At the very tip of this bow-shaped landmass is Sumatra’s southernmost province, which was not given provincial status by Jakarta until 1964. Although the Lampungese have had a long history as a distinct culture, the most recent tug of Jakarta’s gravitational force is altering Lampung’s independent streak. Big-city TV news and fashions have crept across the Sunda Strait, as did Javanese settlers under the transmigrasi policies, designed to off-load excess population and turn a profit in the wilds of Sumatra.
Outside the provincial capital of Bandarlampung, the province’s robust coffee plantations dominate the economy and the unclaimed forests, closely followed by timber and pepper. There are also large areas of rubber and palm-oil plantation.
Today many Jakarta weekenders hop over to tour the Krakatau volcano or visit the elephants of Way Kambas National Park. The rugged western seaboard is ostensibly protected as the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park.