Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Lovin’ Jakarta

You may love it or some may hate it, but Jakarta is definitely making an impression. But one thing is for sure, if you look beyond the noise and chaos, you will discover a thrilling city with unique charms that may move you. The contrast of traditional and modern is appealing starting from the old-fashioned Surabaya Street antique market to the classy shopping malls, from the street-side warung (food stalls) to world-class restaurants.

Jakarta is the largest of over 17,000 islands that constitute Indonesia to be found on the northern coast of Java. It is also a melting pot of the country’s numerous ethnic groups. Regardless of the numerous cultures that build up the city, Jakartans are some of the friendliest and most hospitable people you are ever likely to meet.

Do not forget to do the following when visiting Jakarta.

Ojek, is a motorbike taxi, take it since it is the best transportation options in the metropolis tarnished traffic jams while the fastest way to get around the city  is the 12-route TransJakarta bus network

Go to the observation deck of the 132m National Monument for a haughty cultural experience. It is also known as Monas, the extravagant obelisk is crowned by a gilded flame that comes alive when it is illuminated at night. The highest structure houses the Indonesian National History Museum and its display of around 50 dioramas.

Never forget the Bali Heritage Reflexology and Spa. It is so unique, it is the only place in Jakarta that offers a snake massage. Two 1.8m pythons will slither over the customer’s body. It is also said to increase metabolism.

You can also trace Barack Obama’s childhood. The US President lived in Jakarta, from 1967 to 1971, as a child with his mother and Indonesian stepfather. All through this time, young Obama attended the Santo Fransiskus Asisi (St. Francis of Assisi) Catholic school and the Besuki elementary school, both still located in the Menteng area of the city.

Jakarta’s most popular entertainment park, Ancol Dreamland, is located along the waterfront in Ancol Bay City. The complex houses SeaWorld, Fantasy World and Atlantis Water Adventure, among many other attractions.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Jakarta Transit

Jakarta is the largest city in the world lacking a mass fast transit system. Construction is ongoing, but the solution is a stretched way off. Whereas, car ownership raises up to 10 to 15 percent every year. 

Putting a solution the transit system problem is going to be expensive, despite the fact that it may be cheaper than letting it be the way it is. If you compute the fuel wasted, hours lost and expense of treating all of those exhaust-induced disorders, Jakarta’s traffic is costing the city US$1.8 billion per year, with a ‘b’.

Numerous hotels in Jakarta are to be found within walking distance of key shopping, dining and entertainment districts. Air-conditioned bus or taxi is a welcome relief when the heat and humidity are high.

Rail: campaigns to build an MRT in Jakarta has been in process for more than two decades. It was in 2004 when the serious effort to build one began. Nevertheless, development rapidly went the way of local traffic and ground to a cut short. And with just a few years later, the Economist published an article reminding everyone about the ‘total gridlock’ predictions for 2014, and the alarms hit a fever pitch. Yet again, construction continued, and a soft launch of the MRT’s first phase begun again in 2013.

By 2016, phase I may be fully operational if corruption and bureaucracy stay in check. And adding two more years for phase II, and there’s definitely hope on the horizon. Commuters’ white-knuckled aggravations will carry on throughout the next couple years.

Buses: TransJakarta service is the closest thing that Jakarta has to mass transit, it operates in an assigned bus way corridor linking some of the city’s main areas. The said buses are inexpensive, air-conditioned and less crowded than the regular buses that plod the main traffic arteries. Pay a flat fare to get to the cordoned-off bus stop area. TransJakarta is perhaps the finest choice for getting around Jakarta, but it is a bit complicated and getting the most out of this system requires practice.

The regular city buses are also an alternative, but are frequently hot, crowded, and subject to the whim of traffic movement. 

Taxis: The majority tourists choose to use taxis and experience the traffic jams if they have to. At least the driver knows where he’s going, and the fares are calculated by the kilometer and not by the minute. Though not technically required, tipping is expected. Locals more often than not round up to the nearest thousand-rupiah note. Charges for toll roads and parking are paid by the passenger.

Blue Bird Group, serves more than 8.5 million passengers per month, is the most reliable taxi service. You can reserve a cab online with a Blue Bird smart phone app. The service is so respected that more than a few fake taxi drivers have painted Blue Bird’s logo on their cars to try to pass their service off as the genuine. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Experience Spa in Jakarta

Yes, you can get away from the hustle and bustle of Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, anywhere in the city’s countless relaxing spas, each one offering its own only one of its kind brand of generous pampering that includes pedicures, manicures facials and body treatments to give you relax and rebalance. Traditional Javanese and Balinese methods are combined with modern knowledge of these, the best spa experiences in Jakarta.

