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  • What's on Board | News
    23 Aug 2016

    The Lake Toba Independence Day Carnival  held over the two days of last weekend at Lake Toba,  the second largest lake in the world, was by all measures an indisputably resounding success.The beauty of the mountains and the huge lake lit up by thousands of fireworks accompanied by contemporary music brought by Indonesia’s popular singers  on a floating stage on Saturday night, and the next day an endless parade of color and pomp presenting dances and traditions of all seven districts surrounding Toba, cheered on by tens of thousands of school children and inhabitants in their colorful traditional costumes, was a memory to last a lifetime.  The task to implement and coordinate this huge and intricate event fell on the shoulders of the Minister of Tourism, Arief Yahya  and his staff working together with the local governments, the people and artists, who all deserve kudos.  In fact for 2 days Lake Toba Carnival became the number one trending topic in social media.     But what now? Will all that just remain a beautiful memory? In fact, the purpose to hold this year’s National Day Carnival around Lake Toba  held a deeper  goal, namely to lift  and revitalize the huge Lake Toba area in North Sumatra, with the support of all its stakeholders,  and most importantly of its local inhabitants to become one of Indonesia’s 10 top Tourist Destinations by 2019.    “Lake Toba Tourism will be developed into one of Indonesia’s major Ecotourism Destinations” confirmed President Joko Widodo, who was present duringn the entire  two-day Festival .  This magnificent caldera which came into being through a mega volcanic explosion some 75,000 years ago  together with the fascinating cultures of the different Batak clans are natural assets that must be carefully preserved  and developed to benefit the local inhabitants and increase the number of tourists to Indonesia, said the President.  On his inspection tour of the region, President Joko Widodo  and the First Lady also planted fruit trees,  instructing the Minister for the Environment to ensure that in order to conserve the environment, 1 million trees will be planted around lake Toba before December this year. A flower park is also in the offing.   Silangit Airport expanded, infrastructure improvedFor this purpose,  a Lake Toba Tourism Authority will be formed soon, said the President.  One of its main tasks will be the immediate development of infrastructure. Most important is the expansion of the nearest Silangit Airport in the district of North Tapanuli, some 1.5 hours drive from Lake Toba. If today its runway measures only 2,400 meters, this will soon be extended to 1,650 meter, and its width widened from the present 30 meters to 45 meters. Works are expected to be completed by July 2017. There will also be additional parking space for 4 aircraft the size of B737-500. This will allow Garuda ‘s Bombardier planes to make a U-turn on the tarmac.  The Terminal will also be completely newly constructed and enlarged from the present 500 sq.m, to 1,706 sq.m. displaying a design of typical Batak houses done in the traditional colors of red, white and black, added  Tourism Minister Arief YahyaAt present Garuda operates   frequent weekly flights from Jakarta to Silangit, and now also the airline serves daily flights from Medan’s Kuala Namu Airport to Silangit.  Other airlines are Sriwijaya Air and Susi Air.Meanwhile, the President also  promised an additional ferry boat to accelerate transfer of tourists from the shores of Parapat to Samosir Island. Improvements will also be made to the ferry piers.   Additionally, to improve road access from Medan to Lake Toba, which at the moment takes around 5 hours, a toll road will be built from Kuala Namu Airport to Tebing Tinggi and on to Pematang Siantar. Meantime the Pematang Siantar- Parapat scenic road will be widened to allow more buses and increased road traffic .  Through joint close cooperation between the Ministries involved at  National Government, the local governments surrounding Lake Toba, the industry and  participation and support of the people, Lake Toba and its surroundings may look forward to a brighter future through sustainable tourism efforts.  Lake Toba Independence Day Carnival, has indeed lifted the spirit of the people  and  succeeded to promote Batak culture to a wider national and international audience. (WS)  

  • What's on Board | Info & Tips
    18 Aug 2016

    When you visit Lake Toba do not fail to get to know the culture and way of life of the Batak ethnic group.Situated within the present Ambarita Village in the Simanindo District on Samosir Island, North Sumatra Province, is Huta Siallagan, an ancient village which strongly radiates the unique culture of the Batak ethnic group, set amidst the dramatic beauty of magnificent Lake Toba.In the local language, Huta literary means settlement or village, therefore, Huta Siallagan means the Village of Siallagan. A Huta also identifies the family or clan as its residents, that in this case is the Siallagan Clan. The Siallagans are descendants of King Naimbaton who follow the line of King Isumbaon, second son of the King of Batak.Huta Siallagan village was built in the reign of the first Huta leader, King Laga Siallagan, then further expanded during the time of his heir, King Hendrik Siallagan, down to  the descendants of King Ompu Batu Ginjang Siallagan. A number of descendants of King Siallagan still reside here today in Ambarita Village, where tombs of their ancestors can still be found in the area.Huta Siallagan covers a total area of 2,400 square meters and is surrounded by a 1.5 to 2 meter stone wall. Built from sleekly structured stones, the wall was once completed with bastions and sharp bamboos to protect the village from wild animals and attacks from other tribes.Entering Huta Siallagan, one will be greeted by a number of traditional Bolon and Sopo houses which are traditional houses of the Batak ethnic group of North Sumatra.What makes Huta Siallagan special is the existence of two sets of large stones carved into chairs encircling a stone table. These fascinating sets of stone furniture artifacts are called Batu Parsidangan, meaning “Stones for Meetings and Trials”. It is located right at the center of Huta Siallagan under a Hariara Tree, which is considered a sacred tree by the Bataks.  The Stones are believed to be over 200 years old.There are two sets of Batu Parsidangan in which one used to serve as the official meeting place, while the other served as the site for executions.The first set of Batu Parsidangan that was the official place for meetings consists of orderly arranged stone chairs that are specifically intended for the king, the queen, clan elders, neighboring huta leaders, invitees, and the datu or spiritual leaders. While the second Batu Parsidangan features a similar arrangement but with the addition of a Long Stone Table, where executions took place.Nowadays, Batu Parsidangan and Huta Siallagan stand as a legacy of those ancient times. Here one can learn about the culture and beliefs of the ancestors of the Batak ethnic group of North Sumatra.Be sure to be at the grand Lake Toba Independence Day Carnival 2016 where all districts around Lake Toba will parade their most outstanding cultures and traditions, rarely seen any other time.

