31 May 2016

Ubud Village Jazz Festival 2016

A highlight of Bali’s event calendar since 2013, the Ubud Village Jazz Festival (UVJJF) returns on August 12-13, 2016 headquartered at Arma Ubud. In keeping with its home in the cultural and artistic hear of Bali, UVJF keeps it small and wonderful presenting music on 3 stages over 2 days, featuring jazz in its many forms with performers hailing from Indonesia and other countries. As in the past, UVJF will encourage performance from up and coming students and newcomers destined for eventual greatness in the jazz pantheon. Providing music for the soul and more, a concurrent food festival will celebrate the wonderful dishes found only in the Indonesian archipelago. UVJF will also host musical workshops and master classes, facilitating the exchange of knowledge and ideas within the jazz community. By the community and for the community, UVJF is fueled by sponsor support and the dedicated effort of nearly 1,000 volunteers who will create a welcoming program expected to attract more than 5,000 jazz aficionados to Central Bali.

30 May 2016

Best markets to visit

Although Bali is becoming known for its high-end malls and department stores, the traditional Bali markets remain the best places to shop for everything, including basic goods and souvenirs. These markets are not only massive with plenty of local merchandise to choose from, they are mostly really affordable too.
Sukawati Art Market is definitely one of the most popular and enduring art markets in Bali. The market attracts thousands of shoppers every day! This is the best market to check out if you are looking for giftable items, such as accessories, handicrafts, and souvenir items. One of the main draws of the Sukawati Art Market is the amazing selection of art pieces. The market has everything from sculptures to paintings, colorful textiles to pottery. All artworks are made by local artisans and they are perfect as a souvenir, as an addition to your growing collection, or as a generous gift. Sukawati also functions as a local market for food, clothing and offerings, making it a great place to explore, talk to locals and take photos.
Ubud Art Market is one of Bali’s largest art markets. It is also one of the most popular attractions in the Ubud area. Perfect for art lovers and bargain hunters, Ubud Art Market is full of handmade goods and artworks, all at very reasonable prices. Shopping at Ubud Art Market is good for woven bags and baskets, silk scarves, and colorful textiles. You will also find a fantastic selection of figurines, pottery, batik fabric, wood carvings, and lamps. Visit early in the morning to see the traditional market in full swing before the tourists come out to shop.
Kumbasari Market is the place to be if you are looking for local textiles, clothing, costumes, religious and ceremonial items. Located in Denpasar, Kumbasari Market is the one of the main Bali markets and is located right next to Badung Market. Kumbasari market is often called Peken Payuk or the pot market simply because this is the best place to get all sorts of clay and ceramic pottery. You can get kekeb or (rice covers), caratan (traditional water jug) and even jeding (traditional storage barrels) at the market.
Badung market, located on Jl. Gajah Mada, is the largest, longest-operating market in Bali. The market is open 24/7 and is the main source of fresh produce, meats, basic groceries, textiles, and household items in the area. This is a great place to go shopping because of the sheer number of vendors. We also love visiting Badung market to go sarong or fabric shopping. The first floor of the market is dedicated to meats, fish, fruits and vegetable. The upper floor is reserved for spices, herbs, as well as traditional Muslim and Balinese apparel. The market is also a source of goods made in China including umbrellas and baskets. Because of the affordable prices and local interest, Badung market attracts thousands of tourists every week. Because this is one of the more local Bali markets, it’s a great place to get a feel for the local culture and take photos. The smell and heat can be overwhelming though, so this market can be a bit too much for some. Also, take into account that a large part of the market burnt down in March 2016 so there will be lots of rebuilding going on.
Kuta Art Market. If you’re hoping to score great deals on sarongs, batik cloth, jewelry or leather goods, head to Kuta Art Market. The market is conveniently located close to the Kuta beach so you can shop early and then spend the rest of the day chilling at the beach. This market has an eye-popping selection of local goods including clothes, sarongs, shoes, accessories, jewelry, and souvenir items. Kuta Art Market is also a haven for art lovers. If you want to commission an artwork, you can contact the artist and carry out customized orders.
Sanur Art Market is a smaller version of the one in Kuta. Sellers tend to be a bit more relaxed and prices tend to start lower than in Kuta. You’ll find dresses, sarongs, tees and board shorts to complete your holiday wardrobe and souvenirs to take back for friends and family. In the evenings this is one of the Bali markets that turns into a local food fest, with stands selling babi guling, nasi campur, nasi goreng and other tasty fried treats!
Candi Kuning Market. If you want to shop for fresh produce, exotic flowers, spices, herbs, dried seafood and smoked fish, there is no better place to shop in Bali than at Candi Kuning market. Candi Kuning Market is located in the central mountain region of Bedugul, just beside the main road from Denpasar to Singaraja. Tourists and locals alike flock the market, looking for fresh goods. Walking along the fruit and flower stalls in the market is a treat for the senses. Candi Kuning Market is also a great place to purchase souvenirs and Balinese snacks.
Kreneng Market is located in East Denpasar. The market is a great source of basic goods – including groceries, fresh produce, and spices – at local, affordable prices. At night, the market turns into a night bazaar that attracts hordes of foodies. If you love classic Balinese fare, go to the market at night! Rows of food stalls offer a delectable selection of Javanese, Indonesian, and Balinese dishes, all made fresh and served piping hot! Visiting the markets in Bali are a great way to see, hear, smell and taste Balinese culture. If you don’t want to brave the crowds of Denpasar’s main markets head to the more tourist-friendly, but more expensive ones in Kuta, Sanur and Ubud.
Source: Bali Kids Guide

