Lombok A Diverse Tourist Destination

Island Offers Beaches, Golf, Waterfalls, Volcano Treks, History

Lombok is often compared to Bali. The neighboring islands have many similarities and many differences. They are only about 20 miles apart. Lombok has much in common with Bali, but it is less known, less commercialized and visited less by world travelers. It is working to increase its visibility and appeal.

Both islands have Hindu and Muslim influences, but in opposite proportions. Both islands have beautiful highlands and white sandy beaches, but Lombok is quieter and dryer than Bali. The largest city on the island is Mataram.

Lombok beaches

Until 1987, few visitors made the trip to Lombok. Today, Lombok is growing in popularity, but it is still relatively quiet and undeveloped. Tourism is already is the second-largest industry on Lombok. Mount Rinjani, beautiful coastlines, coral reefs, and stunning waterfalls highlight the list of popular destinations on Lombok.

History

The Gelgel Balinese Kingdom conquered Lombok in the early 18th century, which brought a large population of Balinese to the island. The Balinese population of Lombok today consists of about 300,000 people. The Balinese have influenced the Wektu Telu religion of Lombok with the Hindu religion.

The Dutch first visited Lombok in 1674 and settled the eastern part of the island. The Dutch left the western half of the island to be ruled by a Hindu dynasty from Bali. The Sasak people of Lombok were restless under Balinese rule and a revolt began in 1891. The revolt ended three years later with the annexation of the entire island to the Netherland’s East Indies. 

The People and Language Of Lombok

About 2.5 million people reside on Lombok. About 85 percent of the residents are Sasak, who follow a mixed religion comprised of Islam and animism. The other 10 percent of the people who live on Lombok are Balinese and a small fraction is Chinese, Arab, Javanese, and Sumbawanese. About 90 percent of the people in the west are farmers. They grow rice, soybeans, tobacco, and other crops. The Sasak language belongs to the Bali-Sasak-Sumbawa family of languages.

Lombok’s Diverse Geography and Geology

Lombok is part of the chain of the Lesser Sunda Islands, with the Lombok Strait separating it from Bali to the west. The Alas Strait separates Lombok from Sumbawa to the east. The Lombok Strait is part of the Wallace Line—the dividing line between the fauna of Asia and the distinctly different fauna of Australasia.

Mt. Rinjani

The island’s topography is dominated by Mount Rinjani, a massive volcano that rises 12,200 feet out of the ocean. It is the second-largest volcano in Indonesia and it often is shrouded in clouds. The most recent eruption of Rinjani was in 1994. The volcano, and its sacred crater lake, is protected by Rinjani National Park, which was established in 1997. The towering volcano collects a great deal of rainfall, which tumbles down the mountain through a series of cold and cascading waterfalls below.

Most of the southern part of the island is a fertile plain where corn, rice, coffee, tobacco, and cotton are grown. However, parts of the southern side of the island are too arid to produce healthy crops.

My Favorite Temple On Lombok

Pura Batu Bolong (POOR-rah BAH-too BOH-lohgn ): This Hindu sea temple is one of the most interesting temples on Lombok. It sits on the rocky coast facing Bali’s holy mountain, Gunung Agung, while constantly absorbing large waves from the sea.

Batu Bolong temple Lombok Indonesia

It is located between Mataram and Senggigi. Visitors must wear a sash around their waist to enter the temple. For a small donation, you can borrow a sash from the attendant. A hole in the rock under the temple lets waves come through, which adds to the site’s charm. Located between Mataram and Senggigi.

Arts, Crafts, and Culture

Lombok is famous for its baskets and pottery. However, its artisans don’t use the bright colors found on Balinese art. Local artisans weave baskets tight enough to hold water. The unique local pottery often features inlaid eggshells and leafs to create an artistic flair. Some artisans weave basket cases around the pottery for an unusual effect. Local artisans incorporate geckos on much of their work because they believe that geckos bring them good luck.

On Lombok and Bali, you can tell the married women from the single ones by looking at the flower behind their ears. If the flower is placed behind the left ear, the woman is not married. A flower behind the right ear indicates that a woman is married. In addition, people on Lombok never wear yellow because they believe it is bad luck.

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

Bali’s Most Stunning Temples

Religion The Center Of Balinese Culture

No visit to Bali would be complete without a trip to see at least one of Bali’s many Hindu temples. There are over 20,000 pura (Balinese for temple) in Bali, a widespread marker of Bali’s reverent culture. The most impressive temples include:

Pura Besakih

The holiest of all temples in Bali, the Mother Temple of Pura Besakih is located some 3,000 feet up Gunung Agung in East Bali. This sprawling complex consolidates 23 separate temples, some dating back to the 10th century. The temple’s main axis aligns with the peak of Gunung Agung, the tallest mountain and holiest site on Bali.

