Madura, East Java Island Indonesia, is best known for its traditional bull racing festival, namely Karapan Sapi, which literally means cow racing. In fact, the event involves not only cows but also bulls. The sport tourism event is held every year, and it has even become a part of National Tourist Calendar. Nobody is pretty sure about when and where the bull race began. According to some sources, it dates back to the fourteenth century.
As it originated from the local wisdom of people in Madura Island, particularly pamekasan and Bangkalan regencies, the tradition possibly arouse from the practice used by local farmers to plow the soil. The soil of Madura is not fertile enough. Therefore, it is not enough for the farmers to cultivate the soil using manually. The bulls or cows help plowing the land to make it more fertile for rice paddy cultivation.
Naturally, cows are not racing animals. However, the local farmers need cows that can plow the soil as fast as possible. The faster the cows run, the faster the farmers plow the land. This practice becomes an annual tournament, which aims at finding the strongest and the fastest cows. The owners certainly need to invest in growing the cows. They need adequate foods and nutrients.
MEANING BEHIND KARAPAN SAPI
The traditional bull racing festival in Madura is held from August to October every year. It is conducted from the village level. Then, the winners in the village level will participate in the sub district level (kewedanaan), then regency level (Bupati Cup), and eventually President Cup. For the local people of Madura, this is not simply a race. It is a prestige not only for the cow owners.
In Bangkalan Regency, Madura, Karapan sapi is held at Lapangan Skeep or R.P. Moh. Noer Stadium. In Pamekasan Regency, the event is held at R. Soenarto Hadiwidjojo Stadium. Meanwhile, the President Cup is usually held in Pamekasan Regency. The festival is held in an event called “A Night in Madura,” which features local cultures and art performances. Besides preserving the local traditions, Kerapan Sapi, which is held regularly at different levels, brings about some positive effects for the local people.
In economic sector, the event promotes the growth of local economy, as the local people can sell their products and introduce them to people, who come from different provinces and even international tourists. This certainly opens up many opportunities for local traders. Kerapan Sapi also encourages creativity of local people. They can display the local traditions, like traditional dances and local songs during the annual festivals.
Kerapan Sapi becomes a symbol of social identity. Owners of the winning cows get the prestige and fame. It is a statement of courage, power, hard work, and even wealth. Yes, price tag for a winning cow can be triple or even fourfold. The festival is an event, in which people from different regions and different socio-economic levels blend into one. All people are united into the atmosphere of joy and sportiveness.
5 MUST DO ACTIVITIES IN MADURA AFTER SEEING KERAPAN SAPI
After seeing Karapan Sapi, you can tourist destinations in the nearby area. The following are some great destinations, which are social media worthy: Visiting the Exotic Limestone Hills.. Still in Bangkalan Regency, you can visit two limestone hills, which are exotic and Instagrammable.
1. Jaddih Hill
- The hill is located in Socah Sub district, Bangkalan Regency, Madura, East Java Island, Indonesia. The hill is located only 10 kilometers away from the Capital of Bangkalan, or 28 kilometers from Surabaya (Capital of East Java Province). If you have seen the scene of Cappadocia in Turki, you will see the miniature of Kapadokia in Jaddih Hills.
- The exotic view is formed by the hundred years of limestone mining in the area. You can see giant, artistic and exotic cliffs and small caves. In the northern part of the area, you can find a naturally formed pond, called Goa Potte. The local government of Bangkalan Regency renovated the pond into a great swimming pool.
2. Pelalangan Hill, Arosbaya
If Jaddih Hill offers dominantly white scene of limestone hill, Pelalangan Hill in Arosbaya Subdistrict, Bangkalan Regency, offers an exotic reddish scene. It was also an area of limestone mining. Now, the hill becomes an Instagrammable tourist destination. The remains of limestone mining practice around the area naturally form some unique ‘carvings’, which are great for photo backgrounds.
VISITING THE RELIGIOUS SITE OF "MOTHER'S TEAR"
Before arriving at Pelalangan Hill, Arosbaya, you will go through a religious site called “Aer Mata Ebuh” which literally means “Mother’s Tear.” The site is actually a royal funeral complex of Bangkalan Kingdom in the past. “Mother” referred to in this religious site is Syarifah Ambami, the wife of Raden Preseno, who also had a royal name of Cakraningrat I.
As the name implies, the site symbolizes sadness of a wife. According to the folklore, sadness made Syarifah Ambami cry day and night. Her tears flooded the area, thus forming a natural spring, which is still well preserved. The local people believe that the water from the sacred tomb has some healing properties. As a result, many people come to visit the tomb and take the water to heal some diseases. The spring never dries out since it was found.
EXPLORING THE TROPICAL ISLAND (GILI)
Talking about island (gili) in Indonesia may remind you about Gili Trawangan, Air, and Meno in Lombok. Madura Island also has some tropic small islands, which offer breathtaking views, including:
1. Gili Labak; Located in the eastern part of Madura Island, exactly in Sumenep Regency, the island offers outstanding views of blue waves, white stand, green surrounding, fresh air, and well-preserved coral reefs. You can snorkel and see the magnificent underwater view here. Yes, Gili Labak is a hidden paradise in Madura Island.
