Getting to know more about 5 super-priority destinations

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Lake Toba. (Photo: IO/Alfino)

IO, Jakarta – President of the Republic of Indonesia Joko Widodo has nominated five super-priority tourism destinations that will be seriously developed in 2020. In a Closed Meeting for Priority Tourism Destination Development, held at the State Palace in mid-July, the government decided that Likupang in North Minahasa, North Sulawesi would be included in the list of priority tourist destinations, following four others: Lake Toba in North Sumatra, Borobudur Temple in Magelang, Central Java, Mandalika in West Nusa Tenggara and Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara.

Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Wishnutama Kusubandio hopes that these five super-priority destinations can be an attraction and provide a better life for the surrounding community.

So far, the budget to be disbursed for the development of the five destinations has reached IDR 9.35 trillion, with an initial budget of IDR 2.98 trillion and an additional budget of IDR 6.36 trillion. The budget will be used for development in the five destinations, with the largest allocation for the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing (PUPR) of IDR 7.56 trillion. Then, this is followed by the Ministry of Transportation at IDR 673.7 billion, the Ministry of Tourism IDR 874 billion, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry IDR 142.2 billion, the Ministry of Village and Less-developed Areas IDR 82.9 billion and the Agency for Creative Economy (Bekraf) IDR 19.2 billion.

The Ministry of PUPR also specifically allocated a budget of IDR 2.52 trillion for the development of Lake Toba, followed by Borobudur which received a budget of IDR 1.51 trillion, Mandalika to receive funding of IDR 1.74 trillion, and Labuan Bajo and Likupang were each given IDR 991 billion and IDR 499 billion.

Let’s get to know more of the following 5 super-priority destinations

1. Lake Toba
Lake Toba is located in the mountains of Bukit Barisan, North Sumatra. The area is 1,145 square kilometers, which makes it the largest lake in Southeast Asia and the area is bigger than Singapore [716 km]. Lake Toba is also the largest lake in the world formed by volcanic eruptions and is included in the Guinness World Records list.

Lake Toba was formed due to volcanic eruptions that spewed 2,800 km cubic of eruption material, thus making the crater that gradually filled with water into a lake.

In the middle of Lake Toba there is an island called Samosir. This island has several villages with extraordinary natural attractions, such as mountains and waterfalls.

Samosir Island and Lake Toba are the heart and home of the Batak Tribe. Other tourist activities on Lake Toba that you can do include going around the village of Tuktuk Siadong-Adong, visiting historical sites (Tomb of Raja Sidabutar), seeing local people planting rice, and seeing people’s homes with Batak Gorga.

Borobudur Temple. (Photo: IO/Dessy)

2. Borobudur Temple
Borobudur is the largest Buddhist temple in the world, located in the area of ​​Magelang, Central Java. This temple is located at the height of Menoreh Hill and is surrounded by Mount Merapi, Mount Merbabu, Mount Sindoro, and Mount Sumbing.

Boro means “the monastery complex” and Budur means “above”. Sir Thomas Raffles was the first person to “introduce” Borobudur to the world, in 1814.

Because of its grandeur, the temple which was built in the 8th century has been designated by UNESCO as one of the world’s cultural heritages.

Borobudur Temple was built during the reign of the Syailendra Dynasty. The stupa-shaped temple was founded by Mahayana Buddhists.

It is estimated that the Borobudur temple was built between 760 and 830 AD. The building process is estimated to have taken between 75 to 100 years. The new Borobudur Temple was 100% completed during the reign of King Samaratungga in 825 AD.

Borobudur Temple restoration efforts were carried out twice. The first restoration was by the Dutch East Indies government, under the leadership of Th. van Erp between 1907-1911. The target of restoration at that time was the Arupadhatu, which is the top of the temple consisting of three round terraces and the central stupa. The second restoration was carried out in 1975-1983 by the Indonesian government in collaboration with the United Nations organization for education, science, and culture, UNESCO.

Because the Arupadhatu level is still good, the second restoration only focuses on the Rupadhatu level (four steps of the terrace) and Kamadhatu (foot of the temple).  Several main activities performed during the restoration include the restructuring of all parts of Rupadhatu, installation of reinforced concrete foundations for each level, providing water channels and waterproof layers in the construction of the temple, as well as cleaning and preserving the temple materials from damage by microorganisms such as moss, fungi, and other tropical pests.

Borobudur Temple building is divided into 10 levels in the form of stepped terraces. The 10 levels of the Borobudur Temple building symbolize the stages and processes of human life.

Borobudur Temple has six square-shaped terraces, on top of which are three circular courtyards. Its walls are adorned with 2,672 relief panels and originally there were 504 Buddha statues. The largest main stupa lies in the center and crowns this building, surrounded by three circular lines of 72 hollow stupas in which there is a Buddha statue sitting cross-legged in a perfect lotus position with a mudra (hand attitude) of Dharmachakra which means turning the dharma wheel.

At every level, beautiful reliefs are carved which implicitly illustrates the teachings of Buddhism, which at that time became the religion of the community.

Besides being the highest symbol of Buddhism, the Mandala-shaped Borobudur is a replica of the universe. That symbolizes the micro-cosmos, which is divided into 3 levels. The first level is the human world where desire is influenced by negative impulses. The second level, the world where humans have been able to control their negative impulses and use their positive impulses. And at the highest level, where the human world is no longer limited by physical things and desires.

The top floor of the Borobudur Temple is a very comfortable place to calm and freshen up, and to rest for a while after a trip around the Borobudur Temple from the first floor. Because, not only stupas, natural scenery around this level is very beautiful.