Javana Spa: The Javana Spa is situated 1200 metres above sea level, 55 kilometres outside of the city centre on a site recognized for its healing energy. The two-hour trip is worthy to relax for several days in this pristine oasis. Reside into an elegantly appointed rainforest bungalow located amidst dazzling Japanese gardens below Mt Salak and cascading waterfalls. Take pleasure in healthy gourmet meals in between lavish signature spa treatments that will leave you re-energized and invigorated previous to going back to the busy city.

Bimasena Spa at the Dharmawangsa: In Kebayoran Baru, a modish residential area in Jakarta, experience the decadent Bimasena Spa located on the third floor of The Bimasena at the Five Star qualified Ecological Green Hotel, Dharmawangsa Jakarta. Experience the chocolate treatment and be amazed, includes white chocolate body butter massage, a chocolate cinnamon body scrub, a slathering of dark chocolate body mousse and a dip in a chocolate and champagne whirlpool, before a generous application of organic chocolate body lotion and lip balm.

Spa Alila: In Central Jakarta at Alila Hotel, the “old town”, find the thrill in the luxury spa services of Spa Alila.  In this spa ancient Balinese style meets modern organic nutrition and anatomical knowledge to make your mind and body back into balance. The service menu consists of a decadent chocolate bath, a milk bath, body scrubs and wraps, and aromatic oil massage drawing on traditional Balinese technique.

CHI, The Spa: A place of peace and tranquility offering luxurious spa treatments including massage, facials, body therapies and the indulgent Floral Bath and the Cleopatra Milk Bath rituals, the CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La in Jakarta is the right one for you. Intended for a head-to-toe treatment, choose Double Bliss, provides a foot soak and body massage, and finishes with a fragrant honey and cucumber facial. Opt a CHI Journey for the ultimate spa experience, it consists of up to three hours of massage and body scrubs.

Taman Sari Royal Heritage Spa: Plan a Spa Party if you’re in Jakarta with friends, enjoy  on Taman Sari’s private terrace, or get pleasure from some time out on your own when you decide on a generous treatment from a menu of services that comprises a Jamu healing herbal massage, Merapi Volcano Body Wrap and an authentic Javanese Lulur body scrub. Pick for a detoxifying program or the Royal Balinese Program to relax and benefit from a series of calming and rejuvenating treatments.

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Best Business Hotels in Jakarta, Indonesia for Business Travelers

Grand Hyatt Jakarta is a very popular luxury business hotel. With 428 rooms and guest suites, with roomy bedrooms, flat screen televisions with satellite, Wi-Fi internet (for a fee), in-room safe, large work areas and coffee and tea making facilities, the hotel has both Western and Asian business travelers.

The Grand Hyatt Jakarta is preferred by business travelers because of its location. You can walk directly into Plaza Indonesia right from the hotel. There you can find a big shopping mall complete with brand name shops, restaurants and cafes, and a slew of stores to suit your demands. The hotel has a large pool, six restaurants and cafes serving everything from typical Indonesian fare to Japanese, Western and even a seafood restaurant they're rightly famous for. Business travelers will definitely appreciate the meeting facilities, exhibit space and full service business center.

There are also serviced apartments that have more space to move around and a bit more privacy since you'll have cooking facilities and all the comforts of home, means you can stay longer if you decide to.

The Shangri-La Hotel grants you with luxury business accommodation at its absolute best. It has 668 rooms that are huge with beautiful views may it be over the hotel's swimming pool or onto Jakarta itself.

Every room has en suite bath, flatscreen TVs, internet access, in-room safe, a large work area, and both a bath tub and a shower in the spacious bathrooms. They also have complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea and evening drinks, and free temporary membership to the Horizon Club if business travelers are interested in the 105 Horizon Club rooms.

It is also a superb place to entertain clients for its several hotel restaurants, with selections for both Asian and International cuisine. There's an exceptional breakfast buffet that is great for breakfast meetings if you want to be certain that your clients are properly fed. There's a gym, swimming pool, tennis courts and other workout options after all the food.

Le Meridien, Jakarta, one of the best business hotels in Jakarta, is located right opposite the World Trade Center, Le Meridien is Indonesian in style, with a more minimalist style comparing to some other top business hotels, a beautiful pool area, gardens and waterfalls.

There are 346 rooms and guest suites in various sizes, from Superior and Deluxe rooms to a Penthouse Suite. Every room has spacious en suite baths, flatscreen TV with satellite or cable, free internet, tea and coffee making facilities and a large work area. Make sure you book a Le Royal Club room if you want to stay in real business style, this will give you access to the business lounge, meeting facilities, free high-speed internet and an afternoon tea buffet.

