#Indonesia – 8 reasons to visit Lombok and the Gili Islands

If you’re looking for a laid-back escape with an adventure or two, it
would be hard to beat Lombok and the Gili Islands. You can choose to
relax on endless white sand beaches, dive remote coral reefs or hike to
see panoramic views.
 
Devastated by the series of earthquakes in 2018, these destinations
are bouncing back and hungry for tourists. So pack your bags this coming
dry season and go explore paradise.
 
1. Hike Mount Rinjani National Park
 
Lombok’s Mount Rinjani National Park is unbeatable for spectacular
views and challenging trails. While most of the hiking trails on Mt.
Rinjani were damaged in the 2018 earthquakes, one trail has reopened.
 
Located in Aik Berik village, the trail is lesser known among the
mountain’s more popular trails, but offers a similar experience for
adventurous travelers in search of epic views.
2. Hop around Gili Islands
 
For a relaxing break from daily life, consider going island-hopping
around the stunning Gili Islands. These islands are known for scuba diving cruises and offers a chance to truly get away from it all.
 
If you can bear to tear yourself away from the white sand beaches and
turquoise ocean vistas, you’ll find vibrant coral reefs teeming with
life under the waters.
 
The Shark Point dive site offers a chance to dive with sharks and
manta rays, while Deep Turbo offers overhangs and underwater caves for
experienced divers to explore. You might even see a whale shark or two.
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3. Experience Bangkang bat cave
 
A trip to Goa Bangkang will take your breath away with stalactites
and bursts of sunlight through the cave’s ceiling. Tucked underground on
Lombok, it is a cave like no other.
 
Descending the stairs into Bangkang, your senses will be struck by
the sound and smell of thousands of bats. If you stay in the area until
sunset, you can watch the bats exit the cave, covering the sky as they
begin their nightly hunt for food.
 
4. Swim with sea turtles
 
If you’re a fan of sea turtles (who isn’t?), be sure to check out the sea turtle conservation initiatives at the Gili Islands.
 
Green sea turtles, which are classified as endangered, are
well cared for at Gili Meno, thanks to Bolong, the local man who set up
the Gili Meno Turtle Sanctuary. The sanctuary saves turtle eggs from
predators to help release the precious hatchlings into the sea.
The sanctuary is fascinating, and your visit will support turtle
conservation, as it depends entirely on donations from visitors.
 
You can swim with sea turtles at various spots around the Gili
Islands. Gili Air is especially known for green sea turtles at Han Rock.
 
5. Slow down, enjoy the silence
 
No motorized vehicles are allowed on Gili Trawangan, meaning you can
escape the noise of the neighboring destinations and rejuvenate in peace
and quiet.
 
The best way to explore the charms of Gili Trawangan is by foot or on
a bicycle. Stop off at beach bars, do some yoga, or just walk the
endless sands to reconnect with yourself, one day at a time.
 
6. Enjoy epic views from Gili Trawangan
 
There’s only one lookout point on the Gili Islands, at the top of
Gili Trawangan. Head off on a hike at sunrise, and you’ll start your day
off right.
 
At the peak is a shrine and Muslim burial site, plus the remains of a
World War II Japanese bunker to investigate, though the view is the
real highlight.
 
Resting at the top, you can look across the ocean to Mt. Rinjani and
capture panoramic views of the other Gili Islands, plus Lombok and Bali.
 
7. Learn to dive at Sekotong
 
If you’ve always wanted to try scuba diving but were too nervous to
take the plunge, Sekotong in Lombok is a great place to start. The
beautiful reefs there offer easy, sheltered dives, perfect for
beginners.
 
It will be well worth the effort, as you’re likely to spot sea turtles. You can even try spotting the tiny pygmy seahorses.
 
8. Watch the sunset at Semeti Beach
 
Another Lombok highlight are the rock formations on Semeti Beach,
which are not to be missed. These striking pyramid-shaped rocks jut
impressively out of the ocean, providing the perfect backdrop to a
sunset.
 
Semeti Beach is an ideal place to end a day of island-hopping, to see
the best view of the sun setting that you’re ever likely to see.
 
