Unique snorkeling experience in Klaten's freshwater pond
Who would have thought that snorkeling in freshwater could be so much fun?
At Umbul Ponggok in Ponggok village, Polanharjo district in Klaten regency, this activity is a local favorite pastime, especially on hot day thanks to the 6,000-square-meter site's cool and refreshing water.
The 1.5-meter to 3-meter deep pond has an array of fish that can weigh 10 kilograms each. These amazing creatures enhance the underwater experience for snorkelers.
Staff at Umbul Ponggok always take good care of the fish, which visitors are not allowed to take.
Presently, 300 to 400 people visit the place on weekdays and up to 1,800 on weekends.
According to Endang, a staff member at Umbul Ponggok, the location has attracted hordes of visitors since June.
"That is when we started to rent out diving and snorkeling equipment," she said.
It all began four years ago when Yogyakarta universities' diving clubs started to use Umbul Ponggok as a training site. The Surakarta search and rescue team (SAR) also conducts exercises here.
Widespread social media buzz and word of mouth resulted in Umbul Ponggok's popularity, prompting village officials to create plans to commercialize the spot. They then bought diving and snorkeling equipment from a dive center in Yogyakarta.
As the place got more buzz, Umbul Ponggok residents started to rent out equipment and also benefited from the high demand in their village. They also provide underwater photo props for visitors.
Besides visitors taking pleasure in the refreshing water, many couples have underwater prenuptial photos taken at Umbul Ponggok.
Umbul Ponggok can be reach from Jl. Solo-Yogya. Upon reaching Delanggu, head to the west. It's only about a one-hour drive from Surakarta (Solo).
There is no public transportation to Umbul Ponggok and visitors need to use a private vehicle or rent one.
Admission is Rp 5,000 (45 US cents) for adults, while snorkeling equipment and underwater photo camera and props cost between Rp 5,000 and Rp 60,000.