Have you ever heard a museum of cigarette before? Maybe there are some countries that have this kind of museum, such as France with it’s “The Museum of Smoking” Le musée du Fumeur, China with it’s “The China Tobacco Museum”, North Carolina with the “Duke Homestead State Historic Site” and “Tobacco Farm Life Museum”. However, if you type the keyword “cigarette museum” in google search engine, the first that appears is House of Sampoerna, a cigarette museum in Surabaya, East Java Indonesia.
According to tripadvisor.com, House of Sampoerna appertains to the top 10 thing need to do in Surabaya, East Java. It has the most numerous reviews than the other tourism spots. The number is 1,202 reviews which come from locals and foreigners. Some of the highlights are: “Interesting museum” with the comments, “Tobacco manufacturing is one of the key drivers for East Java economics. The museum well depicted the struggles of building family business, that employed thousands of people, until now. It is a place telling interesting history about Sampoerna family, and now belonging to Philip Morris.” by Bonchank from Jakarta, Indonesia. Another review come from Fairy_Sha, a Singaporean “A must go!” with the comments “This place is a must go! Has a bit of history and you get to see and learn some interesting information about Sampoerna”.
This museum is the best-presented attraction in the city. It presents the most famous kretek cigarette in Indonesia. The kretek cigarette is manufactured by US-giant Altria, formerly Philip Morris. It is fascinating to visit this place because it has the unique building that has a 19-century Dutch structure.
Before, the museum is a lobby from a shrine to the Sampoerna empire. The museum now exhibits on the use of cloves and the history of kretek in Indonesia, the uniforms and drums of the Sampoerna marching band, and the other thing that looked unique and antique. There is also an incredible collection of cigarette lighters, holders and cases, mainly from Europe, as well as some Ming dynasty China and a vintage Heidelberg printing press.
On the second floor, there is a bird’s-eye perspective of the factory’s shop floor, where hundreds of employee hand roll, trim, and pack the cigarette under the brand of Dji Sam Soe (which is banned from most countries for the tar content is so strong). They can roll the cigarette approximately 4000 rolls a day. The place where the employee work is steamy and humid because no air-condition nor fan can be placed there as it can affect the tobacco differently.
Visiting this museum, you will be accompanied by a highly informative English-speaking guide. A complete tour can last around 30 minutes to an hour, depends on your interest. Note that the museum is open late, but the factory section closes around 3 pm. A café-restaurant is available in the excellent neighbouring. Visitors can enjoy having drinks after a museum tour. Or if visitors are having flexible morning time, visitors also allowed to join the free bus tour which starts from 9AM from the museum – make sure to be ready before 9AM there.