In this issue: ❶ Starting blocks ❷ Indonesia New Capital Environmental Impact ❸ Timor Leste ❹ Lotus New Product and Summer Promos ❺ So Many Good Reasons to Work With Us ❻ Rebel Music in Southeast Asia ❼ Lotus Customer Care ❽ Singapore Terminal 2 ❾ Garbage of East Sabah Waters ❿ Recap of entry Rules
The resumption of tourism activities and travelling around the world has been welcomed by all of us with great enthusiasm. The road to recovery though, is riddled with hindrances and hurdles, the world over. Many establishments have closed down during the pandemic; hotels, airlines and airports operate with only partial capacity and are severely understaffed; different kinds of service providers are caught unprepared for the sudden resumption of business. You name it, you have it.
Indonesia and its leading destination, Bali, are not an exemption. Many hotels are closed and/or work with limited inventory, transport operators (especially sea transportation) are not ready after two years of inactivity, often working with substandard carriers and in precarious conditions. Several restaurants, cafes, bars and shops are closed limiting the offer, and the quality of it.
The race at the starting blocks has commenced! Many are rushing to fix the issues they face or to just restart the engine to catch up with the ever increasing demand. The number one challenge for all in the sector industry being the recruitment of capable and experienced personnel. This may take some time before a full return to normality is achieved. Expect thus a bumpy ride for this upcoming summer season.
Those who have prepared themselves and been capable to retain key staff, support their operations and marketing are managing their operations and delivering services fairly well. Lotus is proud to be counted among this lot.
Malaysia and Singapore are not as badly affected, and the working condition for the tourism operators are much smoother and more fluid.
Meantime the controversy on the new Indonesian capital rages on. In a much-anticipated ceremony, Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo along with his cabinet ministers and provincial heads gathered at the Ground Zero site upon which Indonesia's new capital will sit. With great pomp, they took turns dropping soil and water samples from each of Indonesia's 34 provinces into two gold-plated caldrons. The ceremony was meant to mark the laying of the foundation of the new capital on Borneo Island. It is to be named Nusantara, the Indonesian word for "archipelago." Yet as plans to move from Jakarta to East Kalimantan Province gather pace, locals are reacting with horror: The plan is to erect a new metropolis on lands that for centuries have nourished their customs and traditions. Representatives of the Balik community express their worries that indigenous culture will be increasingly marginalised following the move, which could involve razing or moving whole villages. They don’t want the government to eliminate their cultural customs by chasing the dream of a new capital city without paying attention to the surrounding community.Unfortunately, much of the indigenous culture on the island is already on the wane, and the local community is keen to ensure it does not vanish altogether.
We share such concern and wonder about the doubtful benefits the widespread (and possible unregulated or badly regulated) development and logging bring to the people and environment of Borneo.
Timor-Leste The Other Side of Indonesia
Timor Leste or East Timor in English is an exciting destination renowned for its rich culture and beautiful beaches. Being away from the tourism highways and not yet an umpteenth “Instagram trend destination”, Timor Leste maintains intact its pristine culture and nature.
East Timor gained independence as a country in 2002, making it one of the youngest countries in the world today – though it still holds tight to Portuguese and Indonesian influence.
The logistic and accommodation infrastructures are few and modest, but the whole experience of visiting this small and proud nation is highly rewarding. Taking on one of our packages on offer is the best way to explore it for a thorough experience through a new country which has reached stability but where one needs to know its way with locals and on the roads.
East Timor's capital, Dili, surrounded by rugged mountains and set on the sea, deserves to be seen as more than a launch pad to the increasingly popular islands nearby, such as Jaco and Atauro. Stay for a few days and you'll discover lovely beaches, invigorating hikes, tasty restaurants, and vibrant markets. Wake before sunrise when the air is still cool and hike up 500 steps to the 27-metre Cristo Rei statue, the world's second largest Jesus statue after Rio's Christ the Redeemer. Set at the end of the peninsula just five minutes' drive from town, it's a fantastic sunrise spot with panoramic views of the ocean. Afterwards, take a dip at the white-sand Jesus Backside Beach below. Maubisse is one of East Timor’s most popular vacation spots for international tourists and those residing in Dili alike. The town’s only hotel, Pousada de Maubisse, offers charming views but has not been renovated since the 1950s.
Once again, as everywhere in East Timor, expect a memorable and adventurous experience over a luxurious one. For active hikers planning to trek Mt. Ramelau, Maubisse is the best town to stay in as a base. Nino Konis National Park is home to over 250 species of birds, wildlife, trekking trails, and more; this lowland rainforest is perfect for adventure seekers obsessed with nature. Keep an eye out for the Yellow-crested Cockatoo, a beautiful and intelligent bird that is critically endangered. Uniquely, the national park also incorporates a large portion of the Coral Triangle, a rich marine area for diving and snorkelling.
