known around the world. Although it was historically the largest tin producer in Indonesia, the Babel Islands is changing its image to become one of the finest tourist destinations in the Indonesian archipelago.

Besides being blessed with beautiful natural scenery, the islands also store rich agricultural produce. Here, besides agriculture, tin mining is a primary sector of the community’s economic structure.

The islands, located between the big islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan, are also known for their high level of tolerance. This can be seen from the many places of worship along the road. Thus domestic and foreign tourists do not hesitate to visit them and feel safe.

Historical Record of Mining in Babel

Tin mining in Belitung has been around for a long time, as proven by the discovery of mining objects that were traditional in the 1950s. To store, maintain, and document these relics, a museum called the Indonesian Tin Museum was built.

The Indonesian Tin Museum was inaugurated in 1958. It occupies a building that was formerly used as a residence for the employees of the Bangka Tin Mining company. The museum is located in the center of the City of Pangkalpinang, on Jalan Jenderal Ahmad Yani No. 17. It has been renovated twice, in 1997 and 2010.

In 1948, a meeting was held in this building between the founders of Indonesia and representatives of the United Nations, to discuss the transfer of Dutch sovereignty to the Republic of Indonesia.

Entering the museum area, visitors will be welcomed by a classic Bangka drill. This tool is a relic of the Dutch era which was used in past tin mining. This drill was made by AJ Akeringa, a geologist of the Bangka Tin Mining company in 1885. This creation became a new development for the world of tin mining because it was able to replace the Chinese drill that had been used since the 18th century.

In another part, we can see several other classic objects which were used in mining. These include a classic locomotive that was used as a power plant for mining, a container for mining products, and a mine spray monitor.

Besides, reliefs tell the history of tin mining from time to time, adorning the front of the museum. There are several mining tools used in the past around the museum. These tools provide information to visitors about the development of tin mining in Indonesia.

Entering the museum room, visitors will see various dioramas. There are three types of dioramas. The first contains an explanation of the early history of tin mining on Bangka Island. The second informs us of the mining tools that were used. The third explains the process of tin mining with modern equipment and the practical use of its end products.

Within the museum area, there is another building called the Pewter Craft Center. Here, visitors can see products made from 97% tin which includes plaques, Phinisi boats, transport trucks, key chains, and brooches. According to the museum guard, all the tin handicrafts were made manually by craftsmen in Bangka Island.

Visitors can also buy these souvenirs, or order craft designs as desired.

Visit the Indonesian Tin Museum is an alternative vacation with the family. In addition to getting detailed information about the ins and outs and the long history of the tin world in Indonesia, visitors can also reflect on the meaning of independence.

Post-Mining Tourism

Tin mining in the Babel Islands decades ago hollowed out existing land. Even so, not all of the pits damaged the land. Considering this phenomenon, the Provincial Government of Bangka Belitung Islands has transformed a former mining area into a tourism area.

This was revealed by Fadjri Djagahitam, Head of the Department of Tourism Marketing of the Bangka Belitung Islands Provincial Government. “Later on, we will try to rehabilitate former mining sites, both on land and offshore. Next, we will make them into tourist attractions, because former mining countries turned to tourism have proved to be successful,” said Fadjri.

Fadjri continued, the government would prepare its personnel for the next 10-20 years, so that Bangka Belitung tourism is more developed and not stuck with offering ex-mining sites only.

It is hoped that agro-tourism will increase the number of tourists. The land to be transformed for it is no longer productive. Mining in such an area has been fully exploited since colonial times.

The following are post-mining tourist destinations in the Bangka Belitung Islands Province.

• Kaolin Lake

Kaolin Lake is a lake that has a clean white earthen color and bright blue water. This lake does not originate from mountain craters such as the Ciwidey White Crater Lake or the High King White Crater, but is rather formed from a former Kaolin mining site that has been abandoned, and nature has perfected with its beauty. There is little knowledge about Kaolin, an industrial material used for such as cosmetics, paper, food and toothpaste. Kaolin is popular because it is smooth, white, strong, smooth and has low electrical and thermal conductivity.

The scenery is breathtaking as far as the eye can see. Piles of tailings, hills around the lake, look like Mount Bromo in mini but are white. Land under the lake that is covered by water like the curve of a passing animal, when the water is receding the land will look like white sugar. In the middle of the lake, land seems to connect with the ends of the lake.

• Open Pit

Not only does Lake Kaolin share its beauty, to find a different sensation and no less beautiful, try to look at East Belitung Regency. There you will find a former mining site called Open Pit.

Open Pit is located in Bukit Ki Karak, Senyubuk, Kelapa Sampit Village, about 60 kilometers from Tanjung Pandan or around 30 kilometers from Manggar, the capital of East Belitung. Before discovering the beauty of Open Pit, you have to track for 30 minutes. Because of its location on the hills during tracking you are buffered by gusts of wind and cool air.

Open Pit is a large turquoise lake surrounded by rock with a beautiful texture that is the main attraction of this place. The landscape here is a favorite of landscape photographers.

Tanjung Kelayang: main access to the Babel maritime paradise

The combination of calm seawater with charming giant granite rocks becomes a magnet for tourists to imagine Babylon. Very few beaches in Indonesia have such character. Reportedly granite rocks scattered along the coasts of Bangka Belitung are part of the great rocks of western Indonesia called “batolite”. And their uniqueness can be seen in Tanjung Kelayang, Belitung.
When visiting Tanjung Kelayang, our eyes will be spoiled by the view of the green seawater, fine beach sand like flour, not to mention the Kelayang birds that fly over the ocean.

That said, the name of the Kelayang bird is an inspiration, in giving the name of Tanjung Kelayang Beach. Granite scattered on the beach is also a tourist attraction. Seawater abrasion has formed a pile of granite into a giant turtle and the head of an eagle. Not only that, but you can also explore islands that are not so far away, like Lengkuas Island which has a lighthouse as its icon.

The phenomenal Tanjung Tinggi beach

Tanjung Tinggi is a beach flanked by two peninsulas, namely Tanjung Kelayang and Tanjung Pendam. The name Tanjung Tinggi is taken from the word Tanjung which means the peninsula and high, which means a beach that has high rocks. Tanjung Tinggi beach is one of the tourist attractions on the island of Belitung. It is located not far from Tanjung Kelayang Beach and is about 31 km from the city of Tanjung Pandan.

After the sensational Laskar Pelangi film, Tanjung Tinggi Beach immediately seized the attention of domestic and foreign tourists. White sand and exotic granite piles make this beach even more beautiful. Interestingly, the granite stones here are very diverse: some are large and some are small.

This beach is shaped like a protractor with a diameter of about 100 m with a composition of granite boulders on either side. Along the coast, we will see impressive and unique panoramic views of the beaches. The sand is white and the water is clear; you can swim because of the small waves and the slow flow of seawater, but what is more interesting is the slight difference between high tides and low tides.

When the sun begins to set the high Tanjung beach will radiate the charm of the extraordinary beauty. With the beauty of the beach that has its characteristics that make the high Tanjung beach well known by tourists outside the region and abroad. Tanjung Tinggi Beach was once used as the location for the climax of the films Laskar Pelangi and Sang Pemimpi, so it is not uncommon for foreign tourists to call this Tanjung Tinggi beach the Laskar Pelangi beach. If you like photography, you can shoot the stones as a model and the background of the beach and sunset. (Pramitha Hendra)