Small town Indonesia in Sydney’s Taronga Zoo
Seeing bits and pieces of another country transplanted into Indonesia, such as the sculptures in Senayan Park Mall that mimic the ones at Singapore’s ION Orchard, is pretty common. But seeing the reverse is sadly too rare of an occurrence.
So you can imagine our surprise to see small-town Indonesia being represented on the shores of Sydney, Australia. As part of an immersive exhibition called Tiger Trek, the Taronga Zoo houses an exhibit modeled after the Way Kambas National Park, home of the Sumatran Tiger.
Tiger Trek exhibition in Taronga Zoo
The entrance is modeled after Indonesia’s traditional gates, known as Gapura
Image credit: @kz.saito
The Tiger Trek exhibition is much more than a simple tiger enclosure. When entering, visitors first hop onto a virtual flight on a freight plane model on-site, as if they’re actually flying to the national park located at the southern tip of Sumatra island.
Mie ayam vendor cart located by the entrance
Image credit: @mikikhailing
After ‘landing’, visitors then step out to a recreation of the national park’s entrance. With a tire repair/gasoline stall on one side and a mie ayam, or chicken noodle, vendor cart on the other, we’re simply amazed at the zoo’s attention to detail in designing the exhibit.
Motorcycle tire repair/gasoline roadside stall, a common sight in Indonesia
Image credit: @ariataufik
They even went the extra mile of having the phrase tambal ban, Indonesian for tire repair, spray painted on the rubber. Even homesick Indonesian expats would be brought to tears by the sheer authenticity on display here.
Entrance to the enclosure modeled after the actual ranger station
Image credit: @kz.saito
Past the entrance is the enclosure where in addition to seeing the actual tigers, you can also learn more about the critically endangered species. In particular, the zoo highlights the tiger’s shrinking habitats due to forest fires caused by illegal palm oil plantations.
Netizens praise the authenticity, joke at the missing mini-markets
While netizens are mostly effusive about the zoo’s take on small-town Indonesia, several jokingly noted that the exhibition fell short in a number of ways.
Image credit: @kikinderjoy
Twitter user @kikinderjoy for one bemoans the lack of Indomaret and Alfamart, two ubiquitous mini-market chains in Indonesia.
Image credit: @dgipul
Elsewhere, @dgipul pointed out the lack of Supra, Beat, and Mio motor scooters on the scene, the favored mode of transportation of the general Indonesian populace.
Credit where it’s due, though – the exhibition can easily be mistaken for an actual small town in Indonesia at a glance.
Small town Indonesia on the shores of Australia
While it’s great to see a mostly hidden side of Indonesia being showcased in other countries, we mustn’t overlook the condition of the Sumatran Tigers.
Illegal palm oil plantation is a major issue and we should respect the efforts of Taronga Zoo for highlighting the plight of these tigers and of Indonesian wildlife in general.
For more on Indonesia’s natural beauties, check out these stories:
- Mount Semeru reopened with COVID-19 health protocols
- Svargabumi near Borobudur has photo spots inside a rice paddy field
- 8 pine forests in Indonesia to escape from city life