Tourists Shine Spotlight On Bali’s Dog Meat

Revelations of Animal Cruelty, Poisoned Food Sold To Tourists

Balinese government agencies have called for an end to the dog-meat trade in Bali, according to Animals Australia, which sponsored a summit last week to discuss the killing of dogs for human consumption in the popular tourist destination.

The summit follows the ABC’s exposure of a four-month-long Animals Australia investigation that revealed tourists were eating dog, which had been brutally caught and killed.

“All in attendance recognized that such dreadful cruelty to dogs has no place in Balinese culture and it couldn’t be allowed to continue,” Animals Australia’s (AA) director of investigations Lyn White said.

dog meat Bali

Representatives of Bali’s Veterinary Health Office, the Ministry for Agriculture, and the Balinese Tourism Board drafted recommendations to end the trade.

The recommendations included law enforcement to prevent the sale of dog meat, and an emphasis on educating the public about the trade and its potential for spreading diseases such as rabies.

The animals are brutally caught and then butchered not far from the beaches visited by more than 1 million Australians every year.

Some of the animals are poisoned, posing a risk to humans that consume them, according to a leading toxicologist. (The pup below was fed cyanide-laced fish.)

dogs poisoned on Bali

Whilst eating dog meat is not illegal in Bali, killing animals cruelly or eating meat contaminated with poison is against the law, Animals Australia’s campaign director Lyn White said.

“The dog-meat trade breaches animal cruelty laws and food safety laws. That is a statement of fact,” she said.

In an investigation led by Animals Australia (AA), 7.30 has obtained evidence that dogs are being bludgeoned, strangled or poisoned for human consumption.

“Dog meat is essentially filtering into the tourist food chain [in Bali],” Ms White said.

“We are absolutely delighted with the recommendations from this summit,” Ms White said.

The recommendations are yet to be publicly endorsed by Bali’s Governor, Pastika. Bali’s Bureau of Public Relations has not responded to ABC’s request for comment.

“There is a long way to go … next steps and maintained momentum are all-important,” Janice Girardi, the founder of the Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA), said.

“Any new regulations need to be communicated widely … It must reach the children and the villagers, not just the leaders.”

AA’s Ms White said the swift response indicated “the seriousness with which they are taking the issue”.

“Concern for Bali’s beautiful dogs has seen thousands of people from around the world contact Balinese authorities pleading with them to shut down the dog-meat trade,” she said.

A week before the summit, Balinese authorities flatly denied the revelations of the dog-meat trade in Bali.

Bali’s Bureau of Public Relations said local health officials could not find “any restaurant selling dog meat,” despite evidence of the trade presented in the ABC report. Animals Australia hoped the summit was a turning point.

“We now have real hope that Bali’s unique dogs will be saved from this terrible cruelty. The recommendations from key officials were unanimous, so we now wait to hear the Governor’s response,” White said.

While circumspect, BAWA’S Ms Girardi said progress had been made.

“It is pleasing that both the issues and the need for change have gained recognition,” she said.

According to Animals Australia, more than 170,000 people have signed an online petition calling on Bali’s Governor to end the dog-meat trade on Bali.

Indonesia News

Indonesia tourism marketing and public relations firm

Crossbow Communications specializes in international marketing, issue management and public affairs. Indonesia is one of our regions of expertise. Our President and founder is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com. Visit Indonesia.

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia

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Obamas Vacation In Indonesia

Former U.S. President Lived In Jakarta, Yogyakarta

By Reuters

President Obama and his family have spent the past five days island-hopping in Indonesia, visiting everywhere from Jakarta to Bali. From white water rafting to visiting temples on Java, former U.S. President Barack Obama’s private family holiday is being closely tracked in Indonesia where he spent four years as a child.

Obama was six when he moved to Jakarta after his American mother, Ann Dunham, married an Indonesian man following the end of her marriage to Obama’s Kenyan father.

“I feel proud that my friend became a president,” said Sonni Gondokusumo, 56, a former classmate of Obama at the Menteng 01 state elementary school in Jakarta.

Obama visits Java

Gondokusumo showed a class photograph of himself standing behind a young Obama, who was wearing a school beret.

“He was a clever boy. Whenever a teacher asked him to solve a problem in front of the class, he could do it,” Gondokusomo told Reuters, adding he hoped to meet the former president again.

Obama remains popular in the world’s most populous Muslim nation and his trip has been splashed across the media during an extended public holiday to mark the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. The Rakyat Merdeka newspaper carried a headline “Obama loves Indonesia.”

Obama returned for an official visit as president in 2010 with his wife, Michelle, but this time has brought daughters Malia and Sasha as well.

Indonesians are avid social media users and snaps of the former U.S. president walking with his family in rice fields and rafting on Bali’s Ayung River have gone viral.

Obama kicked off the holiday on the island of Bali, where he stayed at the luxurious Four Seasons Resort Bali near the cultural center of Ubud. On Wednesday, Obama and his family arrived in the city of Yogyakarta and visited the ancient temple of Borobudur.

Borobudur Java Indonesia

According to CNN Indonesia, Central Java police deployed 700 officers to secure his visit to Borobudur, a Buddhist temple dating from the 8th and 9th centuries.

Obama is due to meet President Joko Widodo on Friday at the palace in Bogor, south of Jakarta, and visit the capital on Saturday.

Indonesia Travel News via https://www.reuters.com/article/us-indonesia-usa-obama-idUSKBN19J1JT

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia

Crossbow Communications specializes in international marketing, issue management and public affairs. Indonesia is one of our regions of expertise. Our President and founder is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com. Visit Indonesia.

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Indonesia’s Top Destinations

Tourists Have Fascinating Travel Options Across Thousands Of Islands

Indonesia is a very large and diverse country. With 18,110 islands, 6,000 of them inhabited, it is the largest archipelago in the world. The population of 240 million people is composed of about 300 ethnic groups who speak more than 250 different languages. While Bali and Jakarta are often the destinations of choice for business and pleasure, let’s explore some other top tourist attractions in Indonesia.