We offer Timor Leste packages on private basis starting from 4D/3N and USD 800.00 per person in double room. Do enquire with us.
LAT New Products
Look at the endless innovative touring products developed by LAT. From slow tourism to tours aways from crowds, from an agile system of modular scheduled departures in different languages to arts, architecture, food and education packages, just to name a few!
All our offers are now all strictly carbon neutral, all emissions being calculated and offset by projects in cooperation with Climate Partners.
LAT Super Summer Promos
Review our stream of offers for the summer. Just click here or contact us for enquires.
Rebel music is alive and kicking in Southeast Asia
Anti-conformist musical subcultures such as heavy metal, punk and hip-hop have largely lost their original shock value. Despite the recent process of assimilation and commercialisation, some heavy metal, punk, and hip-hop music still functions as a loudspeaker for protest in Southeast Asia which is home to some of the world's most authoritarian and strait-laced societies. Western-born subcultures arrived in the region in the mid-1980s, developed throughout the 1990s, and appeared on the radar of the local authorities in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia soon after.
In December 2011, police in the devoutly Islamic Indonesian province of Banda Aceh detained a group of 64 punks and humiliated them by shaving their heads in the name of Islamic "re-education." Since then, some elements of Indonesian punk and metal subcultures have become entrenched as an unintended consequence of the country's turn to Islamic conservatism. The birth of Islamic musical communities such as Punk Muslim and the One Finger Movement in Java in the late 2000s highlighted how Indonesian Muslims have re-imagined foreign music subcultures by fusing their Western-born core values with local culture and religious beliefs.
Elsewhere in Asia, outspoken Southeast Asian punk, heavy metal, and hip-hop artists in the past year have reignited the original purpose of their music: speaking truth to society.
Malaysia has seen political protests by musicians, such as the Kuala Lumpur-based punk rock band Dum Dum Tak, which addressed corruption allegations against politicians. In 2021, another Kuala Lumpur-based new wave punk band, Terrer, hit out at perceptions of religious hypocrisy among the country's elites in their debut single "Hang Loklaq," which in the north-western Malay dialect of Kedah means that someone's behaviour is "strange" or "creepy."
A video that accompanies "Hang Loklaq" shows the all-male band performing in drag using traditional Malay female garb, including headscarves. The video, filmed in October 2019 by the acclaimed Kuala Lumpur-based director Liew Seng Tat, quickly garnered more than 80,000 views on YouTube.
Lotus Customer Assistance and Support
In June, Filippo Sala is joining us to take over the coordination of all customers (travellers and agents) assistance for the group. Backed by his team and a long career and experience in the field he will supervise and deliver all necessary assistance on the ground to you and your passengers. Filippo has worked in Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam among other places and had previous working experience with Lotus. He speaks fluently English, French, Italian and Spanish and will based in Bali. Welcome back to the Lotus family Filippo.
Summary of Entry Rules
Certificate of full Vaccination
Downloading of tracing local application/forms at the following links:
A fee of IDR 500,000 (USD 25 approx.) per person is charged upon arrival In Indonesia.
No medical/travel insurances required for Malaysia and Singapore.
Travel medical coverage for a minimum of USD 25.000 is required to enter Indonesia.
Changi Singapore Airport Terminal 2
Operations at Changi Airport Terminal 2 (T2) have resumed on May 29 as the air hub readies for an increase in passenger traffic in the months ahead. Closed for upgrading works since May 2020, T2’s phased reopening will augment Changi Airport’s capacity. When completed by 2024, the expansion works will raise the terminal’s capacity by five million to 28 million passenger movements per year.
In this first phase of T2’s progressive reopening, key touch points such as arrival immigration, baggage claim belts and contact gates at the southern wing of the terminal will be ready for flight operations. T2 will host mainly peak-hour arrival flights of airlines operating in Terminal 3 (T3). A small number of T3 departure flights may use boarding gates at T2 although passengers on these flights will continue to check in and clear departure immigration at T3.
Garbage of East Sabah Water and Coral Reefs
The problem of garbage along the coastline Sabah and the pollution of the coral waters has been long standing. Unfortunately, it is not improving. This year the situation is worse than ever before, with many factors contributing to the problem, mostly the lack of awareness and the slow (at times incompetent) action of the authorities. The results are tons of flooding garbage of all sorts surrounding the villages on waters and along the coastline. The situation isn’t much rosier when moving offshore, around the coral islands and reefs where the average density is 10.7 items per 100 m2. Plastics represent 91% and the remaining 9% are metal, glass, and wood. Most (~70%) plastics are single-use items derived from dumping. Discarded fishing gear accounts for 25%. Litter pollution increases closer to urban developments, with Sakar reef having higher densities (51 items per 100 m2), and higher Clean Coast Index (CCI = 10.2, dirty) and higher Plastic Abundance Index (PAI = 4.68) scores.