Tag Archives: Ecotourism

Green & Chic | Jeeva Klui Resort, Lombok, Indonesia

By Dian Hasan | August 20, 2010

With Bali’s continued rise to prominence as a world-class island destination that garners accolades from global travel industry and press, there is one island destined to capitalize on Bali’s fame: Lombok, the adjacent island East of Bali.

Lombok is often referred to as Bali 30 years ago, before the arrival of global tourism, but Lombok is in fact a very different place. With a natural beauty all its own, with its famous landmark, Mount Rinjani volcano with her 3-color lakes, and pristine beaches that rival the best in the world, and a culture that is fusion of Balinese and Sasak people, Lombok has plenty to offer.

Its less developed infrastructure is probably her best-kept secret, offering solitude and unspoiled beauty that beckons any weary urban soul to her shores.

Lombok’s newest resort is a testament to the island’s rise. And unlike Bali’s unchecked development of massive resorts, Lombok has taken the road less traveled, focusing on small-scale resorts – mostly in Villa compounds – that stay true to eco-friendliness and unobtrusive views of immediate surroundings. Such are the offerings of JEEVA KLUI, a gem of a small resort on Klui Beach, just North of Senggigi beach, nearby Lombok’s famous trio of Gilis of Trawangan, Meno and Air (Gili is island in the local language)

Along an uninterrupted stretch of curving beach, Jeeva Klui, “The Soul of Klui,” blends the full spectrum of sea, tropical foliage, and local culture with the natural beauty of Klui Beach.

From dramatic sunsets etching the volcanoes of Bali to the stone and thatch beach front suites framed by swaying palms, the natural simplicity of Jeeva Klui’s traditional design and Lombok’s splendid tropical environment create an ambience of modern luxury and laid back indulgence.

Jeeva Klui’s tropical allure embraces quaint touches of traditional village life. Great care was taken to conceptualize a resort with strong emphasis on providing the ultimate holiday experience, while at the same time being socially and environmentally responsible through sensitive design and green practices.

Wood and stone pathways lead through the gardens to the beach suites spread across the two hectare grounds. The resort melds an appreciation of local architecture and tradition with the look and feel of a Robinson Crusoe idyll allowing for an intimate and stylish base from which to explore Lombok’s spectacular natural beauty. Built using sustainable local materials, such as handmade terracotta tiles, bamboo weaves, stone and recycled timber, each suite exudes an air of authentic sophistication.

Located at the edge of the Wallace Line, Jeeva Klui’s magnificent 170 meter beach front commands views across the Indian Ocean to the islands of Bali and Nusa Penida as well as Lombok’s Sekotong peninsula. The beach at Jeeva Klui is protected by an offshore reef immediately in front of the resort that creates a calm “lagoon” perfect for a leisurely swim.

Upon arrival at Jeeva Klui, guests will be escorted to their suite where check-in formalities will be completed. Jeeva Klui’s total 27 suites include 18 one and two-story beach front suites, six two-story ocean view suites and three pool villas. All rooms have a private terrace with an oversized outdoor day bed and are equipped with either 32 or 37 inch flat screen televisions. All suites are a spacious 54 m2 although the layouts of the suites vary with the type of suite. WiFi is available in the public areas and in the pool suites. Continue reading

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Eco Rustic | Manggudu Island Resort, Sumba, Lesser Sunda Islands, Indonesia

By Dian Hasan | July 13, 2010

It’s a given that surfers will travel to the end of the earth in search of the perfect way. And in doing so, they are pioneers who trudge through jungles, traipse across barren deserts and over coral-laden coasts to find the “IT” wave. Paving the way for the rest of the world’s travelers. Well, not always, as surfers are known to keeping these secret surf spots – which always are pristine natural settings – to themselves.

The island of Sumba, east of Bali, in Indonesia is one such unique find. Discovered a few years ago by Bali- and Lombok- (Bali’s neighboring island) surfers who were in search of more challenging waves across the Lesser Sunda Islands, eat of Bali. They stumbled upon amazing lefthanders in Manggudu Island off of Sumba Island, and had these bragging rights to tell the global surfing community:

One of the most consistent spots in Indonesia with a lefthander during the dry and a righthander in the wet season. Picks up all swell in the ocean and a little more. Uncrowded, good and powerful waves.

