While I have been to Jakarta over 30 times in my previous work, but unfortunately golf was never a prerequisite for the job. That is why I was thrilled to hear that the Ministry of Tourism of Indonesia was hosting a Golf Indonesia Familiarization Trip program in Jakarta-Bogor and we were invited.
Prior to this trip, GolfPH had already made partnerships with a few Indonesian golf courses and tour providers to create pretty affordable golf packages to Indonesia. However, because we never actually experienced it firsthand, we were always hesitant to promote them as an elite golf tourism destination. Until now…
The 2015 Wonderful Indonesia Golf FAMTRIP
On November 8-11, 2015, the GolfPH team had the honor of being one of the representatives from the Philippines. The purpose of this trip was for the Ministry of Tourism of Indonesia to showcase Indonesia as a popular golf tourism destination with 55 golf courses registered as members of the Indonesia Golf Courses Association. In addition to these lovely golf courses, Indonesia also has dynamic city life, temples and lovely beaches.
The trip started on Sunday evening November 8, 2015 with a welcome dinner that was simply amazing. The venue Dapur Babah is a beautifully designed atmosphere highlighting Indonesia culture and design and Peranakan/Babah cuisine, which highlights the countries influences of Indonesia, Chinese and Dutch.
The evening was the perfect icebreaker for old friends meeting new friends and enjoying a lovely evening of food and drinks.
After dinner, we retired back to the new JS Luwansa hotel located in Jakarta’s Kuningan district in the south. The 244 well equipped room hotel and convention center is one of the best locations for both work and golf trips. The facilities are also top class with a sparkling infinity pool, fitness center and spa on the mezzaine floor and a good selection of restaurants covering Japanese, to BBQ, to local cuisines. The JS Luwansa was also the hotel of choice by the players, professionals and delegates of the Indonesian Masters.
The next morning started early as we headed to Royale Jakarta Golf Club, one of the newest and premier golf courses in Asia, designed by Bob Moore Jr. & JMP Group. There are 27 challenging holes with stunning visual scenery filled with expansive greens and highlights of exotic plants and calming water elements.
Once we arrived, we made a quick stop to the well stocked Pro Shop to load up on balls, tees and a last minute hat. The locker room downstairs was well designed, maintained and even had those fancy individual RFID cards to get in. After changing into our gear, we headed up to the cart parking lot and took a nice group picture with the gorgeous view behind us.
We then broke into our flights and headed out onto the course, eager to get to know each other better and enjoy a lovely day of golf. The course itself is quite difficult with sand traps aplenty and we certainly got our practice chipping out of them!
The weather cooperated wonderfully and while it did get a bit hotter on the back 9, the every attentive and colourfully dressed caddies were always present with our GolfPH umbrellas.
After completing our round of golf at Royale, we headed back to the locker room with their unique combination lock/card system to get our towels and head for a hot shower.
The GM George Chandra hosted us for a nice buffet lunch where we dined with great view and compared our scores and favorite holes.
In the evening, we were treated to another Indonesia delicacy of roast duck at the uniquely named Bebek Bengil, or Dirty Duck Diner! We had a nice long table covered with appetizers and we each got our own half roasted duck.
The skin was crispy and flavorful while the meat had great texture and taste. We washed it all down with the ubiquitous Indonesia beer Bintan and enjoyed a fun evening together.
The next morning hour long journey had us in a totally different environment in mountains of Bogor Raya. The weather was much cooler and the beautifully designed resort of Klub Golf Bogor Raya welcomed us with elements of Balianese design and immaculately manicured lawns and landscaping.
This 18 hole 71 par course covers a total land area of over 64 hectares and was designed by a well known Golf Course Architect from Australia Mr. Graham V. Marsh. The expansive and luxurious locker rooms are certainly a highlight and have been featured in top 10 lists of golf courses around the world!
Upon changing, we headed off with new flight-mates into the rustic yet elegant golf course.
This course had much more contour than the Royale Jakarta course so we spent much of the day on difficult terrain and lies.
We completed the course just as it started to warm up but with the cool mountain breeze, that helped maintain our comfort through the 18 holes.
After returning to the locker room and enjoying a unique outdoor shower experience overlooking the holes, we tucked into a nice buffet meal with local Indonesia delicacies. Everyone had a great time at Bagor Raya
As Bogor Raya is south of Jakarta, on the way back to the hotel, we were able to stop in the highlight of Jakarta tourism, the Taman Mini Indonesia Indah. This 150 hectares tourism park showcases the different shape and building style of the 33 provinces of Indonesia and even has a lake with a miniature of the Indonesian archipelago, with the six zones of Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Bali and Nusa Tenggara, Maluku and Papua.
In the evening, our gracious hosts took us out to one of Jakarta’s hottest rooftop establishment called Skye Bar & Restaurant, which was developed by the experienced local Ismaya Group. The skyline panorama was stunning and the cool cocktails were a welcome refreshment before dinner. The Skye restaurant has an extensive menu with cuisine inspired by Latin Hispanic, Middle-Eastern and Asian countries. I settled on the lamb selection which was absolutely as delicious as it was beautifully visually presented. The evening was a blast in the lounge style restaurant with chill music and good company.
The last course Damai Indah Golf is located along the Java Sea coastline and was a beauty.
It was also a perfect location for a few of our fellow visitors with earlier flights, as it is quite near the airport located in the North of Jakarta. We checked into the locker rooms which were well equipped and head out on our last round of golf for the trip.
The caddies at the Pantal Indah Kapuk (PIK) course were decked out in colorful and playful almost court jester type outfits and provided both wise club selection advice and great service. This 6048-meter and 72-par golf course is designed to showcase the natural beauty of the coastal wetlands and numerous winding streams and ponds.
This course was the only one in which I “donated” quite a number of balls into the water hazards!
We ended the round and the trip with a friendly competition between new friends from across the region, brought together by the enchanting golf courses and legendary hospitality of Indonesia.
Although this trip was short, it was an ‘wonderful’ experience. Besides being able to play at 3 world class golf courses, we got to meet some pretty amazing people from different parts of South East Asia. We also learned a lot too because every person was willing to share their experiences and give their tips on how we can work collectively to help each other out. Thanks for the advice.
We would also like to give our thanks once again to the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism for inviting us and giving us the opportunity to visit your beautiful country. Overall, we were very impressed and will surely be back.
Last, we would like to thank Merry, Santi and the Golf Wonderful Indonesia team. You guys were the perfect hosts and were very hospitable from start to finish. Without you guys, this trip wouldn’t have been the same and thank you for making this our best FAM trip experience ever.
Everyone else, start marking your calendars and look out for Indonesia Outbound Golf Packages because they’re coming your way really soon.
For any inquires about planning a golf trip to Indonesia, please email [email protected]. Thanks =)