31 December 2012

Bali - again more tourists for 2013

Bali is expecting to welcome some 3.1 million foreign tourists next year, as the island will have better facilities with the completion of its toll road and underpass, as well as the expansion of Ngurah Rai International Airport.

Foreign tourist arrivals next year were predicted to increase by around 10 percent on this year. The island hopes to see 2.8 million arrivals this year. As of October, 2.4 million tourists had been recorded, according to data from the Bali Central Statistics Agency. The 3.1 million targeted for 2013 are foreign tourists that would come directly to Bali through the airport and seaports. The target can be achieved as Bali will host a number of large-scale international events, including the APEC conference, hoping that all the infrastructure and supporting facilities would continue to be improved to support tourism.

With international events lined up on the island’s agenda for next year, it is expected that MICE (meeting, incentive, conference and exhibition) activities on the island would continue to flourish as one of the main tourism segments and a significant revenue contributor. Besides MICE, other tourism segments that are predicted to trend next year are spiritual tourism and agricultural tourism.
The island is also set to develop water tourism, sports and adventure tourism, as well as retirement tourism in the coming years. For retirement tourism, the provincial administration has established the Bali Retirement Tourism Authority to create a master plan. A number of designated villages are preparing themselves to welcome retirees, mainly from European countries, who will spend much of their time in Bali with local people.

The island has also become increasingly popular as a spiritual destination, as travel agents have received requests from groups of foreign tourists to organize spiritual tours for them. In addition, the island is one of the areas in Southeast Asia seeing the fastest growth in water tourism. Businesses in this segment continue to grow, triggered by rising interest from tourists. This year, the growth in foreign tourist arrivals has slowed due to a lack of direct flights connecting Bali with big cities worldwide. He expected that the expansion of Ngurah Rai airport would encourage more airlines to add direct flights.

30 December 2012

Bali - beautiful Munduk

If you plan to spend your days having a quiet and tranquil moment in Bali, don’t go to the crowded, glittering and noisy areas of Kuta or Seminyak, with thousands of holidaymakers, loud music and sexy dances.

A two-hour trip up the hilly, narrow road to Munduk village, located on the way from Bedugul to Singaraja in north Bali, will provide you with a much more serene holiday sensation. Tucked in the middle of coffee, clove and cacao plantations, the village has been growing into its role as a holiday hub for visitors who want to taste real Balinese life, far from the more commercialized tourist destinations in the southern part of Bali.

Developed as a community-based tourist site over the last few years, Munduk is now famed among a small number of tourists, mostly frequent visitors to the island. Instead of staying at glamorous five-star hotels, visitors to Munduk love to spend their nights in modest home stays. Some visitors are also willing to stay with the locals in their own homes. Blessed with beautiful, green nature and a cool climate, Munduk is one of Buleleng’s most prosperous villages producing abundant coffee, cloves and cacao, as well as rice.
A drive to Munduk is really challenging. The route is from Pancasari village in Bedugul, home to three gorgeous lakes, Bedugul, Bunyan and Tamblingan, going up to Gobleg village. In the afternoon, the road may be quite dark as it is often foggy. The hilly region in Bedugul and the neighboring villages are dotted with strawberry farms that offer visitors the opportunity to be a temporary farmer.

On the way to Munduk village, you will pass breathtaking views of Tamblingan Lake far below the narrow, winding road and can take a coffee break at any of the nearby cafes. Nature lovers may enjoy spending the nights camping near the stunning Bunyan and Tamblingan Lakes. Buleleng’s newly elected regent has vowed to keep Buleleng villages free from large-scale tourist developments.
Buleleng regency will only develop community-based and spiritual tourism facilities in the areas from Munduk to Pulaki and Pemuteran.
Buleleng is still rich in forest, lakes, coast, plantations and rice fields. The spiritual vibes of the areas are so obvious and they do not want to change the atmosphere only to get more tourists and investors.

Buleleng have 160 kilometers, or 27 percent, of the island’s coastline. The regency has extraordinary marine resources, underwater assets, diving and fishing centers that can be developed into quality tourism facilities. Development of tourism would be different from that implemented in southern Bali. Buleleng has 476 small and medium hotels with 21,133 rooms. “Buleleng is the unspoiled Bali”.

29 December 2012

Bali - Durian, love or hate

The Indonesian archipelago is blessed with many seasonal fruits, papaya, mango, mangosteen and, of course durian.

Native to Indonesia, the name durian comes from the Indonesian word duri, or thorny, describing the fruit’s spiked, yellowish-green exterior. Counter to its quite unappealing appearance on the outside, durian flesh is actually sweet, soft, delicate and creamy. Having spread from Indonesia to other Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines, durian is the much loved and much hated fruit.