Bali pura besakih

Pura Besakih narrowly escaped destruction in 1963, as lava flow from Gunung Agung’s killer eruption missed the temple by mere yards. Today, Pura Besakih is a major draw for tourists and for devout Balinese.

Pura Gunung Kawi

Located about a mile south of Tampaksiring, Bali’s “Valley of the Kings” is located in a ravine between ricefields. The Pakerisan river flows through this ravine, and the cliffs flanking the river feature shrines carved into the stone honoring kings and queens from the 11th century. The Balinese – big believers in the holiness of water – believe that the river sanctifies Pura Gunung Kawi.

Bali temple Gunung Kawi

The site isn’t a temple per se, nor is it a tomb – the royalty honored here were likely cremated according to Balinese custom.

Tirta Empul

The sacred spring that feeds Tirta Empul provides holy water for priests and bathing for ordinary Balinese, who believe that a dip hereabouts can bring good fortune and health. An offering must first be made at the temple before you can climb into the long main pool to bathe and meditate.

Bali tirta empul temple

Legend has it that the god Indra created the spring Tampaksiring (namesake of the nearby town) as an antidote to a poisonous spring created by an evil demon king. In reality, Tirta Empul was probably built in 926 AD during the Balinese Warmadewa dynasty. A villa complex nearby houses government VIPs; it was originally constructed for former President Sukarno in the 1950s.

Goa Gajah

Known as the Elephant Cave, Goa Gajah seems strangely free from elephants until you realize it takes its name from its proximity to the Elephant River. (Which is also strangely lacking in elephants.) Goa Gajah’s key attraction is the menacing entrance to the cave – the surrounding rock has been carved into a face, mouth agape.

Bali Goa Gajah

The interior of the cave features a statue of the Hindu god Ganesha and a worship area devoted to the Hindu god Shiva. Goa Gajah probably dates back to the 11th century, and is mentioned in a poem that dates back to the 1300s.

Pura Tanah Lot

Perhaps the most frequently featured temple on Bali’s postcards due to its unique offshore setting and sunset backdrops, Tanah Lot also happens to be one of Bali’s most important temples. Tanah Lot stands on a rock some distance from the shore, towering over the sea. Access to the temple is limited to low tide; even so, this picturesque temple is barraged by visitors.

Tanah Lot temple Bali

The temple’s construction was supposedly inspired by the priest Nirartha in the 15th century; after spending the night on the rock outcrop where the temple now stands, he instructed local fishermen to build a temple on that site. Today, Tanah Lot is regarded as one of Bali’s most important directional temples. A multimillion-dollar restoration effort in the 1990s saved Tanah Lot from falling into the sea.

As one of Bali’s most popular temples, Tanah Lot is surrounded by crowds and vendors. Do not visit if it’s peace and quiet you’re after, but do come if you’re after a great sunset view.

Pura Taman Ayun

Built in the 1600s by the King of Mengwi, Pura Taman Ayun survives today as a beautiful example of a royal public temple. The descendants of the Mengwi royal family still sponsor the temple, which also serves as the clan kawitantemple (a temple dedicated to the worship of the deified ancestors, in this case the previous rulers of the Mengwi royal family).

Bali's temple Taman Ayun

“Taman Ayun” means “beautiful garden”; a moat surrounds the temple, which gives the complex the appearance of floating on water. A landscaped front courtyard entered through an ornamental candi bentar (split front gate) adds to the temple’s beauty.

Pura Ulun Danau Bratan

This temple on the shores of Lake Bratan is second only to Pura Besakih in significance, but for rice farmers in Bali, this temple is the foremost on the island. Pura Ulun Danau Bratan is the primary temple in the many temples and shrines that punctuate the subak irrigation system popular in Bali. The temple is dedicated to the worship of the goddess of lakes and rivers, Dewi Batari Ulun Danau.

Lake Bratan temple Bali

Part of the temple is located on the mainland, while a significant section seems to “float” on the lake, being set on an island just off the mainland temple complex. An 11-roof meru (pagoda) sits on the island section, a towering beauty surrounded by a placid lake.

Pura Luhur Uluwatu

Pura Luhur Uluwatu is both a major Balinese temple – one of the six sad kahyangan revered by all Balinese – and the site of a nightly kecak performance that reenacts the Ramayana through chanting men, masked actors and a dramatic fire-dance.

Uluwatu temple Bali

Pura Luhur Uluwatu was first constructed by a Javanese Hindu guru in the 10th century. The whole temple stands on a cliff soaring 200 feet above a prime Bali surfing spot in the westernmost part of South Bali – the temple’s name refers to its position “at the head of the rock”, and visitors get an eyeful of the sea as it breaks against the base of the cliffs below. The view is especially beautiful during sunset.

Pura Goa Lawah

The temple of Pura Goa Lawah in East Bali iincludes a cave inhabited by thousands of bats. A black-sand beach nearby makes Goa Lawah a popular site for post-cremation purification, for the Balinese families that can afford it.

Bali pura goa lawah temple

The Javanese priest Nirartha supposedly visited the cave back in the 15th century. Legend has it that the cave interior extends over 19 miles underground to emerge at Pura Besakih.

For more information about Bali, visit http://indonesiantravelbook.com/bali-travel-tips/

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’s Top Travel Destinations

Travel To Bali, Borneo, Java, Sumatra

Indonesia is a huge country, in both population and land area, with significant cultural and geological diversity. With 18,110 islands, 6,000 of them inhabited, it is the largest archipelago in the world. The population of around 240 million people is derived from 300 ethnic groups who speak over 250 different languages. While Bali is usually the destination most familiar to foreign visitors, there is a wealth of other top tourist attractions in Indonesia to discover in this vast and varied country.

Lake Toba Sumatra Indonesia

Lake Toba, Sumatra. 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.

Indonesia orangutan conservation

Tanjung Puting, Kalimantan. The 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

Baliem Valley, Papua. The Baliem Valley in the highlands of Papua (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

Mount Bromo, Java. 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 Sulawesi scuba diving

Bunaken, Sulawesi. 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. The best time for diving in Bunaken is between the months of April and November.

Tanah toraja

Torajaland, Sulawesi. Torajaland (Tana 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.

Gili islands Lombok Beach

Gili Islands, Lombok. 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 dragon

Komodo National Park, 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 temple Java Indonesia

Borobudur, Java. 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.

Bali rice terraces

Bali. Bali is one of the world’s most popular island destinations and one which consistently wins travel awards. 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. The combination of friendly people, a magnificently visual culture infused with spirituality and spectacular beaches with great surfing and diving have made Bali the unrivaled number one tourist attraction in Indonesia.

Indonesian tourist destinations

Source: 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

Scuba Diving In Indonesia

Indonesia Is Diving Paradise

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. While place names such as Bali, Komodo, Java and Sumatra bring jungles and tigers and land-based adventure to mind, the underwater world here is simply in a class of its own.

scuba diving Indonesia

The diving is nothing short of outstanding. There’s exhilarating drift diving, extensive reef diving, fantastic night diving, unique muck diving and breathtaking steep walls. Tec divers probe the deep trenches and wreck divers love the many World War II relics. Still one of the few relatively undiscovered dive locations, Indonesia has something for divers of all levels.

Bali, one of the most popular places for learning to dive, is also a hot spot for giant sunfish encounters and has some stunning drop-offs. East of Bali is Komodo, where nutrient rich currents underpin a vibrant ecosystem and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Off Lombok, the Gili Islands are casual, beautiful and tranquil, with turtles, cuttle fish, octopus, lionfish and scorpion fish to delight new divers.

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

Best known for its tigers and orangutans, Sumatra’s diving is also stellar. The best sites are found off the northwestern coast in the shelter of islands such Pulau Weh. The deep waters here are home to abundant marine life,ranging from giant pelagics to marvelous macro critters.

The USAT Liberty Wreck, a 119-meters/390-foot US Army transport ship, was torpedoed in the Lombok Strait during the Second World War and lies just 30 meters/100 feet from shore in Tulamben Bay off Bali’s northeast coast. The deepest point is about 30 meters/100 feet. The structure attracts great barracuda, napoleon fish and scribbled file fish among myriad other marine denizens.

Indonesia scuba diving

A National Marine Park, Menjangan Island revels in legions of tropical fish, lush seascapes and pristine coral environments. It also has sea turtles, sharks, rays, eels and great schools of jacks.

Nusa Penida and its tiny sibling, Lembongan Island, are current-washed pelagic attraction devices. Over the healthy hard coral substrate, look for sunfish, mantas, sharks, eagle rays, turtles and big shoals of trevally and sweet lips. The currents can be strong as well as surprisingly brisk.

Just off of Lombok, the three Gili Islands  Trawangan, Meno and Air – are small, casual islands boasting white, sandy beaches and excellent diving. Currents can be quite strong and drift diving is the norm along the walls, ridges, canyons and slopes. You’ll encounter cuttlefish, octopus, lion fish and scorpion fish. If your trip coincides with a full moon, you’ll also get to see the school of huge bump head parrot fish that visit the area. Others critters include a variety of rays, sea snakes, reef sharks, moray eels, the occasional whale shark, masses of turtles (both green and hawks bill) and an immeasurable variety of hard and soft corals. The environment is well cared for as the Gili Eco Trust collects contributions from visiting divers and snorkelers to fund special projects such as beach cleanups, recycling initiatives and reef conservation activities.

Komodo Island is directly south of Sulawesi. The national park is legendary for its “dragons” – the world’s largest living lizard – but it’s the ocean that draws divers. With strong currents, Komodo is best for intermediate to advanced divers. But, those strong currents also bring nutrient-rich waters and sustain a remarkable variety of marine life. Dive Komodo and you’ll likely see a multitude of fish and some larger pelagics and marine mammals such as mantas, dolphins and sharks.

Labuan Bajo is the gateway to Komodo, Banta and Rinca Islands and Komodo Marine Park. There are dozens of dives sites within day boat reach and hundreds in reach of dive safaris 8-10 hours away. The best known of these, Manta Alley, End of the World and German Flag, lie to the South of Komodo.

Indonesia sailing

South of Rinca Island the water is cooler and more exposed to the Indian Ocean. Dive sites here include Cannibal Rock (a lush seamount covered with extraordinary invertebrate life, pygmy seahorses, frogfish, dozens of nudibranchs and abundant Coleman shrimp) and Batu Tiga (frequented by big pelagics such as mantas, sharks, masses of trevally and eagle rays).

To the north of Gili Lawa Laut are Crystal Rock and Castle Rock, where reef sharks, turtles, barracuda, yellow fin tuna, wobbegong, grey reef and bull sharks thrive. Lighthouse Reef offers nearly endless drift dives (bring a surface signaling device) on a variety of dive sites with sharks, turtles, dolphins, mantas, trevally, surgeonfish and rays regularly encountered.

North Sulawesi offers a plethora of dive sites and is suitable for divers of all experience levels. Near Manado, one of the top dive destinations, Bunaken Marine Park, comprises 89,065 hectares / 220,000 acres and boasts clear water, steep walls and world-class coral gardens. You are likely to encounter large schools of fish, spinner dolphins and pilot whales. You can also spot many of the other 2000 species in the area – including seahorses, scorpion fish, octopus, sea fans, sponges, whip corals, hard corals and nudibranchs. Near Molas Beach, just outside Manado on the mainland coast, you’ll find the wreck of the Molas. This Dutch freighter sank during the World War II and its hull has become home for many fish species.

Lembeh is renowned for macro diving over a moonscape of black sand. The dive sites at Lembeh Strait have wonderful names: Nudi Falls, Hairball, Police Pier and Angel’s Window. Hairy frogfish, stargazers, flamboyant cuttlefish, Ambon scorpion fish, mimic octopus,decorator crabs, seahorses, snake eels and leaf scorpion fish top the list of what divers flock here to view.

Batee Meureuron is a rocky outcrop washed by strong currents. It’s a great place to see clown fish in their host anemones, stingrays, turtles, moray eels and big schools of black snappers hanging out in the shallow water between the rocks. Seulako’s Drift lets you fly while diving. You’ll soar over rocks, hard corals and gorgonians in the deeps and fields of soft leather corals in the shallows. It’s a high voltage dive. For a unique experience, the Hotsprings are a must see. In a small area, hot water bubbles up from the sandy bottom. The cracks and vents change shape and size every dive. It’s definitely worth diving.

Wakatobi

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. 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 travel information

Raja Empat 

The waters of Raja Empat (not “Ampat.” Spelled correctly, it means “four kings”) boast more than 1200 marine life species. This is generally live-aboard country with some stunning dive sites. The reefs at Kofiau are crammed 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.

Indonesia scuba diving

Indonesia Dive Summary

Depths: From snorkeling to beyond 40 meters/140 feet.

Visibility: Six meters/20 feet to more than 50 meters/160 feet, depending on area and timeof year.

Currents: Mild, but currents vary throughout. In some areas,currents can be very strong.

Water Temperature: Temperatures range from 20-28° C/71-85° F throughout the year, depending upon site and island.

Dive Season: All year but the best time to visit is from May to September. The monsoon season runs from December to June. Sunfish sighting season runs from July to October.

Weather: Indonesia is tropical with a consistently warm, humid climate. Temperatures range from 23-30° C/73-86° F in coastal areas throughout the year. At sea or in the mountains, the climate tends to be cooler. The dry season runs from June to October while December and January can be very wet.

Access: There are direct flights from most countries into Bali and Jakarta. You can access the rest of the region from either of those hubs. Shore diving and boat diving – including live-aboard trips – are common.

Skill Level: From non diver to advanced. Certain areas in Indonesia are perfect for learning to dive while opportunities for advanced divers, especially in current-rich environments, also abound.

Scuba Gear: Tropical dive equipment is common. PADI Dive Centers and Resorts frequently offer full hire facilities, usually including dive computers, but it’s always best to bring as much of your own equipment as possible.

Length of stay: Two weeks allows for some travel between the islands.

Featured Creatures: More than 3500 marine species live in Indonesian waters. From pygmy seahorses and schooling hammerhead sharks to manta rays and sunfish (mola mola), 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.

Indonesia News Source http://www.padi.com/scuba/scuba-diving-trips/scuba-diving-resort-vacations/diving-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

Garuda Indonesia Raises Passenger Target

Indonesia’s Tourism Booming

Having a population of around 245 million people and comprising about 17,500 islands stretching from Papua to Sumatra, Indonesia is a very promising market for the airline industry.

