Wayag Island is one of the islands within the Raja Ampat district in the province of West Papua. The island is known for its beautiful atolls and amazing underwater life covering a total area of 155,000 hectares, about 383,013.3 acres. Here, you find pristine beaches with unique Karst islands that look like mushrooms sprouting out from the sea. Along these beaches, tourists can see fairy tale panorama, more captivating than Leonardo DiCaprio’s getaway in “The Beach”. The crystal clear waters around Wayag Island appear like unreal windows to various types of flora and fauna that live underwater.
Wayag Island never ceases to amaze. Divers, especially, have been overwhelmed not only by the rich underwater displays, but also by the panoramic beauty of the island as they climb up to its highest platform and observe coves and atolls around. It is a dream come true, truly a dream fulfilled. The island is 10 km north of the equator. Liveaboards are the best choice for travelers with a love for adventure and romance. Social contacts with other travelers will only be a call away. Dive briefings are enriching, so that just being there with other divers and the exotic looking staff, you will feel as if you are already drawn into the depths of Wayag’s surreal beauty.
How to get around in Wayag Island actually depends on where you are staying. So, plan your trip carefully and decide where to stay. If you choose to stay in one of the resorts on one of the Raja Ampat Islands, you will need a boat to visit Wayag Island. But if you choose a liveaboard package, you just need to sit back and enjoy the breeze in your cabin and let the schooner pass the beautiful islands.
Liveaboard packages are a comfortable alternative, and you can find these boats in Sorong, or as far away as Bali which is their marketing hub and port for businesses offering dive packages. Some of the liveaboards are very luxurious, and some are unique and quite fantastic. The facilities are inclusive. Many agree that liveaboards are indeed the best alternative considering time and convenience. At around US$ 300 a day, this is actually good value for money. Liveaboards usually run 10 day cruises out of the port of Sorong, in West Papua.
It will not take a long time to travel around the unique beaches of Wayag Island. But it takes very good physical condition to enjoy the beautiful panorama from the top of an atoll, as you must climb the atoll’s steep walls for about 30 minutes.
A dinghy is probably the best means to go island hopping in a day. It is a beautiful interruption between your diving, sleeping and eating routine on your vacation in the Raja Ampat Islands. When hiring a speedboat as alternative, observe the surrounding islands and stop at the clear water to cool yourself after a long hour of the fast seafaring trip. Taking a speedboat is convenient as you can decide your own program.
By attending the massive Baliem Valley Festival, visitors will have a rare chance to learn and experience firsthand the different traditions of each tribe participating in the Festival without having to make the difficult trek to their compounds deep in the hinterland of West Papua. During the festival, have your camera ready. Very often you will come across unique moments that you never want to miss.
A number among the more than a thousand war participants, do want to keep abreast with the outside world, so they adorn themselves with local regalia, while sporting flashy sunglasses: a personal ad of a trendy look meeting age-old tradition. Ask them politely to pose for you. It’s an unusual anachronism not to be missed. All you need to do during the festival is just observe and enjoy the mock war. The longer it gets, the nearer the spears and arrows get to hit the opponents. The closer the miss, the louder the roar from the hundreds of spectators. They have participated in these battles every year so that participants do get better each year.
After the Festival, visitors can go sightseeing to the Dani Market in Wamena, and visit the traditional Wauma Village that can be reached by car from Wamena. In Aikima see a 250 year-old mummified village chief, or, after a 2-hour climb, see the salt springs, where Dani women have, for centuries, made salt in a simple manner.
For your own safety, when intending to trek alone into the interior, you are advised to first report your itinerary to the Police upon arrival at the airport. A number of travel agencies regularly organize tours to the Baliem valley.
Locals who still remember World War II would tell visitors that back in 1944-145 Morotai was a hive of military activities with tens of sorties roaring daily from aircrafts taking off and landing at airstrips along Daruba Bay,endless stamping of thousands of military boots marching across the island, and navy ships anchoring daily carrying supplies and reinforcement. For Morotai back then, was the strategic base of the Allied Forces from which they attacked posts in the Philippines and Borneo in their fight against Japanese forces during World War II.