You’ll find six restaurants and a couple of bars in the hotel. They specialize in Lebanese and Japanese cuisines and serve some of the best food in Jakarta. Amuse your business partners at La Brasserie but if you want something a bit more relaxed, the Tiga Puluh Music Bar and Restaurant with its live local music is a goos choice too.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Seven of the World’s Top 20 Global Cities

According to a biannual ranking, East Asia has a high number of global cities while ASEAN and South Asia lag behind.

The Asia-Pacific region has a number of the world’s most global cities. The highest rated Asia-Pacific city was Tokyo, ranked fourth, followed by Hong Kong at fifth and Beijing and Singapore at eighth and ninth respectively. Seoul (12), Sydney (14), Shanghai (18) were also highly rated, giving the Asia-Pacific region seven of the spots in the top 20. By comparison, North America had five cities in the top 20 but four in the top ten: New York (1), Los Angeles (6), Chicago (7), and Washington D.C. (10). Of the remaining top 20 cities, seven were in Europe (including Moscow), and Buenos Aires was South America’s sole representative. The above information is according to A.T. Kearney’s 2014 Global Cities Index.

The Global Cities Index (GCI) measures cities for global engagement, according five different areas: business activity, human capital, information exchange, cultural exchange, and political engagement. Many were especially strong on business activity, but scored relatively lower on human capital for the top Asia-Pacific cities. GCI claered that human capital rankings are based in part by the size of the foreign-born population, meaning that cities with large immigrant populations would tend to score better on this particular metric.

Among the top 20 cities, Beijing’s from 14th is now on the 8th, it was the major change from last year. Beijing’s development was credited to bigger figures of Fortune 500 companies, a boost in international schools, and increase in broadband subscribers and museums. Meaning, Beijing enhanced its ranking according on better marks for each of the GCI’s categories not including the political engagement, that Beijing previously scored quite high in owing to its status as China’s capital. In the meantime, in an article on the GCI, China Daily, pointed out that Beijing continue to rank below Hong Kong due to the latter’s “more international and educated group of citizens and [Hong Kong’s] better ability to facilitate quick and free information exchange.”

Particularly, much of the Asia-Pacific’s achievement in the rankings is because of the beeter performances by East Asian cities. A.T. Kearney, in its analysis of the data, especially noted that “Singapore, at ninth place in the GCI, is clearly in a league of its own among cities in Southeast Asia.” Besides Singapore, the highest ranked city in Southeast Asia was Bangkok at number 42. Other ASEAN cities on the ranking failed to even crack the top 50, with Jakarta (51), Kuala Lumpur (53), Manila (63), Ho Chi Minh City (70) all coming lower on the list.

The highest ranked South Asian city was Mumbai at number 41. India was also represented on the GCI by New Delhi (57), Chennai, (72), and Kolkata (79). Pakistan had two cities on the list, Karachi (76) and Lahore (82) and Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka came in at number 75.
While Southeast and South Asia had an unfortunate showing on the GCI, they did outstandingly better on the accompanying “Emerging Cities Outlook” (ECO). The ECO  rates the most likely cities to turn into more global in the future basing on how fast cities in low- and middle-income countries have been improving their rankings. Jakarta and Manila topped this list at first and second, respectively, with New Delhi (5), Mumbai (8), and Kuala Lumpur (10) also making the top ten. India was especially well-represented on the ECO—in addition to New Delhi and Mumbai, the cities of Bangalore (11), Kolkata (14), and Chennai (17) also made the top 20.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Budget Carriers Sip Improving Travel Market by Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours

Indonesian Muhammad Fikri, 28, studying in the Netherlands, bought round-trip tickets from a low-cost airline for his solo trip to Italy this month.

Fikri,  who worked in a social business institution in Jakarta last year, was an avid backpacker exploring Asia on low-cost carriers.

“I don’t have a huge budget, but I do have some money spare to travel abroad,” he said.

Many middle-class Indonesians are using their disposable income for travel and Fikri is one of them.

The Transportation Ministry projected that the total figure of air travelers in the country will be as much or higher than 100 million this year, 11 percent up from 2013’s estimated 93.56 million.

To comply with the towering demand, budget airlines Citilink, Lion Air and AirAsia have all set increase plans for this and the coming years.

The budget airline unit of national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, Citilink, will receive eight Airbus A320s sometime between June and December this year to make-up international routes.

The carrier currently operates 22 aircraft, last month with a flight from Surabaya, East Java, to Johor Bahru, Malaysia, it has made its international-route debut.

Citilink CEO Arif Wibowo said the carrier would also offer other international flights connecting Surabaya to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, early this month and Singapore in May, as well as Hong Kong, Taiwan and Perth, Australia, in the coming months.

It aims to almost double its aircraft to 50 units by 2015 and augment its scheduled domestic and international routes from 28 to 37 this year.

The country’s largest low-cost airline, Lion Air, will focus on adding several domestic routes this year.

