Friday, March 6, 2015

Sail Anambas and Natuna 2015 : Surreal Dive Sites in the South China Sea

An expected  32 yachts participating in the  Sail Malaysia's annual Passage to the East Yacht Rally will  this year call on the Indonesian  Anambas and Natuna island-clusters in the province of the Riau Archipelago, working in cooperation with local authorities of these two districts.

In Indonesia, better known as the Sail Anambas and Natuna Islands,  the yachts are scheduled to anchor at Anambas between 23rd -  27th May and at Natuna Islands between 31st May - 2nd June.   

The Passage to the East Yacht Rally forms part of Sail Malaysia, which starts in Langkawi and finishes at Sabah on the north coast of the island of Borneo.

The Anambas and Natuna archipelagos are Indonesia’s northern-most islands in the South China Sea  located between peninsular Malaysia and the island of Borneo.  And because of their isolated location and sparse population, the islands have retained their pristine shores and are a haven for divers for the surreal underwater life found here. .

The Sail Malaysia Organizing Committee advises Rally participants planning to call on the Indonesian islands of Anamabas and Natuna to acquire a Cruising permit (CAIT) which can be arranged by the Committee.

Participants should fill in a special form and include : 1. Copy of Boat Registration, 2. Boat photo with name shown, 3. Skipper photo, and 4. All copy of passports

While those needing a visa should contact the Indonesian Embassy in Malaysia at : (

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Less Time in Lines at Bali’s Airport

Bali Airport Adding 4 More VOA Desks to Speed Processing Time on Arrival


NusaBali reports that Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport will soon add 4 additional visa-on-arrival (VOA) booths in the arrival hall in order to reduce lines during peak periods.

The co-general manager of the Airport Authority (PT Angkasa Pura I), I Gusti Ngurah Ardita, confirmed on Monday, February 23, 2015, that the new VOAbooths would soon be operational and manned by immigration staff.

On the average, some 9,000 international passengers arrive in Bali with peak arrival hours often seeing waiting times that are as long as 2 hours for immigration and customs processing. The new lockets and other measure being put in place are intended to reduce the amount of time arriving passengers must spend in the Bali Airport. 

During the period January – September 2014 Bali collected US$67.8 million dollars in VOA fees.

© Bali Discovery Tours. Articles may be quoted and reproduced if attributed to


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Indonesian National Museum collaborates with Google to create virtual tour

The National Museum of Indonesia is collaborating with internet giant Google to enable internet users and digital visitors to explore Southeast Asias foremost largest museum through Street View technology using 360-degree images.

Promotion Staff of the National Museum of Indonesia Ferlian Putra stated here on Tuesday that a field team from Google Street View has been collecting data and images at the museum complex for several days.

The data capture process was part of the collaboration between the National Museum of Indonesia and Google for the Google Art Project, an online platform through which the public can access high-resolution images of artworks and cultural and historical artifacts in galleries and museums around the globe.

"A museum could no longer be viewed as a national heritage, but it also belongs to the international society. People can view things globally. It is also a means to reach out to the world that the international society can enjoy and laud our heritage," Putra noted.

Using Google Street View, the National Museum can provide the users a "different experience" in exploring the museum through a program called virtual touring that can be accessed through its official website ""

"Using the Street View, we might alter the peoples perspective and stigma about museums. Now, museums are places that have aesthetic values and are attractive," he said.

Since 2011, the National Museum of Indonesia has joined the Googles Art Project and has now become the Google Cultural Institute.

Of the around 140 thousand items in the collections at the National Museum, only 100 have been uploaded in the Art Project.

To gather data and images at the museum complex, the Google Street View team did not use its Google Street View Car, but instead deployed a cart equipped with data-capturing equipment such as a sophisticated computer, laser scanner, and a 360-angle camera.

"We call this cart the special collect," remarked a field officer of Google Street View.

The images and data collected at the National Museum of Indonesia will also be incorporated in the Google Maps feature.

Google Street View is a technology featured in Google Maps and Google Earth that provides panoramic views from positions along several streets in the world.

It was launched in 2007 in several cities in the United States and has since expanded to include cities and rural areas worldwide.(Antara)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Bali Travel Fair to invite cruise travel agents

The organizing committee of "Bali Beyond and Travel Fair" (BBTF) 2015 will invite cruise travel agents to take part in the event to be held in Bali, in June 2015.

"We still have three months. They might come because cruise operators want to know what tourism objects and attractions to be offered to cruise passengers," Organizing Committee Chairman of BBTF 2015 I Ketut Ardana said here, Sunday.

Bali will invite cruise operators to bring more foreign tourists to the island.

A big cruise ship could carry more than 5,000 tourists that usually stay longer in luxurious hotels and spend a lot of money, he said.

Bali has adequate harbor infrastructure to accommodate cruise ships, he added.

Benoa Seaport in Denpasar often receives foreign cruise ships but mostly of medium seize with one thousand to two thousand passengers, he noted.

BBTF 2015 is expected to be participated in by hundreds of travel agents including 50 platinum travel agents from various countries that could bring at least 10 thousand tourists per year.