  • What's on Board | News
    15 Aug 2016

    Indonesia is set to host the prestigious PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) Travel Mart 2016 at its newest Convention Hall, the Indonesia Convention and Exhibition (ICE) hall at Bumi Serpong Damai  (popularly known as BSD), located in the Banten Provice,  to be held from 7-9 September 2016.  The event is fully supported by the Ministry of Tourism of Indonesia. BSD is one of many satellite cities around Jakarta, capital of Indonesia,  and is within an  hour’s ride from Central Jakarta by toll road.   This is the fourth time that Indonesia has hosted PTM , the three earlier ones were all  held in Bali. Therefore,  this is the first time that PTM in Indonesia is staged in the province of Banten, on the outskirts of Jakarta.   Recognized  as the  fifth  best tourism industry show in the world, PTM pioneered  the pre- scheduled computerized appointments contract show in the Tourism Industry for  Buyers to meet and discuss business with Sellers. PTM is a business contract B2B show  exclusive among its PATA membership and is, for this reason, not open to the public.  PTM  also offers pre and post convention tours for delegates. There is a half-day tour to Taman Mini Indonesia in Jakarta,  and tours  to Mt. Kelimutu and Labuan Bajo on Flores to get close to the Komodo dragons. Other tours include a trip to the beautiful Toraja Highlands in South Sulawesi or a trip closer to Banten to Tanjung Lesung Beach to watch the once mighty Mt. Krakatau.                        Expected to be attended by  1,000 delegates, to date (10 August 2016), already 242 Buyers from 25 countries have registered for PTM Indonesia;  with 226 Sellers from 28 countries, and 42 media from 14 countries as well as 12 bloggers.  Indonesia, as host country will field 50 Seller Organizations.The largest number of Buyers to date are from the Asia Pacific Area  (32%) that include Buyers from China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan; from  Europe (25%) among whom are from Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy; followed by the ASEAN countries (22%), the Americas 10% - including the USA, Canada and Brazil;  Russia, Kazakstan 8%,and the Middle East (UAE, and more) 3%, reported Ika Nazarudin, Project Manager of PTM 2016, Pacto Convex at the press conference held at the Ministry of Tourism on Thursday, 11 August.    The entire event will take place in Halls 5 and 6 of ICE, occupying a total area of 450 square meters.                        Although a newly built city, only started in 1984,  BSD city and surroundings already have  a number of comfortable  four star business hotels with the Santika Premiere Hotel  being within walking distance from ICE. Near the convention hall itself is the Aeon Mall filled with many Japanese restaurants.  A little further off are the official  hotels at Alam Sutera that include Mercure Alam Sutera, Santika Hotel, Grand Zuri, and more. These are the official hotels for PTM.  Nearby you will also find the large Alam Sutera Mall and the first extensive and popular IKEA outlet in Indonesia.     Alam Sutera is popular for its galore of restaurants in malls. There is even an entire restaurant complex called “Flavor Bliss”.  In your spare time try out the many restaurants here, with most popular being the Bandar Jakarta, where  you can tuck into the freshest Seafood, fried or grilled fish, prawns, scallops, crabs, all covered in unforgettable spicy sauces. There are also a number of good Chinese restaurants and cafes. ICE is a huge complex for exhibitions, and has already hosted many international singing stars like Kathy Perry, who performed to packed crowds.  ICE is definitely  a welcome addition to Jakarta’s  already   year-round full house convention and  exhbition halls at the Jakarta’s International Convention Hall  at Senayan  as well as the JIExpo at Kemayoran.BSD is one of Jakarta’s many satellite cities which is located in the adjoining province of Banten in the sub-district of Serpong, west of Jakarta.  Dubbed as one of the best laid-out  new cities, BSD has quickly grown into a beautiful suburb  almost inseparable from the megapolitan city of Jakarta.  Here you will find wide shady boulevards with large housing estates on both sides of the road. The city  also boasts some of the best universities and top schools.    Located close to the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport,  BSD and its adjoining suburbs of Alam Sutera and Serpong city are connected to Central Jakarta by toll road.  Together the three now form almost one city by itself .For more information on ICE log on to : ice-indonesia.comFor details on PTM 2016, log on to: www.pata.org/portfolio/ptm-2016. 

  • What's on Board | News
    11 Aug 2016

    This year, the impressive and truly panoramic Lake Toba in North Sumatra will be the cultural center of the 71st Commemoration of Indonesia’s Independence Day as the spectacular Lake Toba Independence Day Carnival  is to be held at Balige (Toba Samosir Regency) and Parapat (Simalungun Regency) on the shores of Lake Toba, on 20th to 21st August 2016. Aside from signifying a milestone of the country’s achievements, the event is expected to boost Lake Toba as a prime tourist destination. The Lake Toba Independence Day Carnival 2016 will feature a spectacular range of cultural attractions from 26 provinces, 7 regencies around Lake Toba, 8 sub-ethnic communities of the Batak Toba, a number of cultural communities, and a whole lot more. Involving over 4,000 participants, the carnival will take a 3.5Km route from Balige under the theme  ‘Red White Black’, following the traditional dominant colors in the Batak lands. The carnival will be co-highlighted with a decorated boats parade;  musical performances on a huge floating stage, and a culinary fiesta featuring Chef Bara Pattiradjawane in Parapat. Projected to attract no less than 50,000 people, the carnival is intended to reflect the fascinating diverse cultures  and ethnic groups that live in the Indonesian archipelago and how they all unite in perfect harmony. For this special occasion, President of the Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo and First Lady Iriana Joko Widodo will not only attend the carnival but also take part in the parade itself wearing  special traditional costumes of North Sumatra:  the Ulos. The President  will wear the Ulos Ragidup Sirara, while the First Lady will be dressed in Tum Tum Motif Ulos, both designed by the North Sumatran born renowned fashion designer Edward Hutabarat.                                  Featuring rarely seen ethnic traditions based on age old local wisdom, the parade will be held in the afternoon on Sunday, 21 August starting from Balige.  The public will be able to admire  700 ladies  all in local Batak costume gracefully carrying ‘tandok” on their head – which are tall baskets filled with rice, not unlike Bali where women carry offerings on their head. The baskets of rice denote participation of neighbors to the person having the party, thereby supporting and blessing the occasion. “The women come from the 7 Districts surrounding Lake Toba signifying that all districts have agreed together to  jointly build Lake Toba”, explained Minister Arief Yahya. The Batak tradition uses three dominant colors, which are red, black and white, as can be seen in their woven cloths, colors in their homes and other artefacts.                                Meanwhile to add to the gaiety, contemporary development of the people and promote the powerful and beautiful voices of the Batak, on 20 August at Pantai Bebas, Parapat,  a  huge floating stage  of 12 by 24 meters  located some 10 meters from  shore has been built where a number of Indonesian popular singers will perform to include Slank, Edo Kondologit, Opi Anderesta, Judika and Sammy Simorangkir and more.        “The Independence Day Carnival  is  an annual program from the Ministry of Tourism. This year President Joko Widodo has chosen Lake Toba as the center in this year’s Independence Day commemoration with the purpose to revitalize the nation’s pride and boost the spirit of ‘solid work’ as well as to further support Indonesia’s national policy in tourism development especially in the 10 priority destinations” stated Minister of Tourism, Arief Yahya at the press conference on  Lake Toba Independence Day Carnival Preparations held at the  Sapta Pesona Building, Office of the Ministry of Tourism in Jakarta on Wednesday, 10th August 2016. The Minister further explained that when the government designated Lake Toba as one of the top priority destinations for development,  infrastructure development became  highest priority here. They include the development of a Toll road from Pematang Siantar City to Lake Toba area in Parapat which is to begin next year . Also being  improved is the Silangit Toba Airport which currently already  serves direct flights from Jakarta, Kualanamu airport (Medan), and Batam. Initiallty known as the Cultural Carnival  featuring representatives from all 34 provinces of the Indonesian Archipelago that took place around the Istana Negara or Presidential Palace in Jakarta, since 2015, it was shifted to Pontianak, in West Kalimantan, which marked the first time that the Independence Day Carnival was staged outside the capital city. For more information on Lake Toba log on to indonesia.travel.

  • What's on Board | Events
    1 Aug 2016 - 30 Aug 2016

    Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has decided  that in conjunction with Indonesia’s  71st. years commemoration of Independence Day on 17 August 1945, a number of the  precious art collections  that are in the Presidential palaces should be opened for the public to admire and enjoy. Carrying the theme : 17/71, beginning 1st August to 30th August 2016 throughout one month only,  28  original outstanding paintings by master painters from  Raden Saleh, Affandi, Basoeki Abdullah, Miguel Covarrubias, Walter Spies and more, including one by President Soekarno can be viewed at the Galeri Nasional, at Medan Merdeka Timur,  Gambir, Central Jakarta.This is the first time that a collection of the Presidential Palace has been  moved  to be shown outside the palace. We hope that this collection will inspire the public, said  Minister, Secretary of State Pratikno.  The largest number of the paintings were collected by Indonesia’s first president Soekarno, who was wellknown for his love of the Arts. The paintings are inventory of the Palaces in Jakarta, Bogor, Cipanas and Yogyakarta, said the Presidential Palace release.Paintings exhibited show Indonesian scenes during the people’s revolt against colonialism for National Independence, from the time of Prince Diponegoro in the early 1800’s to the 1950s.They are as follows :  1.       Affandi, Laskar Rakyat Mengatur Siasat, 19462.        Affandi, Potret H.O.S. Tjokroaminoto, 19463.        Basoeki Abdullah, Pangeran Diponegoro Memimpin Perang, 19494.        Dullah, Persiapan Gerilya, 1945.5.        Harijadi Sumadidjaja, Awan Berarak Jalan Bersimpang, 19556.        Harijadi Sumadidjaja, Biografi II di Malioboro, 19497.        Henk Ngantung, Memanah, 1943 (original reproduction by Haris Purnomo)8.        Kartono Yudhokusumo, Pertempuran di Pengok, 19499.        Raden Saleh, Penangkapan Pangeran Diponegoro, 185710.    S.Sudjojono, Di Depan Kelambu Terbuka, 193911.    S. Sudjojono, Kawan-kawan Revolusi, 1947.12.    S. Sudjojono, Markas Laskar di Bekas Gudang Beras Tjikampek, 196413.    S. Sudjojono, Mengungsi, 195014.    S. Sudjojono. Sekko (Perintis Gerilya), 194915.    Sudjono Abdullah, Diponegoro, 194716.    Trubus Sudarsono, Potret R.A. Kartini, 1946/7 1717.   Gambiranom Suhardi, Potret Jenderal Sudirman, 195618.    Soerono, Ketoprak, 195019.    Ir. Sukarno, Rini, 195820.    Lee Man-Fong, Margasatwa dan Puspita Nusantara, 196121.    Rudolf Bonnet, Penari-penari Bali sedang Berhias, 195422.    Hendra Gunawan, Kerokan, 195523.    Diego Rivera, Gadis Melayu dengan Bunga, 195524.    Miguel Covarrubias, Empat Gadis Bali dengan Sajen, between 1933-193625.    Walter Spies, Kehidupan di Borobudur di Abad ke-9, 193026.    Ida Bagus Made Nadera, Fadjar Menjinsing, 194927.    Srihadi Soedarsono, Tara, 197728.    Mahjuddin, Pantai Karang Bolong, unidentified (between 1950s)The Exhibition is at:Galeri Nasional IndonesiaJalan Medan Merdeka Timur 14Gambir, Jakarta Pusat 10110Telephone : +62 34833954Email : [email protected] : @galerinasionalYoutube: Galeri Nasional Indonesia

  • What's on Board | News
    4 Aug 2016

    It is confirmed:  Starting 00.01 hrs. West Indonesia Time on Tuesday, 9 August 2016,  the brand new Terminal 3 Ultimate  (T3U) of Jakarta’s Soekarno Hatta International Airport located in Tangerang in adjacent Banten Province, will start operations.Beginning with flag carrier’s Garuda Indonesia DOMESTIC flights, the first flight to leave from T3U will be Flight GA654 from Jakarta to Jayapura in Papua, Indonesia’s eastern-most province. This is followed b y GA648 to Ternate. In all, 126 flights from the airline’s 180 flights will  depart from T3U on that day, having  moved from the present Terminal 2F,  announced Director Services PT Garuda Indonesia, Nicodemus P.Lampe, as reported by Bisnis Indonesia.For the time being  Garuda Indonesia will be the only airline operating from Jakarta’s state-of-the art T3U, while  for now only its Domestic flights  will depart from  and arrive at T3U.  Airport departure tax is expected to be Rp. 135,000 per person.Director General for Air Communications, Suprasetyo,  at a joint press conference  informed the media that on 2 August 2016 the Ministry has given  its approval to start operations of T3U, since all necessary  requirements have been met.Meanwhile, Acting CEO of Airport Authority II, under whose auspices is the Soekarno-Hatta International airport, confirmed that in his report to Vice President Jusuf Kalla, T3U is ready for operation of 40% of Garuda’s total fleet. The Terminal will be totally complete  in March 2017 in tandem with the operation of the connecting trains and automatic  people movers from Station 1 – Airport Railway Station –Terminal 2 – Terminal 3. On the run-up to  opening day , Garuda Indonesia will undertake daily simulations to prepare for the big transition to ensure that no glitches will occur on opening day.  Nonetheless, 3 back up mitigation plans have been prepared for any eventualities. Source: Bisnis Indonesia

  • What's on Board | News
    3 Aug 2016

    As the largest archipelago in the world, the endless splendors of Indonesia also lie in her vast stretching waters, making it a perfect destination for yachts and cruise trips. Aimed to attract more international yachts and cruise ships to sail to and in Indonesian waters, the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia will hold the Wonderful Indonesia Cruise Sales Mission in Sydney, Australia on 12th August 2016 at the Hilton Hotel, 488 George St.  The event will again confirm Indonesia’s commitment to maintain the Australian tourism market while developing niche market sectors including cruises and yachts.Committed to make it easier for yachters and cruise ships to enter her waters, the Indonesian government has implemented a number of policies that simplify procedures. These include the waiver of cabotage so that cruise ships are able to embark and disembark passengers at the appointed ports of Tanjung Perak in Surabaya, Tanjung Priok in Jakarta, Tanjung Benoa in Bali, Belawan in Medan, and Makassar. The government has also eased the CIQP (customs, immigration, quarantine, and port authorities) procedures, simplified the sailing permit application from one month to just one day and plans to build new marinas at Saumlaki, Ambon, Kupang, Tarakan, Labuan Bajo, Tanjung Pandan, and Belitung.Furthermore, the Clearance and Approval for Indonesian Territory (CAIT) policy has been abolished, which means that yachters can now register online via http://yachters-indonesia.id.For cruise and yacht operators, Indonesia offers many advantages. Firstly, the weather enables tours to be offered all year round as there is no winter and the possibility of storms is very low. Secondly, while the Caribbean and Mediterranean are already highly popular among yachters and cruise enthusiasts, Indonesia offers pristine natural beauty and cultural richness unlike anywhere else in the world. Third, for Australians and other nationalities who are given the short stay free visa, they can fly to Indonesia and take a local charter vessel since the free visa lasts up to 30 days.Cruise traffic in Indonesia has recorded 360 calls and 266,000 passengers in 2016. The number is expected to grow as new destinations open up and legislation is eased. Much of this is expedition vessels, boutique vessels and vessels of limited capacity (up to 1,500 passengers). In general Australia is still the main market for Indonesia’s tourism industry. In the last two years, the number of Australian visitors to Indonesia was above 1 million along with visitors from Malaysia, China and Singapore.According to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia, cruising has grown at close to 20% per annum for the last decade out of Australia with Asia leading the way in 2015 with growth of 71.5%. In 2015 1,058,000 Australians took a cruise some and some 23 million took a cruise globally. Australia represents 4.6% of the global market and has the largest market penetration in the world as a source market.For Australians and most of the international tourists, the enchanting island of Bali is still considered as the number 1 destination in Indonesian Archipelago. However, in years to come the island is projected not only as a prime destination but also the main hub for other destinations. Confirming the vision, indonesia's Minister of Tourism, Arief Yahya stated: “We want to promote Bali and Beyond so that destinations close to Bali can also develop. After enjoying Bali visitors can continue on to other destinations such as Banyuwangi, Lombok, Wakatobi, Labuan Bajo and Mount Bromo”. Source: http://www.eglobaltravelmedia.com.au/indonesia-tourism-aims-for-more-cruise-calls/#more-730769

  • What's on Board | News
    1 Aug 2016

    Lonely Planet’s  own travel writers recently selected the secluded Pemuteran area in the northwest corner of Bali among its recommended  “10 Best Destinations Asia”. These destinations offered “ a fresh twist for travellers”, wrote Lonely Planet.On Pemuteran, Lonely Planet wrote the following : “Divers down there are gawping at one of Indonesia’s best coral walls. This undersea wonderland is the prime – but far from the only – reason to stay in Pemuteran, a double bay of beaches near Menjangan (which is part of Bali’s only national park)”.Surrounded by terrace upon terrace of green ricefields, fronted by a clear blue sea and a backdrop of the mighty Ijen volcano on East Java, Pemuteran is an ideal secluded spot to get close to nature, away from the hectic world.Pemuteran  and its neighboring island of Menjangan spell nature  conservation on land and in the sea. Through participation of local inhabitants, the village has also become famous for its ancient-looking underwater temple located at 29 meters depth. The temple was specially planted to become the habitat of newly grown corals and a wide variety of fish.  Today, divers can admire statues  grown over with corals, its temple garden filed with gorgonian fans, a large number of clownfish and parrotfish darting in the water, while at times  whale sharks, manta rays and whales pass these waters.  Pemuteran has received many accolades for its community-based and environmental management and awards for exemplary ecotourism activities.     WThe Ten Best Destinations selected by Lonely Planet are : 1. Hokkaido, Japan; 2. Shanghai, China ; 3. Jeonju, South Korea; 4. Con Dao Islands, Vietnam; 5. Hong Kong, China; 6. Ipoh, Malaysia; 7. Pemuteran, Bali, Indonesia; 8. Trang Island, Thailand; 9. Meghalaya, India; and 10. Taitung, Taiwan.For more information log on to : http://www.lonelyplanet.com/best-in-asia#pemuteran-indonesia

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  • What's New | News
    25 Sep 2016

    This September, the alluring island of Bintan in the Riau Islands Province located just across Singapore, calls on avid golfers from around the world to enjoy its challenging and panoramic courses and compete in the Wonderful Indonesia Golf Challenge (WIGC) Bintan 2016 scheduled to take place on  Sunday, 25th September 2016.Featuring Bintan’s amazing natural ambience, WIGC BIntan 2016 will take place in three of the island’s finest golf courses: the Ria Bintan Golf Club, Laguna Golf Bintan, and Bintan Lagoon Resort.The tournament will take on the format of 36 strokes system where each  course will have its own winner. Participation is limited to 350 golfers;  the golfer  lucky enough to land a Hole in One will receive the cash prize of IDR 100 million. There will also be other attractive prizes and lucky draws to be won.                                Following the tournament, all participants are invited to a joint luncheon, award presentations and a variety of fun-filled entertainment at the Bintan Lagoon Resort.Situated just 45 minutes ferry ride across from Singapore, Bintan Island offers the ultimate getaway from  the hustle and bustle of cosmopolitan business life. Her chief lure is the Bintan Resorts, a multi-award winning, integrated tropical beach resort destination which comes complete with world-class facilities and service. Bintan Resorts on the island of Bintan’s northern coast offers top-class hotels, each located in over 300 hectares of land, featuring world class golf courses designed by internationally renowned golf architects.  Bintan Resorts also offers plenty of beach activities and luxurious spas. After golf take a romantic evening  boat trip into the mangrove forest and watch thousands of fireflies glittering among and atop the canopy of trees.For enquiries or reservations, please contact:Bintan Lagoon Resort:Phone: +62 770 691388 (ext 7809), +65 6223 3223Email: [email protected] Ria Bintan Golf ClubPhone: +62 770 69842Email: [email protected] Laguna Golf BintanPhone:+62 770 693188Email: [email protected]

  • What's New | Events
    17 Sep 2016 - 19 Sep 2016

    This September make the island of Nias,  - off the west coast of North Sumatra in the Indian Ocean,-   your choice destination. From 11th to 19 th   September 2016, all district governments together with the people of Nias have joined hands to present the highlight of their 2016 Calendar of Events, which is filled with a cultural festival called Ya’ahowu and the staging of the International Surf Competition.Initially set to be staged in August, the event has been rescheduled to 11th  to 19th September 2016 following a joint agreement by the mayor and regents of Nias Islands and the Minister of Tourism. “5 regents and mayors agreed to reschedule the event due to a number of simultaneous activities in each regency and city” explained Lakhomizaro Zebua,  Mayor of Gunung Sitoli as quoted from kompas.com.The series of excitement will kick off with the Ya’ahowu Open Championship International Surfing Competition along with the ‘Hombo Batu’ Traditional Stone Jumping Competition from 11th to 15th September 2016 at at  the Sorake Bay and Lagundri Beach. Meanwhile, the Ya’ahowu Festival will start from 17th September until its pinnacle on 19th September 2016.Nias is already wellknown worldwide for its unbelievable rolling surf barrels, - the darling of surfers, - and the earliest discovered living Megalithic culture in the Indonesian archipelago, which still thrives on the island until this very day.These and other exciting cultural performances will be shown during the festival at Gunung Sitoli, that include the amazing famous barefoot high jumps over piles of stone, a mock battle , and other  unique and colorful traditional ceremonies of Nias. And, for a more modern touch there will also be fashion shows and a culinary bazaar for all to enjoy.    The Festival will close with popular Indonesian singers and 1,000 lanterns released into the sky. As part of the province of North Sumatra, the island is reachable by regular flights from the Kualanamu International Airport of Medan, capital city of the province,  to the Binaka Airport at Gunung Sitoli. While Sorake Bay is 90 km from Gunung Sitoli. There are surf camps available there for surfers.  Medan receives flights from Singapore, Malaysia, Jakarta and other major cities in Indonesia.For more information, please contact:Simon FauPhone: +6281376226770Dolin WauPhone: +6281397303764

  • What's New | Events
    17 Sep 2016 - 24 Sep 2016

    Taking place on the tropical underwater paradise islands of Wakatobi in South East Sulawesi, the BarataKahedupa Festival 2016 will be held from 17th to 24th September 2016 centered on the Kaledupa Island. This time along with its fantastic underwater world the islands intend to showcase the culture of the people featuring their traditional art performances, folk games, culinary taste, and handicrafts. The festival is an inseparable part of the series of events building up to the annual Wakatobi Wave Festival (wonderful Festival and Expo) which will take place in November on Wangi-wangi Island. The highlight of the festival will be the ‘Karia’ which translated simply means ‘festivity’. For the Wakatobi people, Kariarefers to festivities that are celebrated on important moments in a person’s life such as for births, coming of age, and weddings. In this festival, the Karia will portray festivities around the coming of age of a person or rituals symbolizing the transformation from a child to adulthood. Prior to the festival, those who  celebrate the occasion will send corn, coconuts, and various other crops to the chief elder of the village. These crops will contribute to provide for the feast at the event. On 17th September, the Henauka Nu Mo’ane ritual will be staged followed by the Henauka Nu Wowinethe next day on 18th September. At the Henauka Nu Mo’ane, boys participating in the ritual will be paraded from a mosque to the open field where the Karia will take place. On the following day of Henauka Nu Wowine, it will be the turn of the girls to be paraded from their homes to the field accompanied by traditional songs and dances. Another interesting ritual is the ‘porimbi-rimbia’, a pre-matchmaking tradition for boys and girls of the island. The parents of the boys will visit the girls’ parents along with processions of offerings of food, crops and money designed in the shape of a house as symbol of proposalin marriage. The entire Karia process will come to its finale with the ritual of Hebangka-bangka on 23rd to 24th September 2016. The Hebangka-bangka ritual will be marked with the release of the miniature of Wakatobi’s distinct traditional boats carrying offering of traditional food to the open sea.  This act symbolizes the release of all mistakes and undue happenings likely to have occured  during the karia rituals to be floated off and disappear into the sea. Don't miss this opportunity to get real close to the people of Wakatobi and their unique culture.

  • What's New | Info & Tips
    23 Aug 2016

    While every year millions of tourists are attracted to Bali, the nighboring island of Lombok offers 3 tiny paradise islands off its north-west coast, known as “the Gilis”. Gili meaning "little island" and when people talk of "the Gilis", they usually refer to  the three little islands: Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air.Gili Trawangan is the largest and most built up among the three islands. Surrounded by white sandy beaches, turquoise water and a mesmerizing underwater life, it has the largest number of guesthouses, hotels and resorts. This, combined with bars and holiday atmosphere make this the most popular among travelers. Most  accommodation and other facilities on the island are on the east side. Top Things to See and Do on Gili Trawangan 1.            Scuba diving                        Whether you simply want to try scuba diving, do fun diving or go all out and complete a dive course or dive master program, here is the hub of Lombok diving with a heap of dive schools and dive sites to choose from. Small wonder, because the islands have a wonderful underwater world. Lionfish, scorpion fish, cuttle fish, octopus, and different types of rays make the waters around the islands their habitat.  2.            Go snorkeling                         Swimming in crystal clear water with a sea turtle is the perfect way to spend an afternoon. You can rent snorkeling gear for half a day from one of the centers near the beach and If you are with a large enough group or join other people do take a private boat. Check with your hotel for the best spots of the moment to snorkel with the sea turtles. 3.            Island Hopping                         Twice a day the public boats ply  around the islands. In the morning the boat leaves Gili Trawangan at 9.0 am. In the afternoon it returns from Gili Air over Gili Meno back to Trawangan. 4.            Rent a bike                         Gili Trawangan is a relatively small island. It takes approximately one hour to cycle around it. You can get  bikes almost anywhere or check your hotel since they usually also have bikes for rent. Remember to chain and lock the bike when you leave it anywhere. There are no motorized vehicles on Gili Trawangan, only bikes and horse drawn carts called "horse carriage". So bikes are your best transport to get you around the island.  5.            Walk to the vantage point for sunset                         Get a good view over the Gili islands, Bali and Lombok from the highest point on Gili Trawangan. The hill is located on the southern end of the island and can be reached within half an hour’s walk from most places on the southern part of Gili Trawangan. This is the best  vantage point to admire sunsets. For another option,  head to the west side of the island and find a spot to sip your cold drink while having your toes in the sand or find a chair in a beach bar, and watch the sun set behind Bali’s  inspiring Mount Agung.6.            Check out the nightlife                           A daily night market serving heaps of Indonesian delicacies at bargain prices, is worth your to visit. Located in front of the boat pier it opens at 6 pm or before sunset, this main public dining spot will satisfy your craving for seafood and local delights with a good variety of menu items to choose from. For such a small islandGili Trawangan certainly lives up to its time-honored party island reputation. Party nights are regular and are rotated between the bars, which usually stay open until 4 am. HOW TO GET THERELombok is easily reached from Bali by air around 25 minutes or by sea crossing taking less than 2 hours.There are speedboats available from Senggigi Beach on Lombok to the Gilis. Transport between Bali and Gili Trawangan is also provided with fast boats. Public Boat is the cheapest way to reach Gili Trawangan. Departure is from Bangsal, a tiny little port in northwest Bali, from 8 am-5 pm. You can buy tickets directly from the  ticket office. The official price is IDR 19,500 (Feb 2016) plus additional terminal fees at IDR 2,500. Charter boats run from here and tickets can be bought at the same ticket office. Charter boats are permitted to carry a maximum of 12 persons, with cost IDR 500,000 (one way)  per person and IDR 950,000 (return)/person.

  • What's New | Events
    25 Aug 2016 - 28 Aug 2016

    Commemorating its 10th year anniversary, Forum Selam divers community invites scuba divers and diving enthusiasts from around the world to take part in a special fiesta of Divers Gathering 10th Year Anniversary scheduled to take place from 25th to 28th August 2016 at the beautiful Tulamben Beach, in the regency of Karangasem, along the east coast of Bali Island.A major dive attraction at Tulamben is the wreck of of USAT Liberty that sank here after being hit by the Japanese in 1942. Located only some 25 from shore the wreck is at a 5m to 30 meters depth.  Besides a playground for professional divers, Tulamben is also good for beginners.The special gathering will bring together divers, diving agencies and dive operators in a warm and friendly ambience celebrating the ever growing diving activities in the archipelago. The event will feature a gamut of diving activities, music performances, various fun games, diving education, workshop and bazaar.Divers can participate in various different courses such as Peak Performance Buoyancy, Dive Safety, etc. aimed to enrich your diving comprehension and capabilities. There will also be diving education and diver talk on nature and maritime conservation. You also can have a chance to take your diving to the next level through Advanced Open Water. For non-divers, there are opportunities to experience scuba diving, be it free Try Scuba or Discover Scuba Diving, or even Open Water Diving certification program with a very special price.Supported by the Ministry of Tourism, the event is initiated and organized by Forumselam.com, a non-profit organization that facilitates communication amongst divers in Indonesia.Offline, Forum Selamis known to present a number of new concepts in scuba diving related activities.In this connection, Minister of Tourism, Arief Yahya commented that the event is in perfect line with development of marine tourism which  is continuously gaining popularity worldwide. “This is a good trend for marine tourism; whether it be coastal zone, water zone, or sea zone. This is a perfect event to strengthen communication and network among divers” said Minister Arief Yahya. Furthermore, the Minister added: “In past years, tourists just wanted to see beautiful beaches. However, today they love the challenges to discover amazing underwater splendors. And Indonesia certainly has the best underwater wonders in the world”.For more Information log on to: www.forumselam.com

  • What's New | Events
    3 Sep 2016 - 6 Sep 2016

    The spotlight will turn to the Takabonerate National Park in Selayar Regency, South Sulawesi with all its fascinating splendors when the Takabonerate Festival 2016 takes place on 3rd to 6th September 2016. Featuring amazing marine and underwater beauty as well as unique cultural attractions, the festival will also welcome participants of the Sail Indonesia 2016 yacht rally that set sail from Darwin, Australia in late July. Previously named the Takabonerate Island Expedition, the Takabonerate Festival is one of many festivals in the international calendar of events called Explore South Sulawesi having been held  annually for the past 7 years by the Selayar Island Regency.One main highlight is the international photography competition which this year is divided into two main categories: Underwater photography and Selayar’s Nature and Culture Photography. So far, 50 photographers from national and international photography communities have confirmed their participation. The festival will also feature a range of art and cultural performances, Takabonerate Tours, a culinary fiesta, and much more.Stretching south of the main island of Sulawesi in the Flores Sea, The Takabonerate National Park in the Selayar Regency is predominantly a rich marine park , but is also habitat to a number of bird species from land birds to coastal and sea birds that frolic on the many sand dunes. The Island of Selayar is the gateway to this extensive 530,765 hectares national park, of which 220,000 hectares form an expanse of atolls and lagoons. Together with Bunaken, Ambon, Banda and Raja Ampat these form the heart of the Coral Triangle which stretches from the Solomon Islands in the east, to the Philippines in the north, to Bali, Komodo, Flores and the Savu Sea in the south, which forms the base of this huge triangle.To get to Selayar and Taka Bonerate, take a flight to Makassar, capital of South Sulawesi. Since Makassar is the air hub for east Indonesia, almost all domestic carriers fly to Makassar from all main airports in the country. If you need to stay overnight, there are plenty of hotels in Makassar. You can charter your own car to Bira, where you can take the ferry to Selayar, or stay overnight at Bira.Source: http://ayokeselayar.com/festival-takabonerate-hadir-lagi-ini-infonya 

