This year has been a great year for traveling in Indonesia.
New infrastructure was established during the year, such as toll roads, modern airports and aero trains. Airlines introduced new routes even to remote places across the archipelago, new high-end resorts and budget hotels are flourishing, and the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry is encouraging foreign filmmakers to shoot their movies in Indonesia by easing the administration procedures.
These bring new hope of an increased number of arrivals in the world’s biggest archipelago.
Now is the time to plan for another exciting trip for next year.
The Jakarta Post Travel has selected the most exciting destinations and activities that will become travel highlights of 2014.
January – Gazing at traditional architecture in Wae Rebo
Before 2008, this isolated village deep in the woods at a height of 1,100 meters above sea level was little known even in the neighboring sub district. It is the only village in West Manggarai regency, East Nusa Tenggara that still has traditional houses called “mbaru niang” - circular cone-shaped houses with a unique architecture.
A team led by well known Jakarta-based architect, Yori Antar, has helped to rebuild four of the seven houses in a traditional way.
Now you can visit the village, stay with the locals in their authentic “mbaru niang”, and experience their daily life.
How to get there: You need to hike for three to four hours, depending on your physical ability, from Denge village.
Where to stay:
If you want to spend the night in Wae Rebo, there are several local guides as well as tour operators who can organize trekking and overnight stays for you: - Leonardus Nyoman, ph: +62 8123662110, website: www.floresexotictours.com. - Yeremias Uril, ph: +6281380709223, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. - Martinus Anggo, ph: +6285239344046, email: email@example.com. - Blasius Monta, ph: +6381339350775.
February – Romantic escape in Nusa Lembongan
This small island off the south east of Bali has always been outshined by the Gili Islands in Lombok as a getaway alternative to Bali.
But other than being quiet and deserted, Nusa Lembongan actually offers all the wonderful things you might expect from a perfect vacation: spectacular beaches, fantastic dive sites, stunning cliffs, pristine mangrove forest and a vast seaweed farm.
And now, the island is starting to add fun and luxury to its menu.
Beach clubs are opening as well as new upscale resorts to add more options to the already established eco resorts throughout the coastal area.
These resorts and beach clubs are scattered, each located in its own secluded coasts, so anywhere you stay or dine you will still feel like you are on a deserted island - only with great music, beautiful food and more sophisticated crowds compared to the Gillis.
It makes the island a perfect destination for a romantic escape.
How to get there:
There are regular speedboats departing from Sanur beach around every half hour (from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). It only takes 20 minutes to get to Mushroom Bay on Lembongan Island. A single journey will cost you around Rp 150,000 (US$12.55)
Where to stay: Lembongan Beach Club and Resorts located in Jungut Batu beach is the latest addition to the island. Designed with natural materials in a modern Balinese style, it has 26 private villas, most with their own swimming pools.
March – Wildlife safari in Baluran National Park
Baluran is blessed with numerous types of ecosystems packed into its 25,000 hectares with a variety of evergreen, mangrove, tropical, lowland and monsoon forests, as well as a sea grass plain and a coral reef.
Its most famous landscape, however, is its savanna.
The chance of sighting wildlife in Baluran is quite high, since they have a degree of tolerance for the presence of the very few visitors to the park each year.
Even though many visit the national park during the dry season, March is somewhat more ideal when it is not too hot in this naturally dry land.
How to get there:
The easiest way is by taking a private car or renting one. But the more challenging, but less costly, option would be to take a bus from East Java's Surabaya to Banyuwangi. Hop off at the gate of the Baluran National Park, which is located in the Situbondo regency. The entrance fee is Rp 5,000 per person for Indonesians and Rp 25,000 for foreign visitors.
Where to stay: Baluran National Park provides a variety of accommodation within the area. On Bama Beach, bunk up for Rp 200,000 per room. At the Bekol Savanna, the rate is Rp 75,000 per person. If you are up for a more adventurous experience, you can try camping in Batangan, about 500 meters from the entrance. Washrooms are available for campers. (JakPostTravel)