Adored by durian addicts as the king of the fruits, many people, especially first-time durian eaters and Westerners, describe the fruit’s smell as unbearable due to its highly pungent odor. During the durian harvest season (August-January), the smell of fresh and rotting durian seems to permeate every corner of traditional markets and the stalls of the fruit vendors all over Bali. The big brownish-yellow durian are beautifully presented on the fruit stalls, along with other tropical fruits like mangos, salak (snake fruit), papaya and banana.

However, choosing a good durian, one with sweet flesh and a small seed, can be very challenging, especially for those who have not honed their skill in smelling out the high quality fruit. Some people can tell a good durian just by looking at it, but others, even those with a refined taste for the fruit, often fail to get the best ones. Relying on the skills of the durian sellers is an option. The sellers usually use a bamboo stick to tap the outside of the durian and listen for just the right tone to determine the quality of the fruit. Some fruit vendors will be willing to cut out a small triangular piece of the thorny fruit so the buyer can taste the flesh and judge its ripeness.

But your efforts will not have ended here; opening the thorny skin is also very hard. A good vendor usually lends his/her skilled hands to break open the skin, ensuring it is done correctly with attention to all the layers. Now that the durian is open, you still have to be very careful not to eat more than five segments or you will feel hungover due to the fruit’s alcoholic content. Eating the yellowish, creamy durian flesh can also result in your body becoming hot and your stomach filling with gas. Prices for durian vary across Bali. A good, ripe durian is sold for between Rp 25,000 to Rp 30,000. At the supermarkets, the price will be three times higher. It is best for you to eat your durian on site. Don’t carry the durian in your car as the smell could make you feel dizzy. In fact, many people transport durian tied under their car’s rear bumper, so that the smell remains outside.
Despite being a strange-looking fruit, no visit to Bali is complete without trying durian. Brave the smell and give yourself a treat!

28 December 2012

Pic of the week

My mother in law is beautiful, how about yours?

Bali - holiday with the locals

Spending a holiday in Bali staying in local people’s homes and joining their daily routines has become a new trend for foreign tourists.

This trend is also driving investors to look for other locations to build accommodation facilities besides the crowded southern Bali. Investors now tend to provide more ‘natural’ accommodation facilities, with authentic Balinese village characteristics. In this new concept, many of the accommodation facilities are local people’s homes, which have been renovated to provide rooms for rent for the visiting tourists.

The tourists have the pleasure of the natural ambiance and getting involved in the daily activities of the local people, like going to the traditional market and cooking. Several locations has potential for such ventures, including the island’s eastern regency Karangasem, the northern regency Buleleng and the western regency Jembrana. Commenting on the new trend property speculators might begin to target the north, east and west of Bali as the price of land in the southern part of the island continued to soar.

The price of land in southern Bali, especially in the tourist’s favorite areas, such as Kuta and Jimbaran, has become very high, so it is understandable if they are targeting other areas now. many wealthy people liked the authenticity of Balinese villages, thus they sought to spend their vacation in the villages.

Many retired people from Europe, including Scandinavian countries, are interested in taking this kind of holiday and staying here during their home countries winter. In the new concept, the villagers are the subject. Investors are allowed to build, but they have to deploy local people. Besides building villas, this project also includes renovating the villagers houses to become accommodation for tourists. The tourists stay at the villagers houses and join their daily activities. And we share the revenue among the villagers.

24 December 2012

Christmas in Bali

We wish all our readers a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
May God bless you all.

23 December 2012

Bali also perfect for families

Bali is a perfect place to take your kids. They'll love the natural surroundings, and there is no problem whatsoever to find a baby-sitter or somebody to take care of them wherever you go.
All Balinese adore kids !

A Bali holiday for families begins and ends with suitable accommodation. There are variety of Bali hotels, resorts and villas to choose from, when planning your Bali holiday. Things to consider in selecting your Bali accommodation for a family group are:

Location - try to choose a location that is popular and close to family oriented attractions i.e. near the beach, shops, restaurants and amusements.
Facilities - make sure your accommodation choice is suitable for kids, it has a children's pool, connecting doors, play ground etc. Some venues are unsuitable for family groups.
Pricing - does your accommodation choice offer discounts for children under a certain age?
Transport - when you travel with a family in Bali, it will be much more convenient if you use private transport. Check with your accommodation venue if they provide private transport as part of the holiday package.

Many Bali hotels and resorts offer family rooms or children discounts. Find the GUARANTEED lowest rates for famous luxury resorts and budget hotels in all parts of Bali, Indonesia.
Many families choose to spend a Bali holiday in a private villa. You can rent a private villa with two to seven bedrooms, tropical garden and swimming pool, all amenities, private car and driver and trained house staff. This is an attractive alternative to spending your vacation in a hotel or resort for many families.