“The market potential that had not yet been exploited was large,” National flag carrier Garuda Indonesia President Director Emirsyah Satar stated in Jakarta last week.

golf Indonesia

Indonesia’s air traffic passengers rose to 94.9 million last year or 39 percent of the total population of the country, which was 244.5 million. While in several other countries the number of air traffic passengers was higher than the population of the countries, for example, Singapore, which had an air traffic passenger of 39 million while its population was only 5.4 million or 722 percent of its total population.

The country’s flourishing economy had also contributed to the airline industry’s improving potential. Indonesia was predicted to become the worlds seventh biggest economy by 2030.

Sumatra tiger conservation

As part of its business expansion strategies, Garuda had improved its services, convenience and security as well as established alliances with a number of other airlines by joining the SkyTeam. The airline had received the certificate of IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) from IATA, meaning that Garuda had fully met the international flight security standard.

Garuda, which carried 90,108 Indonesian hajj pilgrims to Saudi Arabia last year, won the title of “The Best Airline” for the Hajj Season 1434H/2013 from the kingdoms Abdul Aziz International Airport aviation authorities. Last year, it also won “The Worlds Best Economy Class 2013″ award from Syktrax and was placed 13th in the Skytrax Global Airline Rankings. Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Singapore Airlines ranked first, second and third, respectively, in the Global Airline Rankings 2013.

surf Sumatra

“With the successes that were achieved over the past few years, Garuda Indonesia had made a quantum leap to develop and dominate the Indonesian aviation market,” he asserted. Its strategies to boost growth include expansion, fleet rejuvenation, brand strengthening, improvement of its product and service quality, efficiency in cost structure and improvement of the human resources quality and quantity.

In 2014, Garuda Indonesia had set a target to serve 30 million passengers, an increase from 25 million passengers who flew with Garuda in 2013.

“We target an increase of 15-20 percent in 2014,” Emirsyah Satar stated.

Garuda booked an operational income of US$3.72 billion in 2013, up seven percent from the previous year. However, Garuda recorded a decrease in its profit from US$168.1 million in 2012 to US$56.4 million last year, because of its investments in fleet expansion and Citilink as a low-cost carrier. The seat load factor (SLF) in 2013 marginally dropped to 74.1 percent from 75.9 percent in the previous year.

Indonesia orangutan conservation

“The performance of Garuda in 2013 was severely affected by the rupiah depreciation and high growth as well as investments on improving the airlines position in the future,” he explained.

In the first quarter of last year, Garuda expanded flight networking to six new international routes to Europe and the Middle East–Frankfurt, Brussels, Milan, Dusseldorf, Munich, and Bahrain–served by Ettihad Airways. In the second quarter, Garuda signed a funding agreement for two jetliners B777-300ER using the Syariah (Islamic law) principle and paid syndicated debts worth US$55 million, which was a commercial loan from Citi Club Deal. In the third quarter, Garuda paid debts of US$75 million from Indonesia Exim Bank.

Expanding its businesses, the airlines started flying to nine domestic destinations and 25 domestic routes that contribute to an 80 percent increase in its domestic flights per day. It also plans to open three new international destinations in 2014. “The new international flight destinations were London, England; Manila, the Philippines; and Mumbai, India,” Emirsyah Satar said.

Flores Indonesia

Last year, Garuda Indonesia had opened two international destinations and six international routes. The new routes were expected to develop and to strengthen the airline’s flight network as well as to meet the anticipated increase in the number of airline passengers.

The airline until the end of 2013 had 140 airplane, consisting of 23 company-owned ones and 117 leased ones. Of the total, 30 airplane were operated by Citilink, its subsidiary, with 25 leased and five company-owned airplane. He pointed out that Garuda’s aircraft were younger, from mostly 6.5 years old in 2011 to 5.8 years old in 2012.

To support its flights to new routes, Garuda planned to increase its fleet from 140 at the end of 2013 to 169 planes by the end of this year.

“We will increase our fleet to 169 in 2014,” Garudas CEO Satar said. “We will increase the number of our airplanes prudently based on growth,” he added.

Indonesia Travel Guide

Indeed, the aviation sector in the Asia-Pacific region, including Indonesia, according to Airbus research, was the fastest-growing market and was expected to need 11 thousand airplanes in the next 20 years.

“There was no doubt that the Asia Pacific market was important currently as well as in the future,” Airbus chief operating officer John Leahy said in a written statement on April 1, 2014.

In view of that, he stated that Airbus will continue dominating sales in the region because the company had the type of aircraft needed by airline companies in the region. He asserted that various airline companies in the Asia-Pacific region will receive 10,940 passenger and cargo airplanes from 2013 until 2032, worth a total of US$1.8 trillion.

“This represented 37 percent of the total deliveries across the world in the next 20 years surpassing those for Europe, North America and the Middle East,” he added.