Manggudu’s surf is very consistent and picks up all swell in the ocean and a little more. The reef is large and the wave is best described as “Sunset-like”. After peaking, it will bowl through hollow sections or just wall off right from the take-off, depending on swell direction. The peaks shift with tide movements and because of the solid size bigger boards are recommended. The Southeast trades are straight offshore and the wave works with all tides.


Finish Anssi Kauppila [L], founder of Manggudu Island Resort, living an island life on an idyllic locale.

This surfing jewel is just coming out, as the word spreads out, and better accommodation are coming on stream. One of them is Manggudu Island Resort, on an island by the same name, off the southern coast of Sumba. An otherwise deserted island that caters to surfers and fishing aficionados, offering the perfect getaway for travelers who prefer roughing it. The rewards are clear, unspoiled nature, stretches of powder white beaches with no soul in sight, all yours to take in!

Run by intrepid Finish surfer-preneur Anssi Kauppila (yes, all the way from the frigid Scandinavian shores), who’s invested in the resort venture together with long-time Sumba resident, Australian David Wylie. The resort is situated at the western tip of the Manggudu Island, with 3 bungalows, each with 2-rooms with comfortable double beds and basic furniture.

Manggudu Island Resort offers full board, with 3 meals, drinking water, coffee and tea. The meals consist mainly of fish and seafood, with a variety of vegetables, served at the main house, which is also social central, where guests mingle after a day of surfing and exploring the island.

The main house also has a well-stocked library and a TV (if ever there’s a need for this!) for DVD movies. A communal bathroom, the Mandi (traditional Indonesian bathroom), is located behind the bungalows.

Sumba’s wetseason is short, typically lasting for only the months of February and March, when the resort is closed. The best months to visit are April-December, depending on what activities you are looking for. The resort is still open in January, but the winds can be strong, ideal for windsurfers and kitesurfers.

For those who prefer to take a less strenuous break, without sweating it too much, there are plenty of slower-paced options. With a little luck you’ll come across turtle hatchlings scurrying out to sea. It’s common to find Turtle tracks, as sea turtles come here to lay eggs. There is a small dense forest in the center of the island, ideal for bird-watching. Sea eagles and other birds work the large schools of fish. Snorkeling is an easy way to appreciate the beautiful coral reefs, as well as fishing.

Manggudu Island is a delight for fishing, depending on the season, the fish invariably include is a fisherman’s delight, Fishing, that is the one of my activity. During different times at the year commonly caught fish are: giant trevally and other trevally species, Spanish mackerel, marlin, sailfish, tuna, wahoo, Mahi Mahi and numerous reef fish. Manta rays, whales and dolphins are not a rare sight as are barracudas zipping out of the sea.

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Eco Rustic | La P’tite Kepa Homestay, Kepa Island, Sumba, Indonesia

By Dian Hasan | July 29, 2010


Nature at its best. Resplendent and abundant. La P’tite Founder, Cedric swimming in the azure waters with his daughter Lila [R]

Your closest brush with castaway tropical island life a la Robinson Crusoe may probably await you at this little gem of accommodation in the least known regions of Eastern Indonesia.

La P’tite Kepa Homestay is located on a small idyllic island called Kepa (Pulau Kepa in Indonesian), in the middle of Pantar Strait, the heart of Alor archipelago. Just 5-minutes by boat from Alor Kecil village, on Alor main island west coast, this is a central place to explore Alor Islands and the dive sites.

If the first thing that struck you was the hotel’s decidedly Euro-skewed name, you paid attention well.

La P’tite Kepa Homestay is the brainchild of Cedric & Anne Lechat, a French couple who became smitten with Alor Islands when they traveled there in the late 1980s. The eco-friendly homestay is a vision of that love, built in stages over the years, and involving the immediate community every step of the way. Fred & Anne had been practicing eco- and sustainable-tourism principles long before it became the buzzworthy catchphrase it is today.


La P’tite Founder Cedric and a big catch of the day (Marlin) [R]


Upstairs sleeping area of the Lopo traditional Alor house. The sleeping quarters are in the attic, the only enclosed area of this open-air pavilion.

