31 May 2013

Bali - Cermonies for the the Simpan Siur underpass

The Bupati (regent) of Bali’s Badung regency is concerned that the Island’s brand new Simpang Siur Underpass in Kuta is operating - albeit on a trial basis – without traditional Mlaspas and Mecaru ceremonies being undertaken beforehand.

The bupati said: “Gosh, the Underpass has come this far without my hearing that mlaspas or mercaru ceremonies have been held? In fact, this is very important and must be held as a spiritual (niskala) necessity. This is my concern right now.”

The regent has asked the department of public works and waterways for the regency to coordinate the project managers to ensure the ceremonies are soon held. “I, as the personal responsible for the Regency call for these spiritual ceremonies be held in accordance with Balinese tradition and in order to ensure the future safety of the underpass. This is Bali.”

In accordance with Balinese belief, no major undertaking should be commenced without first seeking the blessing of God and the spiritual world.
The official in charge of the Underpass project confirmed that the Balinese ceremonies would be held in conjunction with the official opening of the tunnel. He was, however, unable to confirm when exactly the formal opening of the underpass would take place.

30 May 2013

Bali - Ginger drinks

Wedang Jahe ginger drink is a favorite beverage among the locals, particularly during pancaroba, the transition period between the rainy and dry season.

This period is characterized with unpredictable weather: sudden torrential rain following very hot afternoons. It is during this period that many people succumb to masuk angin, a health condition marked with digestive flatulence, dizziness and nausea.
It is said that a cup of hot wedang jahe is the best remedy for this problem. Many roadside stalls offers various kinds of ginger-based drinks, from hot chocolate ginger, to lesser galangal ginger, ginseng ginger with honey, milk ginger, to a mix of ginger, milk, fermented cassava and ice cubes. The drinks are served in a simple glass and cost around Rp 11,000.

28 May 2013

Dash Berlin comes to Bali, June 13, Hard Rock Cafe

Dash Berlin is a Dutch trance project from The Hague, formed in 2007 by Eelke Kalberg and Sebastiaan Molijn. The frontman of the group's DJ Jeffrey Sutorius.

Kalberg and Molijn are more than a decade part of the international dance scene, they wrote hits for acts like Alice DeeJay, Vengaboys and Candee Jay. They also collaborated with DJ Sander Kleinenberg on hits like This Is Miami and The Fruit and made remixes for international stars like Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson, NERD, Usher, Lenny Kravitz, Junkie XL, Röyksopp, Mylo, and Annie Lennox.

In 2010, Dash Berlin was nominated for 'Best European DJ' at the IDMA's and the duo came into the DJ Mag Top 100 at number 15. They won the prize for highest new entry. In 2011 Dash Berlin ended eighth place on the same list. In 2012 the duo moved up to the seventh place.

Dash Berlin is sponsor of the Giri Asih Foundation and come to Bali on June 13 for a benefit concert at the Hard Rock Cafe on Pantai Kuta. The money will go entirely to the Giri Asih Foundation.

Giri Asih is a Dutch foundation dedicated to orphans and underprivileged children in Bali.
The foundation runs an orphanage in the village Pohsanten, near Negara, and now offer shelter to some 25 children. There is also a small computer class room, also for children from the village itself. The orphanage is under daily supervision of a Dutch speaking Balinese woman.

The purpose of the foundation:
Ambition: Giving children a decent home and future prospects.
Priorities: Self-sufficiency, continuing education.
Foundation: Home, food and education, additional activities.
Small-scale projects: concrete investments with immediate effect.

And for those who can not come to Bali ... do as Dash Berlin, go to the website
www.giri-asih.nl and make a donation. The children of Pohsante are grateful to you.

Bali - Menjangan island, diving wonder

Surrounded by unspoilt white sandy beaches, stunning coral reefs, and enchanting underwater, environment Menjangan Island is a perfect definition of what natural beauty is all about.

Located about 10km North West off the shore of Bali’s mainland, the small island of Menjangan forms part of the West Bali National Park Conservation Area. The word Menjangan means Deer. The name was given by the local people who observed wild deer herds swimming to the island every spring covering a distance of approx 1.2 miles.

This small island is actually where diving first started seriously on Bali back in about 1978 under the sponsorship of the Indonesian Navy, when it arranged a get-together of the country’s main diving clubs -Possi, Ganesha, Nusantara, and Trisakti. That get-together led to Menjangan establishing itself as the premier international dive location in Bali and many of the attendees went on to become the pioneers of commercial dive operations across Indonesia.

The island itself is surrounded by a coral reef, characterized by deep drop offs of near to 60 meters and by complex rock formations. These distinctive features have given rise to a great number of large and small caves, festooned with sponge and soft corals and often inhabited by large groupers, moray eels and by young snappers and batfish in the smaller caves. The sea beds are also rich in large barrel sponges and vibrant sea fans, some of which are truly enormous. Given the depth, the moderate flow of currents and its protection from strong winds, it is common to see tuna, shoals of jack-fish, batfish, angelfish, sea turtles, and on occasion also sharks, especially off the outer corners of the island.

The island is also known as the location for the best wall diving in Bali, with a very bright and colorful underwater world and lots of different sites to choose from. These dive sites are rich in marine life and sandy beaches to relax over lunch.

At a depth of 45 meters the Anchor wreck is found. Also called the Anker or Kapal Budak (Slave Ship), the site is an old wooden ship wreck sitting on the sea floor on the western tip of Menjangan which is either an 19th century Dutch ship that sunk during WWII or one that sunk much earlier during the Dutch colonial era while supposedly carrying Balinese slaves to Batavia (now Jakarta). The wreck contains a cargo of ceramics and glass bottles and is completely colonized by soft coral; an excellent place to meet turtles and sharks.

