Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Komodo Island, Indonesia: one of the New Seven Wonders Nature of the world

We have at last got the election done for the new seven wonders nature on 11/11/11. Among the 15 finalists Amazon, Halong Bay, Iguazu Falls, Jeju Island, Komodo, Puerto Princesa Underground River, and Table Mountain are the last seven which come out as winner. The last 15 finalists were Amazon: South America, Angel Falls: Venezuela, Bay of Fundy: Canada, Black Forest: Germany, Bu Tinah Island: United Arab Emirates, Cliffs of Moher: Ireland, Dead Sea: Israel, Jordan, Palestine, El Yunque: Puerto Rico, Galapagos: Ecuador, Grand Canyon: USA, Great Barrier Reef: Australia, PNG, Halong Bay: Viet Nam, Iguazu Falls: Argentina, Brazil, Jeita Grotto: Lebanon, Jeju Island: Korea (south), Kilimanjaro: Tanzania, Komodo: Indonesia, Islands of the Maldives: Maldives, Masurian Lake District: Poland, Matterhorn/Cervino: Italy, Switzerland, Milford Sound: New Zealand, Mud Volcanoes: Azerbaijan, PP Underground River: Philippines,Sundarbans: Bangladesh, India, Table Mountain: South Africa, Uluru: Australia, Vesuvius: Italy, Yushan: Chinese Taipei.

Komodo Islan, Indonesia, is at fifth in order of choice.
what and where is it?
Komodo is one of the 17,508 islands that make up the Republic of Indonesia. The island has a surface area of 390 km² and over 2000 inhabitants. The inhabitants of the island are descendants of former convicts who were exiled to the island and who have mixed themselves with the Bugis from Sulawesi. The population are primarily adherents of Islam but there are also Christian and Hindu minorities. Komodo is part of the Lesser Sunda chain of islands and forms part of the Komodo National Park. Particularly notable here is the native Komodo dragon. In addition, the island is a popular destination for diving. Administratively, it is part of the East Nusa Tenggara province.
Komodo lies between the substantially larger neighboring islands Sumbawa to the west and Flores to the east. It's geographical location is 8.55°S 119.45°E.
The earliest stories of a dragon existing in the region circulated widely and attracted considerable attention. But no one visited the island to check the story until official interest was sparked in the early 1910s by stories from Dutch sailors based in Flores about a mysterious creature. The creature was allegedly a "dragon" which inhabited a small island in the Lesser Sunda Islands (the main island of which is Flores in East Nusa Tenggara). The creature is called Komodo dragon after the name of the island.
How to get there:
Indonesia is a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic society of about 229 million people spread out over almost 2 million square kilometers west to east right on the equator in South East Asia. Neighbouring countries are Malaysia, Singapore and the Phillipines in the north, Papua New Guinea in the far east (sharing the border with West Papua, the former Irian Jaya), and Australia and East Timor in the south. Local time varies from GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) +7 in Java to GMT +9 in West Papua. Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) is the official currency in Indonesia. Most resorts and larger restaurants accept international credit cards, though usually only in the main tourist hubs.

Many international airlines fly nonstop to Indonesia's main airports in Jakarta and Denpasar/Bali, and many Asian carriers also connect the smaller island airports directly from Singapore or Kuala Lumpur as well.  The national carrier is Garuda Indonesia. They compete for Indonesia-bound passengers mainly with Singapore Airlines, Qantas, Thai Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Qatar Airways and Korean Air.

More small domestic carriers offer online schedules these days, but many can still only be ticketed by operators and agents within Indonesia.  Among the low budget carriers whose tickets can only be instantly purchased online, Air Asia offers the most frequent and covenient schedules from a variety of Asian cities. Sorong Airport, the gateway to Raya Ampat is one of the most difficult places to reach. Lion Air, Merpati, Xpress Air and Batavia Air offer regular schedules from Jakarta/Makassar, Manado and Ambon. Balikpapan in Kalimantan is serviced by Lion Air and Mandala Airways among others.  For Komodo liveaboard cruises, flights between Labuan Bajo or Bima originate in Bali and are usually part of your cruise arrangements.
Indonesia is a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic society of about 80 million people. There are more than 300 different indigenous languages spoken throughout this vast archipelago, and apart from certain aspects of centralised bureaucracy based in Jakarta/Java, many islands have little else in common with each other.  While Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim nation, dive tourism operators seem to cluster in non-Muslim areas, for example in North Sulawesi, which is mostly Christian, Bali, or the very sparsely populated island regions around Eastern Indonesia or Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo).

In Bali, almost all families are Hindu, which makes their collective character, behaviour and way of life vastly different from Muslim Indonesia. The Balinese practice a unique version of Hinduism which emerged from a blend of Indian Hinduism, Buddhism and indigenous animist beliefs. Regrettably, in the past decade Bali has been the chosen target of terrorist activities imported from other islands, because most of the Indonesian tourism is centred there. This means that the densely populated southern beaches around the island capital Kuta could not be considered completely 100% safe, just like many other international holiday hot spots worldwide. However, there are no safety issues in the countryside, particularly around the very remote Northern coastline. The Balinese have always been the most peaceful, friendly and hospitable people imaginable.
Images that give you a thorough idea what this island looks like:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Jeju Island: the forth in New Seven Wonders Nature

We have at last got the election done for the new seven wonders nature on 11/11/11. Among the 15 finalists Amazon, Halong Bay, Iguazu Falls, Jeju Island, Komodo, Puerto Princesa Underground River, and Table Mountain are the last seven which come out as winner. Jeju Island placed fourth in the order of New Seven Wonders Nature. Jeju-do, the original name of Jeju Island is the only special autonomous province of South Korea, situated on and coterminous with the country's largest island. Jeju-do lies in the Korea Strait, southwest of Jeollanam-do Province, of which it was a part before it became a separate province in 1946. Its capital is the city of Jeju. The island contains the Natural World Heritage Site Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes.

In Korean, do is the phonetic trancription of two distinct hanja (Chinese characters) meaning "island" and "province". However, Jejudo generally refers to the island, while Jeju-do refers to the government administrative unit. The table below also includes the name of Jeju City, the provincial capital. According to legend, three demi-gods emerged from Samsung-hyeol which is said to have been on the northern slopes of Mt. Halla and became the progenitors of the Jeju people who founded the Kingdom of Tamna. It has also been claimed that three brothers including Ko-hu who were the 15th descendants of Koulla, one of the Progenitors of the Jeju people, were received by the court of Silla at which time the name Tamna was officially recognized, while the official government posts of Commander, Prince and Governor were conferred by the court upon the three.

In modern times there was uprising there which is called Jeju uprising of 1948. The Jeju Uprising, which began on April 3, 1948, was part of a larger problem across Korea at this time. The rebellions on Jeju-do, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of officials, armed organizations, and villagers alike culminated in widespread violence on the island and the center of the island (Halla Mountain) being listed as an "enemy zone" by the government of the Republic of Korea. Over 30,000 people were killed as some villagers and communist radicals alike were imprisoned in internment camps under the policies of mainland government.
The provincial administrative building was burned to the ground in September 1948 and a new building was completed in 1-do, 2-dong in December, 1952. Until 2005, Jeju Province was divided into two cities (si), Jeju and Seogwipo, and two counties (gun), Bukjeju (North Jeju) and Namjeju (South Jeju) respectively. The two cities were further divided into thirty-one neighbourhoods (dong), while the two counties were divided into seven towns (eup) and five districts (myeon). The seven towns and five districts were in turn divided into 551 villages (ri). In 2005, Jeju residents approved, by referendum, a proposal to merge Bukjeju County into Jeju City, and Namjeju County into Seogwipo City. Effective 1 July 2006, the province was also renamed Jeju Special Autonomous Province with two nominal subdivisions, Jeju and Seogwipo city. In addition to changes in name, the province has been given extensive administrative power that has been reserved for the central government. This is part of plans to turn Jeju into a "Free International City". Jeju, on 1 July 2006, was made into the first and only special autonomous province of South Korea.

The Geographical position:
Jeju Island is a volcanic island, dominated by Halla-san (Halla Mountain): a volcano 1,950 metres (6,400 ft) high and the highest mountain in South Korea. The island measures approximately 175 kilometres (109 mi) across, end to end, at the widest points. The island was created entirely from volcanic eruptions approximately 2 million years ago, during the time period from the Tertiary to the beginning of the Quaternary period, and consists chiefly of basalt and lava. The eruptions took place in the Cenozoic era. It has a humid subtropical climate, warmer than that of the rest of Korea, with four distinct seasons. Winters are cool and dry while summers are hot, humid, and sometimes rainy. There is a crater lake which is the only crater lake in South Korea. An area covering about 12% (224 square kilometres or 86 square miles) of Jeju is known as Gotjawal Forest. This area had remained untouched until the 21st century, as its base of ʻAʻā lava made it difficult to develop for agriculture. Because this forest remained untouched for a long time, it has a unique ecology. The forest is the main source of groundwater, the main water source for the half millon people of the island, because rainwater penetrates directly into the groundwater aquifer through the cracks of the ʻAʻā lava under the forest. Gotjawal forest is considered an internationally important wetland under the Ramsar Convention by some researchers because it is the habitat of unique species of plants and is the main source of water for the residents, although to date it has not been declared a Ramsar site.
Have a look to the wonders of nature:

Jeju Island also called the "Island of Love"