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Green & Chic | Suka Island, Riau Archipelago, Indonesia [2]

By Dian Hasan | July 28, 2010


The Pool Pavilion, the “heart” of Suka Island, where guests mingle and food is served upstairs in the dining area.

When you think of Singapore, the words idyllic, rustic and laid back, are probably not the first thing that would come to mind. A modern Asian nation with a dynamic economy is more likely. Singapore is situated at the crossroads of East and West, and trade has been the foundation upon which Singapore’s economic miracle has been built.

One often forgets, however, that urban Singapore that likes to call itself Garden City, is an island. To the North lies the Malaysian Peninsula that continues on to the Asian continent, while to its South is Indonesia’ Riau Archipelago, a group of islands that include the industrial and shipyard-based Batam, and Singapore’s favorite island playground, Bintan. Further afield are small islands, mostly uninhabited that are the furthest image of urban life.

And here you’ll find Singapore’s best-kept secret: Private Islands that offer the bare-foot luxury commonly found in the Caribbean. Tropical isles, with nothing but thatch-roof huts (no worries, electricity and modern amenities are standard features…). You’d almost have to pinch yourself of thinking you’re in Bali.


The pool and Pool Pavilion area, the “heart” of Suka Island.


The Treehouse Villa, built of sustainable materials using driftwood found in the surrounding islands. Pulled into place using plenty of manpower [below].

So put your leisure thinking cap on, and start imagining swaying palm trees, a tropical breeze, white sand beaches, and the soothing sound of the ocean… all this on an private island you can have for yourself.

From the same creative hospitality minds that run Pulau Pangkil Private Island Resort, comes Suka Island (Pulau Suka in Indonesian), a pleasant 3-hour ferry ride (approximately 100 km) from Singapore, the embarkation point for the majority of our guests. Continue reading

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Green & Chic | Suka Island, Riau Archipelago, Indonesia [1]

By Dian Hasan | June 18, 2010

When you think of Singapore, the words idyllic, rustic and laid back, are probably not the first thing that would come to mind. A modern Asian nation with a dynamic economy is more likely. Singapore is situated at the crossroads of East and West, and trade has been the foundation upon which Singapore’s economic miracle has been built.

One often forgets, however, that urban Singapore that likes to call itself Garden City, is an island. To the North lies the Malaysian Peninsula that continues on to the Asian continent, while to its South is Indonesia’ Riau Archipelago, a group of islands that include the industrial and shipyard-based Batam, and Singapore’s favorite island playground, Bintan. Further afield are small islands, mostly uninhabited that are the furthest image of urban life.

And here you’ll find Singapore’s best-kept secret: Private Islands that offer the bare-foot luxury commonly found in the Caribbean. Tropical isles, with nothing but thatch-roof huts (no worries, electricity and modern amenities are standard features…). You’d almost have to pinch yourself of thinking you’re in Bali.

So put your leisure thinking cap on, and start imagining swaying palm trees, a tropical breeze, white sand beaches, and the soothing sound of the ocean… all this on an private island you can have for yourself.

From the same creative hospitality minds that run Pulau Pangkil Private Island Resort, comes Suka Island (Pulau Suka in Indonesian), a pleasant 3-hour ferry ride (approximately 100 km) from Singapore, the embarkation point for the majority of our guests.

The journey normally involves catching one of the international ferries to Bintan, land transport across part of Bintan and then a high-speed boat trip to the island. Some groups chose to arrive on their private yachts.

The Rembang Villa, one of the two villas converted from vintage Javanese Joglo houses made of solid teak, shipped from Central Java and reconfigured for Suka Island. Continue reading

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Sleek & Chic Afloat | El Aleph Luxury Phinisi, Indonesia

By Dian Hasan | July 21, 2010

Few people realize that Bali’s immense popularity as a world travel destination has made it into a cruise center, transporting divers and surfers ply the oceans east of Bali to explore Lesser Sunda Islands of Sumba, Sumbawa, Flores, West Timor, and further afield. The leading attraction in these waters is of course the Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis) giant monitor lizard that inhabits the island that forms the Komodo National Park.

Bali’s cruise industry is mostly made up of  the smaller, human-scale live-aboard ships fashioned from the traditional Phinisi schooners and converted into modern ocean-plying sail boats.

