Tuesday, 14 October 2008

LOMBOK ISLAND



Geography & Climate

The island of Lombok is located east of Bali. Tourism is not quite as developed yet as Bali and it is that reason which makes Lombok the perfect getaway. Escape to picturesque mountainside landscapes to white sand beaches of the Gili Islands. A place to relax and unwind from the daily life back home. Lombok also has the third largest volcano in all of Indonesia, Mount Rinjani, which extends 3726 meters high with a crater lake called Segara Anak.



The main season here are wet season which starts from November to May and dry season start from May-October. The best time to come is in the month of May when the weather is just perfect with bright daylight and green scenery.

People & Religion

The local inhabitants of Lombok are called Sasaks. They speak Indonesian as well as their local Sasak language. The other main ethnicity’s include Balinese, Chinese, Arabian, and Javanese.

Lombok has three main districts with three capital cities: Mataram in the west, Praya in central and Selong in east Lombok. The majority of commerce is in the capital city of Mataram in west Lombok. The majority of the population on Lombok are Muslims. Every Friday around 12.30 noon, Muslims go to the mosques just like Christians go to church on Sunday. Therefore, on that day most businesses and government offices are closed half day and then re-open again after praying (not including Senggigi).
If you are planning on traveling around the island and visiting small villages it is more respectable to wear slacks or knee length shorts, a shirt with sleeves or a sarong. If you happened to be here during Ramadan, which is the Muslim month of fasting from sunrise to sunset, please do not to eat, drink or smoke out in the open public during this month long fast. Even though the people don’t seem bothered in the common tourist areas like, Senggigi and the Gili islands, it is better to respect the people and not eat or smoke openly.



Wetu Telu

Wetu telu is an unique religion that that blends Islam - Animism and is only found in north Lombok.

It roots stem from the village of Bayan in the north.



The people who practice this still consider themselves Muslims but they have their own rituals in addition to the normal Muslim ones. One such ceremony is Nyiu, that takes place 1000 days after someone dies.

The relatives of the deceased offer material things like clothing, toothbrushes, food, dishes, mattresses, etc. so the deceased will be pleased in heaven.



Money & Local Currencies

When changing money there are many money changers in Lombok. The best rates are usually in Senggigi. Money changers prefer new, clean large bills and will accept smaller denominations at a lower rate. If you have traveler’s checks the rate will be less than bank notes.



Be sure to count your money before you leave money changers. You can also check local banks but the rate is slightly lower than outside. Re-count the money in front of the money changer reception is a must, as usually there's a quick tricky way how they can steal your money.



A suggestion when changing money. If you plan on making small purchases be sure to carry small denominations with you because many sellers do not have change. The Rupiah come in denominations of 100,000, 50,000, 10,000, 5,000, 1,000, and 500, 100 in coin.



Vehicle Rentals:

Dont miss Lombok's beautiful scenery. If you choose to rent a car or motorcycles and drive yourself, you must have an International Driving License.

Renting a car is a good alternative to get around Lombok, either self driving or with driver so you can relax and enjoy the view. (Tip driver pocket money for meals if you stop for lunch or dinner). If you are pleased with service, tip ( Rp. 20,000 minimum). If you collide with anything, or it collides with you, you are responsible for all cost.



Motorcycles are a convenient and inexpensive way to get around the Island, but Tourists are frequently injured in motorbike accident. If you rent a bike, drive slowly and very defensively. Helmets are required by law but those provided by rental agencies offer little protection.



Business Hours

Indonesian work in the morning to avoid the heat of the day. If you need to visit a government office, arrive between 08 AM and 11:30 AM. This also apply to banks and private businesses. Government offices close early on Fridays and Saturdays. Generally offices are open 07:30AM - 3 PM Monday - Thursday, 07:00AM - noon on Friday. Banks and Government Offices are closed on Saturday and Sunday.



Cell Phone

Cellular phone in Indonesia is GSM. If you have brought your cellular hand phone, you can purchase prepaid calling cards to make outgoing calls at lower cost than calling on your home SIM. Shops which sell these cards are prolific. Major service providers are: Telkomsel, Satelindo and XL Ritel. Look for signs and banners with those markings.



Health and Medical Info

Most hotels have on call doctors. For what it is known by Australian as "Bali Belly", Iomotil and Imodium eliminate Symptoms, but not infections. A fever along with the symptoms requires doctor prescribed antibiotics. Drink as much as liquid as possible. For discomfort, diarrhea, and cramping, drink strong, hot tea; avoid fruits and spicy food. Drink only bottled water or boiled water (air putih).



Peel the fruit before eating; avoid raw vegetables except at reputable restaurants. Ice in restaurants is safe. Protect yourself from the intense equatorial sun. Use sun block and hat. Sexually transmitted diseases are increasing in Indonesia. Local sex workers have multiple partners from all over the world. Act responsibly and use condoms, available over the counter at pharmacies.



Things To Take Back Home

Wanting to take back something from Lombok? Lombok has great woven textiles like songkets and ikats that can be used as a sarong, wall hanging, table cloth and more. The design woven is special to each weaver and it is passed down through the generations before. There is a traditional hand weaving village in Puyung, central Lombok. You can even try on a traditional Sasak costume.



Banyumulek (West Lombok), Penujak (Central Lombok) and Masbagik (East Lombok) are famous villages in Lombok for making pottery. Lombok pottery has gained popularity and is shipped throughout the world. There is a wide range of selections and it can custom made to your liking. We hope to develop the economy of the area by directly meet them with serious buyer from all over the world.



There are many traditional handicrafts you could take back as a souvenir i.e. wooden masks, baskets made out of ketak grass, wooden boxes designed with bits of shells, or other things made from bamboo or rattan.

(source :http://www.lombok-network.com)

Thursday, 11 September 2008

BALI

Bali is one of over 13,000 islands in the Indonesian archipelago and is located just over 2 kilometres from the eastern tip of the island of Java and west of the island of Lombok. The island home of approximately 4 million people is approximately 144 kilometres from east to west and 80 kilometres north to south.

The islands varied landscape of hills and mountains, rugged coastlines and sandy beaches, lush rice terraces and barren volcanic hillsides provide a picturesque backdrop to the colourful and deeply spiritual culture of this 'Island of The Gods'.

the word paradise is used a lot in Bali, and not without reason. The combination of friendly, hospitable people, a magnificently visual culture infused with spirituality and (not least) spectacular beaches with great surfing and diving have made Bali Indonesia's unparalleled number one tourist attraction. Eighty percent of international visitors to Indonesia visit Bali and Bali alone.

The popularity is not without its flip sides — once paradisaical Kuta has degenerated into a congested warren of concrete, touts and scammers live on overcharging tourists, and the island's visibility has even drawn the unwanted attention of terrorists in 2002 and 2005 — but Bali has managed to retain its magic. Bali is a wonderful destination with something for everyone, and though heavily travelled, it is still easy to find some peace and quiet if you like.

Balinese dance and music are also justly famous. As on Java, the gamelan orchestra and wayang kulit shadow puppet theater predominate. Dances include:
  • barong or "lion dance" — a ritual dance depicting the fight between good and evil, with performers wearing fearsome lion-like masks
  • kecak or "monkey dance" — Actually invented in the 1930s by early German resident Walter Spies for a movie but a spectacle nonetheless, with up to 250 dancers in concentric circles chanting "kecak kecak", while a performer in the center acts out a spiritual dance

Festivals

Odalan procession

Odalan procession

There are an estimated 20,000 temples (pura) on the island, each of which holds festivals (odalan) at least twice a year and there are many other auspicious days throughout the year, meaning that there are always festivities going on.

There are some large festivals celebrated islandwide, but their dates are determined by two local calendars. The 210-day wuku or Pawukon calendar is completely out of sync with the Western calendar, meaning that it rotates wildly throughout the year.The lunar saka (caka)

calendar roughly follows the Western year.

  • Funerals, called pitra yadnya, are another occasion of pomp and ceremony, when the deceased (often several at a time) are ritually cremated in extravagantly colorful rituals.
  • Galungan (next held on 20th August 2008). A 10-day festival celebrating the death of the tyrant Mayadenawa. Gods and ancestors visit earth and are greeted with gift-laden bamboo poles called penjor lining the streets. The last day of the festival is known as Kuningan.
  • Nyepi, or Hindu New Year, usually March/April (next held on March 26, 2009). This is the one festival worth avoiding: on Nyepi, also known as the Day of Absolute Silence, absolutely everything on the island is shut down and tourists are confined to their hotels (find somewhere with a pool). However if you are in Bali in the weeks preceding Nyepi you will see amazing colourful giants (Ogoh Ogoh) being created by every banjar throughout the island. On Nyepi Eve the Ogoh Ogoh are paraded through the streets, an amazing sight, not to be missed especially in Denpasar.

Nyepi is a very special day to the Balinese as this is the day that they have to fool all evil spirits that no-one is actually on Bali - hence the need for silence. If this can be achieved, then it is believed that the evil spirits will go looking elsewhere for their prey and leave Bali island alone for another year. Balinese people are very religious and life is full of ritual - Nyepi is one of the most important days in their calendar. Police and security are on hand to make sure that everyone abides by this rule.

Nyepi also serves to remind the Balinese of the need for tolerance and understanding in their everyday life. In fact, Hinduism on Bali is unique because it is woven into and around the original Balinese animistic religion. The two now have become one for the Balinese - a true sign of tolerance and acceptance!

All national public holidays covered in Indonesia also apply, although Ramadan is naturally a

much smaller event here than in the country's Muslim regions.

Get in

By plane

Most visitors will arrive at Denpasar's Ngurah Rai international airport: Tel.: (62)(361) 751011. You can fly to Bali from major cities in Indonesia (Jakarta, Surabaya, Makassar etc) or from major cities in Asia and Australia.

Many travelers try to search for 'Bali' using travel websites and so for. It should be noted that Ngurah Rai's airport code is DPS. The airport is actually located between Kuta & Jimbaran and roughly 30 mins away from Denpasar.

I

n the low-cost carrier set:

Note that if you are flying internationally into Ngurah Rai, most nationalities are now required to purchase an Entry Visa (US$25 or EUR20 or Rp 250,000 in cash for 30 days); see the main Indonesia article for details. Few other currencies are accepted so it's a good idea to play safe

and have the required dollars on hand. Flying internationally out of Bali you are subject to the airport tax (150,000 Rupiah effective from 1st November 2007) which you would need to pay for in Rupiah so save some bills for the trip out. The domestic departure tax is Rp. 30,000.

ATM machines are available at Airport Departure Lobby which accept Cirrus and Plus cards for withdrawals.

Some hotels organize free transfers from the airport but there are plenty of other taxis also available. Approximate price for getting from Ngurah Rai to Legian is Rp. 40,000. If coming from the airport ignore touts offering rides. After years of abuse the airport and legitimate taxi

companies dictated that fixed prices be offered. There is a dedicated booth at the airport for arranging rides to town (and any other location on the island). This is on the right just through the arrival doors for international.

Since the second bombing, security at the airport has increased considerably and be prepared for rigorous scrutiny of luggage, including carry-on items.

By bus

There are direct bus services to Bali from all major cities on Java as well as Lombok, which use the ferries to cross over. These are cheap and easy, but slow.

By boat

Ferries cross from Gilimanuk in western Bali to Ketapang on the island of Java every 15 minutes, 24 hours a day, and the crossing takes just 30 minutes (plus waiting around, loading, unloading, etc).

A number of speedboats and catamarans operate from Benoa Harbor near Kuta (~2 hours) and Padangbai (80 min) to the Gili Islands of Lombok. These are expensive (~US$60 one way) but convenient, see the Gili Islands article for details.

There are also public slow boats from Padangbai to Lembar (Lombok) every few hours, with the trip taking around 3.5 hours.

See


Sunset at Desa Kerobokan Singaraja

Bali's best-known attractions are its countless Hindu temples. Even the smallest villages usually have at least three, but the nine directional temples (kayangan jagat) are the largest and most important. Uluwatu, at the southern tip of Bali, is easily accessed and hence the most popular, with Tanah Lot a close second. However, for the Balinese themselves, the "mother temple" of Besakih on the slopes of Mount Agung is the most important of all.

Monuments

  • Garuda Wisnu Kencana. Nusa Dua, Kabupaten Badung, 40 km south of Denpasar. Created by I Nyoman Nuarta. This is statue of the god Wisnu (Vishnu) riding the mythical Garuda bird.
  • Bali Bomb, Jl. Legian, Kuta. This monument commemorates the 202 victims of the first Bali Bomb attack in October 2002, including 161 tourists from 21 countries. The site of the former Sari Club, obliterated in one of the blasts, lies adjacent to the monument. It has not been redeveloped.

Do

Hot springs — There are several hot springs to be discovered in Bali. One of them, along the northern coast of the island, near Lovina, is Air Panjar where stone mouth carvings allow hot water to pass between pools which are set among a lush garden.

Spa — Bali is paradise for spa lovers and all sorts of treatments are widely available, but the Balinese lulur body scrub with herbs and spices — traditionally performed before a wedding ceremony — is particularly popular. Balinese massage is usually done with oil and involves long, Swedish-style strokes. In steep contrast to exorbitant Western massage fees, Balinese massage is an incredible value, and visitors should definitely avail themselves this luxury. In local salons, a one-hour full body massage will cost between Rp. 40 - 60,000, and the two-hour mandi lulur, which incorporates a body scrub and hydrating yoghurt body mask in addition to the massage, will cost about Rp. 100,000. The curiously named creambath is a relaxing scalp and shoulder massage, usually lasting 45 minutes, in which a thick conditioning cream is worked through the hair and into the scalp. A creambath typically costs about Rp. 40,000. Note that these same services in an upscale hotel will cost many times more.

Weddings — Balinese wedding getting popular in recent years. The exotic tradition, ceremonies, music and costumes has a special attraction among western people. Many couples who are already legally married to each other choose Bali as the perfect place to renew their vows. Full wedding services are widely available in Bali such as: ceremony arrangements, photography, videography, flowers, musicians, dancers, caterers etc. There are about ten wedding chapels available in Bali today (largely in luxury hotels) and the number is growing. You can find many professional wedding organizer to handle your wedding in Bali through the internet. Destination weddings, featuring all types of religious and presentation arrangements, are becoming increasingly popular with private villas being one of the island's many offerings for venues.

Voluntary work An excellent way to get to know and understand more of the country is to do some voluntary work. There are some organizations that arrange work for international volunteers in Bali and other places in the region.

Sports

  • Scuba Diving — There are many interesting scuba diving sites around Bali such as the wreck of USAT Liberty Glo at Tulamben. Pulau Menjangan is particularly popular.
  • Surfing — Warm waters, crowds, cheap living and reliable sets keeps Bali near the top of world surfing destinations. The southern coast, namely Kuta and the around Nusa Dua are the primary draws. Beginners will find the gentler, sandy areas of Kuta to be ideal for learning. You'll find surf instructors lounging around the beach; a one hour lesson including board rental from a beach teacher will cost you around $10 USD or less. The teaching done by these local beach teachers is very questionable. From a real surf shop, the price may be $45 USD/hr.
(Source wikipedia)

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Banjarmasin (City of a Thousands Rivers)





One of the province in Kalimantan is South Kalimantan, that the capital city is Banjarmasin, one of big city in Kalimantan Banjarmasin is addresses as city of water or city of a thousands rivers, many canals and waterways there, like in Venice. The rivers is like a hearth of the city, most of native people in Banjarmasin are use rivers for their daily activities, such as for transportation and for trading using a boat that called "Klotok" And also people built houses on the riverside or even on the rivers or it called "Lanting".

How to get There?

We can go to Banjarmasin by Airplane or by Passenger Boat. If you want to get here by plane from Jakarta (Soekarno Hatta Airport), Jogjakarta (Adi Sucipto Airport), or Surabaya (Juanda Airport), just take a destination to Syamsuddin Noor Banjarmasin Airport and when you arrive then you take a Taxi go to Banjarmasin City, it take 45 Minute from Airport.
Another way to get to Banjarmasin is by Boat. You can go from Jakarta (Tanjung Priok Port), Semarang (Tanjung Mas Port) or Surabaya Port (Tanjung Perak Port), and go directly to "Trisakti Port" in Banjarmasin.

Attraction

There are many of interested places to visit in Banjarmasin, one of the most famous tourist destination is "Floating Markets" or "Pasar Terapung". It is the traditional market which present the local wisdom of economic fields of societies. It also represents banjarnese cultures which are inherent with the life of people along the river flows. Floating market is located on Kuin river at the north of Banjarmasin. It starts in the morning around 5 am to 7 am central Indonesian time. In this market,the seller and the buyer stay on their boat to make transaction. The goods sold such as banjarese food, vegetables, fruits and handicraft.

Another interested place is "Pulau Kembang". This small island is inhabited by the primate species (monkey). This species have been existed naturally in that island. This island located on the eastside of Banjarmasin. It takes about 15 minutes to reach the island by boat from Banjarmasin City. However, the monkeys are quite aggressive and will try to steal it from you so be extra careful.

One of landmark of Banjarmasin is Sabilal Muhtadin. It is a famous Mosque for Muslim in Banjarmasin or surrounding area to take a Pray or another religious activity. It is located at Jl. Jenderal Sudirman, and faced to Martapura River.

From banjarmasin to direction marabahan, there's a long bridge connected two areas that divided by barito river. looks like san fransisco bridge at the night!

