TRAVEL

Discover Wonderful Indonesia by Silk Thai Airways

By: Zahid Hussain Karani

The Republic of Indonesia is rich with natural resources. Indonesia is the world’s largest Palm oil and second-largest coal exporter, with a strong economy of around $188b exports, making it world’s 25 the largest exporting country. Recently Indonesian President Joko Widodo emphasized that the tourism industry should become the biggest industry in Indonesia in terms of foreign exchange earnings.

Indonesia – a huge archipelago that consists of more than 17,000 islands has so much to offer to (foreign) tourists, such as beautiful beaches and countryside, flora & fauna, diving spots, wildlife, culture, culinary, historic relics as well as vibrant city life. The country with the largest Muslim population is rich in halal tourism and friendly citizens, making it a safe destination for tourists. In many international rankings – such as the Most Beautiful Countries in the World Index or the Global Muslim Travel Index – Indonesia is ranked highly. It means that the international community acknowledges Indonesia’s beauty. However, despite all, Indonesia continues to lag behind its regional counterparts in terms of foreign tourist arrivals. (specifically trailing behind Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore).

Taking it into account, Indonesia is taking several steps to enhance tourism in the country, recently the Government of Indonesia, invited a number of Journalists from Pakistan, in an effort to show it’s country’s real image to the people of Pakistan especially. A seven-member Pakistani media team undertook an eight days tour of Indonesia in an annual Familiarization Trip Programme 2019 hosted by the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia specially Consul General, Mr. Toto Prianamato and Tourism Ministry of the Republic of Indonesia.

The program is meant to apprise journalists, travel writers, tour operators, and opinion builders of Indonesia’s most popular tourist destination.

The Pakistani delegation was flown to Indonesia by Thai Airways International whose marketing manager for Pakistan, Rashid Siddiqui, went the extra mile to provide comfort to the Pakistani journalists. The service of Thai Airways was also world-class and deserves praise, the hospitality and services are excellent. During the eight days trip, the delegation visited Bali, Lombok, Jakarta, and Bangkok. The delegation landed on Bali Island which is the perfect holiday.

Travel to Bali in Business Class and enjoyed World-class awarded business lounge at Bangkok airport, Business Class seats and enjoyed, Thai warm and renowned hospitality’s and during fights, it’s very comfortable and served fabulous foods, etc.

destination as offers everything for all age group be it youth Honey Mooners, families or senior citizens. The tour began with a trip to Ulu Watu Temple as more than 80 percent of the Bali Island population practices a.unique brand of Hindu culture.

Throughout Bali, a tourist gets to see beautiful and Magnificent Temple. The island offers a tantalizing blend of rich heritage tastefully weaved into modern Tourist Facilities. There are many water sports “Toya Devasya Water Sports” like Banana Boat, Donut Slider, Fly Board, Jet Ski, Flying Fish, Natural Hot Spring and Waterpark in Bali. We next visited Lombok Island which is Bali’s neighbor, and very environmentally conscious. It is a tropical paradise whose main attraction is three islands known locally as Gili. The largest of this island is Gili Trawangan which only allows green transport likes animal horse carts or bicycles which are the only modes of transports. Another popular attraction is water sport and snorkeling between the three Gilis which opens a vast and wondrous underwater world. Another must-visit site in Lombok is Sukarara village famous for its weaving craft.

These textiles are much appreciated by women who visited from all over the world. Lombok is also the home of a colorful and vibrant Sasak culture, Lush Forests, Scientific waterfalls and an active volcano, Mount Rinjani. The last two day of the tour was spent in Jakarta, we explored old Batavia, its harbor once was abuzz with ships from the East and the West Batavia was then known as “The Queen of the East” and as “The Jewel of Asia”. The harbor acted as the meeting points of East and West. The merchants who traded here become the master of fabulous wealth.

The harbor front still reflects those glorious days in the beautiful ancient buildings of the past which have been preserved. During they stay throughout Indonesia our delegation had authentic Indonesian meals specially Sea Food.

On the last day in Indonesia, Pakistan Ambassador Mr. Abdul Salik Khan, his wife invited journalist delegation for dinner at his official residence. Same night. a Pakistan high Laval Navy delegation headed by Rear Admiral invited by the Ambassador and his wife, some high ranking Indonesian Army officials also invited, we had talked on mutual interest, on the occasion Mr.

Sajjad Haider Khan, Minister/ Deputy Head of Mission, Mr. Jamal Nasir, Second Secretary of the Pakistan Embassy were also present. Our return journey began the next day. our journey is not ended and we travel from Indonesia to Thailand ” Land of Smile” with the courtesy of the Thai Airways and will write and share our experience in my next article.

General Information About Bali

Bali is a small island and is one of the biggest tourist destinations in Asia. It is the most wealthy and most predominantly tourist island. Bali is one of 17.000 islands of the Indonesian archipelago and is located just south below the equator between the Bali Sea and the Indian Ocean, and east of Java and west of Lombok. With an area of 5.780 km 2, the island is the most westerly located island of the Small Sunda Islands, and currently, has more than 4.225 million people who are predominantly Hindu. The capital of Bali is Denpasar and the most famous places are Seminyak, Kuta, Ubud, Sanur, Nusa Dua, and Canggu.

The official language on Bali is Bahasa Indonesia however, the island also has its own language Balinese (Basa Bali). The distance from Amsterdam is 12.140km and the average travel time by plane from Amsterdam is 16 hours. The time difference between the Netherlands is 6 hours by the clock to summertime and 7 hours with the clock to winter and the sun in Bali, at around 6:00 am and sets around 18:00.

Because Hinduism is seen everywhere along the road or in the countryside and at each house features a temple where many times a day an offering is placed. These offerings are made from natural materials and filled with food, flowers and burning incense, the offerings are used to appease the gods and to keep the evil spirits away. The main and most important temple of Bali is Bali& mother temple, Pura Besakih, located on the slopes of the sacred volcano Gunung Agung, which, with its 3031m, is also the highest mountain in Bali and hosts daily ceremonies.

The palm-fringed beaches of Bali are predominantly obsidian black or brilliant white and there are many beautiful coral reefs with colorful fish in the clear blue water all around the island. These places are ideal for snorkeling or diving, these spots over beautiful caves or shipwrecks. The south sea is very suitable for surfing and offers world-class waves. The slopes of the volcanic mountainous landscape are very famous and offer the characteristic terraced green rice fields (sawah), which are part of the World Heritage list and make Bali a feast for the eyes for any tourist.

Money

The currency on Bali is the Indonesian Rupiah (Rp abbreviation). Bali is an island where most is paid in cash. The tourist places have many good exchange offices; it is better to avoid the ones in the small backwater alleys. Good exchange offices keeping the pricing very good and mostly mention the rate clearly on digital signs. Everywhere on the island, at gas stations, banks, mini markets, shopping centers or just along the road, are ATMs where you can withdraw safely. Always stow your bank cards safely in the safe of your villa or apartment.

Weather

Bali is located just south of the equator and has a dry and wet season (monsoon). The monsoon is from November to May and The dry season is from May to November. During the day, temperatures are constant around 30 degrees Celsius regardless of the season. There are exceptions in the mountains where it can be considerably cooler and 21 degrees Celsius in the evening.

The dry season during the dry (Kite) season it is often cloudy and there is a slight sea breeze from the southeast and the humidity is lower than in the wet season. The days have an average of 9 hours of sunshine and most of the rain that falls is short and in the night. The average water temperature is a lovely 29 degrees.

Monsoon season different from areas such as Vietnam, Singapore, Philippines, Bali is not bothered by cyclones or hurricanes, and the chance of a tropical storm is small. During the months of December and January, prolonged heavy tropical showers can occur during the day or in the evening. Around the months of December and January during the monsoon, there is a risk of violent short rain showers, however, the rain is most experience as very refreshing and welcome.

The climate is ideal to enjoy a wonderful holiday. The average temperature on land during the day is 30 degrees with a seawater temperature of 29 degrees and the cool sea breeze together with lots of suns forms the ideal weather for a holiday!

Many beautiful beaches, great diving sites, restaurants, nature, activities and wide nightlife or just resting further components are why Bali is the ideal holiday destination for young and old, whole year-round.

Lombok Indonesia

Lombok is an island in West Nusa Tenggara province, Indonesia. It forms part of the chain of the Lesser Sunda Islands, with the Lombok Strait separating it from Bali to the west and the Alas Strait between it and Sumbawa to the east. It is roughly circular, with a “tail” ( Sekotong Peninsula ) to the southwest, about 70 kilometers (43 miles) across and a total area of about 4,514 square kilometers (1,743 square miles). The provincial capital and largest city on the island are Mataram.

Lombok is somewhat similar in size and density and shares some cultural heritage with the neighboring island of Bali to the west. However, it is administratively part of West Nusa Tenggara, along with the larger and more sparsely populated island of Sumbawa to the east. Lombok is surrounded by a number of smaller islands locally called Gili.

The island is home to some 3.35 million Indonesians as recorded in the decennial 2014 census Lombok island is the most popular holiday destination in Indonesia among worldwide travelers and holidaymakers. Lombok located East of Bali, it takes 25 minutes by flight and takes 1 hour by fast boat. The fabled Gili Islands drawing visitors for action both in and out of the water, mighty Mount Rinjani luring climbers, and the big breaks on the south coast a magnet for surfers.

About Lombok Island

Lombok Often touted as the ‘next Bali’, Lombok offers its own unique version of Indonesian culture and society at a much slower pace than its more popular neighbor to the west. In Lombok, there are certainly similarities to Indonesia’s other islands, such as volcanoes, beautiful beaches, clear warm waters, jungle terrain and plenty of traditional villages which have yet to be grossly modernized.