Until recently, however, most of these majestic crafts were better looking on the outside. The interior was reduced to an afterthought. Mostly rustic and traditional, not that much different from the ambience in the fishing villages where the Bugis seafaring people craft Phinisis by hand.

Luckily, some forward-thinking liveaboard operators, understood that the market was looking for something better. Something with an umph! Hence, designers were commissioned, some style quotient got kicked in, and voila!…  a new crop of luxury phinisi emerges. El Aleph clearly belongs to this club of lookers.

El Aleph offers among the most spacious traditional sailing yacht plying the exotic Indonesian archipelago and beyond, in sheer luxury. Broad-beamed and well-ballasted, El Aleph offers unmatched stability and comfort. A symphony in 100-year old tropical hardwoods – her teak finishes more reminiscent of a fine guitar than of a ship – no detail has been left to chance in ensuring your comfort, safety and enjoyment.

Bringing together traditional Phinisi design and 21st century technology, El Aleph was built in South Sulawesi (Celebes), Indonesia’s hub of traditional handcrafted schooner ship-building. Featuring tropical hardwoods by Bali’s finest cabinetmakers who spent more than 200,000 man-hours on the final fit-out.

El Aleph offers a unique opportunity to explore the fascinating Indonesian archipelago – and beyond, to Thailand, Myanmar (Burma) and the Andamans – in luxury and total privacy, far from the crowded marinas and touristed beaches of the standard Asian cruising destinations. Continue reading

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Divine Diving | Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia

By Dian Hasan | July 22, 2010


Raja Ampat means “four kings”, referring to the islands Salawati, Batanta, Waigeo and Misool. This region on the north-western tip of New Guinea comprises about 610 islands spread over 50,000 sq km of spectacular scenery. Here we also find the remote islands of Misool a scenic range of majestic limestone structures with precipitous cliffs and craggy spires.

According to Conservation International, marine surveys suggest that the marine life diversity in the Raja Ampat area is the highest recorded on Earth. Diversity is considerably greater than any other area sampled in the Coral Triangle composed of Indonesia, Philippines and Papua New Guinea. The Coral Triangle is the heart of the world’s coral reef biodiversity, making Raja Ampat quite possibly the richest coral reef ecosystems in the world.

  • Over 1,000 species of fish
  • Over 700 molluscs
  • Over 540 species of scleractinian (hard) corals = 75% of the world total
  • 4.6 million hectares of reefs, seagrass beds, mangroves and rocky coastline
  • Scarcely populated and minimal industrial development

No wonder that this ecosystem attracts more and more divers and is earmarked by the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism and Culture for future eco-tourism development. With this in mind, the Government of Indonesia is looking to nominate the archipelago as a World Heritage Site.

Some of the highlights include the great dives and under as well as above water caves of Misool, the blue water mangroves, the reefs of the Fam Islands, the fish and manta rays of the Dampier straight, the pearl farm at Aljui Bay and the great karst islands of the Wayag Archipelago. Then there are the extensive mangrove forests and the many deserted beaches. Some excellent diving can be found in the “blue water mangroves” just west of the Island of Misool. In the north there is some superb critter diving at Waigeo Island and great coral and fish dives in Dampier Straight.


Kri Island_W Papua_iIrian_Kri_Resort_2
Kri Island_W Papua_infinitypool

The underwater world is enchanting with the greatest and healthiest coral reef biodiversity of its size in the world, nearly 1,200 species of fish and 540 species of coral have been recorded, 70% of the world’s total number of coral species.

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Divine Diving | Komodo National Park, Lesser Sunda Islands, Indonesia

By Dian Hasan | July 22, 2010

Komodo National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site situated in the straits between Sumba and Flores and consists of the three larger islands of Komodo, Rinca and Padar, as well as numerous smaller ones. Because of its unique geology, the islands have developed equally unique wildlife. With dragons on land and a utopia underwater, you will find an array of dive sites and hiking trails to suit every level of experience.

