Japanese WWII-Era Caves and Tunnels—Sumatra, Indonesia (Trippy Travel Photo 30)

When I took photos of Lubang Jepang, known as the ‘Japanese caves’ from WWII in Bukittinggi , Sumatra, I knew I’d use one of them in the Trippy Travel Photo game. The place was mysterious and eerie, and it had some history. A perfect combination. 

More information about this tourist spot in Bukittinggi, please check below in the ‘And the Answer Is…’ section.

The person who won this round of the the game followed these steps:

1. Look at the Photo/Study the Details

Trippy Travel Photo 30

2. Guess what it is and where I was when I took the photo. Check out the clues.

What is this and where was I when I took the photo? I know that it might be hard to pinpoint the exact location, so I may bend the rules later and give you additional clues.

For now, I will give you two clues. 

1. This is not from a science fiction movie or one involving time travel.

2. If you think this is a creepy place, you’re right! :)

PS: I must confess that when I took this photo, I used the ‘dramatic effect’ filter on my Olympus camera. As cool as the other photos I took work, sans filter, this one seemed to capture the energy of the place even better. Please forgive me. Thank you. :)

3. Check Back Later!

–Post your guesses here in the Comments Section (tweets and FB comments don’t count–sorry)

–Keep checking and guessing as the guessing gets good…

–See who won…maybe it will be you!

The Prize?

A mention of your name and a link to your site from within this post.

And the Winner Is…

Jeruen of Memoirs of a Traveling Linguist! This is not the first time he’s won this game. In fact, he’s one of two current champions.

The Answer: Lubang Jepang, ‘Japanese Tunnels,’ Sumatra

This photo is of the 64-meter long walkway leading down into the network of underground tunnels, which were built by imprisoned Indonesians.

The tunnels and caves were built to store supplies and equipment for the Japanese 25th army, which occupied Sumatra from 1942-1945. Other rooms were used for  living quarters, offices, a medical center,  and of course, a jail. There is also a hole where corpses were pushed out into the nearby river.

I didn’t care for the energy down in the tunnels. In fact, I spent very little time down below and got out as fast as I could.

Can’t get enough?

Like this game? Want to see things from a unique angle? Enjoy learning about new places? Here are all of the Trippy Travel Photos–guesses and winners–all on one page. If you like photography in general, then check out my Photo of the Day feature. You’ll find cool photos from all over the world. Enjoy!

27 Responses to Japanese WWII-Era Caves and Tunnels—Sumatra, Indonesia (Trippy Travel Photo 30)
  1. Maria
    October 28, 2013 | 3:51 pm

    I just searched your site because I’m convinced this is from a Dr. Who set but can’t find any related posts so I guess that’s not the answer.

    Definitely a spooky tunnel, I wouldn’t go in alone… hope you didn’t!
    Maria recently posted..Going Up?My Profile

    • CB Driver
      October 28, 2013 | 4:33 pm

      Ha ha…Dr. Who. Very good! But no, that’s not the answer.

      Spooky tunnel–yes!

      I wasn’t alone…I was with someone. Still, I felt creeped out. :)

  2. Jeruen
    October 29, 2013 | 7:24 am

    This looks like the entrance to a cave, or some other geological attraction/formation. So that’s my guess for the moment. Location-wise, I will put Indonesia and Turkey in a shortlist, as I remember you talking about those two places with caves.
    Jeruen recently posted..Cavorting in the Caucasus: Amberd FortressMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      October 29, 2013 | 10:06 pm

      You have a great memory! Yes, a cave in ‘one’ of those countries. I’ll leave it to you to figure it out.

      Hint: there’s some history there.

    • CB Driver
      October 29, 2013 | 11:52 pm

      How exciting–there’s another player!! And her guess was interesting… :)

  3. Christine |GRRRL TRAVELER
    October 29, 2013 | 11:39 pm

    I”ve absolutely no clue but if it’s creepy, I’ll be it’s a place where there was some sort of genocide. Alternately, if it wasn’t creepy, I’d have thought it was a Gaudi tunnel-something-or-other in Barcelona. =)
    Christine |GRRRL TRAVELER recently posted..How to Inspire your Child to Be a TravelerMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      October 29, 2013 | 11:52 pm