“There are still many domestic routes that we haven’t covered yet,” said Lion Group corporate secretary Ade Simanjuntak.

The Lion Group functions low-cost carriers Lion Air and Wings Air, full-service carrier Batik Air, and the low-cost carrier combined ventures Malindo Air and Thai Lion Air in Malaysia and Thailand, correspondingly.

The group transported 36 million passengers, or around 40 percent of the country’s total air travelers last year, according to the Center for Aviation (CAPA). Of the 36 million passengers, 35 million took domestic flights, CAPA estimated.

Lion Air, which serves 36 domestic and international destinations with its 95 aircraft, is slated to open new local routes connecting Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, to Sulawesi cities, like Makassar, Palu and Manado, Ade said.

Currently, the carrier now flies abroad to, among others, Jeddah in Saudi Arabia; Singapore; and Kuala Lumpur and Penang in Malaysia.

Ade said that this year, the group only expected Batik Air, which was launched last May, to start flying to Singapore in November at the earliest.

The long-term plan to add hundreds of aircraft, he said, would still go ahead. The Lion Group has ordered at least 570 aircraft worth US$46 billion from Airbus and Boeing, with delivery up to 2028.

Indonesia AirAsia (IAA), an affiliate of the Malaysia-based AirAsia Group, will focus on international routes this year together with the group, said IAA spokeswoman Audrey Prograstama.

“We are very strong in international flights. The number of air travelers across Southeast Asia increased up by 20 percent in recent years,” she said.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Travel Tips: Holidays in Macedonia, Plus This Week's Best Deals

Why Skopje is a small city with a big heart, and 16 reasons why the west is best and your chance to escape to Santorini

Why go?
Skopje's skyline tells the story of this Balkan city more vividly than any history book: socialist-era apartment blocks, the minarets of Ottoman mosques, Byzantine domes, Turkish bathhouses and, most controversially, neoclassical edifices, bridges and grandiose monuments – the result of a recent construction spree aimed at bolstering national pride. Now the building dust has settled, visitors will find much to delight and intrigue them.

What to do
Get lost in the narrow lanes of Caršija, Skopje's most atmospheric neighbourhood. Here, you'll find Daud Paša Baths, once the largest Turkish hammam in the Balkans, now home to the National Gallery of Macedonia (nationalgallery.mk). Cross the Vardar River on the 15th-century Stone Bridge to Macedonia Square with its triumphal arch, statues of national heroes and illuminated fountains. On the slopes of Mount Vodno, a few miles out of town, the 12th-century St Pantelejmon Monastery is a treasure trove of Byzantine art. After you've admired the beautiful frescos, hike, or take the gondola, up the mountain.

Where to stay
Urban Hostel is Skopje's best budget option, with a choice of dorms, twin rooms or self-catering apartments in Debar Maalo, a lively neighbourhood full of bars and restaurants (dorms from €13, apartments from €46, urbanhostel.com.mk).

Where to eat
Stara Kuka is the place to try Macedonian specialities, such as stuffed peppers, shopska salad, bean stew and barbecued pork ribs, in a 19th-century house with carved wooden ceilings (starakuka.com.mk).

Insider tip
"Walking along the Kej and eating in the restaurants that line the river is a must," says Kathleen Beccue, who runs the K8 American bakery and café in the Old Town (k8skopje.com). "Plaza de Toros and Anja are a couple of my favourites. After dinner, buy an ice cream and walk to Macedonia Square. At dusk you'll be treated to the call of the hooded crows which roost in the parks around the city."

Home: go west with i-escape After a stormy few months, boutique-accommodation website i-escape is showing its support for the West Country by launching a "West is Best" campaign, with discounts of up to 20% and added-value extras at 16 of its hotels and cottages, including the charming Sea Garden Cottages on Tresco in the Isles of Scilly, and the Bull in Bridport. Book before 8 May (i-escape.com/westisbest)

Home: escape to Santorini British Airways launches its first direct flights from the UK to the Greek islands of Santorini and Mykonos next month. A week at the simple but elegant Kamari Beach hotel with direct access to a sandy beach on Santorini costs £466pp including flights from Heathrow, based on two sharing a superior sea-view room, and departing on 18 May (britishairways.com)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Indonesia Targets 299 Airports by 2019

JAKARTA, April 1014 — According to  Deputy Transportation Minister Bambang Susantono, Indonesia will have a total of 299 airports in five years time, adding that 62 new airport projects are currently in the pipeline.

Quaoting Bambang, “they are not all as big as city airports, but they are essential to improve accessibility in our country.”

Most of the new airports would be built in the eastern parts of Indonesia, Bambang said. “Airports are the most effective way to help distribute both people and goods in places like eastern Indonesia which have a challenging topography,” he further added.

