I could be forgiven for expecting the settlement of Bikenibeu to be spelt “Bikini Bow” and be a beach full of Kiribati’s hottest babes all relaxing in the sunshine in their swimming costumes. While exotic beaches in Tarawa Atoll (Kiribati’s main part, which houses the capital, the national museum and the main international airport) do exist, our visit to Bikenibeu was a cultural encounter. To all intents and purposes, this is the main museum in the country. For that reason alone, it surely begs to be visited.
Getting to Te Umanibong, National Cultural Museum in Bikenibeu
We actually stood by the roadside at a bus stop in Bairiki (the “capital city”) in the pouring rain during a thunderstorm trying to get a bus to Bikenibeu. But in the end, this proved arduous so we retired to getting our driver and excellent tour guide, Molly Brown to take us here, to Bikenibeu.
We didn’t backpack the sights of Bikenibeu – we were here for one purpose only in this small town – to see the Te Umanibong Museum! The front of it says Te Umanibong Museum and Culture Centre…
Te Umanibong, National Cultural Museum in Bikenibeu
While this might well be the best museum in the Tarawa Atoll part of Kiribati, it is actually very small. Molly and a local lady (I didn’t get her name) gave us the full guided tour. It takes you through the history of Kiribati, pronunced in English as Kiribass.
There was art, relics, weapons and information on the history of housing and development of the country of Kiribati, which was once called “Gilbert Islands”.
Further information about Te Umanibong, National Cultural Museum in Bikenibeu
You can check for more information on Te Umanibong here:
I was on the Least Visited Countries Tour with Young Pioneer Tours and our guide was Molly Brown, well recommended. Please note you will need a car to visit all these places – you drive and stop off at various points. Molly is well recommended, please book her here –
P: (686) 73001016
Here is a video I made at Umanibong, National Cultural Museum in Bikenibeu: