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.

Indonesia Should Be Your Next Destination

15 Reasons To Visit Indonesia

via Telegraph Travel

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

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

Jakarta, Indonesia tourism

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

Komodo dragon Indonesia

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

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

Sumatra tiger conservation

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

Bunaken scuba diving Indonesia

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

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

Mt. Merapi Java Indonesia

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

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

merchants on Kuta beach

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

Lombok travel tips

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

Read The Entire Article About Indonesia’s Top Destinations

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia

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

Indonesia Allows More Tourists To Visit Without Visa

Australians Left Off List Over Human Rights Criticism

Indonesia will soon allow tourists from an additional 30 countries to visit without a visa, but neighboring Australia was left off the list amid a row over looming executions of foreign prisoners.

The move comes as Jakarta seeks to boost a faltering economy, while attracting more foreign income as the rupiah rapidly weakens. Indonesia currently only allows tourists from 15 countries, mostly in Southeast Asia, to visit without a visa. People from a number of other countries can buy one upon arrival.

Mt. Bromo Java Indonesia

 

The 30 countries added to the list are mainly European, but also include China, Russia and several others in Asia, the United States and some nations in the Middle East and Africa, Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said.

“People who want to travel to Indonesia won’t need to worry about a visa any more,” Yahya said on Monday. “We hope that we can attract an additional one million foreign tourists,” he added.

Indonesia has long lagged behind its neighbors in attracting foreign visitors. In 2013, 8.8 million foreign visitors came to Indonesia, according to official figures, compared with 25.72 million in Malaysia and 26.55 million in Thailand.

Australia – which accounted for more than 10 percent of Indonesia’s foreign visitors in 2013 – was not included in the list of countries whose citizens will no longer require a visa. Ties between Indonesia and Australia have deteriorated in recent months as Jakarta prepares to execute two Australian drug traffickers on death row who were convicted of trying to smuggle heroin out of Bali.

Bali Indonesia tourism

Yahya denied the row had played a role, suggesting that Australia was excluded from the list because its own policy required visiting Indonesians to have a visa.

“If we give visa-free travel to Australia, we have to be given the same thing,” Yahya said. “It cannot be that we give it to them first.”

Lombok Indonesia snorkeling

Indonesia’s economy has been hard hit as investors withdraw funds and redirect them back towards more developed markets, which have recently been showing signs of renewed strength. The economic woes have seen the rupiah sink to a 17-year low against the dollar in recent days.

Indonesia Tourism News via http://www.scmp.com/news/asia/article/1740576/indonesia-allow-tourists-30-more-countries-visit-without-visa

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