30 April 2013

Bali - Pura Agung Prapat

The temple Pura Agung Prapat with beautiful lake colors in the forest area of West Bali National Park was discovered in 1990 through a search based on Dwijendra Tatwa.

The water color is mediocre. But if it is taken and placed in a separate container the color will be different. The water in the small lake area of 4×6 meters in the forest has five different colors, namely red, black, yellow, white, clear, and blue.

Pura Agung Prapat, is one of the temple which is believed to be founded by Ida Rauh Wawu Rawuh, or also known as Dang Hyang Nirartha. In the spiritual journey of the Majapahit Empire, she established a place of worship in Jembrana district. Searches has done because people feel there is a temple which has not been found as stated like this.

The existence of this temple was not known because of its position in the woods, unlike other temples located in the residential areas. A Foundation gets three hectares of land concession from the Ministry of Forestry. But the development of this temple, including the completed infrastructure should pay attention to the environment.
With the pattern of environmental conservation, the development of the temple including the access road that does not damage the environment so that not only Hindus can worship at the temple praying, but to get the beautiful natural scenery in the forest area. To reach the lake, visitors can go through the main road Gilimanuk-Singaraja. Once you enters the forest the road is not paved deliberately so nature can be maintained. On any night, the temple is lit by a limited light.

29 April 2013

Bali - Ekasari village

Bali is an island that is unique and interesting. Visiting Bali always will give a distinct impression with its natural charm natural green, social and cultural life is always based on Hindu religion makes a harmony in the life of the Balinese people. This is evident in the structure society of Ekasari village, in Jembrana regency.

Ekasari is a goverment village, in this village communities live peacefully alongside each other. Form of houses in the village is truly beautiful and neat. Along the way to this village planted palm trees and flowers that add interesting and cool atmosphere of this village.

Ekasari village has several times received awards and was named the Travel village as well as the village of Law, the award was given by the Minister of Justice on December 11, 1993. In addition, the village was once a champion Development village in 1988 where the award was given by the Minister of the Interior.

Many clove plantations, coconut and teak trees indicate that the livelihoods of local people is gardening, so do not be surprised if this village always looks beautiful and natural. The existence of Village Ekasari as a Tourism Village supported by excellent accessibility so as to provide ease and convenience for tourists who come to this village.

28 April 2013

Pic of the week

Bali - the famous statue of Gatotkaca in Kuta

The no parking signs installed around the Gatotkaca statue on Jl. Raya Tuban in Kuta, which seems to be completely invisible to motorcyclists as they freely park their vehicles there and even have the assistance of a parking attendant.

The iconic statue, depicting Gatotkaca standing on his enemy’s chariot, has become an attraction for motorcyclists, and many tourists as well, to stop just to take a picture or to unwind for a moment. Gatotkaca is the tragic hero from great Hindu epic, the Mahabharata.

The white statue is surrounded by a small pond with a fountain flowing from an elephant’s trunk in a crafted whorl. Around the statue, which was inaugurated on October 30, 1993, by the then-Bali Governor IB Oka, there is a small garden planted with a big cacti, colorful flowers and Japanese grass, with a footpath to enable visitors to walk around.

Since the statue is located near Ngurah Rai airport, it has often been the first stopover for domestic tourists who have just arrived in Bali, stopping simply to take a photo of themselves in front of Gatotkaca. Some parents like to come there just to take a rest while watching their children playing in the garden. While couples find it to be an ideal place as the garden offers a quite romantic atmosphere, although they have to withstand the embarrassment of being seen by passersby on the main Tuban road. The location is accessible by car and motorcycle and it is very easy to find, being only around 5 minutes from the airport if you’re not stuck in a traffic jam. Having a picnic here does not require you to bring food, since there are many food vendors selling meatball soup, grilled corn or boiled peanuts.

27 April 2013

Balinese woodcarving

Balinese woodcarving. Door and 2 windows, made by our carpenter for friends of us. The door panels will come later.

Bali - the new Plaga wines

Indowines is busily launching its Plaga range of wines made from imported Chilean and Western Australian grapes and bottled in Indonesia.

During a series of tastings conducted across the Island, Plaga is initially promoting 3 varietals: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Rose. Later, Plaga Cabernet Sauvignon will join the brand line.
Branding their wines as modern, fresh and playful – the three wines were light and lasting, well suited to tropical fare and Bali’s warm climate. Produced to be drank now – but with a shelf life of at least a year, don’t look for vintage years on the labels of Plaga. Targeted towards youthful drinkers looking for refreshment at an affordable price – the average Plaga drinker most like doesn’t have a wine cellar or the patience to keep a wine until it matures.

Wine lovers young and old are certain to rejoice at the introduction of these eminently drinkable wine with a retail price less than Rp. 130,000 a bottle. Sold at an even lower price to restaurants and retailers, Indowines is hopeful that their Plaga range will be sold at near retail by local restaurants in order to once again make wine an affordable accompaniment to a dinner out. Plaga wines will soon be available across Indonesia with initial launches now underway in Bali, Lombok and the Gilis with Jakarta, Surabaya and other major cities to follow shortly.

Plaga Cabernet Sauvignon
Price: Rp. 129,000
The perfect compliment to a hearty meal, whether a rich and savory beef rendang, a juicy rump steak or a spicy pasta. It also combines beautifully with desserts, especially those made with chocolate and cinnamon.

Plaga Sauvignon Blanc
Price: Rp. 119,000
Plaga Sauvignon Blanc is light enough to have a glass of wine at lunch, but equally well suited to balmy tropical evenings. A food-friendly wine, it goes particularly well with fresh fish or seafood, sushi and sashimi, as well as salads, vegetarian dishes and lean white meat.

Plaga Chardonnay
Price Rp. 119,000
The world’s favorite white wine, Chardonnay is highly versatile and suitable for lunch, dinner any time between. Try pairing with seafood, baked white meat, vegetarian dishes and light, aromatic coconut based curries.

Plaga Rosé
Price Rp. 129,000
Rose is best served chilled. It mixes well with both red and white meat and is ideally paired with canapés and starters. Try it with salad, pasta, fish, rice dishes and rice dishes such as paella and nasi goreng.

26 April 2013

Bali - lazy police officers

The Jembrana Police Chief has reportedly run out of patience with lazy officers under his command.

He allegedly scolded his men for being lazy during a training simulation meant to prepare them for possible disturbances during the upcoming gubernatorial elections.

The Chief went so far as too root out the worst offenders and give them corporal punishment by making them stand in the hot sun.

Police assigned to the security exercise reportedly sat back, drank coffee, and ate snacks with some officers even leaving the simulation area. Ironically enough, the police chief said he did not want to upset his men during the simulation.

“Actually I’ve been lazy to get angry at the officers, but when they’re idle, they should be warned,” he said.

Bali - new tollroad almost complete

The Minister of State Owned Enterprises stated yesterday that cars will soon be able to use the new Nusa Dua – Ngurah Rai – Tanjung Benoa toll road in southern Bali.

It is targeted that by the end of May the toll road will be open to vehicles.

The minister took time to fly to Bali to check the status of the toll that is being readied for the participants of the APEC forum that will be staged later this year in Bali.
The toll road construction is in the final stages. This highway will connect the southern parts of the island of Bali (Nusa Dua) with the District of South Denpasar, via the Benoa Harbour area. Besides these two areas, the highway will also provided better access to the Ngurah Rai International Airport.

25 April 2013

Bali - the Smile shop in Ubud

“The money you spend in Smile Shop will be donated to help the operations of those patients as described in the picture”.

You will notice these words displayed in the shop, along with a picture of a child with a cleft lip before and after the operation.

In 2006, Smile Shop opened two outlets, in Sanur and Ubud. However, the Sanur shop saw fewer customers compared to the one in Ubud. Therefore, the management decided to focus sales in the shop located on Jl. Sri Wedari, Ubud.

Open daily, except on Monday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., this shop sells goods that have been donated by the public to Yayasan Senyum (Smile Foundation).

Fashion lovers can try their luck here to find stylish clothes at a varied prices, starting from Rp 5,000 each. If you are a movie enthusiast, hundreds of old DVDs are available for Rp 1,000 each. Smile Shop also provides hundreds of books, including fiction, history, books about culture in Bahasa, English and Italian, and many more subjects, ranging from Rp 5,000 to Rp 20,000 per book. You might be lucky and find rare books that are no longer available in any bookstores.

There are some paintings also displayed in this shop, one of which was donated by Seniwati Gallery. Its original price was Rp 3 million but in this shop, the buyer only have to pay Rp 2 million for a piece of art created by a female artist.
So, if you are visiting Ubud, Smile Shop can be your next stop after you go around the art galleries. The money you spend here will definitely bring a smile to those with a cleft lip.

Bali - Shuttle buses for Ubud

The chairman of the Bali Tourism Transportation Association (PAWIBA) said his organization fully supports the provision of an armada of shuttle vehicles for Ubud as a means to reduce traffic congestion in the popular arts community located in Central Bali.

The proposed shuttle service would provide transport from the satellite parking space for passengers off visiting buses to destinations within the Ubud community and reduce traffic congestion in the popular sub-destination in Bali.

Because of this, steps are underway to create satellite parking as an appropriate step to accommodate a growing number of tourists on Ubud’s small and narrow streets that are unable to handle large buses. Only the shuttle vehicles would be allowed to deliver tourists around Ubud.

The PAWIBA warned that both Ubud and Bali’s reputation will suffer if the problems of traffic congestion is not urgently addressed in Ubud. The operation of a satellite parking system in cooperation with a shuttle service will reduce the use of fossil fuels, minimize pollution and, most importantly, help eliminate stress for visitors to Ubud.

24 April 2013

Will the fuel price increase this time?

The Indonesian government is planning to increase the cost of premium gasoline, possibly set to take place sometime in the month of May 2013.

Motorcycles and yellow-plated public transportation are slated to continue to pay the current price of Rp. 4,500 per liter, while private vehicles will pay a higher price of Rp. 6,500 per liter.

While plans are being finalized on final implementation of the price hike, consideration is being given to separating gas stations eligible to sell gasoline to motorcycles and public transport and those designated to serve private vehicles.

Government officials are taking pains to point out that consumers paying the higher Rp. 6,500 per liter rate are still enjoying government subsidies as the market price of non-subsidized fuel is Rp. 9,500 per liter.

The final decision on the amount and date of the proposed price increase rests with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. The government is also considering additional assistance in the form of subsidized rice for the poor.

23 April 2013

Bali still attractive for foreign tourists

Most of the millions of foreign tourists flocking to the island of Bali last year, say they came here purely for the holiday of a lifetime and were determined to make a return to the island, a survey reveals.

Last year, 2,892,019 foreign visitors stepped onto the Island of the Gods. The figure represented a 4.91 percent increase from 2011. Most of them came from the Asia-Pacific region (59.02 percent), ASEAN at 12.85 percent, Europe with 22.14 percent, the US with 5.03 percent, while the rest came from Africa, the Middle East and other countries.

The survey was held by the Bali-chapter of Bank Indonesia twice last year during the months of May and November, with an overall 1,000 respondents. Unsurprisingly, more than 92 percent of respondents revealed that they came to Bali on vacation. Meanwhile, more than 81 percent of these respondents also said: “I’ll be back". The survey also revealed that Badung regency was the destination for the highest percentage (67.09 percent) of foreign tourists, with Gianyar recording 17.01 percent and Denpasar 13.07 percent.

Beaches still served as the favorite must-go spot (24.32 percent), while shopping accounted for 13.10 percent, museums for 12.63 percent and the remainder for nature destinations like mountains, lakes and waterfalls.

Bali had two types of tourists, those from the old-existing markets and the emerging ones. The old-existing markets understand Bali so well that they can come to Bali many times and they don’t need to use travel agents. Meanwhile, the emerging market was those who came to Indonesia for the first time. They come in groups and depend on travel agents.
Tourism in Bali continued to develop and grow because Bali had such an endless attraction for foreigners who wanted to explore the island instead of lying on the beach....

22 April 2013

Bali - Jelajah Pusaka Denpasar

After joining the network of World Heritage Cities in 2008, Denpasar continues to uplift its potential as a city full of heritage through Jelajah Pusaka, which literally means heritage journey, a tourism program of education, culture and history.

World Heritage Cities is a network of cities across 124 different countries that have historical heritage and remain well-preserved and even actively function.
Denpasar in Bali and Surakarta in Central Java were the two heritage cities in Indonesia that had been able to join the international network thanks to the assistance of the Indonesian Heritage Conservation Agency (BPPI), which was supported by the World Bank.

The BPPI traced Denpasar’s history, finding it was born as a city in 1788, when the center of Badung kingdom was relocated from the Puri Satria palace to the Puri Denpasar royal house. The research also discovered historical trails in Denpasar from Puri Pamecutan castle on Jl. Thamrin, through Jl. Gajahmada and to Puri Satria Royal House.
Other heritage in the city includes Pura Maospait Gerenceng, Kampung Jawa, the business area along Jl. Gajah Mada, the Badung market and the Hotel Inna Veteran. Over time, the area grew as a center that included government and economic activities, and saw acculturation of the Chinese, Indians, Arabs and other people from across the archipelago.

Denpasar is alive and active to today, despite the changing eras, from kingdom, to colonialism, to independence, and the separation from Badung regency in 1992 as an administrative city.

To better introduce this history, Denpasar has created the Jelajah Pusaka tourism program, which provides education and history lessons for Denpasar residents and the public in general, including visitors. Renovations are being performed by the Denpasar administration to strengthen the program. These include pavements along Jl. Gajahmada, the revitalization of the business epicenter in Kumbasari market and the construction of a basement parking lot. The program is being promoted in brochures distributed in schools.

Many visitors choose to walk around the city to enjoy and appreciate it, mostly foreigners who are not attached to tour packages. Denpasar will arrange an information center and make shuttle buses available.
For visitors who want to join the tour, ask you local travel agent or hotel.

20 April 2013

Bali - Gedong Kirtya museum in Singaraja

Visiting Gedong Kirtya Museum in Singaraja, the capital of Buleleng regency in north Bali, is like visiting any other public museum in Bali and elsewhere in Indonesia — exhibits are housed in a dilapidated and dusty building that has only undergone limited maintenance.

Established in June 1928 and publicly opened in September 1928, Gedong Kirtya stores the island’s most precious literary heritage — thousands of lontar (palm leaf) manuscripts, currently under threat due to the building’s limited facilities.

The lontar manuscripts are inscribed on both sides of dried palm leaves, with the letters incised on the leaf with a sharp blade. The palm leaf manuscripts are bound together with a string. The manuscripts contain pools of knowledge and information ranging from sacred religious texts, to customary laws and codes, calendars, religious and traditional ceremonies, literature, architecture, treaties on traditional medicine, the arts, magic and daily matters.

The museum was constructed with a traditional Balinese architectural design and consists of four main buildings. The first building houses collections of old books and ancient lontar. The second building displays copies of lontar manuscripts and houses a library. The third building is used for administrative offices, while the fourth building is the exhibition room.
Located on Jl. Veteran in downtown Singaraja, the museum rarely gets visitors as the building is not particularly striking. But for scholars and those interested in studying lontar, the museum is a heaven as it houses so many extraordinary literary assets. If you want to learn more about Bali — its religion, culture and customs, Gedong Kirtya offers plentiful resources on the island’s traditional wisdom.

Bali - Pesan Be Nyawan, bee salade

Is lawar with pig’s blood the most bizarre Balinese food? If you think so then you must go to Klungkung, east of Bali.

There you will find a trove of ancestral recipes that constitute perhaps the weirdest food you can imagine. Better skip this one if you’re insectophobic, because capung or dragonflies are the old countrymen’s favourite.

Chop them into pieces (lawar) or skewer and roast them. The taste is said to be crisp and sweet – provided you have the guts to stomach it. Yet one insect ingredient the thought of which really makes us nauseous is nyawan, or… bees. You read it correctly. The most famous dish is pesan be nyawan: bees and chopped beehives seasoned with local spices, wrapped in leaves and roasted. Don’t worry about your palate getting stung and numbed, since the amount of chillies involved in the dish will already have paralyzed your oral senses.

19 April 2013

Bali - the APEC summit in October

At the close of this month, the Bali Police have completed another phase of preparations for the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Summit the island will host in October.

Bali Police chief said that his force had completed an inventory of patrol cars that would be used to safeguard the summit delegates. The number of patrol cars owned by the Bali Police will not be enough to support a large-scale international event like APEC. As the summit will be attended by representatives from 23 countries, the police will need a total of 92 patrol cars, assuming that each country will use four cars. Half of the total number of cars will be supplied by the East Java Police and West Nusa Tenggara Police.

In addition to the patrol cars, 20 riot vehicles were needed to safeguard the event, but the Bali Police only have three.

On Thursday, a rehearsal was held at a field in Renon, Denpasar, during which a bomb squad performed a simulation. A bomb squad will be part of each troop guarding delegates’ entourages.

The Bali Police would continue to improve the troops’ preparedness for such emergency situations ahead of the event. Half of the Bali Police’s personnel will continue their daily tasks during the APEC Summit, while the remainder will safeguard the event together with forces from other areas. Security will be enhanced at the island’s entrances, along the routes the delegates will use, as well as around the venue. Bali police will also enhance security at tourist destinations that will be visited by the delegates.

