29 November 2016

The yearly trash comes again

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

Bali weather forecast December 2016

20 November 2016

Old Balinese dance Joget Bumbung is now Porn

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

06 November 2016

New Wifi hotspots in Denpasar and Singaraja

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

Save on your hotel - www.hotelscombined.com

02 November 2016

National Public Holidays 2017

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

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

31 October 2016

Garuda Wisnu Kecana statue

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

26 October 2016

Restoring the coral reefs at Nusa Penida

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

21 October 2016

The Bullet, the fast boat from Lombok

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

19 October 2016

Bringing down iron Ships

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

16 October 2016

More visitors from the US

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

14 October 2016

Julio Iglesias to perform in Bali

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

10 October 2016

Denpasar, one of the worst places to drive according Waze

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

06 October 2016

The Hindu dress code

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

05 October 2016

Bali's water crises, the answer

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

02 October 2016

Port without Pier

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

29 September 2016

The rain season has started

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

27 September 2016

Keep the Buffalo Races alive

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

23 September 2016

Plans for a Halal friendly beach in Lombok

The Indonesian Ministry of Tourism has demonstrated the seriousness of its intention of making Lombok a world-renown halal tourism destination by preparing its first ‘halal friendly beach’. Due to the numerous Muslim-friendly facilities in Lombok, and its Islamic heritage, the island is in fact at the centre of Indonesia’s Islamic tourism drive. Lombok won the “Best Halal Tourism” and “Best Halal Honeymoon Destination” awards during the World Halal Travel Awards 2015 held in Abu Dhabi. The event was held in conjunction with the World Halal Travel Summit 2015. Because Lombok already has a commitment as a halal destination, we will prepare a beach area that will be focused on halal friendly beach, a team leader said. Turkey and Italy already have halal friendly beaches and the presence of a halal friendly beach on Lombok will increase the ability of Indonesia to bring in more tourists. The plan is to make a halal friendly beach in the coastal area near Senggigi in West Lombok – specifically at Meninting. Halal is Arabic and means ‘permissible for Muslims’. The word is typically used for food but covers all activities of daily life in accordance with Islamic Law. Halal tourism is not only concerned with halal products but also meeting the criteria for halal services. For instance, alcohol not being served in hotels is required for the facility to be halal, as is access to halal only food, mosques and prayer facilities. Other facilities include separate swimming pools and beach facilities for men and women. When this attraction is complete, it will include a resort, hotel and theme park on the beach in which everything is based on halal tourism.

22 September 2016

Nice places in Bali to visit. Part 4

Drive (or not) through a hole in a tree: Bunut Bolong Tree
In the Manggissari village, located in the western part of Bali, stands yet another majestic tree that’s renowned for its supernatural powers. But unlike the giant banyan tree that supposedly grants wishes, the Bunut Bolong Tree (meaning “tree with a hole in it”) has a far more ominous history.
The tree has roots on either side of a stretch of road, forming an archway that visitors can drive through. Brides and grooms are advised to refrain from passing through this way, though – legend has it that those who do will end up separated. To protect people from the power of the tree, another road has been constructed next to it for believers to pass through. But regardless of your belief in the legend, there’s nothing like a bit of risk to pique the adventurer’s interest, isn’t it?
Location: Desa Manggissari, Pekutatan, 11 kilometres north of the Denpasar-Gilimanuk road.

Blahmantung Waterfall
Smack dab in the middle of the island, Blahmantung Waterfall gets few visitors, making the wonderfully scenic hike to the base a truly magical experience.
With a spectacular drop of 100 metres, it’s widely considered to be the highest waterfall in Bali. Blahmantung is located conveniently within a walk from the picturesque farming village of Pupuan, home to some of central Bali’s most beautiful rice terraces. Be sure to take a dip in the refreshing pool below and savour the tranquillity of one of Bali’s best off-the-beaten path attractions.
Direction: Blahmantung is a remote destination usually explored via a tour or private driver. To make your way there in your own vehicle, from Ubud or Kuta, head towards Tabanan, taking a right turn at Antosari and following the road all the way to Pupuan and ask for directions to Blahmantung from there.

Sekumpul Waterfall
This hidden gem in the north of Bali is well worth the several hour drive from the main resorts, and the challenging walk from Sekumpul village down hundreds of steps and a river crossing. ‘Sekumpul’ actually means ‘group’, and during the rainy season, you’ll be greeted by a chain of up to seven falls. All equally impressive, scattered across the high cliffs and cascading down amid emerald green highland forests. After the long trek to get here, the chance to bathe beneath the falls will be a relaxing experience that can only be had here – one that soothes mind, body and soul.
Getting There: Sekumpul is about a three hour, or 92km drive from the Kuta area. The long drive is best undertaken by a rental car with driver who can escort you to this not so easy to find hidden gem.

The Natural Pool at Tembeling Forest, Nusa Penida
The azure waters of the natural pool at Tembeling Forest are a dazzling blue that seems almost unreal. Dive beneath the surface and the water is as clear as fine blue crystal. The miraculous turquoise colour comes from limestone spring water and tidal sea water. Tembeling Forest actually has two pools, both with spiritual significance to the locals – one for men, and one for women. Visitors are allowed to swim in the pools, and their secluded settings. Surrounded by lush tropical flora and alive with birdsong, this natural pool is nothing short of paradise.
Getting There: Reach Nusa Penida on your own via boat services from Sanur or Padang Bai and hire a motorcycle to explore the island. Or, sign up to a tour company offering cruises to Penida with excursions to Tembeling Forest. Some operators offer jungle trekking tours in the forest, with a refreshing dip in the pool afterwards.

21 September 2016

Please pick me up at the Hospital

A 60-year-old woman has reportedly been waiting for more than ten days for her family to come pick her up at Sanglah Hospital in Denpasar after she was taken to the hospital following a stroke. The woman was brought to Sanglah by her family. The mother of three children was weak on the left side of her body and was prone to frequent tantrums and should get a neurological and psychiatric consultation. After the consultation she was taken to the infirmary and her family suddenly disappeared. She has been cleared for release but no one has come to fetch her. During this time, insurance has covered her medical expenses, so shirking the cost of her Sanglah bill should not be the issue. The hospital says it’s tried to contact her family, but to no avail. And the worst part is that she isn’t the only abandoned senior in the hospital. A 50 year old man has also apparently been suffering the same fate. He has reportedly been allowed to go home but hasn’t left Sanglah yet because no one came for him. Sanglah Hospital urges for the families of these abandoned patients to come forward or if anyone knows the family of either of the two, to get in touch immediately. Let's hope all this attention in the local media gets these patients home, because this is just too sad to bear: 

