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Home > Tourism Special Architecture > Balai Pinang Lima (Malay Museum and BKPBM`s Office)
Balai Pinang Lima (Malay Museum and BKPBM`s Office)
Yogyakarta City - D.I. Yogyakarta - Indonesia
Balai Pinang Lima (Malay Museum and BKPBM`s Office)
Rating : Rating 3.9 3.9 (8 vote(s))

A. Brief Information

Balai Pinang Lima is a museum wherein numerous Malay cultural properties are kept well and likewise, the office building of the Center for Research and Development of Malay Culture (BKPBM) – a non-governmental institution organized by Malay people settling Yogyakarta Province. BKPBM is an institution concerning on the efforts to preserve, document, and develop Malay culture in a wide scope. Likewise, the institution aims to revive Malay culture not in the frame of narrow primordialism but on the contrary, as the endeavour of strengthening nationality amongst the multifarious people in the world.

BKPBM ceaselessly attempts to reveal, recollect, and preserve the entire Malay art and cultural heritages as an abundant historical and cultural documentation. Besides, BKPBM develops Malay traditional culture along the global changes so that highly social values within Malay Culture can be utilized as the basis to face the globalization. Therefore, BKPBM efforts to keep informing the public about the existence of Malay culture in the globalization era.

Since July 4th, 2003, BKPBM has tried to document, recollect, and safeguard Malay historical heritages and Malay ancient manuscripts in the forms of duplication and reproduction. One of the evidences showing the physical documentations and restorations done by the institution is building a modern Malay house called Balai Pinang Lima in 1999. Though built in modern Malay architecture, Balai Pinang Lima keeps firmly the philosophy of Malay traditional architecture on it.

Along the advancement of information and communication technology, BKPBM tries to publish Malay historical, social, and cultural wealth through the internet by publishing three cyber portals namely,,, and To some extent, the institution has been trying to re-publish Malay ancient manuscripts in the form of books as an effort to preserve the remaining traces of Malay cultural heritages in the past.

B. Distinctive Features

Now, BKPBM has been the notice of the international and national public for its participations in many academic and socio-cultural events. The unique one is the existence of BKPBM amongst the center of Javanese culture, that is, Yogyakarta.

Not only limited on academic studies, but also BKPBM carries out physical programmes by erecting Balai Pinang Lima that is functioned as Malay Museum and the office building of BKPBM‘s activities. In this building, contents updating processes for the three cyber portals are conducted. Moreover, the numbers of Malay cultural properties are kept well there.

Balai Pinang Lima is a two-storey building with 700 meter squares in width standing upon a 1000 meter squares land. The name Balai Pinang Lima (five arecas) derives from five areca trees growing in the yard representing five Islamic principles.

Its fence was made of a pucuk rebung motif of a wrought iron combined with a white stone with a kaluk paku kuntum menjalar motif.

In addition, Pinang is a distinguishing tree amongst the Malay people for its efficacies to heal some diseases. Amongst the Malay people, Pinang is commonly used as the main ingredient for betel chewing tradition in tepak sirih customary tradition.

This two-storey building is a tripartite house having pyramidal roof on it. A gable finial called ‘selembayung‘ is combined with a ‘bidai/singap‘ (an outward-slanting gable functioning as ventilation) having Kaluk Paku untum Negeri motif. Such pattern amongst the Malay people is called Limas Perabung Melayu. A ‘sayap layang‘ ornament (literally means ‘swallow‘s wings‘) is installed alongside of the gable finial (selembayung). The combination of selembayung and sayap layang is commonly called Kaluk Pakis Bunga Setaman. Precisely under the gable finial on the tympanum is an ornament called ‘lebah bergantung‘ (hanging bee) having a motif namely Kembang Jatun. Two quadrangle pillars ornamented with small white stones having a motif called Awan Larat are installed to support the outward-terrace. A multi-levelled lamp is installed on the outward-terrace‘s ceiling that is called Kaluk Paku.

Its entrance door is made of teak wood that is called Kaluk Paku Bersabung motif. The door handle is made of a couple Malay Kris symbolizing bravery and honesty. The Malay Kris has its own unique on its hilt and its sheath. The hilt has a distinguish motif namely Kepala Burung Serindit while its sheath is beautifully carved out a motif called Pokok Kolan. The window leaves are beautifully carved a Kaluk Paku motif on which the center, the lattice window, has a motif called Itik Pulang Petang.

