Health Protocol Violations in Bali Last Holiday Season

Health Protocol Violations in Bali Last Holiday Season

Though we are happy to see more people coming to Bali, we have to admit that opening the border for tourists has a negative impact too. With the positive cases of Covid-19 skyrocketing due to health protocol violations, let us take a moment to step back and inspect what we have done wrong.

While the use of ace masks have been mandatory all across the island, many people are still taking this lightly. Tourists were seen roaming the streets with their masks hanging on the chin, eliminating the effectivity of the masks altogether.

Malls were packed with people, whom despite of their body temperatures, might still be non-symptomatic carriers of the virus; and although they were encouraged to maintain safe distances from fellow visitors, well, it simply wasn’t the case.

As the photos of Health Protocol Violations circulated some weeks ago, headlines in several local outlets included the phrase “naughty bule” for those caught not wearing masks properly — or at all. Bule is an Indonesian word for foreigners, especially Caucasians, and the spots they tend to favour have become a focus for authorities.

Many head to the Badung regency area, where the popular Kuta and Seminyak beaches are located. Here, local authorities have recorded the highest number of coronavirus health protocol violations in Bali, with 8,864 offences occurring up to this week.

“Most of [the offences] were not bringing their masks, not wearing them properly, and some businesses not applying health protocols,” Badung regency Public Order Agency chief I Gusti Agung Kerta Suryanegara told the ABC.

While many of them were local Balinese, Mr Suryanegara said 80 per cent of people who had been fined for violating COVID-19 regulations were foreigners, mostly from Europe. “Some foreigners were found walking on the beach, sitting in restaurants, and riding motorbikes without masks,” he said.

Mr Suryanegara said foreigners who had been caught seemed to underestimate the strength of health protocols in Bali and those who had been fined were “naughty”. But those who committed minor mistakes, such as bringing their mask but not wearing it, were asked to do push-ups or sweep the street.

Although many Australians have been cautioned for not properly wearing masks, none have yet been fined over that. Some, however, were fined because they were “showing resistance” like “talking back”, or not being cooperative, when approached by officers, Mr Suryanegara said.

I’m not saying that Indonesians are well behaved, but fines were given as the [last resort], which means that [those who were fined] didn’t want to comply and were very defensive,” Mr Suryanegara said.

In September, Bali started fining residents caught without a face mask 100,000 rupiah ($9). Overall, the Public Order Agency has recorded more than 15,000 offences in Bali since the mandatory mask rule was introduced. Mr Suryanegara said so far authorities have gathered 15.3 million rupiah ($1,400) from the fines in Badung alone.

Kadek Astika lives in Kerobokan, in Badung regency, and operates a couple of villas in the area. She said the breaching of health protocols during the pandemic showed how outsiders, such as foreigners and tourists, often did not respect local culture.

“Even before the pandemic we have already seen many foreign tourists, particularly the young ones not following the rules, such as riding bikes without helmets or getting drunk and then involved in brawls on the streets,” Ms Astika said.

“Some of them also violated our traditions and values by disrespecting sacred sites with their behaviour when visiting temples.” But Ms Astika said it was not just foreigners or local tourists ignoring the health directives. “Our pecalang [traditional Balinese security forces] has been tirelessly trying to discipline local people too,” she said.

According to the country’s National COVID-19 Task Force, the compliance rate for wearing masks in Bali is 96.5 per cent, while maintaining physical distancing is 92 per cent. That makes the island’s compliance with COVID-19 protocols the best in Indonesia.

Indonesia began rolling out its vaccination program last Wednesday, with President Joko Widodo receiving the first jab of the Chinese-developed Sinovac vaccine. Bali started administering vaccinations the following day.

Throughout the pandemic, more than 850,000 people in Indonesia have been infected and there has been more than 20,000 cases in Bali. Indonesia recorded its highest number of daily cases — 11,557 — on Thursday, two weeks after end-of-year holidays. Tighter restrictions had been imposed in Java and Bali, requiring places including shopping centres, malls, and restaurants to close by 9:00pm.

