Ardent lovers of Indonesian people, culture and nature, we, at Azimuth Adventure Travel Ltd, wish to use our experience of adventuring through this amazing archipelago to set a standard in Professionalism, Safety, and Respect for Nature.
Professionalism – Azimuth is a western managed company. We therefore use the highest standards of commitment and service , and our guides have been trained to the western trekking techniques.
Safety – While providing our best service, safety remains our top priority and is always in our minds. We therefore collaborate with the most trained and experienced local guides , who obviously master the western Red Cross standards in First Aid. We also prefer leading small groups of up to 15 people, but when required, will provide an extra guide for larger groups.
Respect for Nature – As an ecotourism operator , another of our major priorities is to respect every site we visit. We object to transforming the Indonesian environment into a trashcan. It is obviously everyone’s responsibility, but we feel we have a moral and social duty to educate people in that domain.
The Origins of Azimuth Adventure Travel Ltd
Extraordinary geological and climatic conditions have produced amazing scenery throughout Indonesia: from Sumatra and Borneo ‘s deep jungles to Irian ‘s snow-covered peaks, from Java and Bali ‘s fertile rice plantations to Lesser Sundas ‘ prairies and savannas. Located on a subduction zone, the Indonesian archipelago is a land of active volcanoes and therefore a real adventure destination.
This was the motivation for Dominique Clarisse and Puji Widyarsanti, ardent lovers of Indonesia, in establishing Azimuth Adventure Travel Ltd, a travel company that operates adventure stays and tours throughout the entire archipelago. As adventure tourism is still a new concept in Indonesia, Azimuth aims to use its know-how and professionalism to further explore and support this “new frontier” and to promote a new image of Indonesia as a land of eco-tourism and adventure.
Born in Central-Java, Puji Widyarsanti graduated in German language and has been working in the local tourism business for several years before setting up this company together with her husband, Dominique Clarisse – a Frenchman. Actually, Dominique “fell in love” with Indonesia while adventuring across the archipelago for the first time years ago. He then went on to work in this amazing country as a trekking guide, collaborating with a major French adventure travel operator. He has explored the wildest spots between volcanoes and jungles and committed his life to leaving his footprints on every one of the 17.000 islands of Indonesia!
Puji and Dominique are surrounded by all the motivated Yogyakarta & Bali-based licensed guides, who have been taught about the principles of the western trekking techniques, which consist of:
– Introduction to the trekking philosophy;
– Guide / Tour-Leader ‘s duty & responsibility;
– First Aid Techniques (Western Red-Cross standards);
– Knowledge of Mountain Environment;
– Orientation Techniques;
– Use of Trekking Equipment;
– Sport & trekking practice .
Their knowledge has since been upgraded regularly, as this team aims at becoming a highly professional reference in the Indonesian Tourism Sector.
We, at Azimuth, are eventually a gathering of people who are deeply committed to sharing our main passion: Indonesia. Consequently every new adventure program is first extensively surveyed from an environmental perspective. The local people are consulted so that this tour has no impact on their lives. This consultation is a continuous process, which forms the basis of our company’s identity.
Dominique “fell in love” with Indonesia while adventuring across the archipelago for the first time more than 15 years ago. He then went on to work in this amazing country as a trekking guide, collaborating with a major French adventure travel operator “Allibert”. Then he created “Azimuth Adventure Travel” with Puji to offer live trekking and hiking exceptions to Francophone clients.
Originally from Central Java, Puji Widyarsanti graduated in German and worked for several years in tourism before creating Azimuth Adventure Travel with Dominique Clarisse. Now based in Switzerland Puji manages all the account department files from there.
After 6 years spent as Asia Product Manager in the leading adventure travel company in France, Cédric just joined the Azimuth team as product manager “groups”. Traveler, passionate about hiking and sharing with peoples, Cédric has traveled to South America, Europe and Asia before settling in the Indonesian archipelago looking for the most beautiful hikes and activities in harmony with the spirit of Azimuth Adventure Travel.
