More Chinese are Bali-bound, drawn by isle's exotic scenery
Updated: 2015-04-23 08:30
By Xu Lin(China Daily)
More Chinese are traveling to Indonesia to enjoy the picturesque views of Bali island and the rich cultural heritage and exotic scenery of other Indonesian destinations.
Tourists from China numbered 960,000 last year, the Indonesian embassy in Beijing said. Indonesia aims to attract 2 million Chinese arrivals this year.
"Bali island is the most popular Indonesian destination among Chinese travelers ... Newlyweds love to have their honeymoons there, and it's a wonderful resort for families, especially those with kids," said Dai Yu, marketing director of the tourism department at Ctrip, a major Chinese online travel agency.
Chinese tourists trail only those from Singapore, Malaysia and Australia in sheer numbers.
Indonesia will soon waive visa requirements for visitors from 30 countries, including China, Japan and some European countries, to draw more overseas tourists, the Indonesian media reported last month. Currently, Chinese citizens must have a visa upon arrival.
Dai said Ctrip plans to develop itineraries combining the island of Bali with nearby destinations, such as Yogyakarta or Lombok Island, to offer a colorful tour experience.
In February, Chinese tourists ranked first among overseas visitors to Bali, with more than 92,200, The Bali Times reported. Last year, it had more than 586,000 arrivals from China, an increase of 51.3 percent over 2013.
Garuda Indonesia airline offers three nonstop flights between Beijing and Bali and four each week between Beijing and Jakarta, the capital and largest city. There are daily flights from Guangzhou and Shanghai to Jakarta.
Besides the island, other destinations, such as Bandung, are drawing more Chinese visitors. Bandung used to be a Dutch colony and was nicknamed "the Paris of Java" due to its European-style architecture and beautiful landscapes.
"Many young Indonesians from all over the country come to study in Bandung because it has many top universities, making it a creative and vibrant city," said Asa Perkasa, general manager of Garuda airline's Beijing office.
He said the city is a popular destination among domestic and overseas visitors such as Singaporeans and Malaysians, especially on weekends.
Although many Chinese visitors travel with group tours, Perkasa said independent travel is growing.
Qiu Lijun, 24, who went to a small city in Indonesia in June of last year for a one-year internship to teach Chinese in a local training institution, recommends the country's local coffeehouses of different styles, outlet shopping and volcanic springs.
"Indonesians are hospitable, with good manners," Qiu said.
Traffic jams are not uncommon in Indonesian cities such as Bandung due to excessive automobiles and motorbikes, tourists say. But public transport is available.
Cai Liqian, 59, from Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, has visited Bandung twice, in 2013 and last year.
"I took a train from Jakarta and the view on the journey is pretty good. It's a bit like southern China, with boundless fields, mountains and trees," Cai said.
(China Daily 04/23/2015 page3)