Places of interest
Bengkulu is the smallest and lowest populated province of Sumatra. Bengkulu province is located on the southwest coast of Sumatra. It occupies of 19,831 sq. km area and has about one million populations, comprising mostly Rejang, Malay, Bugis and Chinese ethnic ancestry people. Bukit Barisan mountain range constitutes its northeastern border, beyond which laid of South Sumatra province and Jambi province. The province protected by a stretch of mountains, which soon flow into the mighty Bukit Barisan. Tigers and elephants wander through the remains of the original rainforest, where exotic rafflesia's and orchids grow.
The British founded Bengkulu in 1685. It is a university town and administrative centre. It is the last territory in Indonesia to be held by the British. Fort Marlborough, constructed in 1762, is a castle with gatehouse that contains old gravestones with English inscription. Sir Stamford Raffles, who later found Singapore, was lieutenant - government of Bengkulu from 1818 to 1823.
Thomas Stamford Raffles was an important figure in Bengkulu history, which in 1817 was appointed as a Lieutenant-Governor of Bencoolen, the only territory in the area, which the Dutch had never managed to bring under their control. Raffles was an extraordinary and energetic man of wide-ranging interests. In the year of his arrival, he and a botanist named Joseph Arnold discovered the world's largest flower, at Manna River near Lubuktapi, in South Bengkulu. The flower is now known as Rafflesia Arnoldi and is the official symbol of Bengkulu province.
Tabah Penanjung, an hour drive into the hills above Bengkulu is a nature reserve where rafflesias are often found. Mt Bukit Kaba, near the hill town of Curup can be climbed in a day from Bengkulu.