Did you know that kites originated in Indonesia? That is one of the things that I learned when I visited the Kite Museum in Jakarta, Indonesia. Kite in Indonesian is “layang-layang” BTW. If you ask someone to go to the kite museum, use the word layang-layang. The museum is privately owned, and charges for admission, at a very reasonable rate. It is very family friendly. The kites to view are indoors, while the interactive, build-your-own-kite, is outside, on a patio with a roof. There were many families enjoying their weekend, the day that I arrived.
Viewing the Kites
Inside I saw that there were kites of many different designs. It appears that different regions of Indonesia have specific designs or styles that make them distinct. There are also many different sizes of kites. Some were the size of a large coin, while others the size of a large vehicle. When I normally think of a kit, I think of the simple diamond, or bat-shaped kite, that I flew on the breezy spring days in Canada. But as I saw in the kites on display, there were not only simple, flat kites, but also many 3 dimensional kites, representing, fish, people and animals. These kites must have taken many days to design and to build. After walking through, and being impressed, by the kite display, I sat in a darkened room, with other visitors, and watched a short video about Indonesian kites, and kite festivals. I saw that some of the larger kites, needed several people to launch the kite as well as it keep it in check while in the air. It was quite fascinating, and I thought would be a wonderful thing to see in North America (a kite festival).
Making a Kite
After looking at kites, and watching a video about kites, you get a chance to build your own kite! You are provided with the frame pre-built, make of thin lengths of bamboo, tied together. They provide you with paper cut to a slightly larger shape than the kite, a bottle of white glue, and crayons. You start off by applying glue to the frame and pressing it against the paper to initially glue it in place. You then start applying glue, by finger; no glue stick or brushes here. All part of the fun. Apply glue to one edge of the paper that extends beyond the frame, then fold it over. Repeat for the remaining edges. Once that is complete, it is time for you to show off your creativity by drawing some design on the side of the paper outside of the bamboo frame. Mine was a cross between a fish and a dragon. I did see others make drawings of flowers and other Indonesian designs on their kites. The kite was then finished off by a person who precisely measured string that extended from the left to right edges of the kite, as well as another string in the center. I proudly showed off my kite, but there was no room to fly it in the museum grounds. I did give my kite to a child to hopefully enjoy in an open outdoor space.
I really enjoyed the Layang-Layang Museum and recommend it if you want to enjoy an afternoon while on your trip to Jakarta. Here is TripAdvisors Review of the Kite Museum in Jakarta so you can get the address as well.