Krui South Sumatera Indonesia, the People and the Livelihood

Krui town center 
KRUI is a geographical name refers to a small town in the western coast of south Sumatera, In Lampung Barat County, in the province of Lampung. Along the coast which is about 125 km long, Krui is most well known place. People from all part of the coastal side often claim themselves as Krui people as well.

Krui the town is made of four sub-counties; Kecamatan Pesisir TengahKecamatan Karya Penggawa, Kecamatan Way Krui, and Kecamatan Krui Selatan (Kecamatan Way Krui and Kecamatan Krui Selatan are new established subs). With population about 45 thousand, Krui is mostly populated town of all towns along the coast. As a part Lampung Barat County, Krui is the second town after Liwa the county seat. Like all small town in Indonesia, Krui is pretty much a typical of country-town in Indonesia; clusters of shop houses in the town center, scatters of houses in kampungs (pekon), and rice fields by the hill in the suburbs.

Map of Krui

Krui people were believed to be originated from Tumi ethnic. Tumi ethnic were claimed by historians and archaeologist as a part of Proto-Malays who were believed to have arrived in Indonesia archipelago from Yunnan, China, somewhere between 2,000-1,000 B.C.

In the Dutch era, Krui was known as Kroe. This town was famous for its traditional woven cloth (called "Pelapai" and "Tampan"). Tampan, also known as 'ship cloth', was usually used for life cycle ceremony only such as inititation into adulthood, marriage, and death. Like other kind of South Sumatera ceremonial cloth, Tampan was also controlled by noble people. This beautiful clothes also show the rank of the people who hold them.

This woven cloth of Krui was popular around the world, and was one of the most popular tribal arts/ textiles from Indonesia. Later, this textile designs have some influences in Hawaiian art that supposedly came via New Ireland (see G. von Koenigswald in Indonesian Influences in Hawaiian Art).

In the field of industry, Krui had paid tribute to the dominant trading powers on Sumatera's west coast since at least Majapahit times (the 14th century).

In the 1950's, the world markets picked up for Lampung's cash crops and Krui's traditional forest products. Krui had a long story of exporting resins and rattan cane for a long-distance markets. Krui's location made it a strategic tading point, one of the last major stops for shipping moving south, toward Java, along Sumatera's west coast.



Krui is located by the Bukit Barisan range of Sumatera. While about 500 meters back from the seaside are hilly, the coastal sides, where the roads all the way from the town down to the south take place, are relatively flat with many rivers. Though it's hilly up north from Krui to Pugung (where Jimmy's point is). Up hills are the agroforests (Damar gum trees) that farmers manage, while on the flat, lie rice fileds and rivers with picturesque scenes.

Student march on Independence Day

The people

Originally, back in centuries ago, the people of Krui were Lampungese sub-ethnic (Lampung people is a matter of fact a sub-Malayan ethnic like Padangnese, Bataknese, and many elses). Later, the people from Java and other parts of Indonesia also settle in this town and become permanent residents. However, Lampungese people are still a majority beside Javanese and Padangnese sub-ethnic. Bataknese sub-ethnic and Chinese is minority in this town.

Lampung Map where Krui is (see the circle)

Krui people lead a modern way of life, just like the people in the other parts of western Indonesia. People go to the doctors when they have a health poblem. Only when they suffer a bone fracture they go to a traditional chiropractor (called "dukun urut"). Shaman practice is no longer popular in this town, but it's still considered as an alternative. Most Children age 7 to 12 go to school. Although some of them drop out at senior high, illiterate children are hardly found in this town.

Krui people are not living in the woods. They are kind of people who enjoy the easiness of modern day technology in their daily life. They watch TV and western movies, save money in the bank, make a mobile phone call, and enjoy an internet connection. 


Farming is the major industry in Krui. Quite a majority of Krui people are farmers. Damar gum trees are the most farmers manage in their plantation. This unique damar gum plantation (see my article “Krui Damar Garden”, January, 2010) is a major source of income for quite a lot of Krui people. This industry which involves many local merchants as well as exporters from Bandarlampung supports the economy of the town in such a significant way that almost no farmers can survive in this town without the help of this plantation.

Trading is the second industry beside farming. While farming is more of native people job, trading involves people of all kinds, mostly Padangnese sub-ethnic. Trading take place mostly in the town center where Padang people, and minority of Chinese people live. Padang people almost dominate all kind of shops at the town center, clothing, health and body care, and restaurant, while Javanese people mostly run vegetable stall and tuck shops. Only a few native Lampung people run a shop.

The third industry is fishing. Although Krui is located by the sea, not many people go fishing. Only a few people live by the beach in Kuala Stabas, Kampung Jawa, and Way Redak fish for their livelihood.

The other sector of industry is tourism. However, this new industry is not yet popular. Tourism industry in Krui is relatively new. It’s becoming more and more popular since the surfing spots in Krui and around revealed in early 90s. Many surfers from all over the world come to this town.


Krui people, as well as most Indonesian people, speak at least two languages, their native Lampungese language and Bahasa. Lampungese language is commonly spoken in the kampung or pekon (suburbs). More to the town center, more people speak Bahasa in their daily life. However, bilingual as they are, they also speak Lampungese. Javanese language and Padangnese language is not commonly spoken since Javanese people and Padang people adopt the way the native people live, so as the way they speak. English is becoming more and more popular. More and more young people like to learn this language as more and more tourists come to the town.***

- Gunung Kemala, Institute of Current World Affairs, 1987

more pictures

comment 4 comments:

Sven on February 9, 2010 at 1:44 AM said...

this is a great blog with lots of information about that region! I appreciate it! Especially since I'll probably be visiting this region of Sumatra in July-August.
Thank you very much for all the helpful information! Go on like that! :)

Greetings, Sven

Novenrique on February 18, 2010 at 8:20 PM said...

Thank you Sven. You're welcome to Krui any time ....

Steve Cannard on January 20, 2014 at 12:33 PM said...

I will be coming to Krui for my second trip later this year. I knew almost no Bahasa last time and I am doing my best to learn more for my next visit. There is very little information about Krui out there and this blog is a great resource and accurate representation of the place. I congratulate you for working on promoting your home town in such an eloquent and balanced way. Thanks!

Hasim said...

Thank you very much, Steve. I hope you enjoy your next trip to Krui....

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