As of today, there are 237 airports in Indonesia.  Out of 237, 16 of which are commercial and are situated in big cities managed by state-run operators, PT Angkasa Pura I and PT Angkasa Pura II while the others come under the Transportation Ministry's technical management unit. — Bernama

For more details please visit WESTHILL CONSULTING, TRAVEL & TOURS, Singapore at their official website http://westhillconsulting.info/

Monday, April 14, 2014

Westhill Consulting Travel & Tours Singapore: Jakarta Weather

Jakarta, the capital and largest city of Indonesia, has a hot and humid tropical wet and dry climate.

Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, is located at the northwest end of Java Island faces north onto Jakarta Bay and the Java Sea.  Being the regional center for business and culture and is also the jumping off point for reaching the Thousand Islands (Kepulauan Seribu) National Park, Jakarta has been booming on its tourism.

Located in the cosmopolitan, Jakarta has a superior modern edifices, old colonial style buildings, monuments, mosques and green parks that offer lovely contrasts. Visitor travels around in the central part of the city naming Merdeka Square and the National Monument, Istiqlal Mosque, Jakarta Cathedral.  There are a lot of shopping malls and the gem in the city's crown in the Old Jakarta city quarter.

Old Jakarta is full of heritage structures.  The examples of these heritage structures are: Wayang Museum, the Port Tower (Menara Syahbandar) and Kota Intan Drawbridge while a cultural park, Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, is in Jakarta's eastern suburbs and features exhibits, cultural shows and reconstructions from all over Indonesia.

The best time to visit Jakarta is during the dry season months from July to October but due to the drainage system being swamped, the Jakarta weather in the wet season months can cause flooding in parts of the city so this isn’t the best time to visit.  While, visitors who wish to spend the holidays in Pramuka Island or other islands in Kepulauan Seribu near Jakarta may perhaps visit in the rainy season, as it seldom rains for the whole day.

It is the wet season in Jakarta during November till June Jakarta. January is the wettest month of the year when it receives around 400 mm of precipitation. Moreover, the month witnesses only 92 hours of sunshine. Throughout the wet season the average high stands at 32°C while the low falls to 24°C. In fact, temperature hardly varies from season to season in Jakarta.  While the rest of the month remains dry in Jakarta. During Summer Jakarta remains hot and humid with the average high of 34°C while the low stands at mid twenties. Rainfall is very much uncommon in the city, but not rare as September gets around 29 mm of precipitation. Although temperature remains somewhat hotter than those of monsoon months, it is the best season to visit the capital city of Indonesia.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Must sees in Jakarta, Indonesia

The central tourist attractions are located in the center of the city. Westhill Consulting Travel & Tours Singapore provides you with useful information of must sees in Jakarta, Indonesia

Kota district is the centre of old Batavia. It is the tourist hub of Jakarta.  The focal action is centered in the historic Taman Fatahillah, a paved square that looks like it came from another era.  If you visit the old port area, Sunda Kelapa, you can see the schooners returning from the high seas to trade their exotic spices.  It is a picture immortalized in Joseph Conrad evocative descriptions.  Jakarta’s most unforeseen attractions is the vibrantly painted sailing ships are.

The Maritime Museum, is situated in Sunda Kelapa.  A warehouse for the Dutch is now home to the maritime museum but not until the 19th century.  The various adventures at sea was brought to life by the model boats and faded sepia photos, it  includes the voyage to Jakarta from Europe via Aden.  You can take in the spectacular views of the surroundings from the old watchtower.

From Indonesia and Southeast Asia, the Puppet Museum is a treasure house of puppets. You can witness an attention-grabbing collection of traditional Indonesian puppets like wayang kulit and wayang golek.  You can enjoy puppet shows, which are a regular feature of the museum.

Jakarta’s most famous landmark, towering over Merdeka Square, is the National Monument (Monas). This imposing monument is a symbol of Indonesia’s independence and strength. The monument is 132 meters tall and topped with 35 kilograms of gold. The Freedom Hall represents Indonesia’s fight for independence through a succession of dioramas.  Take an elevator to the observation platform and to have a bird’s-eye view of the cityscape.  At the base of the National Monument is the National Museum.

National Museum is Jakarta’s most impressive museum, the National Museum presents fascinating flashbacks into the history of the city and Indonesia.  There are early Chinese ceramics, pieces culled from Java’s myriad temples and a bronze elephant that was gifted to the museum by the King of Thailand as exhibits.

Experience the Indonesia’s rich cultural heritage at Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, a sprawling 100-hectare park in Jakarta is an exciting diversion.  Each of Indonesia’s provinces has pavilions with displays of regional handicrafts and clothing.  There is a huge ‘lagoon’ where you can roam around the islands of this archipelago.  You can also take in a bird’s eye view from the cable cars.  What's more, there are museums, theatres, restaurants and a bird park with a walk-in aviary.