The author is a diver and writer for LiveAboard.com
Source – TheJakartaPost
 

 

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#Indonesia sixth in top-20 ranking of ‘most beautiful countries’

British guidebook publisher Rough Guides has included Indonesia in its list of the world’s most beautiful countries – and quite high up, too.
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The ranking was updated on Jan. 4 based on Rough Guides’ readers voting on social media channels.
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This was not lost on President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, who hailed the achievement with a video shared on his Instagram account.
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“Renowned UK publisher Rough Guides recently conducted a global
survey on the world’s most beautiful countries. The result [shows] that
Indonesia was ranked sixth in the world, but [was named] the most
beautiful country in Asia,”
Jokowi wrote in the same post.
 .
The video shows some of the most popular tourist attractions, from
temples to surfing spots in Bali, beautiful beaches in Lombok, West Nusa
Tenggara, and orangutans in Kalimantan.
 .
“Rough Guides’ polling strengthens Indonesia’s position as a world-class tourist destination,”  said Jokowi.
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https://www.hotelscombined.com/?a_aid=145054
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 Source – TheJakartaPost
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Here’s the full of the world’s 20 most beautiful countries, according to Rough Guides readers.

  1. Scotland
  2. Canada
  3. New Zealand
  4. Italy
  5. South Africa
  6. Indonesia
  7. England
  8. Iceland
  9. United States 
  10. Wales
  11. Slovenia
  12. Mexico
  13. India
  14. Finland
  15. Switzerland
  16. Peru
  17. Norway
  18. Ireland
  19. Croatia
  20. Vietnam

 

#Indonesia – Tourist exodus from Lombok as quake toll hits 98

Lombok Exodus

Mataram, Indonesia – Terrified holidaymakers rushed for boats and planes to leave Indonesia’s Lombok island Tuesday after it suffered a second deadly quake within a week, while rescuers struggled to reach hard-hit areas where survivors are in urgent need of food and shelter.

    The shallow 6.9-magnitude quake killed at least 98 people and destroyed thousands of buildings in Lombok on Sunday, just days after another deadly tremor surged through the holiday island and killed 17.

    Rescuers on Tuesday resumed the search for survivors, and to recover the bodies of victims in the rubble of houses, mosques and schools destroyed in the latest disaster.

    More than 20,000 people are believed to have been made homeless on Lombok, with 236 severely injured, and authorities have appealed for more medical personnel and basic supplies.

    Emergency crews were Tuesday working through the wreckage of a collapsed mosque in the northern village of Lading-Lading, where authorities fear a number of people are trapped.

    At least one body has been recovered from the rubble of the mosque, which was reduced to a pile of concrete and metal bars, with its towering green dome folded in on itself.

Some 4,600 tourists have been evacuated from the Gili Islands, three tiny, coral-fringed tropical islands that lie off the northwest coast of Lombok and are popular with backpackers and divers.

Hundreds crowded onto its powder-white beaches on Monday, desperately awaiting transport off the normally paradise destination. Seven Indonesian holidaymakers died on the largest of the three, Gili Trawangan.

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Margret Helgadottir, a holidaymaker from Iceland, described people screaming as the roof of her hotel on one of the islands collapsed.

“We just froze: thankfully we were outside,” she told AFP tearfully from a harbour in Lombok to where she had been evacuated. “Everything went black, it was terrible.”

Hundreds of weary tourists continued to arrive with their baggage at Bangsal harbour, the main link between Lombok and the Gilis, on Tuesday.

Some said they felt stranded and complained about a lack of coordination and affordable transport to the tourist hub of Senggigi or Lombok’s airport, where dozens slept on the floor overnight awaiting flights out.

“There’s a massive rush of people wanting to get out of Lombok because of unfounded rumours, such as of a tsunami,” Muhammad Faozal, the head of the tourism agency in West Nusa Tenggara province, told AFP.

“We can help tourists to get to the airport but of course we can’t buy them tickets for free,” he said, adding that authorities were providing free accommodation, food and transport to those in need.

Lombok airport’s general manager said airlines had been laying on extra flights since Monday and that his staff had been providing stranded passengers with blankets and snacks.

“We have been doing our best to manage the tourists flocking the airport,” he told AFP. “We are doing our best so we can fly out as many as possible.”

Immigration authorities said that seven foreigners — from Belgium, Britain, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, South Korea and the United States — were injured in the quake and are being treated in hospital.

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Sunday’s shallow tremor sent thousands of residents and tourists scrambling outdoors in Lombok, where many spent the night as strong aftershocks including one of 5.3-magnitude rattled the island.

The quake knocked out power in many areas and parts of the island and remained without electricity on Tuesday.

A lack of heavy equipment and shattered roads have hampered efforts to reach survivors in the mountainous north and east of the island, which had been hardest hit.

Najmul Akhyar, the head of North Lombok district, estimated that 80 percent of that region was damaged by the quake.

Hundreds of bloodied and bandaged victims have been treated outside damaged hospitals in the main city of Mataram and other badly affected areas.

Patients lay on beds under wards set up in tents, surrounded by drip stands and monitors, as doctors in blue scrubs attended to them.

“What we really need now are paramedics, we are short-staffed. We also need medications,” Supriadi, a spokesman for Mataram general hospital, told AFP on Monday.

Indonesia, one of the world’s most disaster-prone nations, straddles the so-called Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where tectonic plates collide and many of the world’s volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur.

In 2014, a devastating tsunami triggered by a magnitude 9.3 undersea earthquake off the coast of Sumatra in western Indonesia killed 220,000 people in countries around the Indian Ocean, including 168,000 in Indonesia.

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Indonesia – Five beaches to visit in West Sumbawa

West Sumbawa

West Sumbawa regency in West Nusa Tenggara is a must-visit destination for beach lovers.

Here, tourists can explore many different beaches, including big-wave beaches for surfers, a hidden beach for leisure and a beach with a scenic sunset for avid Instagram users.

Below is the list of West Sumbawa’s best beaches, as compiled by tempo.co 

Benete Beach

Benete Beach is located near to global mining giant PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara’s harbor.

The beach is known for its breathtaking sunset, making it suitable for avid Instagram users.

In the evening, both aspiring and professional photographers can capture the beauty of the beach with colorful lamps and ships in the background.

Lawar Beach

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Yogyakarta sets cap on number of tourists allowed in Pindul Cave

The Gunungkidul Tourism Agency has set a limit to the number of daily visitors allowed in Goa Pindul (Pindul Cave), a natural cave and tourist attraction located in Gunungkidul regency, Yogyakarta, as the government aims to preserve the site’s ecosystem. 
 
“The maximum number of visitors to Pindul Cave is limited to 2,600 people per day,” Hary Sukmono, the agency’s secretary, said on Monday as quoted by kompas.com.
 
The limit was set based on Environmental Management Efforts and Environmental Monitoring Efforts (UKL-UPL), a guidance document that also includes information on village-owned enterprises, such as tour operators.
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Hary urged tour operators to refer to the document, adding that he
hoped the new system would help to preserve Pindul Cave’s ecosystem. 
“The limitation of visitors is an effort to preserve the environment of Pindul Cave,” Hary said. 
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Separately, Saryanto, the director of the Bejiharjo village-owned
enterprise, which oversees the cave region, said the organization would
obey the rules. He further said that, in any case, the number of
visitors to Pindul Cave was far below the limit. 
 
According to data obtained by the agency, 145,081 people visited the cave in 2017.
 
Saryanto said village-owned enterprises would continue to coordinate
with tour operators, adding that should the number of visitors
exceed the cap limit, the visitors would be directed to other
attractions. 
“We will accommodate everyone for the good of all,” he said.
 
Source – TheJakartaPost

 

Where is Bali ?

bali-rock

“Where is Bali?” most searched travel question on Google in 2016

Jakarta – New York-based travel magazine Travel+Leisure recently reported that “Where is Bali?” was the most popular travel-related question searched on Google in 2016.

Following “Where is Bali?”, the next most popular questions among world travelers were “What to do in Vegas?”, “What to do in San Francisco?”, “Where is Corfu?” and “What to do in Orlando?”.

Furthermore, aside from asking the location or things to do, the top-10 travel questions searched on Google also include “How many ounces can you take on a plane?”.

(Read also: Ahok the most searched person on Google in 2016)

These questions were ranked based on the highest spikes in traffic.

For the complete top-10 most searched travel-related questions throughout 2016, consult the list below:

1. Where is Bali?

2. What to do in Vegas?

3. What to do in San Francisco?

4. Where is Corfu?

5. What to do in Orlando?

6. Where is Bora Bora?

7. What to do in Miami?

8. How many ounces can you take on a plane?

9. What to do in Myrtle Beach?

10. Where is the Grand Canyon?

Source: TheJakartaPost

Jamahal Private (5 Star) Resort and Spa, Bali Indonesia

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This property is a 6-minute walk from the beach. Jamahal Private Resort & Spa is located on the southern tip of Bali, less than 400 m from Jimbaran Beach.