Indonesian art and culture

Regionally, Garuda Indonesia was ready to compete in a free market after the implementation of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.

“Garuda Indonesia had prepared itself with marketing and operational strategies,” General Manager of Garuda Indonesia for Manado branch Piktor Sitohang said.

Garuda’s subsidiary budget airline Citilink had also expanded its operation internationally by launching its first international flight service from Surabaya in East Java, Indonesia, to Johor Baru, Malaysia, recently. Citilink also planned to serve the routes between Surabaya and Kuala Lumpur next month, Singapore in May and later Hong Kong, Taipei and Perth.

The airline hoped to facilitate transport for migrant workers, tourists and other passengers to those cities, Citilink CEO Arif Wibowo said recently. Arif said Citilink hoped to fly 800,000 Indonesian migrant workers to and from the five cities a year.

Citilink operates a fleet of 24 units of the latest series of Airbus A320, including two units of the Sharklets type, to serve 32 domestic routes.

Source: http://www.antaranews.com/en/news/93502/garuda-indonesia-sets-ambitious-target-in-2014

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

Borneo Countries Push For Common Visa

Plan Promotes Island Tourism

Foreigners visiting Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia will only have to apply for a single visa if an agreement could be reached between the three countries on the framework. Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said he had discussed the matter with his counterpart from Brunei when the latter was here recently and there shall be a follow-up discussion in Miri.

“Officially, we are discussing with Brunei. We have asked Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz to discuss with his counterpart from Indonesia.

Sulawesi sunset

“Meaning that if the visitors have visa issued by any of the countries, they are able to travel in these three countries – Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia,” he told a press conference after attending a dinner with the business community in the state and airline operators from China and Hong Kong on Sunday.

Abang Johari said within the context of BIMP-Eaga and Malindo, the state government will hold talks with Kalimantan provincial governments once the Indonesian government had given the green light to the framework.

“For immigration purpose, we can initiate it and then work together with Tourism Ministry and Home Ministry on that and perhaps the Foreign Affairs Ministry. There is actually a framework now to work together.”

Indonesia travel information

He noted that so far in the Asean region, only Thailand and Cambodia had reached an agreement for a single visa to visit the two countries.

In a related development, Abang Johari spoke of a new trend in the tourism sector towards adventure and nature, rather than the beach.

“Last time it was the sun and beach but now they (tourists) want something challenging and adventurous. Somebody commented to me why don’t we have flying fox to be done here in Kuching and I said wait until we got all the facilities.”

Based on the feedback he got from a tourism industry player from Hong Kong, he said many young people there prefer to go for adventures.

“For them, there is a catchment of 100 million people along the Pearl River. These are some of the young people who want to experience adventure and we can try to formulate a certain package in order to cater for these people, including for the expatriates working in Hong Kong.”

boat travel across Borneo

Abang Johari said he would visit Hong Kong and China at the end of April to aggressively promote Sarawak to the two states, adding that he believed that the state could reach out to the market there with the support of stakeholders in the two areas.

“I must admit, our promotion effort previously was not that great. We were a little lacking in terms of promotion. This time around, we have to be aggressive.”

In terms of the shopping patterns among Sarawakians, Abang Johari said he noticed nowadays that many of them liked to visit Hong Kong to spend their weekends and go to Guangzhou for shopping.

Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2014/03/11/sarawak-hopes-for-common-visa-for-malaysia-brunei-and-indonesia/#ixzz2vlBYTsVx

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 Creates World’s Largest Manta Ray Sanctuary

Ocean Conservation Important To Indonesia

Good news for Indonesia’s scuba diving enthusiasts. The Manta Trust, WildAid, Blue Sphere Media, the Indonesian Manta Project and Save Our Seas Foundation are today celebrating the signing of a new regulation creating the world’s largest manta sanctuary, encompassing a massive 6 million square kilometers of ocean, enforcing full protection for Oceanic and Reef Manta Rays (Manta birostris and Manta alfredi) in Indonesia. The Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Pak Agus Dermawan, signed the agreement in Jakarta; the event was attended by the Ministry of Tourism, national and international NGOs as well global media.

Indonesia Manta Ray conservation

“Manta rays thrive in Indonesian waters and it is one of the only places in the world where divers and snorkelers can encounter both species at the same time and place,” said Sarah Lewis, Indonesian Manta Project Leader. Realizing the value of a living manta ray as a sustainable source of income through tourism, Indonesia’s forward thinking move to legally protect its manta rays will not only ensure the survival of this vulnerable species but will provide economic benefits for many local communities for generations to come. Coming from one of the world’s largest manta fishing nations this news marks a milestone for manta conservation and awareness not just nationally but on a global scale.”