However, local media reported that authorities were involved in an argument after several foreigners refused to leave a restaurant after the deadline. The video of the dispute was posted on Instagram.

Last week, the Governor of Bali, I Wayan Koster, said since many foreigners were “difficult to manage” the Bali Government would take further action. “Tourists not wearing masks will not be given entry to tourist destinations and restaurants,” Mr Koster said.

“So they will not be given any services if they don’t wear a mask. “That’s our decision … because there are already many violations committed by foreign tourists.” Mr Suryanegara from the Public Order Agency said he hoped the tighter restrictions would “make everyone, not just foreigners, obey the rules”

With the vaccines being distributed across the country, let’s all get the shot and ditch this virus once and for all. Let’s hope for a Covid-free 2021. Like always, stay safe and stay healthy!

New Normal, New Diet – Start Eating Healthy Food

New Normal, New Diet – Start Eating Healthy Food

One of the resolutions in entering a new normal era is to start a healthy life. Starting a healthy life can be done anytime and anywhere, but it takes perseverance in running it every day.

The current uncertain situation in this new normal era, having a healthy body is everyone’s dream. Therefore, before starting a healthy life it is better to find out more about what a healthy life is and how to start the habit.

In starting a healthy life, you must get used to eating healthy foods and exercising regularly. According to Nova, creating your own schedule is a good step to start your healthy journey. By creating a schedule you can plan your meals and exercise program for each week.

Plan your meal program for the next week, complete with a meal schedule, cheat day, and time to exercise. If you are not accustomed to exercising, you can start with light exercises such as pilates and yoga. As for cheat day, Nova suggests planning what meals you want to consume during cheat day and adhere to your plan.

While during the “new normal”, food safety has benefitted from an increased awareness on good practices of personal hygiene, in the future, regulatory frameworks that have a long-term vision and that will ensure consumers’ protection will need to be put in place. In order to facilitate access to safe foods to all, the implementation of regulations will need to be delegated to the industry sector, and the active and informed participation of the consumers will be more critical than ever.

A few months ago, the FMI Foundation challenged a number of food influencers and partners to share some of their best suggestions and advice they would offer people striving to manage various food challenges being presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. These resources are available on the  Family Meals Movement Consumer-Facing site; creating an easily assessable resource library for consumers and industry stakeholders seeking family meal ideas, help and motivation. This diverse collection of helpful guidance covers a gamut of topics, including:

  • Recipes.
  • Food Safety.
  • Shopping, Stocking, and Planning.
  • Family Meals.
  • Creative Hacks.
  • Self-Care.
  • Nutrition assistance programs.

New FMI Foundation-sponsored research, found in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, shows that meals together support a family’s emotional well-being AND enhances its physical health, through encouraging more fruit and vegetable consumption. With this in mind, this year’s National Family Meals Month campaign will focus on helping families enjoy more healthful meals together at home.

If you have made changes to your diet since the pandemic began, you’re far from alone. People have been reported to at least make some change to their habits around eating or food preparation. Sixty percent say they’re cooking at home more, and many say they are buying more packaged foods than usual.

For 15 years, the International Food Information Council (IFIC) has conducted an in-depth annual Food and Health Survey asking 1,000 American adults dozens of questions about their dietary habits, health conditions and attitudes toward food safety, environmental sustainability and the overall food system. Many of the answers are tracked from year to year to help us understand trends in the way we eat, shop and think about our food-related priorities.

This year’s survey results yielded key insights on how the American public is thinking and behaving when it comes to nutrition, food safety and agriculture in a time of incredible upheaval resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Additional surveys fielded during the past six months are further putting into perspective how COVID-19 is altering our approach to food. We’re noticing wide-ranging changes in what we’re eating, how we’re purchasing our food and our attitudes toward its safety and availability.

If you have made changes to your diet since the pandemic began, you’re far from alone. People around the world report at least some change to their habits around eating or food preparation. Sixty percent say they’re cooking at home more, and many say they are buying more packaged foods than usual.