Bali is a paradise for children. Just about every attraction on the island is children "friendly" - which makes Bali an ideal destination for parents as well.
Children's attractions in Bali vary from surf, sand and beach activities; cultural activities such as dancing, temple visits, and traditional Balinese life style experiences; adventure activities such as rafting, cycling, bungee jumping and elephant rides; and theme parks such as Bali Bird Park, Waterbom, Butterfly Park, Bali Marine and Safari Park, etc.
Balinese culture is almost ready made for kids, especially the traditional dances with their colorful costumes and lively music. Girls tend to like the graceful movements of the Legong, which is often performed by young Balinese dancers. Boys are attracted to the Ramayana epic, with its dashing warriors or the famous Barong & Kris dance that features a mortal duel between the forces of good and evil.

Most of the big hotels feature dance performances each evening, often on outdoor stages adjacent to the pool. The new Galleria Nusa Dua shopping center features a different dance performance each night. Farther afield is the village of Batubulan, where the Barong & Kris dance is performed several times each day in an outdoor venue reminiscent of a Balinese temple.

Every popular family activity you can imagine can be found in Bali; from the water to the sky, there is something for everyone.

22 December 2012

Bali - rules during New Years Eve

The management of Kuta beach has stated that visitors will be allowed to celebrate New Year’s Eve with fireworks and firecrackers.

Several regions and customary villages in Bali had prohibited firecrackers following a series of accidents last year.

However, lighting fireworks and firecrackers in hotel premises or residential areas is still prohibited due to the fire hazard. Last year’s celebration, the roof of one hotel was set ablaze by fireworks.
Legian beach management has announced a similar policy.


Bali Police will conduct the closing and transfer of traffic flow from December 31 until noon the next day. Some changes in traffic flow and including road closures will affect Jl Dewi Sri, Jl Kartika Plaza, Jl Pantai Kuta, and Jl Legian.
After closing off the area, police will conduct a sweep to move out all vehicles parked along Jl Legian, Jl Pantai Kuta, Jl Melasti, and Kuta Square.
People who are parked in these areas at that time will be directed to park in the Kuta Central Parking Lot and will have to walk back to the Kuta area.

21 December 2012

New ferry service between Bali and Lombok

The opening of a new fast boat route for travelers crossing from Bali to Lombok is making travel between the two islands easier.

The Marina Heroine 8 set sail for its inaugural run on the route early on Tuesday.

Marina Heroine 8 has a capacity of 100 seats, is air-conditioned, and uses eight 300HP engines to travel at 50 knots cruising speed. This means that the 65 kilometers from Padangbai to Senggigi can be covered in just 40 minutes. The ship is also equipped with TV screens that will show passengers videos on safety information, and uses satellite navigation and a global positioning system (GPS) to determine the boat’s position and provide updates on weather conditions.

Starting on Wednesday, Marina Heroine begins running from Padangbai to Senggigi twice per day, and in January of 2013, service will be increased to four times per day. Shuttle service to Denpasar, Sanur, Nusa Dua, Kuta, and Ubud will be provided as part of the boat’s ticket price of Rp 250,000.

20 December 2012

Official holidays 2013 in Bali

New Years Day (January 1)
Mawlid (January 24)
Chinese New Year (February 10)
Nyepi (March 12)
Good Friday (April 29)
Ascension Day (May 9)
Vesak (May 25)
Ascension of the Prophet / Isra Mi’raj (June 5)
Eid ul-Fitr / Lebaran (August 8)
Independence Day (August 17)
Eid ul-Adha / Idul Adha (October 15)
Islamic New Year (November 5)
Christmas (December 25)

Spiritual Bali

Travel agents in Bali have seen increasing demand from foreign tourists to provide spiritual tourism packages.

Bali was rapidly becoming popular as a spiritual tourism destination, as evidenced by itinerary requests to travel agents from groups of foreign tourists. Most of the groups are from Australia, the US, Japan and Europe. They usually regularly do activities like yoga or meditation. The percentage of travel agents organizing spiritual tourism packages was around 10 percent, while the percentage of tourists coming to Bali to enjoy spiritual activities was roughly 5 percent of all incoming foreign tourists.

Within a month, some travel agents handle three or four groups of between 10 to 15 people, and the number shows an upward trend.
Tourists who join a spiritual tourism package usually look for quiet, secluded places to do meditation. Places like Kintamani, Besakih Temple and Pucak Mangu Temple in Pelaga are among their favorite places, where they may find a strong “spiritual vibration”. There are also some tourists who request night visits to Tanah Lot Temple as it is much quieter when the hordes of day-time visitors have left.

19 December 2012

Miss Bali 2013

Here she is, our ideal, Cok Istri Krisnanda Widani, Miss Bali 2013

After being quarantined with other finalists, Cok Istri Krisnanda Widani has been crowned Miss Bali (Puteri Bali) in a contest held at the Pan Pacific Nirwana Resort.

The advanced accounting student at Bali’s Udayana University, Krisnanda defeated 9 other contestants for the right to serve as Bali’s ambassador at official functions over the coming year. The first runner-up was Visca Zerlinda and second runner-up went to Sang Ayu Chandra Kasih.

The final selection of Miss Bali followed a rigorous selection process before a panel of judges and film tests before the final selection was made. The crowning ceremony was attended by the head of the provincial tourism office for Bali, who represented the Governor at the event, the wife of the Governor, and the vice-chairman of the Miss Indonesia Foundation.
The chairman of the Puteri Bali 2012 committee, who also holds the franchise for the contest, said this year’s contest represents the 11th year for the event which has adopted as its current theme “Go Green and Love Indonesia.”

The 17th Miss Indonesia Finals will take place in Jakarta on February 1, 2013

pic of the week

The bird of our friends. It's not an Angry Bird but a Sitting Bird. He have wings but cannot fly, legs but cannot walk, he only can sit, the whole day...

18 December 2012

Bali - Padangbai

Padangbai is a stretch of beautiful white sand beaches that are generally awash with colorful double outrigger fishing boats in the shape of a marlin, but Padangbai is generally known as a small port town in East Bali where you can get ferry to Lombok or boat to Nusa Penida.

Padangbai is a charming little place in its own right with idyllic beach, tranquil atmosphere and lovely small town feeling. Padangbai has some interesting places to explore. Blue Lagoon Beach is a great beach for snorkeling. The coral reef is right up to the shore and is very pretty. Best way is to enter on the far left side, where there is a coral-less canal that leads to the snorkeling site. If the waves are large, don’t bother snorkeling as the current is extremely strong and visibility will be 1 to 3 meters at best. On a calm day expect lots of fish and great visibility. Buoys mark the furthest point snorkelers should go. For even better snorkeling you can charter a boat.

Bias Tugel Beach, also called Pantai Kecil (Little Beach), is the best beach in Padang Bai. This white sandy beach is good for swimming, though the currents can be strong. To reach the secluded Bias Tugel Beach, walk from the police station for 100 meters up the hill. Directly after Bamboo Paradise turn left (there’s a sign that says Bias Tugel) and climb the steep hill along a construction road for about 5 minutes and then descend. While descending – weather permitting – you should be able to see the largest mountain on Bali, Mount Agung on your left – a powerful sight. If you continue over the hill and follow the road, you will eventually come to a long, white sand beach.

There are some temples to discover in Padangbai area. Padang Bai has five major temples: Pura Dalem, located downtown, Pura Segara, located next to the beach in between town and the main beach, Pura Telagamas, Pura Silayukti and Pura Tanjungsari in the eastern end of Padang Bai. Of the five, Pura Silayukti is the most notable, having been the home of the great Hindu sage Empu Kuturan and dating back to the 11th century, making it one of the oldest extant temples on the island.

17 December 2012

Bali - warung Warung

A restaurant located in Mall Bali Galeria has managed to attract customers by serving a variety of homemade Indonesian dishes.

Entering Warung-Warung restaurant, customers will notice an old bicycle displayed in front of the outlet alongside a chicken statue and some paddy stems inside a cage to give a homey atmosphere.
“That’s my father’s old bicycle I took from Bogor,” said the restaurant’s owner.
Just like at home, this restaurant changes the menu every day, except for some of the customers’ favorite foods, like the spicy squid cooked with the ink included, as well as eggplant cooked with coconut milk, grilled chicken and a variety of sambal (chili sauce). Seven years since its opening, Warung-Warung remains one of the most visited outlets in this large shopping center, competing with other outlets serving foreign dishes like burgers, fried chicken and pizza.

Every customer can order food in meal packages ranging from Rp 16,000 to Rp 33,000, depending on how many items of food they order to make up a big portion of nasi campur (mixed rice). There are two choices of rice: white or yellow. The curd soup is special, served with carrots, cabbage and tofu balls. The big slice of rendang beef tastes sweet and savory, but not spicy.
To refresh your palate, a variety of homemade beverage like teas, es cendol, es daluman and es selasih, are available to make the perfect accompaniment to these foods.