  • What's New | Info & Tips
    18 Aug 2016

    Pleasantly situated on the south shores of the incredible Lake Toba, theTB Silalahi Center, which includes the Batak Museum is a complex dedicated to the preservation of the cultural values of the indigenous ethnic population of North Sumatra: the Bataks. The complex itself is located at Jl.Pagar Batu No.88 Silalahi Village, by the town of Balige, about 250 Km from Medan, capital of North Sumatera Province.  The complex is established by -and is named after- the prominent Batak personality:  Tiopan Bernhard Silalahi who has played an important role in North Sumatra’s and Indonesia’s history. He served as Minister for Government Bureaucratic Reform from 1993-1998, and is currently member of the President’s counseling board forMilitary and Defense . At the heart of the complex stands majesticly the Museum Batak with its modern design, highlighted with a composite aluminum exterior, conveying a futuristic feel to the traditional Gorga motives. Officially opened to the public since 18 January 2011, the Museum is built on the concept that the ethnic Batak have known high cultural values since ancient times. This is proven by the fact that the Batak possess their own distinct writing and spoken language, they have  traditional democratic principles of Dalihan Natolu, and the use of passed down clan or family names. All these values are known as deep culture that will always remain relevant and will dynamically adjust to changes. Besides this, the museum also acts as a unifying symbol of the different Batak clans, namely: the Batak Toba, Batak Simalungun, Batak Mandailing, Batak Angkola, Batak Pakpak/Dairi, and the Batak Karo. The Museum is divided into three storeys with an open space ground floor, whch is an exhibition area for various authentic traditional Batak stone sculptures. Ascending to the 2nd floor, visitors are presented with a magnificent view on the courtyard and Lake Toba. There, a 7 meters bronze statue of Si Raja Batak or King of Batak stands gallantly as personification of Batak traditional values. The statue is a special icon of the Museum portraying the physical characters of the Batak people. The 2nd and 3rd floor are the main exhibiting areas of the museum. This is where all the valuable collections are displayed, with one special highlight on the ‘Ulos’, the age-old traditional Batak woven cloths. The oldest ‘Ulos’ exhibited here is believed to be 500 years old. Ancient Batak’s scriptures, traditional weapons, various jewelry, farming equipment, and other collections are also exhibited here in excellent presentations. The oldest scripture that the museum has dates back to the year 1800. Museum Batak is considered as one of the most modern museums in Indonesia.  The interpretation labels on each display come in both Bahasa Indonesia and English with brief but clear explanations of the collection. Within the vicinity of the TB Silalahi Center are also other interesting attractions such as: the personal museum of TB. SIlalahi, the Huta Batak, which is an outdoor museum built like a traditional Batak village consisting of three rumahs (houses) and three sopos (storage structures) depicting typical Batak homes,  actual scaled replicas of the Rumah Bolon and the Rumah Batak, a convention hall, and a swimming pool. The complex is also completed with visitors’ facilities such as restaurants, cafeterias, and an art shop.  More Information is available at: http://www.museumbataktbsilalahicenter.com.

  • What's New | News
    18 Aug 2016

    The Batak ethnic group inhabiting the intererior of North Sumatra is devided into six sub-groups. They are the Toba, Karo, Pakpak, Simalungun, Angkola and Mandailing Batak. While two subgroups have converted to Islam, the others have mostly converted to Christianity, primarily through efforts of the German missionary. Nonetheless, ancient beliefs and traditions, customs and rituals still persist and are adhered to until this very day even by communities who have moved out and resettled in many parts of the Indonesian archipelago. Most striking when visiting Lake Toba are the Toba villages and their interesting traditional houses, where best examples are at Tomok and Simanindo on the island of Samosir.  With modernization, however, hardly any new traditional houses are built, making it, therefore, a special opportunity to visit these before they are completely abandoned and fall in disrepair.   To protect the village from outside raids, barriers of earthen ramparts are built surrounding the village, with bamboo fencing and trees. The Batak Toba  village itself, such as the village of Tomok, consists of a row of separate massive wooden houses with striking saddle-shaped thatch roofs made of sugar palm fibre (called ijuk), although many roofs have now been replaced by the more durable but unromantic corrugated sheets. Houses are raised and supported on large piles of one to two meters height, meant to avoid floods and wild beasts. The houses at Tomok stand with their backs to the lake. On Samosir Island, the Toba Batak traditional house is called “jabu” or “rumah bolon”. While, opposite each house, across an open paved area are corresponding rice barns, called “sopo”, which are almost equal in size as the house itself, where rice used to be stored, but can also serve as extra dormitory. The paved village area between them is the “alaman” where village ceremonies take place or rice is spread out to dry. The largest and most prominent house is the communal meeting hall called the “bale” and that of the chief, distinguished by the intricrate decorative floral and foliage drawings in red, white and black on its gable. The three colors represent the 3 spheres of the cosmos, namely red symbolizing the human world, white, made of chalk, for the good spirits, and black made of charcoal, representing the underworld.    An excellent example is the chieftain’s house of Raja Sidauruk at Simanindo , now a museum, where the sigalegale puppet performances are held.  Many houses on Toba are also decorated with symbolic carvings of breasts and geckos (called cicak).  The breasts are for fertility and the geckos are for protection of the house, while at the top gable is invariably placed the head of a water buffalo, denoting prosperity for the inhabitants.  The Batak Toba house has, therefore, three distinct zones. The lower zone beneath the house among the piles is a working area and often used as a pen for animals. The floor area, the zone above this, is the actual home of the extended family, accessed by a ladder or stairs. The interior of the house has no division and is therefore one long, dimly lit hall. At night, cloths are drawn down to separate the sleeping areas between each family. While the highest storey or the attic is the most important part of the building where family heirlooms and ancestral shrines are placed. A house used to be inhabited by between four to six families, but nowadays sometimes only one family lives in one house. To observe and study the varied architectural designs and construction of houses belonging to Batak clans, visit the TB Silalahi Center and Batak museum in the town of Balige located on the southernmost shore of Lake Toba.