Last Sunday, 9 September 2019, I and my friend, Ovi, joined a walking tour hosted by mas Huans from Klub Tukang Jalan. Both of us and the other five participants were curious about what was interesting about Tangerang Old Market or Pasar Lama Tangerang. I have been knowing this area as the residence of Cina Benteng people.
I and Ovi departed from Palmerah train station of Central Jakarta. After that, we had to reach Tanah Abang train station before we came to Duri train station. From Duri, we took Jakarta-Tangerang commuter line route. There are 10 train stations that span from Duri to Tangerang.
Once arriving at the Tangerang train station, we saw that the train was connected to an array of kiosks and stores with numerous traders who were selling various items, from street foods to electronics.
Tangerang Old Market
Our first destination is the market itself. We had to walk some meters from the Tangerang train station. The market retains a traditional trademark. You can grab that sense from seeing small traders offering products inside the market. You can bargain the price of the items. From flowers to snacks, the market has it all.
Amidst the crowded sellers and modern stores, there remain some ancient shops that are owned by the Chinese. You can recognize them through symbols of fortune that hang above the entrance door.
Every afternoon, especially during Saturdays and Sundays, the market turns into culinary heaven. Plenty of cafes and food stalls pack the market to satisfy all foodies from the city. The market holds an important key to the city’s development. This is the business district that once gathered the citizens seeking livelihood for the first time.
The market was once surrounded by a fortress (benteng). This is where the name Cina Benteng derived from. Now, the fortress is gone for good. The market is among the first constructions that later lead to the city’s progress.
Benteng Heritage Museum
The market has a wonderful museum inside of it. Uday Halim took over a historical house in 2009 in the market then restored the high value. The house was set up in the 17th century. Uday Halim took two years to study, restore and fulfill the house with antique and priceless collections regarding Indonesia-Chinese culture.
I was so stunned once arriving at the museum. I couldn’t stop admiring the Chinese traditional house that brought me back to the old Chinese movies I watched when I was a small kid. The museum guide, Mr. Martin, told us that the museum’s floor material was original. The black wood of the museum was from the 17th century.
The museum contains such an immense gem from the past. One of the masterpieces is the old coins from Banten kingdom in the 17th century. Truly, the museum is among the best I have ever seen so far. I salute to Uday Halim who preserves the culture and history of the Indonesia-Chinese people by establishing the museum.
Those of you who intend coming here, here is basic information:
Address: Jalan Cilame, Nomor 18-20, Pasar Lama Tangerang, 15111
Phone number: (021) 55791139 or email@example.com
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. The museum is closed on Mondays. The museum is open during national holidays from 10 am until 5 pm.
Ticket price: IDR30,000 (about US$2)
No pictures are taken during the visit because once there was a visitor unintentionally broke one of the collections while taking pictures.
Boen Tek Bio Temple
After about one hour at the museum, we headed to Boen Tek Bio temple. The temple is still inside the market. The address is Jalan Bhakti Number 14. The temple was firstly set up around 1750. When we visited the temple, plenty of worshipers were flocking it.
As you can see from the picture, the temple seemed bright and colorful with the worshipers and the iconic Chinese architecture. Red, yellow and plenty of animal symbols always wrap any Chinese temples. The temple has been regarding an influential one in Tangerang until today.
Kali Pasir Mosque
Standing across Cisadane river, Kali Pasir mosque was firstly constructed in the 16th century. The mosque is the oldest one in the Tangerang City. It is the remain of Pajajaran Kingdom. The mosque symbolizes religious tolerance between Moslems and Chinese people who live around the market. The market, by the way, is only a few meters from the temple. During the visit, mas Huans pointed to the mosque tower that resembles pagoda. In front of the temple, there is a cemetery.
I loved it when we were crossing the Cisadane river that day. The clock was almost 12 at noon but the weather, thankfully, was a bit cloudy. So, we were feeling the breeze at the river. Some durian sellers were opening businesses at that time. The river is completed with tall trees.
Mas Huans later brought us to a spot within the river that once existed Tangga Jamban inscription. The inscription contains 81 Chinese names who firstly constructed the city. the inscription is now at the museum.
You can find the exact position of the inscription alongside the river. The local administration made a signage to help visitors easier finding it. You can step down on the “deck” and even take a boat for sailing along the river.
I personally love the river as it looks clean and organized. The local administration builds Flying Deck to collect millennials spending time alongside the river. I hope I can visit the riverside again given plenty of cool cafes, too.
I and Ovi ended the day with satisfied. Walking tour to hidden historical and cultural spots in our own city and the surrounding has always left us contented. We must do this walking tour again and again.