Indonesia travel information

Manta rays are regarded as one of the most charismatic marine species in the world. In recent years manta ecotourism has grown in popularity across their tropical, sub-tropical and temperate range. A peer-reviewed study led by WildAid, The Manta Trust and Shark Savers estimated that manta ecotourism generates USD$140 million in annual revenues globally; and USD$15 million per year in Indonesia alone, making the species vital for many Indonesian communities who rely on ecotourism for their livelihood. However, manta rays are highly threatened by targeted fisheries which annually generate USD$400,000 in comparison. Although there is clear evidence that stocks are in decline, these fisheries continue to increase their fishing efforts, posing a huge threat to the survival of populations.

Manta rays are targeted for their gill plates, which are sold as a medicinal tonic on the Asian market. However there is no historical foundation in Traditional Chinese Medicine and no scientifically proven health benefits.

Research carried out by WildAid and Manta Trust’s Manta Ray of Hope campaign revealed the growing threat to manta and mobula species due to this growing market and these organizations remain heavily involved in the continued conservation of the species. Both organizations provided critical data and media in support of the 2013 CITES Appendix II listing of both Manta species, including The Manta Trust’s mobulid species identification guide.

Indonesia Travel Guide

The Manta Trust and the Indonesia Manta Ray Project continue to research and monitor the Indonesian population, aiming to increase our knowledge base and understanding. The project aims to identify and map manta ray distributions throughout Indonesia, whilst conducting research into the ecology and biology of these populations. A large aspect of the project is to examine the scale and impact of manta fisheries, working closely with the local community to increase awareness and support of alternative, sustainable incomes. Recognizing that manta rays are a vital source of revenue for many communities, the Indonesian Manta project also surveys their current and potential contribution to eco-tourism.

“Manta rays are iconic species, they symbolize what is at stake if we choose not to protect our oceans and their inhabitants for our future generations,” saidGuy Stevens, Chief Executive of the Manta Trust. “The Indonesian Government’s decision to legally protect manta rays is a great step along the road to effective conservation of these increasingly vulnerable species. I applaud the government for this positive action and I strongly urge other nations to follow in their footsteps”

“Indonesia’s decision to protect manta rays will not only help the species, it will safeguard nascent manta ray ecotourism to generate many hundred times more revenue and jobs than the destructive gill trade,” said WildAid’s Executive Director Peter Knights. “We hope that other nations will follow their lead.”

Source: http://saveourseas.com/blog/indonesia_announces_the_worlds_largest_manta_sanctuary_encompassing_a_massi

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

Bali Expects More Tourists From China

Bali A Top Destination For Asians

Bali will likely welcome more Chinese tourists this year, thanks to a new direct flight by Hainan Airline starting mid-January. The upcoming Chinese New Year will also cause a rise in Chinese visitors until early next month, as many will vacation on the island.

According to Indonesia’s official tourism website, run by the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry, Hainan Airline — China’s fourth largest airline — will launch regular flights, three times a week, between Beijing and Bali on Jan. 15.

golf Indonesia

The flight serving the Bali route will operate every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The trip from Beijing to Bali will take around seven-and-a-half hours, the shortest time from northern China to Bali. Bambang Sugiono, a member of the Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies (ASITA) focusing on serving Chinese tourists, said Monday that the flight would contribute significantly to Chinese tourist arrivals, which is already high at present.

Chinese tourists unable to get tickets for direct flights were willing to take indirect flights via Jakarta. He estimated that the number of Chinese tourists flying to Bali could be as high as 1,000 per day. In operating this new flight, Hainan Airline is partnering with Caissa Touristic (Group) AG, which will offer unique packages for Chinese tourists to enjoy the island’s beauty, as well as its unique culture.

surf Sumatra

On the inaugural flight, Chinese mainstream media consisting of TV channels, radio stations, websites and newspapers, will be invited, staying in Bali for one week to explore various attractions on the island and in surrounding areas.

The flights are expected to generate 30,000 Chinese tourists. According to the National Statistics Bureau of China, each tourist is expected to spend on average US$3,000. Therefore, with this new flight, Chinese tourists will contribute around $90 million to Bali and other destinations in Indonesia.

During the period January to November last year, Bali welcomed 361,311 Chinese tourists, an increase of 9.68 percent from the 329,425 tourists during the same period in 2012, data from the Bali office of the Central Statistics Bureau (BPS) showed. China ranked second after Australia for foreign tourist arrivals to the province.

Monkey Forest Ubud

Tourism businessman Bagus Sudibya welcomed the new direct flight, saying it indicated that Bali remained a very attractive market for China. He said China continued to have potential for Bali’s tourism, as many of the Chinese people visiting Bali had high spending and a length of stay of between five to seven days.

However, he regretted that many travel agents/tour operators sold tour packages to Bali at a very low price.

“Bali shouldn’t be sold at a cheap price. The tour packages should have been offered at higher prices, so that the high arrival of Chinese tourists really provided a significant contribution for Bali,” he said.

