A couple days ago, we heard the most amazing thing in 2020 from the mouth of our beloved president, Joko Widodo: that every person of Indonesian nationality will be given a FREE Covid-19 Vaccination when the vaccines are finally ready in 2021. Knowing the pessimistic nature of his countrymen, the President announced that he would be the first to get vaccinated; hence putting all doubts and fear away. Well, hurrah for that, Mr. President! We really can’t wait for this pandemic to be over with, and to live freely like we used to be.
We know what this means, don’t we? Passports will be stamped, planes will be packed, tourist destinations will be full of people, and entertainment are no longer limited. Oh, yes. So ready for 2021! Now, though, when we finally can travel like we used to, where will you go first? Home to your country? Continue country-hopping as you go? If you don’t feel like it’s a good idea to go that far, why don’t you just go within Indonesia?
You read that right. In its newest Tourism Promotion, Indonesia announced some new tourism destinations dubbed “The New Balis,” after the tropical holiday Mecca located just to the left of Java main island. If you want to know more about these new holiday spots, keep on reading. Who knows, you might find something interesting. Here are Indonesia’s New Balis and just a bit of tips on what you definitely should do over there.
- Danau Toba
Lake Toba (Indonesian: Danau Toba) is a large natural lake in North Sumatra, Indonesia, occupying the caldera of a supervolcano. It is the largest lake in Indonesia and the largest volcanic lake in the world. Lake Toba is the site of a supervolcanic eruption estimated at VEI 8 that occurred 69,000 to 77,000 years ago, representing a climate-changing event. Recent advances in dating methods suggest a more accurate identification of 74,000 years ago as the date.
It is the largest-known explosive eruption on Earth in the last 25 million years. It has been accepted that the eruption of Toba led to a volcanic winter with a worldwide decrease in temperature between 3 to 5 °C (5.4 to 9.0 °F), and up to 15 °C (27 °F) in higher latitudes. Additional studies in Lake Malawi in East Africa show significant amounts of ash being deposited from the Toba eruptions, even at that great distance, but little indication of a significant climatic effect in East Africa.
Mount Bromo (Indonesian: Gunung Bromo), is an active volcano and part of the Tengger massif, in East Java, Indonesia. At 2,329 meters (7,641 ft) it is not the highest peak of the massif, but is the best known. The massif area is one of the most visited tourist attractions in East Java, Indonesia. The volcano belongs to the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. The name of Bromo derived from Javanese pronunciation of Brahma, the Hindu creator god.
On the fourteenth day of the Hindu festival of Yadnya Kasada, the Tenggerese people of Probolinggo, East Java, travel up the mountain in order to make offerings of fruit, rice, vegetables, flowers and sacrifices of livestock to the mountain gods by throwing them into the caldera of the volcano. The origin of the ritual lies in the 15th century legend. On the sand plain, locally called Segara Wedi (lit. sand ocean), sits a Hindu temple called Pura Luhur Poten. The temple holds a significant importance to the Tenggerese scattered across the mountain villages, such as Ngadisari, Wonokitri, Ngadas, Argosari, Ranu Prani, Ledok Ombo and Wonokerso. The temple organises the annual Yadnya Kasada ceremony which lasts for about one month.
Wakatobi Regency is a group of ca. 150 islands forming an administrative regency located in Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia. The capital of the regency is located on Wangi-wangi Island, has an area of 473.62 square kilometers and had a population of 92,922 at the 2010 Census.
Wakatobi is also the name of a national park established in 1996, with a total area of 1.39 million hectares that consists of marine biodiversity hotspot known as Wallacea and coral reefs, which condition and scale occupy one of the highest priorities of marine conservation in Indonesia. Wakatobi islands is a part of the Coral Triangle, which contains one of the richest marine biodiversity on earth.
Wakatobi Biosphere Reserve. Wakatobi has been designated in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves by the Man and the Biosphere Programme of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on 11 July 2012. The world’s major ecosystem types and landscapes represented in this Network are devoted to conserving biological diversity, promoting research and monitoring, as well as seeking to provide models of sustainable development in the service of humankind.
- Labuan Bajo
Labuan Bajo is a fishing town located at the western end of the large island of Flores in the Nusa Tenggara region of east Indonesia. It is the capital of the West Manggarai Regency (Kabupaten Manggarai Barat), one of the eight regencies which are the major administrative divisions of Flores.
Once a small fishing village, Labuan Bajo (also spelled Labuhanbajo and Labuanbajo) is now a tourist center as well as a centre of government for the surrounding region. Facilities to support tourist activities are expanding quickly although the rapid rise in the numbers of visitors is imposing some strains on the local environment.
Labuan Bajo is the gateway for trips across the nearby Komodo National Park to Komodo Island and Rinca Island, both home to the famous Komodo dragons.
There are numerous snorkling points in the islands close to Labuan Bajo. Kanawa and Seraya Islands, for example, offer good diving and snorkeling sites. Currents can be strong at some sites however so care is needed. Labuan Bajo is the gateway for trips across the nearby Komodo National Park to Komodo Island and Rinca Island, both home to the famous Komodo dragons.
There are numerous snorkling points in the islands close to Labuan Bajo. Kanawa and Seraya Islands, for example, offer good diving and snorkeling sites. Currents can be strong at some sites however so care is needed.
- Raja Ampat
Located off the northwest tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula on the island of New Guinea, in Indonesia’s West Papua province, Raja Ampat, or the Four Kings, is an archipelago comprising over 1,500 small islands, cays, and shoals surrounding the four main islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta, and Waigeo, and the smaller island of Kofiau.
The Raja Ampat archipelago straddles the Equator and forms part of Coral Triangle which contains the richest marine biodiversity on earth. Raja Ampat is considered the global center of tropical marine bio-diversity and is referred to as The Crown Jewel of the Bird’s Head Seascape, which also includes Cenderawasih Bay and Triton Bay. The region contains more than 600 species of hard corals, equaling about 75 percent of known species globally, and more than 1,700 species of reef fish – including on both shallow and mesophotic reefs.
Compared to similar-sized ecosystems elsewhere in the world, this makes Raja Ampat’s biodiversity the richest in the world. Endangered and rare marine mammals such as Dugongs, whales (such as blue or/and pygmy blue, bryde’s, less known omura’s, sperm), dolphins, and orcas occur here. In northeast region of Waigeo island, local villagers have been involved in turtle conservation initiatives by protecting nests or relocating eggs of leatherback, olive ridley and hawksbill turtles. Their works are supported by local government, and NGOs.
There you are, the 5 new Balis you can explore when the travel ban is lifted next year. Will we see you there? Hopefully. Until then, take care and stay safe!