In Banjarmasin, you can taste banjarnese cuisine such as Soto Banjar, Sate, Nasi Kuning, Lontong Sayur. In Ramadhan month (fasting month for Muslim), in many places around Banjarmasin will have Pasar Wadai / Cake Market fair that sell traditional food. this market usually open from 5 pm till 8 pm.


Friday, 27 June 2008

Satay



Satay or sate is a dish consisting of chunks or slices of dice-sized meat (chicken, goat, mutton, beef, pork, fish, etc.) on bamboo skewers (although the more authentic version uses skewers from the midrib of the coconut leaf). These are grilled or barbecued over a wood or charcoal fire, then served with various spicy seasonings (depends on satay recipe variants).

Satay may have originated in Java, Indonesia, but it is also popular in many other Southeast Asian countries, such as: Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, as well as in The Netherlands which was influenced through its former colonies.

Satay is a very popular delicacy in Indonesia, with a rich variety among Indonesia’s diverse ethnic groups’ culinary art. In Indonesia, satay can be obtained from a traveling satay vendor, from a street-side tent-restaurant, in an upper-class restaurant, or during traditional celebration feasts


Satay variants and outlets of note

Known as sate in Indonesian (and pronounced similar to the English), Indonesia is the home of satay, and satay is a widely renowned dish in almost all regions of Indonesia. As a result, many variations have been developed throughout the Indonesian Archipelago.

Sate Madura

Originating on the island of Madura, near Java, is certainly the most famous variant among Indonesians. Most often made from mutton or chicken, the distinctive characteristic of the recipe is the black sauce made from indonesian sweet soy sauce/kecap manis mixed with palm sugar (called gula jawa or "javanese sugar" in Indonesia), garlic,deep fried shallots, peanut paste, fermented "terasi" (a kind of shrimp paste),candlenut/kemiri, and salt. Sate Madura uses thinner chunks of meat than other varians of Satay. It is mainly eaten with rice or rice cake wrapped in banana/coconut leaves (lontong/ketupat). Raw thinly sliced shallot and plain sambal also often served as condiments

Sate Padang
A dish from Padang city and the surrounding area in West Sumatra, is made from cow or goat offal boiled in spicy broth, which is then grilled. Its main characteristic is yellow sauce made from rice flour mixed with spicy offal broth, turmeric, ginger, garlic, coriander, galangal root, cumin, curry powder and salt. It is further separated into two sub-variants, the Pariaman and the Padang Panjang, which differ according to taste and the composition of their yellow sauces.

Sate Ponorogo
A variant of satay originating in Ponorogo, a town in East Java. It is made from whole sliced marinated chicken meat, and served with a sauce made of peanuts and chilli sauce. Garnished with shredded shallots, sambal (chili paste) and lime juice. The uniqueness of this varient is each skewer contains a whole chicken meat, not several slices. The meat also previously being marinated in spices and sweet soy sauce for quite some times (process called "bacem") to allow spice to soak into the meat. The grill is made from terracotta earthenware that have hole in one side to allow blowing the wind onto the burning coal. After use around 3 months, the earthenware grill would break apart, thus must be replaced to ensure the hygiene of the grill. The dish served with rice or lontong (rice cake).

Sate Makassar
From a region in Southern Sulawesi, is made from beef and cow offal marinated in sour carambola sauce. It has a unique sour and spicy taste. Unlike most satays, it is served without sauce.

Sate Banjar
A variant of satay popular in South Kalimantan, especially in the town of Banjarmasin

Nasi Padang (Rendang)


Padang: The birthplace of rendang

Padang in West Sumatra is known more as the origin of the country’s most popular cuisine than as a provincial capital, thanks to the ubiquitous Padang restaurants.

Go to any town or city across the archipelago, and the chances are you will find a place to eat called Rumah Makan Padang or Padang Restaurant, either on the roadside, or in luxurious malls or even in more upmarket establishments. How did it happen?

To explain the success of the food of the people of West Sumatra, one has to know that the Padang men have an adventurous spirit and like to broaden their horizons. It is said they believe that their mother’s cooking is the very best and cannot not be found anywhere else.

Add to this their good sales skills and it is not surprising that when three people of West Sumatran origin meet, a restaurant will be set up.

Mama’s culinary skills and her ceaseless prayers (doa bundo) for her children to seek a better life and return home rich are always in their mind. And what does a loving mother give to her son when he has to go to a far away place with no home-cooked food? It has to be a traditional dish that can be kept for a long time and one that becomes better and better when reheated!

Well, that is certainly rendang or meat cooked in a thick coconut milk sauce, spicy hot just like their mothers make. Though in a cookery book about Indonesia’s regional foods published in 1967 by the then agriculture ministry titled Mustikarasa, rendang is a method of preparation in which the ingredients are cooked without any oil.

So when the young man gets homesick he would eat some rendang and offer it to his new friends, popularizing the dish among non-West Sumatran people.

Taking the name for from their place of origin, they call it Padang food as most West Sumatrans are also very proud of their capital. Of course there are now many West Sumatra people who say why not Bukittinggi food or Lubuk Linggau food? But one cannot deny that Padang is more saleable that any other name and it has gone global. In Singapore or Australia, Padang food is known and rendang will be on the menu.

The rendang outside Indonesia is sometimes not the classic West Sumatran rendang, it sometimes is only partly cooked rendang. Traditional rendang has no sauce and because of the preparation the meat is dark brown in color. When it still has thick coconut milk sauce it is called kalio. And that is what in many countries or even in Indonesia outside West Sumatra, is served as rendang.

Perhaps the procedure of making authentic rendang takes too long and requires a lot of patience because one has to stir it often until the sauce is totally absorbed by the meat which will then give it the rather dark color. The preparation is actually not too complicated, but what one has to pay attention to is the time of cooking and rendang is best made from sirloin. Rendang has gained popularity in many countries and when asking visitors to Sumatra what dish they like most the answer will be most likely rendang whether it is from Padang, Bukit Tinggi or anywhere else in West Sumatra where people are very adept in creating spicy, delicious food.

–Suryatini N. Ganie

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

NIAS Island



With it's famous megalithic stone altars and furniture, spectacular traditional architecture, and complex religious rites, this fasctinating island offers a journey in to the past. Nias island lies approximately 125 km south west of Sibolga city. The land has rolling mountainous terrain, gorges, ravines, and rivers ans is subject to earth quakes. The northern half of the island is sparsely populated and featured large swampy areas.
The local people of Nias called the island as Tano Niha, or land of the people. Ethnically the Niah who called them selves as Ono Niha are mixed of proto-Malay who have had contacts with the Asian Mongolid world. Their exact origin is misty. Many features, practises and cultures are of their own. Untill now those practises and cultures still well maintained. This is the place that you may discover the live of the stone age era. Stone jumping is one of the popular activities which still well preserved.
During the past, this activity is showing the maturity of a man, and used to be meaning to win a war. The stone jumper used to jumped over the enemies trench to get in to the trench and opened the enemies gate for his companion. However now it used to attract visitors.
For the nature sport lover, Nias provides very very excellent spot for surfing. This is one of the world class surf site in our country. We highly recommend you to the the activity during the dry season (April to October) when the waves and the weather still freindly.


Nias is one of the major tourist destinations in North Sumatera, especially famous for its surfing and unique culture. Nias is definitely different than most other places and has very much to offer, not only for surfers. Nias was 'discovered' late and is in some aspects not yet discovered. Forget all strange reports based on travelers' myth and other inflated stories. Nias is definitely one of the more interesting destinations in Indonesia.

Surfing and Beaches
A deep trench in the ocean along the coast of Sumatera, Jawa, Bali and onwards is the secret behind all the excellent surfing locations in Indonesia. The pressures of the whole Indian Ocean force the sea up out of the trench and to create huge waves along the coast. Many of those waves are now famous, especially the one in Lagundi. Many other places have very good surfing, but are rather unknown due to its isolation and the secrecy of most surfers. Surfing is so much better if one doesn't have to share the waves with the big crowd. Nias has been specially endowed with good surfing. Besides Lagundi there is nice surfing in Afulu, Pulau Asu and Pulau Bawa. In the archipelago Pulau-pulau Batu there are yet more excellent surfing spots.
Nias also offers a big variety of beaches for the beach lover. Anything from quiet coral island beaches to huge wide beaches open to the sea. the beaches of Lahewa and Tanah Bala in PP Batu are definitely unique.
Teluk Lagundi is the bay in the Southwest corner of Nias, famous amongs surfers for its excellent surfing. Some years ago it was the main attraction in North Sumatera and in high season all the bungalows along the shores were full.
Tourism in Nias started because of surfing. Australian surfers discovered the famous Lagundi/Sorake wave in 1960s. Lagundi became World famous for its long and perfect wave. International competition have been held regulerly since 1993. For those who never have tried surfing there are surf instructors available.

