31 January 2013

Bali - Rambutan

Rambutan, a native of Southeast Asia, now grows in tropical climates all over the world. The leaves differ from one variety to another, but the hairy or spiky red (when mature) fruits are unmistakable. Rambut is the Indonesian word for "hair". Try one next time you're in the tropics! In Costa Rica they are known as "Mamon Chino" or Chinese Sucker for the way the fruit is eaten and that they are like a lychee fruit from China. The fruits are abundant in Central America.

Open the rambutan by removing part of the skin in any one of several ways. Squeeze the rambutan till the skin breaks. Then peel half the skin off, leaving the other half to hold in your hand like a wrapper. Find a seam running down the top to the bottom of the fruit, and pull apart the leathery skin. You'll find something resembling a peeled grape, but larger, beneath it. Alternatively, use a knife to make an incision into the skin, and squeeze the fruit out. Do not cut through the seed.

Eat around the seed. Avoid biting too close to the seed--you want to avoid the tough, papery skin surrounding it. Some people nibble at the flesh, others pop the whole thing in their mouth and spit out the seed when they're done (see Warnings below). Some varieties have bitter seeds; others have sweet seeds, presumably containing negligible amounts of tannins or alkaloids. In the latter case, one can eat the entire fruit, seed and all (but not the outer skin).

30 January 2013

Bali - Semarapura

If you go to Semarapura, the capital of the region Klungkung, you pass through Satria market where are many shops displaying colorful parasols on long sticks.

The traditional Balinese parasol, called pajeng or tedung in the local language, is usually used in religious ceremonies. However, its interesting shape has attracted people to use it for interior or exterior decoration in hotels, restaurants and homes. Not all craftsmen create pajeng as decoration. There are some who only make these beautiful parasols for rituals.

The main material for the pajeng is bamboo, which is used to make the frame, after which it is plaited with wool, covered with colorful fabric and attached to a 2-meter long wooden stick. The business of pajeng and other ritual paraphernalia in the area had seen its heyday in the 1990s. Paksebali village was one of the busiest centers for these products.
Pajeng and tedung have different meanings. The word pajeng is used to describe the object as an accessory. While the word tedung describes a symbol used by Balinese Hindus in their religious rituals. The color of the tedung reflects different meanings. It also defines where the parasol should be placed. For example, the black-white tedung symbolizes the balance of nature (rwa bhineda), while the red tedung symbolizes Brahma, and is placed to cover a shrine where Brahma is enthroned. The black parasol is the symbol of Wisnu, while the white one is the symbol of Shiwa. There are also centers of the tedung industry in other regencies, including Kayu Bihi village in Bangli and Mengwi in Badung.

29 January 2013

Diving in Bali - Pemuteran

The coastal Village of Pemuteran is as far as it gets from all the hustle and bustle found in the south of the fabled island of Bali.

Instead, here peace and tranquility welcome all to its secluded beaches and captivating hilly background. Situated at the northwestern part of Bali, the charm of Pemuteran also lies beneath the surface of its calm waters, in the many diving spots, and most especially its phenomenal Underwater Temple.

Located in the sub district of Gerokgak,in the Buleleng Regency, the village of Pemuteran is only 20 minutes’ drive away from Lovina Beach, just at the outskirt s of West Bali National Park. The coastal area of Pemuteran is also the jumping off point to a diving adventure around the Menjangan Island.

With its gleaming black volcanic sandy beaches complemented with sheltering coconut and palm trees and backed by enchanting scenery of green hills, Pemuteran is a perfect illustration of Balinese philosophy on energy “Nyegara Gunung” (The fusion of energy between the mountains and the sea). The serenity of this place radiates a certain spiritual ambience, making it a perfect place for meditation. In contrast to the vivacious Bali southern beaches, Pemuteran offers very little (if not to say none) entertainment in the evenings. Instead, the hotels and cottages found here emphasize more on tranquility so their guests can solemnly meditate or just fully retreat from the city’s rat race.

While peace and tranquility are found on the shores, wonders await below the surface. The Pemuteran area is unique because no other part of Bali has such large areas of shallow reefs, and these are accessible to divers and snorkelers because the region lacks the extremely strong currents and waves that characterize other coastal areas of Bali. Although all the dive sites are just a short boat ride away, surprisingly there is so much to see in Pemuteran bay itself. Within a few meters from the shoreline, Seahorses, unique Crabs, Frogfishes, and other sea creatures already decorate the sea floor.

The most fascinating feature of Pemuteran’s underwater splendors is the existence of an enchanting underwater temple garden which enchantingly combines nature’s beauty with amazing work of art. The site attracted worldwide attention in 2010, when a mystifying photo of divers entering an underwater temple gate taken by British Underwater Photographer, Paul M Turley, spread on Twitter and internet with an alleged discovery of ancient temple ruins on the seabed of Pemuteran.

“Apparently someone took my photo, posted it on Twitter and claimed an archeological discovery off the coast of Bali. This went global, thanks to the internet and thus an urban legend was born”-Paul M Turley

In fact, the site was built on purpose in 2005 as part of the “Reef Gardener” community project which is also incorporated in The Pemuteran Karang Lestari Coral Conservation project. This amazing structure is a somewhat engineering feat with over ten large stone statues resting on stone plinths and a 4 meter high Balinese distinct candi bentar gateway (that appeared on the controversial photo). The “garden” is covered in gorgonian fans and must be seen to be believed. Found at a depth of 29 meters it also incorporates a cleaning station with schooling baitfish. In 2006, a second stage to these Temple Gardens was constructed at a depth of 15 meters to allow less experienced divers to be able to dive the location.
The Karang Lestari Project is recognized as the world’s largest coral reef restoration project, and winner of national prizes for community-based environmental management and many international awards for ecotourism. The project uses the Biorock method to increase coral growth rates, increasing reef fish density by providing fish with a suitable habitat.
The underwater Temple Garden maybe exceptional, but there are also a lot of other dive sites around Pemuteran area which offer equally spellbinding scenery Among these are: The Temple Wall, Canyon Wreck, Kuburan Kapal (Ships Graveyard), Chris’s garden, Rock garden, Close Encounters (east slope/west slope), Gede’s Reef, Deep Reef, Napoleon Reef, and Pulaki Reef.

With all the fascinating wonders that lie beneath the surface, and the tranquility surrounding its shores, it may not be a coincidence that the Word “Pemuteran” means the turning point or a place to come back to. Because once you set foot here, you’ll definitely want to come back over and over again.

28 January 2013

Bali - Tumpek Landep

Yesterday was Tumpek Landep, the blessing of the iron, one of the most visible and strange ceremonies in Bali. All the Balinese people drive around with big flapping ornaments hanging from the steering wheel and mirrors of motorcycles, cars and anything else can drive on the road.

