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Madura is an island off the coast of East Java.
: Madhura ampon kalonta e manca naghara
Buja tor tana kapor

"Madura has gained world fame
Tho’ it abounds in only salt and lime"
: Ismail

A byword for crowded poverty even in Indonesia, Madura's infertile soil has led to an estimated 10 million Madurese migrants leaving the island, with only around 4 million left to eke out a living from subsistence agriculture (corn), tobacco and cloves, salt panning, fishing and cattle farming. A larger contrast to the largely lush and fertile Java next door is hard to imagine.
Those geographic and climatic reasons, together with a lack of well known sights, make Madura as off the beaten path for travellers as it gets in this part of Indonesia.
History has not dealt the people of Madura a kind card. The island was in an almost perpetual state of conflict, with different parts of the island siding with different kingdoms in various medieval Javanese conflicts. In the colonial period, the rulers of east and west Madura were often allied with the Dutch and, in return for protection, provided natural resources and troops. In World War II, the Madurese suffered enormously under the Japanese.
The opening of the Suramadu Bridge in mid-2009 might just begin to change the off the beaten path nature of Madura, though. There were large investment plans mooted and many of these focused on developing Madura as a tourist destination from 2010. Only time will tell but the omens look good for an island that has had little go in its favour for so long. But through early 2015, there were no signs of big industrial projects coming to Madura.
Tales and legends have developed around Madurese women who are famous throughout Indonesia for one thing: secretive sex techniques known as goyang Madura. These seem to involve clenching vaginal muscles in a way not unlike Kegel exercises, assisted with herbal preparations like the tongkat Madura (Madura stick) that were a minor hit in Japan a few years back.


This is a very dry and hot island, similar to arid eastern parts of Indonesia.

Tourism information

Madura Regency Tourist Information Office:
Jalan dr Sutomo No 5, Sumenep, Madura.
Tel: +62 328 667148, Tu-Sa, 7AM-3PM.


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