Named after a large colony of garden eels, the Eel Gardens dive site lies on the western point of Menjangan in a shallow area with some dazzling white sand that is a pleasant dive in itself. The dive starts on a nice wall (about 40m) with a lot of beautiful gorgonians and other sea fans then continue over the top of the reef to a stretch of white sand. Arguably, some say that this is the best part of Menjangan Island.

And there is a big surprise for macro-photographers, video-operators and marine biologists at the Secret Bay”. In the small bay near the ferry port of Gilimanuk, a strange play in currents has rendered the water temperature here to be more, at most 25 degree C, which has created a habitat for Pacific and Indian Ocean species, with often hybrids between the two. The muddy shallow beds, mixed with algae and debris, are host to truly strange marine creatures, some of which have recently been discovered by marine biologists for the first time, such as the 4 types of anglerfish including the Sargassum Anglerfish, Spotfin Anglerfish and one in particular that has created great interest among biologists, locally called the Tono’s Anglerfish. Apart from the anglerfish, the bay is host to numerous different sea horses, dragonets, ghostpipefish, nudibranches, lionfish such us the Blue Finned lionfish, ribbon eels and much more. This unique bay has been and still is the preferred location of some of the world’s most famous underwater photographers and filmmakers, as well as researchers and marine biologists.

Being an uninhabited island, there are neither accommodation options nor any other facilities whatsoever available on Menjangan Island, however several hotels and other accommodations can be found on the north western coast of Bali near the West Bali National park and the Pemuteran area.

Best time to visit the underwater wonders around Menjangan Island is between April to November. Since no shops are available nearby, make sure that you have all your diving or snorkeling gear with you, drinks, food and suntan lotion, medicines and other necessities on hand.
The main way to get to Menjangan Island is by using a local boat run by the Bali Barat National Parks Service, starting from the little harbour called Labuhan Lalang in Terima Bay. Alternatively, you can also take boats from the small jetty in the lagoon-like inlet of Banyuwedang Bay, next to the Mimpi Menjangan resort.

27 May 2013

Bali Beach Clean Up

Coca-Cola Amatil Indonesia (CCAI) and Quiksilver signed a cooperation agreement with PT. Garuda Indonesia
to increase efforts to reduce the amount of waste in coastal areas of Bali.

This is part of an initiative to boost the image of the Indonesian tourism industry while supporting the economic well-being of local communities.
Garuda Indonesia became the third partner in the Bali Beach Clean Up (BBCU) program, which was first established in 2008 by CCAI and Quiksilver to address the increasing amount of waste, a major problem in Bali.

In 2013 alone, BBCU has collected approximately a million kilograms of waste from Kuta, Jimbaran, Legian, Seminyak and Kedonganan beaches,  with a cumulative total of 14 million kg collected since the program began. Through close cooperation with locals at Bendesa Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, Jimbaran, and Kedonganan, BBCU has evolved into a daily program, with 74 crew cleaning 9.7 miles of the busiest beaches in Bali. To assist the program, CCAI and Quiksilver have invested in four tractors, three trucks and more than 300 dumpsters.

A tangible indicator of the program’s success is that cleaner beaches have been more attractive to turtles to lay their eggs there. BBCU has collaborated with the Bali Sea Turtle Society since 2008, returning 50,000 newly hatched turtles back to their marine habitat at Kuta Beach.

The Bali Big Eco Weekend will be held on June 22, with CCAI, Quicksilver and Garuda Indonesia working together again.

A good Balinese chili

A good Balinese chili.

10 large chillies
200 gr. onions
3 cloves garlic
12 candle nuts
1 tsp. laos powder
2 tsp. shrimp paste
3 tsp. palm sugar or dark brown sugar
125 ml. tamarind liquid
2 sprigs lemon grass
200 ml. coconut milk
2 tbs. oil
salt to taste

Process chillies, onions, garlic and candle nuts in food processor into a coarse paste. Add laos, shrimp paste and sugar.
Heat Oil in wok and add the mixture. Stir-fry until the onions are soft and slightly browned. Add tamarind, lemon grass, coconut and salt. Simmer until mix becomes thick and the oil floats on top.
Remove the lemon grass. Let the chili cool and then store in jar. Refrigerate until needed. This should keep for 2-3 months.

26 May 2013

Bali - a spiritual vacation

Spiritual tourism has grown fast in Bali.

Bali has a great religious and cultural wealth, being a perfect destination for those seeking spiritual fulfillment on their vacation.
Around 20 percent of foreign tourists come to Bali to spend their vacation attending Yoga classes, traveling to religious sites and doing other spiritual or healing activities.
In 2012, about 2.81 million foreigners vacationed on the island of Bali. This was in addition to the 6 million domestic travelers who also visited the island on holiday.

As a spiritual destination, Bali can promote its precious historical and religious sites, such as sacred temples and other structures. Bali has been recognized as an island filled with religious and cultural activities. The island spreads spiritual vibrations to those coming here looking for soul-enhancement. People were currently living in stressful conditions because of their demanding jobs and lifestyles. They arrive at a point of saturation in their lives, seeking a more balanced lifestyle. Bali offers many things to create a balanced and harmonious life.

In the last ten years, many visitors, ranging from the world’s top celebrities, to scholars and the general public have come to stay in Bali at various spiritual locations, including ashrams (spiritual retreats) and Yoga centers. Participants were corporate executives, artists, businessmen, academics from countries such as Australia, Germany, Japan, Russia and the US.

In Buleleng regency in north Bali, foreigners were invited to stay in villages and to take part in the lives of the locals. Many people come to Bali to learn how the Balinese perform their religious obligations and experience spiritual journeys while staying on the island. Hotels, villas and tourist establishments are starting to develop facilities for guests who want to spend their vacations in a serene and fulfilling way.

Pic of the week

25 May 2013

Bali governor election 2013

According to the latest count in the Bali gubernatorial elections, the Pastika- Sudikerta (Pastikerta) campaign leads by a tiny margin over the Puspayoga- Sukrawan (PAS) candidates.

The count shows that Pastikerta obtained 1,063,734 votes (50.02 percent), while PAS had 1,062,738 votes (49.98 percent). So Pastikerta tips the scales with 996 more votes.
The Bali Mandara Coalition is a governmental entity charged with counting the votes.

The Pastikerta campaign gained the most votes in four districts, namely; Buleleng, Klungkung, Karangasem, and Badung.

After the official completion of the count, the nine regencies and cities will have a plenary meeting with the Bali election commission. After that meeting, the governor and his deputy (who will serve from 2013-2018) will be announced between May 25 and 27.

24 May 2013

Bali Arts Festival 2013 from June 15 till July 13

As many as 15,000 artists will enliven the one-month Bali Arts Festival slated to take place from June 15 to July 13 this year. More than 340 arts performances will be staged during the annual fiesta, with shows taking place every day at several venues within the Bali Arts Center in Denpasar.

The 35th Bali Arts Festival would not only feature traditional Balinese performances. Some arts performances will demonstrate collaborations between Balinese and foreign artists. People can see how the Balinese arts fuse with foreign arts. These international collaborations will highlight fusion performances between Balinese artists and those from the US, India, Korea and several European countries.

The festival will also feature performers from other locations in Indonesia and overseas. Some of the overseas participants include performers from India, Japan, the US, the UK and Timor Leste.

A cultural parade will mark the opening of the annual festival on the afternoon of June 15 and will take place at Niti Mandala Park in Renon. Thousands of performers will showcase their musical and dance talents clad in colorful authentic traditional Balinese costumes during this street parade. The official opening ceremony will be held in the evening, after the cultural parade, at the Ardha Candra, the main open stage in the Bali Arts Center with the capacity to seat 10,000 people. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is expected to officially open the festival.

This year, the festival theme is Taksu (inner power). Therefore, the organizer would place traditional arts as priority instead of modern ones. Some reconstructed performances will be featured during the festival, in addition to existing forms. Amid the reconstructed performances is the Leko classical dance.

In addition to the arts and culture, the event will also feature a culinary festival, exhibition and competitions, fashion, flower arrangements and handicrafts. Visitors can enjoy traditional Balinese cuisine sold in the Arts Center complex, including the famed betutu (roasted chicken or duck cooked with Balinese spices), babi guling (roast pig), and lawar — a mix of vegetables, minced meat (pork, beef, chicken, or duck), chili, spices and grated coconut, and sometimes fresh animal blood. Suastika said that the culinary festival was aimed at promoting and preserving Balinese cuisine. An exhibition of Balinese handicrafts will also give visitors the chance to go shopping. Hundreds of local artisans will participate in the festival.
If you are in Bali during this period, this is really a "must see"

23 May 2013

Bali - young surfers competition at Medewi beach on May 26

Groms (young surfers) are preparing for the cobblestone point break waves of Medewi on Bali’s north-west coast to compete in the Ultimate Grom Contest Series this coming weekend on May 26.

With six stages taking place all over Indonesia already complete, the small coastal village of Medewi takes center stage for the next stop to find Indonesia’s best groms.

Coming fresh off the last stop in Lakey Peak, Sumbawa, on May 12, where the groms faced heavy barrels, they are now preparing for the mellow long rippable walls of Medewi.

In the final of the Under 16’s division, around 20 groms competed for the coveted prize of a spot in the national finals, to be held in Bali in September.
Riman from Lombok took first place in the main Under 16’s division (13.5 points), thanks to a combination of perfect turns and tube rides. Close behind Riman was Andre Anwar from Lakey Peak (11.6 points), Max De-Santis of Hawaii (9.8 points) and Febri from Java (8 points).

22 May 2013

Bali - Warung SS

For most Indonesians, spiciness is an important element in a dish. No matter how delicious the food is, if it’s not spicy hot, something seems to be missing.

No wonder chilies, peppers and other hot spices have always been main ingredients in Indonesian cuisine. Warung SS — the SS stands for Spesial Sambal — in Batubulan, completely understands this concept. The warung (food stall) only opened three months ago, but customers already flock there on a daily basis. Some even have to wait in line for around an hour to get a seat, and some of these fans are “daredevil” Western tourists who want to find out whether sambal (chili condiment) is truly as spicy as the Indonesians love to claim it is.

Customers are not only from Denpasar, but also all the way from Jimbaran and even Bangli. The roots of Warung SS in Batubulan can be found with a street-side food vendor on the campus of Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta. The first such warung opened on the campus 10 years ago, and the Batubulan stall is its first branch outside Java. From the abbreviated name of the warung, anyone can certainly guess that the largest variety on the menu is sambal. There are 27 kinds of sambal, sambal belut, sambal teri, sambal tahu, sambal trasi segar, sambal bajak, sambal tomat and many more. From all of these, a list of the 10 best sellers is updated every month and written on the stall’s information board.
This month, the fresh sambal terasi (shrimp paste chili sauce) stands at the top, followed by cooked sambal terasi, sambal cumi, sambal tomat and sambal belut and, last but not least, sambal tubruk. The sambal are priced from Rp 1,500 to Rp 5,000 per portion.

The stall’s attendant said that the sambal were guaranteed to be both spicy and fresh, because they were only made after being ordered. Thus, customers must wait around 30 minutes for the food they order to actually land on the table. Each of the sambal differs in flavor, for example, sambal mangga is both hot and sour because of the ground young mango fruit, while sambal tempeh will definitely taste like tempeh with the kicking heat of the ground chilies.

The degree of heat in these sambal is noted on the menu, so customers know what they are getting beforehand. For example, sambal kecap is categorized as Bullsh*t because it is not too spicy, while sambal tubruk is categorized on the emergency aid (P3K) list for its high level of spiciness. Be aware that the descriptions of these levels of spiciness are hyperbolic in nature.

The food stall, which has a capacity around 50 seats, of course also offers various other common dishes using fish (catfish, gourami), chicken and beef.
Warung SS Batubulan opens daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
And you even get warranty on your food....

21 May 2013

Mas, woodcarving village from Bali

The village of Mas lies on the main road, 20 km to the north of Denpasar and 6 km before Ubud. It is located 2 km north of Sukawati Craft Market before Peliatan Village.

Today the village appears as a succession of palatial art shops, as Mas has developed into a flourishing center for the woodcarving craft.

Mas actually played an important role in Balinese history during the 16th century, as it was the place where a great priest from Java, Dang Hyang Nirartha (also called Dwijendra), had his hermitage. There is a legend when the priest stuck his wooden stick in the ground of the village, a miracle happened. The stick became alive and became a living tree with golden flowers, from which the village of Mas derives its name (In Indonesia Mas means Gold). The priest also predicted that all his descendant will live from wood. True enough, the village now is the famous village for woodcarving.

During the 1930s, under the influence of Walter Spies and Pita Maha, a new style of woodcarving developed here. The motifs were more realistic, and inspired by everyday scenes featuring humans and animals. Several of these early works may now be seen in Ubud's Puri Lukisan museum. During this period, woodcarvings began to be appreciated and purchased by foreigners, but only after 1970 the real boom take place.

Dozens of woodcarving shops now line the main road. The most famous and the best gallery is Njana Tilem Gallery. Normally guides don't like to take people here because the shop don't pay commision to them. You must see the collection room of Ida Bagus Njana and Ida Bagus Tilem - it is truly a museum piece quality.

The other gallery worth mentioning is Baris Gallery. The location is south of Njana Tilem Gallery. The Gallery is very humble yet it has the largest collection of Wayan Darlun's collection. I Wayan Darlun is recognized as the best student of Ida Bagus Tilem.

Bidadari Art Gallery also has several pieces of woodcarving of Tilem's student such as Wayan Darlun, Made Rema, Wayan Mudana.

One of the shop which must be visited for Woodcarving fanatic is Casa Luna in Ubud (Opposite of Museum Puri Lukisan), Casa Luna also possess quite large collection of Wayan Darlun. The price is relatively expensive however the piece is really good.

20 May 2013

Bali - save the forest

Ten thousand hectares of forest in Bali need to be replanted due to damage caused by illegal logging and conversion into plantations.

According to the provincial Forestry Agency, there are 23,000 hectares of critical forest in Bali, or 18 percent of the total 130,000 hectares of forest. The agency claimed that 13,000 hectares of the critical areas had been restored. Illegal logging mostly occurred in forest areas in Jembrana, near the Gilimanuk seaport, because the forest boasts high-value timber. Around 9,000 hectares of the critical land is located in Buleleng in north Bali, while 5,500 hectares is located in Karangasem, in the east part of the island. In addition to man-made destruction, the forests were also damaged by natural disasters.

The most recent disaster was the forest fire affecting Mount Agung and surrounding areas in east Bali. The local government estimated that the area affected by a series of forest fires during the year had reached 250 hectares. There are around 15,000 hectares of forest in the east of Bali.

This month, the agency, with the Indonesian Military, will jointly replant forest in the east of Bali, including Mount Agung, Mount Abang and the Seraya hills. Due to geographical barriers, they will carry out the replanting by spreading the seeds from the air using helicopters. The seeds to be spread include eucalyptus and pine, the main plant species in the forests.

19 May 2013

Why do Balinese have only 4 names?

Even a visitor coming to Bali for the briefest period of time can’t help but notice how many people have similar sounding names such as Wayan, Made, Nyoman, Ketut, Ida Bagus and alike.

Also frequently encountered are the prefixes of “I” and “Ni”. The letter “I” preceding Wayan, for instance, signifies a male, while “Ni” would precede a woman’s name.

A person named “I Wayan” or “Ni Wayan” would typically hail from the largest and lowest Sudra Caste of Balinese society. Balinese names can also provide clues to ancestral trades. For instance, a blacksmith or metal workers might be know by the family name of “Pande,” while in traditional Balinese society a person making steel weapons or metal implements is know as a "Pande Besi."

“Ida Bagus” is a sign of respect for someone who is indeed “bagus” or handsome, with “Ida Bagus” considered a title of honor. “Anak Agung,” often represented by A.A. when seen in a printed form, is the prefix reserved for Balinese royalty.

But let’s get back to “Wayan." “The name “Wayan” (sometimes shortened to “Yan”) is derived from “Wokalayan” a word that means “the most mature” and reserved for the first-born. The second-born is called “Made” and is derived form the word Madia for middle. The third-born is designated by “Nyoman” (“Man” or “Mang” for short), taken from the Balinese word “Uman” that suggests “the last” or “remainder” - reflecting a Balinese view that an ideal family size should be limited to three children.

In ancient times before the advent of modern birth control appliances and pills, traditional healers, herbalists and other measures - birth control sometimes failed resulting in a fourth child, who would be given the prefix of “Ketut.” Ketut is presumed to come from the ancient term “Kitut” - a name given to the smallest banana on the stem. Seen a “bonus” and much loved for its sweetness - a Ketut may represent the sweetest and most  loved addition to a Balinese family.

As recently explained by Beritbali.com, Balinese attention to names and labeling also extends to the rats that populate rice fields. Balinese farmers superstitiously avoid calling rats by their Balinese name of “bikul,” preferring, instead, to call the rodents “Jero Ketut” signifying a lesser or smaller (Jero) gentleman. Although despised for the damage they can cause to crops, the clan of Jero Ketut is still seen as playing an integral part in nature’s well-balanced scheme of things. Accordingly, when rats become so populous that farmers have no choice but to eradicate “Jero Ketut” en masse, funereal rites and ritualized cremations are held in their honor.

Child Number Five?
For particularly fecund Balinese couples or people who simply want a large family with lots of children, the naming cycle resumes all over againwith the fifth-born named Wayan, the sixth Made, and so on. Just when you feel certain that you have the cycle of Balinese names well in hand, you’ll encounter a “Wayan” who is called “Putu,” “Kompiang,” or “Gede” – all alternative prefixes for the first-born. Variations on a 2nd child named “Made” might be “Kadek” or “Nengah.” The third-child is not always called “Nyoman,” with “Komang” sometimes used instead. Meanwhile, “Ketut” stands alone with generally no synonym used for the fourth-born.

Like their neighboring Javanese, Balinese do not typically have a family name. However, some Balinese have adopted a clan identifier that could be, for example,  “Dusak” or “Pendit” and could result in a name such as “Wayan Dujana Pendit.” In recent times, some Balinese modify their names to include the name of a famous ancestor. Some Balinese are also now busily adopting Western monikers resulting in a “Ni Luh Ayu Cindy” or “I Ketut Bobby.”

Sudra Caste
The Sudra, Bali’s largest and lowest cast, has no special naming ritual beyond the use of “I” before a boy’s name or “Ni” before a girl’s name.

Wesya Caste
The Wesya Caste has specific names such as “I Dewa” for a man or “I Dewa Ayu” for a female. “Desak” is also a name found among the Wesya Caste traditionally reserved for vassals of a Raja and merchants.

K’satria Caste
Also known as Satria, this caste of warriors and kings will be distinguished with names such as “I Gusti Ngurah” (male) or “I Gusti Ayu” (female). Other names of the Satria caste are “Anak Agung “(male), “Anak Agung Ayu” or “Anak Agung Istri” (female). Look also for “Tjokorda” (shortened to “Tjok”) for a male or “Tjokorda Istri (female).

Brahmana Caste
The religiously elite caste of the priests and the teachers – the Brahmana caste are designated by names such as “Ida Bagus” (male) and “Ida Ayu” female.

17 May 2013

Shopping Mall Bali Galeria

Mall Bali Galeria is one of the famous shopping places in Bali.

Mall Bali Galeria has a very strategic location at the By Pass Ngurah Rai, exactly near Simpang Siur road. When entering the the front area of the Bali Mall, the first building visible from the highway is DPS shops and Planet Hollywood.

Mall Bali Galeria is not just a shopping place, but also a place for good food and a place to walk together or a hangout with friends or family. Because it is fairly large, this place has lots of shops and restaurants, as well as large parking, so it can accommodate many visitors. In times like holidays and on Saturday and Sunday it is usually crowded with visitors, so parking place for cars is often full too.

Some existing stores in the Mall Bali Galeria:
Gramedia bookstore
Ace Hardware store
Matahari department store
Hypermart supermarket
Sports shops (football, golf, surfing, fitness equipment, etc)
Electronics store
Ladies accessories store
Planet Toys store
Shoe and sandal shops as Croukas, Bata, Nike
Quicksilver, Rip Curl shops
Glasses/Sun classes stores
Jewelry and luxury watch shop

Dining places / restaurants

Ryoshi - Japanese food
CFC - chicken dishes
Ice Teller
Mister Bakso
M & M
Indonesian food restaurants
Flap Jacks
Excelso coffee shop
Hoka Hoka Bento
Pizza Hut
JCO - donuts
Bread Talk - bakery
Cold Stone Creamery - ice cream

16 May 2013

Bali - Puri Gede Buleleng

It was a quiet palace with history and memories whispered from every corner — from the intricate wooden carvings on the gate, the faint old photographs hung on the wall, to the old typewriter that once was graced by the fingers of a great writer.

Puri Gede Buleleng, or also known as Puri Agung Singaraja, was first constructed in 1604 by Ki Gusti Anglurah Pandji Sakti, the founder of Singaraja kingdom. In local lore, Pandji Sakti is known as a great king with mighty power and even mightier ambition. During his reign, the army of Buleleng crossed Bali Strait in the West to conquer Blambangan in Java; navigated the hilly terrain in the south to invade Tabanan, and so impressed the powerful king of Mataram in Java that he sent an elephant as a gift to Pandji Sakti.

In 20th century Indonesia, the palace was the home to Anak Agung Pandji Tisna, the last king of the Pandji Sakti lineage. Unlike his predecessor, Pandji Tisna was not a man of brute force. He placed his trust in his writings, penning, among others, Sukreni Gadis Bali, one of the most influential literary works of contemporary Bali. He abdicated the throne in 1947 following his decision to convert to Christianity.

15 May 2013

Bali - Royal cremation ceremony in Ubud

Ubud, the town dubbed the island’s cultural mecca, host a pelebon (royal cremation) today as the Ubud royal family bids farewell to one of its prominent members, Tjokorda Ngurah Wim Sukawati, who served as the Indonesian ambassador to Switzerland from 1975 to 1979.

Tjokorda Ngurah Wim Sukawati passed away at the age of 90 on Feb. 24, 2013, in a hospital in Jakarta due to illnesses associated with old age. He was the son of the late king of Ubud, Tjokorda Gde Raka Sukawati and Gusti Agung Niang Putu. His remains arrived in Bali in late February and have been rested at the Puri Agung Ubud Royal Palace, 25 kilometers (Km) from Denpasar.

It has been a tradition of the Puri Agung Ubud royal family that when a family member dies, a grand traditional Balinese cremation ritual is performed. The ritual will use a nine-tiered, 22-meter-tall bade (cremation tower), a five-meter-long naga banda (dragon), and a five-meter-tall lembu (black bull) sarcophagus.
It took 30 days to construct the bade, naga banda and lembu.

The naga banda and bade weigh up to 5 tons, while the lembu is around 1 ton. Around 250 people from Banjar Ubud Kaja, Ubud Kelod, Ubud Sambahan and Bentuyung Sakti will take turns in carrying the bade and naga banda during the street procession. Meanwhile the lembu will be transported by some 100 villagers of Banjar Kutuh Kaja, Kutuh Kelod, Kutuh Tengah and Ubud Tengah.

Considering the height of the ritual equipment, which reaches up to 22 meters, state-owned electricity company PT PLN in Gianyar will turn off the electricity in the neighborhood, to avoid short circuits.

Bali - 270 tourists spots inaccessable

Limited access and supporting facilities have been hampering the development of 270 potential tourist destinations across Bali. Most of the tourist destinations in more remote locations were still inaccessible to many tourists as no public roads, transportation or communications were available there.

In terms of attraction, most tourist destinations in Bali possessed abundant natural and cultural value that could lure people to those places. Bali has beautiful beaches, mountains, rice fields and a precious cultural and arts heritage.

But to attract people to visit such places, they have to build proper road access and other supporting facilities, such as accommodation, information centers, parking lots, restaurants, and public toilets, for instance. The provincial administration has also provided financial and technical assistance to several villages developed as community or ecotourism sites.

In the initial stage, the administration provided assistance to three villages, Sambangan, Sembung Gede and Baturiti.
Last year the number of recipients of government funding increased to five villages — Pirang Sari in Karangasem; Pinge in Tabanan; Lemukih and Sekumpul in Buleleng, and Perancak in Jembrana. Each village received Rp 80 million.

14 May 2013

Bali - May 15, Governors election

A total of 215 personnel from the Central Java Mobile Police Brigade have been dispatched to Bali to provide security back-up for the province’s upcoming election.

Two company-level units are being dispatched to support the security of the Bali governor election.
The Central Java Mobile Police Brigade members would join Bali Mobile Police Brigade personnel to provide security for voting in the elections scheduled for tomorrow, May 15.
The Brimob personnel would remain on duty for about a week in Bali. In addition to Central Java, Brimob personnel were also being sent from East Java.

Bali - already problems with the Simpang Siur underpass

The Bali provincial government (DPRD) proposes to summon the “Commitment Officer” supervising construction of the new underpass at Dewa Ruci roundabout. The DPRD is concerned that it lacks adequate emergency escape staircases.

Chairman DPRD Commission III Bali alleges that the underpass has not been equipped with emergency exit staircases in accordance with international regulations. DPRD claimed to have seen the project several times, but until now there where no fire escapes stairs installed. Although the stairs might not have been shown on the development plan they should still have been installed.

If the multi-billion-rupiah construction project did not include emergency stairs then DRPD members would wish to speak to the Commiment Officer as the person reponsible. If it turns out that by handover time our request to install emergency stairs has not been complied with, they we will not be able to sign off on the project.

The Simpang Siur Dewa Ruci roundabout is where traffic from Nusa Dua, Kuta, Sanur and Ngurah Rai all converges at one point. The area was already suffering extreme congestion before the underpass was built.
The project is part of a series of road infrastructure improvements being implemented in the area in time for the Asia Pacific Economic summit meeting in Nusa Dua towards the end of 2013.

13 May 2013

Lombok - Gunung Rinjani open again

Trekking and hiking enthusiasts will be delighted to know that the 2013 trekking season has started in Lombok and that routes for climbing the famous volcano, Mount Rinjani, are now open.

The volcano was closed to trekking in January and re-opened in April. The Mount Rinjani National Park Authority (BTNGR) closes the route every year during the monsoon season to protect the safety of climbers and to carry out maintenance on trails within the park.
More than 13,000 people officially climbed the magnificent 3726m volcano last year in a trek that is described as challenging, exhilarating and awe-inspiring… just another reason to visit Lombok soon!

Balinese Spa products

Many Balinese spa products, including Boreh Bali, and Balinese traditional massage techniques, are believed to have been inherited from the ancient Balinese (Bali Aga) and combined with the original Hindu teachings contained in Vedas. Their cultural richness urgently needs to be preserved and patented, according to Balinese officials.

Since the ancient times of the Egyptians, Romans and Greeks, the people of the Hindu kingdom had enjoyed the delights of spa and massage as they sought to rejuvenate and improve their health. There are a lot of spa products bought from Bali in large volumes and then packaged abroad and claimed as foreign products.

Balinese spa treatments had continued to evolve, as the teachings written on the lontar, ancient palm leaf scripts, had been combined with advanced technologies and equipment. Along with the improvement, Balinese spa therapists had also won many international competitions overseas, marking out the Balinese brand in the spa and massage industry. Today, Balinese massage therapists are among the most sought after workers across swathes of the globe, including Asia Pacific, Europe, Russia, the Middle East and the US.

Along with the high demand for Balinese spa therapists, Balinese spa products have also gained popularity. In eastern Europe, the Balinese spa product Boreh Bali has even been acknowledged as having medicinal effects on health.

Due to fierce global competition among spa businesses, it is high time to preserve and appreciate Balinese spas by registering patent rights.
Balinese spa products were mostly produced by small-and-medium-scale home businesses. Some of these small enterprises sell in large quantities to export businesses. After being packaged abroad, the products are given a different brand name, just like Balinese cloth, Balinese spa products and the massage skills of Balinese spa therapists also needed to be patented.

12 May 2013

Bali - Surf paradise Suluban Beach

World-class thrilling waves meet jaw-dropping scenery at the secluded surfers’ paradise of Suluban Beach.

Located not too far from the picturesque Uluwatu Temple, this beach is the actual site of the famous Uluwatu surf break. This beach extends right up and joins the Uluwatu Beach. Together they are the Mecca for wave chasing junkies who come to Bali.

Located at the Pecatu Village, Suluban is among renowned surfing beaches along the Bukit Peninsula at the southern end of Bali that include the Uluwatu Beach, Bingin Beach, Padang-padang Beach, Dreamland Beach, Impossible Beach and Balangan Beach.

The beach is blessed with a breathtaking view on the Indian Ocean which offers a serene atmosphere and spectacular sunsets in the late afternoons, creating that most romantic aura. Approaching the area, visitors will be greeted by a fascinating scenery of white rock cliffs that stretch as far as the eyes can see. Descending some 50 meters down to the shore, a vast white sandy beach kissed by turquoise blue waters await, while the pounding waves play the true resounding sounds of nature: the perfect setting for a thrilling surfing adventure.

The character of waves at Suluban Beach is similar to those at Uluwatu Beach that come in with that  great, powerful, long swell and consistent barrels that have always fascinated surfers who came to this point. Here waves can reach to between 3 and 12 feet with the average wave size being 3 to 5 feet, perfect for advanced and professional surfers. The best season for surfing at Suluban Beach is during the dry session (April to August) when the wind blows from east to west creating the perfect waves for surfing.

The word Suluban comes from the Balinese language “mesulub” which translated means: to bow down. It is suggested that the name was adopted since visitors must first crouch or bow down when they pass the crevice between boulders that resembles a cave, before reaching the beach below the rocky cliff. The Beach is also known by many people as the Blue Point Beach since it is closely associated with the Blue Point Bay Villa located on the top of the cliff which shade Suluban Beach.
Be it for a surfing holiday or a romantic getaway, the waves together with the spectacular scenery at Suluban Beach are indeed a true gem that make Bali sparkle.

11 May 2013

Bali - Diving in Amed

As one of the popular diving spots in Bali, Amed will be developed further as a marine tourism destination that runs harmoniously with coral reef conservation, a joint effort by an environment foundation in cooperation with local people and dive operators.

Located in the southeast corner of Bali, about two to three hours drive from Denpasar, Amed has a landscape consisting of a series of headlands overlooking bays lined with fishing boats. The local economy is supported by farming cattle and corn, fishing and tourism, mainly snorkeling and diving.

There are about 10-20 dive operators operating in Amed, as well as the many operators based in other areas that have Amed as one of their diving and snorkeling destinations. More than 50 hotels and home-stays are located there to support the underwater activity businesses.

Far away from the bustle of Kuta, this area offers a beautiful landscape both on land and underwater, as well as a relaxing holiday for sea lovers. However, like many places in Indonesia, there is limited effort to manage the coral reef for its sustainability and the benefit of the local people.

The need to reduce the impact of climate change in this area is even more urgent, as the reef is still recovering from a mass-bleaching event in May 2009. The active participation of local stakeholders to care for the reef is the key to buying time against climate change impact. Since 2009, strong interest has been shown in supporting conservation projects by providing an in-kind contribution to host meetings, conduct surveys with provision of boats and tanks, as well as providing

The commitment has been shown through active participation and support for Reef Check when the organization conducted coral bleaching monitoring in the same year.

Since then, the foundation and stakeholders started to jointly carry out various activities, including education on conservation for students, a pilot project for independent funding sources, as well as activities to minimize the threat to the coral reefs, such as providing mooring buoys to prevent anchoring and installing garbage nets in areas between the river and ocean to prevent the garbage from flowing into the ocean.

10 May 2013

Bali Agung Show now expanded to six days a week

Bali’s one–hour colossal stage production involving a caste of hundreds of dancers, musicians and animals at the Bali Safari and Marine Park have increase the weekly run of shows to six. The show previously ran four days a week.

Proud of the enthusiastic response the show has received from both domestic and international visitors to the Park, they feels vindicated the vision that Bali was waiting for a theatrical spectacular framed around a classic Balinese story-line.

The show presented mid-afternoon six days a week on a stage that accommodates gods and goddesses, a herd of elephants, volcanoes and even a small lake tells the story of an ancient Balinese King – Prabu Jaya Pangus.

In the future the park will expand the types of performances presented on the Park high-tech stage (3,200 square meters) and state-of-the-art theater venue.

09 May 2013

Bali - Billabong surfing for kids

Billabong is proud to announce their alliance with K.I.S.S (Kecebong Indonesia Surf Series) unveiling their grommets freshly named event “Kecebong Indonesia Billabong Grommet Surf Series 2013”.

The first event of the series, which commences on May 19, is at Halfway, Kuta Beach in Bali.

Kecebong Indonesia Billabong Grommet Surf Series is a surf championship for all young talented surfers in this new blossoming generation.

The series has been conceived to give the kids an opportunity each month to practice their surfing and competing skills, along with gaining the extra confidence one needs at an early age.
This series is also the only event that features a Pushing Division for parents and toddlers to have fun with their surfing and family bond.
Last year’s series was a success. It’s a great day out at the beach with friends, family in a healthy pro-active environment.

Surfer Chickas and Little Lads be ready to make a splash at Halfway Kuta Beach on these dates: May 19; June 16; August 11; September 22 and October 20.

Bali - Simpang Siur partly open

Yesterday marked a milestone in Bali’s economic and logistical future with one lane of the new Simpang Siur underpass being opened to traffic.
The south bound lane was opened yesterday morning and the traffic build up around the traffic lights of Simpang Siur, heading south, disappeared instantly. However, there still is a long way to go in the finishing of the project.

It was a fun moment. The police, who were directing traffic, were patting the workers on the back, congratulating them on their work, and everyone had smiles from ear to ear. It may be too early to say but it appears there is only one lane going in each direction, which may be something to regret in the future. But for now, we have to be thankful for this forward step in the history of the Bali Macet (traffic jam).

08 May 2013

Lombok - Gili Trawangan on the Tripadvisor top 10 list islands

TripAdvisor®, the world’s largest travel site, has announced its final “Travelers’ Choice® 2013 Top Ten Islands in Asia”, awarding Lombok’s famous Gili Trawangan 4th place.

Now in its 11th year, the Tripadvisor awards identify the most outstanding destinations worldwide, with dedicated lists now covering 82 countries and nine regions worldwide.

TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice winners are based on millions of reviews and opinions collected over the year from travellers around the world. This is the first year that Gili Trawangan has made it to the list and is a definitive win for the island, beating out other top Asian destinations such as Koh Samui, Langkawi, Boracay and others.

Below is the full list of the Top 10 Islands in Asia:

    Koh Tao, Thailand
    Nusa Lembongan, Bali
    Koh Lanta, Thailand
    Gili Trawangan, Lombok
    Boracay, Visayas, Philippines
    Phuket, Thailand
    Koh Samui, Thailand
    Palawan, Mimaropa, Philippines
    Langkawi, Malaysia
    Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands

04 May 2013



The “Lonely Planet Bali & Lombok 14th Edition” has just been released, with newly updated sections on Bali and Lombok.

Often referred to as “The Travellers’ Bible”, the Number 1 Bestselling Guide to Bali and Lombok was published in April 2013.

Lonely Planet is the largest travel guide book publisher in the world and publishes about 500 titles in 8 languages, as well as TV programs, a magazine, mobile phone applications and websites.
In the new book, the Bali section was updated by Ryan Ver Berkmoes and the Lombok and Gili Islands section updated by Adam Skolnick when he visited in May 2012.

03 May 2013

Bali - Puputan Bading Field in Denpasar

On Sept. 20, 1906, thousands of people from the Badung kingdom and their King fought the Dutch army until their last drop of blood. This war ended with their loss and is referred to in Balinese as puputan, which means “the end”.

The exact location of the puputan is now known as the Puputan Badung field of I Gusti Ngurah Made Agung, the name of the king who led the big war.
To forever honor the war, at the northern side of the field, statues of three men carrying spears and kris were erected, symbolizing the people of Badung who fought the Dutch.

Not many people may be aware that since June 23, 1960, next to field is the Catur Muka statue, which represents the zero-kilometer point of Bali’s capital city. A cement stake with the writing DPS 0 has been placed in front of the Bali governor’s home office on Jl.Surapati, Denpasar.

As the zero-kilometer point of Denpasar, this field is often chosen to host various activities. For example, as the meeting point for the giant ogoh-ogoh effigies during the night of pengerupukan in Denpasar, the eve before the Hindu Day of Silence, Nyepi. The field also serves as the location for the opening parade of the annual Bali Arts Festival.

There are several highly important places surrounding the zero-kilometer point, including Denpasar’s largest temple Pura Jagatnatha, the headquarters of Kodam IX/Udayana, the Denpasar mayor’s office, the home office of the Bali governor and the Bali Museum.

For most residents, the Puputan Badung field is a hangout spot, especially during weekends and holidays. Thousands of residents are never bored of flocking around the field the size of two soccer fields. Almost every weekend, a dance performance is hosted on the southern side of the field.
Every morning and afternoon, hundreds of residents jog around the field, some with their spouse, others with families. In the middle of the field, children and adults play soccer in several different groups. Since last year, a playground with a see-saw, swing and slide for children has also been built on the field.
The zero-kilometer spot of Denpasar is indeed a melting pot for all kinds of activities, from tourism, sports, to family time and even sightseeing.

02 May 2013

Bali - the village Penglipuran

Penglipuran, a village 45 kilometers east of Denpasar, offers a perfect haven for those visitors appalled by the paralyzing traffic jams and overcrowded attractions in south Bali.

It lies 700 meters above sea level, thus providing a cool, refreshing environment. Hectares of green bamboo forest welcome visitors at the outskirts of the village. Various species of bamboo cover 75 hectares of land surrounding the village. Penglipuran is famous for its residents’ determination to preserve the traditional architectural designs and elements of their houses, mostly made of woven bamboo walls and bamboo roofs. The outer gates of all housing compounds are of a similar design and size, rendering this village that image of uniformed neatness. It is here that visitors could watch the production process of sokasi, a square container made of woven bamboo. It is believed that the village’s name was derived from the words pengeling and pura, which literally means the place to remember the ancestors.

Penglipuran residents are still practicing the ancient customs of the land, including an aversion to polygamy. Any resident who decides to have more than one wife or husband would be politely asked to relocate to a special plot of land known as Karang Memadu. They also will be banned from performing prayers in the village’s major temples and will receive other sanctions. Karang Memadu has been vacant for 30 years. Shrubs and grass now cover its surface.

As an old village, Penglipuran has been developed to take on tourism since 1992. Every day, between 150 and 200 tourists sightsee around the village. To enter the village, foreign tourists pay Rp 10,000 per adult and Rp 7,500 for children. Meanwhile domestic tourists pay Rp 7,500 for adults and Rp 5,000 for children.
For those who want to stay there, there are three guesthouses in the village.

01 May 2013

Bali video, The golden sea

Just enjoy!!

Bali vote for a new governor on May 15 2013

A joint formation between the Bali Police and the 9th Udayana Military Command was held at the Puputan Field in downtown Denpasar on Wednesday, April 24, 2013.

Held as a show of force in anticipation of the May 15, 2013 gubernatorial election in Bali, officials announced that 2,685 combined personnel from the Indonesian military and police would be jointly deployed to safeguard the contest for the right to lead Bali for the coming five years.

As reported by Kompas.com, in addition to police and military forces, community elements including pacalang, joined the pre-election formation showcasing personnel and equipment ready to be deployed to keep the peace during the election process. The police and military presence for the governor’s race is seen as a dry run for the coming APEC Conference in late 2013 and legislative and presidential races scheduled for 2014.

A police spokesman said open lines of communication would be maintained with local communities during the coming election to anticipate and handle any possible incidents that could lead to wider unrest.