Ragunan Zoo is located 16 km south of the city centre in the Pasar Minggu area.  The zoo is home to approximately 4000 animals, like the well-known Komodo dragons. The formidable Java tigers are a further highlight of this park. You can spend hours just wandering around the extensive parklands, rainforests, and a landscaped lake.

This stunning Old Dutch quarter, Taman Fatahillah, is home to some old and ancient monuments.  This is a grand place to view some remarkable colonial architecture.  The focal attractions here are the oldest church in Jakarta, the Gereja Sion and Si Jagur, the cannon which symbolized fertility.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Terrorist Bashir 'Wants to Disrupt Polls'

April 7 AAP - According to a media report, Radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir has called for his supporters to disrupt this week's Indonesian legislative elections.

Indonesian police is watchful after Bali bombing mastermind Abu Bakar Bashir encouraged supporters to interrupt this week's Indonesian legislative elections.

The convicted terrorist has asked supporters not to be "unproductive" and to create disorder Wednesday's nationwide ballot.

A warning has been sent by Indonesia's anti-terror forces that a terrorist network could be planning an attack, said Police Lieutenant Colonel Adi Deriyan Jayamarta told Indonesia's Kompas news website police.

An oreder was imposed by the police chief, based in Malang, East Java, that officers has to stay in communication with religious leaders and approach any suspicious object with care, especially near polling stations.

"There's expert personnel who will handle it," he said on Monday.

"Don't think that you have some kind of `blast-free magic' and handle it yourself."
According to Lt Col Adi, Detachment 88, Indonesia's counter-terror squad, had information from a terror suspect involved with a network "that has done military training for firearm and bomb usage".

Noting the elections, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade updated its travel advice for Indonesia last week.

"Australians are advised to avoid all protests, demonstrations and political rallies, as they can turn violent with little notice," a spokesman said.

"The department keeps the travel advice for Indonesia under close review and updates it as required."

The founder of Jemaah Islamiah (JI), Bashir, is serving 15 years in Nusa Kambangan.   Nusa Kambangan is a high-security jail off the coast of central Java dubbed the Alcatraz of Indonesia.

Over the 2002 Bali bombings, Bashir was acquitted, but was jailed over his role in setting up a terror cell in Aceh.

AAP Bashir was still giving orders from behind bars, albeit to a group with a different name, but the same radical ideology as JI, says the Indonesia's counterterrorism agency chief in 2012.

The bombing of two Kuta nightclubs in 2002 killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours Jakarta Wishes Australia’s Travel Warning Eased

Westhill Consulting Travel & Tours Singapore on INDONESIA has beleaguered Australia's strict warning concerning travel to the country, emphasizing it is time to lower the official advice or stop it entirely.

However Indonesia's ambassador to Australia, Primo Alui Joelianto, was cautious of the progressively sharper local debates on asylum seeker arrivals, declining to be drawn on whether Canberra's warning to ''reconsider travel'' to Indonesia sits at odds with the Government's hard work to send asylum seekers to the country.

''As neighbours our relations are up and down,'' Mr Joelianto said, ''but now our relations are the best of all time.''

He said he regularly asked the Australian Government to look again at the travel warning system, which ranks Indonesia only one step below the top level of ''do not travel''.

''If you put this travel advisory, Indonesia is punished twice. First, because we don't get any money from tourists, and, second, you create also a bad image of Indonesia,'' he said.

''If you cannot remove this advisory, at least you decrease or reduce the level. Indonesia is put in the same level as Afghanistan.'' Indonesia is in fact ranked one level below Afghanistan.

Mr Joelianto said Indonesia was committed to work with Australia to confront people-smuggling but there were limits to Indonesia's capacity to deal with the problem. ''Our territory, it is so big and so huge, [and] it is not easy to control every point of our territory. We have more than 17,500 islands,'' he said.

He said the countries of origin - singling out Sri Lanka, Burma and Afghanistan - bore responsibility too.

Mr Joelianto said the Indonesian Government was struggling to reduce poverty levels and that building enough housing in the country of more than 230 million people was a challenge. ''So if we have to provide again housing for these asylum seekers, that creates problems for us,'' he said.

Mr Joelianto had been in Melbourne for his first visit ever since taking up his post in February and agreeing with this weekend's Indonesian cultural festival at Federation Square.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Travel Light and Easy to Jakarta, Indonesia

WESTHILL CONSULTING, TRAVEL & TOURS, INC. based in Singapore carry out the business of tours and travel intermediation representing major travel suppliers.  We also provide services such as booking, tour facilitation, travel documentation and other related services to Southeast Asian countries like KL Malaysia, Beijing China, Jakarta Indonesia and many more. We will make sure that you will have the travel experience that is worth of your money and your time.  We hope that this will result to repeat sales from valued customers.