29 May 2016

Increase of Dengue fever

Dengue fever is striking Bali with a vengeance this year as over 40 deaths from the viral disease have been reported on the island from the beginning of 2016. Unfortunately for tourists, mosquito breeding seriously needs to be curbed in popular traveler destinations including Badung and Gianyar. The increase in those areas are quite sharp ... The one in Gianyar (near Ubud) especially, the incident is quite high. But at least on the bright side, dengue numbers in the city of Denpasar seem to be dropping. Recently released statistics show the number of dengue cases in Bali from January to April this year at 7,794 is getting close to 10,700, the total number of cases across Bali in all of 2015. Meanwhile, in terms of the dengue death count, from January to April 2016, 38 people died in Bali from dengue, while 29 died in 2015 over the entire 12-month period. This could in part be explained by the odd timing of wet and dry seasons. If in the whole year there's rain with intermission of dry season, that's the most favorable condition for vector breeding. Other possible explanations for the rise in dengue cases this year may include the increased mobility populations crossing from densely populated Java and the destruction of Bali’s rice paddy fields for housing. We will just have to see how the rest of the year goes, because things were looking so reasurring in the beginning of 2016 when Bali's Provincial Health Office said that dengue cases were down in January and February earlier this year. That's probably just further supporting evidence of how a late and unpredicatable rainy season has screwed with this year's data. 

28 May 2016

Religious dress code for the famous bat cave

Bali’s famous Pura Goa Lawah, a sacred temple embedded in a cave on the roadside in the East Bali Regency of Klungkung, is introducing modern technology to make sure visitors remain religiously compliant in the way they dress when visit the sacred site. Those in charge of the temple, inhabited by thousands of bats and a large group of snakes, will soon install CCTV cameras to ensure that visitors are wearing the mandatory sarong and waist slash. Those found to without these items will be ushered back to the entrance ticket booth where ritual garb are available on a rental basis. Moreover, tourists seen to be taking pictures inside the temple without wearing a sarong and slash will be required to delete the subject photos. The management of the iconic Goa Lawah Bat Cave in the Bali Regency of Klungkung is proposing that the price of admission tickets to the religious site be increased. The treasurer of the management committee for the tourism object told that the cost of a ticket to visit the site is among the lowest among competing objects in Bali. Kerta Gosa is Rp. 12,000, so we are asking that the government increase our ticket price. Currently, adults are charged Rp. 6,000 and children Rp. 4,000 – a tariff set by the government in 2013. Visitors who do not bring a sarong and sash required to be worn by those visiting the site are charged a rental rate of Rp. 10,000. Regional rules on admission prices at tourism object are generally reviewed only once every five years, which means the cost of admission to Goa Lawah should only be reviewed in 2018. Goa Lawah that is home to a huge colony of bats and pythons is visited by between 75 and 100 visitors each day.

27 May 2016

5 apps for your holiday in Bali

If you’re new to Indonesia the amount of smartphones might surprise you. It’s not uncommon for the standard Indonesian urbanite to have two smartphones in their pockets, have more then one sim card and in every public space you’ll see that Indonesians are as transfixed to their mobile screens as the rest of the world. With smartphones come apps, and there are now masses of apps that cater to the Indonesian market. The crowd favorites aren’t universal however and apps that are popular elsewhere may seem surprisingly empty in Indonesia. So which apps are the crowd favorites in Indonesia? Below is a list of useful apps that’ll plug you into to the digital megaverse that is Indonesia. 
Gojek is to Ojeks (motorbike taxis) what Uber was to the taxi industry – only better! Although Uber does exist here, everyone knows that if you want to get somewhere quickly then it’s best to go on a motorbike: cheap, flexible and fast! Gojek will completely change how you get around. Plus Gojek drivers can bring you beer or deliver your mail—Indonesian flexibility as its best. If you’re more car inclined then there is always the gold standard of taxis in Indonesia ‘Bluebird Taxi app’ and of course like the rest of the world Uber is making its presence known. Grab is also getting big and worth giving a shot. 
Wonder what app Indonesians use to burn time whilst waiting for friends and to let everyone know when they wake up and what they eat? Well surprisingly it’s not Facebook, but Path! Path is a social media platform that somehow grew crazily popular with young Indonesians. It’s like the Facebook of yesteryear, a raw feed of everything your friends said and did in the order they said and did it. But don’t worry, if you’re not ready to add to your social networking platforms, Indonesians are also crazy about Instagram and Twitter. 
The Google Maps curse in Indonesia. If you want the GPS map app that Indonesians use then you need to get WAZE. Filled with local businesses, up to date street options, police warnings, and rather accurate traffic information, Waze is everything you need when exploring Indonesia. Using Waze will leave you wondering how you previously found anything.  
4. BBM Messenger
This one is a strange one. For a lot of us, BBM evokes images of the businessmen of yesteryear and tiny keyboards. However in Indonesia BBM somehow cornered the data-messaging market. Although apps like Line and WhatsApp are increasing in popularity, if you want to be able to connect to as many Indonesians as possible then try BBM  
If you’re traveling around Indonesia, the first thing you’ll probably realize is that it’s big—really big! Traveloka will help you find the best flights, connecting routes, and most importantly the best price. By far the best app for finding the best domestic travel options as it is Indonesia-based and has access to the best deals. 

26 May 2016

Lombok proud owner of 25 mysterious buses

It seems that Lombok is the proud owner of 25 large buses but doesn’t know what to do with them! Lombok government took delivery of 25 buses from the Indonesian Ministry of Transport in February 2016. The buses are now standing in a warehouse owned by DAMRI – the state-owned transport company who operate the airport buses in Lombok. The large air conditioned buses are the type operated by TransJakarta in Jakarta for the public transport system.

