WITH around 1,500 participants from 72 countries attending the FIABCI Global Business Meeting 2018, Indonesia also uses the meeting to promote the country’s tourism. The committee requests the participants to explore four famous tourism spots. They are the Toba Lake, Borobudur Temple, Mandalika and Labuan Bajo.
As Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said, the four tourism areas have become the government’s focus to be developed as one of the ten ‘New Bali’ destinations. The four destinations mentioned here dubbed as the ‘New Bali’ because the areas are comparable to the Island of Gods, a fitting nickname for Bali. They have beautiful panoramas and millions of charm ready to dazzle foreign tourists.
The Borobudur Temple compound, for instance. It is one of the most magnificent Buddhist monuments and compounds in the world worthy of UNESCO’s acknowledgement. The compound is a gallery of stone carvers’ masterpieces, and is believed that numerous pilgrims came to the temple in the middle of the 9th to the 11th century.
The temple is not only majestic and huge, but it also has high artistic values. It can be seen from its walls that are carved with 2,672 relief panels so long that if all of the panels were put in a row, it would reach up to six kilometers. It is one of the largest and most complete Buddhist relief panels in the world.
To fully enjoy Borobudur Temple, one needs to take more than just a tour of the stupas a mound-like structure containing relics. One of the charms of the temple is its beauty during sunrise and sunset. Enjoying both on top of Borobudur Temple is an unforgettable experience.
The morning sun makes Borobudur’s charm and magnificence even more pronounced. Also, sunset is best to be enjoyed between stupas and Buddha statues.
After exploring the temple, tourists can take an elephant tour while enjoying the beauty of the surrounding villages. Touring through rivers and fields are experiences a big city can never offer.
To finish off, tourists can also stop by the craft villages around the temple compound to stroll or buy something for families or relatives at home.
Besides the Borobudur Temple, another must-visit destination in the country is the Toba Lake. Nobody can deny the beauty of the biggest lake in Indonesia. The lake is located in North Sumatra. It is about 100 kilometers long and 30 kilometers wide.
History tells that the caldera-shaped Lake Toba was filled with water after Toba Mountain erupted 70 thousand years ago. At the edges of the lake, there is a hanging stone attached to the cliff wall. Local people believed that the rock used to be a brokenhearted girl. The girl, whose name was believed to be Seruni, was saddened by her arranged marriage forced by her parents. She then fell from the cliff.
When visiting Lake Toba, do take the time to check the small town of Parapat that is located on the edge of the Lake. Aside from its beautiful scenery, the playful monkeys in the area are never shy to pose for a photo or two for the tourists.
For a total Toba experience, Togging Village is the place to go. Located in the north side, the village offered visitors a view of the lake from a height 900 meters above sea level (MASL).
Another must-visit destination is the Mandalika Resort Area in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara. Its beach is now designated as a Special Economic Zone (KEK), and international tourists are guaranteed to instantly fall in love with its breathtaking natural beauty.
The resort area is connected to a number of pristine beaches at the southern part of Lombok island. With its virginal natural nuances, this region is rich with vast coastal beaches, complete with soft powdery white sands.
Visitors can take a pick from the charms of Kuta Mandalika Beach, Seger Beach, Serenting Beach, Putri Nyale Beach, Tanjung Aan Beach, and Gerupuk Beach. The latter was even complemented with waves perfect for surfing.
The Merese Hill, west of Tanjung Aan Beach, offered a panoramic view on Lombok’s coastal beauty.
Not far from Mandalika is the Traditional Villages of Sade and Ende, where tourists can observe the rich cultural traditions of the Sasak, Lombok’s native people.
Up next is Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara, which has a lot to offer for beach-lovers. The quaint fishing village that located at the western side of Flores Island is the gate to Komodo National Park.
The place is not only famed for its captivating beaches but also the magnificent view that can be enjoyed from its highlands. The beaches itself are spotless, powdery white, with crystal clear sea water.
For those up for the challenge, they could walk the 10 minute trek to reach Rangko Cave in Rangko village, Gusung Island, north of Labuan Bajo. The rocky cavern surrounds a crystal clear water that lit up to a bright turquoise, thanks to the sunlight that shines through the cave’s entrance.
Visitors could forget about all of their fatigues and take a plunge into the refreshing, peaceful pool. The stacks of stalactites and stalagmites inside the cave only add to the dramatic feel to the cavern.