Umbul Ponggok is not your regular village pond. This particular small pond has its own Instagram account and tens of thousands of followers. Umbul Ponggok is located in the Central Java region of Indonesia.
It is a small pond that measures in at only 20 meters by 50 meters. However, it does boast the cleanest possible water that you can imagine. The pond is continuously provided fresh water from a total of 40 different springs at a surprising rate of 800 liters per second. This means that the water is always crystal clear. It is this amazing property of Umbul Ponggok that make it such an ideal location for selfies that are taken underwater. In this era of technology and Instagram, people are making sure to take the fullest advantage of this property.
About fifteen years ago, Ponggok was an obscure and poor Indonesian village, and the pond was polluted and dirty. Locals used to bathe and wash their dirty clothes in the pond. Unemployment was the norm, and locals were barely earning a living by farming or mining in the quarries that were located nearby. However, the very same village paints a different story now. It is ranked among the top ten richest villages in Indonesia and unemployment is virtually non-existent. Tourism is being used for driving the local economy, and all of this has been achieved thanks to Umbul Ponggok and Instagram.
The rehabilitation of the underwater Instagram tourism spot took place because of Junaedi Mulyono. He took it upon himself for transforming Ponggok into a tourist attraction once he was elected as the village head back in 2006. He began the process by bringing students from a university that was located a few kilometers away and requested to compile a database of the problems, potential resources, and possible solutions in the village.
Using the information collected by the students, Mulyono created a village-owned business by the name of Tirta Mandiri and requested the locals to invest in it. His promise? The villagers would be able to reap the rewards for many years to come. Although many were reluctant in taking up his advice, 430 out of a total of 700 families did invest. The ones that didn’t invest became investors once the Umbul Ponggok had been cleaned up and tourists started pouring in.
Each of the families that had invested in Tirta Mandiri placed 5 million rupiahs and has enjoyed returns of 400,000 to 500,000 rupiah per month for the last ten years. The income has allowed the locals to enhance the quality of their life and provide better education for their children. With the economic growth in the village, the unemployment has been almost eradicated.
According to the South China Morning Post, the annual income of Ponggok in 2005 was 80 million rupiahs, and today the annual revenue is around 14 billion rupiahs. It has become known as one of the must-see tourist attractions of Klaten Regency.
Check out some of the pictures that Instagrammers have taken at Umbul Ponggok and do let us know what you think of it!