To add more of the Indonesian characteristic, Warung-Warung also serves complimentary kerupuk (crackers). In the evening, the restaurant also serves nasi jingo, traditional Balinese mixed rice wrapped in banana leaves. The portion of nasi jingo in the restaurant is bigger than that served at street side food stalls. It consists of shredded chicken, serundeng (roasted shredded coconut), egg and fried shrimp with Balinese spices.

13 December 2012

Bali ceremony

A couple of weeks ago, two young muslim girls died in a car accident, caused by a drunken Balinese boy. The girls where on the way back from their work in a karaoke bar. Today the Balinese community held a special ceremony for them.

 

Bali and Beer

According to research done by PT. Multi Bintang Indonesia, beer consumption has now hit 100 million liters per year in Indonesia.

Still negligible compared to European countries, it is still among the most popular beverages consumed here.

Bali’s consumption is now the highest in Indonesia, with the local beer manufacturer indicating that the large numbers of tourists to Bali have helped to boost the figures. Out-drinking even big cities like Jakarta in the beer stakes, the Balinese themselves are not drunks, more likely it is the number of foreigners from all parts of the world that are spiking the consumption figures.

Good news for Bintang owner Heineken, thanks to the Aussies!

12 December 2012

Bali - clove (kretek) season

When harvest time comes along, the clove plantations along the hilly region of Buleleng will be alive with the laughter of the growers, the banter of the workers and the whispers of young laborers stumbling upon new romance.

Harvest time comes between July and October in west Buleleng, a region encompassing fertile plantations in Banyuatis, Asah Duren and Dapdap Putih villages. In East Buleleng, the villagers embrace this merry period from August to December. This region comprises plantations in Tajun and Kubutambahan.

The arrival of harvest time is the sign for migrant workers, from Buleleng and as far away as Java, to flock to the clove-growing regions and offer their seasonal services to the owners of large plantations. Some have the required skills to be buruh alap, the workers who are not afraid of heights. Armed with only a tall ladder made of a single bamboo pole, they will scale to the top of the clove trees, pluck the flowers and place them inside the gunnysacks.
Others will serve as pengunduh, collecting flowers that are scattered on the ground, while the others work as pengepik, who separate the flower buds from the leaves and branches. The bamboo ladder is around 20 meters tall, while the clove trees could grow up to a height of 25 meters. In each climb, a buruh alap carries down up to 50 kilograms of clove flowers in his gunnysack. It is an exhausting and risky job, powerful winds and venomous snakes were the two most dangerous obstacles.

11 December 2012

Bali - the Ubud walk of fame

The famous Hollywood Walk of Fame reserves its star-studded sidewalk for the most famous men and women of the entertainment industry.

Its less famous counterpart in Ubud reserves its concrete sidewalk for any foreign visitor willing to donate money to the street’s renovation project.

The walk of fame lies along Jl. Kajeng, a narrow street west of Ubud’s Royal Palace and east of the much-berated Starbucks outlet. The southern entrance and part of the 1-kilometer-long street are passable for cars but its northern part is only navigable by bicycle and on foot. The northern exit leads to Sok Wayah, an area of lush paddy fields.

Concrete slabs with the names of foreign donors decorate the southern entrance of the street. Similar slabs are also to be found along the street. Any visitor who walks along this street and from time to time casts his eye down to the concrete path beneath his feet will gain a glimpse into the lives of many individuals — lovers, teachers, backpackers — from all over the world who have trodden the same path in the past.

One cemented slab reads “Maria & Leonid; Honeymoon 01.10.2012 Moscow, Russia”, while another reads “Susie Worth Loves Bali”, complete with an imprint of Susie’s hand. Anyone who wants to write down his or her name in the cement block can do that. The only need is to give a minimum cash donation of Rp 200,000 per section of concrete slab. The donations are used to maintain and renovate the street.

Offering visitors an opportunity to immortalize their names for an affordable donation was a strategy first initiated by the late Han Snel, the Dutch painter who became a sort of legend in Ubud and was one of the pioneers of local tourism. Snel’s house lies on Jl. Kajeng and is currently being used as a boarding house by his widow. Snel first arrived on the island in 1946 with the Dutch military forces who were tasked with fighting Japanese troops alongside the newly born army of the Republic of Indonesia. Eventually, Snel married a local girl, applied for Indonesian citizenship and embraced Balinese Hinduism.

10 December 2012

Bali - hidden treasures of Lebih Beach

A dozen colorful jukung, traditional outriggers, were parked on Lebih Beach in Gianyar as the weather was so unfriendly and the waves were so high they prevented local fishermen from taking their boats out to sea.

