31 August 2016

Canang Sari, the daily offer

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

30 August 2016

Nice places in Bali to visit. Part 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

29 August 2016

Shopping mall Seminyak Village

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

26 August 2016

No more Beggers in Ubud

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

25 August 2016

Tanah Lot increase prices

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

24 August 2016

Dreamworld, paintings from Irene Hoff

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

23 August 2016

Animal lovers guide

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

22 August 2016

Bali’s caste system

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

21 August 2016

(Over)Crowded Bali

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

20 August 2016

Make a trip to Gili Trawangan

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

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

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

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

19 August 2016

Explore Bali by foot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

18 August 2016

6 places in Canggu to try Indonesian food

For foreign dwellers roaming the streets of Canggu, it’s rather easy to forget that they’re in Asia, specifically in a country called Indonesia. It certainly does not feel like being overseas sometimes. The fashionable boutiques, hip bars, and trendy restaurants resemble a familiarsite from these foreigner’s own backyards. But while you’re all the way in Bali, you might as well sample the bold flavors of a traditional Indonesian dish. Here are six places in Ganggu for you to get a taste of what Indonesian food is all about.

Piring Daun may be advertised as an Indian restaurant, but its Indonesian section is a hidden gem. Order the nasi campur (rice with a selection of smaller sides) and prepare yourself for an authentic experience. Six distinct sides in silver platters – from eggs to peppers, peanuts and veggies–are placed around a bowl of milky coconut rice on top of a banana leaf placemat. It is only one meal but you’ll leave feeling like you have tried a combination of twenty. Where: Jl. Pantai Berawa.

As the waves crash into the rocks of Echo Beach and hungry stomachs churn into hangry people, there are two ideal spots. Head to either Dian Café or Mandira Café, which are situated next to one another. The quality, price and selection are comparable so essentially just choose your view. Both offer a long list of Indonesian dishes from nasi goreng or mie goreng to gado-gado, bebek betutu or lalapan. Sit back, enjoy and let hangry turn into happy. Where: Echo Beach.

If you’re one of those to judge a book by its cover, then Warung Bu Mi is for you. This place is constantly packed and that is always a good sign from the outside looking in. For the food, firstly choose white, yellow or red rice. Then you can scope out the buffet style set-up and select which dishes you fancy. Don’t be shy though. Even if you stack up your plate the height of the Eiffel tower it probably wouldn’t cost more than Rp 40k. Where: Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong.

When inexpensive meets excellence we call it Warung Varuna. For the quality you’re served you’d expect to be paying way more. We’re not saying it is gourmet, but it is a tasteful nibble of traditional Indonesian. It’s a bit hard to find as some palms cover the sign, so keep an eye out for the chalkboards outside the restaurant. Where: Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong No.89.

On is known for their pizza, but it is notable because their prices for Indonesian food are perfect for a backpacker’s budget. How could you say no to nasi/mie goreng that is only Rp 20k? This is the place to try cap cay (Rp 25k) or soto ayam (Rp 28k). At that price, we’ll be taking one of everything. Where: Jl. Raya Pantai Berawa.

When you walk into Najunta Bali you’ll feel like you’re walking into a Balinese home and tasting mama’s cooking. The cozy atmosphere parallels the comfort of food, even if some of the dishes sound exotic. This is what “warung” is all about! We hope you appreciate the tastes of home. Where: Jl. Raya Pantai Berawa No.27.

Just a picture

17 August 2016

Illegal License Plates

The chairman of Bali Corruption Watch (BCW) is criticizing what he says is the widespread illegal use of government owned vehicles in Bali by government officials in which red license plates are replaced with falsified black plates. In Indonesia red–colored license plates are reserved for government owned vehicles and black-colored license plates are used on privately owned vehicles. The majority of leading civil servants replace the (red) plates with black plates or falsified plates. There are certain civil servants granted special permission to use black plates on government vehicles, such as officials working in an intelligence capacities. But in Bali, almost all government operational vehicles have had their red plates replaced with black plates. This is a clear violation of traffic laws. The chairman called on the Governor to require government-owned vehicles use red plates. This is necessary to detect any inappropriate use of a public vehicle for private purposes. The lawmaker called on police in Bali to take the firmest action against any vehicle not displaying the number and color indicated on its official registration.