All that time around the house means that over a third of us are also snacking more, a number that our surveys first picked up on in April and has remained constant through late summer. One in three (33%) say that they’re eating more often when they’re bored or not hungry, and nearly the same number (32%) say they’re eating snacks alone more often, an indicator of the shift to a more isolated lifestyle. Parents have been especially hard hit by disruptions to their food routine. For instance, 41% of parents with children under 18 said they are snacking more as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, versus 29% of those without children.

We’re also finding positive trends around consumer attention to healthier eating. In July, nearly 4 people said they were eating healthier now than before the pandemic, with only 10% reporting that they were eating less healthfully. Thirty percent reported snacking on fresh fruits and vegetables and eating healthy snacks more often since the pandemic began.

While it is much more broadly understood by the public today that COVID-19 is not transmitted through food, the early days of the pandemic showed significant concern about coronavirus exposure via food handling or food preparation, with nearly half of consumers in April ranking it as one of their top three most important food safety issues.

When it comes to food, there is no question that the pandemic is forcing us to embrace new eating patterns and reevaluate how we feel about obtaining and preparing our food. But has COVID-19 brought us to a “new normal”? In some areas, like snacking and online grocery shopping, IFIC data shows the pandemic may be accelerating a trend already underway. Other behaviors are likely driven by our increased time at home and reduced mobility, both of which will be heavily influenced by the widespread availability of a vaccine. Future data will show us if what we see today represents any durable change in our attitudes and behaviors toward food.

So, are you ready to change your diet? Share your thought in the comments and let us know what change have you made to your eating habit. Until next time, and stay healthy.

 

 

Drive-thru Covid-19 Test Centers in Bali? A Closer Look at the Urgency of it

Drive-thru Covid-19 Test Centers in Bali? A Closer Look at the Urgency of it

When going through this chaotic cycle of life that Covid-19 had unfortunately taken upon us, it’s often dilemmatic to decide between going outside the house and staying inside; especially when we actually have things to do outside the house.

Similarly, we often hesitate to go to public facilities such as clinic and hospitals; precisely because there are serious chances of getting contaminated with the virus from fellow patients or customers. So what do we do when we get to get tested, without having to co promise our health and taking the chance to get the virus from strangers? Well, many countries have come up with this amazing idea of a drive-thru Covid-19 test center; through which people can conveniently get Covid-19 test without even having to come out from their cars. Neat, right?

For those who develop coronavirus-like symptoms but don’t want to go to hospital too soon, the drive-thru allows a faster and safer Covid-19 screening because it minimizes physical contact between the lab technicians and the test taker. There is no need to step out of your vehicle to get tested, Now, while there have been plenty of such centers available in the capital town Jakarta, there strangely aren’t so many of them available on this expats-packed tiny islands. We truly think it’s about time to get (at least) some more for us here, don’t you think? Anyway, how does this really work?

Well, in a nutshell, health workers carry out rapid tests by taking the blood sample to detect the antibody level. This method, however, is only meant for quicker results and is less accurate than the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method or nasal swab test. Results will be notified through WhatsApp on the same day. Those who test positive for a virus attack will be requested to undergo a swab test, which will examine more accurately if the infection is caused by the novel coronavirus. If the result comes back negative, they will have to retake the test in seven to ten days.

If you need more details, below is the elaborated steps of drive-thru Covid-19 test center that we can gather from the internet:

