By Dian Hasan | July 6, 2010
Remote travel destinations that maintain a pristine condition in keeping with its immediate (yes remote) environment always fascinate me. As the rate of urbanization spreads across the globe at an all-too-fast rate, our thirst for earth in its natural state increases.
For a country like Indonesia, which is the world’s largest archipelago, there’s still plenty of uncharted territory, untreaded paths, and well… remote areas. For the intrepid traveler who seeks adventure, such locations promise solitude, tranquility, back-to-basic facility, and a potential to appreciate unspoiled nature.
What fascinates me even more is the length some people will go to chase their eco dreams. Not only the travelers, but those who have come before them from faraway lands to seek their inner peace and idea of leisure. For they have given in to Indonesia’s allure, falling under her magic spell, and come across their piece of paradise.
I’m talking about a slew of foreign nationals who consciously have pursued their eco dream, long before it became the trend it is today.
So, allow me to help paint the idyllic setting for you. A tropical isle, close by a major Indonesian city, but far enough to enjoy your own private island, you are having an al-fresco dinner under the stars after an energetic day of diving, snorkeling and exploring the neighboring islands. Your dinner choice is Indonesian and Asian cuisine, mainly fresh catch from the local fishermen, brought together in a decidedly Italian style. Accompanied by a Pinot Grigio selected by the proprietor. As the sound of rhythmical crickets add natural soundtrack to a background music of brazilan bossa nova from the resort’s iPod. And the chatter from other guests is a combination of Italian and French, with nary an English word. Guests showing off their newly-acquired bronze tan, in their billowing white linen shirts and kaftans. Is this Liguria, Capri or Sardinia?
That place is Paradiso Village, and it’s not imaginary. A tropical isle resort run by Italian couple, Nanni & Federica Casalegno, who left their Italian urban life almost two decades ago in search of tropical bliss. They found it on an Cubadak Island just a short boat ride off the coast of Padang, capital of West Sumatra province in Indonesia.
As for the French connection, there’s Marco, who’s in charge of the PADI-licensed diving operation, and Dominique, who runs all matters pertaining to marketing and hotel management. Together, they mainly cater to the Italian and French markets, with these travelers flying in from Europe to Padang via Singapore.
Their unique story has been featured Time magazine. I’ve taken the liberty of reposting it here. Continue reading