Tumpek Landep is celebrated every Saturday of the Saniscara Kliwon Wuku Landep (every 210 days). It is derived from the word Tumpak 'close' and Landep 'sharp'. In the philosophical context means Tumpek Landep grinding the Cita (heart), Buddhi (intelligence) and Manah (mind). So people who behave according to the brightness of the spirit can with a clear conscience discern what is good and what is bad.
Tumpek Landep was originally a ceremony of purification and dedication to the various ancestral heritage as daggers, daggers, spears and so on. As a result, people call Tumpek Landep as the day of the iron. However, with the modern developments is the meaning of Tumpek Landep rather vague, and increasingly deviates from the true meaning. Today the community has even tended to Tumpek Landep to interpret as the birthday of iron. So hence the many cars, buses and motorcycles and even computers, refrigerators and guns with their Tamiang ornaments as an indication that they Tumpek Landep celebrate.

Painters in Bali

Until the 20s the traditional Balinese art was used as decoration of temples, palaces and other official buildings. The development of the Balinese Modernists is mainly due to two European artists: the German painter Walter Spies (1898-1940), who in 1927 arrived in Bali and the Dutch artist Rudolf Bonnet (1895-1978). Walter Spies and Rudolf Bonnet founded in 1936, together with Cokorde Gde Agung Sukawati and the legendary Balinese artist and architect I Gusti Nyoman Lempad the association Pita Maha (Great Life). The purpose of this association was to guarantee the quality of the paintings and sculptures in Bali by the upcoming tourism. The graceful and stylized design, typical of the Art Deco, is incorporated in Balinese subjects, making a special interweaving of form and content.

The first artist was the Dutchman W.O.J. Nieuwenkamp (1874-1950) who in 1904 arrived in Bali and made a huge amount of drawings, etchings and paintings of life on the island. He also collected many Balinese artifacts. In the temple Meduwe Pura Karang is a relief showing a cyclist decorated with floral motifs and an Indonesian sarong-style headdress, W.O.J. Nieuwenkamp, whose long nose - for Southeast Asians a typical feature of all foreigners - clearly preserved. Nieuwenkamp in 1904 attracted the local people by riding bike all over the island. In Edam, Holland, is a museum where his work can be admired.

Rudolf Bonnet (1895-1978) was born in Amsterdam. Bonnet studied on the Hendrick de Keyser School. In 1913 he exam for the National School of Applied Arts. In 1916 he graduated there with good results. He also visited the State Academy of Fine Arts. Around 1920 many artists went to Bali to paint. Other painters encouraged him to go there to and in 1928 Bonnet went, with his parents, to Batavia. He spent some time in Semarang in 1929 and moved to Bali, where he took up residence and started making drawings and paintings. He became very involved in the social life and he worked there for years and even had influence on the Balinese Art.

Wim Hofker (1902-1981) the famous Dutch artist lived and worked in Bali, with his wife for many years. In 1936 he left with her, artist Maria Hofker-Rueter, to the Dutch East Indies, where he landed in Bali and where a large part of his work has been established. During the Japanese occupation of Bali the couple was in a Japanese camp for a couple of years. After the Japanese defeat in 1946 they went back to the Netherlands and settled in Amsterdam.

The German painter, choreographer, writer, photographer and patron Walter Spies (1898-1940), was about 25 years old when he arrived in Indonesia in 1923, and 29 years old when he came to Bali in 1927. Spies give the young, talented artists better materials and alternative subjects for their paintings. In 1935 Vicki Baum spent several months at Walter Spies house in Bali. Based on her experiences there she wrote her famous novel Liebe und Tod auf Bali. In it she describes in terms of a simple Balinese farmer the events leading up to the conquest of South Bali by the Dutch and the Puputan of the Court of Badung. The book testifies to an astonishing empathy in Balinese culture.

Auke Sonnega (Leeuwarden, 1910 - 1963) was a Dutch artist, best known for his paintings he made on the islands of Bali and Java, has created a large part of his short life he spent in Indonesia. In 1957, he again returned to the Netherlands. After his death in 1963 he fell into oblivion. The Frisian Museum wanted to do justice to Sonnega and exhibited more than 60 drawings and paintings. Auke Sonnega, who was trained to carpet and textile designer, went in 1935 to Indonesia. Sonnega was first worked as a designer in Batavia. Later he traveled around in Java and Bali and made stories for local newspapers. After his arrival in Bali were the dancers and making portraits of young men and women his main occupation. Walter Spies and Rudolf Bonnet had great influence on the work of Auke Sonnega.

The Belgian artist Le Mayeur has also worked for many years in Bali and has a large oeuvre. Museum Le Mayeur Bali is located in the former home of the Belgian painter Adrien Jean Le Mayeur the Merpres (1880-1958) and his Balinese wife Ni Pollok. In 1932, Le Mayeur met his wife Ni Pollok. She was a famous dancer and was known as the best dancer of Bali. She often posed for him and eventually the two married. In the museum are paintings with Ni Pollok, but also many other Balinese women working with him. After his death he left the house and his work to Ni Pollok. When Ni Pollok died in 1985, the house become Museum Le Mayeur.

The Italian artist Emilio Ambron (1905-1996) has been working in Bali in 1938. He lived next to Wim Hofker and his wife Maria. There were difficulties when Ambron started using a model that already was working for Hofker. Eventually the two painters decided that the model would pose for them both. Ambron came back again in Bali in 1968, 1974 and 1994. In Bali is a small museum in the city of Klungkung in honor of this artist.

The famous Dutch painter Isaac Israëls (1865-1934) has also worked on Bali. In 1921/1922 he made a trip to India and visited also Solo, Batavia and Bali. In Bali he painted female figures. Israëls has also worked as a portrait painter at the court of the Mangkoenegara and the Craton of Sunan.

Other painters of later date where Han Snel, Arie Smit and Antonio Blanco, they almost all took the Indonesian nationality.

27 January 2013

Bali - Shells

While strolling down the beach, some of us may find ourselves picking up shells from the sand to bring home as free souvenirs. In Bali, shells are also a worthy material for crafted souvenirs.

At one corner of Kumbasari market in Denpasar, the Wikowi Nged handicraft outlet sells various souvenirs made with shells, from bags, table and wall decorations, to housewares like glasses, bowls and plates. There are plenty of types of shells, like mother-of-pearl shells, oyster shells, mussel shells and kapis shells. Each of the different kinds has its own unique form, colors and patterns. Mother-of-pearl shells, which are typically a shiny, multi-hued ivory white, are the most expensive. Shell handicrafts are usually combined with teak wood, pottery or ceramics, or iron.

Hundreds of types of handicrafts featured at Wikowi Nged are produced by various craftsmen and women from Bali and other regions. The handicrafts vary greatly in price, from under Rp 10,000 to millions of rupiah, depending on the size, style and materials. The outlet serves long-time customers who have souvenir shops in tourist destinations around Bali, as well as foreigners from the Netherlands, France and Japan.
For those who are interested in shells, on Sunset Road you find the new Bali Shell Museum.

26 January 2013

Pic of the week

The car-woodsawmachine in full action.

Bali - Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot located in Tabanan Regency, was visited by 2,57 million tourists both domestic and foreign from January to December 2012.

The number of visitors was more than last year which was 2, 3 million people.
The increasing number of visitors was surprising to the management because on the beginning of the year they decided to increase the entrance fee. The new cost made them set a lower target of visitors last year that aim at anticipating less visits because of cost increasing. So far the visits level on work days is 6.000 to 7.000 people and during the weekend around 10.000 to 15.000 people.