In August last year, the Lombok branch of the Ministry of Transport proposed creating a public transport system in Lombok under the banner of “Metro Trans Mataram”. The proposal called for a public bus transport system to operate routes between Senggigi, Mataram and Narmada. The service will be operated by the state-owned transport company, Damri. Under the proposal, Lombok would receive a total of 60 buses by 2018 (being allocated 20 buses per year). Since then, there seems to have been no communication from the Ministry… and 25 buses just arrived in Lombok with little fanfare and even less preparation!

This arrival of the buses seems to imply that Lombok will soon introduce a public bus system, which may be why some mysterious bus stops were built on the side of main roads in Ampenan, Mataram and Senggigi last year. If this is the case, it seems the Ministry of Transport isn’t letting the city government in on the secret. In the meantime, let’s hope someone is starting the engines on those 25 buses on a regular basis!
Source: The Lombok Guide

25 May 2016

European tourists visiting Bali increase

Bali recorded about 1 million tourists visiting the island in the first quarter of 2016. Of the number, 20 percent or 218,497 people were from Europe. The increasing number of European tourists visiting Bali is a result of tourism promotion initiated by the government and tourism business owners. Data from the Bali Tourism Agency recorded that the number of tourists from the United Kingdom increased by 56.41 percent, which was the most significant increase among other countries. The data showed that the number of tourists from the UK who visited Bali in January-March 2016 stood at 45,915 people, increasing from 29,355 people in the same period of last year. The number of German tourists visiting Bali stood at 26,972 people in the first quarter, increasing by 44 percent compared to the same period of 2015. France came in third as the country with most tourists visiting Bali with 26,454 people, followed by The Netherlands with 18,398 people.

Bali weather forecast June 2016

Weather forecast provided by www.accuweather.com

24 May 2016

Serangan Beach

Located on the east coast of the island just south of Sanur, Serangan is a totally underrated beach to spend the day chilling at. Nestled right in between Benoa Harbor and Sanur Beach, Serangan has awesome white sands and clear waters that are a far cry from the volcanic sands further north. The water close to shore is super mellow with the surf break a little bit of a paddle away where the reef drops. There are a few beach cafes with loungers and it’s super uncrowded when compared to a lot of other local beaches. Serangan Beach is known as one of the better surf spots in Bali. The surf is generally clean but fickle in size, where surfers can choose from the left or right handed peaks. The seawater at the beach is calm and ideal for swimming glistening in shades of brilliant blues and greens. If you feel like an extra bit of relaxation, a beach massage is generally around Rp 50.000. Grab some cheap eats, a tropical juice or coconut at any of the simple warungs to choose from, they are all about the same. There’s really nothing fancy to dine on here, its packaged snacks, nasi goreng, mie, and jaffles if you want something to munch on.

Candy coins

More than a year after Bank Indonesia (BI) previously announced it would ban candy as change coin in Bali and socialization of the policy would be coming soon, the national bank is now once again saying it will issue the ban. But don’t expect local warungs and convenience stores to all of sudden stop giving us those little pure-sugared candies in lieu of the Rp 100 and 200 coins—the ban is just for modern and retail stores. We will later issue a letter that it’s prohibited, said the BI Bali Province Representative. It wasn’t so clear in reports though when this “later” will be. Who knows, could be another year again. BI says it will perform a survey on this issue, as demand for coins in Bali has been climbing. 

22 May 2016

Your first trip to Bali?

Most people who come to Bali will experience a Bali Belly at some point, so better to be safe than sorry and stick with bottled water. Don't drink tap water. When haggling remember how little it really is to you but how much it is to the other. Haggling in the market can be really fun, but remember that Rp20,000 that you’re trying to cut off the price is less then 2 Euro. Rp20,000 is enough money for a local person to eat a good meal of rice, meat and veggies, so think about that when you are walking away from a deal because it’s too expensive. Always take Bluebird Taxis. They are reliable, honest, metered and in case of a lost wallet etc. they have driver ID on display. Grabbing a Bluebird Taxi to get around is easy and reliable. Cars are air-conditioned, comfortable and they have meters, which means you won’t have to bargain for the best price. Also, you can see the driver’s ID and note it down just in case you leave something in the car. For longer trips or day trips, a private driver is a great option. Try all street food especially the sate skewers. Street food in Bali is delicious and sate (or satay) is one of the tastiest and easiest snacks you’ll find. Street sellers skewer pork or chicken and cook them over glowing coals. Many people avoid street food because of the worry of getting sick, but you can also get ill from eating in fancy restaurants, so why not give street food a chance! Bahasa Indonesia is a pretty easy language, and the Balinese are very good teachers. They love for foreigners to make the effort with the language and rarely laugh at mistakes. Just a few words in Indonesian and they’ll be chatting away to you like you’re best friends even if you don’t understand a word. Learn a couple of Balinese words and you’ll be the star of the show!! Kuta and Legian are great fun, but they are far more touristy than other parts of the island. Thankfully, you don’t have to go far to see the countryside, so make a trip out to the rural areas to see Bali in all its gorgeous, colourful beauty. Admire the Balinese way of being honest and open, and expect questions like how old are you?, are you married? and how many children do you have? The Balinese are very open and there is no shame in asking lots of questions about people. It’s purely friendly curiosity, so don’t be offended by it. If you have a couple of extra kilos on you, they might also say “Oh you’re a bit fat”, but again they are just making a point. It’s not seen as a bad thing, just like saying “you have blonde hair”, it’s just a statement. The roads in Bali are getting busier and busier and there is no such thing as zebra crossings (or not ones that are used anyway). Almost every restaurant, hotel and shopping centre has security or parking attendants. They are happy to help you cross the road, so take advantage of the helping hand!