From pristine corals, mantas, sharks, turtles, dolphins, dugong and giant pelagics to tiny pygmy seahorses, nudibranchs and frog fish, you’ll find the diversity of marine life inspiring if not mind boggling. The islands feature a dramatic wild savannah landscape with patches of forest especially on the southern hills of Komodo and Rinca. White and red sand beaches, blue lagoons teeming with fish and some of the most spectacular underwater scenery in the world entice divers and guests from around the world.

The underwater topography is as varied as the marine life it homes. Dive sites vary from gentle coral slopes to sheer cliff walls, channels, flat bottoms, pinnacles, caves, swim-throughs and a host of hard and soft corals. From the Flores Sea in the north, the warm waters gradually become cooler as you travel southwards into the Indian Ocean.

Seraya Island - Sunset Continue reading

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Sleek & Chic Afloat | Seven Seas Luxury Phinisi Schooner, Indonesia

By Dian Hasan | July 21, 2010

Few people realize that Bali’s immense popularity as a world travel destination has made it into a cruise center, from where cruises carrying divers and surfers ply the oceans east of Bali to explore Lesser Sunda Islands of Sumba, Sumbawa, FloresWest Timor and further afield. The leading attraction in these waters is of course the Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis) giant monitor lizard that inhabits the island that forms the Komodo National Park.

Bali’s cruise industry is mostly made up of  the smaller, human-scale live-aboard ships fashioned from the traditional Phinisi schooners and converted into modern ocean-plying sail boats.

Until recently, however, most of these majestic Phinisi were better looking on the outside, and the interior was reduced to an afterthought. It was all rustic and traditional, not that much different from the ambience found in the fishing villages where the Bugis crafted Phinisis.

Luckily, some forward-thinking liveaboard operators, understood that the market was looking for something better. Something with an umph! Hence, designers were commissioned, some style quotient got kicked in, and voila!…  a new crop of luxury phinisi emerges. Seven Seas is a clear precursor. Continue reading

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Sleek & Chic Afloat | Archipelago Adventurer II, Luxury Phinisi Schooner, Indonesia

By Dian Hasan | July 21, 2010

Unbeknown to many visitors who are familiar with Bali, that the island has evolved into a cruise center, from where cruises carrying divers and surfers ply the oceans east of Bali to explore Lesser Sunda Islands of Sumba, Sumbawa, Flores and West Timor. The leading attraction in these waters is of course the Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis) giant monitor lizard that inhabits the island that forms the Komodo National Park.

Unlike the cruise industry in Alaska, Florida, the Caribbean, and the Mediterranean, that are centered on large-scale cruise liners, Bali’s are mostly the smaller, human-scale live-aboard ships fashioned from the traditional Phinisi schooners and converted into modern ocean-plying sail boats. Venturing into Indonesia’s many diving and surfing sites in Derawan (East Borneo/Kalimantan), Wakatobi (Southeastern Sulawesi/Celebes), LembehGangga, Sangihe, Talaud (all four in North Sulawesi), Banda (in the Moluccas), and everyone’s ultimate destination: Raja Ampat in West Papua.

Most of them are just that – traditional – offering a rustic experience, not too dissimilar from the way the Bugis people built the original Phinisis. Now finally a sense of design that brings a level of sophistication unseen before, is emerging.

Archipelago Adventurer II represents this new breed of cruise ships. Luxuriously appointed, with clean modern lines, gourmet food, tasteful amenities and furnishing incorporating good design. A breath of fresh air indeed.

An excellent example of fusing the historical and the modern. The hull and exterior are made of traditional Indonesian wood and give the boat a sleek classic feel; unabashedly modern featuring a brushed-metal alloy finish, and contemporary furnishings.

Being such a large vessel at 35 meters with additional interior space, there is an abundance of lounging area both inside and out, whether in the large air-conditioned lounge equipped with full entertainment facilities, the dedicated dining room, relaxing with cocktails on the shaded upper deck, or tanning on the expansive sundeck.

With 10 beautifully finished en-suite cabins and an emphasis on fine dining, a trip on the Adventurer II through the Banda Sea is an experience in relaxation and luxury living, coupled with days full of world class diving. If you’re enriched air certified, then why not take advantage of the free nitrox usage onboard.


Just like in the Caribbean, Banda and the surrounding islands are home to some of the best preserved European forts in Asia. Fort Belgica, built by the Portuguese, Banda Island. Photo: Tony Ferndez

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