Curup Town, The Gateway To Bengkulu

Rafflesia Arnoldii, noted for producing the largest individual flower on earth, is a uniquely rare flower that  has become the icon of the province of Bengkulu. The best place to observe these exceptional flora is in the rainforests along the Bengkulu – Curup route. Curup itself is the capital and main hub of the Rejang Lebong Regency in the Bengkulu Province that also acts as gateway to some of the regency’s natural wonders such as the Bukit KabaSuban Hot Spring, and Lake Mas Harun Bastari.

The Town of Curup is located approximately 85 kilometers away  from Bengkulu city. The town sits at an altitude of between 100 to 1,000 meters above sea level in the highlands of the Bukit Barisan Mountain Range. These mountains stretch all the way from north to south, to form like the backbone of the island of Sumatra.

Curup is home to the Rejang ethnic group who live spread across a number districts including in Curup, North Curup, East Curup, South Curup, Central Curup, Bermani Ulu, Bermani Ulu Raya, and also in the Selupung Rejang District. Another ethnic group that also lives in the Rejang Lebong regency are the Lembak communities who are spread from the districts of Padang, Padang Ilak Tanding, Biduriang, Sindang Dataran, Sindang Beliti Ulu, Sindang Beliti Ilir, to Sindang Kelingi.

Curup town, Rejang Lebong, Bengkulu
Curup town, Rejang Lebong, Bengkulu (Source : mariohr33.blogspot.co.id)

Prior to Curup, the capital town of Rejang Lebong Regency was, in fact, the town of Kepahiang. However, during the 2nd Dutch Military Invasion in 1948, all vital structures including the municipal building, post office, prison, police headquarters, as well as bridges were destroyed by Dutch military forces.

The capital was then relocated to Curup which remains its capital  to this date. Kepahiang itself  later developed into its own regency since 2004.

Curup (and the Rejang Lebong Regency in general) is a major producer of rice, coffee, rubber, and vegetables. The rice and vegetables of this town are sold to other major cities across Sumatra such as Palembang Padang Jambi, Lampung, and Pekanbaru.

ACTIVITIES

The culinary scene in Curup is mainly dominated by Padang Food, which you can find mostly along the MH Thamrin Street. However for an authentic taste of Rejang Lebong, you can try the Sambal Tempoyak, Sambal Ujak, and Gulai Umbut.

If you wish to buy mementos of your trip to Curup, go to Jl. Kartini and buy some the popular snacks of the area. Among these are Kacang Curup (Curup Peanuts), Jagung Marning (Corn), tea, palm sugar, and pisang sale (dried banana). You can also bring home some canned Lema, a traditional food of the Rejang ethnic group that consists of young bamboo sprouts mixed with various fresh water fish.

There are some accommodation options available in Curup and the Rejang Lebong Regency.

The best time to observe the gigantic Rafflesia arnoldii flowers is when they bloom around November to December. When in bloom, the flower can reach a  height of 50 centimeters with an average diameter of 1 meter. The blooming period lasts only one week. These flowers can be found in the rainforests along the Bengkulu – Curup route just beyond the Kepahiang Regency.

From Curup, you can also enjoy other natural splendors around the town such hiking to Bukit Kaba Hill, bathe in the Subang Natural Hot Spring, or relax  at Lake Mas Harun Bastari.

GET THERE

Form Bengkulu City, capital of Bengkulu Province, the overland trip to Curup will take a little over 2 hours. If you wish to try public transportation, there are minivan services available at the Panorama bus Station.

The road from Bengkulu to Curup may be highlighted with plenty of sharp curves  and winding turns, however your trip will be well compensated by spectacular sceneries of Bengkulu’s pristine nature.

Alternatively, there are also transportation services from South Sumatra that pass the town of Curup. These are on  the routes from Bengkulu to Lubuk Linggau and Pagaralam to Bengkulu. Fares  cost somewhere around IDR 80,000 to IDR 100,000.

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