Setu Babakan Batavian Cultural Village

Setu Babakan Batavian Cultural Village, Jakarta, Jakarta Overview

Setu Babakan is located in the Southern end of Jakarta and is very well-known amongst tourists for its cultural heritage. Also known as Situ Babakan this village is centred on a manmade lake and is dedicated to the preservation of the Betawi culture. In fact, the village is named after one such lake.

This village that is spread over 289 hectares of land and has been holding on to its traditional ways of living ever since. Babakan is constantly flooded with tourists who come here to observe the origins of the Betawi architecture and design. It has more than 200 galleries and arts depicting the Betawi culture and helping the Betawi artists grow.  This place is a great escape from the hectic Jakartian life and the contemporary hustle and bustle of the capital city. The primary occupation of the people in the Babakan village is fishing and farming. Apart from that, you will also spot several tropical fruits and spices plantations surrounding the lake.

The people of Setu Babakan add to its exquisiteness with their warm and welcoming Batavian nature. While at Setu, you will get to witness the rich cultural art performances such as Cokek dance and Gambus art. You can also get a taste of the traditional Betawi cuisine at various stalls serving Kerak Telor, Soto Betawi and Arum Manis.

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Exploring the Cultural Village

1. Housing in the village

The houses of Setu Babakan are all designed in the typical traditional way. There are the one storey Betawi houses with a spacious terrace made of the best quality of wood with a wide front lawn. The houses are extremely airy with minimal yet stunning architecture. Rumah Kebaya is a famous Betawi traditional house whose name comes from its roof shape that resembles the folds of the Kebaya dress. Rumah Gudang and Rumah Joglo are the few other kinds of houses in the village.

2. Traditional Dance and Music

Tari Yapong, Tari Lenong and Tari Ngarojeng are the famous Betawi traditional dances that you will get to see on your tour to the Setu Babakan. You will notice that the dances wear bright red dresses and lovely headgear performing on the Gambang Kromong (original music of Betawi). One can see the real beauty of the Betawi culture through these performances. At the weekly events, you will spot people dressed in traditional attire and also notice an Ondel-Ondel i.e a large puppet that is featured in the Betawi dances. Tanjidor is a Betawi orchestra that makes use of the Western musical instruments.  

3. Traditional Cuisine

All through the village, you will spot numerous stalls selling traditional Betawi food items which will blow a foodies mind. If at Setu you must most definitely try the Bir Pletok, a Batavian beverage made of ginger and lemongrass. You can taste some of the local dishes such as Keto Prak mixed with tofu, Kerak Telor (traditional spicy omelette topped with rich), Soto Betawi (beef soup with coconut milk broth) and Bakso (meatball soup). For dessert, you could try the Es Potong (popsicle with a variety of flavours) or the Arum Manis (candy floss).

4. Handicraft Betawi Items

The Setu Babakan village is known for their handicraft ornaments, jewellery, accessories, etc. These items depict the Betawi lifestyle in the best possible way. You can find a number of stores selling these handcrafted pieces. You can buy Batik Betawi, Rante Kuku i.e a traditional accessory or the hand woven hats made of pandan leaves, they make great souvenirs to take back.

5. Martial Arts in the village

Commonly known as Silat Beksi in the Betawi culture is a heritage of the culture. In the Betawi culture Silat Beksi holds a very sacred place, not only is it practised to master physical defences but also to strengthen psychological ends. In the village, many different martial arts showcases take place regularly.

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