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 gary@crossbow1.com. 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 https://www.wakatobi.com/

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 gary@crossbow1.com. 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 gary@crossbow1.com. 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 gary@crossbow1.com. 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 gary@crossbow1.com. 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 gary@crossbow1.com. Visit Indonesia.

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia

 

Indonesia’s Best Resort Hotels

Bali Sets The Pace For Luxury, Harmony

By John Wogan, Travel + Leisure

Some of the most luxurious resort hotels on the planet are located in Indonesia, home to everything a well-traveled hotel connoisseur would expect: beautiful beaches, delicious food, postcard-perfect views, and faultless service. So it’s hardly a surprise that our readers are willing to endure multiple flights (and more than a full day of travel) to reach this archipelago of some 17,500 islands.

Bali spa

Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as City or Resort based on their locations and amenities.

 

 

The love affair with Bali continues this year, as the island is home to four of the five resorts on the list. Of note is the recent renovation of the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay, where all 147 thatched-roof villas were given a fresh look using traditional Balinese ikat fabrics, wooden sculptures, and local artwork. All villas come with their own infinity plunge pools and views over Mount Agung, and one reader pointed out that the setting was very “private and romantic.”

Bali Aman dari

Amandari is a big hit with couples (and loyal Aman fanatics) thanks to its secluded setting near Ubud, in Bali’s lush interior.

Suites feature coconut and teak wood details and have their own private gardens, while the open-air lobby was modeled after a wantilan (village meeting place). “The décor was stunning, and very true to the area and culture,” said one reader. “Impeccable service.” In the beachside area of Nusa Dua, the St. Regis Bali Resort impresses with an almost 40,000-square-foot swimmable lagoon.

But the sole non-Bali resort on the list also happens to be this year’s winner. Nihi Sumba Island, formerly Nihiwatu, scored rave reviews across the board for its remote location (it’s an hour by plane from Bali). Owner Chris Burch, who bought the property in 2012 and expanded its footprint by adding a spa, nine villas, and 13 rooms, has managed to preserve the edge-of-civilization vibe and strong sense of community.

1. Nihi Sumba Island (formerly Nihiwatu)

With just 33 villas spread across 560 acres, Nihi Sumba Island is far from your typical resort experience, and readers continually mentioned the sense of privacy and exclusivity.

Nihi Sumba Island

Virtually every form of water activity is offered on the near-empty beach (and beyond), from surfing one of the best breaks in Indonesia to snorkeling, free diving and spearfishing. Yoga, hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding satisfy those who want to remain on land. Whatever guests choose to do, it’ll be amid one of the most jaw-dropping jungle settings in Indonesia. As one reader put it, “this is paradise.”

2. Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan

3. Amandari, Bali

4. Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay

5. St. Regis Bali Resort

Source: Travel + Leisure

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. 

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia

Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com. Visit Indonesia.

Jakarta Sinking Below Sea Level

Threats Rising Due To Climate Change, Development

By Michael Kimmelman, New York Times

With climate change, the Java Sea is rising and weather here is becoming more extreme. Earlier this month another freakish storm briefly turned Jakarta’s streets into rivers and brought this vast area of nearly 30 million residents to a virtual halt.

One local climate researcher, Irvan Pulungan, an adviser to the city’s governor, fears that temperatures may rise several degrees Fahrenheit, and the sea level as much as three feet in the region, over the coming century.

That, alone, spells potential disaster for this teeming metropolis.

But global warming turned out not to be the only culprit behind the historic floods that overran Rasdiono’s bodega and much of the rest of Jakarta in 2007. The problem, it turned out, was that the city itself is sinking.

Jakarta and climate change

In fact, Jakarta is sinking faster than any other big city on the planet, faster, even, than climate change is causing the sea to rise — so surreally fast that rivers sometimes flow upstream, ordinary rains regularly swamp neighborhoods and buildings slowly disappear underground, swallowed by the earth. The main cause: Jakartans are digging illegal wells, drip by drip draining the underground aquifers on which the city rests — like deflating a giant cushion underneath it. About 40 percent of Jakarta now lies below sea level.

Coastal districts, like Muara Baru, near the Blessed Bodega, have sunk as much as 14 feet in recent years. Not long ago I drove around northern Jakarta and saw teenagers fishing in the abandoned shell of a half-submerged factory. The banks of a murky canal lapped at the trestle of a railway bridge, which, until recently, had arched high over it.

Climate change acts here as it does elsewhere, exacerbating scores of other ills. And in Jakarta’s case, a tsunami of human-made troubles — runaway development, a near-total lack of planning, next to no sewers and only a limited network of reliable, piped-in drinking water — poses an imminent threat to the city’s survival.

Sinking buildings, sprawl, polluted air and some of the worst traffic jams in the world are symptoms of other deeply rooted troubles. Distrust of government is a national condition. Conflicts between Islamic extremists and secular Indonesians, Muslims and ethnic Chinese have blocked progress, helped bring down reform-minded leaders and complicated everything that happens here, or doesn’t happen, to stop the city from sinking.

“Nobody here believes in the greater good, because there is so much corruption, so much posturing about serving the public when what gets done only serves private interests,” as Sidney Jones, the director of the local Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, put it. “There is no trust.”

Hydrologists say the city has only a decade to halt its sinking. If it can’t, northern Jakarta, with its millions of residents, will end up underwater, along with much of the nation’s economy. Eventually, barring wholesale change and an infrastructural revolution, Jakarta won’t be able to build walls high enough to hold back the rivers, canals and the rising Java Sea.

And even then, of course, if it does manage to heal its self-inflicted wounds, it still has to cope with all the mounting threats from climate change.

As far the eye can see, 21st-century Jakarta is a smoggy tangle of freeways and skyscrapers. Spread along the northwestern coast of Java, this capital of the nation with the world’s largest Muslim population used to be a soggy, bug-infested trading port for the Hindu kingdom of Sunda before local sultans took it over in 1527.

They named it Jayakarta, Javanese for victorious city.

Dutch colonists arrived a century later, establishing a base for the East India territories. Imagining a tropical Amsterdam, they laid out streets and canals to try to cope with water pouring in from the south, out of the forests and mountains, where rain falls nearly 300 days out of the year. Thirteen rivers feed into the city.

After independence in 1945, the city began to sprawl. Today, it is virtually impossible to walk around. Parks are rarer than Javan rhinos. A trip to the nearest botanical garden requires the better part of a day in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

“Living here, we don’t have other places to go,” said Yudi and Titi, a young professional couple who one recent Sunday had made the roughly hour’s round trip from western Jakarta to the center of the city just to spend a few minutes walking up and down a chaotic, multilane freeway briefly closed to traffic. “Without cars, at least you can breathe for a few minutes,” Titi said.

The most urgent problems are in North Jakarta, a coastal mash-up of ports, nautically themed high-rises, aged fish markets, abject slums, power plants, giant air-conditioned malls and the congested remnants of the colonial Dutch settlement, with its decrepit squares and streets of crumbling warehouses and dusty museums.

Some of the world’s most polluted canals and rivers weave a spider’s web through the area.

It is where the city is sinking fastest.

That’s because, after decades of reckless growth and negligent leadership, crises have lined up here like dominoes.

Jakarta’s developers and others illegally dig untold numbers of wells because water is piped to less than half the population at what published reports say are extortionate costs by private companies awarded government concessions.

The aquifers aren’t being replenished, despite heavy rains and the abundance of rivers, because more than 97 percent of Jakarta is now smothered by concrete and asphalt. Open fields that once absorbed rain have been paved over. Shores of mangroves that used to help relieve swollen rivers and canals during monsoons have been overtaken by shantytowns and apartment towers.

There is always tension between immediate needs and long-term plans. It’s a similar story in other sinking giants like Mexico City. Here, all of the construction, combined with the draining of the aquifers, is causing the rock and sediment on which Jakarta rests to pancake.

Read The Full Story About Jakarta, Indonesia

Indonesia Should Be Your Next Destination

15 Reasons To Visit Indonesia

via Telegraph Travel

Jakarta: Indonesia’s sprawling capital, home to 10 million people, is a “melting pot of cuisines and cultures”, wrote Simon Parker for Telegraph Travel in 2015.

“The old town of Batavia will transport you to Indonesia’s Dutch colonial past while the fashionable Menteng district is a hive of live music venues, exclusive restaurants and hip hotels,” he added. “World-renowned restaurants, bars and nightclubs perch on top of towering skyscrapers, while shoppers can choose from dozens of gargantuan shopping malls.”

Jakarta, Indonesia tourism

Komodo: The world’s largest lizards exist on just five Indonesian islands – Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang, and Padar. They are truly fearsome, weighing up to 150lbs and possessing toxic bites, allowing them to hunt and kill far bigger animals – even humans.

Komodo dragon Indonesia

Sumatra: Named one of Telegraph Travel’s top 20 places to visit back in 2014, lesser-visited Sumatra is a wild and beautiful hotspot for adventure.

“Most visitors head to see the orangutan of Bukit Lawang,” wrote Guyan Mitra at the time, “and the army of vigilante elephants which are commissioned to protect the northern rainforest of Tangkahan (seriously). You can join them for their dawn lake-shore bath, and scrub their nails before the morning patrol. Topped off with a cup of strong Sumatran coffee, there are few better ways to start a day.”

Sumatra tiger conservation

“The seriously intrepid should consider a trip to Kerinci Seblat, the biggest national park on the island, where you may get to see tigers and the Sumatran rhino, if you’re lucky. Creature comforts are few, but the rewards are high. There’s also hiking across the lunar craters of the volcanoes of Berastagi, lakeside lounging in Danau Toba, diving with whale sharks in Pulau Weh, and surfing off the Mentawaii Islands and Pulau Nias.”

Bunaken scuba diving Indonesia

World Class Scuba Diving: Nowhere in the world offers better diving than the Coral Triangle, an area of the Pacific Ocean that includes the waters around Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and the Solomon Islands. One of the best ways to explore it is on a liveaboard boat around the Raja Ampat (Empat) Islands in Indonesia’s West Papua province. Divers will find 75 percent of all the world’s known coral species, and up to 2,000 species of reef fish.

The Temples and Mountains of Java: It might be the most populous island in the world, with around 140 million residents, but Java has plenty of places to escape the crush. There are 12 national parks to explore – including Unesco-listed Ujung Kulon – and volcanoes – including Bromo and Merapi – to hike up.

Mt. Merapi Java Indonesia

Java is also home to the world’s biggest Buddhist temple, Borobudur, with its intricate lattice stupas set among paddy fields.  It’s often crowded, so consider lesser-known sites such as Pawon, Mendut, Plaosan Lor and Kalasan, which retain an air of contemplation and peace.

Bali: “This is one of very few islands that manage to combine spirituality and hedonism; visitors can witness coming-of-age ceremonies, as well as enjoy sundowners, first-rate dining and chic shopping,” says Telegraph Travel’s Michelle Jana Chan. “At Ubud, the island’s cultural capital, there are frequent musical and dance performances, as well as galleries selling woodcarving, silverware, textiles, paintings and sculpture. There is trekking around terraced rice fields and two volcanoes in the north, Agung and Batur. Bali Barat National Park is a haven for deer, boar and macaques, and the offshore Menjangan Island has dive sites with schools of batfish, giant trevally and jacks.”

merchants on Kuta beach

Lombok: Millions of people visit Bali each year seeking a beach paradise, but they may do better looking about 30 miles east, to the lesser-known island of Lombok, known for its good surf, spectacular beaches and mountainous interior, or the neighbouring Gili Islands, ringed by coral reefs.

Lombok travel tips

“Until recently the Gili Islands were mainly visited by backpackers paying £10 a night for simple beach accommodation,” wrote Michelle Jana Chan back in 2012. “Now the biggest island, Gili Trawangan, is going upmarket with the opening of villa resorts, eco-lodges and spa retreats. But there is still a bohemian feel: instead of cars and motorcycles, local transport is by bicycle or horse-drawn carts called cidomos.”

Read The Entire Article About Indonesia’s Top Destinations

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.