A new travel agency that focuses on voluntourism has been officially introduced in Jakarta. Dubbed Travel Sparks, the service invites both domestic and foreign tourists to explore and experience authentic local living while volunteering at Taman
Bacaan Pelangi (Rainbow Reading Gardens), a non-profit organization that aims to establish libraries for children living in Eastern Indonesia's remote areas. Established in 2009 in the island of Flores, it currently has 37 children's libraries across 14 islands including Maluku, North Maluku, East Nusa Tenggara, West Nusa Tenggara, Sulawesi and Papua.
All the profits made by Travel Sparks will go to the organization and travelers can also donate children's books and deliver them directly to the libraries.
Founded by Nila Tanzil in 2014, the service has already hosted some travelers, especially those coming from Europe, who joined activities at Taman Bacaan Pelangi, which include storytelling and workshops.
“We want tourists who travel within Indonesia to be able to leave a positive impact to the host communities they visit. The tour guides, drivers, boat captains, everyone involved in the trips are all locals as we also aim to create more jobs, better the livelihood of locals and increase economic growth,” said Nila Tanzil in a press release.
Travel Sparks offers several customized packages including boat trips to Komodo National Park and its surroundings, trekking the Wae Rebo village, exploring Flores for a minimum of 9 days and scuba diving at Komodo National Park. The price of each trip will depend on the itinerary and reservations can be made on the service's official website.
As part of East Nusa Tenggara province, Flores is known for its diversity in its local community, culture and natural resources. Among its renowned tourism destinations are Komodo National Park, Kelimutu National Park and the traditional villages of Wae Rebo, Bena and Bajawa. (jakartapost)
In the last of October 2017, the hotel occupancy percentage in Labuan Bajo has reached the 90 % mark. Previously it was only 70 %.
As written on Pos Kupang, The General Manager of Jayakarta Hotel, Inri da Costa and Manajer Luwansa Hotel, Sigit Endrasetyawan told that during thisperiod the foreign and domestic tourist are balance.
“Lately, Jayakarta hotel occupancy has reached the 90 %,” said Inri. (30/10/2017).
She told, recently the hotel can serve for one night order. But for 3 to 4 nights cannot be lade.
Sigit the general manager of Luwansa Hotel told that past two weeks amount of 35 rooms in Luwansa Hotel, the occupancy reached up to 90 %. Previously it only 70 %.
Manggarai in East Nusa Tenggara is famous for traditional villages such as Wae Rebo, Ruteng Puu as well as its unique spider web-patterned rice fields.
It is also home to a fascinating cultural heritage that includes traditional dance performed to welcome special guests and for celebration. These dances were recently performed to greet the cyclists participating in Tour de Flores, held on May 19 to 23.
This dance is often performed to welcome special guests who come to visit Manggarai. The locals believe that this dance can cast out bad spirits that accompany the guests and also serves to request that the residing spirits in the area stay out of the celebration zone.
Caci is a martial arts dance that is usually performed during traditional ritual celebrations such as New Year, harvest time, or when opening new fields. The dance aims to show bravery and dignity by performing attack and defense capabilities with whips and shields. In certain areas like Wae Rebo village, it's only staged during specific ceremonies.
Teba Meka dance
Teba Meka has been dedicated to Tour de Flores cyclists. It was designed to show how excited the people of Manggarai were to have them visit the region.
Following the dance, a traditional ceremony was held to offer blessings to visitors. During this ceremony, the priest handed over an offering of traditional palm liquor and one white chicken to represent the pure intention of Flores people to greet Tour de Flores participants.
The priest continued by chanting a prayer to tell the ancestors that the visiting guests are not strangers and will later contribute to increase the welfare of Manggarai people.
Cekeng Weri dance
This dance illustrates the choreography of planting rice or corn, inspired by farming activities. Farmers usually start to plant between September and October when the rain starts to fall.