How to get there

To reach this place, there is weekly ship from Jakarta (the capital city of Indonesia) to Gunung Sitoli; There are Ferries from Sibolga to Gunung Sitoli, Teluk Dalam, or Lahewa every day; Before the crisis hit Indonesia, there is daily flight from Medan to Gunung Sitoli, however it is less frequent nowadays. Gunung Sitoli is the capital city of Nias and it is the center of administration and business affairs of regency. There are several travel agencies hotels, public busses and rental cars to support tourism here. There are also some government and private banks available.


Berastagi

Berastagi

Berastagi, a tourist town, is another lovely town located in Karo highlands. The town is known for its plantations and various kinds of flowers, vegetables and fruit, most famous which is Marquisa passion fruit. It's 66 km southwest of Medan and is 4.594 feet above sea level. There is a pleasant colonial-style hotel with a golf course. Other new hotels can also be found. From Gundaling Hill a clear view of Mt. Sibayak and Mt. Sinabung volcanoes can be seen.

From this city, the visitors will enjoy charming scenery to the active mountainside, which are Sibayak Mountain and Sinabung Mountain. To climb Sibayak Mountain require at least 3 hours trip and we could enjoy pretty scenery in these mountains or 3 to 4 hours trip in the forest to see the nature wealth inside, for both the flora and the fauna around this forest.

The atmosphere of green nature from the reflection of the trees from the slope of Rangkap Sibayak Mountain (well known as Sibayak mountain) made the Berastagi city had flooded by tourists. The hill line along with the agricultural field, are always



ready to refresh its visitor's eyes. Berastagi which rich with agro-industries became the appropriate choice for recreation spot other than Toba Lake and Samosir Island, which has become a trademark of North Sumatra.

Berastagi has the strategic location to become the stopping place, not just because several tourist attractions are easy to be accessed from here, but also the hotels are well provided. Hotels can be easily found with varying price, by offering the design typical to the locals. However the visitor still have the choice to choose the hotels and villas that historically were the legacy of colonial period.

Sibayak and Sinabung Mountain.
Berastagi to Sibayak Mountain distance are only 7 Km, this is why the hikers choose this City, as the closest alternative to reach the mountain peak (2.094 meters from sea level). With the currently available infrastructure, the vehicles could reach close to the mountain peak that was known with its beauty nature. On the Peak of Sibayak Mountain, we could see a sulfuric crater lake with wide around 200 x 200 meters, with temperature 119.6 Celsius and the temperature of surrounding air is 21 Celsius. The other scenery of Sibayak mountain peak is Sinabung mountain peak (2.451 meters from sea level), located in the west.

Lau Debuk-Debuk
Not just that, near Berastagi, on the side of Sibayak mountain peak we could find Lau Debuk-Debuk Hot Water Springs. Located in Daulu and Semangat Gunung village, this hot water springs flowed with the temperature of 35 Celsius emerged through the lava cracks in the volcano slope that afterwards was accommodated in the bathing place ponds. The climbers usually use this hot water reservoir to release their fatigue from the trip. Now, there are also an electrical generator (power plant) on the hot spring upstream that had the temperature above 150 ° Celsius. The visitors could see a power plant, which produces electricity from geothermal vapors.

Gundaling Hill
Berastagi also had Gundaling Hill which located only 3 Km from Berastagi. This hill offered a beautiful garden that was suitable as a spot to relax or to do some sports. From the hill peak, we could enjoy Mount Sibayak and Mount Sinabung panorama.

Tongging
Tongging was located 112 km from Medan City. This area is located near to Sipiso-piso Waterfall with 360-foot height. From this place, we could enjoy picturesque scenery of Toba Lake. In the intersection of Merek we could turn to Sipiso-piso in Mount Tandukbenua slope (1.947 m. from sea level). The surrounding panorama indeed is very much enchanting. From the balcony of the two leveled guesthouse that was located in the south of this plateau, the visitor could see the calm and beautiful nature of Toba Lake.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Lake Toba


Lake Toba (Danau Toba) is the largest lake in South East Asia and is located in Sumatra, Indonesia.

Lake Toba is an immense volcanic lake covering area 1707 sq km (bigger than Singapore) with an island in the center. Formed by a gigantic volcanic eruption some 70,000 years ago, it is probably the largest resurgent caldera on Earth. Some studies say it might have been associated with causing previous ice age/climate change.

The island in the middle - Pulau Samosir - was joined to the caldera wall by a narrow isthmus, which was cut through to enable boats to pass; a road bridge crosses the cutting. You get a ferry from Parapat to Pulau Samosir Island, they run every 1-2 hours, the last one at 7:30pm (Rp 7000). Self proclaimed 'Tourist Hunters' may befriend you on the boat but are harmless and often helpful to find things, arrangements etc (Bintang can fix you up with anything). Tuk Tuk is the main town to stay on Samosir.

Talk

Lake Toba used to be popular tourist destination but now not many tourist come, which means many services, no crowds, cheap prices and friendly locals grateful for your business. It is a great laid back place to chill out for a few days after jungle trekking etc. The location is very popular with Chinese tourists around the Chinese New Year, when availability drops dramatically and accommodation costs are known to sky rocket.

Get in


The main town is Parapat, about 4 hours by car from Medan (4-6 hours by public bus). Public Bus fee is 18,000 IDR. A scheduled and shared 7 passenger minivan costs 60,000 IDR and can be arranged by most hotels in Medan (Feb 2008 price). A private taxi costs about 600,000 IDR one way from Medan (Feb 2008 price).
Get around

Local transportation around the lake takes the form of boats (cheaper, school boats with limited schedules and more expensive public boats that operate throughout the day).

Public Boats from Parapat and surrounding areas sail from either Ajibata or Tigaraja to Tuktuk or Tomok at Samosir Island. The fee is 7,000 IDR per trip. There is also bigger ship which transports Cars and Busses sailing between Tigaraja and Tomok.

Hire a motorcycle for a day or two and get out and about (Rp.70,000 per day inclusive of 4 litres of petrol). Take a map. There are no police checking licenses and there is not much traffic - just watch out for the big trucks, buses and diabolical bridges. A good journey to take on a motorcycle would be to travel North from Tuk Tuk around to the western shore, stopping at the tourist sites along the way such as the many and varied traditional houses and villages. The roads are very bad in the centre of the island (bumpy and washed out) and it takes half a day to cross this way (verse 1-2 hours by coast road which is more scenic anyway). You can expect to ride at least up to 100km in the day.

See

There are hot springs on the western side of the island just across the causeway from Pangururan.
Itineraries

* Samosir - Many Big Statues as Cemeteries for Batak people ancestors
* Samosir, Simanindo - Batak Museum with traditional dance performed twice daily
* Samosir, Ambarita - Stone chairs used for judgement and executions

Do

Kick back and relax after the frenetic atmosphere of Indonesia. Enjoy the fact that the residents are used to Westerners and won't hassle you; most of them are stoned. Swim in the volcanically warmed waters of the lake or arrange an overnight 'party' boat out on the lake if you can get enough volunteers together. A beautiful place to do nothing at all. Plenty of second hand book shops to stock up on reading material.

Sleep

* Tabo Cottages is the most luxurious accommodation on the island. Prices start at around Rp.120,000 per night and climb up from there. The rooms are very clean and quite modern by Sumateran standards. Internet is available from the family's computer for a nominal rate and the western-styled food served in the restaurant is very good.
* There are numerous hotels and guest houses, mainly in Tuk tuk but with a few scattered in other small towns around the island.
* Liberta Homestay is a good budget choice for 35000Rp/night+. It has quiet private cabins on the lake. Friendly owner Mr Moon will sing, cook, and go out of his way for you.
* Bagus Bay is a lovely place next to the lake. A dark wood and bamboo bar/restaurant give the place a particularly relaxed feel. The rooms are basic and range between 25000 and 50000 rupiah. Good food and cold beer at a reasonable price.
* Samosir Cottages accommodates many of the travellers who arrive late in Parapat, as there is usually a representative to ship them to the cottages. This is not a bad thing, however - the place is large, with a big variety in the price of rooms (Rp 30,000 and upwards). The waterfront is clean, and the restaurant is large and serves good food.

Eat

* Jenny's Restaurant on Samosir Island, Tuk Tuk. There is only one or two roads in Tuk Tuk, so simply ask for Jenny's. Jenny and her husband Rinto run the very simple but cozy restaurant with view on the wonderful lake Toba. You will notice that every day the table cloth are being changed, a usually rare to find nicety and convenience. The curry is delicious. A must-try is the fresh lake-fish, steamed or grilled. Even western food like Schnitzel (breaded pork or chicken chop pan fried) is very good. For dessert try the fresh papaya that grows in the back-yard or a golden-brown banana pancake with chocolate sauce and a sprinkle of coconut. Once all the guests in the small place with only about 5 tables are fed and happy, Rinto will take the guitar from the wall and entertain his patrons. When he is singing old Batak songs about earlier times and you listen to the guitar tunes and his melancholic voice, your eyes wander over the lake and you feel like never leaving Samosir again.

