Sometimes controversial, but always interesting, Dutch TV personality Willibrord Frequin recently visited Bali's for 2 entire weeks during the final phase of 7 weeks in Indonesia that covered all the popular destinations in Sumatra, Java and Bali.
Host of the highly-ranked TV program "The Week of Willibrord," Frequin's penetrating interviewing techniques have been deployed in interviews with many of the world's leading personalities of the day, covering the range from Frank Sinatra to pontiffs to politicians.
On an extended Indonesian trip sponsored by the Dutch travel company OAD, Frequin's visit to Bali included stays at the Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa, Maya Ubud and Bali Hyatt. Accompanied by his fiancé, Susan Rastin, the Dutch celebrity's Indonesian sojourn will be featured in Privé Magazine and form the nucleus of a TV program to be aired soon in Holland.
With the kind help of Julita Chandra of the Nusa Dua Beach Hotel, and Ayu Martiasih of the Maya Ubud, balidiscovery.com caught up with Willibrord and Susan before they departed on a Saturday flight back home to Holland.
The Indonesian Trip
Although 7 weeks may seem like a long time to spend in one country, the hyper-active TV host crowded an exhausting list of activities and stops into his schedule. When asked what his trip included, Frequin rattled off a rapid-fire list that detailed a swim in volcanic Lake Toba in North Sumatra; feeding orangutans at a remote jungle game reserve; walking through a dense tropical rain forest; exploring the inspiring Borobudur temple in Central Java; cycling around Bali; enjoying fish dinners on Jimbaran Beach (5 times); indulging in pampering sessions at local spas; attending traditional dance performances; stopping at at least every other Balinese temple for a closer look; and visiting as many Bali hotels as time would permit to understand why the island's has its well-deserved reputation for outstanding accommodation. Apparently the only thing Wallboard Frequin didn't do much of during his Indonesian holiday was put his feet up and relax.
With 7 weeks of Indonesian touring to his credit, we were eager to find out what most impressed the well-traveled Frequin about his recent visit to Indonesia. Without the need to pause and reflect, Willibrord shot back that while the wide beaches, delicious food, outstanding hotels, and unforgettable landscapes will form memories to last a lifetime; he and his fiancé will always be left with recollections of the generosity and warmth of the many Indonesian people they encountered on their travels. Wherever they stopped, regardless of whether or not they made a local purchase, people seemed eager to greet them with a smile and wish them a good stay.
The State of Dutch Travel to Indonesia
Although showing signs of gradual recovery, Dutch tourism to Indonesia is still down when compared to levels achieved just 4 or 5 years ago. When pressed to share how the Dutch currently view Indonesia as a holiday destination, Frequin admitted that media reports on recent terrorist incidents, public demonstrations and corruption do little to stimulate outbound travel to a country that is held close to the heart of many Hollanders. Based on his country-wide travel experience, however, Frequin unhesitatingly suggested that his fellow countrymen should perhaps ignore what they hear in the press, urging the Dutch to "come to Indonesia, it's a beautiful country and the people are so friendly, you feel in heaven."
Pledging to "spread the good news" on Indonesia via his coming TV coverage, Frequin urged Indonesia to do all it can to seek more overseas publicity highlighting its excellent beaches, wonderful cuisine and welcoming locals.
Bali: The Romantic Destination
As final proof that Bali managed to work its charms on Willibrord Frequin and Susan Rastin, both indicated that plans are well underway for a return trip to Bali during which their visit will include their own wedding in Paradise.
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