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.

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.

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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 Top Destinations

Tourists Have Fascinating Travel Options Across Thousands Of Islands

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

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

Mt. Merapi Java Indonesia

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

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

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

Komodo dragon Indonesia

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

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

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

Birutie Galdikas Camp Leakey

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

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

Bunaken scuba diving Indonesia

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

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

Tanah toraja

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

Lake Toba Sumatra Indonesia

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

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

Bali culture

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

scuba dive Sulawesi

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

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

Indonesia scuba diving

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

Indonesia scuba adventures

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

Indonesia tourism marketing and public relations firm

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

Bali The Island Of Temples

Bali’s Religion and Beliefs

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

Bali temples

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

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

Bali monkey dance

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

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

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

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

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

Danau Bratan Bali

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

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

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

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia

Learn more about Bali.

Indonesia tourism marketing and public relations firm

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

Indonesia’s Top Tourist Attractions

Adventures Await Beyond Bali

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

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

Lake Toba Sumatra Indonesia

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

Tanjung Puting Indonesia

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

Dani tribe Papua

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

Mt. Bromo Java Indonesia

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

Bunaken scuba diving Indonesia

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

Tanah toraja

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

Lombok Indonesia snorkeling

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

Komodo island

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

Borobudur Java Indonesia

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

Ubud Bali Indonesia

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

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

Indonesia tourism marketing and public relations firm

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

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia

Indonesia Has Many Of The World’s Largest Islands

More Than 17,500 Islands Across The Equator

Indonesia includes some of the largest and most exotic islands in the world, including Bali, Borneo, Java, Komodo, New Guinea, and Sumatra. There are more than 17,500 islands in all. Indonesia shares two of its largest islands with other countries. The Indonesian state of Papua, formerly known as Irian Jaya, occupies the western half of New Guinea—the world’s second largest island. Indonesia also controls part of the island of Borneo, which is the third-largest island in the world. Indonesia shares the island of Borneo with Brunei and Malaysia. Indonesia’s share of Borneo is called Kalimantan.

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In addition to these large islands, Indonesia controls all of Sumatra, which is the sixth-largest island in the world. Meanwhile, Sulawesi and Java rank as the 11th and 13th largest islands on the planet. Java is the most populous of the Indonesian island—more than 60 percent of all Indonesians live here—and it is the most populated island in the world. Java,is home to the capital city of Jakarta, where about 25 million people live. Despite the population density on Java, hundreds of other islands in the country are uninhabited.

The real beauty of Indonesia is found in the eyes and smiles of its people. Taking the time to learn some simple Indonesian words and phrases will help you unveil more of this country’s wonderful treasures.

Indonesia has a lengthy history that includes some of the earliest human civilizations, as evidenced by the archeological discovery of Java man on the island of Java in the 19th Century. Java Man is the name given to fossils discovered in 1891 at Trinil on the banks of the Bengawan Solo River in East Java, one of the first known specimens of Homo erectus. Its discoverer, Eugène Dubois, gave it the scientific name Pithecanthropus erectus, a name derived from Greek and Latin roots meaning upright ape-man. For more than a century, these were the earliest known human fossils, which unleashed speculation that this region of the world could have spawned human civilization.

Archaeologists made another significant discovery in Indonesia in 2003, when the remains of hobbit-sized humans were found on the remote island of Flores. This human relative, dubbed Flores Man, dates back about 18,000 years, which makes it a more modern skeleton than Java Man or Solo Man. It’s called hobbit because the stature of the newly discovered species is about three feet tall. These people walked upright and had a brain about the size of a chimpanzee.

The country also will play an influential role in the future of human civilization, due to its enormous population and valuable resources. With more than 230 million people, Indonesia is already the fourth most-populous country in the world, behind China, India, and the United States.

Sumatra tiger conservation

Indonesia is home to the world’s second-largest rainforest and hosts many endangered species, including the Sumatran tiger, Javan rhinoceros, orangutan, Komodo dragon, and many others. This tropical country stretches more than 3,200 miles across the Equator. The islands form a massive dotted line that separates the Indian Ocean from the Pacific Ocean.

Although the country does not have an official religion, Indonesia is the largest Islamic country in the world. It has a diverse religious history, including animism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. It also has a varied religious climate today that includes virtually every faith in the world.

Most Indonesians are happy, friendly, and curious people. They often will speak to you as you cross paths. They typically will ask where you are from and where you are going. When you have the opportunity, try to converse with locals. It can be educational, informative, and rewarding. Most Indonesian people know at least a few English words and are eager to learn more. Many Indonesians are very articulate in English, especially those involved in tourism, retail, and international business.

Lombok Rinjani

Taking time to study this book will help you get the most from your trip. Study the chapter on “Essential Phrases” until you are comfortable with many basic words and phrases. The ability to manage a basic vocabulary will help you get the most out of your time in this fascinating country. This book will help you handle almost any situation you may encounter. When you find yourself at a loss for words, be creative—body language and hand gestures can be helpful. In many situations, you can find someone nearby who can interpret for you.

Most Indonesians work very hard to support their families. Treat them with respect and most Indonesians will return it ten times over. To show your respect, try to say some words in their language and offer to tip the people who help you. It also helps to smile when conversing with locals. You also should avoid crossing your arms against your chest when conversing with, or observing, locals. This is a hostile stance in most of Asia and can generate a cold response.

travel Indonesia

One of the most important phrases that you should remember is Terima kasih. (TEHR‑ree‑MAH KAH‑see) Thank you. These simple words often will generate a smile and a nod. In response, the person will likely say Sama sama, which means Same to you or the equivalent of You are welcome. The person might also say, Terima kasih kembali, which also means thank you in return or you are welcome.

There are approximately 300 different cultures throughout this large country, including more than 250 different languages. Bahasa Indonesia, or Indonesian, is the official and most common language (“bahasa” is the Indonesian word for “language.”). It is spoken in part by almost every culture throughout the vast country. Bahasa Indonesia contains aspects of many other languages, including Javanese, Malay, English and Latin. It also includes Arabic, Chinese, Portuguese, and Dutch influences. Dutch colonialists revised Bahasa Indonesia during their occupation of this tropical country.

Indonesia tourism marketing and public relations firm

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

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia

Indonesia Named Top Diving Destination

Scuba Divers Find Paradise In Indonesia

Indonesia has been awarded as The Most Beautiful Diving Destination 2016 during Diving and Resort Travel Expo 2016 (DRT) held Taipei, Taiwan, on June 17-19.

“We had closely observed Indonesia for this award. We went directly to Indonesia. We dived, we witnessed the beauty of Indonesia. We made coordination with our team in Indonesia. And finally, we decided that Indonesia deserves this award,” said Jason Chong, Chairman of the DRT Organizing Committee.

Indonesia sailing

Indonesia has more than 700 scuba diving and snorkeling spots which are extraordinarily beautiful, according to Jemadu. The dive spots include Sonegat, Keraka, Syahrir Batu Kapal, Hatta, and Ai island. 

Similar spots are also found in Bunaken and Lembeh Strait in North Sulawesi Province, in Wakatobi Marine National Park in Southeast Sulawesi, and on Weh Island in Aceh Province. Labuan Bajo, Komodo, Rinca, Cenderawasih Bay and Raja Empat (not Ampat) also are known for amazing scuba diving and snorkeling locations.

scuba diving Indonesia

Indonesia’s 17,500 islands compose the largest and most varied archipelago on earth and span more than 3,100 miles from Asia to Australia. The country is more than 80 percent water, which includes more than 80,000 kilometers of coastline—equal to nearly one-third of the earth’s circumference. This vast coastline offers more coral reefs than any other place in the world.

Indonesia lies in the middle of the Indo-Pacific basin. This region extends from the Indian Ocean waters off East Africa all the way to the Hawaiian and Marquesas Islands in the South Pacific. The trench is a term used to describe the seam of two tectonic plates deep under the oceans in the area. An upheaval along this trench caused the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and the deadly tsunami that killed thousands of people throughout the region, on December 26, 2004.

More than 3500 marine species live in Indonesian waters. From pygmy seahorses and schooling hammerhead sharks to manta rays and sunfish, the marine animals are spectacular. Octopus, moray eels, cuttlefish, turtles, sharks, jackfish, dolphins, emperor angelfish, groupers, goatfish, sweetlips, frogfish, pipefish, lionfish, scorpion fish and leaf fish abound. Invertebrates also flourish here. Divers can check out sea fans, sponges, soft corals, feather stars hard corals, hydroids, whip corals and colorful nudibranchs.

“There are no other scuba diving destinations comparable to Indonesia. Our nature attractions are unbeatable,” he said.

Indonesia scuba diving

Seven of the 10 priority tourist destinations being developed and promoted by the Indonesian government are maritime tourist resorts comprising coastal, underwater and sea zones. He said his ministry will continue to boost the promotion of marine tourism.

Indonesia Tourism News via http://www.antaranews.com/en/news/105294/indonesia-awarded-as-most-beautiful-diving-destination-2016-in-taiwan

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.

Indonesia travel book

Indonesia’s Indigenous Communities Embrace Ecotourism

Green Indonesia Helping Save Rain Forests

Six indigenous communities have launched an ecotourism initiative that would show off their ancestral forests. They hope to develop alternate economic models that local governments in Indonesia could embrace, other than extractive industries such as mining and palm oil plantations. The initiative, called GreenIndonesia, would ultimately help the communities secure the rights to their own lands, an elusive goal that they have long pursued.

Sumatra tiger conservation

Indonesia has the third largest area of rainforest in the world, and the Indigenous Peoples and local communities who live in and depend on these forests play an important role in conserving them. With global climate change challenges looming—deforestation is the leading source of Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions—the fourth most populous country in the world is searching for a green economic pathway to lift people out of poverty.

GreenIndonesia sees significant potential in community based eco-culture tourism—one recent study found that for 26 percent of the traveling population, sustainability and responsibility play a big part in their decision making.

muck diving Sulawesi

Indonesia is blessed with a more than 400 ethnic groups who inhabit the largest archipelago in the world, over 17,000 islands. The six partner communities of GreenIndonesia are:

  • The Sui Utik Indigenous Forest in West Kalimantan;
  • The Mollo Sacred Lands in Nausus, Timor Tengah Selatan;
  • The Paluanda Lama Hamu cloth weavers, in East Sumba;
  • The Guguk Indigenous Forest in Jambi, Sumatra;
  • The Sawai community in Seram Island, Maluku; and
  • The Jatiluwih community in Tabanan, Bali.

Through GreenIndonesia, women weavers from all over Indonesia connect, share knowledge, and keep their traditions alive. The communities work with many local plants to create unique colors and pay close attention to maintaining the environment where the vegetation grows.

The Sawai community, on the island of Seram, Maluku, have transformed themselves over the last decade from poaching endangered birds for illegal wildlife traders to sustainable forest managers of one of the best birdwatching havens in Eastern Indonesia. Other partners also have inspiring successes. The Guguk Ancestral Forest community, for example, has kept logging and palm oil expansion in their territory at bay. Their forests provide a sanctuary for the critically endangered Sumatran tiger, whose population has dwindled to about 250.

The communities hope to show that resilient and green economic development is possible when local community land rights and the integrity of natural ecosystems are equally protected. The national government has been supportive, endorsing the initiative and sponsoring a booth at Norway’s biggest tourism expo in early January. This support reflects the new government’s focus on addressing climate change and Indigenous community rights in an effective and fair way.

Indonesia Travel News via http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2015/01/23/greenindonesia/

Indonesia tourism marketing and public relations firm

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

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia

Indonesia An Endless Summer For Surfing

Bali, Java and Lombok Good Starting Points For Surfers

Indonesia is ideal for surfing all year round, although the winds and waves shift from season to season. June to August usually produces the largest swells. Some of the best waves are within easy reach off Bali, but other rewarding destinations are found on dozens of islands, including Java, Lombok, and Sumatra. Some of these destinations are extremely remote and require some work.

surf Sumatra

Bali was the first place to feel Indonesia’s international surfing craze. Now, avid surfers trek to Nias island, East and West Java, Sumba, and Sumbawa, just to name a few of the top surfing destinations. The waters around Sulawesi and Kalimantan are sheltered from the swells and are better for underwater pleasures.

Ocean swells are generated from the poles and Indonesia is the first land to break the waves from the South Pole. For this reason, some of the best waves in the world pound the southern shores of Indonesia. Waves in excess of 10 feet are common in places like Ulu Watu off Bali or G-land off Java. Some areas are cursed with strong shore-hugging currents, which are challenging for beginners and swimmers.

Water temperatures are in the mid 70s, but a vest or spring suit can come in handy on windy days. The sun is very strong this close to the equator so lots of protection and rash guards are recommended.

Surfers may have to pay a surfboard tax upon arrival. It is arbitrarily applied, but a reality nonetheless. Surfing supplies are available on Bali and surf tours can be arranged through local travel agencies.

Kuta Beach Bali

Surf Bali

Not only does Bali have some of the best waves in Indonesia, it also is one of the most interesting islands in Indonesia. Bali is probably the only place in this country where visitors can easily navigate around the island without knowing a word of Indonesian.

Bali still lies at the heart of the Indonesian surf experience and is a mandatory stop for first-time visitors. Bali offers 30 top-quality breaks on the southwest and southeast coasts of the island and around the Bukit Peninsula. Some of these breaks, such as Padang Padang and Ulu Watu, are world-class, barreling, reef breaks. Others range from good fun, like the beach-breaks around Kuta and Sanur, to seriously challenging bowl opportunities.

The surf in Bali is usually modest in size—most often in the two-six foot range. However, larger waves do occur on some of the exposed reefs. Due to its 180-degree exposure to swells, surfers can always find a manageable surf break on Bali. Because Bali has surf breaks both on its west-facing and east-facing coasts, it is always offshore somewhere on the island on any given day. Given the number of breaks and the quality and consistency of the waves, it is possible to find great surf with small to moderate crowds.

With its greater share of the tourist traffic, especially from Australia, the needs of sporting tourists are more obviously catered to in Bali than elsewhere in Indonesia. Good places for surfing in the west monsoon (October to March) are Nusa Dua and Sanur. Between April and September, Kuta Beach usually offers better waves than Sanur. Advanced and serious surfers find Ulu Watu a worthy challenge and a rewarding experience.

Indonesia tourism information

Surf Java

The best surfing on Java is on both the western and eastern tips of the island. The central coast is beautiful, but sadly lacking in quality surf.

Grajagan, East Java: This spot is known as “The Legend” or “G-Land,” which tells you it is special. Located at Plengkung Bay, on the southernmost peninsula of Java, is the renowned Grajagan. “G-Land” was discovered in the 70s by a couple of intrepid surfers on a flight between Jakarta and Bali. The long lines of surf were unmistakable perfection and the discovery that followed is now regarded as the world’s best left-hand breaks. The movie All Down the Line exposed this area to the surfing world. The Quiksilver Pro surfing competition is now an annual event at G-Land. This area is one of the most popular surfing attractions in all of Indonesia. The waves break over a shallow reef and provide a tough test for even the best. For goofy‑foot surfers, this is said to be one of the best waves in the world.

G-Land draws surfers from all over the world. They flock to the Javanese jungle each year between March and November, when the swell is generally constant and flat spells are rare. According to experts, it has the longest and fastest left‑hand tube known. The waves here swell up to 12 feet (4 meters), but one slip can be disastrous and medical help is hours away.

The western beaches of the Blambangan Peninsula, Java’s easternmost extension, also has attracts surfers. The whole peninsula is a nature reserve with sea turtles nesting on the beaches and good waves. Most surfers reach it by boat from Bali.

Batu Keras: A good place for beginners, but still satisfactory for the more advanced is the beach near Batu Keras, west of the local resort of Pangandaran. Small but steady right-handers roll in over a sandy bottom. Boogie boards are fun here, too. Avoid the bay between Batu Keras and the Pangandaran Peninsula, as strong currents run parallel to the shore except in the sheltered cove near the reserve itself. Batu Keras is about an hour’s drive west of Pangandaran village, where there is ample accommodation.

Pelabuhan Ratu: Another area becoming increasingly popular with surfers is at Pelabuhan Ratu, a three-hour drive from either Jakarta or Bandung, situated on Java’s southern coast. A few miles from this fisherman’s port going west on a scenic coastal road, there are adequate facilities. But the best place to go to is beyond the 4-star Samudra Beach Hotel, towards the village of Cisolok where beach surroundings are lovely, distinctly tropical, and where the ocean is at its best.

Uluwatu Bali

Surf Lombok

Lombok is a good alternative for those looking for nice, quiet beaches and surfing. The best waves on Lombok are found at Desert Point, on the southwest tip. This area can rival Grajagan or Ulu Watu. It offers long rides, with perfect tubes rolling over shallow coral reefs.

Desert Point: This remote spot is widely regarded as one of the best and heaviest left-hand barrels in the world. Desert Point is notoriously fickle, though. It lies in a remote mountainous region on the southwest coast of Lombok and is best accessed by boat. Lombok is for those surfers seeking a greater variety of setups, including rights, point breaks, beginner, and intermediate level waves.

During the dry season (May – October), the trade winds blow from the southeast, which provide offshore winds for Desert Point as well as many of the left-hand waves on the island. Alternately, the winds in the wet season (November – April), blow from the southwest, which results in more right-hand breaks.

The main surf center of Lombok is Kuta Beach, which is located on the eastern side of the southern coast. Many good hotels are nearby, including the three-star Kuta Inda to the luxurious five-star Novotel Coralia. They feature guide services to help you find the best waves at the right times (except for Desert Point which is more easily accessed by surf charter boat, usually en route to Sumbawa). From there, most surf breaks are within an hour’s drive. Desert Point, however, is a half-day away from Kuta Beach.

Lombok is best accessed from Bali by ferry, which takes about 2 hours. Ferry cost is minimal, but they do charge extra to transport surfboards. The Mabua Express is a high-speed passenger ferry with comfortable seating and even a movie for the ride over. From the port at Lembar, land transfers are available to Desert Point or Kuta Beach. Another option is flying to Mataram, the largest city on Lombok, from Bali or Singapore.

Surf Sumbawa

This island has some of the most perfect waves in Indonesia, but you must speak some Indonesian to find your way around. This island, much like neighboring Lombok, is much drier than Bali and other parts of Indonesia. The land is mostly barren with many steep cliffs dropping straight into the sea. The two main surfing areas are West Sumbawa and the Lakey area.

West Sumbawa: This area is mostly made up of hollow left-hand breaks that are best accessed by boat charter. The charters will pull up and anchor at the best breaks for easy access to the surf.

Lakey: During the dry season (May – October), the trade winds blow from the southeast offering offshore winds to the lefts of west Sumbawa. Alternately, the winds in the wet season (November – April), blow from the southwest which results in more right breaks. Water temperatures are in the mid 70s, but a vest or spring suit can help on windy days.

Some hotels and surf camps are located right in front of the main breaks of Lakey Peak and Lakey Pipe, with other waves within walking distance. Most waves are a long paddle or walk across the reef depending on the tide. Reef boots are recommended.

Travelers can access Sumbawa from Bali by air or sea. It takes about seven hours by the fast ferry. There also is a surfboard tax of 15,000 rupiah for each board bag. Merpati Airlines operates daily flights from Bali to Bima, Sumbawa. Most of these planes can take surfboards. Upon arrival in Bima, it’s approximately 2.5 hours to Lakey Peak by overland transfer. West Sumbawa is best accessed by surf charter boat. Charters typically depart Bali for a minimum of seven nights.

Surf Sumatra

North Sumatra is one of Indonesia’s last surfing frontiers. It consists of several small islands, including the Hinako Islands, Nias, Telos, and two other island groups to the north. North Sumatra enjoys its best surfing season from May to September. Despite Indonesia’s reputation for hollow left-hand breaks, in North Sumatra, right-handers are more common. While Lagundri Bay at Nias has been surfed for decades, it is the more obscure rights like Bawa (a right-hand bowl with 15-footers or more) and Treasure Island (a long, hollow, mechanical right-hander that rolls for 200 meters) that have attracted the attention recently.

Nias Island: The professional surfing tour came here in 1994. Nias is home to waves with a right‑hand break, in a region where they are rare. The waves at Nias are fickle and you may need plenty of time to catch them at their best. About 125 kilometers off the western coast of Sumatra, Nias was barely known until a television commercial exposed its charms to Australians.

The best time of year to venture here is between June and October. Nias has one of the best right-handers in Indonesia. It is situated at the western end of Lagundri Bay and pumps out 15-foot waves regularly. It also produces hollow, deep waves. Accommodations in the area are basic and affordable. Daily flights are available from Medan and daily ferries are available from Sibolga.

Mentawai: The Mentawai Islands are about 100 kilometers off of the west coast of Sumatra. They consist of four main islands with many smaller islands scattered throughout. From north to south, the main islands are Siberut, Sipora, North Pagi, and South Pagi. These islands block most swells from reaching the mainland on Sumatra, but they offer some of the most perfect surf in the world. Access to the islands is by sea only with regular ferries to the main trading ports. The best way to access the surf is by charter boat.

The best time for surfers to visit is between May and November. Ferries can be accessed in Padang and organized tours can be arranged from there as well. Independent travelers must speak some basic Indonesian.

Asu: This island offers world-class left-hand waves, while its neighboring island of Bawa features classic right-handers. Located in the Hinako group of islands, west of Nias.

Indonesia tourism marketing and public relations firm

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

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia