Monday, August 16, 2010

ArabNews: Bali, World’s favorite resort

The world’s largest archipelago, Indonesia, comprising 17,504 large and small tropical islands fringed with white sandy beaches, many still uninhabited and a number of them even still unnamed, has emerged as one of the favorite destinations for Saudis. Especially enchanting to them is Bali, which is considered as the perfect holiday destination for all ages offering something for everyone.

Tourism officials at the Consulate General of Indonesia and Garuda Indonesia, which operates regular weekly flights between Saudi Arabia and Jakarta, say Bali remains the most popular and favorite destination for travelers from this part of the world. The number of travelers to the island resort continues to increase year after year.

It is thus that following its success last year, Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara once again organizing this year’s annual travel mart Tourism Indonesia Mart & Expo (TIME) or Pasar Wisata Indonesia. This Indonesian premier tourism event will be held on Oct. 12-15 at Santosa Villas & Resort Lombok. Entering its 16th years of conduct, TIME is organized by the Indonesian Tourism Promotion Board (ITPB) and supported by entire tourism components in Indonesia.

Meity Robot, chair person and steering committee of TIME 2010, told Arab News in a communication that the conduct of TIME also supports the government program of “Visit Indonesia Year” which continues this year, as TIME is aimed at promoting Indonesia as a tourist destination in international market and at the same time raise the country’s image as one of the global travel destinations.

“The shifting of TIME to Lombok for two consecutive years, i.e. 2009 and this year, is aimed at promoting Lombok and West Nusa Tenggara to the international market and speeding up the development and improvement of infrastructure, tourism facilities and tourism attractions in the region, so that at the end the destination could establish itself as one of global travel destinations. Moreover, with the completion of new international airport expected to be ready this year, it will attract more tourist arrivals to the island and speed up the improvement of infrastructure and encourage more investors to the region to develop new hotels as well as tourism attractions,” Meity said.

Lombok is located just east of Bali. The island is only 20 minutes by flight from Bali, with Selaparang International Airport. Presently, Lombok has nearly 3,500 hotel rooms with international standard. Garuda Indonesia operates regular weekly services from the Kingdom to Jakarta.

Bali offers not just various customs but also various “adrenalin pump” parks. Many exciting amusements are available in Bali, with something new opening all the time. The number of offshore and inland attraction are on the rise because many tourists want them. This tropical paradise has a unique blend of modern tourist facilities combined with shopping and a rich past and heritage, Meity added.

After white water rafting that has gained popularity in Bali, comes offshore rafting or ocean rafting. The more adventurous sort of amusement has now become an alternative sport for tourists. Meanwhile, white water rafting is still a popular activity with trips on Ayung, Telaga Waja, Unda Rivers, etc. The tourists can refresh their mind by watching beautiful scenery along the route. Those are not enough, some of the best surfing beaches in the world can be found on the western side of the island while conversely the eastern side is a wonderful haven for families, with beautiful white sand beaches and gentle seas.

Bali is a small island, just 140 km by 80 km and lies between Java, the most highly populated and influential of all the islands, and Lombok, one of the quieter and moderately slower paced islands. Like many islands, Bali has developed a world of its own. It not only captures what is special about Indonesia but also has a uniqueness of its own.

Among the most well known islands are Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan (formerly Borneo), Sulawesi (formerly Celebes), the Maluku Islands (or better known as Moluccas, the original Spice Islands) and Papua, aside from Bali. But Indonesia still has many unexplored islands with grand mountain views, green rainforests to trek through, rolling waves to surf and deep blue pristine seas to dive in where one can swim with dugongs, dolphins and large mantarays.

Because of her location, and geology, Indonesia is blessed with the most diverse landscape, from fertile ricelands on Java and Bali to the luxuriant rainforests of Sumatra, Kalimantan and Sulawesi, to the savannah grasslands of the Nusatenggara islands to snow-capped peaks of West Papua.

Its wildlife ranges from the prehistoric giant Komodo lizard to the Orang Utan and the Java rhino, to the Sulawesi anoa dwarf buffalos, to birds with exquisite plumage like the cockatoo and the bird of paradise. This is also the habitat of the Rafflesia the world’s largest flower, wild orchids, an amazing variety of spices, and aromatic hardwood and a large variety of fruit trees. Underwater, scientists have found in North Sulawesi the prehistoric coelacanth fish, a “living fossil” fish, predating the dinosaurs living some 400 million years ago, while whales migrate yearly through these waters from the South Pole. Here are hundreds of species of colorful coral and tropical fish to admire.

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