Monday, December 8, 2008

Asia’s adventure capital

Indonesia’s great natural splendor presents some of the best but as yet untapped potential. Visitors can sail through the wide rivers of Borneo and Sumatra or navigate small waterfalls in south Java. There are real forests to wander through in Borneo and caves to explore in Sulawesi, not to mention beautiful volcanoes to hike across in the famed Ring of Fire.

The 'adventure' type of travel also has the advantage of injecting funds directly into local economies, providing jobs and developing new businesses that aren’t capital intensive. What travelers need is pretty basic: a bed, bathroom and food, clean but not fancy. An air conditioner is welcome, but a fan will do.

Positive signs are already there. The latest edition of National Geographic Adventure Travel features the prehistoric-looking dragons of Komodo in Nusa Tenggara as one of the 25 best new trips in the world. The Kaliandra foundation is developing a one-week trekking tour to 3,339-meter-high Arjuna mountain in East Java.

What’s needed now is a one-stop source for complete information on the available adventure spots - how to get there, where to stay and what sights, if any, to look out for. Only detailed information will successfully promote such remote areas and allay the fears of city slickers looking for excitement beyond the usual beaches. The first, and most important, step is getting people to go. Nature’s incredible draws will take care of the rest.

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