Unique buildings in Indonesia

Indonesia is probably best known for its natural beauty, but the country also has its fair share of unique architectural gems with designs that you won’t find anywhere else.

From a camera-shaped art gallery to a house made of glass bottles, we’ve compiled a list of 7 unique buildings in Indonesia guaranteed to make you do a double-take.

1. Rumah Ikan Mas – an abandoned fish-shaped restaurant

unique buildings in indonesia - rumah ikan mas
Image credit: Tripadvisor

Located near Lake Toba, Rumah Ikan Mas was built in 1997 as a restaurant, though it was soon closed due to the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis.

The building remains standing to this day, although it’s currently in a state of decay after years of abandonment and no plans have been made to turn it into a tourist attraction. It gained considerable attention after being featured in the 2012 award-winning documentary The Act of Killing.

Address: Sipolha Hill, Lake Toba, North Sumatra

2. Keong Emas – a snail-shaped IMAX theatre

unique buildings in indonesia - keong emas
Image adapted from: Google Maps

Standing out amid the vast area of East Jakarta’s Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, Keong Emas first opened in 1984 as Indonesia’s first IMAX cinema. Its giant golden snail shape is inspired by Keong Mas (“the Golden Snail”), a local fairytale about a woman who is turned into a golden snail.

The cinema mostly shows educational movies about Indonesian history, culture, and nature, although in recent years it has also started showing blockbusters occasionally. Tickets cost Rp. 35,000 (~USD2.45) for regular seats and Rp. 60,000 (~USD4.20) for VIP seats.

Address: Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, East Jakarta

3. Rumah Botol – a house partly made from Red Bull bottles

unique buildings in indonesia - rumah botol
Image credit: @ahmadsulaimanc45

Designed by current West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil, who is also an architect, the five-bedroom house Rumah Botol (House of Bottles) was built from 2005 to 2007 – partly using 30,000 Red Bull bottles sourced from various parts of Bandung, Jakarta, and adjacent cities over six months. 

The bottles allow natural light to enter the house and act as ventilation, eliminating the need for air conditioning.

unique buildings in indonesia - rumah botol interior
Image credit: @ahmadsulaimanc45

The house’s unique design won it BCI Asia’s Green Design Award in 2009. In case you and your environmentally conscious crew are up for a holiday in future, the house is available for rent for Rp. 3,500,000 (~USD245.05) per day. 

Address: Jalan Cigadung Selatan No. 28A, Bandung, West Java

4. Rumah Gurita – a house with a giant octopus statue on the roof

unique buildings in indonesia - rumah gurita
Image credit: Yukepo

Built in the 1980s, Rumah Gurita is infamous for its offbeat design, which includes a giant octopus statue on the roof and windows adorned with figures from playing cards. The private property is owned by a sailor named Frans Halimawan, who says the house is a symbol of his struggle towards success, while the giant octopus statue was designed by a student from the nearby Bandung Institute of Technology.

It was once rumored to be a satanic temple among locals living nearby, and a horror film based on the rumor called Rumah Gurita was released in 2014.

Address: Jalan Terusan Sukadamai I No. 6, Sukagalih, Sukajadi, Bandung, West Java

5. Kura-Kura Ocean Park – a gigantic sea turtle-shaped marine park

unique buildings in indonesia - kura-kura ocean park
Image credit: @rizalrz

First opened in 2011, Kura-Kura Ocean Park is located at Kartini Beach in Jepara and serves as a landmark of the city.

It contains aquariums and a 3D cinema, and is a popular subject for photographers – especially those using drones because they can capture a full view of the gigantic sea-turtle shaped building. Tickets cost Rp. 20,000 (~USD1.40) for adults and Rp. 15,000 (~USD1.05) for children.

unique buildings in indonesia - kura-kura ocean park interior
Image credit: @devasarii

Address: Kartini Beach, Bulu, Jepara, Central Java

6. Gereja Ayam – a chicken-shaped church atop a hill

unique buildings in indonesia - gereja ayam
Image credit: @bukitrhema

As the story goes, in the 1980s, a Christian named Daniel Alamsjah had a dream about a dove on a hill, which he took as a sign that he had to build a place of worship for all faiths. He eventually bought a plot of land in Magelang where the construction of the church began in 1992, but had to stop in 2000 due to financial woes.

The building remained abandoned until 2015, when it attracted widespread attention after being visited by foreign journalists.

Although it was originally intended to be in the shape of a dove, the building came to be known as Gereja Ayam (“the Chicken Church”) thanks to the crown on its head resembling the crest of a chicken. Today, it contains an art gallery and is a popular tourist destination and photoshoot location, with entry costing Rp. 20,000 (~USD1.40).

unique buildings in indonesia - gereja ayam interior
The gallery in the chicken-like building
Image credit:

Address: Karangrejo Gombong, Kurahan, Kembanglimus, Borobudur, Magelang, Central Java 

7. Rumah Kamera – a camera-shaped art gallery

unique buildings in indonesia - rumah kamera
Image credit: Rumah Kamera Borobudur

Built in 2013, Rumah Kamera (Camera House) is owned by artist Tanggol Angien Jatikusumo. It contains an art gallery displaying his collection of artworks, including 3D art rooms where you can pose for quirky photoshoots and selfies.

rumah kamera jogja indonesia
A mirror room in the Camera House
Image credit:

Located not far from the famous Borobudur temple complex, the gallery is a popular tourist attraction and entry costs Rp. 15,000 (~USD1.05) per visitor. Staff are on hand to help you snap the best shots from tried-and-tested angles, in case you’re not too confident with your photography skills.

Address: Majaksingi 8, Borobudur, Magelang, Central Java

8. Museum Komodo – a museum shaped like a Komodo dragon

unique buildings in indonesia - komodo dragon
Image credit: Taman Mini Indonesia Indah

Museum Komodo is a fauna museum and reptile park located in Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, containing hundreds of stuffed reptiles native to Indonesia, such as the famous Komodo dragon.

museum komodo indonesia
Image credit: @veronicadiann

Its construction was completed in 1978, and you can spot it from afar thanks to its huge tower resembling the neck and head of – a komodo dragon, of course. Today, it’s one of the country’s most popular natural museums, and entry costs Rp. 10,000 (~USD0.70) per visitor.

Address: Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, East Jakarta

Unique buildings in Indonesia

Add these unique buildings to your itinerary for your next trip, and experience firsthand some of the most interesting architectural gems Indonesia has to offer.

Make sure you have your phone or camera ready to take snaps and share them on social media.

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Cover image adapted from @ahmadsulaimanc45 and Magelang Tourism, Youth and Sport Office

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