Yogyakarta: This is the historic and cultural capital of Java and Indonesia. The sultan of Java lives here in the Kraton. The area features some of the most impressive ancient monuments in Indonesia–Borobudur and Prambanan. Borobudur is the largest Buddhist monument in the world, while Prambanan is one of the largest Hindu monuments in the world. Mt. Merapi is visible from Yogyakarta and most of the region.

Mt. Merapi Java Indonesia

Merapi is one of the most active volcanoes in all of Indonesia. Yogyakarta also is famous for its arts, especially batik fabrics. Bicycles and horse-drawn carts are still very common forms of transportation in the region, which gives the area a special charm, despite its sprawling size. Yogyakarta also is a university city, which gives it even more character.

Komodo Island: The only way to reach Komodo is by boat, which is an experience that can’t be missed in this island nation. Most visitors arrive on large live-aboard boats, which is a first-class way to eat and sleep in this extremely remote region.

The Komodo dragons live on three islands in the area–Komodo, Rinca and Padar. A few have even crossed the strait to the western tip of Flores. These arid, volcanic islands are inhabited by about 5,700 giant lizards, which grow as large as 12 feet long (three meters). They exist nowhere else in the world and are of great interest to scientists studying the theory of evolution.

Komodo dragon Indonesia

The local villagers call the Komodo dragon ora, which means land crocodile. The dragons are normally a sandy brown with dark markings against very coarse and dry scales. They have a long neck and a tail that is longer than their body. They have strong, sharp claws that are used in combat with other dragons and during feeding frenzies.

The rugged hillsides of dry savannah and pockets of thorny green vegetation contrast with the brilliant white sandy beaches and the blue waters surging over coral. Although the dragons are the primary attraction to the area, these waters offer some of the best scuba diving in the country and the world. The marine fauna and flora are generally the same as that found throughout the Indo Pacific area, though species richness is very high, notable marine mammals include blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) and sperm whale (Physeter catodon) as well as 10 species of dolphin, dugong (Dugong dugon) and five species of sea turtles.

Camp Leakey: Tanjung Puting National Park is located on the island of Borneo in the Indonesian province of Central Kalimantan. The park is a popular ecotourism destination, with many local tour companies offering multi-day boat tours to view wildlife and visit the research centers. Wildlife include gibbons, macaques, clouded leopards, sun bears, pythons, crocodiles and – most famously – orangutans. Unfortunately the park is heavily threatened by illegal logging and forest clearing for agricultural uses., this is your best opportunity to see orangutans in their own habitat. Some are being rehabilitated, while wild orangutans also visit the area, which is not fenced.

Birutie Galdikas Camp Leakey

With some luck, you might meet, Dr. Birute Galdikas. In the early ’70s, Dr. Galdikas traveled from Los Angeles to the Indonesian province of Central Kalimantan on Borneo island to study the red-haired primates. She has spent much of the last 45 years on the island, researching the orangutan and fighting to protect its habitat.

Bunaken: Located at the north of the island of Sulawesi, Bunaken is one of Indonesia’s most famous dive and snorkeling areas. The island is part of the Bunaken Marine Park where you can see more than 70 percent of all fish species that live in the western Pacific ocean.

Bunaken scuba diving Indonesia

Indonesia is an epicenter of underwater biodiversity, hosting a greater variety of marine life than anywhere else on earth. The South China Sea, the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean converge here, on the world’s largest archipelago of more than 18,000 islands, and the result is spectacular diving. Thriving off Indonesia’s vast coastline are more than 600 coral and 3000 fish species. The best time for diving in Bunaken is between April and November.

Torajaland: Also known as Tanah Toraja, this is a highland region of Sulawesi, home of the Toraja people. Torajans are famous for their massive peaked-roof houses and spectacular funeral rites. The region also features some interesting megaliths.

Tanah toraja

Lake Toba: Lake Toba is on the island of Sumatra. It’s an immense volcanic lake about 100 kilometers long and 30 kilometers wide. Formed by a gigantic volcanic eruption some 70,000 years ago, it is the largest resurgent caldera on Earth. Genetic estimates suggests that there were only a few thousand humans that survived the catastrophe. The island in the middle – Pulau Samosir – is the largest island within an island and contains two lakes. Tourists from around the world come here to relax and swim in the volcanically warmed waters.

Lake Toba Sumatra Indonesia

The volcanic activity of this region produces fertile land and beautiful scenery. It also contains rich deposits of coal and gold.

Ubud: Perched high in the hillsides, Ubud is much cooler and greener than life on the beaches far below. Ubud is considered the cultural heart of Bali and one of the top tourist attractions in Indonesia. There are dance and music performances every day throughout the city as well as numerous art galleries and craft shops to explore. Although Ubud has long been valued as a great place to learn about Balinese culture. Tourism in Ubud boomed exponentially in the last decades. Fortunately, it only takes a short walk or bicycle ride to escape from the crowds and commercialism. An area called the monkey forest sits on the edge of town and its filled with wild monkeys that will beg you for food.

Bali culture

Raja Empat: This is a fascinating diving destination near Papua. It’s a great region to see manta rays and other rare marine life. Over time, tourists mispronounced the name so much that even locals refer to the area as Raja “Ampat.” Don’t be fooled and please don’t perpetuate the error. Raja Empat means “four kings.” As with the best diving in Indonesia, this trip requires a live-aboard boat.

scuba dive Sulawesi

The waters of Raja Empat boast more than 1200 marine life species. The reefs at Kofiau are filled with colorful soft and hard corals that hide myriad creatures while blue and gold fusiliers flow like living rivers of color overhead. These coral bommies and gardens harbor some of the highest marine biodiversity in the region. At Northwest Misool, a blue water mangrove maze of trees meets the color of the reef. If you’re a photographer who likes over/under images, you’ll want to take up permanent residence. The Passage is a narrow river of sea between Waigeo and Gam Islands, the coral here grows pretty much to the surface and you’ll find piles of nudibranchs, sharks, cuttlefish and octopus among the soft corals.

Wakatobi: Wakatobi is a world-class scuba diving destination. It’s drop-off is famed for its action and color, with everything from blue ringed octopus and ghost pipe fish to resident sea turtles cruising past soft corals and gorgonians. Lembeh is renowned for muck diving. With a sharp eye, you’ll find banded snake eels, pygmy seahorses, octopus, scorpion fish and literally hundreds of extraordinarily well-camouflaged critters. Almost anything could be hiding in the black sand.

Indonesia scuba diving

Those who make the journey to Wakatobi are well rewarded. Above water, the islands are stunning. Below, the diverse and memorable house reef is home to creatures ranging from the small and strange to giant mantas and resident turtles. In addition, the readily accessible coral garden at Teluk Maya harbors Pegasus sea moths, pipe fish, and an endemic pygmy seahorse species.

Indonesia scuba adventures

Many dive sites feature thick forests of vibrant soft corals, which hide lots of animals. Seamounts dominate the extraordinarily photogenic dive at Blade where sea fans, sponges and corals abound and seem to have positioned themselves in the most picturesque places on the reef.

Indonesia tourism marketing and public relations firm

Crossbow Communications specializes in international marketing, issue management and public affairs. Indonesia is one of our regions of expertise. Our President and founder is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com. Visit Indonesia.

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Tips For Shopping In Indonesia

Tourists Get Better Deals When Speaking Indonesian

Shopping can be a nonstop activity in Indonesia because merchants are everywhere. In larger cities, such as Jakarta, visitors will encounter everything from luxurious shopping malls to children selling goods on the sidewalks. Items from around the world are available in Indonesia, including food, clothing, and toiletries.

Local arts and crafts of all types are fascinating and abundant. Some islands and artisans specialize in primitive styles and materials, while elsewhere, artisans make some of the most refined pieces imaginable. Batik cloth, wood sculptures and masks, gold, silver, and pearl jewelry are some of the most notable items found across the islands. It’s often advisable to wait a few days after landing in this country before buying too many souvenirs. Jet lag, excitement, and ignorance can impair a visitor’s taste in the first few days on the ground.

Indonesia tourist souvenirs

As visitors travel among the villages and islands, they can see many different arts and crafts. The most unique arts and crafts are found in the more remote islands and villages. If you find something that you want in these areas, get it while you can. You may not have a second chance.

Visitors to Indonesia have a variety of options available for shopping—from luxurious indoor malls in Jakarta to sidewalk stalls, which are found throughout the country. For the most part, the prices for products and services in Indonesia are very reasonable and the experience of dealing with local merchants is entertaining and rewarding.

Bargaining In Indonesian

In supermarkets, department stores, pharmacies, and other formal stores, the prices are fixed and bargaining is not a factor. Elsewhere, bargaining is customary and expected. In these situations, the art is to start with an offer that is about half the asking price and slowly increase your bid until a compromise is reached. It helps to smile while bargaining and remember that many vendors work hard every day just to feed their families. Therefore, don’t bargain beyond reason to save a small amount of money that you will never miss. Some travelers take bargaining on as sport and are willing to humiliate vendors in an attempt to get a lower price that they can brag about among friends and family when they return to the beach.

merchants on Kuta beach

If the price for a product or service isn’t labeled, it’s probably negotiable. In fact, most merchants will expect you to bargain. To start the bargaining process, point to the item or hold it up and ask:

Harga? (HAHR‑gah) = Price?

It pays to know numbers in Indonesian when negotiating. After asking a merchant for a price, listen closely for the answer that will come very fast. If you don’t understand the price the first time, the merchant may see the confusion in your eyes and rephrase it in English, because many salespeople at least speak English numbers. If all else fails, get out your calculator or pen and use printed numerals to negotiate.

Most shops are open every day between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. (with shorter hours on Sundays). In smaller towns and villages, shops may be closed between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.

In an attempt to make a living, local people will offer you products or services that you may not want or need. In these cases, don’t be shy about saying no. The quicker you express your lack of interest, the better. In parts of Indonesia, you may encounter the more aggressive sales approaches.

Morning Markets

The majority of Indonesians don’t have refrigerators or freezers in their homes, which means they shop for food every day for their families. Therefore, there are street markets in most communities every morning where the locals (mostly women) shop for their daily meals. These markets are very colorful and worth a visit. These markets typically have fresh fish, meat, eggs, flowers, spices, fruits, and vegetables. They rarely feature arts and crafts, but they do offer some unique and colorful photo opportunities.

rupia Indonesia currency

Money Conversion Rates

Many travelers find it helpful to take a pocket‑size calculator along when shopping. It can help calculate prices with conversion rates. A calculator also can help shoppers and vendors communicate. If you don’t understand a price, ask the merchant to punch the number into the calculator or write it down. In return, you can use the calculator to convey your offer. Even though numbers sound differently in the Indonesian language, the raw numbers look the same as they would in your home country.

Credit Cards

Bigger stores will take major credit cards, but traveler’s checks are tougher to use because of fraud. If you wear a money belt, keep some small change in your pocket to avoid drawing too much attention to your money belt by reaching into it for every purchase.

If you don’t have much time for shopping, but want some authentic souvenirs, find one of the super stores. Sarinah, Batik Keris, Matahari, and others have numerous stores on the major islands and they carry merchandise from all over Indonesia. The variety of merchandise in these stores is impressive and their prices are reasonable.