2.Gili Genting; Travelers say that this is the Hawaii of Madura. Located also in Sumenep Regency, Gili Genting has some beaches with natural scenes, such as Pantai Sembilan and Kahuripan Beach.
3. Gili Iyang; If you want to stay healthy and young, make sure to visit Gili Iyang when in Madura. The island is said to have the world’s second highest oxygen level after Jordania. A study conducted by a research institute in East Java Island found that Gili Iyang has above-average level of oxygen, namely 21,5%.
RELAXING AT PRIVATE BEACHES
Madura Island has a long list of relaxing beaches with their natural views and white sand. If you love spending time and seeing sunset at the beaches, you have many options while you are in Madura, for instance:
1. In Bangkalan Regency, Siring Kemuning Beach is a favorite spot for sunset view. The secluded Beach of Sambilangan offers a private atmosphere while you play on the white sand. Rongkang Beach is a favorite spot if you want to see the view of Suramadu Bridge from a distance.
2. In Sumenep Regency, you can visit the iconic Slopeng Beach. Other great beaches in Sumenep include Lombang Beach and Kangean Beach with its underwater ‘forest’ is a great spot for snorkeling.
3.In Sampang, there is Nepa Beach, which known for green surrounding and monkey forest.
4. In Pamekasan Regency, you can visit Jumiang Beach and Kerbuy Stone Beach (a favorite spot for diving, snorkeling, and other water sport activities).
TASTING THE LOCAL FOOD
This is a must-do activity in Madura. The island is known for a number of local foods, such as Sate Madura (grilled chicken with peanut sauce). You can Sate Madura in almost every city in Indonesia, but while in Madura, why don’t you taste the food in its origin?
Then, there are bebek songkem (duck meat wrapped with banana leaf and steam along with specific seasonings) and Soto Madura. Just like Sate Madura, Soto Madura is a popular food, which you can find in other areas in Indonesia. Try it at its ‘hometown’! Other local foods in Madura include lorjuk, rujak corek, kaldu kokot, nasi Serpang, tajin sobih, and many more.
Madura Island still has so many interesting places to visit. They range from natural attractions like waterfalls and caves, historical and religious destinations like. So, make sure to get as much information as possible before booking a travel package to Madura.
5 REASON TO HAVE TRAVEL INSURANCE TO MADURA
So, when is the best time to take a travel package to Madura? Of course, the right answer is during the event of Bupati Cup or President Cup. At this time, many people from different regions come to Madura to see Karapan Sapi. However, as many people come from other areas, you may compete with other tourists to find comfortable accommodation, to get into the festival arena, to enjoy local foods, and many more.
Therefore, the solution is visiting Madura Island along with a travel package, which includes travel insurance. Besides comfort and security, visiting with a travel agent allows you to enjoy other attractions around Madura Island. In addition, make sure to take a travel package with insurance coverage to Madura. Why? The following are some of the reasons:
1. Covering medical bills
During the event of Bupati Cup or President Cup, many people gather in a single area. The festival is held in an open area, where security guards may be unable to control all the areas. Unless the tourists are very careful in taking photos or shooting videos during the bull race, some accidents may happen. In addition, visiting Madura is not complete before tasting the local foods. Just like other Indonesian foods, they are mostly spicy and rich of seasonings.
Your digestive system may respond differently to those foods. So, make sure that you have a travel insurance that covers medical bills and ambulance costs while you are in the destination country. What else? If you are a traveler with special hobby like hiking, diving, snorkeling, or doing extreme sports, travel insurance is even more important. Every destination offers different challenges. So, make sure to anticipate any possible liabilities related to your hobby.
2. Covering Lost Luggage; Being in the crowd sometimes reduces your alertness. You need gadgets like mobile phone, camera, or camcorder for taking heroic moments of Karapan Sapi or great photos in the tourist destinations. In case that your gadget is lost during the trip, a travel insurance policy minimizes your loss.
3. Covering Flight cancellation Fees; International flight is only available from Juanda International Airport of Surabaya, East Java. The airport is more than 100 kilometers from Madura Island. If you take land route to Surabaya or a flight from Trunojoyo Airport, Sumenep. Traffic conditions or delays in Sumenep may require you to cancel your flights. The travel insurance, which covers flight cancellation, can save you from the resulting fees.
4. Flight Cancellation Compensation; Flight cancellation may come from the aviation company. Regardless of the reason, you deserve for compensation in case that the flight is cancelled and you have to extend your stay at the destination area.
5. Annual coverage option; If your family goes traveling regularly, annual insurance policy may be a great choice. With annual coverage, you do not need to buy travel insurance anytime you go abroad for vacation. Annual policy is certainly less expensive and all of your family members can enjoy the benefits.
Are you ready to explore Madura Island? Make sure to prepare your visit as early as possible. Choose the right package, which offers the best accommodation, best services, and more destination options. Then, make sure to stay safe during your trip with travel insurance at hands.