16 September 2016

Zika virus travel warning

The Indonesian Government has issued a travel warning in connection with the confirmation of the Zika virus in Singapore and Malaysia. This has been confirmed by a spokesman of Indonesian Ministry of Health in Jakarta. The man told the press: “Yes, this is true. We have issued a travel advisory via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for wider distribution. This has been done to protect the Indonesian people from the spread of the Zika virus.” The warning had effect for all Indonesians traveling to areas afflicted with the Zika virus. The travel advisory issued by the Indonesian Government said:“The government of Singapore has stated via a website operated by its Ministry of Health that there have been several confirmed cased of the Zika virus in Singapore. In this connection, Indonesian Citizens now visiting areas affected by the Zika virus are urged to avoid mosquito bites by wearing clothing that covers arms and legs, using mosquito repellent, sleeping under a mosquito net or sleeping in rooms with mosquito netting installed on the windows. The public is also urged to be examined by a doctor whenever they feel ill. Pregnant women are recommended to avoid visiting areas know to be infected with Zika virus mosquitoes. If pregnant women must visit such areas they should take all precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes. Women planning on becoming mothers should avoid becoming pregnant for at least 8 months after visiting a Zika virus infected area. Those returning to Indonesia after visiting an area affected by the Zika virus are asked to have their health checked within 14 days of their return to Indonesia. A doctor should be immediately consulted if a traveler experiences a fever, skin rash, stiffness and sore muscles, headaches or redness of the eye. When visiting a physician it is important that you explain your recent travel to a Zika infected region."

15 September 2016

Nice places to visit in Bali. Part 3

The Real Treasure of Suluban Beach
Everyone knows Suluban Beach to be a surfers’ paradise, but Suluban Cave might just be the real treasure here.
Looking almost like a movie set from the Pirates of the Caribbean series with its otherworldly glamour, Suluban Cave oozes both mystery and mystic.
Located directly under Uluwatu, the cave actually leads up to the beach near Uluwatu Temple, another incredible sea temple you should definitely visit too!
Getting There: Located at the Bukit Peninsula, Suluban Beach is connected to Kuta and Denpasar through Jimbaran by the busy Jalan Bypass Nusa Dua and this is the only route in, approximately 34 km from Denpasar. Coordinates here

Visit the Broken Sea – Pasih Uwug
Pasih Uwug, also known as the broken sea, is one unique attraction in Nusa Penida that happens to be a cool geological phenomenon.
Why is it known as the broken sea? On first sight, you’ll see a natural arch created by the rock cliffs. The arch – or the hole in the rock cliff as some would say – actually used to be a cave! The floor of the cave had collapsed, creating the arch we see today. The hole in the cliff has also allowed ocean waters to flow through – creating a gorgeous natural pool on the other side to marvel at, and even swim in!
Address: Jalan Batu Nunggul, Nusa Penida

Soak in a ‘Jacuzzi’ on the Tegal Wangi Beach
Another wonder of nature that should not be missed – make your way to Tegal Wangi Beach. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by this gorgeous escape.
Ever wanted to soak in your private tub with an amazing view of the ocean? Tegal Wangi Beach gives you exactly that.
With little holes on the shore filled with seawater fresh from the ocean – you can be sure to have a comfortable soak in your beachy ‘jacuzzi’.
A romantic place to have a lovely date at; make sure to take lots of photos to commemorate the time spent with your loved one.
Address: Jalan Pura Tegalwangi, Badung, Jimbaran
Getting There: Walk down the hill from Pura Tegalwangi.

Mystery Boulder Beach – Yeh Leh
You probably wouldn’t have heard of the Yeh Leh Beach unless you are a local fisherman.
Located in Jembrana, just off the Denpasar-Gilimanuk highway, Yeh Leh is not decorated with soft white sand like your ideal beach.
Instead, thousands of boulders litter the shore, either covered in algae or washed clean by the waves. These mysterious rocks have been smoothed over for hundreds of years, leaving few clues about their origin.
The beach is actually easily accessible, and you can visit at low tide to see Yeh Leh in all its glory, with the boulders unearthed and many interesting marine animals caught in the rock pools. And if you can, don’t miss its stunning sunset, which lights up every shining rock on the shore.
Getting there: Yeh Leh is located at the edge of Denpasar-Gilimanuk at Jembrana. 

The Twin Lakes of Tamblingan and Buyan
With their serene, mystical beauty, these twin crater lakes sit side by side, split in the middle by a one kilometer stretch of forest.
The lakes are the life-source for the surrounding communities, and you may even see locals plying the waters in traditional dug-out canoes. To view both lakes together, the best vantage point is from the top of the hill at Asah Gobleg Village.
Trekking the forests around the lakes, you’ll discover some of the most pristine natural habitats in Bali – home to lively troops of monkeys, squirrels and countless birds.
Getting There: A few tour companies specialising in northern Bali offer day trips with the twin lakes on their itineraries. The nearest centre to the lakes is Bedugul, around a 2 hour drive from Kuta if you hire a driver or rent your own vehicle. Budget travellers can hop on a bemo to Bedugul from Batubulan terminal in Denpasar. There’s a variety of places to stay and eat in Bedugul, many with gorgeous mountain and rice terrace views.

12 September 2016

Foreigner becomes a traffic agent

If you want to get something done, best do it yourself. That seems to be the reasoning of one foreigner in Ubud, who was seen directing traffic at a macet Ubud intersection, which appears to be on the corner of Jl. Raya Ubud and Jl. Bisma. A Facebook post commending the bule for his initiative in addressing Ubud’s congestion was posted to Facebook under the account Dewa D’Bali on August 22 and has since gotten over 5,000 shares as of writing time. “Great job sir,” the post compliments, adding “you look much better than our police.” Wonder how Ubud police would feel about that comment. It’s not totally clear whether the man seen in the video is a tourist or expat, but he seems to have really found his place in Ubud society. 

11 September 2016

Helping the Bali Starling

Indonesia’s Minister of the Environment and Forestry has given an award to the Bird Song Breeders Group (Kelompok Penangkar Kicau Bali) for dedication and success in breeding the Bali Starling. The Bali Starling is known as the Bali Myna (Leucopsar Rothschild), also known as Rothschild's Mynahor Bali Starling. In Bali this bird is locally known as “Jalak Bali” or “Curik Bali.”
With a critically endangered wild population estimated to stand at less than 100 birds, the group was recognized during a celebration of the National Nature Conservation Day held at the West Bali National Park for the group’s work on behalf of breeding and propagating the endangered Bali Starling. The leader of the group expressed thank for the award and told the press of the many challenges he faced together with his group of Bali Starling enthusiasts in trying to enlarge the population of the bird that has become the official mascot of the Island of Bali. Beginning with an initial breeding stock of two Bali Starlings purchased for Rp, 15 milllion in 2012. "This was a very heavy beginning. I had to sell a cow to pay this amount,” he  explained. Over time the birds multiplied and with help from the chairman of the Tabanan House of Representatives and a loan from the bank, better cages were built and eventually three breeding pairs of Bali Starlings were managed by the group. Over time, further assistance was received by the Agency for the Conservation of Natural Resources to the point where today good cages play home to hundreds of birds that include at least 50 breeding pairs.Today the group have become leading proponents of community efforts to protect and preserve the Bali Starling.