First Hilton Garden Inn Hotel

International hotel operator Hilton Worldwide launches Hilton Garden Inn Hotel in Bali, its upscale global brand of hotels, to tap into the ever-growing tourism market in the country. The hotel is located 500 meters away from Ngurah Rai Airport, and 5 kilometers away from Kuta.
“We are proud to have our first Hilton Garden Inn in Bali, Indonesia, a destination popular for both business and leisure travelers, and as part of our global portfolio of 665 Hilton hotels around the world,” said John Greenleaf, Hilton Garden Inn global leader in a statement. The 291-room estate provides a variety of facilities and amenities for both business travelers and families. Other Hilton properties in Bali include the Conrad Hotel & Resorts, Nusa Dua. It is scheduled to launch its Waldorf Astoria resort in Bukit Pandawa in 2017. Hilton Worldwide is a United States-based global hospitality company with 4,000 hotels and resorts in 91 nations.

21 May 2016

Changing the 100 meters building law

The large number of accommodation providers on Bali’s near neighboring island of Nusa Penida who have ignored building codes has prompted the regency of Klungkung to call for a revision of the current set back building code of 100 meters from the high water mark to beome just 25 meters. The Regent of Klungkung noted that many of the small hotels and inns on the shores of Nusa Penida are unlicensed and, by building too close to the shore line, have illegally expropriated the public’s right-of-way along the beachfront. In response to this problem, the Regency of Klungkung is seeking that the current building code setting back any constructions at 100 meters from the high water mark be reduced to 25 meters. With a clear regulation, the building that exist at Nusa Dua can become well-regulated, allowing tourism to be supported without causing hardships for the local population. Should the Regent’s change be accepted, the public will, however, be denied free use and access to what was once public beachfront now covered in hotel structures.

20 May 2016

Double Six / Blue Ocean Beach

Back in the days when Legian and Seminyak were fishing villages, this beach got its name from two of the earliest venues & restos on the island, Blue Ocean and Double Six. Double Six beach is located on Double Six road. Whether the road was named after the beach or the beach was named after the road is still in contention among Bali historians. What is less controversial is that Double Six beach generally starts about halfway to Jalan Padma and runs north to the mid point between Jalan Doublesix and Dhyana Pura. A section near the middle is also known as Blue Ocean Beach. The general feel is touristy with a lot of transplanted locals. The crowd is extremely diverse with ton of tourists from all over the world and Indonesians from other islands with your true blue Legian residents in the mix. The vibe is pretty chilled, it’s all about sipping on Bintangs under an umbrella while various hawkers try to sell you their wares. It’s definitely a good place to people watch. A lot of people bring their dogs for a sunset stroll on the beach. The surf is also excellent on high tide with numerous beach breaks. At low tide, you can join the numerous pickup games of beach soccer, you might not get passed the ball too often if you’re new though. Paddle ball is also an excellent option. There’s no shortage of food and beverage options at this beach. Generally people drink at one of the numerous stalls that serve cold drinks and coconuts. If you’re after more try Blue Ocean, Zanzibar and Lanai or head over to Cocoon and Dejavu or the fancy venues at Double Six Hotel. Warung Murah up the road is a local favorite and for a sunset snack, try out some bakso noodles.

Damage to the coral reefs in Nusa Penida

Coral reefs in and surrounding the Island Conservation Area of Nusa Penida (KKP Nusa Penida) are undergoing the destructive process of coral bleaching. Experts are baffled as to the cause of the death of ocean coral at Nusa Penida, a phenomenon occurring in location around the globe and often blamed on climate change and higher ocean temperatures. The chairman of KPP said the rapid onset of whitening or bleaching of the coral reef eventually leaves the affected reef brittle and dead. There is no connection with the high number of people swimming and snorkeling on the Nusa Penida reef and intensive efforts are underway to understand the etiology of the reef bleaching process. The appearance of the bleached coral is a relatively new development at Nusa Penida, first noted by officials in the past month. Meanwhile, marine observers across Indonesia are reporting similar cases of reef bleaching. Researchers and volunteers from the Coral Triangle Center (CTC) are monitoring the condition of Indonesia’s coral reefs. CTC, basing their thinking on data revealed by satellite monitoring, has the growing suspicion that the sudden and widespread decline in coral reefs Sanur and Nusa Penida may be due to rising ocean temperatures.


19 May 2016

You should try these Balinese foods

Like much of Indonesia, eating street-food (or warung makan) in Bali is an adventure in itself.
While tucking into Indonesian favorites (i.e. bakso, martabak, gado-gado) will delight any street-food connoiseurs, when in Bali, you should take the time to sample a few dishes that are actually from Bali.
After all, Indonesia's diversity doesn't just apply to traditional costumes, religion, and urban myths. It also applies to the food. Every region in Bali has its own speciality dish that can be found across warungs or sold in street stalls. 9 favorites (which hail from all over the island) are as follows:

1. Sate lilit
Indonesians love meat on skewers, so much that almost every region in Indonesia has its own sate. Bali is not different. In fact Bali has many sate variations. Choosing a favorite is tough, but try the good old sate lilit, a minced meat, grated coconut, coconut milk, lemon juice, shallots and chilli pepper combo wound around a bamboo, sugar cane or lemongrass stick, all grilled on charcoal. It can be a spicy one, but oh so delish. Authentic Balinese sate lilits are generally made out of pork and fish but you can find chicken or beef ones on the island from time to time.

2. Babi guling
The suckling pig is definitely a dish unique to Bali, with Indonesia's majority being Muslim and therefore non-pig eaters. You probably won't find much pig-meat based dishes in most parts of the country.  In Hindu Bali, however, babi guling is the local dish. In Balinese traditions, babi guling is normally served as an offering during religious ceremonies  but its popularity amongst pig-loving tourists who literally drool over this dish has lead to its widespread availability throughout the island. 
Babi guling is roasted whole over fire, stuffed with onions, garlic, ginger, galangal, turmeric, lemongrass, shallots, chillies and whatever other goodness the babi guling warung chef decides would render his or her dish delicious.

3. Lawar
Usually served with steamed rice and babi guling, lawar is a mix of vegetables, coconut and minced meat drowned in rich herbs and spices (including shrimp paste, ground pepper, green beans and jackfruit), sometimes added with blood to intensify the taste. It's a very common dish that you will find across most warungs in Bali.
You'll find all sorts of lawar in Bali. Pork lawar and jackfruit lawar are pretty common, or if you are into trying exotic things, dragonfly lawar can also be found.

4. Nasi campur
If there is one thing that Indonesians can't live without, it's nasi.
So technically nasi campur is not from Bali, because much like sate, every region in Indonesia claims to have its own version, including Bali.
We do love the Bali version though, and it's an easy thing to order when we can't make a decision because you get multiple goodness of Balinese food inside a banana leaf. And then there's the surprise factor—you don't know exactly what you're going to get. It could be grilled tuna, tofu, fried tempeh, spinach, sate lilit, who knows? We did find one thing in common across most Balinese nasi campurs. When you order it from local eateries, the sambal they put on the side (or on top) tends to be ridicolously spicy. Beware and enjoy.

5. Nasi Jinggo (also referred to as nasi jenggo)
You know how sometimes you get hungry at 10pm and you want to eat something filling, but not exactly eat a whole meal?
Nasi jinggo (or jenggo) is designed for those night cravings. It's kind of a smaller version of nasi campur, and very cheap, but generally contains white rice, crispy fried tempeh with chillies, shredded chicken and serundeng (shredded coconut fried with a myriad of spices). Only available in Bali.

6. Sambal matah
This is not technically a dish, it's more like a chilli salsa condiment that you put over grilled fish or chicken, especially amazing on tuna steak. However, you can get them on its own at some warungs. Even a serving of sambal matah with white rice, and maybe some kerupuk, makes for a simple and tasty meal, provided that you can handle the heat.
What are the special ingredients anyway? Shallots, lemongrass, shrimp paste, garlic, lime zest, and a looooot of bird's eye chillies. All raw and fresh. 

7. Bubur mengguh
A Buleleng speciality, this is a more coconut version of bubur ayam (chicken rice porridge commonly eaten for breakfast all over Indonesia).
The rice porridge, which is sometimes cooked in coconut milk, is served with an assortment of fried peanuts, green beans, and chicken cooked with bay leaves and galangal. There is also usually an additional sauce, composed of red and brown onions, shallots, turmeric, red-chillies, hazelnut, coriander, salt and ground pepper. Sometimes coconut oil is added for extra richness.

8. Srombotan
This vegetable dish hails from Klungkung and therefore commonly found across the three Nusa islands, though also available on Bali's mainland.  Serombotan is a mix of veggies drizzled with sambal kelapa (coconut chilli sauce) and bumbu koples, which is kind of like a sweet soy sauce mixed with a myriad of spices. Yes, there is an overwhelming amount of coconuts involved in these dishes, but on an island where a lot of it is grown locally, why wouldn't you use it?
Sambal kelapa is usually made out of shredded coconuts, crushed chillies, onions, lime juice, galangal, shrimp paste, and salt. It is blended (or crushed) together and fried to perfection. Bumbu koples is made out of peanuts, palm sugar, shrimp paste, chillies, lime juice and sweet soy sauce. Like most Balinese sauces, coconut oil is sometimes added to up the flavoursomeness.

9. Jaja Bali
For those with a sweet tooth, you cannot leave Bali without trying Jaja Bali, which is an assortment of kue (sweet treats) that hail from the island. Depending on which market stalls or warung you purchase it from, some of the kue you can expect include laklak (rice-flour muffins with grated coconut and drizzled with palm sugar caramel), pisang rai (steamed banana with grated coconut), bubur injin (black rice pudding with coconut milk sauce) and dadar (pandan crepes filled with palm sugar and coconut).

18 May 2016

New airport in North Bali

Bali’s Governor Made Pastika is expected to soon issue a recommendation supporting a Canadian company seeking to build an airport in the North Bali regency of Buleleng. Bali already received a detailed plan from Airport Kinesis Canada (AKC) which is the most serious proposal. They have conducted a long-term survey and are now awaiting supporting recommendations from the provincial government and the regency. These recommendations are one of the requirements needed by the Ministry of Transportation. AKC has completed a pre-feasibility study for the development of an airport at Kubutambahan in the Regency of Buleleng. With a supporting recommendation from the Province of Bali it is expected that AKC will undertake a more detailed plan for what would become Bali’s second international airport.The Province of Bali is hopeful that the proposed Airport of the North could be funded by the private sector, as Central Government funding is no longer considered possible as national priorities are now focussed on development in Eastern Indonesia and border areas. With estimates for developing the new airport put at Rp. 30 trillion, the Provincial Government of Bali views such a cost as outside the limits of Bali’s funding capabilities. AKC has presented a plan for the airport – nominated to be called the Dwijendra International Airport – to be built on reclaimed land in an offshore location at Kubutambahan.

16 May 2016

Only 32 hotels certified tsunami ready

According to the Regional Disaster Management Agency Bali (BPBD) there are on this moment just 32 hotels in Bali that have certifications for handling tsunamis. The certification is a formal document that the hotel has a good (level of) preparedness if used as an evacuation center. So few hotels have met the ‘tsunami ready’ standard, likely because it’s a rigorous and time-consuming process for hotels to get trained and certified, and certifications apparently must be renewed annually. In principle, all hotels located in tsunami prone areas, especially South Bali, should have earthquake-resistant structures able to handle temporary evacuations, whether or not they have the official piece of paper so they can market themselves as ‘ready’. BPBD is working hand-in-hand with local traditional village communities (pakraman) to spread awareness about being ‘tsunami prepared.

15 May 2016

New head office for Hatten Wines

Hatten Wine Head office is now open on the Bypass Ngurah Rai in Sanur. Home to the sales, marketing, distribution divisions and administration for the company that forms the life’s blood of 250 Balinese families, the Hatten Wine Building has a distinctive warehouse style housing a wine hub that is home to wine classes, wine tasting sessions, a private dining room and wine distribution offices. Partnering with home appliances from Gaggenau, quality glassware from Schott Zweisel and Toto Kitchens - the Hatten Wine Building is destined to become a Sanur landmark for its distinctive style and easy elegance, both inside and out. 

The wine lifestyle boutique is the new home ware and d├ęcor heaven of Bali, with a collection of exclusive Schott Zwiesel and Jenaer Glas. The boutique called The Cellardoor was estabished in 2001, sees a major revamp from its small format at the previous location. The Cellardoor has a signature line of wine accessories and wine tools, locally made alongside imported items, and introduces wine jams, vine wood accessories and vine fresh produce (leaves, dolmades, raisins), collectors’ recipe cards, wine gifts and gift packaging. Schott Zwiesel, the world leader in glassware offers a wide range of glassware - from wine to cocktail glasses and pitchers or decanters. Jenaer Glas plates, coffee and teacups and pots, vases, found nowhere else in Bali are also offered on sale. Alongside unique souvenirs, The Cellardoor is the home Bali’s Kevala Cermamics with an exclusive all white line of unique designs paired with a linens collection. The Wine Classroom of the new Hatten Wines Building is intended to enhance sales and client loyalty. The classes from Hatten Wines range from wine appreciation in short and long version, restaurant management tools, wine list efficiency management, and a certificate in wine knowledge. Sommelier classes and certification courses will be added to the curriculum later in the year. Opened to associations and organizations in need of training space, the facility is available on rental basis. The Private Dining Room is a space to build new relationships with the hospitality and development industry, as well as a bridging venue with the world of arts and traditions. Presentations and tastings will be held in this exclusive space.

13 May 2016

Bali best island in Asia

Bali is officially the best island in Asia, according to travel website TripAdvisor. The popular website recently announced the winners of its Travelers’ Choice Awards in which Bali was recognized as the best island in Asia and acknowledged as the fifth best in the world.
Close on the heels of Bali, Lombok and Gili Trawangan were awarded fifth and sixth best in Asia, respectively. Maui in Hawaii was awarded the top world rank.
TripAdvisor used an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for hotels, restaurants and attractions on islands worldwide over a 12-month period, as well as traveler booking interest, resulting in its list of award winners.

Top 10 islands in Asia
1.    Bali, Indonesia
2.    Phuket, Thailand
3.    Ko Samui, Thailand
4.    Koh Tao, Thailand
5.    Lombok, Indonesia
6.    Gili Trawangan, Indonesia
7.    Boracay, Philippines
8.    Langkawi, Malaysia
9.    Havelock Island, India
10.  Taketomicho Iriomote-jima, Japan

Top 10 islands in the world
1.   Maui, Hawaii
2.   Santorini, Greece
3.   Jamaica, Caribbean
4.   Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
5.   Bali, Indonesia
6.   Majorca, Spain
7.   Mauritius, Africa
8.   Phuket, Thailand
9.   Bora Bora, French Polynesia
10. Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

All that jazz at Tanjung Benoa

Jazz Market by The Sea – a three-day celebration of Jazz returns to Bali for its sixth year from Friday, August 19, 2016, until Sunday, August 21, 2016, with non-stop musical performances on each day of the festival between 2:00 pm and 11:00 pm. To be held at Taman Bhagawan – a seaside venue on Tanjung Benoa in Bali, the Jazz Market will feature music performances infused with the creative collaboration and improvisation of both traditional Indonesian and Jazz music, vibrant market stalls showcasing local arts & crafts and a wide range of mouth-watering food stalls. By adopting “Clothing The Nation” as its theme, the 2016 Jazz Market will continue its celebration of all things Indonesian, by introducing a fashionable heritage element. As clothing and textiles are a core part of the cultural fabric of the Indonesian archipelago, Jazz Market by the Sea will showcase the diversity of Indonesian textiles, clothing, and the evolution of Indonesian fashion. This will highlight both traditional and modern styles, through fashion shows for young designer labels, classes on Batik making, weaving, embroidery, jewelry-making, as well as educational sessions on textiles and fashion-related workshops. Famous for its unique and legendary performers, this year’s event that will  be graced by top performers that include KLA Project, White Shoes & The Couple Company, Dialog Dini Hari and Lisa Soul. Local acts include The Blessing Child, Rockabilly Mob, Fendy Trio, Sound of Mine, 4units, Sunday Jam, Erik Sondhy, and Gypsy Jazz. “The Jazz Market” concept is inspired by the traditional ‘pasar seni’ or “art market” in Bali, where the local community comes together in a colorful market environment. This year will see more than 80 carefully-curated market stalls, featuring stroll-around traditional cuisine, refreshing beverages, handicrafts, amusements and plenty of engaging activities for children.