Some 325 potential buyers are also expected to take part in the fair. The buyers are among other things from the United States, European nations, Middle Eastern countries, South Africa, North and South Asians, India, ASEAN member nations, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Latin American countries.

Some 370 sellers from various fields such as hoteliers, travel agents, corporations, transportation companies, and restaurants, are also expected to join the travel fair. Last year, 278 sellers participated in the event.

The implementation of the travel fair will cost some Rp23.2 billion, up from Rp21.7 billion last year.

The Indonesian government has targeted to attract 12 million foreign tourists this year, and 20 million by 2019.(Antara)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Only Now revealed : Shells Midden of Ancient Mesolithicum Man on Bintan Island

An important and most interesting prehistoric artifact of Ancient Man found on the island of Bintan, that has so far been kept under wraps, has finally been revealed: here is a Shells Midden that dates back some 3,000 to 5,000 years ago nestled among cool coconut groves.

A shells midden, otherwise known by archeologists as  Kjökkenmöddinger is a hill of  mollusk shells originally a prehistoric kitchen dump of domestic waste that on Bintan reaches 4 meters high, that scientists believe have been thrown by ancient man. This shells midden, originally one among three,  is located at Kawal Darat in the sub-dsitrict of Kawal at Gunung Kijang near Trikora Beach.  Unfortunately the other two middens have meantime been destroyed by the population to make way for palm oil groves, completely unaware of their most precious value.     

At a glance, the site at Kawal Darat looks like any ordinary hill but on closer inspection one sees that it consists primarily of shells, which is  odd, since the site is located inland and 12 meters above sea level.  The entire site is approximately 100 sq meters while the mound itself measures 18 m by 24 m. Among the shells are also found stones to crack the mollusks, spoons or picks to remove the meat, made from deer horn, and pottery shards.  It is estimated that the mound dates back to the Mesolithiicum Age or the Middle Stone Age which is a transition period  from  the period when ancient man lived from hunting and gathering to settling down and working the fields in agriculture.

According to archaeologists H.R. van Heekeren and R, Sukmono, Kjökkenmöddinger in the Indonesian islands date back to the Bacson-Hoabin culture, an important culture that thrivied during the Mesolithicum Age and spread in Indonesia 3,000 years BC. Kjökkenmöddinger  are artifacts of prehistoric man who gathered different species of mollusks  for food from the coasts around them.  While the shells that families threw away during hundreds or even thousands of years became a hill that gradually grew to 4 meters high. Scientists believe that ancient man on the island of Bintan lived in communities along beaches and close to river mouths residing in houses on stilts, similar to many types of houses still found today around the archipelago.     

The Shells Midden at Kawal, Bintan, is one of a chain of similar mounds scattered along the east coast on the large island of Sumatra. In Indonesia, the existence of Mesolithicum man was first discovered along the East Coast of Sumatra, from East Sumatra north to Langsa in today’s province of Nangro Aceh Darussalam at the top of the island of Sumatra. This discovery was first published in 1907 after the first find of a Midden by the Tamiang River near Seruai. In 1924 a similar midden was discovered by JH Neuman at Batu Kenong in Aceh. In 1927  LC Heyting also reported another find at Serdang Hilir along the East Coast of Sumatra.   

The Kawal Darat shells midden is known by the local population as Kota Batak or Benteng Batak, or even Benteng Lanun (Lanun meaning pirates, therefore, the word means  Pirate Fortress) .  While the word ‘batak’ has no connection whatsoever with the Batak ethnic group living in North Sumatra.

For, in the Old Malay language, as used in the traditional play of Makyong”, the word “batak” means “villain”.  And, as told by the forefathers of the present population, their ancestors built the Shells Midden at Kawal Darat to protect themselves from these villains who regularly attacked villages along the north coast of Bintan.

According to records at the  Indonesian Archaeological Research Institute, BALAR, in Medan, in 2009 there were three such middens along the Kawal river in Bintan Unfortunately, two smaller sites have now been razed and converted to plantations.

Today, the Shells Midden at Kawal Darat is under the auspices of the Office of Tourism and Culture of the District of Bintan and is strictly protected under the Law on Cultural Treasures. The plan is to make this historic site into a tourist attraction together with the protected mangrove forests on Bintan Island. Nonetheless, considering its importance as historic proof and artifact,  the site is tightly protected for further research into the life of ancient man who lived in the Bacsonian culture that spread from the Asian peninsula to North Sumatra and on to the island of Bintan in the Riau archipelago. It is even conjectured that these may well have been the ancestors of the Ancient Malay race.  

To visit and get real close to the Kawal Darat Shells Midden at Gunung Kijang on Bintan, you must rent a car from Tanjung Pinang, as there is no public transport to the site since it is located in the midst of palm oil groves. It is situated around 40 km from the city of Tanjung Pinang in the direction of Trikora Beach. From the main road you must still pass unpaved  dirt roads into plantation areas, some 5 km. from Trikora Beach.


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