The bad weather, though, did not deter a group of male and female stone collectors from finding as many pebbles as possible. An unusual profession for many, collecting and scrubbing the pebbles has become the main livelihood for these people. The men were busy collecting the stones along the beach and putting them into several plastic buckets, while the women meticulously scrubbed the stones one by one to smooth-en the sometimes rough surfaces. This was an eight-to-five working session, a full-time job, for the men and the women. Lebih Beach is a shingle beach, one composed chiefly of pebbles, and the pebbles found here come in various forms, colors and textures.

These pebbles are shipped to several cities in Bali, Java and to Lombok, where they are popular for paving, natural landscapes and garden decorations, as well as to decorate buildings. A stone collectors could gather five buckets of pebbles every day. One bucket of pebbles can be sold for Rp 10,000. This means that people can earn Rp 50,000 per day, enough to feed the family.

Bali - new BEACHWALK shopping mall open

After two years of building, Sahid Kuta Lifestyle Resort finally held a grand opening for “BEACHWALK”, an exclusive, contemporary retail lifestyle complex and a soft opening of the five-star Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort.

The Beachwalk is a very different concept of enjoying Bali while at the same time people can shop and spend leisure time here in a comfortable atmosphere. Covering 3.7 hectares and stretching 250 meters along Jl. Pantai Kuta, the Beachwalk is architecturally stunning. Developed to replicate the gentle contours of the rice terraces of rural Bali, the Eco-friendly, low-rise design is characterized by a traditional thatched roof and recycled hardwood. Beachwalk is located in the Sahid Kuta Lifestyle Resort and stands on 5.2 hectares of land, along with the four-star Harris Resort and the new Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort.

Foreigners come to Bali to buy Indonesian products. They can buy branded items anywhere in the world. So, the focus is to present local brands. The Cloth Museum by Bin House and Alang Alang selling exquisite arts and souvenirs from Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries are among their best examples. There are 200 sophisticated retail stores and eateries in Beachwalk that visitors with friends and family can enjoy.
The five-star Sheraton hotel has 203 rooms, nine meeting rooms, a 700-square-meter Grand Ballroom and other facilities.
The opening of Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort would certainly cater to the upper market. But the current number of hotel rooms had almost reached saturation point. The opening of Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort will add 203 more to the current 90.000 hotel rooms in Bali.

09 December 2012

Bali - Tumpek Wayang, 22 December

Tumpek Wayang is a sacred day, a set of special offering is presented to to Sanghyang Iswara, Lord of the Puppeteers.

This holiday is the most important day for owners of leather puppets and puppeteers when they give special homage to their leather puppets (wayang).

The puppets are taken from their box (keropak), placed in position just as if an actual performance were being given and blessed by the owner. A dalang (puppeteer) will remove all his puppets from storage – as many as 100 of them – and set them all up to receive the offerings.
In Ubud there is always 2 or 3 times a week a Wayang performance, close to Monkey Forest.

08 December 2012

Pic of the week

Bugis, fishing boats originally from Sulawesi, at the coast of Perencak, waiting for high water to enter the river.

Bali's peak rain season start in Januari

Bali’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency has predicted that the peak of the wet season on the island will fall in January next year.

The head of the BMKG’s Data and Information section said that by December 2012 all parts of Bali would be affected by rain.

The rainy season in Bali has started late — end October — but not all regencies have been affected, with some areas struggling to cope with long droughts.

Between October and November, rain fell in southern parts of the Island such as Badung, Denpasar and Tabanan. In North Bali and East Bali, rain is expected to begin by December.
Currently, Bali is suffering from extreme hot weather due to the position of the sun. The sun is now in a southerly position, affecting the island’s temperature. It’s no wonder the conditions are quite hot and dry.

06 December 2012

Bali - Statues under water at Nusa Dua

Nusa Dua has a new attraction for tourists seeking snorkeling or diving activities, with the installment of Balinese statues under the waves, a part of a project to establish an underwater cultural park, expected to be completed next year.

Over the past couple of months, the statues have been gradually installed at a depth of 11 meters some 500 meters off Samuh beach. Earlier this week, 28 more statues were installed in the same area by eight divers using a navigation ship. The statues include Balinese dancers performing kecak (traditional dances), as well as Rama and Sita, characters from the Ramayana epic.

The underwater cultural park would consist of a total of 74 structures forming a compound. Target is that the 74 structures will be in place by next year. The statues are made of substances that allow transplanted corals to grow on them. The statues will function as a submarine reef, a man-made construction submerged to serve as a platform, similar to a biological surface where the transplanted coral is attached.

For years, coral reefs in Nusa Dua have been threatened by massive coastal development, as well as destructive fishing and human activities. Hundreds of coral pieces have been transplanted to the Nusa Dua area since 2009, some a result of a breeding program at Serangan Island and other pieces of coral that broke off naturally and were taken from surrounding submarine areas.
After a series of coral transplantation programs, there has been good progress in restoring the coral, as indicated by many new growths on the artificial reef structures placed underwater two years ago. The establishment of the underwater cultural park is expected to restore the area and it is hoped it can become an icon of a pro-environment, underwater tourism that serves to promote the image of Nusa Dua.

The two-hectare park is built as part of a designated 1,600-hectare marine conservation area in Nusa Dua. Featuring Balinese dancers and characters from Balinese mythology, the park is a realization of local concepts called Nyegara-Gunung (from ridges to reef), Tri Hita Karana (Balinese way of environmental sustainability) and Sad Kertih (six actions to achieve happiness and prosperity),
combined with marine conservation. The statues will also serve as a new attraction for tourists that snorkel or dive in Nusa Dua waters.

05 December 2012

Bali - again a lot of illegal villa's

Based on surveys and monitoring carried out by the Tri Hita Karana Foundation and the Bali Tourism Academy, more than 1,000 commercial villas in the regencies of Badung and Gianyar have been built illegally using residential building permits (IMB).

The building and zoning codes applied to the construction of commercial villas are more stringent than those in effect for villas built purely for private use. The survey revealed that many of the 1,000 commercial villas built with permits applicable for private residences offer supporting facilities in keeping with five-star hotels with rents of Rp. 5 million or more per night.

The survey was conducted in stages and showed how disjointed and the confused state of government procedures in the granting of building permits, bearing in mind that permits granted for tourist accommodation are linked to the number of rooms planned for the subject property.
From the 1,000 villas surveyed, less than 10% were actually owed by a Balinese. Foreigners using nominee Indonesian land owners owned the rest.

Also Members of the Jembrana House of Representatives looking after the construction of two beach-side commercial villas in their district that violate setback rules from the high water mark. The official survey discovered two villas standing too close to the high water mark: Villa Ecco and Villa Melaya International Resort. While the Villa Ecco apparently holds all legal permits and licenses, the Villa Melaya International Resort, built by an English investor, has been in operation since last year but reportedly has no valid building permit.
How two villas can be built in violation of setback rules from the seashore and how one villa can obtain a license while another cannot.

04 December 2012

Bali - Sanur beach make-over

The Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Ministry has provided financial assistance to
redesign areas along Sanur Beach used for the operation of food stalls and small kiosks to create a cleaner and more beautiful tourist destination.

As many as 50 food stalls and kiosks had a major makeover. They [the vendors] were given wooden carts
covered with beautifully designed brown canopies. Previously, the vendors sold their food and drinks in dilapidated huts creating an unpleasant view along the beach area. The wooden carts are made of strong teak in the hope that they could last a long time.
The money had already been disbursed and the local cooperative unit started the makeover project immediately.

Bali - pantai pasir putih Perasi

If you are fed up with the crowded Kuta or Sanur beaches in southern Bali, Pantai Pasir Putih Perasi, the White Sandy Perasi Beach, up in Karangasem regency in East Bali offers untouched pristine beauty.

No hotels, villas or any other tourist accommodations are visible from the quiet beach in the village of Perasi. Only a very few local and foreign visitors are usually seen strolling along its white sandy beach. Perasi Beach or ‘virgin beach’ is still unknown to many people. The beach is quite isolated. There are only a couple of food stalls and shops opened in the beach area that offer local food, snacks and beverages for visitors. Some food stalls offer beach umbrellas for shade. A number of female masseurs were trying to persuade visitors to use their services. It takes one-and-a-half hours to drive from Denpasar to Perasi Beach. On the main road, linking Denpasar with Karangasem, there is a small sign almost invisible, which reads: “White Sand Beach”.

Despite there being only a narrow road heading to the beach, there is a spacious parking lot managed by Desa Adat traditional village community. The community charges Rp 5,000 for parking and Rp 3,000 for entrance.

03 December 2012

Snow

According to the weather app on my tablet is was snowing here yesterday.

Bali - Gourami, my favorite fish

For many Balinese, freshwater fish is rarely on their daily menu. They prefer saltwater fish and meat, which are cooked in a large variety of dishes.

However, the Sundanese people of West Java adore gourami and hail it as the “king of fish”. Favorite Sundanese recipes for gourami include fried, steamed or grilled gourami, pepes (where the fish is filled with sweet basil leaves and spices, wrapped in banana leaves and steamed) and sweet and sour gourami. Meanwhile, canned, fried gourami is available in China and Thailand and throughout the world in oriental supermarkets.