25 January 2013

Bali - new ferry's between Gilimanuk and Banyuwangi

Banyuwangi regency in Java and Jembrana regency in Bali has announced that an agreement has been made to operate fast boats between the two islands. Procurement of the vessels will begin this year.

The deal was made by the Banyuwangi Regent and the Jembrana Regent at the office of the Jembrana regency. It currently takes 45-60 minutes to cross the straits of Bali by conventional ferry. The new speed boats are estimated to shorten the travel time to 10-15 minutes.

The fast boats are essential to improve access to tourism and expand the development of supporting industries within the area.

24 January 2013

Bali - Britisch woman get death penalty

The British woman accused of having smuggled almost 5kg of cocaine worth US$ 2.5 million into Bali last year, was sentenced to death by firing squad at the Denpasar District Court yesterday.

The punishment was much more severe than the 15 years in prison that had been demanded by prosecutors.
Lindsay June Sandiford, 56, wept as the sentence was given, and refused to speak to reporters upon returning to prison, covering her face with a scarf.
Earlier in the trial, Sandiford claimed that she had been forced to carry the narcotics into Indonesia by a group threatening to harm one of her children. A similar verdict is expected to be meted out to suspected accomplice, British man Julian Anthony Ponder in court today. Ponder is accused of receiving the drugs in Bali. It has been reported that the panel of judges concluded that Sandiford has “damaged the image of Bali as a tourist destination, and undermined government programs for the prevention of narcotics and illegal drugs”. We did not find any reason to lighten her sentence.
According to the Foreign Office, Sandiford is one of 12 other Britons currently facing the death penalty abroad.

Who is damaging the image of Bali???

23 January 2013

AC Milan Glorie comes again to Bali

The Westin Resort in Nusa Dua will host one of Europe’s most lauded soccer teams, AC Milan Glorie, comprising legendary players who once served the A-list club, in February.

The team will be visiting Indonesia as part of a goodwill tour that will involve a coaching clinic in Jakarta to nurture the talents of young local players. Apart from a fan meet and greet, AC Milan Glorie will also play a charity match against the Indonesia All Stars at Jakarta’s Gelora Bung Karno Stadium on Februari 9.
AC Milan Glorie will enjoy three days of relaxation at the resort before flying to Jakarta. It will be an opportunity for them to escape the Italian winter and take pleasure in some tropical indulgences. There will be plenty of time to chill-out by the beach or recharge with a feel-good spa ritual. Westin Workout will also be available to ensure that its players are in peak condition before the big match, which will be televised live.

This will be the second time that the Westin Resort Nusa Dua has had the pleasure to welcome AC Milan Glorie. The club’s tour has become a highly anticipated event on Indonesia’s sporting calendar for soccer enthusiasts. It is a worthy initiative that not only puts a positive spin on the sport, but also inspires youngsters to get out and play.

AC Milan Glorie will probably field a team featuring Baresi, Paolo Maldini, Jean-Pierre Papin, Alessandro Costacurta, Christian Panucci, Gianluigi Lentini and Zvonimir Boban.

Bali - bad weather

No new kind of boomerang, but people cleaning the beach in Kuta.

While the nation’s capital city, Jakarta, is still recovering from last week’s massive flooding, Bali’s capital city, Denpasar, has been told to remain alert for ongoing inclement weather, which is predicted to last until mid-February.

The peak of the rainy season in Bali will continue from January to mid February. Thus, people have to remain alert for possible medium to heavy downpours, strong winds and high waves until February. Not only areas in Bedugul, Gianyar and Karangasem but also Denpasar and Badung regencies would still face heavy downpours, strong winds and high waves.

The volume of rain, the wind speed and the height of waves during the first month of 2013 had been recorded as being much higher than in the same period of the previous year. Within the last two weeks, Bali has been hit by tropical cyclone Narelle that strongly affected the island’s weather and its water, causing huge waves and strong winds. Extreme weather conditions battering Bali’s shores over the past several weeks have also forced local fishermen to stay ashore, thus affecting the supply of fresh fish.
Over the years, strong winds, heavy downpours and landslides during the island’s rainy season have resulted in a number of accidents with human fatalities in Bali.

22 January 2013

Bali - Watch out for poisoned alcohol!

A young Australian woman blinded by a cocktail in Bali is warning others to watch out for nightclubs on the island that lure backpackers with cheap drinks.

Miekaela Krogh, from Berkeley Vale on the NSW central coast, told that she and another friend fell sick after drinking a pair of cocktails at a bar while on holiday late last year. Miekaela was celebrating finishing high school and it was her first time overseas. She said her mother warned her not to accept a drink from someone she did not know or buy a drink off the street or ever leave her drinks unattended. But the 17-year-old did not expect the cocktail she ordered directly from a bar to be laced with bootleg methanol. Within 15 minutes her friend was vomiting as a result of methanol poisoning and hours later Miekaela herself was taken to intensive care at a local hospital.

Her mother flew to Bali to be by her daughter’s bedside as she suffered convulsions and went in and out of consciousness. After a week Miekaela’s vision returned and she returned home. But scarring in her left eye means the teenager has difficulty seeing colors and she sometimes suffers
headaches and blurred vision. Doctors say 85% of her sight has been restored but cannot say if she will get any better. Miekaela urges other young backpackers in Bali to only drink alcohol that comes from a bottle which they see opened themselves.

21 January 2013

Bali - Sukawati, traditional souvenir market

Traders at Sukawati Market in Gianyar are worried about the future of this iconic traditional art market, since they have been experiencing decreasing profits.

Slowly but surely, this market will go bankrupt if there is no effort to revitalize it. Some buyers preferred to shop at kiosks located on the outer parts of the market, since they were more accessible. Traders located inside have to struggle to attract the market visitors to have a look at the items they sell in their narrow kiosks located along the dim alleyways inside the market. Piles of cloth and souvenirs stacked inside the 4-square-meter kiosks make the place seem even narrower.

Last week, more than 100 vendors staged a protest at the Gianyar regent’s office over the local police’s ban on parking vehicles on the side of the street. They said people had no other choice than to park there due to the limited number of parking spaces provided by the market management. No big tourist buses were seen at the market. A large group of domestic tourists preferred instead to go to the Guwang art market, which has a larger parking lot. Some souvenir supermarkets have been established along the road to Sukawati, including on Jl. Bypass Ngurah Rai in Sanur, in Batubulan and Mas village.

But for me still the best place in Bali to shop for souvenirs.

Bali - Toya Bungkah, Kintamani

Warm water bathing pools in Toya Bungkah village offer a natural spa experience in the chilly mountainous air of Kintamani.

Located some 1.5 hours from Denpasar, these warm springs offer you the unique experience of bathing and swimming by the side of Batur Lake, the largest in Bali. The location is around a 15-minute drive down the lane from Penelokan, an area in Kintamani where tourists usually stop to enjoy the stunning scenery of Batur’s mountain and lake, turn where you see the big black stones left by the volcanic explosion.
There are three bathing spots in the village, each managed by different people. One bathing place is managed by a luxurious hotel; another is a public bathing place; while the other is managed by the customary village, who charge an entrance fee of Rp 50,000.

The fee includes a towel, soap, shampoo and a place to rest. Fresh tamarillo, or tree tomato, juice is served as the welcome drink. This particular spring was traditionally used by the local people, but is nowadays professionally operated as a tourist destination. There are four pools: a swimming pool, children’s pool, healing pool and floating/sunbathing pool, all filled with natural warm water from the surrounding springs.
The 126-square-meter swimming pool is the closest pool to the lake, so you can swim here while enjoying the lake scenery. The healing pool provides a natural spa and is promoted with the tagline “The only one healing spa in Bali”; you can bathe in the warm water and revel in the healing sensation. The 25 centimeters deep floating/sunbathing pool is where you can lie down and relax, while enjoying the lake scenery and feel the warm water all over your body. After bathing, you can relax at the nearby restaurant and bar.

20 January 2013

Bali Spirit Festival 2013, Ubud

From 20th to 24th March 2013, the tranquil town of Ubud in the cultural heart of Bali will once again be filled with worldwide spirituality as the Bali Spirit Festival 2013 gets underway. As the event celebrates its sixth year of existence, news of its magic has reached around the world. Not only does the Festival bring together celebrated musicians, yogis and dancers from every continent, but it has also become a magnet for fans, students and followers of every calling.

Set in the spectacular grounds of the Purnati Center for the Arts in Batuan, just 10 minutes south of Ubud, the daytime workshops and Dharma Fair will enjoy a venue unmatched for its tropical beauty and gentle energy. The global music concerts will take place in Ubud, at the Agung Rai Museum of Art's (ARMA) outdoor stage, to allow easy access for visitors and locals. Featuring top international yoga and dance instructors by day and exciting world musicians after dark, the Bali Spirit Festival is a spiritually charged event that celebrates yoga, dance and music and the merging of East with Western cultures through the arts.

This year’s music and Bhakti music lineup includes:  Nahko & Medicine for the People, Rupa & the April Fishes, Noam Blat, Igor Olivier Ezendam, Dustin Thomas, Filastine, Susu Ibu, Kryasta Guna Gamelan, Dave Stringer, Punnu Wasu, Sacred Earth, and Daphne Tse. For the yoga sessions, the festival will feature some of the world’s prominent names such as Simon Low, Danny Paradise, Les Leventhal, Judy Krupp, John Oglivie, Nadine McNeil, Justin Caruso, Simon Park, Lynn Yeo, Louisa Sear, Prem Carlisi, Michiko Minegishi, Anastasis, Denise Payne, and many others.

Personalities leading meditation, conscious movement, and health & healing are: Yogacharya Ananda, Indra Widjanarko, Satyadharma Saraswati, Vinn Marti, Sarina Jain, Shamir Chadha, Awahoshi Kavan, Ellen Watson, Satya Burger, Hillary Hitt, Daniel Aaron, John Wong, and Jamie Catto. The festival will also feature the Brazilian martial arts of Capoeira by Graduado Nako and Art installations by Indonesia’s own Made Muliana Bayak.

Adhering to the spirit of ancient Balinese wisdom  of Tri Hita Karana, meaning  harmony with God above, harmony with the community, and harmony with nature, the Bali Spirit Festival awakens and nourishes each individual’s potential for positive change within, leading to positive change in homes, in communities, and ultimately in global societies around the world. The Bali Spirit Festival is indeed a celebration of the richness of culture, the sanctity of the environment and harmony between peoples of all nations. Be there! Take part in this special celebration and in doing so make the world a better place.

19 January 2013

Bali after dark

Night life in Bali starts late, which means around midnight. Many visitors wonder where crowds of expats suddenly come from around 1:00 in the morning – even when all of Kuta has been very quiet during the whole evening, the IN-places often become crowded after midnight. There's a simple explanation: during the early evenings many of Bali's night owls either still work, visit friends at home, or simply sleep. Most of them visit pubs, bars, or discos only in the early morning hours. Therefore, if you plan a night out don't start your dinner too early. Between 9:00 p.m. and midnight there are not many places we can recommend.

Visitors looking for company don't need to worry. Wherever you go in Sanur and the Kuta area, there are many other single travelers with the same problem around – day and night. In Bali's discos you'll meet also many "kupu kupu malams" ("night butterflies" or working girls) and young boys who compete with the females and service all sexes. All taxi drivers know the more popular karaoke bars and massage parlours in Kuta and Denpasar, and the various "Houses of ill Repute" in Sanur's narrow back lanes.

Prostitution is illegal in Bali. However, like in many countries, everyone turns a blind eye. Many girls can be found in nightclubs and bars in most areas. They look usually just like the girl next door, albeit with a bit more make up on, and they usually dress to please the eye. For the most part, they are gentle, easy to be with, and a lot of fun if you want to dance, drink and have a little fun with. Most will be yours for the whole night for about 500,000 Rupiah although prices range from 200,000 Rupiah to 1,500,000 Rupiah and more – depending on the season, the time of night and the situation. Most (poor) girls are coming from Java, so don't expect to find a Balinese in your bed.


Some quite popular places in Sanur are the BORNEO PUB on Jalan Danau Tamblingan and the TROPHY PUB in front of the Sanur Beach Hotel. Both, however, close around 1:00 a.m. The discos and pubs in Nusa Dua's 5-star hotels are often rather empty. They are mostly frequented by those visitors who stay in-house and are too tired to make the 30 minutes drive to Kuta.


Everybody looking for some action and fun in the evening goes to "Kuta" which nowadays means the area extending about 4 miles or 7 kilometers North from the original village of Kuta and includes now Legian, Seminyak and even Basangkasa. Here are most of the better entertainment places offering EVERYTHING single male or female visitors as well as couples might be looking for. There are several places such as CASABLANCA – down-market open-air pubs and very noisy discos full of stoned Aussies courting Javanese "Kupu Kupu Malams". PEANUTS Discotheque on Jalan Raya Legian at the Jalan Melasti corner. The huge (air-conditioned) dance floor is often crowded, guests are a mix of locals and younger foreign visitors.

Closer to the center of Kuta you find the BOUNTY SHIP with a noisy, over-air-conditioned disco in the basement and the re-built PADDY'S not far from the original PADDY'S. Much more "IN" nowadays is the newer M-BAR-GO which features really good music and a better crowd than most other places. SKY GARDEN is also on the main road and an interesting place to go. The bar is on the top floor, the three floors below feature all different lounge areas. The menu is huge but the food is often disappointing. When most places close around 2.00 or 3.00 in the morning, night owls of all kinds continue drinking at nearby MAMA'S until sunrise.

For a somewhat more civilized evening out, you can have dinner and a couple of drinks at the bar at either TJ's or KORI in Kuta, at the open street side bar at NERO Bali right opposite AROMAS Restaurant in Kuta, at the re-built MACCARONI CLUB in Kuta, at MADE'S WARUNG in Basangkasa (see BALI - Restaurants to Enjoy), or at the trendy HU'U Bar & Lounge near the Petitenget temple, LA LUCIOLA and THE LIVING ROOM. One of the most "in" venues in Bali is KU-DE-TA right on the beach adjacent to the Oberoi hotel. This is the place to see and be seen, and from late afternoon there is a DJ providing rather noisy entertainment for Bali's beautiful people. This is a great place to watch Bali's famous sunsets, but expect to pay for a cocktail around US$10 and more.