Entering the building through the main entrance door, you will see an artificial placard of Gurindam 12 that is made of copper namely Kaluk Paku Bersabung motif. A public Malay library is available for you on the right of the entrance door. Succeeding entering the room, you will see balai terapung (literally means floating house) and a green park next to creative room. In the green park, you will see a seven-levelled artificial waterfall representing human‘s life cycle from birth to death. Walking up through a ladder leading to the second storey, you will see another park in the second floor.

The entire parts of the building are beautifully ornamented with Malay wood carvings bearing its own philosophies and meanings. Besides, the numbers of Malay cultural properties are kept well within such as:

  • The Malay traditional furniture such as four-levelled fruit stands, copper cups, kettles, cuspidors, and tepak sirih.

  • The Malay traditional weapons such as Malay Kris and Rencong from Aceh.

  • The replicas of Malay kingdoms‘ stamps

  • The Malay books such as Rumah Melayu written by Mahyudin Al Mudra, SH. MM., who was awarded for Sagang Award in 2003, Tunjuk Ajar Melayu written by Dr. HC. Tenas Effendi, Masyarakat Melayu dan Budaya Melayu dalam Perubahan by Koentjaraningrat et al., and many more.

C. Location

Balai Pinang Lima lies on Gambiran 85A street, Pandean Village, Umbulharjo Sub-district, Yogyakarta. It is two kilometres northern direction from Giwangan bus station, Yogyakarta. You may visit the building to observe the daily activities of BKPBM and its Malay museum starting from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For visit on Sunday, you may call first the staffs on +62.274414233 or email at

D. Access

You can easily access Balai Pinang Lima building by taking any public transportation. The route to reach the location can be from Giwangan bus station that spends only 10 minutes. From Tugu railway station, you must go southeast for about four kilometres spending approximately 25 minutes. For foreign visitors, you can reach the location from Adi Sucipto airport for about 5 kilometres in 20 minutes trip by car.

E. Ticket Price

The Malay Museum applies different admission charges for visitors. For domestic tourists, the ticket is sold at Rp 5,000 per person and for foreign tourists is at Rp 10,000. Besides, there is also an additional charge of Rp 10,000 for those who want to take pictures or shoot some videos in the museum.

F. Accommodation and other Facilities

In Balai Pinang Lima building, you will see numerous Malay properties in a small Malay museum and thousand books in a small public library. Hence, for you who are undertaking a research or writing a dissertation as well, you can visit the library to gain more references.

A fortnightly discussion is organized on the second week of a month routinely and is open for public participants by paying IDR 25.000/person as the compensation for snack and paper. While following a fortnightly discussion, you can enjoy browsing the internet since the building has a free public hotspot area. For Muslim, there is a mosque on the second floor.

Some beautiful souvenirs relating to Malay culture are available for sold, for you visiting the building. You will see the souvenirs like 3D miniature of Siak Kingdom and Siak Mosque, 2D miniature, name card box, clock desk, and many more. Besides, some books, T-shirts and merchandises of,, and are also available for sold.

To some extent, you may request other Malay souvenirs based on your taste. BKPBM will be ready to serve your request for specific items such as:

  • Publishing Malay books
  • Documentation of provincial profile
  • Designing, establishing, and maintaining website on culture or tourism
  • Providing items for Malay museum properties
  • Making tepak sirih, Malay musical instruments, Malay traditional games, Malay handicrafts, Malay traditional clothes, Malay dioramas, and many more.


Translated by Irfan N (04/08-08)

If you are from outside Yogyakarta and want to visit this place by travel agency services, please contact :

Maharatu Tour and Travel

Jl. Sisingamangaraja No. 27 Yogyakarta.
Telp. +62 274 8373005. Fax. +62 274 379250
Email :
Website :

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zainab ishmail   01/07/09 08:26
114 Chiappini Street Cape Town

I am very interested to learn and share as i am from the "cape malay" group in cape town south africa. I am in heritage tourism and is presently owning a guest lodge in the area.
I am part of a newly formed community based organization as women who wish to protect adn promote the culture of the cape malay group in cape town. terimah kasih.
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