The most affordable times for domestic travel in #Indonesia

Idul Fitri is around the corner and people are getting ready to travel to their hometown to celebrate the auspicious occasion.

Those who are seeking to extend their vacation or plan to go on a trip across Indonesia this year, but still want to save some money, can consider following a new set of data from global travel search company Skyscanner about the most affordable times of year to travel within the archipelago.  

If you want to enjoy the sunset at Tanah Lot Temple in Tabanan or marvel at terraced paddy fields in Ubud, Bali, it is advised to fly to the island in January and September, with return tickets priced at around Rp 2.2 million (US$165).

As for those who are planning to visit Affandi Museum or simply walk down the street of Malioboro, Yogyakarta, it is best to come to the province in February and September, with return tickets costing around Rp 1.33 million.

Meanwhile, visitors traveling to Praya in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, are advised to fly in February, when the average ticket price is at Rp 1.4 million. Meanwhile, October is the best time to purchase a return ticket, when the price starts at Rp 2 million.

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Source – TheJakartaPost

Beijing’s new mega airport will challenge Air China’s dominance

Like ancient warlords, China’s three biggest airlines have dominated their regional cities: Air China Ltd. controlling Beijing, China Eastern Airlines Corp. holding sway in the financial center of Shanghai, and China Southern Airlines Co. ruling the roost down in export gateway Guangzhou. Until now.

Rising on a plain south of Beijing is a mega airport that is about to change the balance, bringing all three head to head in the capital as it becomes the world’s biggest aviation hub.

The new airport, due to open in 2019, has been designated by authorities as the hub for members of the SkyTeam alliance, a global group of airlines that includes China Eastern and China Southern. The two Chinese carriers will each be allowed to capture 40 percent of the airport’s passengers, gaining coveted time slots to Europe and the U.S. in Air China’s backyard.

“This is an absolute game-changer for China Eastern and China Southern,” said Corrine Png, chief executive officer of Crucial Perspective in Singapore. “Having all the SkyTeam alliance members under one roof will enable seamless flight connections.”

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The invasion of Air China’s regional rivals has repercussions beyond China. As well as dominating their home bases, the big three Chinese players have each carved out a position abroad. Air China, through its Star Alliance ties with Deutsche Lufthansa AG and United Continental Holdings Inc., commands many of the routes to Europe and North America. China Eastern is the biggest carrier to Japan and South Korea. And China Southern is strong in Australia and Southeast Asia.

With access to more slots in Beijing, China Southern and China Eastern would potentially get more access to lucrative North American routes while their SkyTeam partners would get better access to the Chinese capital. In addition, China Southern, the nation’s biggest airline, would be able to draw traffic from its Southeast Asian links to fly via Beijing to the U.S.

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#Qatar Airways extends network with new #Dublin route

Qatar Airways landed in Dublin on Monday, inaugurating a new daily service connecting the Irish city to the airline’s growing network, according to a statement.

The flight, with its next-generation Airbus A350, marked the special occasion, as Qatar Airways’ daily Dublin service would continue to operate with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which has a two-class configuration that includes 22 seats in Business Class and 232 seats in Economy Class.

Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker welcomed the new route as an “important milestone” for the airline.

“The new service will connect the Irish people with more destinations globally and provide them the opportunity to experience our five-star service,” Akbar said in a statement on its website.

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The Dublin route marks the airline’s first service to Ireland, which connects passengers to its network to the Middle East, Asia and Australia, as well as easing connections to Australia and Hong Kong.

The route also provides Qatar Airways Cargo customers 80 metric tons of belly-hold capacity each week, a service that boasts temperature-controlled facilities, including for perishables, the statement further said.

Following the Dublin launch, the carrier is set to add flights to more destination through 2017 and 2018, including Abidjan, Ivory Coast; Accra, Ghana; Canberra, Australia; Chiang Mai, Thailand; Chittagong, Bangladesh; Mombasa, Kenya; and Utapao, Thailand.

Read also: Qatar Airways to loan laptops to passengers

Source – TheJakartaPost

Update Hotel Listings

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#AirAsia opens new routes from Indonesia to Mumbai, Macau

AirAsia has opened new international routes to Mumbai, India, and Macau, China, to tap into high demand among tourists from the two countries.

“The growing number of Chinese and Indian tourists coming to Indonesia boosts our spirit to launch the new routes,” said AirAsia Group CEO for Indonesia Dendy Kurniawan on Wednesday, as quoted by tempo.co.

Dendy added that the company was committed to supporting the government’s efforts to develop Indonesian tourism by extending its route network and offering services at affordable prices.

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AirAsia Indonesia is set to operate the direct flight from Jakarta to Macau three times per week in a first phase starting on Aug. 7 and four times per week starting on Sept. 1 for the second phase. With promo fares starting from Rp 888,000 for the period of Aug. 7 to June 5, the new service will use an Airbus A320-200 that can accommodate 180 passengers.

Meanwhile, the Mumbai route will start on May 19 and connect to Bali – with a transit of 65 minutes in Kuala Lumpur. AirAsia X Indonesia plans to serve the flight seven times per week using aircraft that can accommodate 377 passengers.

Source – TheJakartaPost

Read also: AirAsia to launch Denpasar-Tokyo route

Malaysia, Indonesia to cooperate in Marine Tourism Triangle

Tourism Minister Arief Yahya and Malaysia’s Tourism and Culture Deputy Minister Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Marine Tourism Triangle Cooperation that will establish a cruise route between Langkawi in Malaysia, Phuket in Thailand and Sabang in Aceh province.

The agreement was made in Bangkok on Wednesday, during the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) 2017 Global Summit.

“We want to build a yacht and a sailing route that will allow travelers to visit three countries on one cruise,” said Arief.

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“After the Sail Sabang 2017 [event] in December, there will be a marine tourism project that is going to connect the three ports,” he added.

The agreement aims to help promote the Triangular Sailing Passage between Langkawi, Phuket and Sabang.

During a recent meeting with Arief in Bangkok, Thai Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said that Phuket has agreed to join the cooperation and would soon sign the MoU.

Source – TheJakartaPost

Top 10 most attractive Chinese cities for foreigners

Shanghai ranked as the “most attractive” city for foreign residents due to its international atmosphere and multicultural environment, according to an annual survey.

Beijing remained second, thanks to its advantages in healthcare and educational resources, while Hangzhou also held onto third place.

The rankings, released on April 15, are based on a survey of about 25,000 expatriates nationwide in December and January.

The criteria ranged from living environment and local culture to administrative services and favorable policies for foreign residents.

The China Society for Research on International Professional Personnel Exchange and Development launched the annual survey in partnership with International Talent magazine in 2010 as a way to promote the nation’s cities.

Let’s take a look at the top 10 cities for foreigners.

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  1. Shanghai
  2. Beijing
  3. Hangzhou
  4. Qingdao
  5. Tianjin
  6. Shenzhen
  7. Suzhou
  8. Guangzhou
  9. Nanjing
  10. Changchun

This article appeared on the China Daily newspaper

#Seoul unveils city’s first highway-turned-park

Modeled after New York’s iconic High Line, Seoul’s soon-to-open elevated park will bring visual and spatial respite to busy city life, with a stretch of greenery, cafes and street markets, the city government said Tuesday.

Opening part of the “Seoullo 7017” on Tuesday, ahead of the official opening in May, Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon on Tuesday described the urban sky park as a place where “nature and humans can live side by side.”

“(The launch of Seoullo 7017) will not only restore the overpass, but become a catalyst for the revival and regeneration of neighboring regions through the high number of visitors,” Seoul Mayor Park said.

The pedestrian-friendly park will stretch for about a kilometer and link seven surrounding areas including Seoul Station and Namdaemun Market to 12 pedestrian walkways.

Touted as a rival to New York’s High Line Park, the city government said it will feature over 24,085 plants representing 228 species of trees, shrubs and flowers found in and outside Korea.

Complementing the plants will be cafes, street markets, flower shops and performance stages, the city said.

Officials said the park will provide not only a stretch of greenery, but also a botanical education, allowing citizens to have a closer look at the labeled plants arranged in alphabetical order.

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The project began four years ago to make use of an old overpass that once served as a major road connecting western and central Seoul. Public calls for its removal had mounted after a safety assessment classified the outdated overpass as dangerous in 2006.

The “70” in the name Seoullo 7017 refers to the year 1970 when the Seoul Station flyover was constructed, while 17 is a reference to the number of walkways connected to it and the year 2017 when its construction is to be completed.

Putting safety as a top priority, about 40 percent of the 59 billion won ($52 million) of construction cost was put into securing the earthquake-proof structure, the city said.

“The elevated urban park was constructed to stand up to a magnitude 6.5 earthquake, and to allow over 50,000 people to walk on the park at once,” said Seoul City official Kim Kwon-ki.

A total of 29 surveillance cameras will be installed around the park to enhance security for citizens, he added.

The official opening of the Seoullo 7017 is slated for May 20. The lighting ceremony and the celebration chorus will begin at 7 p.m.

A variety of events involving citizen participation will take place at Seoullo 7017 and continue until June 18, the city said.

This article appeared on The Korea Herald newspaper website, which is a member of Asia News Network and a media partner of The Jakarta Post

Enchanting Europe

With the southern hemisphere countries already saturated in sunshine, Booking.com introduces interesting seven destinations to provide the ultimate retreat during the summer months.

Surrounded by volcanoes and geysers, Iceland’s capital Reykjavík attracts tourists with its scenic Hallgrímskirkja Church said to have been designed to resemble the rocks, mountains and glaciers of Iceland’s landscape, as well as Nautholsvík Beach where bathers can plunge into the geothermal water.

In Italy, Naples is edgy thanks to effusive locals, scooters zooming past and a tangle of tumbledown streets. The birthplace of pizza, it has plenty of attractions to visit from Castel dell’Ovo to the Archaeological Museum.

There’s an extra something to life in the Spanish capital Madrid. Start your day in the leafy Retiro Park on your way to a morning at the Prado then have a late lunch and afternoon siesta, before rising late to join the locals for dinner.

Budapest in Hungary bewitches every visitor. Houdini’s hometown is full of unfading beauty that holds you captive. A gentle soul emanates from within this city built on imperial strength, and people engage in a high-stakes hustle to claim their own piece of happiness.

Standing behind towering city walls, Dubrovnik beach town in Croatia has stunning, panoramic views over the emerald Adriatic Sea. Promoting itself as the world’s design powerhouse, Sweden’s capital Stockholm is a serious contender for Scandinavia’s friendliest citizens. You’ll be welcomed with open arms to this urbane city, where medieval alleys, majestic parks and an awe-inspiring Royal Palace will leave you eager to explore.

Porto in Portugal is home to the sleepy Douro River, where boats have dropped anchor for centuries as travellers tumbled forth into Porto’s lattice of sun-drenched streets. Today, cellars stocked with sweet wine vie for attention among studios, cafes, and baroque buildings strung with colourful washing lines.

Find out more at Booking.com

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Source – TheNation

Ministry warns tourists traveling to Eastern #Indonesia of malaria infection

The Health Ministry has warned the public, especially tourists traveling to the Eastern part of Indonesia, to be cautious about malaria infection in the region.

According to the ministry’s data, malaria is still highly endemic in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), Maluku, North Maluku, West Papua and Papua provinces.

The ministry’s director of vector and zoonotic infection disease prevention and control, Vensya Sitohang, said that tourists, especially backpackers, should anticipate and take necessary measurements against the disease. “Avoid going outdoors at night since the anopheles mosquito is more active during that time. If you must travel after dark, apply [mosquito repellent] lotion; and install a mosquito net for when you are sleeping,” she said as quoted by Antara news agency.

Read also: Malaria-proof mosquito? Tool promising but needs more study

For those already bitten, Vensya advised travelers to immediately visit health services and conduct laboratory checks for malaria.

Tourists are also encouraged to take precautions by taking antimalarial medications prior to their trip, which are available for free in health facilities like Puskesmas (community health centers) and hospitals.

NTT and West Papua are currently among the country’s most popular travel destinations with highlights including Raja Ampat and Labuan Bajo.

Source – TheJakartaPost

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