Airlines Booming In Indonesia Despite Safety Record

Indonesia Among World’s Fastest-Growing Aviation Markets

As Indonesia’s middle class and overall population expand, so have the demands of low-cost domestic air travel. Unfortunately, safety incidents continue plaguing the industry.

Most recently, an Indonesian airliner crashed into the sea last week with 189 people on board. The Boeing 737, owned by the low-cost airline Lion Air, went down after taking off from the capital Jakarta. Flight JT 610 was headed for the western city of Pangkal Pinang. There is no sign of survivors. The cause of the crash, which involved a plane that had been in operation since August, remains unclear. It’s the first major accident involving a Boeing 737 Max – an updated version of the 737.

Indonesia’s transport ministry has found faults in two other Boeing 737-MAX 8 jets, including a cockpit indicator display problem, which an analyst warned may be similar to one reported in the crashed Lion Air Jet.

The ministry said it is inspecting 10 of the newly released jets owned by Lion and flagship carrier Garuda, as authorities analyze data from a recovered black box that may help explain why flight JT610 plummeted into the Java Sea last week, killing 189 people.

The pilot on the doomed plane asked to return to Jakarta before the crash, but it remains unclear what caused the accident. Budget carrier Lion Air admitted that the doomed jet had a technical issue on a previous flight — as well its abrupt fatal dive — have raised questions about whether it had mechanical faults specific to the new model. The single-aisle jet, en route from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang city, is one of the world’s newest and most advanced commercial passenger planes.

The pilot on the plane’s previous flight from Bali requested to return to the airport not long after takeoff. The pilots resolved the problem and continued to Jakarta. Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee said it was interviewing people who flew on the plane the day before the fatal crash. Some reported a frightening, erratic trip.

Lion Air said in a statement that the pilot and co-pilot had more than 11,000 flight hours between them. Three of the crew on board were trainee flight attendants and one was a technician.

The accident resurrected concerns about Indonesia’s poor air safety record which until recently saw its carriers facing years-long bans from entering European Union and US airspace. There were nearly 40 fatal aviation accidents in Indonesia over the past 15 years, according to the Aviation Safety Network. Last week’s crash raised the alarm once again over the safety of the country’s airlines. It is the worst air disaster in Indonesia since a Garuda Indonesia plane crashed in Medan in 1997, killing all 214 people on board.

It was just in June that Indonesia finally got clearance from the European Union, which removed all of the country’s airlines from its safety blacklist.

That was supposed to mark a major moment for the country’s booming aviation industry, which had for years suffered from a poor safety record. The bloc banned all Indonesia-based airlines from flying in its airspace in 2007 amid a string of accidents and reports of worsening safety standards following the deregulation of the country’s aviation industry in the late 1990s. The US also barred flights from the country’s airlines that year, but raised Indonesia’s safety rating in 2016.

During the blacklist era, Garuda was the only banned airline that flew to the EU.

At the same time, the EU advised travelers not to use other Indonesian carriers for domestic trips, such as flights from Jakarta to tourist destinations, including Bali and Yogyakarta.

Lion Air has had a number of incidents including a fatal 2004 crash. Several new carriers capitalized on an explosion in Indonesia’s domestic air travel market. But concerns have been raised about pilot shortages in the industry and growth outstripping Indonesia’s strained regulatory and technical resources.

In addition to crashes, Lion Air was rapped by the country’s aviation regulator in 2016 for running up long delays and other operational problems, including an incident in 2016 when passengers on a flight from Singapore disembarked at the domestic terminal in Jakarta by accident, allowing some passengers to exit the airport without getting their passports stamped.

AirAsia flight lost between Surabaya and Singapore

Other notable accidents in Indonesia include a Garuda Indonesia flight that crashed in Yogyakarta in 2007 killing 21 people, a military aircraft crash in Medan in 2015 that left over 100 people dead, and a Trigana Air crash in Papua that left over 50 dead. AirAsia, a Malaysian carrier that has a good safety record, also crashed in Indonesia en route from Singapore in 2015, killing all 162 people on board.

Pilots who use drugs—including two Lion Air pilots who tested positive for crystal meth in 2012—have also been a worry in Indonesia. Those incidents have not stopped Indonesians from taking to the skies in huge numbers. The country is the world’s fifth-largest domestic aviation market, with domestic passenger numbers more than tripling since 2005. A surge in foreign visitors to Indonesia, in particular to Bali, has also helped fuel the aviation boom.

“The growth of the industry here has happened too fast,” Mr. Sudibyo said.

Indonesia is the fourth-largest nation in the world with more than 267 million people. The country is comprised of more than 17,500 islands, including Bali, Borneo, Lombok, Sumatra and Sulawesi. Learn more about Indonesia.

Sulawesi Hit By Earthquake, Tsunami, Volcanic Eruption

Death Toll Tops 1,500 So Far

If bad luck comes in threes, Sulawesi is ready for some relief. It’s been ravaged by an earthquake and tsunami for a week, while one of many volcanoes on the island is spewing lava and ash. Call it an insult to the injuries already endured by local residents.

Last week, a shallow magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck in the neck of the Minahasa Peninsula, Indonesia, with its epicenter located in the mountainous Donggala Regency, Central Sulawesi. The quake was located 77 km (48 mi) away from the provincial Capital Palu and was felt as far away as Samarinda on East Kalimantan and also in Tawau, Malaysia. This event was preceded by a sequence of foreshocks, the largest of which was a magnitude 6.1 tremor that occurred earlier that day. Following the main shock, a tsunami alert was issued for the nearby Makassar Strait, but was called off half an hour later.

A localized tsunami struck Palu, sweeping shore-lying houses and buildings on its way. The combined effects of the earthquake and tsunami led to the deaths of at least 1,558 people. This makes it the deadliest earthquake to strike the country since the 2006 Yogyakarta earthquake, as well as the deadliest earthquake worldwide so far in 2018, surpassing the previous earthquake that struck Lombok a few months earlier.

muck diving Sulawesi

The Indonesian Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics confirmed that a tsunami had been triggered, with its height reaching an estimated height of 4 to 7 meters, striking the settlements of Palu, Donggala and Mamuju along its path. The earthquake caused major soil liquefaction in areas in and around Palu. In two locations this led to mudflows in which many buildings became submerged causing hundreds of deaths with many more missing.

“It could be that this earthquake triggered the volcanic eruption, but the direct correlation has yet to be seen,” Kasbani, the head of Indonesia’s Vulcanology and Geology Disaster Mitigation agency, told online news portal Tempo.

More than 70,000 homes were destroyed or damaged by the earthquake and following tsunami that struck on September 28, launching waves as high as six meters that slammed into Sulawesi at 800 km/hour.

According to the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management on Friday, the death toll from the quake and tsunami has risen to 1,571.

The head of Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency – which has been accused of prematurely ending the tsunami warning during the deadly disaster in Central Sulawesi – has been asked to resign. It was alleged that another wave hit after the warning was lifted.

The death toll is expected to rise, as rescuers continue to sift through the ruins. Hundreds more could still be trapped under mud and rubble. The recent disaster has put disaster funding in the spotlight, as details emerged about agencies’ struggles to maintain tsunami buoys and earthquake sensors. None of Indonesia’s tsunami buoys has been operating since 2012, the spokesman for Indonesia’s disaster mitigation agency, Dr. Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, revealed on Sunday, citing a decline in funding.

Many children have been separated from their families and are in shock and traumatized following Indonesia’s devastating quake-tsunami, aid workers said on Thursday (Oct 4), as much-needed supplies trickled in to shattered communities.

The Indonesian government initially refused to accept international help, insisting its own military could handle the response, but as the scale of the disaster became clear, President Joko Widodo reluctantly agreed to allow in foreign aid groups and governments. It’s still difficult to get relief supplies to survivors battling thirst and hunger. Palu airport only accepted military flights in the early stages of the disaster. It opened to commercial services Thursday, with aid workers given priority.

The United Nations is seeking $50 million for immediate relief to help victims. The UN plan, published on Friday and developed in consultation with Indonesian government officials outlined how the humanitarian community working in the country will provide targeted, technical assistance. The UN plan aims to provide help to 191,000 people over the next three months. The Red Cross is sending three ships loaded with supplies, including field kitchens, tents, body bags and mosquito nets, while governments from Singapore to Britain have pledged help.

Indonesia islands map

Sulawesi, or Celebes, is one of the most beautiful destinations in Indonesia. It’s the world’s 11th largest island. With abundant beauty and natural riches, Sulawesi could become one of the major nature-based tourism centers in Southeast Asia. In fact, ecotourism can help the region recover.

Palu (PAH-loo) is the capital of Central Sulawesi. It’s dry, hot, and serves as the gateway to Lore Lindu National Park. Visitors can buy park permits at the park office in town or at field offices along the way. There is an interesting museum in town, the Museum Negeri Propinsi Sulawesi Tengah. Tanjung Karang is a nearby beach area with good snorkeling. More than 280,000 people reside in Palu.

Lore Lindu National Park (LOHR-reh LEEN-doo) is extremely remote and few people travel here. Attractions include large megalithic rock formations, high peaks, waterfalls, hot water springs, unusual birds, and a beautiful lake. Visitors can take short hikes in the park, but guides are required on longer treks that can last several days. Lindu is a collection of four indigenous communities—Anca, Tomado, Langko, and Puroo, which suround Lindu Lake. Just south of the city of Palu.

Sulawesi’s vast size and diverse landscape has yielded several distinct cultures. The rugged and remote interior helped isolate many traditional cultures, including the Torajah people, until the early 1900s. Meanwhile, other cultural groups on the island, such as the Bugis, have been seafaring fishermen and traders for centuries. Manado and Makassar are the major cities on the vast island.

Indonesia tourism marketing and public relations firm

Crossbow Communications specializes in 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 All proceeds are donated to causes in Indonesia.

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Cruises Help Tourists Access More Of Indonesia

Indonesia Cruising On The Rise

As the largest archipelago in the world, the beauty of Indonesia is reflected in its vast waters, making it a perfect destination for yachts and cruise trips. Committed to making it easier for both yachters and cruise ships to enter its waters, the Indonesian government has implemented a number of policies that simplify procedures. Among these, is the Transportation Minister Regulation No. 121, the year 2015 regarding easier regulation for tourists who takes on a foreign-flagged cruise ship.

The policy includes a waiver of cabotage so that cruise ships are able to embark and disembark passengers at the appointed sea ports. These appointed sea ports are: Tanjung Priok in Jakarta, Tanjung Perak in Surabaya, Tanjung Benoa in Bali, Belawan in Medan, and the Makassar Sea Port in Makassar.

Through this policy, tourists can now explore more fascinating wonders of the archipelago since they can visit more destinations across Indonesia.

Tanjung Priok is the main sea port of the capital city of Jakarta and is the busiest and most advanced Indonesian seaport, handling more than 50 percent of Indonesia’s trans-shipment cargo traffic. It is also one of the main gateway to the capital city that offers a plenty of fascinating splendors, such as the iconic National Monument or Monas, the Old Batavia Complex, the vast recreational resort of Ancol Dream Land. Meanwhile, the Port of Tanjung Perak in Surabaya, the capital city of East Java Province, is the second busiest seaport in the country. You can also explore an array of amazing destinations throughout East Java including Mount Bromo, Ijen Crater, the resort hill town of Batu and Malang and much more.

Indonesia cruise holiday

Located in the city of Denpasar, Benoa is the main port of the island of Bali and the main gateway to enter the island via sea. It is the port for tourist day-trip boats, private yachts, fishing vessels, Inter-Island ferries, as well as international cruise ships. The port is located closely to popular tourists’ attractions such as Kuta Beach, Sanur Beach, Nusa Dua, and much more. Moving on to Sumatra, the Port of Belawan in Medan is known as Indonesia’s busiest seaport outside of Java. Here, there are weekly passenger ships operated by Pelni from Medan to Tanjung Balai Karimun, Batam, Riau Islands and Tanjung Priok, Jakarta, as well as regular ferry services to Penang in Malaysia as well as Phuket in Thailand. From Medan you can also explore various wonders of North Sumatra, such as the famous Lake Toba and Samosir Island.

Last on the list of appointed seaports, Port of Makassar,  also known as the Port of Soekarno-Hatta, have the highest passenger traffic among Indonesian ports and the largest cargo traffic in Sulawesi. Just as other primary ports, this is also the main sea gateway of South Sulawesi. Stepping down from the ship, you can explore the many wonders of Makassar such as Losari Beach and Fort Rotterdam or even further to the magnificent Toraja Highlands and Bulukumba where they make the legendary Phinisi Ship.

The cruise ships that have made Indonesia home include:

Singapore-based Genting Dream embarked on its inaugural voyage from Singapore to Surabaya on December 2017. This latest regular route takes tourists to explore the enchanting natural wonders as well as fascinating cultural attractions of Indonesia. Regarded as the largest and most luxurious cruise ship in Asia, Genting Dream is 335.33 meters long, 39.7 meters wide, and weighs at 150,695 GT with a top speed of over 23 knots. Dream Cruises have frequently visited many fascinating destinations across the archipelago including Komodo Island, Anambas Islands, Bali, Medan, and Jakarta.

Sulawesi sunset



The Italian Mega Cruise MV Costa Victoria made a trip to Aceh on November 2017. The cruise made port at Sabang for 5 days and 4 nights while bringing along more than 2,000 tourists. Leaving from Singapore on an Islamic Cruise Trip, tourists were taken to various attractions across Aceh including the Tsunami Museum (Sukaramai, Baiturrahman), The Stranded PLTD Apung Ship (Punge Baling Cut, Jaya Baru), and the Ship on top of a house (Lampulo, Kuta Alam).

MV Silver Discoverer made port at Tanjungwangi in Banyuwangi Regency, East Java Province on 24 November 2017. The ship that bears the Bahama Flag sailed from Singapore for the second time and brought along of around a hundred international tourists to various cities in Indonesia and one of them is Banyuwangi. Previously, the ship has made voyages to Komodo Island and Benoa in Bali. In Banyuwangi, tourists got the chance to visit the amazing Ijen Crater and Kaliklatak Plantation. Silver Discoverer is a relatively small, yacht-type cruise ship operated by Silversea Cruises as the third member of its Silversea Expeditions fleet.

The MS Costa Allegra made port at the Soekarno Hatta Port in Makasar on October 2009. Hundreds of international tourists on board were taken to explore various attractions in-and-around Makassar, including Bantimurung Nature Reserve, Fort of Soma Opu, and Fort Rotterdam. Owned by the Italy-based Costa Cruises, MS Costa Allegra is one of many subsidiaries owned by Costa’s parent company Carnival Corporation.. The eight decks on Costa Allegra were named after famous impressionist painters. A three deck high glass atrium is the center of the ship. Works of art are displayed throughout the ship.

Pacific Eden made in 2017 as the first large ship to berth alongside the newly constructed Benoa Pier in Bali. Sailed off from Fremantle, Australia, the massive cruise ship brought along 1500 international tourists to explore the splendors of the beautiful island. On this inaugural voyage, the ship also visited Labuan Bajo and the magnificent Komodo National Park as well as Lombok, right next to Bali. Pacific Eden is a cruise ship of P&O Cruises Australia. Built for the Holland America Line in 1993 as the Statendam, in November 2015 it was transferred to P&O Cruises Australia and changed its name into what it is known today. Pacific Eden offers luxury penthouse suites, sixteen dining experiences, and a top deck pool which is always open thanks to the retractable roof.

Indonesia tourism marketing and public relations firm

Crossbow Communications specializes in 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 All proceeds are donated to causes in Indonesia.

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia by Gary Chandler

Lombok Earthquake Claims 430 Lives

Earthquake Rattles Lombok, Gili Islands, Bali

A deadly 6.9-magnitude earthquake shook the island of Gili Trawangan, off Lombok in Indonesia, last Sunday.

The death toll from the earthquake that rocked the Indonesian island of Lombok a week ago has passed 400 and the government is estimating economic losses of at least several hundred million dollars. The national disaster agency said Monday the Aug. 5 quake killed 436 people, most of whom died in collapsing buildings.

It said damage to homes, infrastructure and other property is at least 5 trillion rupiah ($342 million), calling that a temporary figure that will rise as more assessments are made. The agency said rebuilding will cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

The magnitude 7.0 quake flattened thousands of homes and according to the disaster agency’s latest estimate has displaced about 350,000 people.

Indonesia vacations

“It was unbelievable, crashing sounds, rumblings of the earth, falling tiles, smashing glass, spraying water, people screaming – absolutely terrifying,” the American, who runs a dive resort, wrote in a diary she has kept of the disaster.

On nearby Gili Meno, Andi Darmin huddled on the roof of his bungalow with his guests, including a couple and their eight-month-old baby. “Can you get a helicopter?” one of the European guests asked him. “I will pay whatever it costs.”

The earthquake, which centered on northern Lombok, left at least 430 people dead, 1,033 seriously injured and 270,000 people displaced from their homes. Indonesia’s disaster and rescue agencies expect the death toll to rise further. Satellite imagery shows that in North Lombok 75% of settlements were destroyed.

Although they escaped the worst of the disaster, the Gilis – three idyllic islands popular with divers, party lovers and honeymooners – were plunged into emergency mode.

On Gili Air, a western doctor and a few English nurses on holiday banded together to erect a makeshift medical tent in a field to treat the wounded, and instructed expats to collect painkillers and other supplies from tourists.

On Gili Trawangan, the biggest of the three islands, where at least eight people died, doctors, dive instructors and tourists set up a basic camp with oxygen and medical supplies and organized people into groups from minor injuries to the most severe.

The bodies of the dead were laid out on the beach on sarongs before they were taken away to be cleaned for burial. Many people camped out overnight, too afraid to sleep indoors.

Thousands of panicked tourists left the islands the following day, in some cases scrambling over each other to get a seat on one of the boats. Most headed straight for the international airport, where some slept on the floor as they waited for a flight out.

The exodus leaves the mostly western-run tourist businesses facing an uncertain future.

“When I look to the right there is no one, when I look to the left there is no one, just hundreds of bikes dumped at the port,” said Sander Buis, the Dutch owner of Oceans 5 Dive on Gili Air.

He estimated that about 70 percent of resorts on Air had been damaged, and many homes owned by Indonesians in the center of the island destroyed.

“Some resorts are not in good shape. Others have no damage at all.”

On Gili Trawangan about 30 percent of buildings have been destroyed and another 40 percent damaged. Authorities estimate that the cost of the damage across the Gilis and Lombok could easily exceed 1 trillion rupiah.

On Friday there was no running water on Gili Trawangan or Air, though there were plenty of supplies – in contrast to the more serious situation on the worse-hit main island of Lombok. Before electricity was reconnected, the owners on Air were clearing out all the island’s fridges and giving away the meat to local residents, who are sending it to their families in the north.

Horses used to pull carts on the car-free island of Trawangan were being rounded up after running loose, and taken to the mainland. After reports of looting on Trawangan – there are no police on the Gili islands and it took days for the military to arrive – the security situation was improving.

As aftershocks continue – there had been more than 450 by Friday – tourists are likely to stay clear of Lombok and the Gilis for now.

Buis said he hoped things would start to feel more normal within six weeks. “Some resorts are not that damaged at all and some are,” he said. “So it is all about when the tourists are ready to come back.”

The Red Cross said it was focusing relief efforts on an estimated 20,000 people who are yet to receive any assistance.

Of course, Indonesia is part of the ring of fire, a seismically active part of the world, which spurs active volcanoes and frequent earthquakes.

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 Visit Indonesia.

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Wakatobi A Diver’s Paradise

Remote Resort Offers World-Class Diving

Indonesia has some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling destinations in the world. Wakatobi National Park is one of the most fascinating diving destinations in all of Indonesia.

Wakatobi (pronounced WAHK-kah-TOH-bee) features a luxury dive resort in southeastern Sulawesi, Indonesia. The area includes 143 islands, but only four of them are inhabited. Since 2005 the park has been listed as a tentative World Heritage Site. In 2012 it was added to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.

Wakatobi was established following an extensive search to identify the perfect location for a dive resort in terms of geography, climate, oceanic topography and marine biodiversity. To ensure its future, the developers created one of the largest privately protected marine reserves in the world.

Indonesia scuba dive

Wakatobi is the third largest marine park in Indonesia. It hosts 942 fish species and 750 coral reef species, versus 50 in the Caribbean and 300 in the Red Sea. Wakatobi covers 1.4 million hectares. It includes the highest number of reef and fish species in the world. The islands form the largest barrier reef in Indonesia, second only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Jacques Cousteau called the Wakatobi area an “Underwater Nirwana.”

Having identified the premier location, the developers built an island paradise with the essential facilities and comforts to make an unforgettable dive trip. From shore or by boat, you have exclusive access to 50 dive sites, miles of pristine reefs, where diverse and dramatic undersea landscapes harbor the highest level of marine biodiversity on the planet. New and undocumented species continue to be discovered at Wakatobi.

The House Reef is a cornucopia of marine life, which you can enter directly from the beach or the jetty. The coral top is host to sea grass offering refuge to species such as filefish, blue ringed octopus and bumphead parrotfish, while the corals are home to numerous colorful juveniles of many species. The dramatic drop off where the wall begins offers glimpses out into the blue and down the wall – turtles, bumphead parrotfish, rays, mild mannered triggerfish, box fish and puffer fish can be seen among many other species.

Indonesia scuba dive

Wakatobi’s resident octopus can put on quite a show for those who know where to look. The creature displays native cunning; it adapts, and learns and you’ll find it lurking on the reefs of Wakatobi. Octopi truly are among the ocean’s most intriguing animals. The reefs and shallows around Wakatobi are home to several dozen species of these stealthy cephalopods, and should you spot one, you are in for an entertaining treat. Some are masters of camouflage and misdirection, while others use a combination of natural cover and improvised props to cloak their movements.

In a tranquil island setting far from crowds and cities, with no other divers for at least 100 miles, Wakatobi seamlessly blends five-star amenities and civilized comforts with a pristine natural environment; a pairing that has secured its reputation as one of the world’s finest resorts.

Underwater visibility is mostly between 20 and 50 meters. You can enjoy diving 365 days a year at Wakatobi. The climate is drier than most parts of Indonesia, and the surrounding reefs and islands protect the area from major storms.

Whether you are a non-diver or would simply like to take break from the scheduled dives, Wakatobi offers a plethora of non-diving activities, both water-based and on land, to absorb you whether you are looking for physical or intellectual distraction.

Visitors also enjoy kite surfing, paddle boarding, yoga, meditation, nature walks and village tours.

The inhabited islands are home to about 100,000 people, including the Bajo communities. The Bajo are seafaring nomads who inhabit many of Indonesia’s remote islands. They believe that they direct descendants of the sea. Once known as nomadic sea gypsies, the children are taught to hunt and preserve the ocean. They also possess unbelievable skills such as walking on the ocean floor and diving at depths of 25-50 meters without the aid of scuba gear. They can survive for months at sea without food supplies or modern equipment.

Anano Beach is a great place to observe sea turtles in their natural habitat. The incredible white sandy beach is home to two types of sea turtles, Honu (green turtles) and Koila (hawksbill turtles). Depending on the timing of your trip, you might get to see the turtles spawn, hatch and migrate to sea. The optimal time to observe spawning is during the full moon where green turtles usually gather at the shoreline in preparation to lay their eggs in the early hours of the morning. This enchanting beach is also a popular spot for divers and sun loungers.

Adventurers also enjoy the majestic Lakasa cave, which is is filled with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. The cave descends 120 meters. Locals believe that it has mystical properties. East and West come together at Wakatobi’s spa, which blends the best of Indonesian and European traditions.

For more information, visit

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia by Gary Chandler


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

Indonesia Travel Guide

Travel Trends Across Indonesia

Indonesia Drawing More Visitors From India

Indonesia has been a favorite holiday destination for decades, with tourists from Australia and Southeast Asia mainly flocking to the resort island of Bali. But with a string of government campaigns, the industry is expected to diversify quickly in the coming years.

Already the benefits of these changes can be seen, with foreign visits to Indonesia growing 19.34 percent in the first quarter of the year compared to the same period a year earlier. Meanwhile, Thailand, with which Indonesia has always competed with for tourist dollars, grew just 6.97 percent.

New trends are driving this rapid growth, particularly a rise in Indian tourists, who are now outpacing Japanese and British visitors, a renewed focus on events and the development of the local halal tourism industry.

The rise of Indian tourists in Indonesia

Indonesia doesn’t boast just exquisite sceneries, but also diverse, rich cultures across the archipelago which are beginning to draw tourists looking for an experience – not just a beach holiday. Cultural tourism is growing to become a major interest of local tourists as well as foreign visitors.

Sumatra tiger conservation

Expedia India’s Head Marketer Manmeet Ahluwalia told CNN Indonesia at least 36 percent of young couples prefer to spend vacations in places which offer cultural experiences, especially Indonesia.

Expedia India conducted a survey of millennial travellers from India and found that 34 percent chose exotic and diverse destinations including Chiyoda and Honshu Island in Japan, Jeju Island, Busan and Suncheon in South Korea and Indonesia’s West Sumatra Islands.

An influx of Indian tourists to Indonesia follows a new visa on arrival regulation.

“Now Indonesia is a popular destination for Indian travellers, especially with the new visa regulation that makes everything easier,” Shelly Chandhok, Country Manager of the Visit Indonesia Tourism Office in Mumbai, told Voyager’s World.

Indian tourists visiting Bali from January to May this year increased 32.27 percent from the same period a year earlier. Bali’s Regional Tourism Development Head Anak Agung Gede Yuniartha Putra pointed to newly introduced direct routes between Denpasar and Mumbai.

“According to the Indian Embassy, only 10 percent of Indian tourists want to go to Jakarta while the remaining 90 percent wanted to visit Bali,” Putra said.

Event tourism

A Ministry of Tourism initiative to hold regular tourism events, with a focus on marketing and promotions, has also helped boost foreign tourists.

“To hit the marketing target, tourism promotions need to be intensified. For marketing strategy we use the DOT (Destination, Original and Time) approach and the BAS (Branding, Advertising and Selling) approach,” Deputy of Tourism Development of Archipelago Tourism Esthy Reko Astuti told CNN Indonesia.

surf Sumatra

Astuti also stresses the importance of marketing past, present and upcoming events throughout the year. Minister of Tourism Arief Yahya said annual international events are effective in increasing tourist numbers as well as helpful for tourists planning future visits.

One success operators hope to replicate is the international bike race Tour de Flores which has seen tourism rise in East Nusa Tenggara. The event was officially recognised by Union Cycliste Internationale, the world governing body for cycling, and trended on social media for a full week.

Halal Tourism

Halal tourism – holidays and vacations tailored for Muslim families who abide by Islamic law – is tipped to be Indonesia’s next big drawcard.

Halal tourism operators from ten countries flocked to the second Halal Tourism Business Meeting at Balairung Matraman Hotel in East Jakarta on June 10. The meeting saw the best in the industry gather to share strategy and knowledge in an industry predicted to reach Rp.4 billion (US$298,000) in Indonesia this year – double the revenue of 2016.

The meeting was welcomed as further momentum in promoting halal tourism in Indonesia, as well as building up the country’s general tourism portfolio.

The recent visit of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, and more importantly the last minute extension of his stay for extra holidays, caught the attention of the Islamic world and has boosted Indonesia as a world class halal destination.

Indonesia’s reputation in halal tourism has been recognised globally after winning 12 out of 16 awards at the World Halal Tourism Awards 2016 in Abu Dhabi.

The Crescent-Rating Global Muslim Travel Index, which tracks the performance of the industry across 100 destinations, saw strong potential in Indonesia’s halal tourism industry. Globally, the growth of the Muslim market is predicted to hit US$2.6 trillion, while the number of Muslim tourists is projected to increase by 9.1 percent this year.

Read the Full Story About Indonesia Travel Trends

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 CEO is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at Visit Indonesia.

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia by Gary Chandler

Indonesia’s Top Tourist Destinations

The Road To Bali, Borneo

With more than 180,000 islands, Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world. The islands are home to 167 active volcanoes, more endangered species and more beaches than any other nation.

Indonesia has some of the largest remaining tracts of tropical forest anywhere in the world. It also features some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling spots in the world. Adding to the beauty are millions and millions of smiles along the way. Where should you visit?

Indonesia scuba diving

Raja Empat: Located off the northwest tip of the island of New Guinea, Raja Empat (the Four Kings) comprises more than 1,500 small islands. Marine surveys suggest that the marine life diversity around these islands is the highest on Earth. It’s one of the greatest diving destinations in the world. The abundance of marine life is due in part to its incredibly low human population density and the nutrient-rich ocean currents nearby.

Orangutans Indonesia

Tanjung Puting National Park: The Tanjung Puting National Park is located on the island of Borneo. 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.

Borneo is home to the world’s most dense and remote rainforests, as well as about 12 million people, 75 percent of whom live in Indonesia’s Kalimantan region. Given the harsh nature of Kalimantan’s interior and lowlands, most settlements are along the rivers and coasts.

Unfortunately illegal logging and forest clearing for agricultural uses (including palm oil) are a major threat to the park. If you are lucky, you can meet founder and director, Birute Galdikas, who has devoted her life to orangutan conservation and research.

Komodo dragon Komodo island

Komodo National Park: Encompassing both Rinca Island, Komodo Island and a number of smaller ones, Komodo National Park is famous as the home of the Komodo dragons, giant carnivorous monitor lizards. The reptiles roam freely over the islands, and visitors rely on experienced tour guides for sightings and safety. Komodo National Park also is a world-class scuba diving destination.

Komodo is dry, hot and barren, with rainfall occurring between November and March. Komodo is a small island of 280 square kilometers. It is located between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores. The Island has about 800 human inhabitants and double that number of dragons.

Kelimutu volcano Flores

Flores: Lying to the east of Komodo, the island of Flores offers an array of natural and cultural sights. The most famous attraction in Flores is the Kelimutu volcano caldera, which has three lakes fed by volcanic gas. The lakes change color according to the amount of oxidation in the water.

This island is home to hundreds of different ethnic groups who speak many languages. It seems to be a transition point between the Malay and Papuan races. The west coast of Flores is one of the few places, aside from the island of Komodo itself, where the Komodo dragon is found in the wild.

Tanah toraja

Torajaland (Tanah Toraja): This highland region of Sulawesi is home of the Toraja people, who are famous for their massive peaked-roof houses and spectacular burial sites. The region also features some interesting monoliths.

Sulawesi, or Celebes, is one of the most beautiful destinations in Indonesia. It’s the world’s 11th largest island. With abundant beauty and natural riches, Sulawesi could become one of the major nature-based tourism centers in Southeast Asia.

Mt. Bromo Java Indonesia

Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park: Best known for its awesome scenery of a vast, ancient volcanic crater and a host of picturesque volcanoes. The park is named after two mountains, Mount Semeru, Mount Bromo and the Tengger people who inhabit the area.

Semeru is the highest mountain on Java as well as one of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes. The smoldering cone of Bromo stands in a sea of volcanic sand, surrounded by the towering cliffs of the crater’s edge.

The region also is famous for Java Man (homo erectus), a set of human fossil remains, which date back about 500,000 years. The fossils were found near the Brantas River in East Java. Since then, evidence of other prehistoric cultures also has been found, including the Solo Man discovery in Central Java.

Mt. Rinjani Lombok Indonesia

Lombok: This island is just east of Bali. It has similar landscapes as Bali, with less commercialism and fewer crowds, but it’s gaining fast. The island’s northern area is dominated by Mt. (gunung) Rinjani, which climbs to 12,224 feet out of the sea. Trekking draws many tourists to Lombok. The full climb takes several days.

The three Gili Islands, just off Lombok’s northwest coast are the most popular beach destination, but the island is developing its version of Kuta Beach on the south side of the island. The traditional market in Senggigi is worth a visit.

Prambanan temple Yogykarta

Yogyakarta: This ancient city is the most popular tourist destination on Java, due to its proximity to the famous temples of Borobudur and Prambanan. The city is a center of art and education.It offers good shopping and it’s known for its unique batik fabrics.

It’s also one of the nation’s centers of influence. The sultanate of Yogyakarta, was formed in 1755 when the Sultanate of Mataram was divided in two by the Dutch East India Company. The Sultan Hamengkubuwono I spent the next 37 years building the new capital, with the kraton, or palace, as the centerpiece. To this day, this is the sacred sanctuary where Javanese culture is preserved.

Yogyakarta lies in one of the most seismically active parts of Java and has been struck by several earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. In 2006, an earthquake flattened more than 300,000 houses. In 2010, Mt. Merapi erupted again and killed dozens of people.

Bali arts

Bali: This small island is one of the world’s most popular beach destinations. The varied landscape, rugged coastlines, tropical beaches, lush rice terraces and volcanic hillsides all provide a picturesque backdrop to its colorful, deeply spiritual and unique Hindu culture. Be sure to visit the great temples, including Uluwatu, Tanah Lot, Danau Bratan and Besaki. The combination of people, culture, spirituality and spectacular beaches have made Bali the most popular tourist destination in Indonesia for years.

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 CEO is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at Visit Indonesia.

Top Indonesian Dishes For Tourists

Sample The Spice Islands

From Bandung to Bali, and Sumatra to Surabaya, each has its own unique tastes. There are so many ways to explore Indonesia and if you have little time to actually travel to beautiful Indonesia, you can do it by tasting Indonesia’s food:

satay and peanut sauce

1. Indonesian Satay: Satay is meat skewers that are cooked over coals. These juicy skewers are usually served with rice cakes (ketupat) with peanut sauce poured over the satay. It is a national dish conceived by street vendors and has been one of most celebrated food in Indonesia. It is practically everywhere and highly addictive.

2. Beef Rendang: This dish originated from Padang, Sumatra. Padang food is famous for its spiciness and richness in flavor. You definitely have to try Beef Rendang. It is somehow similar to Beef Curry but without the broth. We get to appreciate this dish because it take forever to cook to get that tenderness out of the beef. Try this Padang goodness and let the world know how tasty it is.

3. Fried Rice: Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice) is considered Indonesia’s national dish. It is the most versatile dish. You can mix it with veggies, chicken, beef, seafood, whatever it is that you can think of. What makes Indonesian Fried Rice different is the use of sweet, thick soy sauce called keycap and garnished with acar, pickled cucumber and carrots. Others prefer adding sambal (hot chili sauce).

4. Nasi Rawon: Nasi Rawon is a dish made of beef stew from East Java. Rawon has this nutty flavour and a deep, black color from the use of keluak nut. It is rich in flavor. This dish is best enjoyed with a bowl of rice. Yummy and hearty at the same time. Find out for yourself.

5. Sop Buntut (Oxtail Soup): The title says it all. It is a soup with Oxtail as its main hero. Although believed that oxtail soup was invented in London in the seventeenth century but this Indonesian version of oxtail soup is popular as ever. It is a healthy and hearty soup loved by many people. The oxtail is usually fried or barbecued and combined with a soup base.

Indonesia tourist souvenirs

6. Siomay: As you may or may not already know, most of Indonesian street food has something to do with peanut sauce. This dish right here called Siomay is Indonesia’s version of dim sum. This dish contain steamed fish dumplings. The portion comes with steamed potato, cabbage, egg and served with peanut sauce. If you want to go all local, the best way to enjoy Siomay is from a bicycle vendor, who carts his large steamer at the back of his bike. Street food at its best.

7. Indomie: This product is so sinful that we cannot help but be seduced by it. Cost merely around 25 cents a pack and you get a quick and satisfying snack. It is none other than our very own Indonesian Instant Noodles! With so many flavours to choose from, you’ll be left with more than enough choices. I can’t think of anyone who has ever tried every single flavor that is available.

8. Nasi Uduk: This aromatic dish is also one of Indonesia’s national dish. The meal revolves around rice cooked in coconut milk. It is quite similar to Nasi Lemak from our neighbouring country, Malaysia. The difference is that nasi uduk is usually served with fried chicken, tempe (soybean cake), shredded omelette, fried onion, anchovies and topped with sambal and emping (melinjo nut crackers). You definitely cannot leave out sambal for Nasi Uduk. This dish is popular among lunchtime crowds.

9. Sweet Martabak: One of our favorite desserts would be Indonesian Sweet Martabak. It is an Indonesian version of a pancake. In Indonesia, Martabak is only sold in the evenings. You can choose mix fillings from chocolate, cheese and peanuts.

10. Pempek: Last but not least, Pempek. Pempek or empek-empek is made of fish and tapioca. It is a Palembang specialty in South Sumatra. Pempek comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. The most popular one is called, kapal selam (submarine), contains an egg in the middle. Pempek is sprinkled with shrimp powder and served with cuka, a dark dipping sauce made from vinegar, chill and sugar.

Enak sekali!

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 Visit Indonesia.

Bawah Island Resort Among Indonesia’s Best

Anambas Islands Between Singapore, Borneo

By Lee Cobaj, The Telegraph

In a pristine tropical archipelago in a far-flung corner of Indonesia, the brand new Bawah Island is a luxury retreat that’s brilliantly put-together and sustainably minded. It’s an adventure to get to – and even more fun upon arrival.

The remote Anambas Archipelago, in which the resort sits, was one of Indonesia’s first marine conservation areas.

Visitors arrive via Singapore, travelling north by ferry (1hr) to the island of Batam, before hopping on a private seaplane for the 1hr 15min ride across the South China Sea. Total journey time is about three hours – or you could glide in on a private yacht.

bawah island resort

Five lush jungle-covered islands rise out of three sapphire blue lagoons, ringed by 13 brilliant white beaches – a landscape barely altered in 10,000 years. The resort has been five years in the making and the owners and architect have gone to great lengths to work with, rather than bulldozing through, the islands’ unique environment. Villas have been positioned around large trees; roofs are thatched with extra-large palm leaves from a neighbouring island; and the tables and chairs are fashioned from flotsam. The result is a resort that feels earthy and organic, yet cool, decadent and cosseting too.

There’s no end of adventures to be had; hike through the rainforest past monitor lizards and a 2,000 year-old palm to the entirely empty Coconut Beach; windsurf, kayak or paddle-board between five islands, stopping at a cave to see hundreds of bats swirl into flight; snorkel among parrotfish, clownfish and turtles. Or just loll on the sand with a book from the library. Most activities are included in the rate, as are daily treatments at the Aura spa, such as yoga, pilates, meditation, facials and massages. The management are professional and always on hand, but it felt as though the rest of the team were still getting up to speed.

Sandy pathways, woven around large palms and Indian almond trees, lead to 35 gorgeous eco-villas, some cloaked in greenery, some a few steps from ivory-white sands, others set on stilts above the lapping turquoise sea (look out for black-tip reef sharks). Bamboo lattice walls and peaked ceilings try to make the most of the natural ventilation, not entirely successfully (rooms felt hot and sticky in the afternoons). Interiors are soothing and woody, with teak floors, canopied beds, ivory and blue-patterned rugs and chandeliers shaped like jellyfish, while large bathrooms have artfully-aged copper tubs and showers. There are no TVs.

satay and peanut sauce

There are four bars and restaurants, and dining is a Bawah highlight. Breakfast on tropical fruit with homemade yogurt, freshly baked breads and eggs. A lunch of grilled fish and laksa, say, can be taken in a beachside Boat House or at the Grouper Bar, by the pool. In the evenings, barman Marcin Grell whips up tropical cocktails at the Jules Verne Bar, before ushering guests downstairs to the Treetops restaurant to enjoy four or five courses (cod fish with Hainan rice and lemongrass sauce, soy, or Thai-style beef salad, followed by apple pie with ginger ice cream).

Villas cost from US$1,960 (£1,447) year-round, including round-trip transfers from Singapore, all meals, non-alcoholic beverages, daily spa treatments, laundry, in-room minibar, and a host of land and water-based activities. Wi-Fi is free but due to the extreme location is limited to a very small bandwidth – perfect for switching off from the outside world.

Read The Full Story About Bawah Island

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia

Crossbow Communications is an international marketing and public affairs firm. Our president and CEO, Gary Chandler, is the author of two editions of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia.

Cruise Options Expanding Across Indonesia

Small, Custom Tours The Best Way To See Many Islands

By Johnny Morris, The Telegraph

The message from the ship’s PA system was as crystal clear as our view of the smoking island. “For passengers wishing to climb the active volcano the captain has secured clearance for landing.”

It was a surprise addition to the schedule. Minutes later we were skimming towards the hot spot in zodiacs. Trousers rolled up for landing, I began to see the benefits of an “expeditionary” cruise on a smaller ship.

anak krakatau Indonesia volcano

I had joined Ponant’s Le Soléal in Singapore for a 12-day voyage through the Indonesian islands to Bali. On day three we dropped anchor in the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra.

Our schedule had promised a gentle sail around Krakatau’s archipelago – not a visit to the world’s most famous volcano because, as pub-quiz aficionados know, Krakatau is an ex-volcano.

After its eruption in 1883 – the most violent volcanic explosion in recorded history – Krakatau collapsed into the sea, creating a massive caldera. All that remains are a few shattered islands and the legend of a bang heard as far away as Sri Lanka.

Luckily for visiting vulcanologists, and the local tourist industry, Anak Krakatau, or Son of Krakatau, began emerging from the waters in 1927. Although not as dramatic as the original, it has grown (at an average rate of five inches a week) into a fully functioning volcano. Photos show a full arsenal of eruptive party tricks: fire fountains, streaming lava, spatter bombs and even the odd seismic wobble.

The hike up Anak Krakatau was a lesson in geomorphology. After the brief shade of virgin forest, we climbed black slopes punctuated with scorched casuarina and fig trees, plus a few flowering plants that find a home in the fertile lava. On the surface were granite rocks the size of bowling balls hurled from the volcano’s core. Local guides led us to a spot where the fine black lava stopped and a barrier of steaming hot rocks began.

cruise Indonesia

Far below, Le Soléal looked like a toy boat afloat in Krakatau’s caldera. It was a fair way down but she was moored close enough to assure us of a quick getaway if Anak awoke.

The unscheduled excursion was “typical of the core spirit of Compagnie du Ponant”, explained Jerome Pierre, Le Soléal’s cruise director, over beers in the ship’s Grand Salon. Starting out with Le Ponant, a three-masted luxury yacht for just 64 passengers, the line’s fleet will grow to seven in 2018 (in December Ponant announced the launch of the first LNG-powered electric hybrid cruise icebreaker).

The original barque is kept on as the company’s talisman, while mega yachts provide a niche offering for the luxury market. Le Soléal was the first French passenger vessel to navigate the Northwest Passage.

It is difficult to associate the harsh discipline of an Arctic crossing with the ship’s interior design. First impressions are of a fashionable Champs-Élysées boutique. Soft leather furniture lends communal areas a chic air, while reception desks in white Corian scream boutique hotel; likewise the well-groomed staff.

My cabin offered a refreshing white palette, with a pencil-line motif from shower to balcony giving the look of luxury yacht accommodation. Only the look, I’m afraid, as most materials were faux – leather, veneer wood and plastic orchids.

Despite this, interior designer Jean-Philippe Nuel has created a sense of uncluttered elegance. Clearly, what he saved on surfaces he has spent on fittings, with slick designer lighting including the best bedside lamp I have ever seen.

Borobudur Java Indonesia

As we sailed east we visited the world’s largest Buddhist temple at Borobudur and the railway system of central Java constructed by Dutch colonists. Excursions highlighted the gap between the earthy thrust of Indonesia and the sophisticated languor of life on board.

In the busy port of Surabaya, after battling with high humidity, waves of scooter traffic and the frenzy of a morning market, I staggered up the ship’s gangplank to indulge in an air-conditioned pedicure, petits fours and a classical piano recital. Often Le Soléal felt like an exclusive arrondissement of Paris adrift in the South China Sea.

This dizzying contrast of cultures reached its height as we approached Komodo Island, home to the world’s largest lizards. “You only need to worry if the dragon swishes its tail,” warned Tajudin, our National Park ranger. Cue tail swish. “Forget the photograph now, madame!” Cue screams and a scattering of passengers as the nine-foot long carnivore began its starting sprint. Thankfully, Tajudin had his trusty cleft stick handy and pinned the lizard’s neck before it ran amok.

Komodo dragon Rinca island

On Komodo it was essential to follow the guide’s flag to stay safe. As we stomped through mangrove forest up to folds of virgin green savannah, there was a genuine nervousness among the group.

Basking lizards are the colour, size and shape of fallen trees (and there were many big logs around). Their forked tongues can sense blood up to six miles away; they can swallow a goat whole and eat up to 80 per cent of their body weight in one sitting, yet can exist on just 12 meals a year. Oh, and unusually for lizards, the males are monogamous and have two penises – poor fellows.

I was full of cautious respect when we came across two dragons slumbering by a waterhole. In all, we saw five and I enjoyed visiting them in their own habitat rather than staring at caged beasts.

On board we prepared for an evening of fine dining and contemporary ballet. Ponant aims to offer a taste of French art de vivre, which included crêpes suzette cookery lessons, illuminating lectures on Indochina from a French perspective, and a few dull PowerPoint talks on wildlife. We were treated to piano recitals, arthouse films starring Catherine Deneuve, and an interpretation of Picasso’s life through contemporary dance that I could have done without.

All very highbrow – until Jerome Pierre announced a pirate-themed fancy-dress evening, quizzes and crab-racing.

There were French officers and bar staff with Maurice Chevalier accents; gentle spa treatments, and beauty products from a Paris-based salon. Among excellent French wines were surprise vintages from the south of the country.

Read The Full Story About Cruising 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 CEO is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at Visit Indonesia.

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia