I often get questioned by people from outside Jambi. “What can you actually find or see in Jambi?”
“Temples!” is my short answer, which most of the time provokes people’s curiosity.

Most people have heard of the temple complexes located on the island of Java. Apparently, a lot of people doesn’t know that in Sumatera, precisely in Jambi, there is one of the largest temple complexes in South East Asia. The complex, named Muara Jambi, has a total area of 12 square kilometers. Compared to Prambanan or Borobudur the Muara Jambi temple complex is much smaller and more dispersed. This makes it a bit challenging for visitors to see everything.

Tinggi 1 temple - Muara Jambi

Tinggi 1 temple

The Muara Jambi temple complex is a relic of the ancient Malay kingdom and the only relics of the Buddhist Hindu culture from the 7th Century-13th Century AD. In this area there are 82 ruins, eight of them have been excavated and have been the focus of intensive conservation efforts. These eight temples are listed below:
1. Gumpung temple
2. Tinggi I temple
3. Tiggi II temple
4. Kembar Batu temple
5. Astano temple
6. Gedong I temple
7. Gedong II temple
8. Kedaton temple

Kedaton and Astano temple

Kedaton and Astano temple

Other archaeological relics found in this region include ancient canals that channeled water around the area between buildings and basically connecting everything together. There is a strong possibility that undiscovered temples remain. This shouldn’t surprise anyone given the number of earth mounds that you can find in the area surrounding the temple complex.

The closest temples that you will immediately see once you enter the Muara Jambi complex are Gumpung temple and Tinggi temple. The distance between the temples is great. So great in fact that most people will only explore Gumpung temple and Tinggi temples. Luckily this area is very beautiful and has a lot of trees so the atmosphere is great for exploring and walking around.

Temple complex outside Java

Muaro Jambi Complex

Compared to when I first came to Muara Jambi Complex, as part of a study tour, there have been a number of improvements. Although some facilities are still inadequate and cleanliness definitely should be improved, overall the place is well kept. You can find trash cans everywhere. Cars and motorbikes are not allowed in the area except in predetermined areas.

As far as the eye can see we are treated to such a beautiful and view. There are colorful bikes, umbrellas and trolleys you can rent. The food vendors roll out their mats on the grass and greet the visitors. Feel free to stop and buy food or drink or just smile and pass by if you are not interested.

Muaro Jambi complex Sumatera

Travelling between temples inside the Muaro Jambi complex

How to get there

Muara Jambi complex is located approximately 40km from the city of Jambi or 30km from the district capital Muaro Jambi. Unfortunately there is no public transport access to the Muara Jambi complex so tourists have to hire a motorcycle / car. The journey takes around 40 minutes.

Entrance fee: 3,500 IDR; equal with 0.3 $

lenny indonesiaAbout the author:

Lenny is a traveller who loves to get to learn about new places by interacting with locals, exploring the nature and discovering the local culture. She is lucky to have explored various parts of Indonesia and the world through scholarships and free programs. She shares her story through her blog http://len-diary.blogspot.com/. Don’t be shy to tweet her at @Lenny_Indonesia or connect through her Facebook page – lendiary and Google+ .

If you are interested in booking accommodation for your holiday in Indonesia I recommend Airbnb. Book through this link to receive a special $25 discount. For hotel bookings I recommend Agoda for its low price and discounts.