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Upcoming Events in Indonesia

Along with the endorsement of 2008 as Visit Indonesia Year, a line-up of programs has been arranged to give visitors a closer encounter with the country’s magnificent culture. Here are some of the highlights to come in the next few months:

Waisak, May 20

Waisak, which commemorates the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha, promises a most dazzling spectacle on the grounds of the ancient temples of Central Java.

On this holy day, pilgrims will join hundreds of Buddhist monks in making a five-mile journey from Candi Mendut to Borobudur, carrying offerings of flowers and candles to the top of the impressive temple. The scene becomes even more memorable come nighttime, when candles are lit against the dark velvet sky with the sounds of monks praying, chanting and meditating in the background.

If there’s a best time to visit Borobudur, this would be it, and the memory is guaranteed to stay with you forever.

Phinisi Grand Prix, May 20-Aug. 17

Treading 5,000 miles of waves from Sabang to Merauke, the Phinisi Grand Prix will have 200 traditional schooners reliving the golden age of Indonesian phinisi in a 90-day sea adventure. The GP is divided into three zones, with the three launch points being Sunda Kelapa in the west, Gresik in the central region and Bitung in the east.

Throughout the competition, schooners will be trailing a trajectory that takes them from Batam to Benoa and Makassar, all the way to Timika and Merauke and finishing up in Ambon in time for Independence Day.

World Batik Summit, June 1

Regardless of your fashion taste, batik never goes out of style. Held at the Jakarta Convention Center, the World Batik Summit aims to showcase the best of Indonesian batik through a series of international seminars and exhibitions.

The event will also be attended by representatives from around the globe to help promote the beauty of batik to a worldwide audience.

Jakarta Fair, June 14-July 14

June once again marks that time of the year when denizens of the great metropolis flock to the Kemayoran Fairground to celebrate Jakarta’s anniversary with a bit of fun and games. Expect plenty of ondel-ondel, bazaars selling local products and a variety of entertainment programs that will make your nights merry for a full month.

This year’s Jakarta Fair will be held in conjunction with the Jakarta Great Sale in an effort to endorse the capital as one of Asia’s new preferred shopping destinations. This spells out to extensive discounts and programs at many of the city’s shopping malls, department stores, restaurants and hotels.

Bali Arts Festival, June 15-July 17

This famed festival month continues to attract visitors to the Island of the Gods with myriad performances and exhibitions of traditional arts and crafts from all over Bali and beyond.

For those who plan on visiting, don’t miss the festival’s spectacular opening ceremony with its complex displays of Balinese musical ensembles, traditional costumes and giant floats. Most events will be taking place at the Denpasar Arts Centre. For full listing of programs, visit www.baliculturefestival.com.

Lake Toba Festival, June 13-16

After an 11-year hiatus, the Lake Toba Festival returns to the highlands of North Sumatra in a week-long cultural fair that will delight any visitor with a series of traditional sports, boat and horse races and water sport competitions.

Set in the vicinity of the country’s largest natural lake, the festival also has culinary treats, ulos weaving demonstrations, as well as marathons and an international bike race dubbedde Toba“.

Meanwhile, those with an artistic inclination should not pass up the chance to catch the array of cultural performances, contemporary art shows and handicraft exhibitions to be held in seven regencies around the Toba locale.

Compiled by Andrea Tejokusumo