On Sumatra's southwest coast lies isolated Bengkulu, capital city of the province of the same name. Once known as bencoolen, the town has an important place in the country's history, and many historical sites remain, poignant reminders of its illustrious past.
Bengkulu also has a number of interesting tourist and cultural sights. Visitors will be enthralled by Pantai Panjang (Long Beach), fringed by shady cypress trees, as well as the pristine white-sand beach near Samudra Pulau Baii harbour about 19 km from Bengkulu. Or take a trip to the small island of Pulau Tikus, with its beautiful coral reefs. Slightly further afield is this picturesque lake Dendam Tak Sudah, set against the backdrop of the Barisan Range, where the flowering water orchid Vanda hookeriana literally lights up the lake with its beauty. The world's largest flower, the unique Raflessia, which grows up to 100 cm in diameter, is also found here.
No visit to Bengkulu would be complete without a taste of durian, the pungent-smelling fruit with a smooth, creamy taste, which is the base ingredient for various speciality dishes of the region, including lempuk, a kind of sticky snack, and tempoyak, a traditional fish dish prepared with fermented durian.