You'll find a large and quite popular HARD ROCK CAFE right at the beginning of Kuta's beach road with live music from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. Expect to find many singles of all kinds here looking for company. If you think this is too noisy, too crowded, or the air-conditioning too cold for you, try the CENTER STAGE at the HARD ROCK RESORT located in the back of the CAFE. As the name implies, the band performs on a raised stage in the middle of the huge round lobby bar until 11:00 p.m. Both HARD ROCK outlets are expensive by Bali standards. The JAYA PUB on the main road in Seminyak features also live music and attracts many Indonesian customers who don't mind the chilling air-conditioning and the sometimes horrible bands and singers. MANNEKEPIS, a pleasant Belgian pub/restaurant right opposite the QUEEN'S TANDOOR in Seminyak, features live Jazz on Thurdays, Fridays and Saturdays and serves good meals at reasonable prices.

Seminyak's best place to have a drink and some fun after 11 p.m. are nowadays probably OBSESSION World Music Bar and SANTA FEE Bar & Grill, Jalan Abimanyu (also known as Gado Gado Road or Jalan Dhyana Pura). Life music, reasonably priced cocktails and the friendly girls attract many visitors until the early hours. Other popular night spots nearby in the same street are SPY BAR, LIQUID, Q BAR and MIXWELL ("for the alternative lifestyle"), SPACE and THE GLOBE. New bars and "Chill-Out Lounges" are opening all the time, and most of them feature DJ's and/or live music on certain nights. Just walk down the road and check them out !

Later, from 2:00 a.m., it's party time at the SYNDICATE and BACIO, a large open-air disco with several bars, big dance floor, and many tables. All are located next to each other on the beach in Seminyak and charge an entrance fee of 30,000 to 100,000 Rupiah (depending on the day) for which you get a voucher for a free drink. Here and in nearby DEJA VU and LA VITA LOCA you'll find most of Bali's night owls drinking and dancing the night away until 4:30 a.m. or so. (The legendary GADO GADO Disco has been re-converted into a restaurant.)

Also, watch out for notices and small posters in Kuta and Seminyak announcing special events such as Full Moon Parties, House Warming Parties, Body Painting Parties, etc, etc. If these "parties" are announced to the public (even if only by word-of-mouth), they are open for everybody. You'll have to pay for your drinks, therefore, don't be shy.

18 January 2013

Bajaj Rally 2013 - Medan to Bali

A total of 75 foreigners are on the Bajaj Rally route from Medan to Bali.

The Rickshaw Rally is 3,500 kilometres long and is part of a campaign to preserve the environment. Participants in the Bajaj Rally 2013 left Jl. AH Nasution in Medan on Sunday and are expected to take two weeks to arrive in Bali.

Riding colourful bajaj, the local name for rickshaws, the foreigners come from the Netherlands, Australia, Britain, the Philippines, United States, Canada, Germany, Korea, Switzerland, Spain and India. Participants will visit a number of attractions along the way. In addition to the environmental message, this activity is also carried out to preserve these historic three-wheeler vehicles. A total of 27 participants are using rickshaws that come from Solo, Central Java. After a thorough reconditioning the tricycles were then sent to Medan.

A few days before departure, the participants were seen adorning the colourful vehicles with an abundance of ornaments. To participate in the rally, each participant pays a fee of £500 per person and the cost of renting the bajaj also comes in at £500. One bajaj carries two or even three people.

17 January 2013

Pic of the week

Since a couple of weeks we have beside our cat and dog also two Balinese birds, locally know as Burung Cinta, or Love Bird.

Sanur, Bali's next traffic jam?

Sanur is one of five priority destinations in Indonesia that will be developed further this year, an official from the tourism ministry said.

Besides Sanur, the other four selected destinations are Bromo-Tengger-Semeru in East Java, Komodo Island in Nusa Tenggara, Wakatobi in Southeast Sulawesi and Toraja in South Sulawesi. These destinations will be developed and promoted more seriously during various tourism exhibitions and sales missions. The ministry would also intensify promotion through various media.

These five top destinations were most recently promoted during the major tourism event Vakantiebeurs 2013 in Utrecht, which was held from Jan. 8 to 13. This is the sixth year that Indonesia has participated in the event.
Sanur needed to maintain its characteristics and originality as a unique destination in Bali, including in terms of its infrastructure, architecture and local people’s lifestyle. Sanur already has a strong character as a relaxing coastal resort area, where tourists and the local community mix in harmony. Tourism stakeholders also needed to maintain the tourism market in the area, comprising 60 percent European tourists, 30 percent Australian and the remaining 10 percent mixed. Every year, tourism stakeholders join promotional events in Europe, Australia and Japan. To make the most of tourists’ movement from one destination to another, the ministry has committed to develop 16 strategic destinations and promote seven types of special tourism: culture and history; nature and ecotourism; recreational sports; cruise; culinary and shopping; spa and wellness; as well as meeting, incentive, conference and exhibition travel (MICE).

16 January 2013

Where you can see Balinese dances

Barong is probably the most well known dance. It is a story telling dance, narrating the fight between good and evil. This dance is the classic example of Balinese way of acting out mythology, resulting in myth and history being blended into one reality.

Of all the dances seen on Bali today, the Kecak dance is perhaps the most dramatic. Taken from the Hindu epic Ramayana, the dance tells the story of Prince Rama and his rescue of Princess Sita, who has been kidnapped by the evil King of Lanka. Unlike other dances, there is no gamelan orchestra accompanying it. Instead, a troupe of over 150 bare-chested men serve as the chorus, making a wondrous cacophony of synchronized "chak-achak-achak" clicking sounds while swaying their bodies and waving their hands.

The Legong dance is the quintessential Balinese dance in all its glory. A classical dance that springs from age-old temple dances performed to appease the gods, the Legong is the epitome of grace and beauty. It is characterized by highly stylized slow movements. Its delicacy is heightened by the fact that is performed by richly costumed young dancers (sometimes only four years old), many of whom retire at the tender age of 18.

The Wayang or shadow puppet is the most prominent theatrical expressions in Bali. In a wayang kulit performance, flat cut-out figures are silhouetted against a translucent, white screen, with a coconut-husk lamp as its source of light. It is mostly expressions or enactments of religious mythology blended into one with historical facts that will keep a Balinese entertained all night long.

Barong and Keris Dance, Batubulan Village, 9:30
Kecak Fire and Trance dance, Batubulan village, 18:30
Kecak Fire and Trance dance, Uluwatu Temple, 18:00
Legong of Mahabrata, Ubud Palace, 19:30
Wayang Kulit, Oka Kartina Ubud, 20:00
Kecak Fire and trance Dance, Padang Tegal Kaja Ubud, 19:00

Barong and Keris dance, Batubulan village, 9:30
Kecak Fire and Trance dance, Batubulan village, 18:30
Kecak Fire and Trance dance, Uluwatu Temple, 18:00
Legong Dance, Ubud Palace, 19:30
Woman Gamelan Dance group, Bale Banjar Ubud, 19:30
Kecak Ramayana and Fire dance, Pura Dalem Ubud, 19:30

Barong and Keris dance, Batubulan village, 9:30
Kecak Fire and Trance dance, Batubulan village, 18:30
Kecak Fire and Trance dance, Uluwatu Temple, 18:00
Ramayana Ballet dance, Ubud Palace, 19:30
Wayang Kulit, Monkey Forest Ubud, 20:00
Legong Dance, Pura Dalem Ubud, 19:30

Barong and Keris Dance, Batubulan Village, 9:30
Kecak Fire and Trance dance, Batubulan village, 18:30
Kecak Fire and Trance dance, Uluwatu Temple, 18:00
Legong Dance, Ubud Palace, 19:30
Wayang Kulit, Oka Kartina Ubud, 20:00
Kecak Fire and trance Dance, Padang Tegal Kaja Ubud, 19:00

Barong and Keris Dance, Batubulan Village, 9:30
Kecak Fire and Trance dance, Batubulan village, 18:30
Kecak Fire and Trance dance, Uluwatu Temple, 18:00
Legong Dance, Ubud Palace, 19:30
Kecak Fire and Trance dance, Pura Taman Sari Ubud, 19:30
Kecak Monkey dance, Puri Agung Keliatan Ubud, 19:30

Barong and Keris dance, Batubulan village, 9:30
Kecak Fire and Trance dance, Batubulan village, 18:30
Kecak Fire and Trance dance, Uluwatu Temple, 18:00
Barong Dance, Ubud Palace, 19:30
Wayang Kulit, Oka Kartini Ubud, 20:00
Woman Gamelan Dance group, Bale Banjar Ubud, 19:30

Barong and Keris dance, Batubulan village, 9:30
Kecak Fire and Trance dance, Batubulan village, 18:30
Kecak Fire and Trance dance, Uluwatu Temple, 18:00
Legong  dance, Ubud Palace, 19:30
Wayang Kulit, Monkey Forest Ubud, 20:00
Kecak Fire and Trance dance, Padang Tegal Ubud, 19:00

08 January 2013

Bali's governor Pastika to court

Bali Governor I Made Mangku Pastika was sued in the Denpasar State Administrative Court for allegedly violating rules and regulations related to the environment, by giving permission to develop the Ngurah Rai mangrove forest to investors.

Walhi Bali sued the Governor of Bali in relation to the environmental cases on the use of the Ngurah Rai mangrove forest, the Chairman of the Bali Walhi environmental group said.

A dozen senior lawyers have assisted in preparing the lawsuit against Governor Pastika and filed it to the administrative court. They assess that the governor did not have the good will to revoke the licenses of investors to manage the Ngurah Rai mangrove forest covering 102.2 hectares. The license issued by Pastika allows the company to build 75 inns, eight restaurants, two spas, five cafes, five stalls, two offices, one swimming pool and a multipurpose building. There are three offenses in the lawsuit, which include violating the law on protection and treatment of the environment, and the violation of the law on natural resources and ecosystems conservation.

Both of these points are closely related because the governor has issued a decree about not granting business Eco-tourism permits and blocking the use of the Ngurah Rai mangrove forest region. In addition, the governor violated the principle of good administration and the rights of government, with no regard to the moratorium on the construction of tourism accommodation in South Bali.

Pastika stated that if violations are found, he was happy and ready to revoke the licenses. There is a commitment that we keep Bali natural and we are happy that the Balinese are defending that, he concluded.

It's good that there are still people taking care about Bali!!

07 January 2013

Bali - Benoa harbor

Benoa is more than just seeing a harbor or the cruise terminal, it is a tourist attraction.

Established in 1924, Benoa harbor was designated for three purposes — fisheries, water sports and inter-island transportation for freight and passengers.

Its remote location makes it quite difficult to reach the harbor from downtown Denpasar. If you do not have car, you have to walk at least 1.5 kilometers from the Trans Sarbagita bus stop at Pesanggaran in South Denpasar. The other option is to take a feeder public transportation vehicle, locally known as a bemo or motor, the ojek. Entry to Benoa harbor is Rp 1,500 per motorcycle or Rp 2,500 for cars.

Numerous luxury liners drop by the harbor bringing foreign visitors to Bali. The famous Rainbow Warrior owned by global environmental group Greenpeace has also berthed here. Not to mention the many warships belonging to the US, Australia and India that have made courtesy visits. On the west side of the harbor, dozens of colorful fishing boats delight the eyes of the visitors. Their beautiful shapes and multicolored hulls and flags make it the harbor’s most interesting scene. Hundreds of local fishermen are busy with their own activities from dawn to dusk.

Fishing is one of Bali’s most productive economic wheels. The island’s fish exports help local fishermen earn a living for their families. For those who want to take an adventurous trip around Benoa waters, a rental boat is ready to take you out to sea at the rate of Rp 50,000 per hour. By taking this rental boat, visitors will be able to view the huge cruise ships up close and if lucky enough, they can get on board.

06 January 2013

Ngurah Rai airport taxi

Ngurah Rai Airport Taxi is the only company which has the monopoly to bring tourists out of the airport.

No other taxi company is allowed to have a service counter in the airport.
For up to 3 people traveling together, it's cheaper to use the taxi, as long as the luggage fits into the boot/trunk. If you have a lot of luggage or are carrying a large item, such as a golf set or a surf board, it is advisable to get the hotel or your travel agent to pick you up from the airport or rent a car (self drive or chauffeur driven).
The rates are fixed and there is no surcharge for a midnight transfer as the drivers have a different working shift. The taxi office is after the exit door from the International Arrival Building. Tell them where you want to go and pay your fare there. You do not have to pay the taxi driver. The guys in blue patterned shirts are the taxi drivers. Anyone else who offers to help you with your bags will ask to be paid.

Denpasar Ngurah Rai International Airport Taxi Fares (as per Sept, 2012):

Amed 675,000
Amanusa/Tanjung Benoa 105,000
Amlapura 410,000
Abimanyu / Dyana Pura 65,000
Bangli 240,000
Batu Bulan Station 105,000
Bedugal 320,000
Blah Batu 195,000
Bukit (Ayana) 95,000
Bukit (Pecatu) 115,000
Bukit (Uluwatu) 135,000
Candidasa 335,000 – 385,000
Canggu 135,000 – 195,000
Celukan Bawang 645,000
Denpasar 1 (Natour, Bali Hotel) 70,000
Denpasar 11 (Renon, Tanjung Bungkak) 85,000
Denpasar 111 (Jl Ratna, Jl Akasia) 90,000
Dyana Pura / Abimanyu 65,000
Gatsu / Ubung Station 90,000
Gatsu Timor 100,000
Gianyar 205,000
Gilimanuk 645,000
Jimbaran 1 (Interconten) 60,000
Jimbaran 11 (Four Seasons) 75,000
Kapal / Sibang / Darmasaba 130,000
Kediri 170,000
Kedonganan 55,000
Kerobokan 70,000 – 85,000
Kintamani 335,000
Klungkung 225,000
Kuta (Discovery) 45,000
Kuta (Melasti etc) 50,000
Legian (Jl Padma, Jayakarta Hotel) 55,000
Lovina 500,000
Mambal 140,000
Mengwi / Taman Ayun 140,000
Negara 450,000
Nikko Bali 110,000
Nusa Dua 95,000
Oberoi / Kerobokan 70,000
Padang Bai 315,000 – 365,000
Payangan 240,000
Pecatu / Jimbaran Hill 115,000
Pemuteran / Matahari Resort 675,000
Ritz Carlton 95,000
Sanur 95,000
Sangeh / Blahkiuh 180,000
Seminyak (66, Bintang) 60,000
Sempidi / Dalung 115,000
Singaraja 435,000
Sukawati 130,000
Tabanan 195,000
Taman Ayun / Mengwi 450,000
Tanah Lot 190,000
Tanjung Benoa 105,000
Tegalalang 225,000
Tuban 35,000
Tulamben / Alamanda 675,000
Ubud 195,000
Umalas 85,000
Uluwatu 135,000

05 January 2013

Bali - Benoa cruise terminal

Infrastructure at Bali’s largest port, Benoa, is currently being developed to accommodate more cruise ships that could significantly contribute to the island’s tourism.

The development included expanding the wharf, deepening the yacht basin and improving the terminal. Last year, the project has seen deepening of the basin from minus 10 meters LWS (low water spring) to minus 11 meters LWS to enable the mooring of larger cruise ships with a length of more than 300 meters. To improve the cruise terminal, the port would provide more X-ray machines, check-in counters, waiting rooms, as well as other facilities, including preparing officers for customs, immigration and quarantine.

All these improvements were being carried out because this port was a pilot project for the first “turn-around port” in Indonesia, which was one that conducted embarkation and debarkation. Previously, the port only functioned as a destination port, where cruise ships only made a stopover for several hours to allow the passengers to go sightseeing on the island. By being a turn-around port, the passengers or tourists taking a tour package, have to wait for several days before embarking. This could increase hotel occupancies and spending that would bring a greater contribution to the island’s tourism.

This year, 13 cruise ships are scheduled to turn around in Benoa, including Classic International, Companie du Ponant, Crystal Cruise, Orion Expedition Cruise, Seabourne Cruise and Voyage of Antiquity.

The port management recorded that the number of tourists visiting Bali on cruise ships through Benoa in 2011 reached 42,000 people. Last year, the number is estimated to reach 50,000. As of November, there had been 48,600 tourists entering Bali through the port. This year, the number is targeted to reach 60,000 tourists through 30 cruise calls. Benoa is one of the main ports in the country and contributed 24 percent of total cruise calls and 40 percent of total passengers.

Balinese temple ceremony's

Here is a list with Balinese temple ceremony's.

Beside this list there are lots of local ceremony's throughout the whole year.
Just look around and when you see a lot of people in sarung and kebaya, it's sure there is a ceremony somewhere.

12 Jan - Saraswati
18 Jan - Pagerwesi
26 Jan - Full moon
25 Feb - Full moon
12 Mrt - Nyepi
27 Mrt - Galungan
26 Mrt - Full moon
06 Apr - Kuningan
25 Apr - Full moon
24 May - Full moon
23 Jun - Full moon
22 Jul - Full moon
10 Aug - Saraswati
14 Aug - Pagerwesi
21 Aug - Full moon
19 Sep - Full moon
19 Oct - Full moon
23 Oct - Galungan
02 Nov - Kuningan
17 Nov - Full moon
17 Dec - Full moon

04 January 2013

Busy year for Bali

With the coming of 2013, Bali is ready to host numerous national and international events throughout the year.

Governor Made Mangku Pastika said that 2013 would see Bali in the international spotlight. “It is a year when we have to prove to the world that Bali is able to host large events. The image of Indonesia, especially Bali as a major gateway into Indonesia, will be at stake,” Pastika said.
The success of the upcoming events would dramatically affect Bali as an international holiday and conference destination. A major political event — the gubernatorial election, will take place in May, deciding whether Pastika or another candidate will take the governor’s seat.

Between June and July, the island will host its annual cultural landmark — the Bali Arts Festival at the Arts Center in Denpasar. Also in June, hundreds of Hindu leaders and high priests will be gathering at the World Hindu Summit.

In September, for the first time in Indonesia, the island will host the Miss World Pageant, bringing the most beautiful young women to the island.

In November, dozens of state leaders, hundreds of top diplomats and high-ranking officials from the Asia Pacific region, including American President Barack Obama, are expected to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Nusa Dua resort complex.

Another annual event will be the Bali Democracy Forum, scheduled for December 2013.

To prepare for the international-scale gatherings, many infrastructure projects are being implemented, including the construction of the Benoa-Nusa Dua toll road and the Dewa Ruci underpass. The two projects, started at the end of 2011, are part of the resort island’s latest efforts to cope with its severe traffic congestion that often strangles its main tourist routes. The 12-kilometer Benoa-Nusa Dua toll road, predicted to cost Rp 2.49 trillion, will largely run over the sea along the island’s southern shoreline. The toll road, which will connect Benoa Harbor, Ngurah Rai International Airport and the Nusa Dua tourism enclave, is being built under a public-private partnership.

Meanwhile, the Dewa Ruci underpass is being built at a busy intersection next to Mall Bali Galeria in Kuta. It is the critical point of convergence for traffic to and from the island’s most important tourism sites, including Ngurah Rai International Airport, Nusa Dua, Kuta, Sanur, Denpasar and Ubud. Prolonged gridlock is a common sight at and around the intersection. The underpass will be 450 meters long and is estimated to cost Rp 136 billion, funded from the state budget.

03 January 2013

Bali - spiders and other scary animals

Decades ago the Balinese tiger was living here, now there are only a few poisonous snakes and some other kinds of scary animals that are not really dangerous.

Scorpions are very small and their sting is more like a bee sting. Unless you are allergic, there is nothing to worry about. A place where you can encounter them is between stones on the wall of the outdoor showers and between your folded laundry. Related to spiders I've never heard that one of them is toxic, but some can be quite big. If you kill a spider it brings misfortune, but if you have in your home it brings good luck Balinese say

About Geckos, the kind that occurs in Bali is only the Tokek variant. They are quite large and have a very distinctive and resonant call which sounds a lot like "fuk u, fuk u, fuk you," repeated several times until only a simple "you, you" remains. They are amazingly colored animals and seemingly endless variations, and with eyes like jewels. When running around on the ceiling they sound like a herd of elephants is running around. They have a very curious habit they always, and I mean always poop in the same place. Play not with them because they have a very nasty bite and they keep hanging in your skin.

Much more often than the Tokek you see the Cicak. They reach a length of a few centimeters, but they can run like hell, glued upside down on the ceiling, but they are harmless. Both types Geckos are good around or in the house because they feed on insects.

Another animal that you should care about is the Klabang. A kind of centipede about 2 inches long. Nothing fancy but after a bite you can get seriously ill.

Furthermore, there are numerous species of lizards found, including some big big dragons, but all very innocent, though they do bite.

Bali - Fish, fish and fish

Traveling from Denpasar to Karangasem eastern Bali gives visitors a different kind of holiday atmosphere.

Karangasem is rich in marine sites and historical relics, however, many domestic and foreign tourists prefer to stay in southern Bali. Karangasem actually offers a wide choice of marine resources, including abundant fish from the seas of its black sand beaches.

On the way from Klungkung regency to the border of Karangasem, hundreds of local fishermen sell their catch along the main road. They mostly sell tongkol (long-tail tuna) weighing from around 300 grams to 2 kilograms each. The fishermen set themselves up with wooden tables and cool boxes full of ice to stop the fish from going off in the heat of the day. They sell 300 gram tuna for only Rp 5,000.

If you buy these fish in the traditional market, the price will be higher. The middlemen, locally known as tengkulak, usually buy the fish for a low price from us and then sell it on at much higher prices in the local markets. Villages near the Goa Lawah (Bat Cave) tourist destination in Karangasem are famous for their tongkol and the large variety of fish dishes they cook, like satay ikan (skewered tuna fish flavored with Balinese spices), pepes ikan (fish steamed wrapped in banana leaves and stuffed with spices) and ikan bakar (grilled tuna).

02 January 2013

Bali - Goa Gajah

Goa Gajah, the beautiful archeological site in Blahbatuh, Gianyar, is very popular with foreign tourists, with thousands visiting, even in off-peak season.

It is one of the most visited destinations after Tanah Lot and Uluwatu Temple. In the past, Siwa and Buddhist priests visited Goa Gajah to meditate. The name Goa Gajah is taken from the words Lwa Gajah, which were inscribed in the Negarakertagama, an old manuscript written by Mpu Prapanca in 1365.

On entering, visitors are welcomed by the sounds of trickling water in the Pertiran pool running from the water jars carried by the angel statues. These statues are believed to be symbols of the seven sacred rivers in India, where Hindu and Buddhist teachings originated. The flowing water in the pool is believed to represent fertility. A modest entrance fee is charged here; an adult visitor will pay Rp 15,000, while children above the age of 5 are charged half price. The price is the same for both local and foreigner visitors.

The face of the demonic Bhoma adorns the 13-meter-long cave, suggesting that visitors are entering the darkness. Being a sacred site, there are some rules that have to be followed by visitors: dress, speech and behavior should all be respectful. The management provides free sarongs and scarves for visitors who are inappropriately dressed, including those wearing shorts, to borrow.

The 13-meter-long cave, shaped like the letter T, leads back from the cliff wall that visitors pass when they enter the location. Above the cave entrance, there is a giant relief of the face of Bhoma. There are also 15 niches that used to be meditation sites set into the cave walls. The cave is only one part to this 16,100-square-meter area. The main attraction of the site is the temple adorned by Ganesha, who is symbolized as an elephant-headed human. The temple is still visited by Buddhists and Balinese Hindus. Goa Gajah temple is a symbol of Hindu and Buddhist acculturation, and is also one of the Kahyangan temples, meaning that Hindu adherents from anywhere may pray here. This national heritage site was built in the 11th century and found by a Dutch archeologist in 1923.

Gianyar is home to many of the island’s rich archeological sites, mostly located along the riverbanks of the Pakerisan and Petanu rivers in Blahbatuh and Tampaksiring. The Pakerisan watershed has recently been selected to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with other sites in Bali. The area boasts many traces of old Balinese kingdoms, as well as beautiful panoramic views of rice terraces. Other fascinating archaeological sites adjacent to Goa Gajah include Yeh Pulu, Subak Kadangan temple and Samuan Tiga temple.

Ministry launches official website

The International Connection for Tourism Indonesia Launches an Official Tourism Website

www.indonesia.travel  is intended to offer comprehensive information on Indonesia’s many tourism options, including news, links and other travel resources.

The Ministry is expanding the network to help tourists, for example, to find accommodation and car rentals in their destinations. The ministry has also established a Facebook page, a Twitter account and has a mobile version of the site under development.

01 January 2013

Bali - again more tourists, and the result?

2012 was a very bad year for Bali.

Beaches, forests, lakes and mountains in Bali have suffered damage over the past year. Beaches have been taken by investors. The lake regions are polluted from agricultural and tourism activities. Similarly, the mountains have been exploited by investors who do not care about the well being of the environment. They have blindly mined the foot of the mountains just for the sake of their personal economy. Another major problem is the exploitation and development of the mangrove and forested areas (Tahura) around Ngurah Rai amounting to approximately 102,22 hectares of damage.

With these conditions, environmentalists and academics have judged that at the end of 2012, Bali is facing an environmental threat and quality of the environment in Bali is getting worse. Head of Environmental Sciences at Udayana University asserts that the realization of the government’s Bali
Clean and Green policy results are still far from expectations. Plastic waste is still not controlled. According to him, the pro-environment program is done half-halfheartedly, so the results are not satisfactory and many environmental problems have not been attended to because of resource constraints, the budget allocation was minimal, and weak monitoring and enforcement of existing violations added to the issue.

Another problem, due to the rapid population growth and increasing size of Bali tourism, was the rampant accommodation and residential development regardless of the environmental capacity of Bali. Based on the studies by the academics, the general status of the capacity of the Bali environment is now sitting at a deficit with a value of 0.6 where it should be ideally sitting at 1. In only four areas, namely Karangasem, Klungkung, Jembrana and Bangli, the capacity status of the land has not been exceeded.

Besides, Bali is also facing the threat of a water crisis. In general, the water carrying capacity of Bali is in deficit with a status value below the carrying capacity of water at 0.87, which is primarily occurring in Badung, Gianyar, Klungkung, Buleleng and Denpasar. Fortunately, Bali has four lakes in the mountains, Lake Buyan, Beratan, Tamblingan, and Lake Batur and the lake water reserves were hoped to help avoid a severe drought. Unfortunately the lakes in Bali are facing serious threats such as sedimentation or siltation, and thus the capacity is declining. In addition, the lakes in Bali are threatened because nutrients are entering them from the surrounding areas. If the four lakes in Bali experienced over siltation it will result in half the water reserves in Bali lost and when all springs are dry Bali will then experience a severe water crisis.

2012 was a bad year for the environment in Bali. Government policies are not independent and are not pro-environment. The government is too pro-investor at the expense of the Bali environment in the pursuit of easy money. The most severe problem is the Tahura mangrove building permits because they are considered very dangerous for the environment. The Tahura permits are contrary to the moratorium on the construction of tourism accommodation issued by the Governor of Bali. In addition, the recent pro-environmental programs initiated by the provincial government of Bali; the Bali Clean and Green, and the Bali Free of Plastic Waste policy were solely for political imagery to further the illusion that leaders in Bali today are pro-environment. The Bali Clean and Green program failed to be implemented because it is not clear how to set up waste
processing infrastructures, and how to setup a convenient public transportation, which would be a safe, fast and cheap way to break up congestion and reduce pollution on the island.