  1. Before arrival, patients registered online for a 10 minute appointment between 8AM and 2PM.
  2. Registration was organized by vehicle, and each registration included the names, demographics and contact information of the persons who would be inside that vehicle.
  3. Upon arrival to the testing site, patients were greeted at the front of a covered parking structure and were directed by the National Guard to a marked parking space. The parking space had a sign in front of it with a phone number and instructions for one person in the vehicle to text the number with their last name to serve as notification for their vehicle arrival.
  4. The text went to a Registrar, who assigned the vehicle to a Care Team (A-E). The assigned Care Team then called the person who texted, confirmed the registration of those inside, provided anticipatory guidance, and sent a video showing how to self collect a nasal swab.
  5. The Care Team then instructed the car to exit the parking structure and drive to the indicated testing station (#1-10) in the adjacent lot.
  6. Upon arrival to the indicated testing station (#1-10), a member of the assigned Care Tea would run out the labeled test kits (swabs, instructions) and care kits (masks, guidance) to the members of that vehicle, and place them on the table next to the vehicle. The driver would exit the vehicle, pick up the test kits and care kits and then return to their vehicle. The members of the vehicle would perform their own testing swabs and then return the test kits to the table. The vehicle would then drive away with their care kits, opening up the testing station for the next vehicle. In total, there were 10-12 vehicles at a time self-collecting their nasal swabs.
  7. For follow-up, those with positive results were called and informed about isolation and other public health recommendations. Those with negative results were emailed and informed about standard public health recommendations.

Alright, now that we all know how this system works, let’s talk about how the local Bali government tackles Covid-19 and if there is any indication of the island getting a drive-thru Covid-19 test centers soon. According to the news we managed to gather from the internet, there are only a handful, if not a couple, of such facilities available in Bali: one conducted by one of the biggest hospital chain in the nation which has a branch on the island, and another made available by an online medical service application in partnership with local laboratories.

With prices ranging between 175K to just below 1M Indonesian Rupiah, these Covid-19 test centers provide alll kinds of Covid-19 tests such as the IGG and IGM Rapid tests and also the PCR and Antigen Swab tests. Depending on how quick you need the result to come out, you’ll be given the information of the prices even before you come in for the test.

While 2021 has promised us the perfecting of the Covid-19 vaccine, we honestly don’t know how much longer we have to wait for it happen, distributed, and proved safe. If in the meantime we need to hop on a plane and catch a flight, this drive thru Covid-19 test centers will prove very useful. Let’s just hope that they will open more facilities like this in Bali. Until that day, do stay safe and healthy, and please keep doing all those health protocols to keep the virus at bay. Have a great day!

Korean Wave Industry Affects & Entertains Global Community During Pandemic

Korean Wave Industry Affects & Entertains Global Community During Pandemic

The Korean wave refers to the significantly increased popularity of South Korean culture around the world; it is also referred to as hallyu, in the Korean language.

The term was coined in China in mid-1999 by Beijing journalists surprised by the fast-growing popularity of Korean entertainment and culture in China (Kim, 2007, p. 15). Broadly speaking, it can be said that the popularity of Korean pop music and television soap operas in China and Taiwan sparked the Korean wave abroad.

The outbreak of hallyu can be traced back to 1997, when the Korean TV drama, What Is Love All About, broadcast on state-run Chinese television, CCTV, set the stage for hallyu in China, following an MBC-TV drama, Jealous, which was imported as the first popular cultural product from South Korea in 1993 (Kim, 2007, p. 15).

Since then, the boom of Korean popular culture in the neighboring Asian countries has remarkably increased and significantly penetrated them over the past several years, and in the years 2000 through 2002, according to one source, “the Korean wave moved forward to diverse parts of Asia, including Southeast and Central Asia, and therefore this wave reached an active penetration stage” (Hyejung, 2007, p. 6).

Interestingly, though every country in Asia had a common reaction toward the Korean wave at first, each had a slightly different outlook. This is because “each country has a different ethos, and based on this, its audience decodes and responds to cultural products in different ways” (Kim, 2007, p. 24). For example, in Taiwan, Daejangguem had the best reception of any Korean drama, whereas in Japan, Korea Herald was most popular (Kim, 2007, p. 24).

The trend soon spread out from the mainland to Taiwan, Hong Kong, affecting ethnic Chinese in other Asian countries and eventually Japan, leading all these Asian peoples to be fascinated by not only Korean music and drama, but also its films, food and fashion. Accordingly, Korean cultural products have become a catalyst for curiosity about Korean culture and Korea itself.

Korean dramas in particular have served as an important bridge for the different countries to encounter Korean culture. The appeal of Korean pop culture to Asians is especially meaningful for the Korean government “since the country’s national image has not always been positive in neighboring countries” (Doobo, 2006, p. 6).

Many Asian countries have been distant from their closest neighbors in terms of cultural understanding and exchanges, and instead “have had a tendency to link more closely to the former colonial empires or advanced Western countries than with neighbors sharing borders” (Ryoo, 2007, p. 144). The impact of the Korean wave has not only permeated popular culture but is also a measure of positive lifestyle for many Asian people (Ryoo, 2008, p. 144). Many Asians did not know much about South Korea or knew only a few simple, often stereotypical things about South Korea. Images associated with South Korea were negative and related to events such as the Korean War, cycles of poverty and political instability (Lee, 2007, p. 29).

These negative images have diminished dramatically due to trendy entertainers, new technology, and the image of contemporary South Korean lives through dramas and movies. Rhoo wrote, “Regional cultural affinities also help explain this phenomenon in the sense that the success of the Korean wave is closely related to the ability of South Korean culture and media to translate Western or American culture to fit Asian taste” (2007, p. 45). “Western popular cultural artifacts will not likely succeed because of a certain non-negotiable cultural heterogeneity,” Rhoo predicted ( 2007, p. 45). South Korean popular culture is much more readily relatable and accepted to Asian audiences.

The cultural affinity between South Korea and neighboring countries in the region may thus function as an effective bridge or buffer between the West and Asia (Ryoo, 2007, p. 145). South Korean television shows and movies portray themes that Asian audiences can relate to more easily than those of Western entertainment because Korean “dramas typically deal with family issues, love and filial piety in an age of changing technology, and often reinforces traditional values of Confucianism” (Ryoo, 2007, p. 140).

Observers generally agree that the most likely explanations for the popularity of South Korean shows, singers, and movies throughout Asia include South Korea’s high income levels, the close cultural proximity and affinity they share with neighboring Asian countries (Ryoo, 2007, p. 140). As a result of these and other economic developments, “South Korea is now the twelfth largest economy in the world, and its entertainment companies are able to finance shows and movies with production values much higher than in most of Asia” (Ryoo, 2007, p. 140). As seen above, the Korean wave has had a marked impact in various ways regarding transaction with other countries.

Local sentiment towards Korea has not been respectable in the past, but the Korean wave has fundamentally changed the national image of Korea in a positive way. The Korean wave ultimately improved Korea’s image in foreign countries, which in turn created a ripple effect that has extended much. farther than just the Korean economy or peninsula.

With the world living in the shadow of the pandemic for the last few months, the role of culture and media goes beyond entertainment and will become greater still, heavily affecting the kind of businesses and tech startups that come. Putting things into perspective, the world is bracing for an economic impact as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. The Asian Development Bank stated a staggering estimate between USD 5.8 trillion and USD 8.8 trillion in losses—equivalent to 6.4% to 9.7% of global gross domestic product (GDP).

At the same time with lockdowns leaving many at home, the global consumption of media has risen sharply across the board with video streaming services going up by 51%, and gaming enjoying a 31% boost. The sharp rise in media consumption extends beyond entertainment, in mid-March Pinterest saw more searches and saves globally than any other weekend in its history for topics such as home improvement, activities with children, and new projects and skills that people were keen to pick up.

Hallyu has successfully achieved milestones across different media types. Bong Joon-ho’s groundbreaking film Parasite received universal acclaim and awards internationally, K-pop boy band BTS accounts for USD 4.65 billion of South Korea’s GDP and rivals The Beatles on the charts, while South Korean game developer Bluehole’s PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds reach critical success, with PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile becoming the highest-grossing video game in March. For the first time the content industry saw its combined export surpass USD 10 billion in 2019, and in 2020, the Korean government is setting aside USD 1.42 billion in funds to support more local content creation.

In 2012, Simon Fraser University Professor Dal Yong Jin wrote an insightful article about the introduction of Hallyu 1.0 and how its momentum led to Hallyu 2.0 as a global phenomenon.  As a cultural export, Hallyu’s success is seen front and center, a success that has been sown through technology, a sector that the South Korean government has committed up to USD 3.9 billion in 2020. A momentum catalyzed through the right timing, and use of social media platforms. Right now as the projections and theories around industry 4.0 and Hallyu 3.0 are challenged by the pandemic, the growth seen in both tech and Hallyu have always been deeply intertwined and in tandem.

All in all, there is no doubt that Hallyu has catapulted Korea on to the global stage. With so much international attention on Korea and its pop culture scene and its creative economy, it is imperative for the Korean government to leverage on all its entertainment and cultural products to further drive the brand equity of Korea as a country. Brand Korea needs to be able to strike a balance between not over-commercializing Hallyu, but to market and build its identity in a genuine way.

The growth of the Korean Wave over the past 2 decades has been a fascinating one, and it is still unfolding. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see how Korea continues to innovate and tap on the massive potential and popularity of the Korean Wave to sustain its appeal to global audiences. This could further enhance the nation brand equity of Korea, and contribute to the continued success of the Korean society, economy and culture.

Indonesia’s 5 New Bali, Indonesia to Explore after Pandemic

Indonesia’s 5 New Bali, Indonesia to Explore after Pandemic

A couple days ago, we heard the most amazing thing in 2020 from the mouth of our beloved president, Joko Widodo: that every person of Indonesian nationality will be given a FREE Covid-19 Vaccination when the vaccines are finally ready in 2021. Knowing the pessimistic nature of his countrymen, the President announced that he would be the first to get vaccinated; hence putting all doubts and fear away. Well, hurrah for that, Mr. President! We really can’t wait for this pandemic to be over with, and to live freely like we used to be.

We know what this means, don’t we? Passports will be stamped, planes will be packed, tourist destinations will be full of people, and entertainment are no longer limited. Oh, yes. So ready for 2021! Now, though, when we finally can travel like we used to, where will you go first? Home to your country? Continue country-hopping as you go? If you don’t feel like it’s a good idea to go that far, why don’t you just go within Indonesia?

You read that right. In its newest Tourism Promotion, Indonesia announced some new tourism destinations dubbed “The New Balis,” after the tropical holiday Mecca located just to the left of Java main island. If you want to know more about these new holiday spots, keep on reading. Who knows, you might find something interesting. Here are Indonesia’s New Balis and just a bit of tips on what you definitely should do over there.

  1. Danau Toba

Lake Toba (Indonesian: Danau Toba) is a large natural lake in North Sumatra, Indonesia, occupying the caldera of a supervolcano. It is the largest lake in Indonesia and the largest volcanic lake in the world. Lake Toba is the site of a supervolcanic eruption estimated at VEI 8 that occurred 69,000 to 77,000 years ago, representing a climate-changing event. Recent advances in dating methods suggest a more accurate identification of 74,000 years ago as the date.

It is the largest-known explosive eruption on Earth in the last 25 million years. It has been accepted that the eruption of Toba led to a volcanic winter with a worldwide decrease in temperature between 3 to 5 °C (5.4 to 9.0 °F), and up to 15 °C (27 °F) in higher latitudes. Additional studies in Lake Malawi in East Africa show significant amounts of ash being deposited from the Toba eruptions, even at that great distance, but little indication of a significant climatic effect in East Africa.

  1. Bromo

Mount Bromo (Indonesian: Gunung Bromo), is an active volcano and part of the Tengger massif, in East Java, Indonesia. At 2,329 meters (7,641 ft) it is not the highest peak of the massif, but is the best known. The massif area is one of the most visited tourist attractions in East Java, Indonesia. The volcano belongs to the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. The name of Bromo derived from Javanese pronunciation of Brahma, the Hindu creator god.

On the fourteenth day of the Hindu festival of Yadnya Kasada, the Tenggerese people of Probolinggo, East Java, travel up the mountain in order to make offerings of fruit, rice, vegetables, flowers and sacrifices of livestock to the mountain gods by throwing them into the caldera of the volcano. The origin of the ritual lies in the 15th century legend. On the sand plain, locally called Segara Wedi (lit. sand ocean), sits a Hindu temple called Pura Luhur Poten. The temple holds a significant importance to the Tenggerese scattered across the mountain villages, such as Ngadisari, Wonokitri, Ngadas, Argosari, Ranu Prani, Ledok Ombo and Wonokerso. The temple organises the annual Yadnya Kasada ceremony which lasts for about one month.

  1. Wakatobi

Wakatobi Regency is a group of ca. 150 islands forming an administrative regency located in Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia. The capital of the regency is located on Wangi-wangi Island, has an area of 473.62 square kilometers and had a population of 92,922 at the 2010 Census.

Wakatobi is also the name of a national park established in 1996, with a total area of 1.39 million hectares that consists of marine biodiversity hotspot known as Wallacea and coral reefs, which condition and scale occupy one of the highest priorities of marine conservation in Indonesia. Wakatobi islands is a part of the Coral Triangle, which contains one of the richest marine biodiversity on earth.

Wakatobi Biosphere Reserve. Wakatobi has been designated in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves by the Man and the Biosphere Programme of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on 11 July 2012. The world’s major ecosystem types and landscapes represented in this Network are devoted to conserving biological diversity, promoting research and monitoring, as well as seeking to provide models of sustainable development in the service of humankind.

  1. Labuan Bajo

Labuan Bajo is a fishing town located at the western end of the large island of Flores in the Nusa Tenggara region of east Indonesia. It is the capital of the West Manggarai Regency (Kabupaten Manggarai Barat), one of the eight regencies which are the major administrative divisions of Flores.

Once a small fishing village, Labuan Bajo (also spelled Labuhanbajo and Labuanbajo) is now a tourist center as well as a centre of government for the surrounding region. Facilities to support tourist activities are expanding quickly although the rapid rise in the numbers of visitors is imposing some strains on the local environment.

Labuan Bajo is the gateway for trips across the nearby Komodo National Park to Komodo Island and Rinca Island, both home to the famous Komodo dragons.

There are numerous snorkling points in the islands close to Labuan Bajo. Kanawa and Seraya Islands, for example, offer good diving and snorkeling sites. Currents can be strong at some sites however so care is needed. Labuan Bajo is the gateway for trips across the nearby Komodo National Park to Komodo Island and Rinca Island, both home to the famous Komodo dragons.

There are numerous snorkling points in the islands close to Labuan Bajo. Kanawa and Seraya Islands, for example, offer good diving and snorkeling sites. Currents can be strong at some sites however so care is needed.

  1. Raja Ampat

Located off the northwest tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula on the island of New Guinea, in Indonesia’s West Papua province, Raja Ampat, or the Four Kings, is an archipelago comprising over 1,500 small islands, cays, and shoals surrounding the four main islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta, and Waigeo, and the smaller island of Kofiau.

The Raja Ampat archipelago straddles the Equator and forms part of Coral Triangle which contains the richest marine biodiversity on earth. Raja Ampat is considered the global center of tropical marine bio-diversity and is referred to as The Crown Jewel of the Bird’s Head Seascape, which also includes Cenderawasih Bay and Triton Bay. The region contains more than 600 species of hard corals, equaling about 75 percent of known species globally, and more than 1,700 species of reef fish – including on both shallow and mesophotic reefs.

Compared to similar-sized ecosystems elsewhere in the world, this makes Raja Ampat’s biodiversity the richest in the world. Endangered and rare marine mammals such as Dugongs, whales (such as blue or/and pygmy blue, bryde’s, less known omura’s, sperm), dolphins, and orcas occur here. In northeast region of Waigeo island, local villagers have been involved in turtle conservation initiatives by protecting nests or relocating eggs of leatherback, olive ridley and hawksbill turtles. Their works are supported by local government, and NGOs.

There you are, the 5 new Balis you can explore when the travel ban is lifted next year. Will we see you there? Hopefully. Until then, take care and stay safe!