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You might never thought that a tour to a cigarette museum will be a great idea, until you visit House of Sampoerna in Surabaya. Sampoerna is the oldest and also the most successful cigarettes brand that have been tremendeously help Indonesia's economy including funding some student scholarships program. Its founder Liem Seeng Tee bought an abandoned colonial building formerly used as an orphanage, and transformed it into a grand museum displaying various artifacts and records that telling a story of Mr. Seeng Tee's journey in building his empire.
Unravel Cigarette's Trace of Glory in House of Sampoerna
The bamboo stall is probably the very first thing that will catch your interest for its simplicity, you might wonder why is it being placed in the museum in the first place. As simple as it looks, the birth of Sampoerna was actually started thanks to this furniture. The bamboo stall displayed in the museum is actually a replica of Mr. Seeng Tee and Siem Tjiang Nio's first stall. After their marriage in 1912,the couple rent a small bamboo stall where they sold various basic stuffs and of course, cigarettes. The bamboo stall is a reminiscence of Seng Tee couple's humble life before the Goddess of Fortune smiles at them.
The old bicycle was the very first thing Liem Seeng Tee bought with his money when he was as young as eleven years old. He decided to leave his family in Bojonegoro at such early age and started to work on the railroad and commuted by hopping onto the moving rail cars for about 18 months before he finally collected enough money to purchase a second-hand bicycle. The old bicycle have since accompanied him as he started his new small business in Surabaya.
The kebaya of Siem Tjiang Nio is considered as one of the most precious family heirloom, and it is also considered as one of the most interesting items in House of Sampoerna.The kebaya and its sarong was a present for the Founder's wife Siem Tjiang Nio from their youngest daughter Soenarni Sampoerno few days before her labor. The daughter believed that the gift will please her mother so much and it will make the labor's process went out smoothly.
After Liem Seeng Tee patented his Sampoerna brand, the cigarettes production was started using an old printing machine, that is surprisingly still functioning well! The printing machine operated in 1990, and while it is no longer operating the old machine is somewhat an important part of Sampoerna's history.
Now if you're wondering how the tobacco are dried before they are rolled into a cigarette, this brick oven will tell you how it done. The brick oven was used to dry the wet tobacco in Sampoerna's branch factory in Lombok. Today it serve as one of precious collections in House of Sampoerna to enlighten anyone who are curious about how the cigarettes are made.
Ascend to the second floor, and if you come in the weekdays you'll get to see the the activities of factory laborers works in amazing speed hand-rolling the Dji Sam Soe cigarettes. You'll be even more amazed when you discover a fact that a skillful one can produce over 4,000 cigarettes/day. Can you imagine working that fast in a room that is not installed with an air conditioner? That will certainly blow your mind.
How to Get Tickets?
No admission fee needed to enter House of Sampoerna, however you do need to notify the staff prior your visit if you want to view the factory's activities because it's only operating in certain days.
How To Get Around?
You can easily hop to another attraction from House of Sampoerna by driving a car. You can also call a Grab car to pick you up. Taxi is also available though it might cost you a bit more.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit House of Sampoerna is in weekdays, there's a huge chance you'll get to observe activities inside the factory.
Indonesia Rupiah (IDR)
Will I Need a Guide?
You will be accompanied by a highly-experienced guide that will tell you informations you need to know in entertaining way.
How To Get There?
The closest route to House of Sampoerna is from Tunjungan Plaza or Sheraton Hotel. If you own a driving license and familiar with Surabaya's traffic, you can easily navigate your car from Embong Malang Road to the right at the first intersection. Drive for about 300 meters until you reach Bubutan Road. Keep going straight until you find a road sign with 'House of Sampoerna' written on it.
If you want to take photos of the exhibit, you'll have to ask for a permission first from the staff. They will be the one who determine which parts of the exhibits are allowed to take pictures of, and which one you should keep your camera down.