Are you a vegetarian? A vegan? Fear not! we have dishes that are friendly to vegetarians and vegans. Fried tofu with rice, gado-gado (Indonesian salad), tempe (soy beans), sayur (vegetable soup), and ketoprak (Indonesian salad with rice) are easy to be found anywhere in the city. For non-vegetarians, Jakarta has a lot to offer. From traditional cuisine, Italian, Japanese, to evil chain food like you know what (McDick, Murder King, etc). Do try our traditional foods: Soto (soup), Nasi goreng (Indonesian style fried rice), or rendang (beef). Ah yes, the price, this is the best part. Food in general is quite affordable over here, normal range is $1 – $3 (American Dollar). For cheaper prices, you can eat in “Warteg”.

We have “ciu” and “anggur merah intisari” (local wines). For local beers we have Anker, Bintang and Bali Hai. I do not recommend you to drink Bali Hai, unless you are that kind of people who drinks Budweiser.

If your band are having shows here, most likely you will be offered a place to stay by people who arrange your show; otherwise, there are lots of options. Jalan Jaksa (Jaksa street, Sarinah area, central jakarta) has lots of affordable hostels for backpackers and most of them have websites. Price range are from $10 – $100 per nights. You can also find home-stay via online. If you insist on staying at the Hotel, try Amaris, they offer $30-$50 per night.

For those who’ve never been to a third world country, be prepared, traffics are everywhere and it’s really bad. also, air pollution and hot-humid weather is something that you need to keep in mind. Aside from that, it’s not that difficult to get around the city. We have inner city transit bus called Transjakarta, minibus, bus, bajaj (a three wheel vehicle), ojek (motorcycle taxi), and taxi. When you arrived at the airport, go find the security guard or airport staff to find the taxi places; otherwise you will get ripped off with by illegal taxi driver (there are tons of them waiting in front of the airport)

What to do
-local gigs, from hardcore to traditional music we have it all. Usual venues for hardcore & punk gigs: “Rossi Music” in Fatmawati South Jakarta, “Kafe 79″ Kemang area South Jakarta, “Lumbung Padi” Kemang area South Jakarta. Metal gigs: mostly on Sunday evening at “Bulungan” Blok M South Jakarta. Alternative/post-rock/others: Jaya Pub central Jakarta, Rolling Stone Cafe South Jakarta, Marley’s bar South Jakarta. Go check out this band when you can: Antiseptic, Straight Answer, Ghaust, Duct-tape Surgery, and Grave Dancer
- drinking places: Try Melly’s in Sarinah Central Jakarta, or Najong at pondok pinang South Jakarta. Those two have an affordable below normal rates for beer: $1 – $3. If you are looking for normal prices, try Dehoi in Pondok Indah or Tokove in Kemang.
- record stores: Movement records, Taman puring (second floor), Aksara, and Anti-music are located in South Jakarta.

What not to do
- talking to strangers at the airport. Most likely they are illegal taxi drivers trying to get you inside their car.
- Wear a jacket during daytime. Unless you’re riding motorcycle or feeling like having a weird sauna in public.
- watch TV. Shit is boring, confusing, and stupid.
- bring too much amount of cash in your wallet/pocket. Just in case you’re having bad luck.

That’s it fellas! now go pack your stuff.

WESTHILL CONSULTING, TRAVEL & TOURS, INC. based in Singapore agrees to the above information and hopes you find them useful. We hope for your safety as well, for more tips, advice and warning regarding scams and frauds, just visit Westhill Consulting Travel & Tours official website.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Do's and Don'ts When Visiting Jakarta, Indonesia During Ramadan

Westhill Consulting, Travel and Tours, Inc. based in Singapore provide services such as booking, tour facilitation, travel documentation and other related services to Southeast Asian countries like KL Malaysia, Beijing China, Jakarta Indonesia and many more.
The company also provides information such as warnings regarding scams, tips and advice regarding travelling abroad, especially to such countries that requires special responsibilities for tourists. 

Ramadan in Jakarta may be a challenging trip for a tourist, but it can also be a fascinating, uplifting, and festive experience. So if you're planning on visiting the Indonesian capital from July to August, keep in mind these helpful reminders to make your journey worthwhile and more meaningful.

Do know when it's happening and how it's honored.

Ramadan is welcomed by the Muslim faith every ninth month of the Islamic calendar. This period is celebrated with a time for fasting and prayer as well as for charity, forgiveness, and spiritual submission. For 29-30 days, only 2 meals are taken, one before the sun rises and the other after it sets. On early mornings, the faithful partakes of the sahur or breakfast. This will be the last meal they will eat until the sun sets. Come nightfall, the community then breaks the fast with meals called the iftar. Since it is based on the Islamic calendar, the Ramadan has no fixed date of occurrence. So for 2012 alone, the event will take place from the 20th of July to the 31st of August.