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Boasting a private beach club, the resort offers free WiFi and free shuttle services to Jimbaran Beach.

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The Balinese-style villas come with cable TV, a DVD player, and a safety deposit box. Each villa is fitted with wooden furnishings and Asian décor. Some include a private entrance, outdoor pool, and garden.

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All guests enjoy access to a private beach club, which is a 5-minute walk from the resort. Traditional massage treatments using organic ingredients can be enjoyed at the spa. Guests can also exercise in the fully equipped gym.

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The resort offers continental dishes for breakfast. Meals may be served in the Lounge or delivered to guests’ villas.

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Jamahal Private Resort & Spa is about 2 km from Ngurah Rai International Airport. The trendy Kuta and Seminyak areas are a 20-minute drive away.

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This property is also rated for the best value in Jimbaran! Guests are getting more for their money when compared to other properties in this city.

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Alila Seminyak (5 Star Resort), Bali Indonesia

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Alila Seminyak 1

Located in Seminyak, this luxurious 5-star resort is set on the beachfront. It has an outdoor swimming pool, a spa and a fitness centre. WiFi is provided for free and available in all areas. Guests also enjoy complimentary scheduled shuttle service to nearby area.

Alila Seminyak 3

The air-conditioned elegant rooms and suites offers a refined décor and electric kettle. Some rooms feature a balcony, a personal safe and a flat-screen TV.

Alila Seminyak 4

Vehicle rental, day trips and area shuttles can be arranged by staff at the tour desk, while luggage can be stored at the 24-hour front desk. Guests who wish to stay in can relax on the sun terrace by the pool or indulge in a pampering massages. Other facilities offered include laundry, dry cleaning and ironing services. Kids club and babysitting services are also available.

Alila Seminyak 5

A fine selection of Asian cuisine can be enjoyed at the on-site restaurant, while the famous Ku De Ta is just a 4-minute drive away.

Alila Seminyak 6

Alila Seminyak is an 8-minute walk from Potato Head and a 30-minute drive from Ngurah Rai Airport.

Alila Seminyak 7

This property is also rated for the best value in Seminyak! Guests are getting more for their money when compared to other properties in this city.

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Double – Six, Luxury Hotel – Seminyak, Bali

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The luxurious Double – Six, Luxury Hotel – Seminyak enjoys spectacular views of the Indian Ocean. It boasts a first-class spa and fantastic dining options. Free WiFi is available in all public areas.

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Air conditioned rooms at Double – Six, Luxury Hotel – Seminyak are tastefully furnished with sofa sets and feature large windows. They are fitted with a flat-screen cable TV. Espresso machine and tea making facilities are also provided. En suite bathroom is lavishly equipped with Hermes amenities, bath tub and shower. Guests enjoy the convenience of 24-hour on call butler and room service.

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Guests can work out at the fitness center or enjoy a relaxing massage at the spa. Double – Six, Luxury Hotel – Seminyak offers a 24-hour front desk and a concierge service which can assist in airport shuttle and currency exchange services. The property offers free parking as well as complimentary valet parking. Other facilities offered include laundry, evening entertainment and express as well as private check in – check out.

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Double – Six, Luxury Hotel – Seminyak offers various restaurants and bars serving a fine selection of Italian and Western cuisine, while special diet menus can also be prepared upon request.

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Ngurah Rai International Airport is 5 km away from the property.

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Shangri-la Hotel, Surabaya

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Situated in western Surabaya, the 5-star Shangri-la Hotel Surabaya provides a resort getaway with its outdoor pool, spa treatments and tropical landscapes. Free WiFi and free wired internet are provided throughout the property. Parking is free and the property also offers free scheduled shuttle service to Ciputra World Shopping Mall and Surabaya Town Square.

Contemporary and luxurious, the air-conditioned rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TV, DVD player and a personal safe. En suite bathrooms have a bathtub, as well as bathrobes and slippers.

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Shangri-la Hotel Surabaya is a 20-minute drive from Juanda International Airport. Airport transfers and car rentals are available at an extra charge.

Guests can enjoy a game of tennis at the 3 on-site courts, or relax by the pool under the surrounding palm trees. There is a spa with a sauna and expert massages. Golf outings at one of the nearby championship courses can be arranged with the hotel staff.

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Shangri-la Hotel has both a Japanese and a Mexican restaurant on site. Cocktails are served in the lounge.

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