However, the low-key character of Lombok’s tourism means that visitors need to do more of the legwork to find the really special sights on this island. The island’s major highlights, like the 12,000 foot Mount Rinjani and beach resorts at Senggigi and Kuta, are already well into the tourism development phase, making them popular destinations. Yet conditions rarely reach what could be considered overcrowded and even at the peak of Lombok’s high season, you’ll find far fewer tourists than in neighboring Bali. Most visitors come to Lombok to enjoy the warm weather and lovely beaches. Swimming, snorkeling, diving, and surfing are all big activities here, and the sublime Gili Islands just offshore provide even more tropical splendor without the hustle and bustle of other Asian beach resorts. Balancing the natural beauty of Lombok is an interesting cultural scene defined in part by the traditional Sasak animists which dominated the island before the arrival of Islam in the 18th century. Traditional crafts such as pottery, textile weaving, and basket making are practiced with skill and finesse, and a visit to a traditional Sasak village is well worth the effort. Accommodation in Lombok comes in all classes, from five-star luxury spa resorts to chain hotels and rustic beach bungalows. Modern and convenient hotel facilities ensure visitor needs are well-catered for.

Lombok makes an ideal destination for travelers who have seen Bali or are tired of Java’s congestion but aren’t ready to explore the hinterlands of Sulawesi or Flores. If you want to visit Lombok, don’t wait too long; it is on the fast track to becoming one of Asia’s next great travel destinations.

Short History

Lombok’s history began with a group of animist farmers called the Sasak, who created a small kingdom sometime before the 17th century. The Sasak made their way to Lombok long before most of Indonesia’s other ethnic groups settled among the 13,000 odd islands of the archipelago. It is believed that the Sasak migrated from either Burma or northwest India, but few archaeological remains exist to verify this theory. In the early years, Lombok was made up of dozens of tiny clans, each ruled by a Sasak prince. There was constant fighting among the clans, which the neighboring Balinese princes used to their advantage when they conquered the island. The Balinese ruled Lombok from the middle of the 1700s until the 1890s, when the Dutch arrived on the scene and backed the indigenous Sasaki. The Balinese were driven out after a series of bloody fights and Lombok became part of the group of islands known as the Lesser Sunda Islands.

Hefty taxes imposed by the Dutch pushed most of Lombok’s peasants into poverty and opened the door for Chinese businessmen to exploit the economic vacuum. Things continued in this rather repressive manner until Indonesia declared its independence in 1945. Sukarno, the first president of Indonesia, tried to regroup Lombok into a larger cluster of islands known as Nusa Tenggara, but the island group proved hard to govern.

When Sukarno was ousted in 1965, Lombok was thrust into a dark period of murder and oppression, along with many other parts of Indonesia. Anyone considered subversive by the new government, such as communists and ethnic Chinese, was killed or displaced. Initially, the new president Suharto’s rather harsh New Order plan brought growth and stability to the island, until prolonged famine reached a crippling peak in 1973. Most of the locals moved away from Lombok as part of the transmigration program implemented by the government.

With little agricultural work and few resources, Lombok fell into a quiet lull until 1980 when tourism development began to catch on. Touting itself as a quieter, more natural alternative to Bali, the tourism industry has slowly but steadily grown. Unfortunately, during the wave of development along Lombok’s coastline, many traditional landowners were displaced as outside businesses took over the land.

Indonesia was thrust into political turmoil during the late 1990s, in response to widespread corruption. Lombok was caught up in the civil unrest, and students in Mataram and Praya held protests resulting in a major drop in the tourism industry. Since the riots in 2000, tourists have continued to arrive in Lombok. Now considered a safe and stable travel destination, Lombok is a popular alternative to its more developed neighbor, Bali. Climate

Weather

Lying just south of the equator, Lombok consistently enjoys 12 hours of sunlight a day and warm temperatures throughout the year. There are two distinct seasons on the island: the rainy season from October to March and the dry season from May to September. Throughout the year, daytime temperatures normally remain in the 27°C to 32°C range.

Lombok’s rainy season is also when the island experiences its highest levels of humidity. Rain showers come in the form of brief but powerful afternoon thunderstorms. If you can bear the hot and humid conditions, you’ll have the island to yourself as this is Lombok’s low season. As the wet season tapers off in April, temperatures begin to drop and the countryside becomes lush with green vegetation. May through June is considered the most pleasant period for a visit, as the days are reliably sunny and not too hot.

The west coast of Lombok generally experiences the coolest weather on the island, and the inland regions the hottest. The island’s high season for tourism spans July and August, with equally busy conditions around Christmas and New Year. Hotel rates are higher during these peak months, and popular destinations like the Gilis and Rinjani can become uncomfortably crowded.

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