12 May 2016

Bali vaccinate 400.000 dogs in Rabies crackdown

Vaccinated dogs will be marked with a special collar to ease identification by a special team of dog catchers and vaccinators. The program will run more efficiently than in previous years as cooperation ties have been improved among many stakeholders and initiatives. The central government has recently revitalized the rabies command and control post, known as Posko Rabies, as the new control and information center. Posko Rabies has also been moved to Denpasar to ease the disease control. Bali recorded 539 cases of rabies cases last year, which has claimed at least 15 human lives. The FAO and the ministry’s directorate general of livestock and animal health services have been working together in fighting against Bali’s worst animal epidemic since 2011. The cooperation includes technical advice on the epidemiology of rabies in the province, training of rabies control teams, implementation of extra "sweeping" vaccinations and the development of Dog Population Management (DPM) pilot project. There is an urgent need to bring the rabies control and eradication campaign back on track through a more rigorous, intensive and coordinated vaccination program. Rabies has been dangerous animal disease in Bali for decades. It has claimed more than 150 lives since it was initially detected in the province in 2008.

11 May 2016

Snake ranger dies from cobra bite

A well-know local snake ranger (pawang ular), Putu Agus Edi Darmawan (36), from the Village of Gumbrih in Jembrana died after bitten by a King Cobra. Putu Agus was in the process of guiding English and Taiwanese tourists to see a cobra nest located on the banks of the Kutek River in his home village. He was accompanied with a colleague from Bali Reptile Rescue when the bite occurred. While examining a cobra nest containing eggs under a stand of bamboo, Putu Agus was bitten on the index finger of his left hand. The man was rushed to a local health center and then to the Negara General Hospital. While under treatment, Putu Agus lost consciousness and died a short time later.

10 May 2016

Bali Arts Festival 2016

Bali’s Governor Made Mangku Pastika says he hopes the 38th Bali Arts Festival (Pesta Kesenian Bali – PKB) will be substantially different from previous years in order to address the view from many quarters that the annual celebration of dance, music and theatre has become monotonous. The Governor said that this year’s Bali Arts Festival would focus on the presentation of classical forms of the Balinese lively arts, a fact that should be reflected in all aspects of the PKB, including the opening parade and month-long program of stage performances. Pastika also called on the organizers to be firm in selecting only quality performers and purveyors of goods to be sold in connection with the PKB. Concerned about security, he asked law enforcement authorities working at the PKB prevent pick pocketing and prevent thugs from operating extortion racket. In order to keep the time required for the opening parade, Pastika asked that the number of members of any performing troupe be limited, with the presentations of traditional dress from any one regency be limited to just 5 people. In the same vein, the Governor called for the number of participants from outside Bali to be limited in order to keep the time required for the parade to a more manageable period. The 38th Bali Arts Festival will operate at various venues in Denpasar from June 11 until July 9, 2016. Over the month-long festival some 275 parades, performances and workshops will be held featuring the 9 Regencies and municipalities of Bali. A selection of performance groups from across Indonesia and abroad will also participate. Reflecting this year’s event’s commitment to classic arts forms, organizers are aiming for a mix of 60% traditional arts, 20% popular presentations and 20% contemporary performance. The PKB-38 will also feature 159 stands selling traditional handicrafts.

09 May 2016

Again Atm fraud

The regional head for Bali and Nusa Tenggara Financial Services Authority is warning the public against the dangers of ATM fraud in Bali, especially in ATMs away from crowded places, where monitoring isn’t so strong.
Bali ranked among worst places worldwide for ATM skimming. Check always if there’s anything suspicious around the ATM before using it—thieves in Bali are known to attach card skimmers in the machine as well as routers stealing customers banking data. If anything looks suspicious, report it immediately to the nearest security guard or the bank of the ATM. Meanwhile, Bali Police spokesman says police are conducting investigations related to recent ATM fraud cases, where foreign tourists reported losing millions of rupiah in Bali. It’s not just the responsibility of the police to deal with ATM crimes and banks must also be accountable to overseeing their machines around Bali and taking preventative measures. He added that he has faith that Bali Police’s Cyber Crime Squad will be able to track this most recent report of card skimming. 

08 May 2016

Manggis season has arrived with cheap prices

The Purple Mangosteen is often referred to as the “queen of fruits” – a name linked to an unsubstantiated tale that England’s Queen Victoria once offered 100 pounds sterling to any traveler who could deliver the fresh fruit to her table. Native to the Sunda Islands and the Moluccas of the Indonesia, it is only in recent years that the plant has been propagated with limited success in the western hemisphere. The Purple Mangosteen, known in Bali as the Manggis, is now enjoying its short but bountiful harvest season meaning the fruit that can cost as must as Rp. 15,000 per kilo can now be found for a little as Rp. 5,000 per kilo. Abroad, when they can be found, a kilo of Mangosteen can cost Rp. 600,000 a kilogram or more. Because of the current glut of Manggis and the resulting low market prices, farmers are complaining about the seasonal drop in Manggis prices, saying that the large supply of manggis has seen prices go as low as Rp. 3,000 per kilo - a very low price indeed  in an area where the delicious fruit is a main cash crop for local farmers.

07 May 2016

Bali's next big Tsunami

The head for Earthquakes and Tsunamis at the Meteorology, Climate and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), recently told that Bali is at high risk of a major earthquake. Bali has a long history of earthquakes that have cost lives and resulted in major property damage. The potential for earthquakes remains high because Bali is positioned between two sources of quakes. In North of Bali is the Flores Back Arc Thrust Belt while to the south is the subduction zone separating the Indo-Australian Plate and the Eurasian Plate. Those living in the north of Bali may have less than 5 minutes to seek high ground against a tsunami following an earthquake. People living in Bali’s south, aided by tsunami sirens, may have as much as 30 minutes to seek the safety of higher ground.  Bali has suffered catastrophic earthquakes resulting in substantial loss of life in 1817, 1857 and 1917. Some have speculated that an earthquake-prone area will experience a major seismic event on an average of once every one hundred years, which could mean Bali is ready for its next major quake at any time. A 1974 earthquake that struck Seririt in the regency of Buleleng, North Bali, killed an estimated 573 people and left nearly 5,000 people injured. Despite the high loss of life, this Seririt earthquake affected a fairly limited geographical region. Not every earthquake creates a tsunami. To generate a tsunami an earthquake must generally measure above 7.0 on the Richter scale, create a vertical fracture and occur at a relatively shallow depth. Bali is divided into three zones most at risk of earthquakes. Zone 1: Comprised of the regencies of Klungkung, Bangli and Karangasem. Zone 2: Comprised of the regencies of Tabanan, Jembrana and the City of Denpasar. Zone 3: Comprised of the regencies of Badung and Gianyar. Bali has 9 tsunami warning sirens in operation and have asked for 10 more sirens to be installed by the Central Government. Recent news reports, however, state that all the warning buoys that trigger the sirens ashore are no longer in operating order.

06 May 2016

Lombok International Airport is now visa-free airport

Lombok International Airport ( LIA ) in West Nusa Tenggara is now included in the list of airports with free-visa facilities for foreign citizens from 159 countries. There are currently 29 airports, 88 seaports and 7 border checkpoint posts in Indonesia where certain foreign citizens can obtain a free visa upon arrival. The free-visa regulation could be enjoyed by foreigners who were traveling as a tourist, coming to visit their family, conducting social activities, attending art and culture seminars or participating in international exhibitions or meetings held by their office's headquarters/representatives in Indonesia. Business-wise, airlines will be more encouraged to open direct flights to the region. The Silk Air Lombok branch head said that the regulation would encouraged tourists from Asia or other parts of the world to visit Lombok via Singapore. The airline currently has four direct flights per week from Singapore to Lombok with most passengers coming from Germany, the Netherlands, UK and Norway in addition to Asian countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan and China.

05 May 2016

Bali Ngurah Rai airport get awards

Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali has received two prestigious awards from the International Airport Council (ACI), namely: the most improved airport in 2015 award and the third airport with the best services in the world award.
The two awards were given by ACI Director General ACI Angela Gittens Harjo at a conference held by the ACI at Gold Coast, Australia. According to Harjo, the airport received a score of 2.95 for the quality of services it offered in 2012, and it has increased to 60.7 in 2015. Besides receiving award for making remarkable progress in offering services to passengers, Ngurah Rai Airport also received an award for the third-best airport in the Asia-Pacific region in the category of airport handling 15-25 million passengers per year. The Gimpo International Airport in Seoul, South Korea, was ranked first, and the second place went to the Wuhan Tianhe International Airport, China. The award was based on the votes received during the survey conducted by the Airport Council International (ACI) in terms of the airport service quality in 2015, while the satisfaction score for the quality of airport services was based on a survey of 550,000 passengers at 320 international airports in 80 countries.

02 May 2016

Water crisis in Bali?

Bali will face an acute deficit of fresh water over the coming decade as both water quality and water quantity are in serious decline. Underlining the severe state of Bali's water crisis are calculations that among the 462 rivers found on Bali, 300 are now "bone dry. The 22 major rivers that flow through more than one regency of the Island are also said to be under pressure.During Bali’s prolonged dry season, the rate-of-flow decreased markedly on Bali’s rivers and the mountain lakes that feed the lowlands with water have become critically shallow in depth as the result of heavy sedimentation. Experts blame the deforestation of Bali’s heartlands as contributing to water shortages in rivers and lakes. And because hotel guests require an average of 500 liters of fresh water for every day of their stay, a moratorium on new hotels is needed together with additional steps, such as capturing rain water and water conservations measures are needed to avert an even more drastic water shortage in the coming decade. In order to reduce the over-exploitation of ground water there is an urge for higher taxation of ground water well users. A master plan for development in Bali that is strictly followed and makes water conservation is a top priority. Those plan must also prevent the transformation of forested areas into agricultural land that leads to the sedimentation of Bali’s rivers and lakes. With the exception of the regency of Bangli, all regencies in Bali are now operating a high water deficit that, if left unchecked, will eventually leave the island high and dry.

01 May 2016

The biggest Banyan tree

Bali is definitely overflowing with surprises and hidden gems just waiting to be discovered if you're looking to get away from the masses at places like crowded Kuta and sunset destination Tanah Lot. If you love a good adventure and are willing to get off the beaten track, check out this amazing spot, a 85-meter-high banyan tree. Banyan trees are a type of tree characterized by their impressive aerial roots that can grow very large and strong—and their roots just tangle beautifully. Banyan trees are considered sacred by the Balinese, who believe spirits and demons inhabit the trees and one must be very careful when exploring one. In the village of Gesing in North Bali, a giant banyan, believed to be 700 years old, towers 85 metres tall and has a diameter of 70 meters. This impressive tree can be found near two temples called Pura Subak and Pura Pecalang. Due to its enormous size, people can easily walk through the tree by following the maze-like root system. A legend is that the spirit of the tree grants wishes if you pray to the tree!
A Banyan tree