08 September 2016

New price for Cigarettes

The Director-General of Customs and Excise (DJBC) is in the process of studying the feasibility of doubling the cost of a pack of cigarettes in Indonesia to Rp. 50,000. Officials must first consider the economic aspects of such a price increase. The Director General DJBC says the Rp. 50,000 per pack price must be looked at not only from the aspect of the  impact on the public’s health but also the asundry effects on employment, agriculture and the industrial sector. The director also expressed concern that a price increase that is too significant will foster a “black market” in illegal or smuggled cigarettes. He said he hoped any increase in the cost of cigarettes would be done in an incremental way over time in order to avoid any negative effects on the economy or public order, worrying that a 2.5 times increase in price done all at once  is ill-considered. Cigarettes currently cost an average of Rp. 20,000 per pack. Principals in the Indonesian cigarette industry predict havoc will result if the price is increased to Rp. 50,000 per pack. In response, anti-smoking advocates say a rapid increase would reduce smoking by as must at 60% and result in tremendous savings in terms of public health and work force productivity costs. While cigarette taxes will increase in October, the actual amount of that increase has yet to be decided by the government.

07 September 2016

Where to find dances and performances in Lombok

Visitors to Lombok are always asking where they can see some traditional Lombok dances and performances. Events take place all year round but it is sometimes difficult for visitors to find performances during their holidays. Some of the best hotels solve that problem and make it easy to have a taste of Lombok culture (as well as some tasty foods) while you are here! Puri Mas Boutique Resort provides wonderful entertainment for guests at its Ballroom Restaurant on the beachfront every Thursday night. Diners can enjoy a delicious meal from the ala carte menu while watching authentic performances mixing the best of Lombok Sasak and Balinese cultures, including the enchanting Baris Dance and exciting Peresean – Lombok’s traditional stick fighting competitions. Qunci Villas hosts a special Sasak Dance every Monday night with music and dance performances in the beachfront garden. Guests can enjoy sumptuous dining under the stars at this stylish venue while being entertained by performances such as Tari Peresean (traditional stick fighting) and Gandrung (the Fan Dance) accompanied by Gamelan music. On Friday nights, the resort also hosts “Pasar Malam” (Night Market) with stalls set up in the garden to imitate a traditional market, featuring delicious Lombok and Indonesian street foods. Sheraton Senggigi Beach Resort combines a fabulous night of cultural performances with “A Taste of Indonesia” buffet dinner every Tuesday night. Dine poolside on tasty dishes from Lombok and around the Indonesian archipelago while watching traditionalSasak (Lombok) and Balinese dances performed on a stage over the pool. Lit by flaming torches and accompanied by traditional Gamelan music, it’s a magical experience! Guests on the south coast can enjoy special cultural performances every night at the Novotel Lombok Resort in Kuta. During ‘high season’ the resort offers a different theme dinner every night of the week accompanied by traditional performances, including Sasak and Balinese dance, Peresean stick fighting competitions and even special performances by talented staff members!

05 September 2016

A wet day out in Waterbom

Waterbom Bali is situated in lush tropical garden with many great rides and attractions that will provide hours of fun and entertainment for the young–and young at heart. The park covers 3.8 hectares of landscaped tropical gardens and pools, and has dining and leisure facilities that will keep you and your family occupied for the day. Having grown to feature 22 exciting world-class water slides and games for all ages since its inception in 1993, this premier water park is the perfect place to enjoy a full wet day out. From easy-going pools with mini-slides to large-scale, adrenaline-pumping rides that start from significant heights; all the services and facilities are top of the class, making it a must-do highlight for families while in Bali. The “Smash Down 2.0” is an upgrade of a popular slide, hence its name, and starts at a height of 25.9 meters.
If you dare, opt for the more thrilling “Climax”, which ups the ante. You will enter a small chamber 19 meters above the ground before a trap door opens. Then you’ll drop down, pulling 2.5 Gs, and be whirled through a near-vertical dip before looping back around. This ride will surely give you a thrill of a lifetime. Some new rides are available for daredevils, including “Fast n’ Fierce” and “Twin Racers”, where you can challenge your partner to a splashing race down the ride. To turn down the intensity, there are more casual rides, such as the “Double Twist” and “Python”, named for their serpentine twists and turns. “Python” is the first of its kind, a circular tube that fits three adults or four children, while the “Double Twist” provides a combination of speed, twists, turns and thrills. The unique “Boomerang” lets you and a partner scream your lungs out as you twist down fast, before climbing 60 degrees up, followed by a sensational free fall backwards. Some of the rides require specially designed tubes with grips to hold onto. “Superbowl” is another waterslide that starts with a wrenching drop through an AquaTube, before the riders are launched into the SuperBowl, with centrifugal force keeping them high on the wall for several turns before ending in an exciting transition into a splashdown pool. Meanwhile, little ones can have their fun at “Funtastic”, a water playground dedicated to kids, with shallow pools and fountains.For a truly placid ride around lush gardens, take a tube for yourself (or a double tube for couples) and follow the steady stream of the “Lazy River”. This is Waterbom Bali’s ultimate feature for a slow-paced relaxing ride through 250 meters of cascading waterfalls and lush foliage where you can forget your sense of time.
Need a break from all the slides? The Shack offers a full-service bar serving mojitos, with mint picked from Waterbom’s own garden. Drinks or no, The Shack also offers a place to chill out, sit in a hammock, play a game of backgammon and to find your own definition of the word “relax”. Waterbom Bali also features numerous dining outlets, such as Thaitalian, a theater kitchen cafe serving Thai and Italian comfort food, with a vantage point of the four new rides at Waterbom Bali. The dining area comprises long tables and benches as well as cafe-style tables.
Waterbom Bali uses an advanced salt chlorination water sanitizing technique that’s do on the environment-and your skin–and is an Earth Check Silver Benchmarked company for its environmentally sustainable operation.
Waterbom Bali Across from Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel and Discovery Shopping Mall in Kuta. Tickets start at Rp 520,000 for adults and Rp 370,000 for kids under 11.

Nice places in Bali to visit. Part 2

Catch the Magnificent Waterblow at Nusa Dua
Envision majestic Indian Ocean waves crashing against rock cliffs – have you ever seen a waterblow in person? Visit the hidden rock cliff in Nusa Dua to witness one of nature’s prettiest sights.
This natural phenomenon happens when waves hit the narrow space within the rock cliff where pressure builds, and water then blows up! And remember; be careful to keep a distance to avoid getting wet.
Getting There: Located near Hotel Grand Hyatt, find the wide grass field, then follow the path to the waterblow entrance.

Banah Cliff, Nusa Penida
The Banah Cliffs of Nusa Penida rise mightily out of the whirling ocean and are perhaps the most dramatic coastal cliffs in Bali.
Hundreds of metres high and draped in lush green vegetation, they make an astonishing sight seen from the water. When you’re standing on top of them, they are even more imposing with no barrier between you and the abyssal drop below.
Looking out from Banah Cliffs you’ll see an unusual rock formation – a pretty, tiny islet in the middle of nowhere, twisted into shape of an arch. Yet another mysteriously captivating wonder of Bali.

The Blue Lagoon, Nusa Ceningan
The crystal blue waters of Nusa Ceningan’s Blue Lagoon are the picture perfect ideal of an island paradise.
Most people come to simply admire the million dollar view, but a few adventure seekers and daredevil locals have claimed an overhanging ledge as a legendary cliff-jumping spot. (Cliff jumping is now prohibited due to safety reasons)
Unfortunately, do note that a few unsuspecting travelers have been washed off the ledge in rough weather, and local authorities actively discourage jumping.
Getting There: The easiest way to see all the most spectacular attractions on Nusa Penida is through booking a tour. Many tour companies offer half and whole day excursions to Nusa Penida with pick-up services from Bali’s main resort areas. Banah Cliffs are a popular stop for photo shots.
Nusa Ceningan is just south of better known Nusa Lembongan. Boats from Bali’s mainland regularly depart from Sanur Beach to Lembongan. From Lembongan you should easily find a private boat to take you the short distance to small, walkable Nusa Ceningan.
Picnic with a Twist (or a Slant)
There’s nothing better than a picnic at the secret paradise known as Bukit Asah Bugbug, Karangasem.
This slanted hillside overlooks the ocean, giving you the perfect setting for a picnic with an interesting twist (or a slant)!
Yet another great romantic spot for lovers, this picnic spot is perfect for catching the sunrise – and panoramic views of the Indian Ocean, its coral reefs and small islands.
Address: Bukit Asah Sengkidu, Maggis, Kab. Karangasem

02 September 2016

Celuk Village, gold and silver city

Celuk Village in Gianyar, Bali, has been known for its gold and silver jewelry craftsmanship for a century. The village’s goldsmiths and silversmiths have been passing down their expertise to their descendants until today. The story of Celuk Village is documented in a book titled Jewelry of Bali. The beginning of Celuk’s traditions started when Nang Gati, a Celuk resident, went to the Mengwi Kingdom in 1915 to study metal craft. Upon his return, Nang Gati taught the first generation of craftsmen to make tools for religious ceremonies. The products of these craftsmen became accessories for the royal family and noblemen until the 1940s. In the 1950s, Bali began receiving tourists and a lot of art shops started popping up and selling the jewelry. However, the real boom only began in the 1980s alongside the boom in tourism. Celuk also became a popular tourist destination. Tour packages involved a Barong show in Sukawati, shopping in Celuk, lunch in Ubud and sightseeing in Tampak Siring and Kintamani. The boom paved the way for Celuk jewelry to be exported to various countries. The jewelry business in Celuk in the 2000s was not as shiny as before due to the rise of new silver jewelry sales points and tight competition from foreign businessmen who better understood foreign markets. The worst was when the Bali bombings occurred in 2002 and 2005. Celuk was in deep trouble. The situation motivated a number of young people to initiate the CDC in 2009 to revive business in the village. Aside from publishing a book and adding more variations to the designs, the CDC also held the Celuk Festival. The festival involved exhibitions, a fashion show and games.

31 August 2016

Canang Sari, the daily offer

Anyone who has been to Bali has seen the little Hindu offerings scattered across the island’s streets. But what many visitors to the Island of the Gods are unaware of is how much these little baskets have been commoditized since Bali’s tourism industry exploded. It’s a lengthy process that goes into the offerings, called Canang Sari. Making the basket, creating the gift, and performing the ritual add up to the full dedication given to the gods. A time sacrifice and financial commitment is part of this selfless act. The base, the canang (pronounced “chan-ang”), is a square woven tray made from coconut leaf, betel nut and lime which represent three Hindu deities: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Together they form Tri Murti which is the combination of their powers, respectively, as creator, preserver, and fuser. From east to west and north to south, four different colors of petals fill the basket each symbolizing a relation to a god. At the top of the compass, Vishnu is represented by blue or green, white flowers are given for Iswara and the east, the south, red is for Brahma, and yellow is the color for the western direction and the god Mahadeva. Traditionally, women would personally hand-make canang sari on a daily basis.
That was before the rapid inpour of globalization in Bali. About ten years ago, nobody bought canang sari. There was no place to buy them. But now there are many women selling [premade] ones. Walking down the streets of Bali nowadays it’s as easy to find canang sari vendors as spotting an Indomaret. Over the past few years, the island has gone through major transformations.
But even if Bali has globalized, the offerings are still routinely interwoven into day-to-day life. Canang sari will continue to cover the streets but the story behind its preparation may take on a whole new meaning.

30 August 2016

Nice places in Bali to visit. Part 1

The Angel’s Billabong
The Angel’s Billabong is one of Nusa Penida’s secret getaways in the form of a marvelous natural infinity pool. With its emerald hues and crystalline waters, the Angel’s Billabong is the epitome of stunning. And apparently, the green floors of this particular infinity pool are so comfortable to walk on (not slippery), it actually feels carpeted. Imagine that! We sure wish we were lounging around at Angel’s Billabong this very moment.
PS: Do note that Angel’s Billabong can be dangerous. There have been people swept out to the ocean by waves rushing in!
Getting There: It’s not too far from Pasih Uwug (the broken sea). A half-kilometre walk from Manta Point to a nearby reef, climb down one of the sides of the edgy coral walls to swim in this surreal pool.

The Secret Gardens of Sambangan
Hidden away in the far north Bali is the village of Sambangan. Only the locals and a handful of savvy tourists have experienced the breathtaking splendour of the jungles and waterfalls near Sambangan, known as the Secret Gardens.
The gardens are a chain of natural pools and cascading waterfalls hidden within the lush Balinese rainforest. There are seven falls in total and it takes a three hour trek deep into the jungle to explore most of them. Remote and unspoiled, the scenery here is among the most beautiful in Bali. The pools are filled with cold spring water, perfect for cooling off after the long jungle trek, and some of the waterfalls even serve as natural waterslides for the daring!
Directions: The nearest resort area to Sambangan is Lovina on Bali’s north coast, and it’s recommended you overnight here if you want to make the trek to the gardens. You’ll want a guide to lead you  safely through the rainforest to the best spots. Enquire in Lovina about hiking tours from Sambangan village, about a 20 minute drive from Lovina.

Bukit Teletubbies on Nusa Penida
In the lush green interior of Nusa Penida, a cluster of unusually shaped, conical hills have been curiously bestowed (we’re not sure by who exactly) with the name Bukit ‘Teletubbies’.
Confused? The name is a reference to the rounded green hills that were home to the fuzzy aliens from the children’s television program.
The best time to visit Bukit Teletubbies is during or just after the rainy season when the hills are a vivid green and most resemble the cutesy world of our gobbledegook speaking space critters.
Directions: Reach Nusa Penida on your own via boat services from Sanur or Padang Bai. Once on the island, you can hire a motorcycle to take you to the Bukit Teletubbies. Ask for directions to the closest village, Julingan, in the far south of the island.

Atuh Beach, Nusa Penida
Nusa Penida is home to some of Bali’s most beautiful, secluded beaches including Atuh Beach on the island’s east coast.
Looking out from the gorgeous, white sand crescent beach, you’ll see the dramatic surf-worn cliffs of Juntil Cape to the left, and on the right, the rock island of Labuan Ampuak. Atuh is especially picturesque at low tide, when the exposed corals create a vibrant, living foreground for spectacular shots of the island.
Direction: First, make your way to Sanur Beach. From Sanur there are a number of boats journeying several times a day to Nusa Penida. Expect to pay anywhere from Rp. 40,000 to 350,000 depending on the boat. You can also reach Nusa Penida by public ferry from the wharf at Padang Bai. A passenger ticket is Rp. 31,000 each way.

Mount Batur’s Volcanic Landscape, viewed from Pinggan village
Mount Batur (1,717m) is the most visited volcano in Bali, but most visitors usually join the tourist hordes at Kintamani village for views of the majestic fire-breather. For a view of Batur that’s arguably more spectacular, we suggest you head to the more isolated village of Pinggan.
Here you can experience the fierce splendour of the active volcano in a more solitary, meditative setting.
Batur is at its most photogenic at sunrise and sunset, and even makes for impressive night photography – with the lights of Pinggan village spread out at the foot of the mountain, and a sky full of stars twinkling above the peak.
Getting There: Most Mount Batur tours don’t stop at Pinggan village (which is why it makes it so gloriously uncrowded), so you’re best getting there on your own steam. Ubud is the nearest major tourist hub and Pinggan is about 45km, or an hour’s drive away.

The Green Cliffs and Little Grotto of Undisan Bangli
Getting here will be an adventure itself, with views of rice paddies, forests and ravines – and waterfalls nearby. The Green Cliffs of Undisan are basically towering moss-covered cliffs making up the sides of a ravine. What is the bigger secret of the already undiscovered wonder of the Green Cliffs? If you follow the water under where the green cliffs merge,  you will discover a secret grotto hidden inside! Depending on how adventurous you are, one might even swim into the cave, just to explore what’s beneath the malachite-coloured cliffs! If not, simply sit on one of the rocks below the green cliffs, and have a session of peaceful meditation in this beautiful secluded location.
Getting there: Desa Undisan Kelod, Kec. Tembuku, Kab. Bangli.

29 August 2016

Shopping mall Seminyak Village

Seminyak Village offers Bali sensations at onceIt likely takes a whole day to stroll around Bali’s retail hub, Seminyak, with hundreds of boutiques and eateries at its corners inviting you to stop by. If you only have a quick visit, it might be difficult to get Balinese sensations within a short time in the high-end area, which is only 30-minute far from Ngurah Rai International Airport by car. However, scrap your worry as one-stop shopping mall Seminyak Village has now opened its doors along with a whole package of Balinese treats. Coming from the thoughts of Malaysian designer and businesswoman Dato’ Sri Farah Khan, Seminyak Village curates local art and cultures through boutiques and rejuvenation centers that offer Balinese fashion brands, as well as relaxing experience. In its airy space, where natural sunlight streaming through wide-spanning skylights, you will be pampered with both Bali ethnic and contemporary crafts from local artists. You can find the products – from painted egg shells, Balinese batik sarongs, to jewelries – neatly showcased in two large souvenir shops called Marketplace and Indonesia Emporium.

26 August 2016

No more Beggers in Ubud

Local Community Police (Satpol PP) in Ubud, Gianyar Regency undertook surprise sweeps in the Catus Pata Area that, at the end of the day, netted 23 beggars.The sweeps were undertaken due to the beggars’ violation of Regional Law Number 12 of 1992 on cleanliness and public order. The raids and round up of beggars were led directly by the head of operations for public order in Gianyar. Of the 23 beggars taken into custody, the majority were children under the age of 10, with all those detained originating from Karangasem. The beggars are seen by officials as a blight on the tranquility and comfort of the tourist center of Ubud and a threat to public order. This is more the case in Ubud, a tourism area mostly visited by foreign travelers, where the beggars can upset their tranquility. All the beggars netted in the sweep were taken to the Satpol PP Gianyar office for processing before being handed over the to Social Service Department of the Regency. The chief of the SatPol PP in Gianyar said his officers are largely powerless against the beggars, able only to urge the public not to give donations to roadside beggars. Most of the beggars were capable of other employments, with children being added to the “begging crews” to play on the sympathies of tourists. The SatPol PP chief lamented that once children learn the art of begging it is virtually impossible to lure them to more meaningful work.The beggars are send to their home villages, but the attraction of Gianyar as a tourism area removes any reluctance on their part to return (and beg) again.

25 August 2016

Tanah Lot increase prices

The iconic tourist attraction of the Tanah Lot Temple will increase admission prices by the end of 2016. The admission prices will increase to 100% in late October or early November. The manager of the Tanah Lot Complex announced the plan for the increase on Monday. He confirmed that the plan for the increase in admission costs has received the approval of the Regent of Tabanan and the Management Board of the Tourism object. When the rate increase is finally introduced, the cost to visit Tanah Lot for a domestic adult visitor will increase from Rp. 10,000 to Rp. 20,000 and for a domestic child visitor from Rp. 7,500 to Rp. 15,000. Foreign tourist visitors to Tanah Lot will see the current admission ticket increase from Rp. 30,000 to Rp. 60,000, while visiting foreign children will see the price increase from Rp. 15,000 to Rp. 30,000. In return for the higher admission fees tourist visitors could expect an improved level of facilities and services. Included among these improvements will be the installation of additional CCTV cameras to improve safety and security. At the time when the new admission prices are introduced, a new E-ticketing system will also be introduced.

24 August 2016

Dreamworld, paintings from Irene Hoff

“Dreamworld” – an exhibition of paintings and artistic collages by Dutch artist Irene Hoff and friends will be held at the Pullman Bali Legian September 27 until December 11, 2016. A well-established artist, Irene Hoff is embarking on a new, more collaborative approach to her artistic creations. By blending collage style pop imagery with modern and traditional symbolism, this results in remarkable bespoke works or art.In this exhibition, Irene Hoff is collaborating with some of the most talented artists worldwide, with a particular focus on local talent based in Bali. The collective believes that by working together, a broad group of people can be reached and stimulated to open up new ways of thinking, challenging them to step out of their ordinary lives, creating new perspectives. During the exhibition, Pullman Bali Legian Nirwana will present combination of contemporary art, fashion, and food in keeping with it new “Artist Playground by Pullman Exhibition Concept."  A fashion brand based in London, Miss Milne will also be the part of the exhibition’s opening, representing the fashion industry to support the image and the ambiance of the artist playground. Famous hair stylist Rob Peetom will join the team to support the opening event. The invitation-only launching event will be held on Tuesday, September 27, 2016. For and invitation and details: telephone +62-(0)811 385 0387

23 August 2016

Animal lovers guide

Bird Village of Petulu
At around 5:30 every evening, flocks upon flocks of Kokokan birds (herons) fly from all over the Bali island to congregate in the small town of Petulu.
What is fascinating about this occurrence is the sheer number of birds that bunk down for the night in Petulu. The village is relatively small, so there is usually over 100 birds camped out in each tree, testing the strength of their often fragile branches. Talk about high-density, high-rise living. Space here is definitely at a premium.
The villagers believe that the birds are their supernatural guardians, and hold a special ritual once every six months to honour them, expressing their gratitude in having Petula as the place the birds lay eggs and raise their young before the birds migrate in July and August.  There is a bit of mystery surrounding why the herons turned up in 1965 and have come back every evening since. It is said that the herons are the reincarnation of thousands of Balinese who were killed during the anticommunist massacre in Indonesia in 1965 and 1966. After the riots in the village, people held a ceremony in Petulu to remember the slain and to protect the survivors. Shortly after the ceremony the birds arrived in the village, and have made a daily ritual of flying in to spend the night in Petulu ever since. Naturally, the villagers believe these birds, the spirits of their ancestors, also bring them a bounty of good-luck.
Petulu is near the Ubud botanic gardens, Kutuh Kaja, so combining a day trip that includes both will provide you with an ample fix of Bali nature and wildlife.

Bali Bird Park
Welcome to Bali Bird Park, where 1000 birds from 250 species frolic around 2 hectares of landscaped tropical gardens.
Located in the Batubulan stone carving village, the Bali Bird Park is a popular day trip and is close to Kuta, Sanur and Ubud.
The park has a number of walk-through aviaries and is a safe haven for numerous rare or endangered species such as the cendrawasih (birds of paradise) from West Papua and the Leucopsar rothschildi (Bali starling). The park is divided into different areas that aim to recreate the natural habitats of foreign birds, such as those from Latin America, South Africa and Australia.
There is a nocturnal owl house in a specially-adapted traditional Toraja house, as well as informative shows and scheduled feeding times where you can get up close and personal such as by feeding a pelican or holding a macaw. Some birds are in cages, where as others roam about the grounds or sit high in the trees.

Rimba Reptile Park
Located adjacent to the Bali Bird Park, Rimba Reptile Park is for those who prefer their animals footloose and feather free. The park houses around 20 different species of reptiles and over 181 specimens of reptiles and amphibians.
There’s a 1.5 metre Komodo dragon as well as crocodiles, flying lizards, iguanas, frogs and geckos. The park has an impressively scary collection of venomous snakes including the cobra, tapian and mamba as well as an 8-metre reticulated python and an albino Burmese python. There’s a 1.5 metre Komodo dragon as well as crocodiles, flying lizards, iguanas, frogs and geckos.  An assortment of cold-blooded creatures sun themselves on the rocks of different enclosures that are filled with lily ponds, waterfalls and Balinese plant life. There is also a large canopied courtyard to sit back in and spot critters in the overhanging trees above. This park won’t be for everyone, particularily if your not a fan of snakes and things that bite.

Bali Safari and Marine Park, East Bali
The Bali Safari and Marine Park is the kind of place you would pester your parents to take you to when you were a kid. Although it’s located in Bali, don’t expect to find a whole lot of native Balinese inhabitants as it is filled mostly with tourist attracting animals from around the world. Here, you will find over 60 species of animals such as lions, tigers, meerkats, porcupines and the Bali Mynah, a bird that is native to Bali.
There are camel rides as well as a large open air exhibit, restaurants, live shows at the theatre and even a night safari. Basically, this is a great place to take the kids but may not be what you are after if you are looking for a more authentic Bali experience. In saying that, the park provides both education for visitors and conservation efforts, so for that we give it the official thumbs up. It is a member of the CBSG (Conservations Breeding Specialist Group) and is involved in the conservation and release of the Bali Mynah, the Sumatran Elephant and the Sumatran Tiger.

Turtle Conservation and Education Centre, Pulau Serangan
Turtles are a bit of a contentious issue in Bali. Traditionally eaten as a delicacy, green turtles have long been captured and killed in Bali. Now, however, with the turtle population rapidly dwindling due to hunting and over development, there is a conservation effort taking place in Bali. It aims to educate locals about how turtles are better off in the sea than on their dinner plate, part of a religious ceremony or sold as a tourist trinket.
The Turtle Conservation and Education Centre (TCEC) is a small compound that provides a protected space for turtle eggs to hatch and for baby turtles to return to the sea. It also houses a number of specialised tiled tanks for larger injured turtles to recover from abuse or illness. It was opened in 2006 by the governor of Bali, Mr Dewa Barata, as part of a strategy to eradicate illegal turtle trading and to empower locals to help through garnering awareness and providing education. The TCEC is free to visit, but donations are encouraged and should be given based on the importance and dedication of the project and its staff. The centre is run by friendly locals who are only too happy to share some information with you about the turtles in their care.
Beware of fake ‘Turtle Parks’ that are not part of the TCEC. Check with your hotel to make sure you are visiting the real one if you are not sure, as some of the imitations can be a heart breaking experience as they are more about getting money from tourists than giving a hoot about turtles.

Bali Butterfly Park (Taman Kupu Kupu), Tabanan
Billed as being ‘the largest butterfly park in Asia’, the Bali Butterfly park, or Taman Kupa Kupa, is your chance to see hundreds of butterflies from the 15 known species that thrive in Indonesia, as well as various other insects and arachnids such as beetles, stick and leaf insects, and the less-friendly varieties such as scorpions and spiders.
The park preserves several endangered species in its collection such as the Bali peacock (Papilio peranthus) and the paradise birdwing (Ornithoptera paradisea) and it also functions as a research centre. It’s best to visit in the early and mid-morning when the butterflies are at their most active. You don’t have to be an entomologist to enjoy this park, it’s a magical place for both big kids and small kids alike. There is a massive sign outside the park, so it’s not hard to miss.

Gili Meno bird park and turtle sanctuary
After you have exhausted the animal lover’s circuit on the main land, it is well worth taking a boat ride to Gili Meno. One of the three Gili islands, Gili Meno is renowned for its chilled out vibe and breathtaking natural surrounds. The beach literally looks like the kind of remote island paradise you would see in movies about shipwrecks, which is probably why it is often described as offering a ‘Robinson Crusoe’ experience. In the centre of the island you will find the the Gili Meno bird park. The park is home to over 300 birds such as hornbills, eagles, pelicans, parrots, peafowls, macaws and more. There has been a bit of negativity in the past about the park’s conditions, but management seems to be taking heed and the aviaries are being rapidly upgraded. As with all upgrades – particularly on Indonesia’s smaller islands where everything is transported by boat – things understandably take time.
If birds aren’t your jam, then there’s a turtle sanctuary on Gili Meno as well. Bolong Turtle Sanctuary is a community run safe haven founded by its namesake (local innovator Bolong) for green sea turtles and Loggerhead Turtles to lay their eggs away from the threat of predators (both human and from the animal kingdom).

Places an animal lover should not visit however:
Elephant Safari Park
Elephant ride is cruel.
This kind of animal should never be promoted as people who don’t know anything about this topic could think that this is a nice thing to do with elephants. However these elephants have been terribly abused in order to ‘tame’ them (they will always be wild elephants and therefore always dangerous).
If you’re not convinced that elephant rides are cruel you can check out this site:

22 August 2016

Bali’s caste system

Indonesia’s Bali is an island whose people still strongly obey traditional culture, including the caste system, which is also influenced by the Hindu religion. There are four classes, from top to bottom: Brahmin, Kshatryia, Vaishya and Sudra. Unlike the original system, from India’s Hinduism, the fifth class (Pariah or Untouchables or Undesirables) does not exist in Bali. Although the social order still exists, it no longer holds significance in terms of political power, wealth and working positions. However, it is said that young Brahmin men have the tendency to be playboys and are seen as more attractive, especially since many Sudra girls still have the dreams of climbing the hierarchy by marrying a Brahmin. This would allow her (and her children) to becomes a Brahmin.
However, due to modernization the rules of caste are no longer as rigid as it used to be, as apparent in Bali and India—two well-known societies which still practice the caste system. In Bali especially, instead of their caste, people are classified based on their economy status. In India, people from differing castes can study in the same schools, ride the same trains and buses, and dine in the same restaurants. Meanwhile in Bali, someone from a lower caste can work in higher positions compared to those from a higher caste, or own capital.

21 August 2016

(Over)Crowded Bali

If you’re sensing that Bali’s been more ramai ramai this year, then you’re not wrong—there’s data to back that feeling up! With 2.27 million tourist visits to Bali in the first semester of 2016, we’ve seen an increase of 18.89 percent, compared to last year’s figure of 1.91 million tourists. A total of 2.23 tourists came by air directly through the Ngurah Rai Airport while the remaining 38,644 people come via the sea port. Bali’s Provincial Tourism Office set a target of 4.2 million foreign tourist arrivals to Bali this year, after 2015 saw 4.001 million. Seven out of ten of the countries from where tourists mainly come to Bali, have seen a major increase in numbers. These countries include Australia, China, Japan, Great Britain, India, the US, and France. While Malaysia, South Korea, and Singapore, are still in the top ten but have had lesser numbers this year. 

20 August 2016

Make a trip to Gili Trawangan

On an island not so far, far away, backpackers are known to drink throughout the night, and dance until the sunlight just before they “sober up” near a sandy firelight. Gili Trawangan is one of a kind, especially in comparison to the beautifully tamed other Gili islands. While the average alcohol and shrooms content of Gili T island partiers is highly toxic, the views are uncontrollably addictive. Be prepared because Gili T is the type of place where a two-day trip turns into five.

Getting there:
It’s quite easy to get from Bali to the Gilis. You have a two options: a flight or a ferry. If you’re the trains, planes, and automobiles type, you can board a cheap flight from Denpasar (around Rp 200k), and then continue by boat from Lombok to Gili. The other option is to take a fast or slow boat (depending on your budget and time) from one of the ports in Bali: Pandang Bai, Amed, or Serangan. Included in most prices is a free transfer that picks you up and drops you off at your destination in Bali. We admit that the Balinese are incredibly clever salespeople, but don’t be an incredibly foolish tourist. The prices labeled online are more expensive than they are at a travel kiosk in Kuta or Pandang Bai, for example. For the sake of your wallet, bargain like our ancestors did. On the high side, you really should not be paying more than Rp 300k one way. Once you work your magic, mentally prepare to be swarmed by people selling tacky souvenirs and overpriced Pringles. Then physically prepare for the waves of the sea as you get one ride closer to the party paradise.

Depending on where you fall on the spectrum from proudly lazy to fiercely fit, there are a few ways to spend your days on Gili T. Being a beach bum is perfectly acceptable and encouraged. Just take a walk, rent a bike, or hop on one of the horse carriages (there are no motorbikes) to find an ideal spot overlooking transparent turquoise waters. There’s honestly not one bad place to pop a squat. When your bum falls asleep and you feel the urge to get active, consider renting a paddle board, kayak, going for a swim, or climbing the World War two bunker for a view. If you prefer to find Nemo and enjoy Gili’s beautiful marine life, then go to any of the travel desks and book a snorkeling or diving trip. With outstanding visibility and the spectacular array of underwater species, there’s no place better to be than under the sea. For those who go to Gili T for the sole purpose of pure intoxication, we highly recommend going on the party boat. Rounds of shots, too many Bintangs, and other lethal alcoholic beverages are calling you. Count five plus hours of fun in the sun followed by an land-bound afterparty. The one thing you must do, if you want to fit in with all the hipsters of Instagram, is to be sure head to the iconic swings by Ombak Sunset Hotel and The Exile bar. It’s neither a historic or cultural site; the meaning of it is a complete mystery. But tourists love it. Mostly because these “original” pics ensure more “likes” than the last three uploads combined. There is one last thing, we, as well as all of the locals, ask of you. Please respect the culture and cover up. You may be on holiday but that is not an excuse to flash anything to anyone. If this isn’t a bold enough reminder, the call to prayer will likely help you remember.

As daylight falls into the horizon, sun rays illuminate the sky with fluorescent and pastel colors. The water reflects highlighted clouds and slowly Gili T is taken over by the sight of tranquility. Sunsets on this island will take your breath away. Even without the weed or shrooms that you will likely be offered. Keep in mind it is extremely illegal to consume drugs in Indonesia despite the overwhelming presence on the island. Be smart and be safe.To be a witty drunkard, head to the night market to line your stomach with heaps of food. For a whopping Rp 20k you get to select five Indonesian items to fill your plate (which turns out to be a tower of food). If that isn’t enough to fill you up, you can also order a skewer of tuna, calamari, chicken, or beef for Rp 20k each. It is by far the cheapest meal of the day, and incredibly tasty in every possible way. Just be aware of where you sit because if you dine at the wrong vendor’s table you might end up on the beach. Now that you’ve made it into the wee hours of the night, pick where you’d like to pregame. Either buy some booze and bring it back to your villa, hostel or homestay or make your way over to the main strip for drinking game shenanigans at Jiggy Jig’s. Rp 150k will buy a proper buzz as you down the free flow for two hours. Once you’ve poured some liquid courage into that body and you’re ready to boogie simply follow the crowd. Don’t worry, there is no way to miss the party spot. The main road floods with sweaty backpackers doing everything from getting it on to getting their tolerance all wrong. Different bars throw their parties on specific days so just gravitate towards the live music. On Fridays go to Rudy’s Pub, Blue Marlin on Monday, if it’s a Wednesday head to Tir Na Nog, but no matter the night, Sama Sama throws down with a reggae band. Of course after the party there is the after party. Keeping within the island vibe it’s usually a bonfire on the beach. On your way there, stop at one of the 24 hour stores to restock your supply of Bintangs. As if you weren’t drunk enough yet. But the party never stops on Gili T. It’s okay, we get it, you’re on holiday. It will cross everybody’s mind, “how did midnight turn into 6 am?” The sun will begin to rise, and it’s not even close to your bedtime. Hopefully you’ll wake up by midday feeling like P.Diddy. it’s a new day, which is your next reason to beach, drink, and repeat. 

19 August 2016

Explore Bali by foot

One of the best ways to explore the natural beauty of Bali is by foot, on a nature trail. Some of these hour-long nature trails are easy to conquer, so they work for beginners and kids alike. If you want to give the entire family a weekend of adventure they won’t forget, consider these kid-friendly nature trails. 

1. Sambangan Nature Hike
Sambangan is a nature hike located in the northern part of Bali that features endless rice fields. Depending on the tour, the Sambangan Nature Hike features a trek from the rice fields to the Aling-Aling, Kroya, Kembar, and Pucuk waterfalls. After a relaxing stroll to the Sambangan landscapes, you can take pictures, explore the tropical jungle, or take a refreshing dip to the waterfall that falls to the river, it’s your choice!  As with any outdoor excursion, we recommend hiring a local guide to lead you through the many attractions in Sambangan safely. On average, the Sambangan tour will last for one to two hours.

2. Mt. Batur Hike
Mount Batur is an active volcano located in northeastern of Bali. The volcano features a caldera, wherein villages live, and offer a variety of services among trekkers and hikers. One such service is an easy hike that will take you on top of the mountain!Batur is popular among hikers and nature-loving tourists because the nature trail is very easy to conquer and the picturesque tropical forest that surrounds it. Even better, the sunrise on top of the volcano can’t be missed. It only takes one and a half hour to reach the end of the trail, but it’s not the highest point of the volcano. Reaching the summit takes another hike along a steep sandy trail. Don’t be surprised to see a warung on top of the summit offering hikers hot drinks and local sweets. 

3. Campuhan Ridge Walk
Located in the heart of Ubud, the Campuhan ridge is a popular nature trail among beginners and families alike! The ridge features a stunning view of the Bali outback and tranquil countryside living.The nine-kilometer trail consists of gorgeous hillsides and lots of fresh air. The trail starts at the Campuhan Ridge Walk then off to the verdant landscapes of the Campuhan valley. From there, you can check out the dense, beautiful tropical forests that span out as far as the eyes can see. Then, the trail leads to the Campuhan River, where the ancient Pura Gunung Lebah temple complex is located. You can take pictures and explore the temples or ask directions to other nature trails. The high point of the temple will give you a 360-degree view of the valley. 

4. Gitgit Waterfall
Gitgit Waterfall Bali is a famous attraction on the northern region of Bali. The region contains various nature trails that vary in length, terrain and difficulty level. One of the easiest nature trails that lead to the waterfall is a well-signposted path goes 800 meters west from the main road of waterfall Gitgit. Because the path is in the middle of a lush tropical forest, you can expect beautiful greeneries along the way. You’ll also come across a narrow bridge attached over the river. Once you get to the waterfall, you can take a break, soak up the beautiful flora and take a refreshing swim! 

5. Tegenungan Waterfall
Located in the Tegenungan Village near Ubud, Tegenungan Waterfall is a popular destination for nature-lovers in Bali.  The trail is very short and will only take you a few minutes to reach the waterfall as you descend along a cemented path along the river Tukad Petanu. Before reaching the hidden waterfall, you will walk through a lush tropical jungle. Once you get there, you take a dip in the cool and clear water. The Tegunungan waterfall is unique because it only measures about four feet high yet the impact of the falling water is very strong. The water is very clean so you can simply swim around and relax in the pool at the bottom of the waterfall. You can also try the springs nearby or take a picture of the woods. 

6. Danau Bratan
The world-renowned temple of Pura Ulun Danu Bratan is the most popular tourist destination in Danu Bratan. There are different nature trails that will lead you to a spot that offers a view of Mount Catur, including one that only takes an hour to reach. The trails are usually covered by fog and can be quite chilly so wear very thick clothes! The lake offers water activities like water skiing or boat cruises. If you like going for walks, you can visit the botanical garden named Kebun Raya Eya Karya Bali which houses a diverse species of orchids and large trees. For adventurous mountain climbers, Danau Bratan also serves as a good starting point for hiking tours to the summit of Mount Catur. It usually takes three hours before you reach the top and two hours to get back to the ground. As you hike up, you will have a great view of the different shrines and buildings inspired by the Dutch. 

7. West Bali National Park
West Bali National Park is located in northwest Bali. It’s home to hundreds of species of animals including birds, reptiles, monkeys, wild deer, and so much more. A great way to explore West Bali National Park’s wildlife is by checking out one of its many hiking trails. The hiking trails usually take only one or two hours to complete. The park requires people to bring a guide for safety reasons. As you walk inside the lush tropical forest, you will hear the wonderful chirping songs of over 300 bird species. A complete nature hike will take seven hours to complete. And for those who’d rather hike for an hour or two, we recommend asking your guide for shorter trails. 

8. Tirta Gangga
Literally translated to Holy Water from the Ganges, Tirta Gangga is an ancient royal palace located in East Bali. There are numerous streams around the area which are used for the irrigation systems of the locals. They built complex but highly efficient rice terraces to raise crops.Thanks to the verdant landscapes and fresh air, Tirta Gangga, it is a fun spot to go hiking. The best time to go for walks is early in the morning, just as the sun has risen. You can easily walk around for an hour or two and decide which trails to take on your journey. But if you really want to maximize your hike, we recommend hiring a local guide to lead you through various nature trails. You can go on a half-day hike where you will walk along narrow paths passing that lead to local villages and stunning rice terraces.