For many, once they taste gourami, this freshwater fish could become an unforgettable memory. If you would like to give it a try, order a deep-fried gourami. Gourami cooked in the Balinese style using hot spices and bumbu megenep — a mixture of ginger, turmeric, chili, bay leaves, coriander and other spices. Those who prefer plain fried fish are able to order deep-fried gourami served with the ubiquitous sambal matah — a hot chili condiment blended with coconut oil, kaffir lime juice and shrimp paste. To make the fried gourami crunchy, the fish should be cleaned and then diced. Marinate the fish with lime juice and salt, then add seasoning, including three cloves of garlic, turmeric and other spices. Put the marinated fish in the refrigerator for a while before frying it in hot coconut oil.

Despite its many new fans, restaurants and food stalls in Bali find it difficult to get adequate supplies of gourami as they have to procure the fish from Java. In Bali, local farmers are reluctant to breed gourami. In 2011, Bali produced catfish (1,700 tons), nila fish (900 tons), carp (530 tons) and gourami (250 tons). Breeding gourami could be a new golden opportunity for farmers and restaurants alike.

02 December 2012

Bali - mean machines

Traditional Balinese Pande (blacksmith) usually produce knives, kris, swords, and metal-based ritual paraphernalia. A pande from Denpasar, however, has expanded his skills to also produce various simple machines, such as a meat grinder, coconut shredder and pandanus leaf mincer.

His motorized machines are in high demand because they provide the Balinese with a cost-cutting and time-saving solution to their daily chores. For instance, the meat grinder and coconut shredder are critical instruments for the villagers when they have to prepare a major temple festival. In the preparation stages of the festival, the villagers would have to process a large quantity of meat and coconut, both for the offerings, as well as for the communal feasts.

The pandanus leaf mincer will brighten the days of the female members of the village. Balinese Hindu offerings need a large amount of fragrant shredded pandanus leaves. In the past, the women would have to produce this material manually, by slicing and chopping the pandanus leaves for hours before mixing the shredded leaves with fragrant oil. With the presence of the new machine, all they have to do is feed the leaves into the machine.

Several hotels in Bali have purchased his machines, in particular the machine that mixes different ingredients into lawar (a Balinese traditional delicacy). He recalled that most of his inventions were borne out of necessity. He designed a machine to chop water spinach in the early 1980s after witnessing the arduous work his wife had to prepare water spinach to feed their family’s 20 pigs.

His earliest design used a manually operated set of gears as the primary source of power, while his latest designs have used electric generators.

Bali get new toilets!!

Soon, the days when foreign tourists have to scuttle back and forth along the beach to find a decent public toilet will come to an end. The island’s richest regency has vowed to allocate Rp 1 billion to build international standard toilets at its main tourist attractions.

The toilets will also be equipped with special facilities for the disabled.
Badung booked revenue in 2011 of Rp 1.2 trillion, some 80 percent of which was generated by the tourist industry. Besides hosting the largest number of hotels and restaurants, the regency also boasts some of the island’s most famous tourist attractions, including Kuta Beach.

Unfortunately, not all of the tourist attractions have been equipped with proper supporting facilities, including toilets. A toilet was one of the few facilities that tourists frequently sought in a tourist attraction and the presence or absence of proper, clean facilities could significantly alter the visitors’ perception of the attraction. Badung would start the construction phase for the public toilets next year. The toilets would be built at beaches in Nusa Dua, Jimbaran, Legian, Seseh and Canggu.

These beaches are very popular and none of them have good toilets. Each beach will get three new toilets, one for men, one for women and the remaining one for visitors with special needs. Other tourist attractions in Badung would also be equipped with similar facilities. These five beaches are the first priority because the need there is very pressing.

01 December 2012

Pic of the week


Land prices booming in Bali

The property business in Bali continues to flourish as investors are confident about the island’s business climate, thanks to the increasing number of tourists and ongoing infrastructure improvement.

Most of the investors are focusing on developing hotels, condotels (joint condominiums and hotels) and private villas. The land demand for hotels, villas and condotels is booming, but the supply of land is decreasing. Not only is less land available, but most of the land on offer is leasehold tenure. Property offered with freehold tenure is now difficult to find.

Unlike in the past, many Balinese people now prefer to lease their land long-term rather than selling it, especially in tourist areas, like Kuta, Legian and Seminyak. Even if they sell, the price could be very high. The problem is that not all local investors agree with leasing, they prefer to buy.

Despite the extremely high land prices, strong demand meant that the market is still able to absorb it. On this moment Jimbaran is a booming property area, with more and more investors looking to buy property with sea views on the area’s hills and cliffs.