Expert guide in volcanology, Dasirun is now our guide’s manager. All along the year he bends over backwards to recruit the best tour guides of Indonesia and train them to the western standards. Through him we are able to offer exceptional tours accompanied by guides with both very good knowledge of Indonesian culture and good physical condition.
After a 6 months internship, Manon “fell in love » with Indonesia. Passionate about adventure and scuba diving, quite naturally she joined Azimuth Adventure Travel’s team. Responsible for updating the website, she makes every effort to ensure that our website is interactive. Adviser foremost, she will offer you the trip of your dreams.
Our Mc MacGyver, Abraham! His general culture and his abilities are very varied: photography, guidance, IT … You can’t stop him! Mainly in charge of the newsletter and our social networks, he is responsible for Azimuth’s external communication. But who knows .. you may find him in one of your trip, and you will not be disappointed!
At the heart of the company, she is the one responsible for booking hotels. Speaking Indonesian, French and English, she ensures the coordination between production and hotel’s reservation services. She became over time “the friend” of booking services.
Aside from helping Chacha in her varied tasks, Tyas aims to assign you the best vehicles and find you the best flight connections to make your trip as comfortable as possible. Indonesian administrative services: immigration, taxes … don’t have any more secrets for her!
In constant contact with Puji, Dhita is a key component of Azimuth. Daily, she ensures various financial tasks (providers’ payment, salaries, financial reports guides …) and must juggle with currencies.
Indonesia (210 million inhabitants) is the world’s largest archipelago and one of the most populated countries after India, China and the United-States, stretching over 5,000 km. Its 13,000 islands and more rise onto a spine of 500 volcanoes, 128 of which are active today. Over time, volcanoes have reshaped some islands, and provided an incredibly fertile and rich ashen soil base. Plants of all sorts grow in this environment and some islands (Java and Bali) yield two rice crops per year.
Indonesia is home to a number of ethnic groups, with about 500 tribes speaking 500 languages and dialects. About 60 % of the population lives on the island of Java, the world’s most populated island, with over 13 millions in Jakarta alone. Indonesia is proud of its uniqueness, as reflected in the national slogan: ‘Bhinneka Tunggal Ika’ (Unity in diversity).
The archipelago is divided geographically into four areas. From West to East:
1. The Sunda Islands (Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi)
2. The Lesser Sunda Islands (Bali, Lombok, Flores, Sumba, Sumbawa, Timur)
3. The Maluku archipelago
4. Western Papua (former Irian Jaya)
Each island has a unique flora and fauna. Relative isolation has produced an amazing regeneration of both soil and wildlife, giving to each island a unique charm. In addition, few are aware that 10 % of the world’s rainforests are found in Indonesia. As a result, Indonesia supplies some 300 species of rare and medicinal plants for the pharmaceutical industry.
Close to 30,000 plants are foundthroughout the archipelago, including over 15 % of the world’s entire plant species. Indonesia’s rainforests are among the richest in the world, with over 4,000 varieties of trees. Some are over 40 meters tall (diptocarps) and bloom once or twice every second year.
These rainforests are also home to a large variety of orchids, including the ’lovely ladies‘ slippers,’ the beautiful but seldom-seen “black orchids”, and 14 species of rare raflesias, the world’s largest flower.
For fruit-lovers, Indonesia is simply a piece of paradise: imagine! over 25 varieties of bananass to select from! Other products grown in the archipelago include rubber and rattan trees, gums and resins, but also tea, coffee, and rice.
An archipelago of fragmented islands naturally provides a diversity of wildlife, and Indonesia is home to an incredibly rich and diverse fauna. Rare and endangered species alone constitute an impressive list, including the Javanese and Sumatran rhinoceros, the clouded leopard, the golden cat of Temminck, the ajak wild dog, and orangutans… Wildlife specimens can easily be observed along trails and roadsides, particularly at dawn and dusk. The country shelters about 210 indigenous species (birds not even included!). Among its 1,480 species of birds, 370 are indigenous and most only live on one or few small islands in the archipelago: a true delight for birdwatchers.
Speaking of birds, the most famous bird across the archipelago in fact… does not exist! It is a colourful mythical creature, half human, half bird. To this day, the Garuda is a revered symbol and the prevalent theme among dances and artistic creations.
Other wild animals include small lizards, the most notorious reptile: the Komodo dragon (over 4 meters in length), crocodiles, and an outstanding variety of colorful butterflies.
Indonesians enjoy a strong artistic heritage and several regions are known for their textiles, woodcarving (woodcarving from Bali, by Kalimantan’s Dayaks and Irian Jaya’s Asmats), jewellery and general craftsmanship. Although the dip in the country’s export trade has somewhat dulled the initial growth in this industry, the sheer volume and advantageous prices of these items make shopping in Indonesia a delight and a great opportunity to meet artists or craftspersons. And an activity which can easily become an all-consuming pastime.
Indonesia’s currency is the Rupiah. Always carry with you small notes and coins. Indeed, in most parts of the country, change for Rp 50,000 notes is hard to find. The largest available denomination is Rp 100,000.
Euros and dollars are accepted in tourist areas, including in the islands of Java, Bali, and Lombok. American Express are the preferred travellers’ cheques. Moneychangers are found everywhere in main cities. Prior to changing large sums of money, please ensure that the bank or moneychanger you are dealing with carries sufficient cash. Credit cards are not widely accepted. They may be used however in main cities, large hotels, some car rental facilities and exclusive restaurants.
Indonesia is a paradise for amateur and experienced photographers who wish to capture its unique people and cultures. Many stores sell memory cards of all kinds with interesting prices. In big cities, good quality hard copy are available.
Population: 115 millions inhabitants
Time difference GMT*: + 7h
Population: 3 millions inhabitants.
Time difference GMT*: + 8h
* GMT = Greenwich Meridian Hour
Passport is compulsory for every stay in Indonesia. It must be available six months after your return. You have to get a Tourism Visa if you stay less than 60 days. You can easily get one when arriving at the airports of Jakarta, Denpasar, Medan, Manado, Padang and Surayaba. Visa cost is around 40-50$.
Cathay Pacific (transit in Hong-Kong) from Paris, London, Vancouver, New York.
Emirates (transit in Dubaï) from Paris, Geneva, London, New York.
Etihad (transit in Abu Dhabi) from Paris, Geneva, London, New-York.
KLM (transit in Amsterdam) from Paris, Amsterdam, London.
Qatar Airways (transit in Doha) from Paris, Geneva, London, New York.
Singapore Airlines (transit in Singapore) from Paris, London.
The prices of flights are higher in July and August (high season) ; you should give priority to the months of April, May, July or September and October.
Tourism has been booming for over 5 years, with more than 8 million tourists a year! Although Bali is the most visited island, the other islands of archipelago (Sumatra, Sulawesi, Java & Flores in particular) are becoming more and more popular as well. Infrastructures are being developed to accommodate these new tourists from all around the world.
Risk of natural disasters is large enough. Indeed, Indonesian archipelago is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, so earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis are frequent. Tourists should follow the pieces of advice from local authorities in case of problems, especially when some areas are prohibited. Nevertheless these events have negligible impacts on tourism.
Islam is the majority religion in Indonesia. Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity are present as well. Remnants of the Hindu-Buddhist past are still visible, as attested by Borobudur and Prambanan temples in the Yogyakarta area. Hinduism continues to be the religion of the majority in Bali. Indonesia is nevertheless a secular republic since the proclamation of its independence on the 17th of August 1945. Sukarno, the father of the nation, had in fact clearly separated state and religious matters. And, despite recent unrest by a few Islamic political minority groups, this secular principle is respected. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has reiterated this fact in a speech on the 7th of May 2014: http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/keep-indonesia-secular-yudhoyono-urges/
During the month of Ramadan, life often goes at a slower pace. The two days called “Idul Fitri” at the end of the fasting month cause considerable slowing down on the roads, especially in Java where each Muslim is expected to go back to his home place and celebrate with his family. Therefore, it is difficult to circulate in Java around the period of Ramadan.
The very first human traces on the Indonesian archipelago go back to 1,5 million years ago. Supported by global warming (already existing at that time), Homo Erectus, known as the Java man, reached Java and then the surrounding islands. Starting from the fifth century of our era, some Buddhist though mainly Hindu kingdoms flourished throughout parts of the archipelago until the fourteenth century when the spread of Islam took over. Though known for centuries through Arab traders, it wasn’t until the late 1400s that Islam became the majority religion helped especially by the expansion of trade.
These islands didn’t stand up to the European exploration either, particularly by the Portuguese and the Dutch. And despite the British threat, the Dutch finally imposed themselves and created Batavia in 1602 (former name for Jakarta). The Dutch East India Company (VOC) eventually claimed the entire archipelago, from Aceh to Papua.In the 19th century, after the bankruptcy of the VOC, the Dutch state took over those remote islands. At the beginning of the twentieth century, between the two world wars, signs of a nationalist movement affirmed by Soekarno made their appearance. During the Second World War, the Indonesian archipelago found itself at stake in the middle of the conflict unfolding in the Pacific. Japan occupied the archipelago from 1942 until 1945. At the end of the war, Soekarno, who had become an icon of freedom, proclaimed the independence of Indonesia on August 17th 1945 after the defeat of the Japanese.
But the Dutch had not renounced their colony. After four years of additional conflicts and a threat of being rejected from the Marshall Plan by the United States, the Netherlands acknowledged the sovereignty of the Republic of Indonesia. The independence became effective on December 16th 1949. Unfortunately, due to the growing economic and political problems he confronted, Soekarno struggled to develop the country. He was thrown out of power by a Military Coup d’Etat orchestrated by general Soeharto in 1965.
Soekarno’s motto of “Unity in Diversity” was maintained in the new era. Establishing an authoritarian regime, Soeharto ruled the country for thirty-two years. The Asian financial crisis of 1997-98 brought an end to his reign. Confronted by more and more student demonstrations, sometimes strongly repressed by the army, the old general was forced to resign. A period of struggle ensued during which reformers worked on establishing a democracy. Positive economic forecasts assist Indonesians heading towards that goal and the country is now developing steadily. The middle class is growing and the president elected in 2014 is seen as a man who embraces the idea of renewal and change.
Indonesia is a Republic. Starting in 2005 the president is elected directly for a period of 5 years. The legislative elections are held before the presidential election and the results designate the presidential candidates. The state is decentralized and a number of provinces, like Yogyakarta and Bali (where are the Azimuth Adventure Travel Ltd offices) retain their cultural independence.
To know more about the politics and history of Indonesia, we recommend you visit the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which recounts each historical date of the country. You may also look at Encyclopédie Universaelis and the following articles:
Bertrand Romain, Indonésie : la démocratie invisible – Violence, magie et politique à Java, Editions Karthala, 2002.
Cayrac-Blanchard Françoise, Indonésie, l’armée et le pouvoir, L’Harmattan, 1991.
Indonesia has the 10th largest economy in the world. Its GDP reaches US$2,058 billion (ICP report 2011). As a comparison, France’s GDP was US$2,369 billion the same year and the largest economic power, the United States was US$15,533 billion. The country pursues this dazzling development with an annual economic growth of nearly 7%. This situation has brought a rapid modernisation of the country, mostly in the cities, and the resurgence of a growing middle class with constantly increasing incomes. Unfortunately, this new prosperity doesn’t benefit everyone. As of today, half the population lives with less than $2.00 per day. Eradication of poverty remains as one of the great challenges in Indonesia.
Since the beginning, we pay a lot of attention to our guides team. Thay will guide you during your stay. Therefore, they are the guarantors of a quality and a spirit which we are particularly attached.
All of our guides speak fluently english and perfectly mastered every aspect of Indonesian culture. They are also very good hikers and they know every volcano by heart. With 10 years experience, they are well trained in guiding, cultural aspects of their country, first aid in the mountains, but also to specific customer expectations.
They are regularly trained and we attach a special attention to keep them informed on current events (especially volcanic events…) of Indonesia. Whether it’s at the heart of rice fields in Bali, in the center of Ubud known for art and culture, or even at the summit of Merapi, they will help you discover Indonesia like no one else…
Like sustainable development, the goal of sustainable tourism is a to perpetuate an activity (tourism in this case), while minimizing to the maximum its negative impacts on destinations and populations visited.
It is clear that in a world where everything is always “green”, ” organic”, ” ethic”, ” lonely” or “fair”, sustainable tourism has become a concept increasingly fashion. This notion increasingly hackneyed is used everywhere and every time, and unfortunately, more often than we could think, for marketing purposes only…
In Indonesia as elsewhere, there are many agencies claiming to make “ecotourism”, or “green tourism”. In fact, almost nothing change on the field, and trips offered or ways of working are no different from other agencies who are not claiming it.
Far from these marketing concerns, and aware of the problem, Azimuth Adventure Travel has decided to act at its own scale. Without any label or other recognition, we simply want to set up concrete actions through our tourism activity.
Aware that our activity is based on the natural beauty of Indonesia and the amazing culture of its people, it seems important to act to preserve them. We have therefore implemented several projects aimed at making our business more responsible and more committed.
Like other parts of the world, Indonesia is unfortunately crumbling under plastic and other kind of waste.
Some trekking trails and base camps, are literally full of rubbish, a real shame in a place where nature would be the most impressive part … It was therefore, imperative to act. We then started a substantive work to find practical and concrete solutions to keep remote areas like volcanoes, completely clean. Initially, we started working with two emblematic National Parks: Semeru and Rinjani.
Both treks are among the best known, most beautiful, and unfortunately, among the most polluted in Indonesia…
In partnership with these two National Parks, we are currently working to find solutions easily achievable, viable and economically attractive to preserve these extraordinary places. Find budgets, act for an awareness of local people and visitors, managing the practical problems of treating such waste in a mountain environment … are some spots on which we operate. Cleaning actions have already been implemented and are the beginnings of a new policy of waste management for the National Parks. Ultimately, the goal is to work in partnership with all the major parks of Indonesia.
More than just isolated actions, we prefer a real substantive work. The results will therefore probably not felt in some time: no matter, as long as they are … sustainable. In Indonesia, the concept of sustainable development is particularly nascent. More than struggle against the excesses and issues of tourism, our work is therefore a general awareness of local people, their governments, and of course, visitors. All this by using one of the most formidable and powerful tools for local development: Tourism.
Moreover, this desire to act effectively in sustainable tourism also fall across the board in the entire company
Our trips are all the result of a long process and reflection, and we take care to provide them as much reasonable and sustainable as possible. However, we are also aware that this is not enough. Gradually, we’ll rethink all our tours, trekking, and other trips, including in them the basics and principles of a more respectable and sustainable tourism.
We also actively thinking about creating trips more engaged in terms of local development: ensuring that the maximum of the financial flows generated by tourism, benefit directly to people, through one way or another: different tracks are being considered for the moment and we still working on it.
A new range of trips and tours respecting these principles is also in process.
These few lines are not intended to “improve” the image of Azimuth. They have been written to demonstrate that in sustainable tourism, everything remains to be done. “Sustainable” communication on a large scale and green marketing are at work for years: now remains to see what changes on the ground…
That is why we decided to be engaged in a country that is dear to us, where tourism remains mostly emerging and very promising: Indonesia.
If you want more information about our projects or on their progress, you can contact us at: