Jessica (Australia): I Would definitely Like to Return to Mbeliling
My visit to Lake Sanonggoang was one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had in Indonesia, and it is definitely a trip I would recommend to anyone looking for a meaningful and unique travel experience. This trip was an opportunity to see the real Indonesia and to learn more about the local culture, environment and daily life of the Manggarai community. Located between mountains and the lake itself, this village is home to a small but friendly community who are eager to show visitors around their local area, to practice their English and identify native birds and animals. During my stay I was fortunate to see 3 dances over 2 days, including the famous caci dance, performed on the banks of Lake Sanonggoang. Watching the skills of the performers and the enjoyment of the whole community who came to watch was one of the highlights of my trip. I also met with the local women’s group, who made me some local Manggarai coffee and showed me some traditional bags and hats they had made. These women clearly have a strong culture and they are passing these skills onto their children and grand-children. During my stay I spent time photographing Lake Sanonggoang and the local bird species found there, spent time with my host family and saw how bamboo is being used to make furniture which can be sold and the profits used to support the community. This was the first time I have visited an eco-tourism site in Indonesia, and I was impressed at how tourism is being managed in a responsible way to preserve the beautiful natural environment. This was an educational and rewarding trip and I would definitely like to return to Mbeliling in the future.