It’s the time of year for a Robinson Crusoe-style getaway.The Jakarta Post Travel has picked three untouched destinations that will become highlights in summer 2014.
July - Explore the untouched beaches of East Lombok
It isn’t easy to explore East Lombok Regency, especially the arid southern part.
While few divers have explored the northern coast and neighboring islands, such as Gili Lampu, Gili Sulat and Gili Lawang, the southern part of the regency has remained under the radar.
The roads are off the beaten track and no decent resorts have been built until recently. For an island held up as a counterpart to Bali, southeastern Lombok is left behind in terms of tourism infrastructure.
That said, its beaches are untouched.
The Tanjung Ringgit peninsula is as remote as you can get on the island, located on the southern tip of East Lombok, where boat rides are more advisable if you want to reach the coast, rather than going via hilly, bumpy roads.
Nearby, there’s Tangsi, a pink sand beach, and a stunning beach camp resort called Jeeva Beloam.
The resort is off the main power grid and relies on solar power supported by a back-up diesel fuel generator to provide electricity to the camp.
It has a private cove facing south and east across the Alas Strait and Timor Sea toward the island of Sumbawa.
It’s a perfect destination to truly return to the rhythm of life.
How to get there
There’s no public transport route to Tanjung Ringgit, so you can either rent a car or a boat. To get to Jeeva Beloam you can organize to be picked up from the new Lombok International Airport. The 90-minute drive from the airport takes you on small country roads through Lombok's rice and tobacco growing regions. Jeeva Beloam is approximately 11 kilometers down a semi-paved road from Sekaroh village, the nearest village and point where electricity services terminate.
Where to stay
Jeeva Beloam is the only decent resort in the area. It occupies a stunning private coast facing the island of Sumbawa and the open Indian Ocean. It’s all inclusive accommodation due to the isolated nature of the camp.
August - Surf the world's best waves in the Mentawai Islands
Located a few dozen kilometers from West Sumatra’s coast, the Mentawai Islands are a great getaway destination for anyone looking for an alternative holiday in Indonesia other than already popular destinations in Bali or Papua, especially for those passionate about surfing.
In addition to pristine beaches with sun baked sands, the beaches in the Mentawai Islands are dubbed some of the best and most consistent surf destinations in the world.
There’s around 400 surf spots in Mentawai and 13 of them offer international-scale waves as high as 6-meters. Some of them can be found in Nyang Nyang, Karang Majat, Karoni, Mainuk and Katiet islands.
According to the Mentawai regency administration, more than 80 percent of visitors to the islands are surfers. In 2011, the number reached 4,010 people with a stay duration of anywhere around two weeks to six months.
Most of the surfers were foreigners from Australia, the US, England and Austria - only a few were Indonesians and they usually came from Bali.
Last April, the islands hosted the Asian Surfing Championship in Katiet, where Asia’s top 16 professional surfers, seven special international invitees and one Mentawai local surfer competed at the world class wave spot of Lances Right for a total prize of US$8,000.
How to get there:
To reach Mentawai, one must first go to Padang on mainland West Sumatra. The provincial capital is reachable by plane through Minangkabau International Airport, which is served by flights from Jakarta, Medan, and Kuala Lumpur, among other cities.
From Padang, one can reach Mentawai either by sea or by air. If flying is your choice, charter carriers such as Susi Air provide services from Minangkabau International Airport to Rokot in the northern part of Sipora - Mentawai’s smallest island - with prices starting at Rp 350,000 (US$36.05).
A trip to Mentawai by sea means a longer journey and most likely more adventurous turns.
Scheduling your sea trip, especially when on a tight schedule, can be tricky, since ferry services between Padang's Bungus Port and Mentawai are not available everyday. The Ambu-ambu ferry departs from Bungus for Mentawai's capital, Tuapejat, in North Sipora only on Sunday and Thursday nights.
The return service from Tuapejat to Bungus on the same ferry is available on Monday and Friday nights. The trip takes about 10 hours with fares starting at Rp 100,000.
Most of the time, tourists - mostly surfers - book reservations to resorts in Mentawai that provide a pick-up service at Minangkabau International Airport and other options to reach the remote islands, such as by private speedboat or chartered boats, with starting prices of Rp 13 million per boat that can accommodate up to nine passengers.
Where to stay:
Surfers can also enjoy a relaxing time at resorts such as the Aloita Resort & Spa in Simakakang Island and Kandui Villas in Karang Majat Island - both provide full services to enjoy various water activities.
September - Explore Indonesia's untouched national parks
As an archipelago rich in biodiversity, Indonesia is home to tropical forests that are the habitats of more than 38,000 species of flora, 515 species of mammals, 1,531 species of birds, approximately 3,000 species of medicinal plants and more.
To protect this diversity, Indonesia has established a total of 527 conservation areas in more than 27 million hectares of land and marine conservation areas.
National parks are part of them, and Indonesia has up to 50 in total so you can visit and see for yourself the country's richness of flora and fauna.
Some of these national parks have it all - forests, beaches, savannas, swamps and underwater biodiversity in Ujung Kulon National Park, West Java; Bali Barat National Park, Bali; and Komodo National Park, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT).
There’s also marine national parks, home to endemic fish species, coral reefs, mangroves and other unique marine organisms. These parks are Thousand Islands National Park, Jakarta; Karimun Jawa National Park, Central Java; Taka Bonerate National Park, South Sulawesi; Wakatobi Islands National Park, Southeast Sulawesi; Bunaken National Park, North Sulawesi; Cendrawasih Bay National Park, West Papua.
While marveling at the biodiversity, you can do other interesting activities in these national parks.
September is the perfect month to go camping in Alas Purwo National Park in East Java, Karimun Jawa National Park or Wakatobi Islands National Park as you can watch world-class surfers in action as they attempt to beat the waves.
The rainy season is also a great time to enjoy rafting. If you're up for this kind of adventure, head to Betung Kerihun National Park in West Kalimantan or Kayan Mentarang National Park in East Kalimantan. The former contains the Kapuas River, the fifth longest river in the world, in part of its area and offers slopes with class three to class five difficulty levels, the latter being the most advanced and having slopes viewed as dangerous by professional rafters.