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Rich snap up luxury grave sites

Indonesians cashing in on the latest fad for upmarket burial plots near sports facilities and lakes

Gulf News

Jakarta: At 8am on a sunny Wednesday, industrialist Muhsin headed out for a workout: a swim and a few laps around a running track. His chosen location? Indonesia's most luxurious cemetery.

The 1,240 acre San Diego Hills Memorial Park, which opened in 2007, was inspired by the Forest Lawn chain of US cemeteries, the final resting place of celebrities such as Michael Jackson.

Yet even they can't match San Diego Hills' adornments, which include an Italian restaurant called La Colina, a small-scale replica of Istanbul's Blue Mosque, and the man-made Lake of Angels that's dotted with rowboats on weekends.

The attractions lure visitors such as Muhsin, 58, who owns steelmaking company PT Kayafit Metal Industries and has bought several grave sites for family members.

San Diego Hills is one way entrepreneurs can profit from the spending power of the world's fourth biggest consumer market by population. At least 35 million of Indonesia's 240 million citizens are middle class and above, economist Cyrillus Harinowo said.

Along with a boom in real estate, stock prices and sales of designer goods, Indonesia is experiencing a bull market in luxury burial plots.