Cotney Restaurant - It is located by the Samosir resort on Tuk Tuk. Specialties include delcious rendanags, curries, and the best smiles on the island by the two lovely sisters who run the restaurant. Internet is also offered for the cheapest price on the island.

* The main road around Tuktuk is lined with small restaurants of varying quality. Also on offer is magic mushroom and various 'happy herb' pizzas if you want that.

Drink

There is one discotheque on Fri and Sat nights - expect the latest 80s music. Better to drink at your guest house generally.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Thousand Islands



White sand, coconut palms fringing the shore, multicoloured coral reefs, abundant shoals of unique, colourful fish, a golden sun setting in clear blue skies….does that fit your image of Jakarta? Unlikely, but then you’re probably forgetting that the beautiful Pulau Seribu (Thousand Islands) are also part of what is known as the city of Jakarta.


Located on a gulf facing the Java Sea, Jakarta has four main ports from which to access the Thousand Islands: Ancol Marina, Sunda Kelapa, Tanjung Priok and Tanjung Kait. Ancol Marina is the most usual departure point, speed boats leaving regularly to whisk you away from the city heat to the cool, palm fringed beaches of paradise. However chartering a boat is also possible for anyone with a more adventurous spirit. The Marina Jaya Ancol itself is buzzing with yachts, motor and sail boats, and is the place to go for marine recreation. Jet skies canoes, sail boats wind surfering and waterskiing are all to be found, along with all kinds of fishing gear you may need for hire. Numerous stalls along the beach serve drinks and snacks while tents are available for sunbathers and sea-lovers.

But it is the Tousand Islands which are the real jewels. The Kepulauan Seribu, as they are known locally, are a group of islands sprinkled across the Java Sea to the north of Jakarta. As the name suggests, the way the islands lie seemingly scattered closely to each other offers you a thousand of beaches, a thousand pleasures and a thousand golden sunsets. The surrounding waters in particular are a paradise for snorkelers and scuba divers, Kotok being the most famous.

Despite the romantic name, there are in fact about 340 islets in Kepulauan Seribu. Islets that have been developed for tourism include Bidadari, Ayer, Laki, Puteri and Tanjung, and bungalows, restaurants, diving and sailing facilities are available on all these islets and others. For anyone with dreams of Robinson Crusoe style seclusion, delightful beaches can also be found in Matahari, Kulkul Kotok, Pelangi, Sepa, Onrust, Edam, Bokor, Kelor, Rambut, Ubi Kecil, Untungjawa, Pari, Perak, Melinjo, Pancalirang, Gosong, Ringgit, Sebaru, Hantu, Antuk, Bira, Panjang, Kelapa, Panggang, Lang, Tidung Besar, Payung, Kongsi, Pari, Damar Besar, Kelor, Kapal, Cipir and Nyamuk.

So if you are in Jakarta and become weary of the frenetic turbulence of the modern metropolis, hop on an early morning boat and escape across the Java Sea to a paradise island in the sun…. you can be there in time for breakfast on Saturday morning, and back in town by sunset Sunday evening without even leaving Jakarta!

Thousand Islands (Pulau Seribu) scaterred in the Bay of Jakarta, accessible ranging from 20 minutes to 2 hours by speedboat off Marina Jaya Ancol or Tanjung Kait. The Thousand Islands or Kepulauan Seribu consist of around 340 isles, including sand bars.

Set in a clean blue sea filled with myriad of tropical fish living among muticolored corals, the Thousand Islands are tremendously tempting places to spenc your vacation. Some of them have been developed into holiday resorts for real lovers of sea, sand and sun.

Furnished with ample, holiday comforts such as accommodation, restaurants, pools and other sport facilities it is an ideal place for a change from the routinism of your life. For water sports and underwater world lovers, it’s a paradise.


Pulau Ayer Island Resort & Cottages

Located about 14 kilometers north of Jakarta, or 30 minutes boat trip from Marina Ancol, Jakarta, part of the Thousand Island’s covering a total area of 60 hectares, a beautiful spot to witness the famed sunset of the Jakarta bay.


Bidadari Island Resort

Being the nearest Island Resort, Pulau Bidadari is reachable in 20 minutes ride on speedboat, about 15 kms, from the Ancol’s Marina. The cottages are built among trees which provide shady and comfortable envronment giving you the

feeling of being integrated with the nature. And those floating over the sea give you the touch of fishermen’s home atmosphere.


Pelangi Island Resort

Pelangi Island is 70 kms from Marina Ancol, Jakarta and can be reached by speedboat around one and a half hour trip.Densely covered by lush palm and pine trees which is surrounded by watch sandy beach in the middle of silver clean blue waters will make this green tropical Pelangi Island on ideal gateway to enjoy the sea, sand and sun.


Putri Resort Hotel

Located just a few breast-stroke away from Jakarta, Putri Island offers paradisian beauty on its soft and white sandy beach and crystal clear water all around. A holiday resort of which you will dream to return over and over again.


Alam Kotok Island Resorts

Alam Kotok offers a chance to holiday in the untouched island habitat of the exotic “ Thousand Island” just 90 minutes from Jakarta. This peaceful tropical atoll has been kept in its original pristine state, the flora and the fauna undisturbed by cozy cottages tucked amongst the foliage, looking out to sea. Here the only sounds are the wind in the trees, birdsong, and the gentle waves lapping the shore. Discover the gentle rhytm of island life, diving the colorful coral reefs, swimming and wandering at leisure.

Ujung Kulon National Park



In the remote south west of Java, the national park of Ujung Kulon is the site of one of Indonesia’s most pristine and untouched natural attractions. It is no coincidence that Ujung Kulon is classified as one of Indonesia’s World Heritage Sites and has been a natural reserve since 1937. Most well known for being the home of the last one horned white Javan rhinoceros of which a population of about 60 remains, Ujung Kulon receives about 6,500 visitors a year from all over the world.

With over 120,000 hectares, Ujung Kulon comprises the extreme southwestern tip of the island of Java, Indonesia, the two islands of Pulau Handeuleum and Pulau Peucang just offshore, and the island of Pulau Panaitan separated from the mainland by the Panaitan Straits.

The Ujung Kulon area offers various different landscapes, from the Gunung Payung massif in the southwest and the low rolling hills of the Telanca Plateau in the northeast, to the swamp area characteristic for the lower lying isthmus. Inventories of the Ujung Kulon wild life are the subject of numerous books. The fauna on the peninsula and the islands is almost too extensive to describe in short.

The Javan rhino, a highly endangered species, together with leopards, Javan gibbons, banteng, eagles, pythons, crocodiles and turtles represents just afraction of the wide range of carnivores, deer, primates, birds, reptiles and amphibians present.

The terrestrial scenery proofs to be an ideal attraction to hikers, eco-tourists and researchers, and is well matched in popularity by the Ujung Kulon coast and its water sport possibilities. Scuba diving and game fishing enthusiasts rate the marine location among the richest in the archipelago with an abundance and variety of fish and superb coral reefs.

Numerous reef species, such as butterfly fish, batfish, triggerfish and moorish idol, dominate the shallower waters, while deep water species include sharks, tuna, barracuda and marlin. It is because of this last species, the black marlin, that the Sunda Strait has the reputation of being an excellent and challenging game fishing ground.

Apart from the outstanding natural beauty of Ujung Kulon, the cultural heritage is another inspiration for many researchers and historians. The Tanjung Layar lighthouse on the extreme western point of the peninsula guided Dutch, English and Portuguese sailing ships safely through the Panaitan straits during colonial times. The eruption of the nearby Krakatau Volcano in 1883 required the lighthouse to be rebuilt after being leveled by the 40-meter tsunami.

Panaitan Island is believed to have been an important staging post for sailing ships. Captain James Cook is known to have anchored his HMS Endeavour there in the 18th century. The island bears a Ganesha statue on the top of Mt. Raksa, a Hindu archaeological relic from the first century AD.

Visitors are advised to access the park by boat, as overland accessibility is poor. Boat excursions with professional guides are organized from the nearby peninsula of Tanjung Lesung.

The Crystal Jade of Bintan Island



If you wishing for an exotic vacation in the tropical lands of Indonesia and far away from modern way of life with lively cultural atmosphere or just want to satisfy your sanity with luxurious resorts to stay and a flavor of wild nature, coral reefs, tropical rainforest and delicious seafood, the Island of Bintan is the finest place for you. Here, among the golden sand beaches, warm weather almost the year with sunshine, you would discover the other side of the Asian life. Facing the South China Sea, Bintan become an exotic place to visit.


