Hence, if you long for enjoying a vacation at Raja Ampat, then just go to Riau.
Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA) - Raja Ampat in West Papua Province is a nationally and internationally renowned tourism destination located in the eastern region of Indonesia.

The tourism attraction has a unique cluster of beautiful small islands, with clear greenish blue waters surrounding them that draw tourists.

However, due to the great distance between the two islands, people on Sumatra Island, which is located at the western region of Indonesia, have to spend more money to enjoy the beauty of Raja Ampat in Papua Island.

Fortunately, the Sumatran community has Puncak Kompe in Koto Mesjid Village, Kampar District, Riau Province.

Puncak Kompe is a hill surrounded by several kempas trees (Koompassia malaccensis), which are called ‘kompe’ by the locals.

From the top of the hills, visitors can see several charming small islands with bluish green waters.

Hence, the location looks similar to Raja Ampat.

The difference between the two destinations is that the islands in Puncak Kompe are located in a lake of a dam, while the islands in Raja Ampat are located in the sea.

The residents began to work together to develop Puncak Kompe as a tourism site in 2017.

Owing to their hard work, the place has currently become a beautiful destination that attracts several visitors, including Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Salahudin Uno, who had visited Puncak Kompe on September 12, 2021.

The site was also included in the top 50 best tourist villages in the 2021 Indonesian Tourism Village Award (ADWI). A total of 1,831 tourism villages registered for the 2021 ADWI.

The trees around the peak offer a calming and comfortable ambience for the visitors to relax at the site.

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Meanwhile, the land jutting toward the lake at the foot of the hill can be reached by using two-wheeled vehicles. There is a camping site for visitors to enjoy resting near the water.

In addition, tourists can explore the small islands by common boat, or donut boat, while enjoying the soothing breeze.

Chairman of the local Tourism Awareness Group (Pokdarwis), Mushelmi, noted that in managing Puncak Kompe, his side had collaborated with various stakeholders, including with the state-owned electricity provider PT PLN.

The cooperation is aimed at building adequate facilities and interesting photo spots.

With various interesting spots, Puncak Kompe can become a weekend getaway. It only takes about 90 minutes from Pekanbaru City, the capital city of Riau Province, to reach the destination.

Mushelmi said that initially, the land of the site was owned by individuals and developed independently by local residents to become tourism sites.

Then, the management of the location was handed to the Pokdarwis of the Kampar District Tourism Office.

As the new manager of Puncak Kompe, the Pokdarwis formed a working group of 21 people to make it a quality tourism destination.

Development of the site began by paving the way to the peak of the hill -- where the visitors can view the lake on a wider range.

At that time, each of the Pokdarwis’ working group member donated Rp100 thousand (equivalent to US$7.01, based on the estimate that the exchange rate was Rp14,256/US$1 as of March 15, 2022), so they were able to collect a total of Rp2.1 million (US$147.3).

However, the funds were insufficient to pay for the excavator rented for two days for Rp7.2 million (US$505.04).

Hence, they had to owe the rest of the rental fee to the owner of the excavator.

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The tourism destination was opened on the commemoration of the Muslims' holy day Eid al-Adha 1438 Hijri -- which was on September 1, 2017 -- although the constructed road was only hard soil.

Nevertheless, people began to visit the place.

After four days of opening, the manager of Puncak Kompe was able to collect enough money from the entry tickets to pay for the excavator rent debt.

Furthermore, they started to develop the road for the lower section of the hill. Once again, they had to incur debt for the excavator rent.

Heeding to the community's persistence in establishing the new tourism destinations, sponsorship from PT PLN as well as state-run oil and gas company PT Pertamina was received for the development of Puncak Kompe.

In 2021, assistance from PT PLN's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) worth Rp90 million (US$6,312) was received for the construction of Puncak Kompe.

With the additional funding, the manager built a permanent courtyard, a four-door toilet, and a prayer room that cost a total of Rp240 million (US$16,834).

Through hard work, finally, various tourism facilities in Puncak Kompe can be enjoyed by the visitors.

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Affected by the Pandemic

So far, three permanent employees have been working for about two years at the Puncak Kompe tourism site.

However, currently, the manager is facing difficulties in paying the workers' salaries due to the declining number of tourists on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Our income is only around Rp20-30 thousand (US$1.4-2.1) on weekdays amid this two-year pandemic," Mushelmi stated.

However, after the tourism and creative economy minister visited Puncak Kompe in September 2021, the number of visitors began to increase.

People are projected to continue to visit the tourism attraction, while convenience is ensured for visitors at the site.

During his visit to the tourism site, the minister had noted that the increasing number of visitors indicated the revival of the economy.

According to Mushelmi, it showed that the pandemic provided opportunities to promote and visit more local tourism destinations, as the people’s mobility was restricted.

"People do not need to go abroad to travel since there are many interesting domestic tourism attractions," he remarked.

One of the tourist attractions is Puncak Kompe that provides natural views similar to Raja Ampat.

Uniquely, the small islands in Puncak Kompe were formed due to the transformation of a village into a dam that served as source of water for the Koto Panjang Hydroelectric Power Plant (PLTA).

Hence, the hills that used to be towering the village finally became a cluster of beautiful small islands.

"Hence, if you long for enjoying a vacation at Raja Ampat, then just go to Riau," Uno added.

Koto Mesjid Village had made various preparations to become the best tourism village.

In addition to Puncak Kompe, another location that has become an icon of the village is Kampung Patin, which means catfish village.

Furthermore, the tourism village has provided 18 quality home stays at the local residents' houses to offer visitors new experiences of being able to mingle with the locals and enjoy traditional culinary delicacies.

Thus, you do not have to go all the way to Papua to enjoy the beauty of Raja Ampat. You only need to head to Koto Mesjid Village, Kampar District, while enjoying various savory catfish meals and inhaling the fresh air in Pucak Kompe.
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Editor: Suharto
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