Indonesian Phrases for Shopping

I want to go shopping. = Saya mau ke belanja (SYE‑ah MAH-oo keh BEH‑lahn‑JAH)

I like it. = Saya suka (SYE-ah SOO-kah)

How much is this book? = Harga ini buku? (BEHR-rah-PAH EE-nee BOO-koo)

I want to buy _____. = Saya mau beli _______ = (SYE‑ah MAH-oo BEH‑lee ________.)

That’s all = Ini saja (EEN-ee SAH-jah)

I already have one = suda punya (SOO-dah POON-yah)

I don’t want it = Tidak mau (TEE‑dahk MAH-oo)

I want a large one = Saya mau besar (SYE-ah MAH-oo BEH-sahr)

Learn more about bahasa Indonesia here.

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia

Crossbow Communications specializes in international marketing, issue management and public affairs. Indonesia is one of our regions of expertise. Our President and founder is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com. Visit Indonesia.

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Borobudur The Crown Of Java

Prambanan Also Near Yogyakarta

When scholars and historians speak of the world’s great Buddhist temples, most conversations include Borobudur, which means monastery on the hill. Borobudur is the world’s largest Buddhist temple and is most famous for its many stone-carved panels depicting the life and teachings of Buddha. The narratives, over a thousand in all, are part of the temple itself, helping to form the terraces that support the temple’s chambers. The massive monument consists of at least two million stone blocks. This monumental structure was constructed in the 9th century and it dominates an entire hill near Yogyakarta.

Some scholars believe that this massive structure is a gigantic textbook about Buddhism to help people achieve enlightenment. To read this Buddhist textbook one must walk more than two miles to unveil all of its massive stone pages. The walls of the galleries are adorned with impressive reliefs illustrating the life of Buddha Cakyamuni and his teachings.

temple Borobudur

Representing the existence of the universe, Borobudur perfectly reflects the Buddhist cosmos, which divides the universe into three separate levels. The three levels are Kamadhatu (world of desire), Ruphadatu (world of forms), and Arupadhatu (world of formlessness).

On the three uppermost terraces, 72 stupas circle the huge main stupa at the top of this monument. The circular form represents an eternity without beginning and without end, a superlative, tranquil, and pure state of the formless world. There are no reliefs on the three circular terraces.

All but the largest central stupas on the upper levels originally contained a life-size statue of Buddha, although many of these statues are missing or damaged from centuries of pillaging. There also are many alcoves along the lower levels, which contain similar statues.

Borobudur Java Indonesia

Despite its massive size and height, Borobudur was lost for many years. The temple was ultimately abandoned with the rise of Islam, and the halls that once echoed with the pilgrim footsteps of scholars, artists, and priests were overrun by the dynamics of volcanic ash and jungle growth.

Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles began reclaiming it in 1814, after he received a report about the discovery of a hill full of many carved stones.

In 1835, the site was cleared and the entire structure was reconditioned block by block. Unfortunately, in 1896 the Dutch colonial government gave away several artifacts to the King of Siam, including eight large containers of Borobudur stones, 30 stones with relief, five Buddha statues, two lion statues, several kala stones, stairs, and gates. In 1985, the temple suffered a bomb attack by Islamic rebels. The damage was repaired and UNESCO now lists Borobudur as a World Heritage Site.

Borobudur carvings

You can take the best photographs of Borobudur during the early evening, when the sun gives the stone a warm glow. When it rains, water pours out of the mouths of several gargoyles on the sides of the lower levels of the temple. Bus service to the monument is available from Yogykarta. Visitors do not need to wear a sarong to enter the complex. Borobudur is located in the province of Central Java, 40 kilometers northwest of Yogyakarta.

Prambanan temple Yogykarta

Prambanan is the largest Hindu monument in Indonesia. It was built around 850-900 A.D. The temple has been damaged by centuries of earthquakes, vandals, and other forces. Not long after its construction, the complex of temples was abandoned and allowed to deteriorate.

The reconstruction of the compound began in 1918. The main building was completed in 1953. Other shrines and compounds may never be reconstructed, since much of the original stonework has been taken and reused by local villagers.

Prambanan now is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest Hindu temples in Southeast Asia. It is characterized by its tall and pointed architecture and by the centerpiece structure, which reaches more than 47 meters high.

The compound consists of eight main shrines or candis and more than 250 smaller ones. The three main shrines, called Trisakti (three sacred places), are dedicated to the three gods Shiva the Destroyer, Vishnu the Keeper, and Brahma the Creator.

The reliefs along the twenty sides of the temple depict the Ramayana legend. This story is animated by the Ramayana Ballet, which is regularly performed during the full moon in front of the illuminated Prambanan complex. Located in central Java, approximately 18 kilometers northeast of Yogyakarta.

Mt. Merapi Java Indonesia

Mt. Merapi also is nearby. It’s one of the most impressive and destructive volcanoes in Indonesia. Gunung (mountain) Merapi usually is visible from Yogyakarta. Smoke constantly spews from the massive mountain, which reaches an elevation of 2,950 meters, (9,679 feet). Hikers can climb Merapi when it’s not too active. The hike takes plenty of planning and two or more days to accomplish. It’s advisable to join organized assaults that are led by locals. Ask your hotel for more information. It’s visible from Yogyakarta.

Indonesia tourism marketing and public relations firm

Crossbow Communications specializes in international marketing, issue management and public affairs. Indonesia is one of our regions of expertise. Our President and founder is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com. Visit Indonesia and speak the Indonesian language.

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia

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Bali The Island Of Temples

Bali’s Religion and Beliefs

Approximately three million people live on Bali and about 90 percent of the people follow the Hindu religion. Balinese Hinduism was formed from a combination of existing local beliefs and Hindu influences from across Southeast Asia and South Asia. The Balinese, like all people of Hindu faith, believe their religion is one of holy water. Water symbolizes fullness. Water is the building block of life and all living beings are at the mercy of God for water.