      Great guess, Christine! Genocide is a warm sort of guess. PS: we’ve narrowed the country down to Indonesia OR Turkey. And there’s history. Hmmm…

      I’ll give you another clue. It’s not Turkey. And it’s definitely not Bali. :)

  4. Jeruen
    October 30, 2013 | 1:50 am

    So it is not Turkey, it must be Indonesia then. If it is not Bali, then I guess Sumatra. Here’s a wild guess: how about Ngalau Indah, in Payakumbuh, West Sumatra Province?
    Jeruen recently posted..So You Wanna Be a Couchsurfer?My Profile

    • CB Driver
      November 1, 2013 | 9:11 am

      Awesome–you’ve won again!! Next time, we might need to use one of your photos so that Robert can have a chance. :) Or I’ll have to make the game more difficult and give no clues.

      • Jeruen
        November 1, 2013 | 11:36 am


        You already suggested using one of my photos; I am more than happy to guest photo for you. Let me know if you’d warm up to that idea! :)
        Jeruen recently posted..Cavorting in the Caucasus: Mount AragatsMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      November 3, 2013 | 9:26 am

      Jeruen–I am SO embarrassed. I told you that you won. Actually, you didn’t. This photo is not of Ngalu Indah and the location was not Payakumbuh. You are warm, however!

  5. Jeruen
    November 3, 2013 | 9:34 am

    Oh, what a twist!

    Ok, so this is not Payakumbuh. I am guessing it still is in Sumatra, eh? Perhaps a cave in Aceh? Perhaps a cave where people sought shelter during the tsunami in 2004?
    Jeruen recently posted..Charity Concert with András Schiff and Hanno Müller-BrachmannMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      November 3, 2013 | 9:42 am

      Yes, a very exciting one! :)

      Cave in Aceh? For refuge during the tsunami? Wow. Amazing guess. I love it.

      But–no. That’s not it. :)

      • Jeruen
        November 3, 2013 | 11:10 am

        Hmm, ok. Some geography question then. We know it is in Sumatra. Is it west or east of Payakumbuh?
        Jeruen recently posted..Charity Concert with András Schiff and Hanno Müller-BrachmannMy Profile

  6. Robert
    November 3, 2013 | 3:44 pm

    Java because I don’t recall you going to Sumartra. Unless my brain is fading ;)

  7. Robert
    November 3, 2013 | 5:41 pm

    Oh, OK… Sumatra. Well, there are two major places that you probably went. One is Nias Island and the other is a lake Toba.



    • Jeruen
      November 4, 2013 | 4:23 am

      Robert, Nias Island cannot be it: it is not southwest of Payakumbuh.

      Lisa, is it in mainland Sumatra? Or do I have to get wet with the Indian Ocean to get there from Payakumbuh?
      Jeruen recently posted..Charity Concert with András Schiff and Hanno Müller-BrachmannMy Profile

      • CB Driver
        November 4, 2013 | 6:31 am

        LOL–love the geography lesson!

        Yes, Mainland Sumatra.

        PS: Robert has not won yet. I’ve decided to get tough with him. I want the name and exact location of this site.
        PPS: He did correctly guess what it is.

  8. Robert
    November 4, 2013 | 4:30 am

    I did have a wacky thought. They might be tunnels from WW2, excepting they wouldn’t be that big or that neat. (Think about tunnels in Vietnam which are very crammed). So, perhaps tunnels into a mine or down to a cave system for tourists.


    • Jeruen
      November 4, 2013 | 6:37 am

      You want the name and exact location, eh? How about Lubang Jepang in Bukittinggi? These are the Japanese bunkers and tunnels built during WWII?
      Jeruen recently posted..Charity Concert with András Schiff and Hanno Müller-BrachmannMy Profile

      • Robert
        November 4, 2013 | 7:29 am

        Really? But they are big? I can’t imagine wartime tunnels being that big – very wasteful to build I would have thought.

        • CB Driver
          November 4, 2013 | 8:37 am

          I’m so sorry Robert. Close but no cigar. Jeruen nailed it! #losingyourtouch?

      • CB Driver
        November 4, 2013 | 8:37 am

        You got it!! You are the winner!! Robert came so close, but…

  9. Robert
    November 4, 2013 | 8:44 pm

    ok ok, bring on another one!

    Jeruen is good!

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