Umbul Ponggok Indonesian village pond has become a Instagram hot-spot for tourists 


The village pond that’s become an Instagram sensation thanks to visitors posing for photos in it next to bizarre props, from jet skis to tents

  • Umbul Ponggok, a 230 by 130ft-wide pond in central Java, has 40 natural springs. And a quirky side
  • Villagers invested money to transform it from a moss-covered body of water into a tourist attraction
  • Visitors flock to it to pose for odd underwater photographs for a small fee. And even the president is a fan 

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A small village pond in Indonesia has become an unlikely hit on Instagram, thanks to the endeavours of the locals, who hire it out for bizarre photoshoots.

Umbul Ponggok, a 230 by 130ft-wide pond in central Java, boasts crystal clear waters, an abundance of colourful fish plus a range of quirky props that the locals have submerged in it.

For an entrance fee of $1 (81p), visitors can sink to the bottom of the body of water and pose for zany images next to objects such as a jet ski, a tent, a motorbike and a TV set.

A visitor to Umbul Ponggok, a 230 by 130ft-wide pond in central Java, poses underwater next to a TV set prop

Visitors can either rent an underwater camera or pay a scuba-diving photographer to snap pictures for them. 

The tourist attraction’s Instagram account, where the best underwater images are posted, has more than 40,000 followers.

Even the president of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, is a fan. He posted a picture to Instagram taken at the pond showing a visitor posing under the water on a motorbike among the fish.

But Umbul Ponggok, located in the village of Ponggok, hasn’t always been on the tourist trail.

For an entrance fee of $1 (81p), visitors can sink to the bottom of the body of water and pose for zany images

For an entrance fee of $1 (81p), visitors can sink to the bottom of the body of water and pose for zany images 

The tourist attraction has become a hit on Instagram and its account, where the best underwater images are posted, has more than 40,000 followers

The tourist attraction has become a hit on Instagram and its account, where the best underwater images are posted, has more than 40,000 followers

Just 15 years ago, the pond, pictured, was dirty and polluted and used by local residents for bathing and washing clothes

Just 15 years ago, the pond, pictured, was dirty and polluted and used by local residents for bathing and washing clothes 

Villagers own nearly 40 per cent of the shares in Umbul Ponggok and many make money by selling souvenirs, clothing and food around the attraction

Villagers own nearly 40 per cent of the shares in Umbul Ponggok and many make money by selling souvenirs, clothing and food around the attraction

Just 15 years ago, the pond was dirty and polluted and used by local residents for bathing and washing clothes.

There was high unemployment in the village and those lucky enough to have jobs worked in farms or the local quarry.

But in 2006, the newly-elected village head, Junaedi Mulyono, noticed the pond had potential if it was cleaned up, because 40 natural springs flow into it.

He convinced villagers to invest in a business that would clean up the pond and transform it into a tourist attraction.

And they responded by setting up Tirta Mandiri (which means Water Independent) and turning the pond into a money-spinner.

Today, villagers own nearly 40 per cent of the shares in Umbul Ponggok and many make money by selling souvenirs, clothing and food around the attraction.

Mulyono told the South China Morning Post: ‘Initially many residents were reluctant to invest but after seeing the development of the pond, they changed their minds.

‘The arrival of tourists to see Umbul Ponggok is what made the economy grow.’

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