18 April 2013

Lombok - Gili Trawangan

Tourists fed up with the crowds in South Bali may find a safe haven on the tiny islet of Gili Trawangan, the largest of three islets — Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air, in the northern part of neighboring Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara.

Developed in the early 1990s as an alternative destination for young tourists eager to taste “freedom and happy lifestyles”, Gili Trawangan has been transformed into a quite reputable tourist destination surrounded by pristine white-sandy beaches. Perfect for diving, Gili Trawangan is popular among adventurous visitors as it offers abundant water sport opportunities.

It is easy to get to Gili Trawangan, and the other two islets — Gili Meno and Gili Air, with travelers arriving either by sea or air. From Bali, there is a ferry to Lombok on which you can take buses, private cars or motorcycles, from Padang Bai port in Karangasem, east Bali. There are also speedboats from Padang Bai to Lembar Port in Lombok. The trip to Lombok takes around one hour on the 50-seat speedboat and passengers pay fares between Rp 500,000 and Rp 1 million per person. However, those who easily get seasick are advised to travel by plane. Local airlines, such as Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air and other companies, already offer direct flights at affordable prices connecting Bali and Lombok islands. The flight itself only takes about 20 minutes.

However, once on Gili Trawangan, this painful journey will quickly be forgotten as visitors enjoy the beauty of the islets and their precious underwater life. Hundreds of tourists stay on Gili Trawangan to enjoy a more peaceful and quiet holiday, far away from the hustle and bustle of Bali. Measuring only 7.3 square kilometers in size, Gili Trawangan now offers accommodation facilities ranging from modest to star-rated establishments. Restaurants and local warung (food stalls) serve dishes of Indonesian and international fare. No motorcycles, let alone cars, are allowed on the island. Transportation is limited to bicycles and cidomo (horse carts). A one-hour tour around the island by cidomo is available from Rp 150,000 to Rp 200,000. Bicycles are also available for rent at Rp 15,000. No gas emissions, no noise pollution from motor vehicles — that is Gili Trawangan islet. An ideal location for a nice holiday break in an environmentally friendly destination.

17 April 2013

Bali]s unique Endek cloth

The provincial government intends to issue a governor’s regulation on the use of Endek, a traditional woven cloth from Bali, for government and school uniforms.

Employees of the provincial government already wear clothes made from endek on Thursdays and Fridays, while members of the legislative council have to change the regulations before they can define what clothes they wear. The planned regulation is also intended to protect the local culture. Endek is a woven cloth specific to Bali and is not made in other areas, as opposed to batik which is made from material onto which a drawing is made and witch is made in different country's in Asia.

The popularizing the use of endek demonstrated the government’s attention to local products. Some members of Bali’s legislative council have already been seen wearing endek during a discussion related to art appreciation.

And because we always get many invitations for Balinese ceremony's I decided to make an Endek shirt too, cost, 2 meter cloth 120.000rp and for the tailor 50.000rp.

16 April 2013

The tallest hotel in Bali

Where is the most sacred hotel room on the island? Visit Inna Grand Bali Beach Hotel in Sanur and you’ll see history replete with hair-rising superstition and groundbreaking records.

Running since 1966, the 11-storey hotel remains the tallest commercial accommodation ever built on the island, just a few years before the Tri Hita Karana building philosophy
was introduced (no building should exceed 15 meters high, or as high as the tallest palm-tree). Room number 327 is worth mentioning since it is still considered the special residence of the late Soekarno, Indonesia’s first president. Even now his suits, kris and other belongings are taken care of daily by a Balinese spiritual guru. Coffee and snacks are still ushered to the room every single day, as if Soekarno never left it, ever. Once in 1993 a fire engulfed the whole hotel, and 327 was the only room left unscathed. In addition, this hotel also boasts cottage 2401. It’s believed to be the home of Indonesian legendary spirit Nyai Roro Kidul, aka the queen of the southern sea of Java. These rooms are open to the public every Thursday evening, with some

15 April 2013

Bali - garbage bins

A line of colorful and artistically designed trash bins is on display, along with other household items, such as traditional rice cookers, satay grills, cookie jars, garden and kitchen wares, all made of used tin cans.

Welcome to Usaha Dagang Putra, a pioneer recycling company in Kapal village, which has been producing a wide range of recycled products for the last 30 years.
The display room is quite captivating to the passerby, as well as those driving from Denpasar on their way to Tabanan or Singaraja. One of the most wanted products is garbage bins made of used cans. The trash bins are painted in bright colors — yellow, green, red, blue and orange — a sight that catches the eye of many. A truly successful recycler!

Bali - Diving with the Mola-Mola

Fusing the three islands Nusa Lembongan, Penida and Ceningan into one fascination is the splendor that lies beyond the crystal clear blue waters that surround them.

These waters are best known among some of the world class diving destinations. The rich waters around the three islands support no less than 247 species of coral, 562 species of fish and Green and Olive Ridley Turtles. With its adjacent deep water trenches, the main stars here are the spectacular and very rare gigantic Oceanic Sunfish or Mola- mola.
Mola-mola is the heaviest known bony fish in the world and can grow to over 2 meters long. They have large, blunt heads, heavy bodies and stubbed tails, with elongated dorsal and ventral fins that can span up to 4 meters. If elsewhere divers are lucky to meet one Mola, here they can dive with three or more of these strange fish, since these are the Mola’s “cleaning stations”. Here the warm currents of the Indian Ocean meet the cold currents from the South Pole and Australia, creating the favored streams and temperatures for the Mola, who frequent these seas to have their bodies picked clean by the multitude of cleaning fish that abound in these waters.

Sharing these seas with the Molas are white-tipped reef sharks, nurse sharks, hammerhead sharks, and large Manta Rays that can also be found here. There are more than 20 identified dive sites around the islands, the most notable being; Blue Corner, Ped, Crystal Bay, Manta Point, Toyapakeh, Suana Bay, Ceningan Point and Malibu Point. There are some challenging drift dives here, and dive operators will visit certain sites only when sea conditions are safe. There are also plenty of options for easier flat reef and wall dives as well. Non-divers should not feel left out, as good snorkeling is available close inshore at various spots around the islands.

Since currents are strong here, divers should stick to groups. Many good divers have been carried by the currents almost to the open ocean that leads to the South Pole before being rescued. From the extraordinary encounters with the giants of the deep sea, exhilarating rides on the ocean tides; to gazing the spectacular sunset on the indulging white sands, the islands of Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan, and Nusa Penida are truly a pristine paradise just a boat ride away from the fabled island of Bali.

13 April 2013

Bali - the bridge from Nusa Lembongan

The bridge connecting the two islands of Lembongan and Ceningan which collapsed during bad weather last month remains in a state of disrepair, with local residents still waiting for a proper fix.

Immediately after its collapse, residents worked together to rebuild the bridge temporarily using bamboo. Meanwhile, a permanent bridge was promised by the government. However, no efforts have yet been made by authorities to begin the process.

The bamboo bridge is temporary, built at no cost to the government, by local residents of both Ceningan and Lembongan with mutual cooperation.

Regarding the matter, the Head of the Department of Public Works for Klungkung said the plan has actually been repeatedly proposed to the central government since 2004 through the Department of Public Works Bali Province.
In 2006, there was even a blueprint drawn up for the proposed new bridge, but still the project stalled at central government level and is continuing to wait for the green light.

Bali - the dry season starts

Most of Bali will start experiencing the dry season this month, while some other areas will have to wait until later in May or June, the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has forecast. By mid-June, the dry season will have come to all areas of Bali.

Bali is divided into 15 climate zones. Two zones had been experiencing the dry season since last month, sooner than the other regions. These zones include some parts of Gianyar regency, all of Klungkung regency and Nusa Penida. Eight zones will start the dry season this month, including the majority of Buleleng and Jembrana, north and east Karangasem, south Tabanan, northeast Bangli, and parts of Badung.
Areas that will have to wait for the dry season until between May and June are southeast Buleleng, parts of Badung, west Bangli, north Tabanan, and north Gianyar. These areas include Petang, Pelaga, Besakih, Sidemen, Singaraja, Gitgit and Wanagiri.

According to BMKG’s forecast, most areas in Bali would see the dry season start at the normal time, without any unusually early or delayed starts compared to averages during the period 1981 to 2010. The average temperature would range from 30 to 32 degrees Celsius and there are not any signs of abnormality, such as indications of unusually hot weather or severe drought.

12 April 2013

Bali - sate kebet

A public park in Bali would not be complete without the presence of street food vendors.

Located right in downtown Denpasar, next to the Bali Museum and the Jagatnatha Temple, the Puputan Badung field, which now has the new name of I Gusti Ngurah Made Agung field, has always been a favorite hangout for locals and tourists.

As the saying goes: “Where there’s sugar, there’re ants”. The breezy public park is a favorite trading spot for street vendors. Among them are the sate kebet vendors. Kebet is the Balinese word for fan, the tool usually used by satay vendors to keep the charcoal burning hot when roasting their satay.

Fresh cubed pork will be marinated with liquid Balinese palm sugar for some 30 minutes. The slices of pork are then seasoned with a mixture of red chilies, small green chilies and the Balinese traditional spice mix base genep, also known as bebungkilan. Afterwards, the cubed meat is stuck onto bamboo skewers, ready to be grilled, ready to serve any hungry customers. For only Rp 10,000 a customer gets a plate of ketupat (rice cake) with eight skewers of hot and sweet sate kebet. Spicy chili condiment and sweet soy sauce complement the dish. The tenderness and succulent taste of the sweet spicy pork meat makes a mere portion of sate kebet never enough.

Bali - Nusa Penida, Lembongan and Ceningan

Separated by the Badung Strait some 15Km off the southeastern coast of Sanur on Bali are the enchanting trio islands of Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan, and Nusa Penida.

Here, one will find the pristine beauty of unspoilt white sandy beaches, exhilarating waves, crystal clear waters, stunning natural rugged beauty, and picturesque sceneries away from the vibrant sounds and vivacious atmosphere of Bali’s southern coast. Beneath the surface, the waters around these islands present their own jaw-dropping sensation and are the playground to some of the most fascinating creatures of the deep sea, the prima donna being the rare giant ocean sunfish: Mola Mola.

Being the nearest from the mainland and most developed island for tourism among the three, Nusa Lembongan is approximately 8 square km in size, and is truly an island paradise. Neither hawkers nor traffic mar the magnificent scenery; this is a fine place to just lay back and relax. Jungut Batu Beach, located in the northwest is a lovely arc of white sand and clear blue water with a superb view of Mount Agung on Bali. This is the area which traditionally attracted backpackers and surfers to the island. Mushroom Bay to the southwest of Jungut Batu is a quaint, attractive and sheltered bay. Further south, the lesser known beaches either side of the Devil's Tear outcrop (A rocky outcrop on the south western coast with spectacular crashing waves and water plumes), are known as Dream Beach and Sunset Beach (or Sandy Bay). The coastal landscape in this part of the island is mostly low-lying limestone cliffs, and there are some dramatic cave formations.

Nusa Lembongan was first opened up as a tourist destination by surfers, and it has long been an established part of the Bali surf circuit. There are three main breaks, all off the top half of the west coast, with another less well known just to the southwest off Nusa Ceningan. Playgrounds, Lacerations and Shipwrecks are all close offshore and reached via an energetic paddle from the beach, or in a more leisurely fashion, by a local boat (jukung) which can be chartered from the nearest beach. Whilst the breaks usually suit intermediate to experienced surfers given they all break over coral reefs, the aptly named Playgrounds is a little more forgiving and can be enjoyed by beginners and experts alike. There is a thriving surf scene in Jungut Batu.

Nusa Ceningan is the tiny island between Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida, which is easily reached via the suspension bridge on foot or by bicycle/motorbike. There is a notable surf break off Nusa Ceningan which attracts some surfers away from the more crowded breaks on Nusa Lembongan. Otherwise the island offers some scenic roads and paths, and the westward views back over Nusa Lembongan to Bali are impressive. Viewing the sunset over Bali from the central Ceningan ridge is very much worth the effort. The estuarine channel between Lembongan and Ceningan is home to many seaweed farms.

Totaling some 200 square kilometers, Nusa Penida is the largest of the three islands. There are many quiet and secluded white sand beaches along the north and northwest coasts of Nusa Penida. Highlighting the geographical features of the island are limestone caves, spectacular high coastal cliffs with karst formations and offshore pinnacles in the south and east, and rugged hill tops in the high centre. As an addition to West Bali National Park, Nusa Penida has also become bird sanctuary for endangered Balinese and Indonesian bird species, including the critically endangered Bali white Starling (Leucopsar rothschildi).

11 April 2013

Bali - Bale Bengong

The carpenter made for friends of us, who later this year start living in Perancak,
a nice big wooden Bale Bengong​​.

Bali - the Royal House of Pemecutan

The royal house of Pemecutan was one of the most influential families during the feudal era in Denpasar.

Alongside the Denpasar and Kesiman royal houses, Pemecutan ruled the area that in present-day Bali is known as Denpasar, as well as parts of Badung regency. The three royal houses lost their military power after suffering a paralyzing defeat in the 1906 battle, known locally as Puputan (battle to the last stand), in which the leaders of the three families and a large number of their loyal soldiers perished under a continuous salvo from the technologically superior Dutch military expedition.

Despite the military defeat and the emergence of the Republic of Indonesia, which put an end to the feudal rule of the royal families, the descendants of the houses still wield substantial political, social and cultural influence over Denpasar’s residents. The Pemecutan royal house’s current leader, Ida Cokorda Pemecutan XII, is the former head of the local chapter of the Golkar Party, former speaker of the Bali Legislative Council, and, despite his brief fall from grace after he stabbed one of his relatives to death, is still a power to be reckoned with in the island’s political landscape.

Pemecutan was also one of the first royal houses to open its palace to tourists, giving visitors the opportunity to see the architectural beauty of the buildings, as well as the daily life of their blue-blooded occupants. Pemecutan Palace, which lies on Jl. Thamrin in the old quarter of Denpasar city, has now been included in Jelajah Pusaka, a government-initiated tourism package designed for the history-conscious visitors.

One of Pemecutan’s elders, Anak Agung Ngurah Putra Darmanuraga, said that the royal house traced its ancestral origins to Arya Damar, one of the young princes from East Java’s Majapahit kingdom who joined the military expedition in the 14th century to annex Bali. In 1906, during Puputan Badung, the palace was destroyed following the demise of the king, Cokorda Ngurah Agung Pemecutan. The king and nearly all of his immediate relatives perished in the battle. Two of his surviving sons, AA Gde Lanang and his kid brother Cokorda Ngurah Gede Pemecutan, continued the royal lineage and the palace was rebuilt.

The palace is divided into two main compounds: the living quarters and pemerajan (place of worship). A huge split gate brings visitors to the spacious outer courtyard, where in the past the local communities performed dances and other performing arts. A bell tower, where the hollow wooden drum is kept, and a pavilion for a gamelan musical ensemble are two main buildings in this yard. Upon going through another elaborately carved gate, visitors reach the middle courtyard populated with a balairung, a large hall where the king holds court, and an open stage for art performances. The inner courtyard hosts several open pavilions, including the bale murda, where the corpse of a member of the royal family is laid to rest before being taken to the cemetery, as well as several sleeping quarters.

07 April 2013

Bali - rolling blackouts between April 7 - 13

This week, April 7-13, Bali may experience rolling blackouts as PLN, the state electricity company, will be doing routine maintenance on the Gilimanuk power plant, which currently supplies 130 MW to the grid.

A PLN spokesperson said on Wednesday that the routine maintenance was necessary to ensure a sustainable supply of electricity and that this April was the scheduled time for Bali’s largest power plant to be checked. The maintenance is scheduled for one week, April 7-13.

The work on Gilimanuk power plant would automatically reduce electricity supply by 130 MW. However, Bali was supplied with 690 MW and the peak load was close to 650 MW. Plans were in place for rolling blackouts, however, they would be minimized as much as possible. PLN hopes that customers can reduce their electricity use by 100 watts for each hour during peak time. Hotels and industries with generators are requested to support PLN by generating their own power at that time.

06 April 2013

Bali - Kapal

Kapal village in Badung regency has turned into the center for sampian, plaited young coconut leaves or palm leaves usually used for religious rituals. In the past, women in the village created the beautifully plaited leaves in their spare time. Nowadays, it has become the source of their livelihoods.

The celebration of Galungan and Kuningan has brought more profits for these small businesses, which are even more lucrative than the sales of sanggah (worship monuments), which had been a more popular product from the village.

For two months before the festivities, dozens of local women have been skillfully doing the metuesan (cutting and plaiting the leaves into artistic ornaments) as it is their busiest time of year.

To make the ornaments more attractive, the leaves were colored green and red and plastic flowers or beads are added to them. Most of these ornaments are made of palm leaves transported from Java, Madura and East Nusa Tenggara. A pair of tamiang is sold for Rp 10,000 while a package of penjor is sold for between Rp 500,000 to Rp 1 million. During the days leading up to ceremonies, the kiosks and houses lining the village, along the main road connecting Denpasar and Gilimanuk, are colorful from all the ornaments.

Tamiang, according to the website Hindu-Indonesia.com, originated from the word tameng, which means shield. Tameng is also the symbol of Dewata Nawa Sanga, because it points to the nine cardinal directions. In the Kuningan celebration, tamiang and endongan are installed in house corners and on worship monuments. The two symbols are closely related: the tamiang represents a weapon or protection and endongan represents supplies. Therefore, together they symbolize that the main supply in life is knowledge and devotion, while the main weapon in life is serenity of mind.

Pic of the week

Today is Kuningan and as usual the day befor Kuningan is used for cooking meals. And just as we did at Christmas, the Balinese also bring food around for family, friends and acquaintances. So our table and the kitchen is filled with food and confectionery, from bolu kukus, fruit, tape (ricewine made from black rice) till babi goreng and nasi kuning (yellow rice).

05 April 2013

Bali - new bus service from Ngurah Rai Airport

The Trans Sarbagita Bus System will extend its network to include a Sanur-Ngurah Rai International Airport-Nusa Dua route later this year.

The new service will provide an economical and efficient means of accessing the airport for both air travelers and those working at the airport. In operation since August 2011, the Trans Sarbagita System currently provides a network that connects Batubulan (Gianyar) to Nusa Dua and Denpasar to Jimbaran.

The airport is presently served by a monopoly taxi service operated by a local cooperative of questionable legality under Indonesia’s anti-monopoly regulation of 1999. Now they are seeking a way to introduce the public bus service to Bali’s airport that will not upset existing modes of transportation, legal or otherwise. Initially, 8 busses are to be operated on the Sanur-Airport-Nusa Dua route to serve an estimated 8,000 workers at the airport and a large number of domestic and international travelers.

Bali - Nyanyi beach

The sun goes down at 6:30 p.m. on the western horizon of Nyanyi Beach at Beraban village in Tabanan, some 20 kilometers west of Denpasar.

Nyanyi Beach, still unknown to many, could well become a popular alternative to witness a perfectly wonderful sunset. Sunset watching in Bali is very popular and on many visitors list of things to do. However, currently most are only familiar with Kuta, Jimbaran and other such sites in southern Bali as the favored places to view a great sunset.For those who love a busy hectic life, Kuta, Seminyak and Canggu Beach may well be good options for sunset watching. However, those who want to escape the overcrowded beaches and restaurants, as well as the noise of Kuta, may prefer the pristine beauty of Nyanyi Beach, especially when the sun goes down.

Located just 1 kilometer east of the famous Tanah Lot Temple in Tabanan, Nyanyi Beach faces the Bali Strait and has a view of the eastern edge of Java, toward the town of Banyuwangi. Access to Nyanyi Beach is still undeveloped; the road is quite rough and rocky and has no asphalt covering. Nyanyi Beach is a 2-kilometer long stretch of coast with black sands and high waves, with an approximately 10 meter-high rock cliff on the right-hand side. The beach is still almost “virgin”, with no signs of development. It has not become a surfing paradise yet, or a safe swimming location for visitors. No beach lifeguards are on duty to ensure the safety of those swimming, despite the growing number of people coming to the beach during weekends. People come just to spend their leisure sitting on the sand, playing with their children. So, if serenity and peace are what you are looking for, forget Kuta Beach and come to Nyanyi Beach instead to witness that breathtaking sunset moment.

Kasus Korupsi, drinking beer with the Balinese police

National Police Chief Gen. Timur Pradopo confirmed yesterday that strict punishment will be handed out to the Bali police officer who was caught on camera receiving a bribe from a Dutch tourist.

“We’re committed that any offence, no matter how small shall be dealt with decisively. Whether it is related to problems with discipline or ethics,” said the chief of police at the Presidential Office in Jakarta yesterday.

According to official statements, the details of the incident in which a traffic police officer was videoed accepting a bribe and then using the fine to purchase beer is still being investigated. “It is still in process,” added Pradopo. However, it has been reported by some media that the officer in question has already been relieved of his post at the traffic intersection.

Meanwhile, according to Bali Police Chief Inspector Arif Wachyunadi regarding the issue of bribery, both the giver and the receiver can be charged with a criminal offence. “It’s a matter of bribery which means there is a giver and taker. Meaning everyone is implicated, we will continue our investigation,” stated Arif yesterday.

04 April 2013

Lombok -Take the fast boat

Traveling between Bali and Senggigi has never been easier, thanks to Marina Srikandi fast boat transfers.

Marina Srikandi operates three transfers every day between Padang Bai Harbour (Bali) and Senggigi (Lombok), with Lombok departures and arrivals directly from the jetty on Senggigi Beach near Santosa Villas and Resort.

The company also offers easy connections between Bali and Gili Trawangan and Gili Air. The normal route departs Padang Bai directly to Senggigi and then to Gili Trawangan before returning to Padang Bai. Gili Air passengers can arrange transfers with Marina Srikandi offices.

Depending on passenger numbers, trips are made on Marina Srikandi 1 or 2, both of which have a capacity of 75 passengers; or on Marina Srikandi 8, the newest boat in the fleet, with a capacity for 135 passengers. The large and comfortable boats make the crossing between Bali and Lombok in around 1½ hours, depending on weather and sea conditions. See their website for full details: www.marinasrikandi.com

03 April 2013

Bali - Gunung Kawi

At the entrance of Gunung Kawi, a set of steep steps heads down the hillside through verdant paddy fields with the temple and rock carvings at the bottom, in the river valley.

If you have bad knees, poor mobility or don’t like exercise, Gunung Kawi is not for you — there are over 300 steps to negotiate. It is hot and tiring going down, even more so knowing the uphill return journey awaited, but every tourist on the way back up the steps encouraged those heading down. “It’s worth it.” “Be careful near the river, it’s slippery. Look, I bashed my toe!”

Passing the dramatic rice terraces, working farmers and smiling, chatty vendors selling souvenirs and drinks along the path, perhaps the most humbling sight was four Balinese women carrying baskets full of brick-son their heads, who were making the trek up to 10 times a day. With no vehicle access, everything has to be hand carried to the temple.

Once down the hill, the splashing water of the Pakerisan River and the chirping of birds provides the background sound and the huge ancient stone carvings in the rock face greet you on both sides of the valley. The carvings are thought to be late 11th century and the tombs of ancient royalty. There also some holes carved out of the rocky mounds leading into rooms that resemble some kind of ancient Hobbit town, but were possibly rooms for meditation or for visiting pilgrims. The sense of history is palpable; however, the actual history of the area is unclear. There are no guides at the site.
Gunung Kawi is about 35 km north of Denpasar, past Ubud, or about 2 km south of Tirta Empul temple and Tampak Siring Palace. The entrance fee is Rp 15,000 for adults and a sarong is required.

Another great movie about Bali

02 April 2013

Bali - Sebatu waterfall

One of the holiest places in Bali is Sebatu waterfall near Pura Dalem Pingit and Pura Kusi temples in Sebatu in Gianyar regency, some 11 kilometers from the famed village of Ubud.

Reaching Sebatu waterfall is quite challenging with a walk down hundreds of stone steps heading to the slippery site. Dozens of locals, and even foreign visitors, were seen bathing under the rushing, cold water.  A local guard explained that there were several rituals to be performed prior to melukat.

First is performing a special prayer at Pura Dalem Pingit, the temple of death, asking for the blessing of the temple’s guardians. A second prayer is required at the nearby Pura Kusi.

A kwangen — a small, triangular offering made of young coconut leaves containing fresh and colorful flowers and Chinese coins, is needed to pray, or muspa. For those who forget to bring a kwangen or other offerings, numerous women sell canangsari offerings, kwangen, fragrant incense and ritual needs. After praying at the two temples, another small ritual is performed near the waterfall.

After all the preparations are complete, the devotees plunge into the water and allow it to pour over their heads and bodies. Many visitors, including foreigners, said they felt physically and spiritually clean after performing melukat. For those now facing earthly or spiritual problems, Sebatu waterfall may be a destination worth visiting to perform melukat and purify the body and mind, hopefully bringing a more prosperous and peaceful life.

Balinese old bicycles

Various types of Dutch-made classic bicycles, like the Gazelle, Fongers and Simplex, were parked in a long, neat row along the car-free zone in Renon on Sunday morning, inviting curious passersby to stop awhile for a look.

Their owners, locally known as the Onthelis, brought them there for a special reason: a meet-and-greet session with Andre Koopmans, a Dutch national with a deep passion for Dutch vintage bicycles. “I did not know that people in Indonesia were this enthusiastic about old bicycles,” said Koopmans, acknowledging it was his first visit to Bali after his appearance last week at the International Classic Bicycle Festival of Bandung Lautan Onthel in West Java, where around 5,000 vintage bike lovers and collectors nationwide gathered. Bali alone is estimated to be home to some 500 old bike enthusiasts.

Deemed a specialist in Gazelle bicycles, Koopmans, 48, works day-to-day as a safety manager in a factory in a small town in the Netherlands. He fell in love with his first old Gazelle bike 15 years ago and the love has grown ever since. Today, he had collected some 40 vintage Dutch bicycles dating back as far as 1916.

“There’s an old saying in Holland that a good bicycle is the one that lasts for your whole life. That bike is what I have always wanted,” said Koopmans, whose first love was a 1937 Gazelle, which he managed to rebuild as per the original specifications. Asked for his impression on the vintage bike collections in Indonesia, Koopmans appreciated the effort by the country’s vintage bike owners to keep their collections as authentic and well-preserved as possible.
“But it’s more difficult for them to make their bikes as original as possible, because the right spare parts could be very expensive and hard to find. I think the people in Indonesia take more care of their old bikes than they do in Holland. In Holland, there are just too many bikes, people don’t care and just throw their old ones away.”

Nowadays, prices of vintage bicycles continued to rise, noting that an original, good condition 1960 Gazelle bike could fetch up to Rp 70 million when sold.
Nonetheless, the benefits of vintage bicycles do not stop with health, social and financial gains, as the two-wheel form of transport is also known for its historical value, especially for Indonesia, a country that was colonized by the Dutch for 350 years and by the English between 1811 and 1816.

These vintage bikes have numerous models, brands and countries of origins. Back in the olden days, each model and brand represented the different social and economic classes of the owners. For example, the Gazelle and Fongers brands belonged to the wealthy Meneer [the Dutch landlords] and the local Priyayi [high status Indonesians], while those who worked as clerks, nurses, doctors and policemen also had their own types of bicycles.

01 April 2013

Balinese palaces open for tourists

Some palaces in Bali are to be developed into tourist attractions, where visitors can stay, learn about Balinese culture and traditions and enjoy a truly Balinese experience.

The concept of palace tourism was to help promote the old culture and traditions specific to Bali as a unique destination.

The activities that tourists could participate in during their stay in a royal home, including a royal dinner — in which the royal family would wear their traditional attire, while listening to stories and explanations from the royal family. They could also walk around the palace, shop at a nearby traditional market and learn to cook traditional dishes. Local people living around the palace would also be involved in this tourism, with the hope that it could improve their livelihoods.

The pilot project for the concept had been conducted at Puri Bedulu (Bedulu Palace) in Gianyar. Some other palaces that will open their doors to guests include Puri Jro Kuta, Puri Kanginan, Puri Kerambitan, Puri Penebel and Puri Bongkasa.

Puri Pemecutan in Denpasar and Puri Ubud in Ubud are two palaces that opened their doors to tourists decades ago.