Welcome to the island of Bintan

Bintan Island, Indonesia, is the largest island in the necklace of Riau Archipelago, covering an area of 1,140 square kilometers. It is located about 48 km southeast of Singapore. In old Chinese, the name of Bintan Island means the “Memory of a Dream”, and in true sense of the term is a land of long dust covered roads, lush green vegetation and sleepy villages, nestled amidst mangrove swamps or fishing villages built on stilts over the water. Bintan Island is truly a unique paradise. Simple life, beautiful beach, friendly people which bring unforgettable leisure and relaxing. The island gives the refreshment to our mind, body and soul.

Most of the tourism of Bintan Island is concentrated on the north coast around Lagoi. There are many wonderful and interesting places to visit in and near the Bintan Island, Indonesia. The island has a population of about 200.000, and like the rest of Riau this is a true mix of cultures like Malay, Bugis, Chinese and the Orang Laut (sea people). Bahasa Indonesia is the national language and simple English is widely used. In relation to Jakarta, Bintan is in the same time zone as Jakarta, +7 hours to the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). In relation to Singapore, Bintan is 1 hour behind Singapore time.

The resort destination spreads crossways the northern shores of Bintan and faces the South China Sea, and comprises a good collection of beach resorts and hotels to suit the budgets and needs of all holiday makers. In Bintan the main currency used in Indonesia is the Rupiah (Rp). However, the Singapore Dollar (SIN $) is widely accepted in some places. Almost all prices are denoted in Singapore dollars, while all shops will accept Rupiah, prices would be converted from Singapore dollars at very poor rates and rounded up. Prices are expensive compared to Singapore and very expensive compared to almost anywhere else in Indonesia. Most hotels and resorts accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit card payments.

Bintan Island has an equatorial climate and the weather is warm and sunny almost throughout the whole year because it‘s very close to the equator and have a tropical climate. The temperatures range between 21° and 32° degrees Celsius, with an average of 26° Celsius. Humidity ranges from 61 to 96 percent. The monsoon season is between October to March, when the weather gets pleasantly cooler with stronger winds and the amount of rainfall. The ideal time to visit the island is during the spring or late summer when the sun is not so strong but good enough for a satisfactory tan and enjoyable sunbathing.



How to get there

You can reach Bintan from Singapore or Indonesia (Batam) by Ferries. Most international travelers arrive from Singapore.



From Singapore

There is a regular ferry service operated by Bintan Resorts Ferries that plies between Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal in Singapore and Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal in Bintan. The journey takes about 55 minutes with high speedboat catamaran. Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal is the departure terminal from Singapore. We can choose which destination we want to arrive in Bintan Island. Sri Bintan Pura Ferry Terminal at Tanjung Pinang or Bandar Bentan Telani at Lagoi (Bintan Resort). Please remember to check in at least an hour before the ferry departs. For more information on the ferry schedule and online ferry ticket purchase, please visit: www.brf.com.sg. Ferry tickets may also be purchased directly. While doing hotel or resort reservation, they also offering for transfer into and out the Ferry Terminal to the hotel or resorts.



From Indonesia

Telaga Punggur is a ferry terminal located 20 minutes by taxi from Hang Nadim Airport, Batam. The price cost around Rp.50.000 from the airport to Telaga Punggur. There are regular speedboat services plying between Telaga Punggur Ferry Terminal in Batam to Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal Bintan. The cost around Rp.100.000 (one way) and the journey takes approximately 45 minutes until an hour depend on the weather. Its amazing moments while on the journey with beautiful scenery surrounds.



Transportation Nearly Bintan Island

There’s no public transportation in the resort area. There are cars for rent including the driver at the hotel lobby, shuttle service within the resort area or to other places on Pulau Bintan. The cost depends on the type of car, but mostly around SGD80 until SGD100 for 12 hours rental. From the resort area, there are shuttle services from the hotels to Tanjung Pinang. It is rather expensive at about SGD88 for a return trip per person on the shuttle bus. The journey will take about 1.5 hours.



Resorts & Spa

There are many hotels and luxurious resorts with cozy atmosphere for you to choose from, but mostly fairly expensive and using Singapore Dollar and American Dollar, even if using Rupiah it will convert again into Dollar. The resorts area is a private place with a strictly security, even the locals are not allowed into the resort area. There's police and army guarding the entrance into and out of the resort area. Once after the guarded entrance, you will get to feel and see the real Indonesian way of life.

Rest and relax at the private beach on the resorts or getting a smooth spa and massage on the pavilion facing the beach. There are also services for Aromatherapy and yoga for body and soul relaxing. In some resorts there are many hammocks near the beach free for you to relax on or have a swing.



Activities

Bintan Island is also a well known for the various activities that tourists can engage in while on a holiday. Water sports, like kayaking, snorkeling, diving, scuba diving, fishing, and swimming are the most popular activities of Bintan Island. From virgin white sands to crystal clear waters during the magnificent sunset and colorful coral reefs, one can indeed find everything for a picture perfect holiday in the Bintan Island, Indonesia. Your holiday at Bintan Island will not be complete without experiencing some local nature and heritage tours.

Recreational activities include snorkeling, jet skiing, canoeing, wind surfing, golfing, fishing, sailing, diving, island hopping and shopping. Sun seekers may take a leisurely walk along the white sandy beaches and enjoy sun bathing in the warm sunshine. Whether your trip is for business or pleasure, golfing is truly an unforgettable experience for everyone. Golf is popular, with several excellent golf courses charging much lower prices than in neighboring Singapore. Water sports of all sorts are also popular, although the scuba diving here is lackluster.



Places of Interests

Among the various leisure activities that this exotic island has to offer to its visitors, including paradise beaches, golfing, spa treatment at the resorts and delicious seafood, there are a number of attractions that reflect the island’s past and deserve tourist’s attention. Most of the tourism is concentrated on the north coast around Lagoi, while the east coast is still untouched and worth a visit. A wonderful experience will take you deep into the tropical rainforest or back in time to Bintan’s glorious royal past or right into the villages to meet the locals and experience their simple way of life.



Tanjung Pinang

About an hour and forty-five minutes from Lagoi by car or 50 minutes by speedboat to Tanjung Pinang. Tanjung Pinang is the main port town on Bintan Island, Indonesia. The trip to Tanjung Pinang, Bintan, is a good experience to learn more about Indonesia’s culture, food and its people. Visit the town areas of Bintan especially Tanjung Pinang to savor a taste of the local lifestyle and enjoy cheap shopping and tasty local fare. Tanjung Pinang is a friendly small town with strong Malay traditions among the society. The whole place has warm tropical feelings all around.

Shopping at Tanjung Pinang is pleasantly affordable, with its colorful variety of goods and cheap bargains. The shop houses here offer all kinds of dried foodstuffs, electronic goods, antique ceramics and handicrafts but the best bargain is to be made with the street side peddler. With their display of jeweled stones, hand-made toys, local artifacts, hand-made Javanese batik clothes and light cotton wraps (also known as sarong) dyed in various vibrant hues, the roadside peddlers are ever willing to explain their wares if you asked them. The famous food from Tanjung Pinang is otak otak - grilled over a charcoal stove - is actually fish meat cooked in coconut milk blended with Indonesian spices and wrapped ingeniously within two cuts of coconut leaf.



Tanjung Uban

The second main town and also district centre in Bintan is Tanjung Uban. It also serves as a take off point for Batam. The main thoroughfare is the 'Pelantar' (boardwalk) with its houses, accommodation, shops and restaurants built over the sea. The simply local way of life we can see in this Tanjung Uban region. There’s also Kampong Eco Tour will takes you to one of the traditional villages where you can experience the real Bintan village life. In local market featuring an amazing variety of fish, gigantic prawns, dried shrimps, crunchy crackers, savory ikan bilis (anchovies), and all kinds of sweet, sour or salty tidbits, fresh green vegetables, and local tropical fruits all stacked high on wooden carts, the rock bottom prices are still open to bargaining. Do note that most peddlers deal in the local Indonesian Rupiah so it's best to have your money changed before you head down south.



Berakit

Fisherman Village, for those who prefer a more hands on experience in the mangrove take a crack at the Traditional Fishing Tour where guests can ride authentic sampans with fishermen and fish using their traditional traps and nets. Berakit is an incredibly traditional fishing village largely at the north eastern summit of Bintan, comprises 'atap' (thatched roof) houses over tidal estuary. Many of the sea faring 'orang laut', the original settlers of this myriad of islands, have relocated here. At this village you can see the daily activities of the Riau fishing community, such as the thousands of 'ikan bilis' (dried fish) being dried in the sun.



Sebung Pereh & Busung

Sebung Pereh and Busung are typical of the small Malay fishing villages that can be found around the coastal coconut plantations. The settlers in these villages live in unique traditional houses on stilts, elevated over the water and lead fairly simple lives, often getting by without modern amenities or even electricity.