Staged during the gala dinner hosted at the Manggarai Regency office to entertain participants, this dance was performed to plant a seed of hope in the bike race, with an aim to promote the culture and tourism of the Manggarai area. (jakartapost)
A total of 6,000 dancers who performed Likurai dance on the Youth Pledge Day, Oct. 28, at Fulan Fehan Hill in Belu regency, East Nusa Tenggara broke the MURI record for the highest number of traditional dancers.
“We are proud of this achievement because it will elevate the Indonesian traditional art and culture, we are also presenting our home which is very beautiful and worthy to be visited by tourists,” said Belu regent Willybrodus Lay.
Likurai dance is a war dance from the people of Timor island, specifically those who live in Belu regent. The dance depicts the fight of the locals to drive away invaders during the colonization era.
Visitors were a mix of locals and people from Timor Leste. Prior to the dance performance, there was flag ceremony to commemorate the 89th anniversary of Youth Pledge Day and led by home affairs minister Tjahjo Kumolo.
Tourism minister Arief Yahya welcomed the initiative from Belu regional administration to hold cross-border events.
“The keys to attracting neighboring countries lie in art and culture, music and culinary. People from Timor Leste can apply for the free-visa policy to enter Indonesia and even use their own currency to shop here. Another important thing is for the local administrations, governor, mayor and regent to be committed to maintaining the access, accommodation and attraction in their region,” told Arief. (Jakartapost)
Visiting the Komodo Islands and the Komodo Dragons by sea kayak is an awesome experience. The west part of Flores offers great conditions for kayaking. One of the spots is around Labuan Bajo; the other in Komodo National Park.
Several options are available for those who want to explore Komodo National Park (KNP) by kayak. You could hire a kayak in Labuan Bajo and carry it on a local boat to Rinca Island, where you can spend the night at the ranger station and explore the surrounding bays. Or you could join a dive boat for the day, and paddle while the divers explore beneath the waves. A third option is to join a multi-day trip with an operator such as No Roads Expeditions.
On a kayak expedition in KNP, you may have the chance to paddle with majestic manta rays, or even be overtaken by a pod of leaping dolphins. With a little more luck, you may even find a dugong lifting its big nose out of the water. They have been spotted around Karang Makassar but are rare, shy, and difficult to find. For the best chance of encountering one of these elusive creatures, it is worth contacting a local fisherman from Komodo, Rinca, or Papagarang Village, who can show you the best locations for a reasonable price.
Raed Also : One Day Enjoying Komodo Under Water
Jayapura in Papua is hosting a crossborder event named Cross Border Skouw Festival on Oct. 31.
Among the performers at the festival is reggae music group Dave Solution from West Papua.
“Thousands of people came to see Dave Solution during the first concert on Oct. 5. This proves that this [music] group has plenty of fans,” said the ministry's archipelago tourism marketing development deputy, Esthy Reko Astuti.
Meanwhile, the ministry's nature tourism department head Hendry Noviardi said that his team is bringing a reggae musician from Jakarta.
“We are bringing Dhyo Haw, a singer who combines reggae with jazz, rocksteady and pop genres,” said Hendry.
Dhyo Haw is set to perform with saxophonist Rivans at the festival, belting some of his hit songs such as “Tak Mau Digerakkan” (Don’t Want to be Moved),
“Cantik Tapi Tak Menarik” (Pretty but not Attractive) and “Kecewa” (Disappointed).
“Reggae group from Papua Nugini called Mixmat Band and Reog Ponorogo are set to perform there as well,” Hendry added.
According to Tourism Minister Arief Yahya, music is a great tool to promote tourism.
“We learned from our previous experiences of holding crossborder events in Riau Islands, West Kalimantan and East Nusa Tenggara [NTT]. We had Kikan, Slank and Jamrud in Atambua, Wali and Cita Citata in West Kalimantan. All of them managed to attract thousands of visitors,” Arief said.