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On 15 September 1944, Allied Forces from the USA and Australia under leadership of Supreme Commander for the West Pacific, General Douglas MacArthur, landed on Morotai’s south west corner, where some time before, the Japanese had constructed an airstrip but abandoned it in favor of the island of Halmahera to its south. In Morotai the Japanese command left only some 500 soldiers to guard the island. With such overwhelming odds, the advancing Allied Forces were no match for the small number of Japanese troops. The Japanese Navy later tried to recapture the island but also to no avail.
When the Japanese abandoned Morotai, Gen. MacArthur saw this as the golden window of opportunity to take the island which he considered was at the most strategic location for a counter invasion to recapture the Philipppines from the Japanese. With over 50,000 troops the Allied Forces settled on Morotai. Losing no time, Mac Arthur immediately constructed a number of airstrips over the rough coral ground. At one point, Morotai was said to house no less than 60,000 soliders, and had a large hospital with 1,900 beds. There was also a busy naval base nearby.
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Later, Australian Forces also sortied from Morotai to stage attacks on North Borneo. This hive of activities continued until the end of World War II at the surrender of the Japanese in 1945. Before leaving the island, Allied Forces are said to have burnt down all constructions on Morotai.
In 1974 a lone Japanese soldier called Taruo Nakamura emerged from the jungles of Morotai having hidden there for decades unaware that the War was long over.
Today, Morotai has become a vague memory in the annals of World War II military operations in the Pacific Theater, and its role in the fight for freedom of the Philippines almost forgotten.
The island itself with a total population of 53,000 people is now back to its routine as sleepy tropical paradise. Nevertheless, its decisive role in World War II is forever etched in history books.
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Now the government plans to make Morotai into an economic hub and gateway into Indonesia from the Pacific Ocean. Morotai will be developed as a fishery, tourist, trade and services center.
The island of Morotai has now been designated as one of Indonesia’s Top Priority Tourist Destination for intense resort development.
Where in the world is Morotai?
Located north of the larger island of halmahera in the province of North Maluku, the island of Morotai has a number of great beaches and interesting diving spots. The largest town here is Daruba in the south. To Morotai’s north are the Philippines, to its east the Pacific Ocean. Not much remains to be seen from those hectic World War II days, except for a number of interesting wrecks to be explored underwater.
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A lone statue of General Douglas MacArthur on the island of SumSum near Daruba serves to remind following generations that this famous general, best known for his words “I will return”, once made Morotai his military base.
Nearby at Kao Bay in Halmahera a half submerged Japanese wreck named the Tosimaru can still be seen from shore.
A shack filled with memorabilia of World War II collected by a private citizen and known as the Morotai Museum can be visited to remind visitors of those terrible war days, which will hopefully never occur again on this planet.
Besides serving as US and Australian military base in WW II, the island of Morotai later also served as base for Indonesian forces in the liberation of West New Guinea from Dutch colonization.
The traditional village of Wae Rebo in the district of Manggarai on the island of Flores, East Nusatenggara, has received the Top Award of Excellence from UNESCO in the 2012 UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage Awards, announced in Bangkok on 27 August 2012.
This small and isolated village was recognized for its rebuilding of the traditional Mbaru Niang traditional house based on the spirit of community cooperation towards a sustainable tradition, while at the same time improving its village welfare.
Wae Rebo is a small, very out of the way village. Situated on around 1,100 meters above sea level and approximately 3 – 4 hour travel by foot from Denge Village. Wae Rebo is completely surrounded by panoramic mountains and the dense Todo forest. This tropical forest is rich in vegetation, where you will find orchids, different types of ferns and hear the chirping of many songbirds. There is also no mobile coverage in this village, and the electricity is only available from 6 to 10 pm. The air is relatively cold, especially in the dry season, so don’t forget to bring your jacket if you’re planning to visit the village.
Founder of the village and, therefore, their main ancestor who built the village some 100 years ago, was a man called Empu Maro. Today, the inhabitants are his 18th generation descendants.
Wae Rebo’s main characteristics are their unique houses, which they call Mbaru Niang that are tall and conical in shape and are completely covered in lontar thatch from its rooftop down to the ground. It appears that at one time such kind of houses were quite common to the region. But today, it is only this village that continues to maintain the typical Manggarai traditional house, without which these unique houses would have been completely fazed out.
The house has five levels, each level designated for a specific purpose. The first level , called lutur or tent, are the living quarters of the extended family. The second level, called lobo, or attic, is set aside to store food and goods, the third level called lentar is to store seeds for the next harvest, the fourth level called lempa rae is reserved for food stocks in case of draught, and the fifth and top level, called hekang kode, which is held most sacred, is to place offerings for the ancestors.
One special ceremonial house is the community building where members of the entire clan gather for ceremonies and rituals. They are predominantly Catholic but still adhere to old beliefs. In this house are stored the sacred heirloom of drums and gongs.
With a small population of around 1,200 inhabitants only, the village comprises 7 houses. The staple diet of villagers is cassava and maize, but around the village they plant coffee, vanilla, and cinnamon which they sell in the market, located some 15 km. away from the village. Lately, however, Wae Rebo has grown in popularity as a tourist destination for international ecotourism enthusiasts, and this has added to the economic welfare of the village. The people of Wae Rebo warmly welcome visitors who wish to see their village and experience their simple traditional life.
Komodo National Park
Flores is one the most fascinating and beautiful island, located in the southern part of Indonesia in East Nusa Tenggara province.
Geographically, Flores is part of Indonesia’s Lesser Sunda Islands. From west to east the main Lesser Sunda Islands are Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Flores, Sumba, Timor, Alor archipelago, Barat Daya Islands and Tanimbar Islands.
Long hidden in the shadows of its more famous neighbor Bali, the island of Flores is finally emerging as a unique destination of its own.
So, after visiting the lair of the Komodo dragons, take time to marvel at some of the wonders of Flores. Here, you can swim in pristine lakes and waterfalls, dive at one of the 50 spectacular dive sites, go kayaking among craggy coasts and mangrove shores, explore mysterious caves and be warmly welcomed by the island’s people in their rituals, dances and daily life.
Flores spell adventure, diving, eco-tours, and mountain climbing interspersed with visits to prehistoric heritage sites, traditional villages and cultural events. Find some of the world’s most exotic underwater life, dive in the pristine seas of Komodo, or swim along with huge manta rays, dolphins, and dugongs on the island of Flores!
One of several histories of the name “Flores” was said to come from Tanjung Bunga, a sub-district in East Flores. In the 1500s a Portuguese navigator António de Abreu reach this place and saw blooming flowers all over the island.
Then came S.M Cabot who described this place as Cabo das Flores, translated as the cape of flowers.
In 1636 Hendrik Brouwer, the Dutch Indies Governor General validated Flores as the official name for the Island.
Flores also was known as Nusa Nipa, or the Snake Island. The name was said to depict due to the shape of the island, the fact that Flores is a habitat for snakes and the ancient belief that the snake was the ancestor of the island.
You can come by to the Blikon Blewut Museum in Maumere, and learn a glimpse of Florinese history.
There are 8 major ethnic groups in Flores, namely the Manggarai, Riung, Ngada, Nage-Keo, Ende, Lio, Sikka and Larantuka.
There are also 8 regencies in Flores: West Manggarai, Manggarai, East Manggarai, Ngada, Nagekeo, Ende, Sikka and East Flores.
Labuan Bajo is the capital of West Manggarai, the gateway to many splendors of Flores.
You can watch Caci dance in Manggarai, a live war dance performed in numerous traditional ceremonies. The dance is also popular as a warm greeting to welcome important guests.
In East Manggarai, you can visit Rana Tonjong, a vast lake covered with giant lotus flowers that bloom from April to June. If you love beaches, don’t forget to sunbathe at Laing Lewe! In Ngada, you can come by and explore Taman Laut 17 Pulau. Translates as The17 Islands Ocean Park, it was also named in accordance to Indonesia’s anniversary date on the 17th. Here, you can discover exotic wildlife on land and beneath the ocean’s waters.
Nagakeo is famous for Pulau Pasir Putih Rii Taa, a pristine pearly white-pinkish sandy island located just around an hour boat ride from the Marapokot harbor in Mbay city.
The renowned three colored Lake Kelimutu is located in Ende. An amazing natural wonders that you definitely must experience yourself. While in Ende, you can also visit the unique Pengganjawa beach. With black sand and plenty of stones in turquoise hues scattered on its shore, a sight that you don’t see often!
Maumere is the capital of Sikka. Besides the museum and beaches, you can head to Tanjung Kajuwulu and Nilo hill, to enjoy the soothing view unfolding beneath you.
Last but certainly not least is Larantuka, the capital of East Flores. The city is famous for its Easter celebration named Semana Santa. A festive march carried off the day of Good
Friday, across the heart of Larantuka.
Every November, the Manggarai ethnic group in East Nusa Tenggara Province will conduct the sacred rituals of Penti which takes place at the Wae Rebo Traditional Village on Flores Island. As this is a unique occasion, make sure to witness the event.
Penti is a ritual of thanksgiving to celebrate the past year’s harvest and prayers for a prosperous, new agricultural year. The event is filled with a series of ancient rituals that usually last for one full day and night. The celebration is of such huge communal importance that all village members -even those living outside the village-will join the rituals.
Penti is an annual ritual closely related to the agricultural cycle. The tradition has been passed down through generations from the ancestors of the village, that identifies different months according to variations of location of surrounding natural environments. Penti also marks the turn of the year for the Wae Rebo villagers which occurs in November following the modern calendar. Although nowadays many villages on the island celebrate Penti based on a five-year cycle due to the intensive preparations and high costs involved, in the village of Wae Rebo, however, Penti is still conducted on a yearly basis.
Penti begins with the Barong Wae and Barong Oka rituals in which the people carrying offerings proceed to the courtyard of the Rumah Gendang or the Main House in the village, accompanied by the sounds of gongs and gendang traditional percussions. They gather at the natural spring and invite the spirit of the spring’s keeper to attend the Penti celebration.
The processions will then move to the watu pantas to symbolize the purification of sins, which is followed by a visit to the stone altar or compang, which concludes the Barong Wae, Barong Oka, and Roi Boa rituals.
Penti will also be highlighted with the fascinating display of Caci, which is the traditional martial art specific to the Manggarai region, in which two men will be involved in a one-on- one combat using whips and simple shields.
During the series of the Penti Ritual, a group of men and women will chant traditional songs with no musical accompaniment which is called Sanda. The Sanda commences in the middle of the night and continues nonstop until morning. The Sanda must be chanted uninterruptedly during the entire rituals to honor the spirits of the ancestors.
White sandy beaches. Tropical coral reefs. Warm inviting waters. All this awaits you on the Gili Trawangan and the Gili islands in Lombok. And with no cars, no motorbikes, and no distractions other than beautiful tropical island scenery, the Gili islands off the northwest coast of Lombok are truly an ideal destination for a tropical getaway.
Offering spectacular reefs and ominous dive sites like Shark reef, the Gili Trawangan, and the Gili islands in Lombok are the perfect escape for anyone wanting to get away to beautiful, natural, and relaxing surroundings. This is why these islands have become a popular destination for Western tourists looking for a remote island experience.
For divers and snorkelers, there are few places better than the Gili’s where you can get up close to all kinds of marine life including a green turtle (Chelonia mydas) in all its glory. Swim-up and watch this graceful creature glide through the ocean. You should be able to spot these turtles at depths of 10-20 meters below sea level.
The Gilis consist of three islands: Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air. In the local Sasak language, "Gili" means "island". In the Indonesian language, plural is denoted by repeating a noun. So "Gili Gili" literally means "islands”.
Renowned for friendly locals and superb natural beauty, each of the island’s is well prepared for tourists. Gili Trawangan is the largest and most popular of the three islands. It has a vibrant nightlife to keep you entertained once the sun goes down. With a wide collection of restaurants and bars, you’ll never be short of entertainment here.
If you're after a quiet getaway, try Gili Meno or Gili Air. Gili Air is closest to the mainland and is the most populated of the Gili’s. Gili Meno is the smallest island and, with only a few hundred permanent residents, it has the most remote feel to it. There are plenty of hotels and restaurants built in keeping with the islands’ homely village atmosphere.
How to Get Around Gili Trawangan and the Gilis
Cars and motorbikes are prohibited on the Gili’s giving each island a very peaceful atmosphere. The best way to get around and explore the islands is by bike. You can rent a bike and take a ride and look at the spectacular views of the tropical landscape.
A horse-drawn carriage or cidomo is another popular way to get around for both locals and visitors. A tour around Gili Trawangan in a cidomo taking around half an hour. When you want to stretch your legs there’s nothing quite like taking a leisurely stroll around the island. If you want to travel between the Gili’s you can also hire a motorized boat
Along the south coast of the beautiful Lombok island lies a long and wide stretch of beautiful white sand beach facing the glistening Indian Ocean. On the background are lush green hills and mesmerizing landscapes. This is Mandalika, once a surfers’ best-kept secret, now it has emerged as the island’s capital of leisure. Mandalika shouts heaven from all of its enchanting corners.
The special tourism economic zone boasts vibrant bars and nightclubs, thrilling racing circuits, exciting water parks, luxurious hotels and resorts, fascinating golf courses, rejuvenating spas, and plenty more; there’s everything for everyone at this 1,250-hectare paradise. The tourism industry in Mandalika is equalling its neighboring island, Bali. Mandalika is also a melting pot of tourists from all parts of the globe. Here, the tourism industry fused seamlessly with the unique and colorful culture of the local people that is still well preserved for generations.
Mandalika is also conveniently located near some of Lombok’s most outstanding beaches. These include Tanjung Aan, Kuta, Gerupuk, Serenting, and Seger Beach. From the top of the Merese Hill and Batu Payung Beach, you are presented with some of the most amazing panoramas of Lombok. All kinds of fun water sports activities await at Kuta Beach. Those who enjoy swimming, surfing, and fishing can head to Gerupuk Beach, while those who prefer peace and serenity can head to Serenting Beach. For a one of a kind cultural experience, head down to Seger Beach during the annual tradition of Bau Nyale Ritual and join in the local festivity you won’t find elsewhere.
Blessed with beautiful nature and enhanced by the hands of professionals, Mandalika is designed to make your dream vacation a reality. With all its exceptional splendors, a trip here will be unforgettable and will make you long for more.
The Garuda Wisnu Kencana Park, simply known as GWK, sited on the Bukit Peninsula, the limestone plateau with beautiful and serene park southern Bali. The cultural park is dedicated to embrace as well as preserve for art, cultural and spiritual aspects of the Island of Bali. Set in 250-ha this park becomes one of the favorite places for art & cultural performances, exhibitions, and conferences. GWK offers a breathtaking view spot for tourist to spend the day enjoying spectacular sunset.
The main icon is the incredible monument of Garuda Wisnu Kencana , the tallest and largest modern statue with 120 meter tall and 64 meter width, conceptualized by Nyoman Nuarta, an Indonesia’s finest modern sculptors. The statue is depict the Hindu God Vishnu riding aloft on his winged mount Garuda. Vishnu is considered a member of the holy trinity of Hinduism along with Shiva and Brahma. He is the most important God of Vaishnaism, the largest Hindu sect. Garuda is a bird creature from Hindu mythology that has a mix of eagle and human features. Garuda Wisnu Kencana statue surrounded by more than 60-ha of Cultural Park.
Both projects are initiated by Garuda Wisnu Kencana Foundation with the vision of becoming the landmark of Bali’s world known tourist destination. GWK is now offering number of facilities ideal for various types of events both local and international.
The commercial complex feed and entertain Garuda Wisnu Kencana’s visitors such a highest ground area of Wisnu Plaza , culinary and shopping path of Street Theatre, the main venue Lotus Pond, Traditional Balinese performance at Amphitheatre, Indraloka Garden, Tirta Agung where the sample of Vishnu’s hand is located here, as well as Boutique & Souvenir shops that has completely set. Visitors also can share their memorable moment with Balinese traditional outfit in GWK Photo Studio. GWK can be challenging area to cover. If you don’t have enough time or energy for walking around do take a “Segway” advance two wheel vehicle and try gliding around the area. The scenic restaurant Jendela Bali is open for business and provides authentic Balinese food and daily entertainment while a new additional restaurant, The Beranda, serving an all-you-can-eat buffet with overlooking Jimbaran Bay.