Mandalika. (Photo: Prive. Doc)

3. Mandalika
Mandalika, Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara. This tourist area is adjacent to several beautiful beaches in the south of the island of Lombok. In a natural atmosphere that hasn’t been much changed, this region is so rich in the beauty of the vast expanse of coastline, complete with soft white sand. Starting from Kuta Mandalika Beach, Seger Beach, Serenting Beach, Putri Nyale, Tanjung Aan Beach, to Gerupuk Beach, all are ready to pamper you and your family.

For those of you who like to surf, Gerupuk Beach with sizable waves can be an option. Likewise, Tanjung Aan Beach and Seger Beach. For a long time, these beaches became a hidden paradise for foreign surfers.

Even more special, all the attractions of the beaches are combined with the beauty of the background of green hills that fortify each of the beaches. When you climb one, get ready to sigh, because you will be amazed when you see the beauty of the entire coastline from the height of the hill.

In addition to the stunning stretch of beach, Mandalika, which covers more than 1,000 hectares, also holds many other charms. Take a look, not far from the center of the Mandalika area, there are Sade and Adde Ende Villages, representing a typical lifestyle of the Sasak people. There, you can get to know more about the diversity of the way of life of the original settlers of Lombok Island.

Mandalika is also known for the Bau Nyale Festival, which is an exciting local event that is held regularly on certain days. Even tourists can enjoy the festival with the locals. At the festival, locals from various other regions in Lombok will gather in certain lands and hunt for earthworms. According to local folklore, the worm that has been around for hundreds of years is considered sacred and brings happiness.

Labuan Bajo. (Photo: IO/Yoga)

4. Labuan Bajo
Tourist destinations in Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara, present extraordinary natural attractions. Attractive natural landscapes, special coastlines, and unbeatable panoramas.

Labuan Bajo is a small port used as an entry point if you visit Komodo Island. It is located on the western tip of Flores, East Nusa Tenggara region. Of course, the view is no less beautiful than Komodo Island because, when sunset comes, the color of the sky turns orange. The sun that begins to set will create silhouettes of small islands close to the harbor.

Of course, you should not miss scuba diving and snorkeling if you have already set foot in Labuan Bajo. You see, many natural marine biotas are not to be missed, such as various coral reefs, sharks, tuna, manta rays, napoleon wrasse, eels, blue-spotted stingrays, octopus, sea snakes, etc.

Even without diving, the underwater scenery is easily seen, because the water is still very clear. When diving, you will appreciate amazing underwater biota charm.

You can also go snorkeling on Kanawa Island which is still in the Labuan Bajo area. Kanawa Island is a habitat for coral reefs of various colors and small fish. Besides, Kanawa Island also has beautiful white sand, with clear blue-graded and turquoise green seawater.

Well, if you are curious about Komodo and want to see the animals more closely, you can visit Loh Liang National Park which is located on Rinca Island, West Manggarai, Laboan Bajo, Flores. Loh Liang National Park offers a very beautiful view of the savanna.

When you get there, you will be guided by a ranger to go along the savannah visited by komodo dragons. You will easily see them close-up, from 2-3 meters away.

If you are interested, you can play in Goa Rangko, located in Boleng District, West Manggarai Regency. Goa Rangko offers the charm of a sea cave with very clear springs. The water in Goa Rangko is bright blue, making it easy for us to see the underwater life without having to soak!

Well, not just nature tourism: Labuan Bajo is also ready to intrigue you with a variety of traditional and cultural tours that are full of history. One of them is Todo Village in West Manggarai.

At the foot of Mount Anak Ranaka, Todo Village used to be the center of the Royal Manggarai Government. Manggarai itself was the largest kingdom that controlled the island of Flores before finally having to move to the city of Ruteng, following the Dutch invasion.

There, you can see the uniqueness of Rumah Niang or Mbaru Niang. Having a cone-shaped roof, this traditional Todo house stole the world’s attention when it was named as one of the candidates for the 2013 Aga Khan Award for Architecture from UNESCO.

Likupang. (Photo: Prive. Doc)

5. Likupang
North Sulawesi is not only known for beautiful tourism in Bunaken. Now, the attention of tourists will also be attracted to Super Priority Destinations in Likupang. This destination is in North Minahasa, North Sulawesi. Now in Likupang a Special Economic Zone (KEK) is being built.

There are 4 beautiful destinations in Likupang. First, Lihaga Island. Lihaga Island is an uninhabited territory located in Likupang District, North Minahasa. This island has an area of only around 8 hectares, not too big but has extraordinary tourism potential. This island has a beach with a stretch of fine white sand, which contrasts with the blue of the ocean. Besides having clean white sand. Lihaga Island also has an underwater world that is interesting to explore. No need to go far, diving or snorkeling near the beach alone, we can see beautiful fish swimming freely.

Second, Pulisan Beach. This beach has three parts separated by rock cliffs jutting into the sea. The most favorite area in Pulisan is the cave near the beach. This is just a rock cliff shaped like a cave and in direct contact with the sea.

Third, Pulisan Hill. This is still in the Pulisan beach area. Pulisan Hill shows an expanse of grassland with beautiful sea views. To get to the top, we have to endure a rather challenging walk of one hour. However, when we reach the top, our struggle will be paid off because of its beauty. Arguably this is one of the best spots to enjoy the area of Pulisan Beach and Pulisan Hill.

Fourth, Gangga Island. Gangga Island is a small island adjacent to Lihaga Island, which is a diving destination visited by tourists. No wonder – there is so much marine life and exotic coral reefs under the sea. (Dessy Aipipidely)