Don't wait until the last minute to make travel and tour arrangements.

With most of the city population participating in the fast, the metro's activity slows down. This means less operating hours, working staff, and establishments open. Do your research and make sure to book a hotel that will cater to your accommodation needs, and whether they take part in the Ramadan tradition or not. For an even cost-effective measure, watch out for special packages or Ramadan deals in Jakarta that offers discounted hotel rates so as not to discourage travel and tourism.

In addition, some establishments in the city may also be open for a limited period of time. Plan ahead, get in touch with points of interest, and make necessary reservations. These hold true for restaurants, landmarks, and tourist attractions, so be sure about their respective schedules to avoid affecting too much of your itinerary.

Do adjust your body clock for some nighttime excitements.

Don't make the mistake of thinking a visit to the city can be boring during Ramadan. You're just not getting up at the right hour. The communities may slow down during the day, but their festive spirits come alive as soon as the sun sets. Witness touching views of thanksgiving, charity, and sharing as neighborhoods take to the streets and share meals with each other. You can even walk by and get an offer of hearty meals, juices, and sweets.

Don't be careless and insensitive.

The Muslim community equally welcomes non-Muslims in their districts even as they honor a much-embraced the practice of worship. While you and your party are not mandated to follow, you are impliedly asked to be sensitive about their faith. Don't spoil their devotion by consuming too much food and alcohol or making too loud noises, especially in public areas. The faithful is not just using this time to slow down, but also to sincerely meditate and pray, so adjust your public behavior accordingly and respectfully.

Do consider participating.

Regardless of your religion, you can't deny that there are times when you feel the need to ease up and think about your life's journey so far. This spiritual event is an ideal opportunity for that. While you may not share the same faith, a time of reflection, as you stay for Ramadan in Jakarta, may just bring about an inspiring experience you'll equally appreciate. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

When to visit Indonesia

WESTHILL CONSULTING, TRAVEL & TOURS, INC. based in Singapore carry out the business of tours and travel intermediation representing major travel suppliers.  We also provide services such as booking, tour facilitation, travel documentation and other related services to Southeast Asian countries like KL Malaysia, Beijing China, Jakarta Indonesia and many more. We will make sure that you will have the travel experience that is worth of your money and your time.  We hope that this will result to repeat sales from valued customers.

Indonesia has typical tropical monsoonal climate. Due to its location in close proximity to the equator, the whole country averages a mild 23-28 degrees Celsius all year round. Indonesia experiences two seasons: a dry season from April through till September, and a wet season from October until March. Rainstorms are generally quick, although on occasion, they can last for several days.

Weather in Indonesia April
April brings with it lovely weather for a holiday in Indonesia, with low precipitation and the mild and pleasant temperatures for which the country is renowned.

Weather in Indonesia May
May in Indonesia is more of the same - beautiful tropical temperatures and low chances of rain. And because May is part of the off-peak tourist season, it's rather easy to find fabulous hotel specials: great for a spontaneous trip!

Weather in Indonesia June and July
Excellent weather throughout the country makes this an excellent time to visit Indonesia. The tourist season tends to hot up in July.

Weather in Indonesia August - September
The August school holiday time is a great time to visit Indonesia, with calm seas and dry weather. Book early as it does get busy during this time. Indonesia enjoys the same excellent weather in September with better deals possible too.

Weather in Indonesia December
Steady temperatures keep Indonesia in December pleasant, even in the wet season. Roads can sometimes get washed out due to the rain, which falls, on average, 16 days out of the 31. Storms are quick, however, and December is a very popular time to visit Indonesia, especially during the Christmas season.

Weather in Indonesia January
Although January is right in the middle of the rainy season, in most areas of Indonesia it won’t rain for more than 16 days out of the month. Lucky holiday makers may miss the rain entirely, but even the occasional spot of rain won’t mess up your holiday in Indonesia.

Weather in Indonesia February
In February, the wet season remains in full swing; however the rain reduces slightly, lowering your chances of getting rained out during your holiday. The tourist peak season during Christmas and New Years is now over, meaning hotel and tour specials in Indonesia should be relatively easy to find.

Weather in Indonesia March
The wet season dies down and the rain reduces in March. Any washed out roads dry out or get repaired, and ferry travel is much easier during March. For a pleasant holiday in Indonesia, consider going in March.

Westhill Consulting Travel and Tours Singapore hopes you find the above information helpful.  Visit the website to know more about the company’s promos and offers, and learn more tips, advice and warnings of scams while traveling around Southeast Asia.