Bali temples

The Balinese consider everything to be holy and they believe that physical and spiritual lives are indivisible. Balinese describe their attitude toward life as one with “happiness in duty.” Faith and fun are one. Festivals, ceremonies, dances, and trances are an integral part of Balinese life.

The local people make offerings to the gods every day. Typically, women prepare and deliver the offerings on behalf of their family. Most offerings are simple and include rice, flowers, and incense on a banana leaf. For special ceremonies, the offerings are much more elaborate.

Bali monkey dance

The Balinese believe that when a child is born, it must not touch the ground during its first 105 days. During that time, they believe the baby is still living between heaven and earth and is not yet human. After three months, the family holds a ceremony to welcome the child to the material world and to give the child its name. From this point forward, the child can touch the earth.

Like all followers of the Hindu religion, the Balinese believe in reincarnation. Therefore, the lifelong goal of every Balinese person is to have a beautiful cremation ceremony. They believe the spirit is not released until the body is destroyed and the ashes are thrown to the sea. When a Balinese person dies, a surviving son must arrange for a cremation ceremony. Therefore, it’s important for every Balinese family to have at least one son.

Wealthier families have private cremation ceremonies fairly soon after a relative’s death. Families that don’t have the financial resources immediately available for the cremation may temporarily bury the body for up to 25 years, while they save enough money for the cremation ceremony. They also may join with other families recently who have lost a loved one. By joining together, they can conduct a mass cremation ceremony to make it more affordable.

The Balinese can’t cry when a relative passes away. If a tear falls to the earth, it grounds the spirit of the deceased, which prevents the spirit from leaving this world.

Balinese weddings happen in one of three ways. First, the parents can arrange a wedding between their children, without concern for the children’s preference. Secondly, the couple can ask their parents to agree and negotiate a relationship. Finally, if the children anticipate resistance from the parents, they can elope and negotiate with the parents later. On Bali and Lombok, the locals refer to eloping as “kidnapping.”

Danau Bratan Bali

Like all followers of the Hindu religion, the Balinese follow the caste system. There are four classes of people and the priests are at the top of the system. Weddings between castes are allowed, but sometimes frowned upon. The bride always assumes the caste of the husband (up or down) and can’t return to her family’s caste if the marriage fails.

The Balinese also believe that their canine teeth attract evil spirits and bad human qualities, such as greed and jealousy. They historically believed that these teeth must be filed and flattened in order to be reincarnated. In the past, when children became adults, the village priest filed their canine teeth down to a uniform length. Although the Balinese have stopped this practice for humane reasons, they still conduct a symbolic filing on young adults that is brief and less intrusive.

The Balinese wear yellow or white clothing when entering a temple for a ceremony. Musicians, however, are exempt from this dress code and they usually wear very bright clothing.

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia

Learn more about Bali.

Indonesia tourism marketing and public relations firm

Crossbow Communications specializes in international marketing, issue management and public affairs. Indonesia is one of our regions of expertise. Our President and founder is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com. Visit Indonesia.

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Orangutan Expert Urges Travel To Indonesia Now

Deforestation Pushing Orangutans Toward Extinction

By Kelly Dinardo, New York Times

It was the orangutan’s eyes that first struck Biruté Mary Galdikas. “They look very human,” said Dr. Galdikas, an anthropologist and the president of Orangutan Foundation International. “They have a very strong gaze that will penetrate you,” she said. “It’s almost hypnotic.”

In the early ’70s, Dr. Galdikas traveled from Los Angeles to the Indonesian province of Central Kalimantan on Borneo island to study the red-haired primates. She has spent much of the last 45 years on the island, researching the orangutan and fighting to protect its habitat.

Birutie Galdikas Camp Leakey Indonesia

For decades, Dr. Galdikas was one of the few travelers to the inner region of Borneo. Getting there required an arduous journey and there was little infrastructure once one arrived. Government investment in the region and a smattering of eco-lodges and expedition companies are changing that.

The draw for most visitors is Camp Leakey, the research and education center in Tanjung Puting National Park that Dr. Galdikas established and named for her mentor, Louis Leakey, the paleontologist, archaeologist and anthropologist. Below are edited excerpts from a conversation with Dr. Galdikas about Kalimantan, Camp Leakey and the orangutans.

Q. How has Kalimantan changed?

A. In 1971 when I first went there, it was one of the wildest places left on earth. There were still headhunters on the interior. There were no roads. Rivers were the only highways.

How has tourism changed?

Tourism began in this area only about 20 years ago. I remember a pamphlet that the government issued that told people what a tourist was, what you did with a tourist. One of the wonderful things about Indonesia is the warm, gracious people. They treat tourists as guests.

We have encouraged tourism. We wanted to bring tourists to increase awareness of the orangutans. At Camp Leakey, we see up to 15,000 a year from all over the world. The local people saw them coming in and built up the tourism industry. The good thing is that the money stays in the area. The cooks are local. The guides are local. The boats are local. That’s one of the reasons the local people are so supportive.

Birutie Galdikas Camp Leakey

What do visitors do or see at Camp Leakey?

After you go into the education center, you can walk to the feeding station. Once a day, the orangutans are provided with fruit and they usually come through the trees to the feeding platform. The feeding lasts two hours and some people watch them the whole time.

The time to come is now. I went to see the gorillas in Rwanda and there are only a limited number of visitors allowed. There are very strict rules. It’s wise. The national park at Tanjung Puting has investigated what it would take to set up a system like that. There’s no limit at this point. It’s not necessary yet. You get very intimate encounters with the orangutans at Camp Leakey.

Besides increasing awareness, how has tourism impacted the orangutans?

So far it’s mainly been good. The tourism is controlled. You can only come to the feeding [at Camp Leakey]. You’re not allowed to wander alone in the forest. It enhances the value of the park to the local people and then they will fight for it. Tourism directly benefits the orangutans. It makes the local people want to protect them.

The main issue for orangutans in Southeast Asia is palm oil plantations. The forest needs to be cleared completely for the plantations.

Indonesia forest conservation

Orangutans spend 90 percent of their time in the tree canopy. When you cut down the trees, they have nowhere to go. We’re headed toward a point where most of the orangutans we see will be in captivity or at Tanjung Puting.

Indonesia Travel Update via http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/29/travel/birute-mary-galdikas-orangutan-expert-visiting-indonesia.html

Indonesia tourism marketing and public relations firm

Crossbow Communications specializes in international marketing, issue management and public affairs. Indonesia is one of our regions of expertise. Our President and founder is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com. Visit Indonesia.

Posted in Borneo, Ecotourism, Endangered Species, Politics, Tourism Industry, Wildlife Tourism | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Indonesia Tourism On The Rise

Ecotourism An Untapped Market Across Indonesian Archipelago

Although Indonesia has many attractions for tourists – beautiful countryside, interesting cultures & historical remnants, beaches, nightlife in Jakarta and Bali, and much more – the country fails to attract a large number of foreign tourists. Yes, Indonesia may achieve its target of welcoming 10 million foreign visitors in 2015, but this figure is considerably lower than the number of tourists that visit neighboring peers Singapore (15 million) or Malaysia (27 million). Indonesia is not less beautiful nor less interesting than its neighbors. So, what has been blocking more rapid development of Indonesia’s tourism sector?

Mt. Bromo Java Indonesia

It is important that the tourism industry of Indonesia enhances its contribution towards the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) because it will trigger more foreign exchange earnings (as each foreign visitor spends between USD $1,100 and USD $1,200 per visit on average) while also providing employment opportunities to the Indonesian people (based on the latest data from Statistics Indonesia, the country’s unemployment rate stood at 5.81 percent in February 2015). It is estimated that nearly nine percent of Indonesia’s total national workforce is employed in the tourism sector.

Currently, Indonesia’s tourism sector accounts for approximately four percent of the total economy. By 2019, the Indonesian government wants to have doubled this figure to 8 percent of GDP, an ambitious target (possibly overly ambitious) which implies that within the next four years, the number of visitors needs to double to about 20 million. In order to achieve this target, the government will focus on improving Indonesia’s infrastructure (including ICT infrastructure), accessibility, health & hygiene as well as enhancing online promotional (marketing) campaigns abroad. The government also revised its visa-free access policy in 2015 (for further elaboration, see below) to attract more foreign tourists.

Sumatra tiger conservation

The number of foreign tourist arrivals in Indonesia has grown steadily between 2007 and 2015. This solid performance is supported by a reduction in terrorist incidents in Indonesia. Although small, there exists a radical Muslim community that not only believes Islam should be the sole guidance in life (and society) but is also willing to use extreme measures (violence) to reform and uproot established conditions. A series of terrorist attacks aimed at westerners (the 2002/2005 bombings in Bali and the 2009 Ritz-Carlton/Marriott bombings in Jakarta) managed to stagnate foreign tourist arrivals as a large group of westerners ignored Indonesia as a holiday destination in the months following such a violent incident (within a year tourist numbers recover). The 2009 Ritz-Carlton/Marriott bombings explain why growth of tourist arrivals in 2009 was limited. After 2009 there have not been any terrorist attacks aimed at westerners. This success is due to efforts of the country’s special counter-terrorism squad (Densus 88), which is funded by the American government and is trained by the CIA, FBI and US Secret Service. After 2009, when radical groups started to operate in smaller networks (which are more difficult to trace) attacks have been aimed at symbols of the Indonesian state (such as policemen), not on symbols of the western world.

In the World Economic Forum’s Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report, which “measures the set of factors and policies that enable the sustainable development of the Travel & Tourism sector, which in turn, contributes to the development and competitiveness of a country,” Indonesia jumped from rank 70th in 2013 to 50th in 2015, an impressive improvement. This jump was caused by Indonesia’s rapidly growing number of foreign visitor arrivals, national prioritization of the tourism industry and investment in infrastructure (for example the mobile phone network now covers most areas of the country, while air transport infrastructure has been expanded). The report states that the competitive advantages of Indonesia are price competitiveness, rich natural resources (biodiversity), and the presence of several heritage sites.

orangutan conservation

However, the report also stated that Indonesia is not placing enough emphasis on environmental sustainability, resulting in deforestation and endangered species, while only a minimal fraction of the used water is treated.

The report also mentions safety and security concerns, specifically the business cost of terrorism. Another concern is that Indonesia lags behind Singapore (11th), Malaysia (25th) and Thailand (35th) in the ranking of the 2015 Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report.

The lack of adequate infrastructure in Indonesia is a persistent problem, not only because its raises logistics costs steeply thus making the investment climate less attractive but also because it limits the smoothness of traveling for tourists. Infrastructure on Bali is great and acceptable in Jakarta (except for the grave traffic congestion) but outside Bali and Jakarta most of the country’s infrastructure is inadequate, particularly in the eastern part of Indonesia where there is a shortage of airports, ports, roads and hotels. The lack of inter and intra island connectivity means that a number of Indonesian regions that contain huge tourist potential cannot be reached easily.

marine tourism Indonesia

Besides infrastructure, education also forms an obstacle. Although on the island of Bali as well as in the luxury hotels of Jakarta most native people working in the tourism sector are pretty fluent in English (and sometimes even other non-Indonesian languages), in the more remote areas of Indonesia natives have difficulty to communicate with tourists. Therefore, a focus on the study of English would help to overcome this situation. This language barrier has been reason for a portion of Singaporeans to choose Malaysia as their holiday destination instead of Indonesia. Most foreign visitors that enter Indonesia come from Singapore, followed by Malaysia and Australia.

Most foreigners enter Indonesia at Ngurah Rai International Airport on Bali, the island that is the most popular holiday destination for foreign tourists in Indonesia. This island is home to most of Indonesia’s Hindu minority and offers tourists all sorts of Balinese Hinduism-related arts and culture as well as a lively nightlife and beautiful countryside.

The second main point of entry is Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, located just outside of the capital city of Jakarta. Many tourists start their holiday by staying a couple of days in Jakarta before traveling to other parts of Indonesia. Jakarta is also the economic center of Indonesia and although it is not allowed by law there are many foreigners that use a tourist visa (valid for 30 days) to participate in business meetings or events in Jakarta.

National Monument Jakarta

The third-most used port of entry in Indonesia is Batam, the largest city in the Riau Islands Province of Indonesia, across the Strait of Singapore. Batam has rapidly developed into an industrial boom-town and transport hub. The city is part of a free trade zone in the Indonesia-Malaysia-Singapore Triangle. Since 2006, Batam (together with Bintan and Karimun) form part of a Special Economic Zone with Singapore, implying that trade tariffs and value-added taxes for goods shipped between Batam and Singapore are eliminated.

In 2015 the Indonesian government granted an additional 45 countries visa-free access to Indonesia in an attempt to boost the tourism industry. Previously, citizens of these countries had to obtain a visit visa before entering Indonesia. In March 2016 the amount of countries for which residents are allowed to enter Indonesia without a visa was raised again through Presidential Regulation no.21/2016 on Exemptions of Visit Visa, meaning there are now a total of 169 countries that not need a visa to enter and stay in Indonesia (for a maximum period of 30 days). Meanwhile, the government also introduced a new regulation on yacht and cruise ships. This new regulation lifts cabotage rights for international cruises and yachts, meaning that international cruise liners can now lift and disembark passengers in 5 Indonesian seaports: Tanjung Priok (Jakarta), Tanjung Perak (Surabaya), Belawan (Medan), Soekarno-Hatta (Makassar) and Benoa (Bali). Previously, only Indonesian-flagged ships were allowed by law to lift and disembark passengers in Indonesian waters.

These policy changes were made in order to attract more foreign visitors. Although granting more tourists visa-free access to Indonesia implies that the country misses out on an estimated USD $11.3 million per year (as currently USD $35 is charged for a ‘visa on arrival’), it is expected to attract an additional 450,000 foreign tourists per year. Considering that each foreign tourist spends an average of between USD $1,100 and USD $1,200 during his/her holiday in Indonesia, the country will thus gain around USD $500 million in additional foreign exchange revenue each year.

Through its Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Indonesia promotes itself as a tourist destination in foreign countries with its “Wonderful Indonesia” campaign. It is important for the government to invest in such promotional campaigns to spread a positive image of Indonesia as most western countries mostly receive negative headline stories from Indonesia (for example radical Islam, natural disasters such as a tsunami or massive volcanic eruptions), causing an undue negative image of the country.

Rinjani volcano Lombok Indonesia

It is also important for authorities to build a magnetic brand for the country as a whole. While the island of Bali already has a strong brand that is widely known across the globe, Indonesia as a whole doesn’t have the same level of awareness and support. Bali and Jakarta have already seen a large influx of investment in recent years leading to excessive supply. Investors who want to establish hotels in these regions (as well as existing hotels) need to come up with original and creative new concepts to become market leaders.

Read The Story About Indonesia Tourism http://www.indonesia-investments.com/business/industries-sectors/tourism/item6051?

Indonesia tourism marketing and public relations firm 

Crossbow Communications specializes in international marketing, issue management and public affairs. Indonesia is one of our regions of expertise. Our President and founder is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com. Visit Indonesia.

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia

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Indonesia’s Top Tourist Attractions

Adventures Await Beyond Bali

Indonesia has more than 18,000 islands and 6,000 of them are inhabited. It is the largest archipelago in the world. It includes more than 240 million people from more than 300 ethnic groups. They speak more than 250 different languages.

Bali is the most popular island, but many other tourist attractions await across this vast and diverse country.

Lake Toba Sumatra Indonesia

Lake Toba on the island of Sumatra is an immense volcanic lake about 100 kilometers long and 30 kilometers wide. Formed by a gigantic volcanic eruption some 70,000 years ago, it is the largest resurgent caldera on Earth. Genetic estimates suggests that there were only a few thousand humans that survived the catastrophe. The island in the middle – Pulau Samosir – is the largest island within an island and contains two lakes. Besides visiting “a lake on an island within a lake on an island” tourist also come here to kick back and relax and swim in the volcanically warmed waters.

Tanjung Puting Indonesia

Tanjung Puting National Park is located on the island of Borneo in the Indonesian province of Central Kalimantan. The park is a popular ecotourism destination, with many local tour companies offering multi-day boat tours to view wildlife and visit the research centers. Wildlife include gibbons, macaques, clouded leopards, sun bears, pythons, crocodiles and – most famously – orangutans. Unfortunately the park is heavily threatened by illegal logging and forest clearing for agricultural uses.

Dani tribe Papua

The Baliem Valley in the highlands of Western New Guinea offers a glimpse into what was recently a stone-age world. The valley was not known to the outside world until 1938 when an aerial reconnaissance flight southwards from Hollandia (now Jayapura) discovered a large agricultural population. Wamena is the starting point for most visitors who come nowadays to marvel at the mountain views, roaring rivers, tribal villages and at the tough but sweet spirit of the warm Dani people.

Mt. Bromo Java Indonesia

Gunung Bromo is an active volcano and part of the Tengger massif, in East Java. At 2,329 meters (7,641 feet) it is not the highest peak of the massif, but it is the most well known. The area is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Indonesia and Java. The top of the volcano has been blown off and the crater inside constantly belches white smoke. It is surrounded by the Sea of Sand of fine volcanic sand. The overall effect is unsettlingly unearthly.

Bunaken scuba diving Indonesia

Located at the north of the island of Sulawesi, Bunaken is one of Indonesia’s most famous dive and snorkeling areas. The island is part of the Bunaken Marine Park where you can see more than 70% of all fish species that live in the western Pacific ocean. The best time for diving in Bunaken is between the months of April and November.

Tanah toraja

Toraja land  or Tanah Toraja is a highland region of South Sulawesi, home of the Toraja people. Torajans are famous for their massive peaked-roof houses known as tongkonan and spectacular but gruesome funeral rites. After a person’s death, the body is kept – often for several years – until the actual funeral ceremony which can last for several days. The deceased is then finally buried in a small cave or in a hollow tree.

Lombok Indonesia snorkeling

Lombok’s most popular tourist destination, the Gili Islands are an archipelago of three small islands: Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. The islands are very relaxed and laid-back, with countless little beachside cafes still playing reggae and no cars or motorbikes to disturb the peace. Note that the name “Gili Islands” is rather redundant as gili simply means “small island” in Sasak and there are many other islands around the coast of Lombok with Gili in their names.

Komodo island

The Komodo National Park is a national park located within the Lesser Sunda Islands that includes the three larger islands Komodo, Padar and Rincah, and 26 smaller ones. The park is named after the Komodo Dragon, the world’s largest living reptile that can reach 3 meters or more in length and weigh over 70kg. Although Komodo dragons eat mostly carcass of dead animals, they are formidable predators and will also hunt prey including birds, and mammals. Attacks against humans are very rare.

Borobudur Java Indonesia

Located 40 km (25 miles) northwest of Yogyakarta on Java, the Borobudur is the one of the most famous Buddhist temple in the world. The Borobudur was built over a period of some 75 years in the 8th and 9th centuries by the kingdom of Sailendra, out of an estimated 2 million blocks of stone. It was abandoned in the 14th century for reasons that still remain a mystery and for centuries lay hidden in the jungle under layers of volcanic ash. Today it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Indonesia.

Ubud Bali Indonesia

Ubud is considered the cultural heart of Bali and one of the top tourist attractions in Indonesia. There are dance and music performances every day throughout the city as well as numerous art galleries and craft shops to explore. Although Ubud has long been valued as a great place to learn about Balinese culture, tourism in Ubud boomed exponentially in the last decades. Fortunately, it only takes a short walk or bicycle ride to escape from the crowds and commercialism.

Indonesia Tourism Tips via http://www.touropia.com/tourist-attractions-in-indonesia/

Indonesia tourism marketing and public relations firm

Crossbow Communications specializes in international marketing, issue management and public affairs. Indonesia is one of our regions of expertise. Our President and founder is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com. Visit Indonesia.

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia

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Indonesia Among Nations Most Vulnerable To Zika Virus

Singapore Experiencing Rapid Surge 

Indonesia is among countries most vulnerable to the spread of the Zika virus in Asia and Africa according to a study published by The Lancet medical journal.

The researchers identified countries with high numbers of travelers arriving from Zika virus-affected areas of the Americas from Dec. 1, 2014 to Nov. 30, 2015, those with large populations at risk of the mosquito-borne Zika virus infection — countries which are hot and humid, a potential breeding ground of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the main carrier of the virus — and countries with low health expenditures per capita (and poor sewage management).

Rinjani volcano Lombok Indonesia

Based on these factors the researchers said, “we found that India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Nigeria, Vietnam, Pakistan and Bangladesh have some of the highest expected risks for Zika virus importation and population health impact.”

Ironically, the report did not include Singapore, which has confirmed more cases than any other nation in Asia, so far. The mosquito-borne virus, which has afflicted people in as many as 70 countries, was “highly likely” to spread across Asia, WHO director Margaret Chan said.

Thailand has reported as many as 350 cases of Zika since the start of this year. This includes 25 cases of pregnant women. A total of 387 Zika cases were confirmed in Singapore. Alarmingly, this includes 16 pregnant women have been confirmed to have Zika virus.

Indonesia destinations

“As the Zika virus epidemic in the Americas intensifies and expands, hundreds, and possibly thousands, of infected travelers are now transporting the virus to distant regions of the world,” the report said.

Despite China’s population as the world’s largest, its health expenditure per capita was larger than other high risk countries, said the report of the study funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“If you’re thinking about how to use resources, here are the places and times where you would want to use resources in the most efficient ways possible.”

The study was conducted at a time when world alarm on the Zika virus focused particularly on Brazil ahead of the recently concluded Olympic Games and the rest of the Americas. Confirmation of Zika infection in Singapore triggered worldwide alarm. Some 2.6 billion people live in Asia and the Pacific in dense tropical areas and lacked medical resources.

Meanwhile agencies quoted the World Health Organization’s (WHO) emergency committee statements that “there should be no general restrictions on travel and trade with countries with Zika transmission including Brazilian cities hosting the Paralympic Games.” Many countries including Indonesia have issued travel advisories to Singapore.

The Zika infection is known to be mild for adults but is potential dangerous for fetuses, potentially causing abnormal small heads and brain defects. However reports cited experts saying pregnant women need check ups only if they show the main symptoms including a high fever and rashes.

The WHO committee also stressed that the virus “continues to be an international health emergency due to continuing geographic expansion and considerable gaps in understanding [issues surrounding the virus].”

Meanwhile, The Star reported from Petaling Jaya in Malaysia that its citizen who became infected in Singapore was recuperating in hospital.

The husband and wife had visited their daughter in Singapore on Aug. 19 and returned on Aug 21. A week later, the woman developed rashes and a fever, and her urine tested positive for the Zika virus.

Zika Virus in Asia via http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/09/03/indonesia-among-most-prone-zika-new-study.html

Indonesia tourism marketing and public relations firm

Crossbow Communications specializes in international marketing, issue management and public affairs. Indonesia is one of our regions of expertise. Our President and founder is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com. Visit Indonesia.

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia

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