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/01/07/more-chinese-tourists-expected.html

Indonesia tourism marketing and public relations firm

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

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia

Indonesia Cave Reveals Historic Tsunamis

Tsunamis Nothing New To Indonesia

A cave discovered near the source of Indonesia’s massive earthquake-spawned tsunami contains the footprints of past gigantic waves dating up to 7,500 years ago, a rare natural record that suggests the next disaster could be centuries away — or perhaps only decades.

The findings provide the longest and most detailed timeline for tsunamis that have occurred off the far western tip of Sumatra island in Aceh province. That’s where 30-metre waves triggered by a magnitude-9.1 earthquake on Dec. 26, 2004, killed 230,000 people in several countries, more than half of them in Indonesia.

surf Sumatra

The limestone cave, located within a couple meters of the coast near Banda Aceh, is about one meter above knee-high tide and protected from storms and wind. Only huge waves that inundate the coastal area are able to gush inside.

Researchers in 2011 uncovered seabed sand deposits that were swept into the cave over thousands of years and neatly layered between bat droppings like a geological cake. Radiocarbon analysis of materials, including clamshells and the remains of microscopic organisms, provided evidence of 11 tsunamis before 2004.

The disasters were by no means evenly spaced, said lead researcher Charles Rubin from the Earth Observatory of Singapore. The last one occurred about 2,800 years ago, but there were four others in the preceding 500 years.

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And it’s possible there were others. Researchers know, for instance, that there were two mammoth earthquakes in the region around 1393 and 1450. Rubin said a big tsunami could have carried away evidence of other events through erosion. The scientists are still working to determine the size of the waves that entered the cave.

“The take-home message is perhaps that the 2004 event doesn’t mean it won’t happen for another 500 years,” said Rubin, who added that the cave was discovered by chance and not part of planned field work. “We did see them clustered together closer in time. I wouldn’t put out a warning that we’re going to have an earthquake, but it shows that the timing is really variable.”

Sulawesi sunset

The quake that triggered the 2004 tsunami surprised scientists because the fault that unleashed the megathrust temblor had been quiet for hundreds of years. And since the last big earthquake had struck more than 500 years earlier, there was no surviving oral history that could have helped people understand the risk.

Since 2004, much research has been done to try to learn about the area’s past by examining sand deposits, uplifted coral and GPS data.

“The findings are very significant,” Katrin Monecke, a geosciences professor at Wellesley College in Massachusetts wrote in an email. She worked on tsunami sand deposits discovered in marshes in the area, but was not involved with the cave research, which was presented this month at an American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco. “The sand sheets in the cave cover a very long time span and give an excellent idea about earthquake frequency.”

Despite the long record preserved in the cave, Rubin said it did not provide any clear clues about tsunami frequency or when events might happen in a relatively close period of time.

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Geologist Kerry Sieh, director of the Singapore group and also part of the cave investigation, has predicted that another monster quake could rock the area in the next few decades. They tend to come in cycles and the 2004 temblor heaped more pressure on the fault. However, the history is so variable, it’s impossible to make an exact forecast.

“By learning about the type of tsunamis that happened in the past, maybe we can do planning for mitigation for the next tsunami,” said Nazli Ismail, head of the physics and geophysics department at Syiah Kuala University in Banda Aceh who worked on the project.

Indonesia is an archipelago located on the so-called “Ring of Fire,” a horseshoe of fault lines and volcanoes surrounding the Pacific Basin. It is home to some of the world’s biggest and deadliest seismic activity.

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/sci-tech/indonesia-cave-reveals-tsunamis-dating-back-7-500-years-at-2004-site-1.1606582#ixzz2oaq3zzBr

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

Sumatra On High Alert Over Volcano Activity

Indonesia Has Most Active Volcanoes

The alert status for one of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes has been raised to the highest level after it repeatedly sent hot clouds of gas down its slope following a series of eruptions.

Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra province unleashed fresh volcanic ash and gravel as high as 5000 meters and searing gas down its slope up to 2km, said a government volcanologist, Surono, who like many Indonesians uses one name.

Mt. Bromo Java Indonesia

The 2600-meter-high mountain has sporadically erupted since September after being dormant for three years.

“We are in a situation of high alert due to the danger of searing gas,” Surono said, adding that authorities had urged people to stay at least 5km away from the crater.

About 12,300 evacuees from eight villages around the mountain were packed on Sunday in crowded government camps away from the fiery crater, while more than 6000 others fled earlier to temporary shelters in 16 safe locations, said National Disaster Mitigation spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

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Transportation Ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan said airlines had been notified to avoid routes near the volcano.

The volcano’s last eruption, in August 2010, killed two people and forced 30,000 others to flee. It caught many scientists off guard because it had been quiet for four centuries.

Mount Sinabung is among around 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia, which is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.

Mt. Merapi Java Indonesia

Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/indonesia-raises-volcano-alert-level/story-fn3dxix6-1226767459979#sthash.Z1kayvM2.dpuf

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