Trikora Beach

Trikora Beach you don't want to miss this one. White sand and Blue Ocean as far as you can see tranquil waters with pleasant atmosphere. Untouched sandy beach with rocky headlands and is great for snorkeling and sun bathing. Here you can try fresh young coconut juice while on the beach. The most popular beach on the east coast of Bintan Island, Indonesia, is the Trikora Beach. The sand is white, the water is spotless, and it is a great place to relax in. With its dusty white sand and clear pristine waters, Trikora Beach also serves as a getaway for the locals during holidays and festive seasons.



Kawal

Kawal Located a few minutes away from Trikora is Kawal, a charming fishing port where fish auctions are frequently held. Being the only deep water canal in the North East, Kawal is also the fishing centre of Bintan. From the bridge in the centre of the town, observe a vista of fishing boats, houses and storage yards all built on stilts. A remnant of the past at Kawal is the large kilns once used to make charcoal from "bakau" (mangrove wood).



Senggarang & Penyengat

The best way to experience in Bintan Island is to visit the offshore villages located a few minutes' ride away from Tanjung Pinang. The silence fishing villages of Penyengat and Senggarang, a mere 15 minutes away present an interesting contrast between the local Malay and Chinese cultures. Senggarang Chinese Village is a small Chinese settlement that features Buddhist Temples with emphasized Chinese theme. Today, Senggarang is an old settlement mostly built on stilts and the village's cobbled square is lined with a number of hundred year old Chinese temples with carved doors and eaves.

Penyengat Island is a famous historic place in Tanjung Pinang where remains of old Malay palace are located. Around 1803, Penyengat Island developed from a centre of protection into a state, which became the seat of the Yang Dipertuan Muda of the Riau Lingga Kingdom. Since then, Penyengat Island became the center of government, tradition, Islamic religion and the cradle of ancient Malay heritage. Don’t forget to bring insect repellent when you plan to visit this place.



Pasar Oleh-Oleh

Pasar Oleh-oleh located at Lagoi, Bintan. This is an artificial market in that it is built solely to tap into the flow of tourists into Bintan who demands an alternative place to shop, eat and buy groceries. There are many shops here selling arts and crafts, to swimwear, to sunglasses and office wear. Some folks argued that this is a tourist trap, but the groceries here are indeed cheaper than those at the resorts. Pasar Oleh Oleh has a collection of shops selling the local handicraft items and the prices are reasonable. The handicraft items are mainly wooden crafts and a lot of items made of sea shells too. You can buy your travel souvenirs in here.



Pujasera

This is the local vendor centre, ideal for tourist on a budget. The food here are mainly Indonesian and the Indonesian Rupiah is used and ‘not’ the Singapore Dollar. This vendor centre was originally meant for employees and their families working within the resort grounds. So, if you want to have real Indonesian fare at cheaper prices, this is the perfect place. Take the shuttle bus to Pasar Oleh Oleh and then walk out towards the employee barracks. The walk should take 5-10 minutes to get there. The vendor centre is in the middle of town.



Explore Tips:

* Don’t forget to bring sun blocks, sunglasses, caps, and insect repellant.
* Taking anti-malaria pills 2 weeks before visit Bintan Island.
* Find updating information of ferry schedule.
* Paid attentions to the weather before do travel.
* Preparing your passport for Non-Indonesian Citizen.



Contact Details:

Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal Counter:

50 Tanah Merah Ferry Road

#01-21 Singapore 498833

Telephone: (65) 6542 4369

Fax: (65) 6542 4372

Email: reservations@brf.com.sgThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it



Contact Details:

PT. Bintan Resort Ferries

Domestic Port Telaga Punggur

Batam – Indonesia

Telephone / Fax: (62) 778 761 553

Email: brf_batam@telkom.net

Tourism Information (Departement of Tourism in Indonesia)

Directorate General of Tourism (DGT)
Jalan Kramat Raya 81
P. O. Box 409
Jakarta
Tel (021) 310-3117
Fax: (021)3101146


Dinas Pariwisata Pariwisata Naggroe Aceh Darussalam
Jl. Teuku Cik Kuota Karang No. 3, Banda Aceh
T. (0651) 23692, 26206, 21108
F. (0651) 33723


Dinas Kebudayaan dan Pariwisata Pariwisata Sumatera Utara
Jl. Jend. A. Yani No. 107 Medan 20111
T. (061) 4538101, 4520559
F. (061) 6631355


Dinas Pariwisata, Seni dan Budaya Propinsi Sumatera Barat
Jl. Khatib Sulaeman No. 22, Padang 25137
T. (0751) 55711
F. (0751) 55183


Dinas Kebudayaan, Kesenian dan Pariwisata Propinsi Riau
Jl. Jend. Sudirman No. 200, Pekanbaru
T. (0761) 31452
F. (0761) 40356


Dinas Kebudayaan dan Pariwisata Propinsi Sumatera Selatan
Jl. Demang Lebar Daun, Kav. IX, Palembang
T. (0711) 311345, 356661
F. (0711) 372384


Dinas Kebudayaan dan Pariwisata Propinsi Jambi
Jl. Agus Salim, Jambi
T. (0741) 40330
F. (0741) 41733


Dinas Perhubungan dan Pariwisata Propinsi Kepulauan Bangka
Jl. Merdeka No. 4, Pangkal Pinang
T. (0717) 437705

Dinas Pariwisata Porpinsi Bengkulu
Jl. P. Tendean No. 17, Kota Bengkulu
T. (0736) 21272, 342200
F. (0736) 342200

Dinas Kebudayaan dan Pariwisata Propinsi Lampung
Jl. Achmad Dahlan No. 79, Bandar Lampung 35211
T. (0721) 253441
F. (0721) 482081

Dinas Kebudayaan dan Pariwisata Propinsi Banten
Jl. Ayip Usman No. 1, KaliganduSerang 42151, Banten
T. (0254) 219836
F. (0254) 219836

Dinas Pariwisata DKI Jakarta
Jl. Abdurrohim No. 1, Jakarta
T. (021) 5209689
F. (021) 5501612

Dinas Kebudayaan dan Pariwisata Propinsi Jawa Barat
Jl. RE Martadinata 209, Bandung
T. (022) 7271385, 7273209
F. (021) 7271385

Dinas Kebudayaan dan Pariwisata Propinsi Jawa Tengah
Jl. Madukoro Blok BB/D Semarang
T. (024) 7608570
F. (024) 7608573

Dinas Kebudayaan dan Pariwisata Propinsi DIY
Jl. Malioboro No. 14, Yogyakarta 55213
T. (0274) 562628
F. (0274) 565437

Dinas Kebudayaan dan Pariwisata Propinsi Jawa Timur
Jl. Wisata Managgal, Surabaya 60241
T. (031) 8531820
F. (031) 8530822

Dinas Pariwisata Tk. I Bali
Jl. S. Parman, Niti Mandala, Denpasar 80235
T. (0361) 222387
F. (0361) 226313

Dinas Kebudayaan dan Pariwisata Propinsi NTB
Jl. Singosari No. 2, Mataram 83127
T. (0370) 631730
F. (0370) 637233

Dinas Pariwisata dan Seni Budaya Propinsi NTT
Jl. Raya E Tari 2 No. 72, Kupang 85118
T. (0380) 833104
F. (0380) 821540

Dinas Pariwisata dan Seni Budaya Propinsi Kalimantan Timur
Jl. Gajah Mada No. 1, Samarinda
T. (0541) 733333

Dinas Pariwisata dan Seni Budaya Propinsi Kalimantan Selatan
Jl. Pramuka No. 4, Banjarmasin
T. (0511) 54359-7, 54369-70

Dinas Pariwisata, Seni dan Budaya Propinsi Kalimantan Tengah
Jl. Cilik Riwut K. 5, Palangkaraya
T. (0536) 31110
F. (0536) 31007

Dinas Kebudayaan dan Pariwisata Propinsi Kalimantan Barat
Jl. Letjend Sutoyo No. 17, Pontianak 78121
T. (0561) 742838
F. (0561) 739644

Dinas Kebudayaan dan Pariwisata Propinsi Sulawesi Selatan
Jl. Jend. Sudirman No. 23, Makasar 90231
T. (0411) 443355
F. (0411) 872314

Dinas Kebudayaan dan Pariwisata Propinsi Sulawesi Tenggara
Jl. Teban Nunggu No. 2, Kendari 94111
T. (0401) 326634
F. (0401) 327435

Dinas Pariwisata dan Kebudayaan Propinsi Sulawesi Barat
Jl. Patimura No. 12 Mamuju Sulawesi Barat 91511
T. (0264) 21737

Dinas Kebudayaan dan Pariwisata Propinsi Sulawesi Tengah
Jl. Dewi Sartika No. 91, Palu 94114
T. (0451) 483942
F. (0451) 483941

Dinas Perhubungan, Postel dan Pariwisata Propinsi Gorontalo
Jl. Pangeran Diponegoro No. 47, Gorontalo 96115
T. (0435) 321763

Dinas Kebudayaan dan Pariwisata Propinsi Maluku
Jl. Pattimura No. 1, Amon 97124
T. (0911) 352471

Dinas Kebudayaan dan Pariwisata Propinsi Maluku Utara
Jl. Salim Fabanyo No. 10, Ternate
T. (0921) 21165

Dinas Kebudayaan dan Pariwisata Propinsi Papua
Jl. Soa Siu, Jayapura
T. (0967) 583001, 586551
F. (0967) 58876

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Indonesian Arts

Indonesian arts and crafts are powerful and wonderful expressions of life, born out of an extraordinarily rich cultural heritage. Many traditional works of art were developed in the courts of former kingdoms such as those centered in Java and Bali.

“Wayang” theaters from Java and Bali, for example, originate from ancient Hindu mythology and feature portions of the Ramayana and Mahabharata epics adapted to suit local conditions and age-old traditions.

Rigid discipline and artistry are the hallmarks of dances from Java and Bali, but those of Sumatra, Maluku and most of the other islands (one exception is the Gending Sriwijaya of South Sumatra) are characterized by a more flexible gracefulness and charm, a distinction which is further accentuated by an entirely different, non-gamelan, musical accompaniment.

Artistic traditions are actively being preserved in the many art and dance schools which flourish not only in the courts but also in modern, government-run or supervised art academies.



Flora & Fauna , and Marine Life











o Flora & Fauna:
Indonesia is divided into three distinct zoological geographical zones which includes a transitional area in the central part of the archipelago.

The Western islands of the Archipelago display predominantly Asian characteristics of verdant jungles, rare orchids and the giant Rafflesia, (a plant which produces a bloom over 1 meter in diameter). A land where tigers, leopards, elephants, rhinos and thousands of varieties of birds and insects make it their home.

Further east, the Central islands present a gradual shift from Asian to Australasian flora and fauna. Sulawesi, for example, boasts both monkeys and marsupials, while Komodo is home to a pre-historic giant lizards commonly “dragon” found nowhere else in world.



The Eastern most islands, however, are more indicative of Australasia with bush-like shrubs and hardy plants; brilliantly colored Lorries, Cukatoos and Australian marsupials become more common place. These wonderfully diverse illustrations of life are protected in numerous nature reserves and National Parks scattered throughout the archipelago.

o Marine Life:
Marine tourism has taken off in Indonesia in a big way, with the establishment of protected Marine Parks, professional dive centers, certified dive masters guides, and some of the most colorful, breathtaking sea gardens anywhere in the world.

In the warm tropical, turquoise waters, magnificent coral reefs, alive with color support myriad types of fish and other marine life. Some of the underwater drop-offs are awesome and downward visibility can be as far as 30 meters in some areas. A journey into this extraordinarily vibrant underwater world is guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience for both snorkellers and scuba divers alike.

Travel Tips

Immigration

Visas are required except for the nationals of 48 countries namely Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Hong Kong SAR, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom (Great Britain), United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Venezuela, Yugoslavia and Taiwanese holding MFA//M passports. The visa requirement is also waived for other nationals from friendly countries, attending a conference which has received official approval.

Visa free entry is for maximum of 60 days and is not extendable. Entry and departure must be through the airports of Polonia (Medan), Simpang Tiga (Pekanbaru), Hang Nadim (Batam), Tabing (Padang), Soekarno-Hatta (Jakarta), Husein Sastranegara (Bandung), Juanda (Surabaya), Adisumarmo (Solo), Ngurah Rai (Denpasar), Eltari (Kupang), Supadio (Pontianak), Sepingan (Balikpapan), Sam Ratulangi (Manado), Pattimura (Ambon), Hasanuddin (Makassar), Selaparang (Mataram), and Frans Kaisiepo (Biak), and the seaports of Belawan (Medan), Batu Ampar and Sekupang (Batam), Tanjung Priok (Jakarta), Tanjung Mas (Semarang), Tanjung Perak (Surabaya), Benoa and Padangbai (Bali), Bitung (North Sulawesi), Ambon (Maluku), and Tanjung Pinang (Bintan). There is only one land gateway, Entikong in West Kalimantan.

For other ports of arrival or departure, visitors must have visas, For others, tourist visas for thirty days can be obtained form any Indonesian embassy or consulate. Two photographs are required and a small fee is charged. Possession of passports is a must to all visitors to Indonesia valid for at least six months with proof of onward passage, either return or through tickets.


Transports

There are metered taxis in Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung, Solo, Semarang, Yogyakarta, Bali and Lampung. For air-conditioned taxis flag falls are Rp.2,000 (Rp. 900 for each additional kilometer) and Rp. 3,000 (Rp. 1,300 for each additional kilometer). For Silverbird flagfall is Rp. 3,500 and Rp. 1,500 for each additional km. Hire cars are available and rates differ form area to area and it is best to ask the transportation desk of your hotel for information concerning rates and distances.

From Soekarno-Hatta airport to Jakarta city,

taxis add a surcharge ranging from Rp. 7,500/Rp. 9,000/Rp. 10,000 depending on the destination and the road tolls of Rp. 7,000. There are also Soekarno-Hatta International Airport buses which run every 20 minutes to five different points in the city. For those heading for the major hotels in the city center, take the bus to Gambir, a railway station, which is five to ten minutes away by taxi from the hotels. Bus fare is Rp, 5,000 per person plus luggage. At other airports there are transport counters with fixed fares for taxis.

Other forms of transport in Indonesia are bajaj for two passengers, small buses which ply regular routes, the man-driven pedicab "becak," all of which need advanced bargaining to come to a mutually accepted fare. Buses are very crowded, particularly in the cities and routes need to be identified. Trains traverse the island of Java and part of Sumatra. Fares are comparatively cheap but higher on air-conditioned express trains running between major cities.

Garuda Indonesia has an extensive network throughout the country. To all major cities on the archipelago, Garuda had daily services. Garuda services are supplemented by those of Merpati Nusantara, Bouraq, and Mandala, Lion Air, Awair and Pelita.


Communication and Electricity

Long distance calls within Indonesia are by direct dial. International Direct Dial (IDD) is available from major cities and hotels to 240 countries. Long Distance, IDD and facsimile services are also available at the telecommunications offices (Wartel) in major cities and hotels. Internet service is not a difficult things to find in big cities public internet services (Warnet). Most hotels in big cities use 220 volts 50 cycles and a two-pronged plug. However, some hotels in the provinces may still be using 110 volts. It is better to check before using an appliance.


Weather

Indonesia has two seasons, the dry season from June to October and the rainy season from November to March. There are occasional showers during the transitional periods and the general maximum temperature is 33°C (62°F) and the general minimum 21°C (41°F). Humidity is high at all times.


Customer

Customs allow on entry a maximum of one liter of alcoholic beverages, 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 grams of tobacco and a reasonable amount of perfume per adult. Cameras, video cameras, portable radios, cassette recorders, binoculars and sport equipment are admitted provided they are taken out on departure. They must be declared to Customs. Prohibited are firearms, narcotics drugs, pornography, Chinese printing and medicines, transceivers and cordless telephones. Films, pre-recorded video tapes and laser disks must be screened by the Censor Board.

There is no restriction on import or export of foreign currencies and travelers checks, however, the import and export of Indonesian currency exceeding Rp. 5 million is prohibited. Airport authority levies an airport tax of Rp. 50.000 for travelers on international routes and Rp. 11,000 for those on domestic routes.

Shopping and Tipping

At most hotels a service charge of 10% is added to the bill. In restaurants where a service charge is not additional, a tip of 5 to 10% would be appropriate depending on the service and type of establishment. An airport or hotel porter expects Rp. 5,000 per bag.

Tipping taxi drivers Rp. 1,000 or leaving the change is appreciated but not mandatory. It is advisable to carry small change as taxi drivers are often short of change. The big cities have shopping complexes, supermarkets and department stores where prices are fixed. They stay open from 8.00 a.m. to 9.00 p.m. everyday and some even on Sunday. At small shops bargaining might be necessary.

Food and Health

The Indonesian staple food is rice steamed boiled or fried. Some accompanying dishes can be pepper hot - big red pepper or small green ones - so it is advisable to ask before ordering. Please be inform to also ask the price before ordering. There are many restaurants specializing in European, American and Oriental cuisine including the fast food restaurants.

A variety of beverages (both imported or locals) are available everywhere including very good Indonesian beer. Keep to bottled drinks if doubtful of water served in restaurants. Travelers coming from infected areas are required to submit International certificates of valid smallpox, cholera and yellow vaccinations.

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