10 January 2017

Public Transport

An old Chevrolet schoolbus from 1948, used in Bali in the 50th and 60th for public transport.

29 November 2016

The yearly trash comes again

The annual inundation of ocean-borne flotsam and jetsam has begun washing ashore in Kuta, Bali. The shoreline-filled with trash is most evident along a four-kilometer stretch of beach from Petitenget to the main beachfront in Kuta. As a result the Badung Public Hygiene and Parks Department have declared a “Class I” status (Siaga Satu) along the beach. Based on the experience of years past, the accumulation of trash on Kuta’s shore is precipitated by seasonal westerly winds that are expected to peak in December 2016.Trash had begun to accumulate along Kuta Beach since mid-November, comprised of plastic, discarded trash and fallen trees. With the announcement of “Siaga I” status, quick response teams are now on stand-by to clear trash as it floats ashore. The response teams are also busy advising visiting tourist that the unsightly condition of Kuta Beach is, by and large, a recurring seasonal phenomenon. During the “Siaga I” status, the normal deployment of 26 beach cleaners along Kuta Beach now has four loaders and four trucks cleaning the beach with as many as 1,000 stand-by personnel available to assist in the clean-up process.

Bali weather forecast December 2016

20 November 2016

Old Balinese dance Joget Bumbung is now Porn

Bali’s governor says he’s taking action to shut down the practice of a Balinese dance that’s often “erotic” and “pornographic” since it’s “embarrassing” for Bali. Governor Made Mangku Pastika reportedly has plans to create a circular for the regents, mayors, and indigenous village departments to ban the dance Joget Bumbung as more and more risqué versions of the dance have been increasingly shared on social media. The dance is apparently a flirtatious one, where female dancers typically move seductively and invite audience members to join and is done for entertainment purposes, rather than religious ones. "We are embarrassed by their pornographic dancing, there should be no pornographic dancing. Balinese are said to have values that noble, honorable, and so on. Don’t make it so terrible,” Pastika said. In addition to stopping Balinese from performing the dance, Pastika also says he hopes to get videos of Joget Bumbung removed from the Internet and that those who have posted such footage should delete it. “If not, I would expect law enforcement to take it down, because it’s pornographic,” Pastika said.  Pastika isn’t the only authority figure in Bali hoping to prohibit the dance. The coördinator for the Alliance of Bali Community Leaders has previously stated strong discomfort with the Joget Bumbung. “We are trying to encourage various parties to ban the porn-like dance, including live performances."

06 November 2016

New Wifi hotspots in Denpasar and Singaraja

Indonesian telecommunications giant PT Telkom has added a number of new wifi hotspots in Bali. The hotspots are under the network’s “Wifi.id.corner” program, which has users register for accounts and choose from a variety of packages that Telkom touts as affordable. The new Wifi.id.corner spots are split between the island’s capital city, Denpasar, and north Bali city, Singaraja. In Bali, the fixed broadband services through Wifi.id.corner are spread across 200 locations. 170 of them are in Denpasar and 30 others in Singaraja, Buleleng. Telkom is responding to the growing needs of Bali netizens with these 200 hotspots, which can be found in public spaces such as schools, universities, housing complexes, ports, and also city parks. Here’s the impressive part though—this wifi is supposed to be pretty darn fast. The network is boasting speeds above 100 mbps—a speed we’re sure most of us aren’t familiar with in Bali.

Save on your hotel - www.hotelscombined.com

02 November 2016

National Public Holidays 2017

The Indonesian Government has decreed official national public holidays in 2017. This total is comprised of 16 officials holidays and 4 “shared holidays” designated by the government to create long weekends and encourage domestic tourism.This list does not include, with the single exception of Nyepi, Balinese Holidays in 2017 on which Balinese Hindoes are entitled to the day off.

Sunday, January 1, 2017 - New Year’s Day
Saturday, January 28, 2017 - Chinese New Year (Imlek 2568)
Wednesday, March 28, 2017 - "Nyepi" Bali Hindu New Year (Saka 1939)
Friday, April 14, 2017 – Good Friday
Monday, April 24, 2017 ­- Ascension Day of the Prophet Muhammad (27 Rajab 1438H)
Monday, May 1, 2017 – Labor Day
Thursday, May 11, 2017 - Buddhist Holy Day of Waisak 2561
Thursday, May 25, 2016 - The Ascension of Jesus Christ
Thursday, June 1, 2016 – Pacasila Day
Friday, June 23, 2017 – Shared Public Holidays
Sunday and Monday, June 25-26, 2017 - Idul Fitri 1438 Hijriyah
Tuesday and Wednesday, June 27-28, 2017 – Shared Public Holidays
Thursday, August 17, 2017 – Indonesian Independence Day
Friday, September 1, 2017 - Idul Adha 1438 Hijriyah
Thursday, September 21, 2016 – Islamic New Year (Hijriyah 1439)
Friday, December 1, 2016 - The Birthday of the Prophet Muhammad
Monday, December 25, 2017 – Christmas Day
Tuesday, December 26, 2017 – Shared Public Holiday

31 October 2016

Garuda Wisnu Kecana statue

Governor Made Mangku Pastika has reiterated his desire that construction of the Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) Monument Park be completed as soon as possible so it can assume its rightful role as a tourism icon for the Island of Bali. The Governor called for a speedy completion of the giant statue during a meeting with the management team of GWK and the monument’s sculptor Nyoman Nuarta. Nyoman Nuarta explained to the Governor that the statue is now 80% complete. Nuarta said the biggest challenge faced by those constructing the monument are the strong winds. The GWK Monument, when completed, will be nine times larger that the Statue of Liberty in volumetric terms. Nuarta told the Governor that the GWK Monument will take at a maximum of two more years to complete. A director of PT Garuda Adhimatra Indonesia, who manages GWK, said his company is committed to completing the monument as soon as possible. He also explained that the completed park would also include a range of supporting facilities, such the development of a hotel on the site. The construction of GWK restarted in May 2013 after construction was halted for a number of years. The Governor called on GWK to ensure that no rules and regulations are violated in the completion of the monument park.

26 October 2016

Restoring the coral reefs at Nusa Penida

World Tourism Day was celebrated on Bali’s neighboring island of Nusa Penida as scuba divers joined forces to rehabilitate coral reefs damaged by tourists and local fishermen. Tens of professional divers descended below the waves to restack coral and clean up the ocean’s bottom in the underwater conservation area. The chairman of the Indonesian Tourism Industry Association (GIPI), said, “The divers stacked hundreds of seeds for new coral heads in an area covering one acre.” Nusa Penida, located a short distance from Bali’s southeastern shoreline, is renowned for the beauty of its surrounding coral reef and the rich biodiversity living with those waters. GIPI also used the occasion to educate those living on Nusa Penida on the rules and regulations that exist to preserve and protect Indonesia’s coral reef.

21 October 2016

The Bullet, the fast boat from Lombok

Travelling between Senggigi and Gili Trawangan can be confusing for tourists and time-consuming for those who live in Lombok. You can charter a local perahu (fishing boat) from Senggigi beach but that involves some good negotiating skills to get a reasonable price. If it’s a nice day, it can be a long and interesting trip up the west coast and out to Gili T. But if the seas are rough, prepare for a slow, wet and miserable journey. The other alternative is to make your way up the coast to Teluk Nara or Bangsal Harbour (around 30 – 40 minutes north of Senggigi) and either charter a boat or wait for the public boats to make the crossing to Gili T. Now Gili Getaway has taken the hassle out of the trip and getting to Gili T (or vice versa) has never been so fast and easy! The newest member of the Gili Getaway fleet is The Bullet – a custom-built speed boat specifically designed for short trips between mainland Lombok and the islands.Differing from the other Getaway vessels, this smaller boat is built for speed and comfort, and can zip travellers from Senggigi up to Gili T in around 25 minutes (or down to Gili Gede in around 45 minutes). The Bullet also provides transfers between the northwest Gilis and Senggigi to Gili Gede – the gateway to the secret islands off the southwest coast. Booking a trip on The Bullet is equally fast and easy. Just visit the Gili Getaway website: www.giligetaway.com and you will see all the transfer options and daily departure schedules, whether between Bali and Lombok or the Gilis or Gili Gede.Simply fill in the booking form for whichever trip you want and within a short time, you’ll receive an email confirmation and your ticket to print off... it’s as simple as that! The Bullet departs from the Senggigi Jetty at Senggigi Beach and has a ticket office at the harbour (next to the other ticketing offices on the jetty). Simply present your ticket and you’re ready to go. Tickets can also be purchased from this office. Onboard the boat are comfortable cushioned bench seats, inside in the shade or on the rear sun deck, as well as complimentary cool towels, sun screen and bottles of water. Sit back and enjoy the magnificent scenery of Lombok’s west coast beaches and the mountains beyond as you zip up the coast and out to the Gilis. Before you know it, you’re pulling up to the beach in Gili T.