“Crossborder tourism has a lot of benefits especially in countries that have plenty of border areas. One successful example is the Netherlands that attracted18 million foreign tourists, of which 13 million were from neighboring countries such as Germany, Belgium and France.
Indonesia also has plenty of border areas such as in Papua, NTT and Kalimantan; it’s very possible for us to adopt the success of the Netherlands,” Arief added.
In Papua, located 300 meters from the Skouw cross-border post (PLBN) is the Skouw market.
“People of Papua Nugini prefer to shop at [Skouw] market that opens on every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday because the price is relatively cheaper,” said Hendry.
Apart from the market, the region also has Baseg and Holtekamp beaches located near Skouw. (jakartapost/kes)
Atambua in East Nusa Tenggara recently hosted yet another Crossborder Concert on Oct. 27 at the Main Field, Simpang Lima.
Thousands of people came to see the performance of ska band Tipe-X.
“This is the third time we are holding a Crossborder Concert in Atambua after we had Slank, Jamrud and Cokelat bands performed there. This is Tipe-X’s first performance here,” said the ministry's archipelago tourism marketing development deputy, Esthy Reko Astuti.
X-Friends, the band’s fanbase, came from different cities such as Kupang, Larantuka, Ende, Waingapu, Sumba and Maumere.
“Everybody is enjoying the show. Tipe-X is currently consisting of six members: Tresno Riadi on vocal, Billy and Yoss on guitar, Micky on bass, Anto on trombone and Arie Hardjo on drum,” she added.
Prior to the main act, the concert was opened by Likurai traditional dance performance by Trilolok Dirun dance studio, followed by two local bands, namely Rai Nakdoko and Galaxy.
Kicked off at 7:30 p.m., Tipe-X performed for a total of 70 minutes, belting out their hit songs such as “Genit” (Flirty), “Tanda-Tanda Patah Hati” (Signs of Broken Heart) and “Salam Rindu” (Miss You).
For Tourism Minister Arief Yahya, the Crossborder Concert is in line with the President’s focus to elevate crossborder areas. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has given his full attention toward Indonesians who live in the outer islands, border and remote areas, hence the reason for the many tourism events held in crossborder areas such as Atambua, Dili, Papua, Aruk, Entikong and Batam-Bintan. (jakartapost)
The Tourism Ministry is set to take part in the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA) Show in Orlando, United States slated on Nov. 1-4.
DEMA show is an annual international exhibition for diving, water sports and travel industries that regularly attracted divers from all over the world.
The ministry seeks to increase the number of American tourists coming to Indonesia to 360,000 people by joining the event.
The ministry's deputy minister for overseas promotion I Gde Pitana said the timing of the event is perfect since most of Americans travel to Indonesia during the winter season.
“Usually they go to warmer places, one of them is Southeast Asia. Coincidentally, former United States President Barrack Obama has recently visited Indonesia,” said Pitana.
Meanwhile, the ministry's deputy assistant for Europe, the United States, Middle East and Africa tourism promotion Nia Niscaya said that Indonesia would occupy a 600 square meters pavilion at the event.
“We’ll bring 20 industry players, one airline (Singapore Airlines), Manado provincial administration and West Papua Culture and Tourism Agency,” told Nia.
Additionally, West Papua is going to occupy 25 booths with the total area of 234 square meters.
Nia said that they would promote 10 leading diving destinations in Indonesia such as Bali, Lombok, Komodo – Labuan Bajo, Alor, Bunaken & Lembeh, Togean, Wakatobi, Derawan, Banda & Ambon and Raja Ampat.
The Tourism Ministry is also going to put advertorials in Orlando Sentinel print publication and on the official website of DEMA.
A gathering will also take place at the event on Nov. 2, featuring cultural performances, a talk show, door prize and a cocktail party.
Indonesia has 55 diving destinations with more than1,500 diving spots located from Aceh to Papua, making the archipelago a country with the most number of diving spots in the world.