19 October 2016

Bringing down iron Ships

Bringing down some iron ships off the east coast of Bali could help stimulate the growth of coral in the area, according to local officials. The Bali Marine and Fisheries Agency (DKP) has submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries to carry out the sinking of illegal ex-foreign ships in Tulamben, Karangasem. Head of DKP says the sinking will make more room for fish and coral. Due to the condition of the vessels in Tulamben, they will collapse in an estimated five to ten years. If Karangasem is without coral reefs, then tourism will die there. We want to preserve travel in a way that will build homes for fish and grow coral as well. He says that the Minister had already informally agreed to the sinking during a visit to Jembrana, but an official response is still needed so Bali can move forward and coordinate the sinking with the Navy. Tulamben is one of the most famous diving spots in Bali, famous for an older sunken ship: the US Liberty cargo ship which went down in 1942.

16 October 2016

More visitors from the US

The number of U.S. tourist arrivals surged 31.61 percent year-on-year to 98,594 in the first seven months of this year. Most of the U.S. flew in directly from the United States to land at the International Airport of Ngurah Rai. Only 4,212 of them entered Bali by sea on board tourist boats. The number of tourists from the United States holidaying in Bali is 7th largest among foreign visitors. The largest in number were those from Australia, followed by those from China, Japan, Britain, India and Malaysia. It is a significant increase from only the 10th largest in earlier years. The position is expected to rise in the coming years with the rising trend lately. Altogether, the U.S. tourists made up 3.58 percent of the total number of foreign tourists in arrivals of 2.755 million in the first seven months of 2016. Head of the Bali tourist office said he predicted the number of foreign tourist arrivals in Bali would reach 4.4 million this year. With arrivals already reaching 2.7 million until July, the target is expected to be reached with monthly arrivals averaging 350,000. He said most or around 65 percent of foreign tourists visiting Bali are interested more in Bali's cultural arts with only 35 percent interested in its natural beauty. Indonesia sets target for tourist arrivals at 12 million this year or an increase of 20 percent from last year's 10 million figure.

14 October 2016

Julio Iglesias to perform in Bali

Organized in collaboration by TransEvent, Sony Music and Indonesian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), the concert on November 12th will be an outdoor event and aspires to give off an alternative live music experience than performances in Jakarta. “We are not going to miss the aesthetics of the waves and wind with this location. Amidst the peninsula is a stage, so the audience will get to enjoy Julio’s concert as well as the nature around them,” said the TransEvent Director. Julio Iglesias is one of the best-selling artists of all time, having sold over 350 million records worldwide in 14 different languages. The 73-year-old musician has released over 80 albums and acquired more than 2,600 gold and platinum certified records. Some of his famous singles are “Amor,” “When You Tell Me That You Love Me” and “To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before.” According to the Finance and Commercial Director of Sony Music Entertainment Indonesia, Julio Iglesias has a loyal fanbase here in Indonesia. “His albums have sold more than 500,000 copies in Indonesia. He has a connection with Indonesia, especially in Bali - the island has been one of his travel destinations with his family."
Tickets for Julio Iglesias World Tour are available for purchase from all the usual outlets, including Tiket.com, Rajakarcis.com and Loket.com.Ticket Prices: Platinum: Rp 3,500,000, Gold: Rp 2,000,000, Silver: Rp 1,000,000 
For more information, visit http://transevent.co.id

10 October 2016

Denpasar, one of the worst places to drive according Waze

Denpasar, Bali has received the dubious distinction of being placed among Waze’s list of the worst places to drive. The popular online driving application reports that the Capital of Bali, together with Bandung (West Java), Jakarta and Surabaya, were the four cities in Indonesia ranked as the worst driving destinations on the globe. Moreover, among Indonesian cities, Bali was ranked the very worst for driving in the Waze survey. In making a determination of “drivability,” Waze measured the frequency of traffic jams, the quality of the traffic infrastructure, driver safety, and the ease of supporting services such as parking and gas stations. Also included in the Waze survey was the availability of public transport, the cost of fuel and the level of satisfaction among the online service users when driving in the subject destination. The Waze survey compared rating collected from their users in 38 countries and 235 cities in determining the worst cities for driving. In the 186 cities in the final ranking the best to the worst, Jakarta was #178 with an overall rating of 3.37 satisfaction level. Surabaya ranked #181 at 3.14, Bandung ranked #182 at 3.0, and Denpasar (Bali) #183 at 2.89. Therefore, it's official: Denpasar, Bali’s traffic conditions are among the world’s worst.

06 October 2016

The Hindu dress code

The Indonesian Hindu Religious Council (PHDI) has reminded Balinese Hindus to dress conservatively when attending ceremonies at local temples. Religious leaders remind that costumes worn while attending Hindu temples should contribute to the solemnity and reverence befitting such events. For women, PHDI suggests women should be clad in white kebayas with sleeves that extend beyond the elbow. Similarly, kamen or sarongs should extend to the ankle, and not merely cover the knee. The chairman of the Bangli chapter of PHDI has long been an advocate of a proper dress standards for Hindu worshippers, saying dress during worship reflects both not only a mode of dress, but also demonstrate a philosophical outlook. He says women should wear kebayas that are of a “calm color” as opposed to being too bright. White, long-sleevedkebayas are to be preferred. Women’s hairstyle should be in a free-flowing hair fall (Pasung gonjer) for single women and in a bundled hairstyle (sanggul) for married women. Meanwhile Hindu men visiting a temple are suggested to wear a white headscarf (udeng), a white shirt and ideally a whitesarong. Both men and women should dress in a way that does not arouse attention and distract others from their prayers and rituals. He explains that dress for Hindu worshippers must be polite, neat, clean and not accent parts of the body that can cause sexual arousal. Heads of traditional villages in the Regency of Bangli are helping to spread the word on the reverential and polite ways to dress among Hindu religious worshippers.

05 October 2016

Bali's water crises, the answer

The Provincial Government of Bali is targeting to create 12,000 biopori holes across the Island of Bali before the end of 2016. A biopori hole, an environmental innovation invented in Bogor, West Java, is a cylindrical hole in the earth designed to dramatically enhance the ability of soil to absorb water and replenish badly depleted ground water reserves. An invention created at the Bogor Institute of Agriculture, introduced the concept of vertical holes filled with organic waste that create compost and act as channels for water to be returned to depleted ground water tables. Biopore holes have been shown to prevent flooding, increase the water absorption rate of soil, reduced greenhouse gasses (CO2 and methane) and improve soil fertility. The head of the Provincial Environmental Agency (BLH-Bali) say that 7,000 biopore holes have been created across Bali thus far in 2016, with an additional 5,000 holes targeted for completion before the end of the year. All schools and government units are being told to install biopore holes at schools, villages and at every government office. Biopore holes are seen as a possible means of alleviating Bali’s worsening water crisis. In addition to helping to build ground water supplies, biopore holes also become an important source of compost to richen otherwise nutritionally-depleted soil. Another essential means of conserving ground water is by ensuring sufficient green spaces exist for the absorption of rainwater. Current zoning laws require hotels, residential buildings and other building projects retain 40% of their land area in the form of open gardens to aid the retention of ground water.

02 October 2016

Port without Pier

Suspicions of gross misadministration of a public project and corruption have resurfaced surrounding the Tanah Ampo International Cruise Portproject in Karangasem, East Bali. After consultations between Commission III and the Ministry of Transportation it was revealed that plans to lengthen the current 150-meter pier to accommodate large cruise ships is now not possible. The Secretary of Commission III told, after meeting with National port officials, that the pier cannot be extended. The water depth at the end of the current pier is 17-meters, making it impossible to extend the pier. He explained that the current pier can only receive a ship with a maximal length of 120-meters. Meanwhile, the average length of cruise ships visiting Bali is at least 300-meters long. He also revealed that the Central Government plans to construct a 100-meter-long breakwater at Tanah Ampo in 2017 to shelter a pier that, in all likliehood, will remain unsuitable for the cruise ship market. Plagued with bad planning from its initial construction in 2012, the Tanah Ampo International Cruise Port has consumed more than Rp. 100 billion in public funds. The National Audit Board is now faced with finding some means to use or recover the Rp. 100 billion-plus already spent on the Tanah Ampo Project. A failure to do this would mean a legal case could be made for the misuse of public funds.

29 September 2016

The rain season has started

The Meteorology, Climate and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) reports that due to the influences of La Nina, Bali is entering into this year’s rainy season during the month of September 2016, which, the Agency claims, usually falls during the months of July and August. The chief of BMKG-Bali weather station in Negara, West Bali, explained that meteorologists divide Bali into 15 separate weather zones, each with their own unique weather patterns. Bali will be fully involved in this year’s wet season during the period of October-November 2016. Two weather zones (13.3% of the Island) will commence the rainy season in September, covering the southern part of Jembrana, southern Tabanan, northern Badung and northern Tabanan. Another four weather zones (26.6% of the Island) will begin the wet seasons in October, affecting north Buleleng, middle Tabanan, middle Gianyar, middle Badung, middle Bangli, middle Karangasem, north Tabanan and north Bangli. Another seven weather zones (46.6% of the Island) will join the wet season in November affecting west Jembrana, north Tabanan, north Bangli, east Buleleng, north and south Karangasem, south Gianyar, south Klungkung, Denpasar and south Badung. Finally, the two remaining weather zones (13.3% of the Island) rainy season comes in December, covering west Jembrana, west Buleleng and Nusa Penida. BMKG says the height of the rainy season in Bali will be felt from December 2016 until February 2017 with rainfall a regular occurrence over eleven weather zones covering 73.3% of the Island. This period of weather will also be marked by high waves and strong winds. 

27 September 2016

Keep the Buffalo Races alive

Wearing crowns and colourful horn coverings, the buffaloes haul wooden carts at high speed past paddy fields on Bali, with the racers aboard cracking whips in a bid to push their beasts on to victory. Hundreds of spectators cheer from the sidelines, hoping their team will come out on top in the annual festival on the Indonesian island reminiscent of chariot racing. The buffalo racing, known as "Makepung", pits two farming communities against each other in western Jembrana district, in a tradition that marks the rice harvesting season. A world away from the popular tourist hangouts further south on the island, the races are an awe-inspiring spectacle that see participants stand on speeding carts with flags fluttering from the top, as two buffaloes pull each of the rudimentary vehicles. But the races, which have been held annually for decades, are falling out of favour -- regular competitors are now elderly and few of the younger villagers are keen to take up the sport.
The Makepung tradition started in the 1960s when two communities on either side of the Ijo Gading river took a competitive approach to working their fields, with farmers racing each other as they laboured. What started off as a bit of fun evolved into a serious competition and now the communities field teams each year for the racing season. The season runs from July to November, with races roughly every fortnight, and this year involved about 300 water buffaloes. The competitors from the West Ijo Gading team dress in green and adorn their carts with green flags, while those from the East Gading Team use the colour red. A race day usually lasts about five hours, with numerous races that each typically see one cart from each community hurtling down a track that measures about 1,500 metres. There are four categories, with buffaloes deemed the fastest in the first category. One of the communities is declared the winner at the end of a day's racing. While the sport does not lure tourists in the same numbers as Bali's palm-fringed beaches, each race day usually attracts foreigners, in addition to many locals. For most Jembranese, the financial gains are just a bonus and the real attraction is the prestige.