“Diving is a niche or luxury market that is enjoyed by only one percent of the world population. There are around 2.7 to 3.5 million divers in the United States and six millions in the world. One of the reasons why we’re participating in DEMA is to show the underwater beauty of our country,” said Tourism Minister Arief Yahya.
Apart from DEMA Show, the ministry plans to join five other events in US throughout 2017, such as New York Times Travel Show, Los Angeles Travel and Adventure Show, Seatrade Cruise Global, IMEX America and Indonesia Sales Mission in United States. (jakartapost)
The manta ray is one of most-exotic marine creatures, capturing the heart of divers with its gentle, elegant ocean dance and gigantic flat shape.
Unlike the grey sting rays which always sit on the bottom of sea and have a poisonous tail, manta rays are harmless, playful and not afraid to approach divers.
As an archipelago with rich marine life, Indonesia is a sanctuary for manta rays. The country made an official statement in 2014 announcing it would protect the fish to attract tourists.
There are several areas where this giant fish can be seen in Indonesia, and here are those places.
Manta Point, Nusa Penida, Bali
Manta Point is the manta rays’ favorite cleaning station, a spot where the marine creatures can swim near the reef and let wrasses clean them from parasites. Often coming in groups, they swim very close to the surface and are even visible to snorkelers.
Unfortunately, the visibility in Manta Point isn’t really that good. On brighter days, you can clearly see them from afar, but most of the time visibility is only around 10-15 meters.
The spot can be reach by taking a local fishing boat from Nusa Penida or Nusa Lembongan island, or by arranging a trip with one of the diving operators on the Bali mainland.
Aside from manta rays, divers also have a chance to see mola mola fish between July and August here.
Karang Makassar, Komodo Islands, East Nusa Tenggara
Take a liveaboard, or make a long trip in a fishing boat to Karang Makassar, the manta ray diving spot of choice near the Komodo Islands, famous as the home of the rare giant lizard, the Komodo dragon. It is also known to have islets with scenic hills, and amazing coral and marine life, including Karang Makassar.
Aside from manta rays, divers can also spot colorful tropical fish such as bumphead parrotfish and eagle rays. Just be careful, as the current here is quite strong, so don’t stray too far from the boat.
Alor, East Nusa Tenggara
Dive Report said that any manta rays encountered by divers in Alor were purely by chance, although they might appear from mid March until mid January.
No worries though, as you have higher chance of encountering other exotic sea animals including a school of hammerhead sharks and even the rare mola mola fish. No wonder Alor is often referred to have a world-class diving site.
Manta Ridge, Raja Ampat, Papua
One of Indonesia’s hottest diving spots, Raja Ampat, in the easternmost province of Papua, lures avid divers and ocean lovers with its stunning landscape and rich marine life including giant sea creatures like manta rays, whalesharks and pristine coral reef.
The site consists of four islets: Misool, Salawati, Batanta and Waigeo, hence why it is named Raja Ampat (Four Kings).
Manta rays are sometimes visible in the surrounding area, but one has a higher chance to spotting them in the central region.
In a spot called ‘Manta Ridge’, you’re likely to see up to 30 mantas during your dive. (jakartapost)
Talking about diving in Indonesia, you will see their eyes light up as they reminisce about interacting with the majestic Manta Ray of the Komodo Islands. In Komodo National Park offers sanctuary to more of these beautiful creatures than most other places in the world and is truly unfishable for the intrepid traveler.
Manta Point Komodo is a dive site rich with bottom based plankton making it an alluring spot – attracting dozens of Manta Ray for feeding and cleaning. Accessible by chartered live aboard, the dive site sits between the islands of Komodo and Rinca within the Komodo National Park.
In 2014 Indonesia outlawed the fishing and export of manta ray to protect the species and since then Komodo dive sites like Manta Alley in the South and the famed Manta Point Komodo have found a place high on the wish lists of traveler wishing to experience close contact with these curious, intelligent underwater giants.