16 August 2016

The Monkey's from Bali

Ubud Monkey Forest is perhaps the best-known monkey hang out due to its location on the fringe of Ubud’s main centre. Also known as the Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal, and by its official name, Mandala Wisata Wenara Wana, Ubud Monkey Forest is not only home to over 300 grey-haired macaques, but also three holy temples that are sanctified by the local villagers. Ubud Monkey Forest boasts over 115 different species of trees, unraveling stone pathways, a bevy of beautiful statues covered in moss and tangles upon tangles of dense green jungle. In addition to being a natural tourist attraction, The Ubud Monkey Forest is also a place of scientific research and conservation and is overseen by Padangtegal village.
Other monkey inhabited spaces include the Alas Kedaton Monkey Forest in Tabanan and the Uluwatu Monkey Forest. The Alas Kedaton Monkey Forest is located in the village of Kutuh, about 25km northeast of Denpasar. This small 12-hectare forest is home to hundreds of grey long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) and is regarded as the island’s ‘other monkey forest’ after the most prominent and often visited Ubud Monkey Forest.
This is probably due to the fact that Kedaton is located further off the beaten track than the assessable Ubud Monkey Forest. Then there is the Uluwatu Monkey Forest that is perched on stunning white cliffs, has a backdrop of blue sea and features the Uluwatu Temple.
Remember that although wild monkeys are fascinating and cute beyond words, they are still, in fact, wild animals. It’s best to enjoy these long-tailed creatures at a comfortable distance in their natural habitat, as actively seeking out their attention can have interesting and often unexpected results i.e. they are lightening quick, have sharp claws and know that most humans carry a few treats on them in the park. As tempting as the thrill of feeding the monkeys may be, try not to purchase the peanuts and bananas sold at vendor stands; dependence on tourist hand-outs disrupts their natural feeding cycle and tends to impact their health. Yep, living on a diet of peanuts and bananas is just as bad for monkeys as it would be for humans.
Even if it was good for their health, feeding the monkeys doesn’t always turn out as planned. You may be eyeing off that cute baby monkey to offer some peanuts to, but chances are the little one isn’t going to get anything, and the more rotund and angry monkey will step in for first dibs. You seriously don’t want to get in the way of the older generation either. The macaques are also not shy about grabbing food from your hand, or grabbing your bag to take a peak at what’s inside. The saying ‘cheeky monkey’ didn’t come from nowhere. They are the animal kingdom’s answer to pick-pockets and are as cunning as they are cute.

Ubud Monkey Forest (Sacred Monkey Forest)
Jalan Wenara Wana, Ubud, Bali
Uluwatu Monkey Forest
Jalan Uluwatu, Bukit Peninsula, Bali
Alas Kedaton Monkey Forest
Jalan Kapten Tendean, Tabanan, Bali

15 August 2016

Mobil Power for Lombok

Indonesian President Jokowi paid a visit to Lombok when he inaugurated the groundbreaking of the Mobil Power Plant project and pushed contractors to have the project completed by September 2016. The Mobil Power Plant (MPP) – which is powered by Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) rather than diesel and coal currently used on the island – is part of the Jokowi government’s drive to accelerate the conversion of fossil energy fuelled power plants across Indonesia to clean energy sources. Over the past few weeks, PLN has been testing the voltage to ensure the reliability of the machine and making adjustments to the existing system. After the initial testing period, the 25MW power generator has been successfully hooked up to the Lombok power grid. Operators of the MPP in Jeranjang say a second power plant with the capacity for another 25 MW will be operational in the near future, following trials for the machine. The MPP project in Lombok is becoming a strategic initiative of the PLN in developing the electricity infrastructure of Lombok – with the aim of achieving an electrification ratio of 100 percent by 2024. In addition, the MPP gas-fuelled plants could potentially save PLN costs on fuel of up to Rp 26 billion per year. Once the second plant is fully operational, with a total of an additional 50MW on the Lombok power grid, it is envisaged that the electrification ratio in Lombok will increase from its current 73.83%  to 78.16% by December 2016. Currently the Lombok power system has a peak load of around 212 MW and a power supply capable of generating around 219 MW. This means there is no back-up if one of the generators fails or needs repair… as has so often been the case with the old diesel-powered generators used on the island. With the additional 50 MW generated by the MPP in Jeranjang, PLN hopes to increase the reliability of the power supply in Lombok and minimise black-outs in the future.

14 August 2016

Big Bikes in Bali

According to a leading legislator in Bali, the Provincial Administration of Bali is turning a blind eye to more than half of the large motorcycles believed to be operating illegally on the Island. Known locally as “MoGe” (Motor Gede), the owners of “big bikes” have been accused by a member of the Bali Provincial House of Representatives (DPRD-Bali) of failing to pay their fair share of taxes and other obligations to the State. MoGe's in Bali are distributed not via formal vehicle dealers. Therefore the required tax is never paid. There may be more than 2,000 big bikes operating in Bali, but perhaps only 800 operating with all the required documentation demonstrating tax compliance. The tax invoice (faktur pajak) is issued by a registered vehicle dealer showing the price, its type, fuel type and other details. But because this information is all falsified the proper tax obligation cannot be imposed. Some of the big bikes in Bali have been reverse engineered, with enthusiasts ordering component parts and creating or assembling a bike in a local workshop or even at their homes. This results in a 'big bike' that has not been registered and cleared by customs and operating with no tax paid.
With no formal registration, these bikes still manage to travel the roads, ironically, sometimes in convoys provided with official police escorts.The PDIP legislator said the easiest way to bring the illegal big bikes into conformance with the law would be enforcement by the Customs Office who could easily detect if any vehicle or its spare parts ever officially passed a formal customs and excise procedure. Indonesian Customs Officials could simply seize vehicle that never entered the country via the formal procedures.

13 August 2016

Amazing Grace in Bali

International film and music star Grace Jones is scheduled to appear at Potato Head Beach Club Bali on October 8, 2016.The 68-year-old Jamaican singer, songwriter, lyricist, supermodel, record producer, and actress who remains an icon of the art and pop-culture scene, commenced her career a supermodel in the 1980, ranching out into film roles and recording. She is perhaps best known for her albums "Warm Leatherette," "Nightclubbing" and "Slave to the Rhythm." She also headlined in films such as the James Bond franchise “A View to a Kill” and “Conan the Destroyer.” Her androgynous looks and fashion styles have inspired both the fashion industry and a whole range of international performers.Tickets for this singular performance start at Rp. 1.8 million and can be purchased online at www.ticketbase.com.

11 August 2016

The Peguyangan Waterfall in Nusa Penida

The Peguyangan Waterfall on Nusa Penida isn’t a towering vertical torrent of water like the jungle falls in central Bali.
Instead, it’s a series of short, cascading spring fountains that eventually make their way over a steep ravine and into the sea. Away from the ravine, the cascades make a great place for all to enjoy a ‘natural spa’, and a massage from the fast flowing waters as they burble over the shallow ledges and pools.
Reaching the springs involves a descent down narrow stairs against the wall of the ravine. After some 460 steps, the gorgeous sight of the cascades is both exhilarating and relieving.
This waterfall is tricky to find – a lot of the locals don’t even know it. To visit Peguyangan, arrange a tour with a knowledgeable Penida tour operator, or hire a private driver on the island who knows how to reach this hidden paradise.

10 August 2016

Monkey's on warpath

Wild monkeys living in Tegalalang, Bangli are on the warpath, destroying crops and occasionally menacing farmers working in their fields. Farmers in the area say the aggressive behavior by the monkeys has increased over the past two months. Villagers and local officials link the attacks to increased population, a reduction of natural habitat and the resulting lack of food sources for the primates. Local farmers claim they have been overwhelmed by the plague of monkeys. Efforts to frighten the monkeys off by beating old oil drums and shooting them with slingshots have proven ineffective. Trying to frighten the monkeys with fire torches and bonfires have also failed. A local farmer said, “They bravely return and attack, baring their teeth as they come.” Another farmer tells of fearing for his life while being chased from the jungle by a group of angry monkeys when he was picking wild ferns for his dinner table. The Tegalalang chief (Kelian) confirmed that this is the second attack of monkeys, following a similar occurrence last year. At that time, villagers resorted to religious ceremonies and rituals, paid in part by the Provincial Government, that eventually saw the monkey attacks subside. The monkey attacks are impacting crop production, while reducing rice and other food crops. Officials say harvests are down 30%. Farmers are calling on the government to plant alternative food sources for the monkeys that will draw the animals away from the farmer’s crops. Crops planted near the banks of the Tukad Melangit River are suffering the most, being trampled and destroyed by marauding troops of monkeys.

09 August 2016

The wonders of East Java

Designated by the Indonesian government as an up-and-coming tourism destination, the many attractions of Banyuwangi being after a 30-minute ferry ride from Bali’s western port of Gilimanuk and landing at Ketapang, the port of Banyuwangi. The remarkably clean and well-organized city and the surrounding regency now annually attract 1.5 million domestic tourists and 30,000 foreign tourists. So if you stay in Bali for a couple of weeks, make sure you spend some time in East Java.

Kawah Ijen
The Ijen active caldera stands 2,368 meters above sea level, measure 20-kilomters across and is surrounded by a caldera wall measuring 300-500 meters in height. Located in the regencies of Bondowoso and Banyuwangi, the Kawah Ijen is internationally famous for its “Api Biru” or “Blue Fire” – a blue fire located within the crater that presents a spectacular light show after dark. No less interesting is the large sulfur mining operation that is underway every day at Kawah Ijen. One of only two traditional sulfur mining operations in Indonesia, Kawah Ijen together with Welirang at Mojokerto, also in East Java, where valuable sulfur is mined by hand and men walk deep into an active crater to carry loads weighing between 80-100 kilograms out of the crater to mobile transport centers. Depending on which route you take from Banyuwangi to Kawah Ijen it can take between 2 – 4 hours.

Plengkung Beach – G-Land
Plengkung Beach is an East Java surfing destination, more popularly known by both local and international surfers as “G-Land.” Many who have surfed this area label G-Land, cite this area as home to one of the “Seven Giant Wave Wonders” – a name earned by the “7” shape of incoming waves that can reach 6 meters in height. Other surfers compare the waves on this beach to be on a par with those found in Hawaii. The best surfing at G-Land occurs during the months of July-September, but anytime is the right time for a relaxing beach holiday.

Rajegwesi Beach
Located at the village of Sarongan in the sub-district of Pesanggaran, offers visitors natural vistas together with sites of historical interest. Located on this beach are the remnants of old Japanese war bunkers used in WW II. The sand along Rajagwesi Beach is chocolate in color and soft in texture, the result of indigenous sand mixing with mud washing down from a river during seasonal flooding. Also of interest are the daily activities of local fishermen who use Rajegwesi Beach as their homeport and a nearby beach preserved as a turtle nesting area.

Watu Dodol Beach
Easily found when traveling from Jember to the Port of Ketapang is Watu Dodol Beach. To locate the Beach, look for a large boulder and the statue of a Banyuwangi dancer. The beach is only some 2-kilomters from the Port of Ketapang. A nearby hill can be climbed to enjoy a panoramic view of the busy port’s operation. On the beach, sample the local and affordable cuisine served by local food vendors.

Teluk Hijau – Green Bay
Green Bay offers sparkling clear water encircled by pristine white sand beaches against the backdrop of a tropical jungle. Located within the confines of the Meru Betiri National Park, Green Bay is a favorite for those seeking to swim, snorkel, build sand castles and fish. Nearby to Green Bay is the Bidadari Waterfall – an 8-meter high waterfall.

Pantai Pulau Merah – Red Island Beach.
Another beach named for a color, Red Island Beach is named after a nearby mountain known for the red color of its soil. Located in the sub-district of Pesanggarn, Red Island Beach is the home of Pura Tawang Alun – a Hindu Temple used for religious ceremonies on specific dates. Simple accommodation providers abound in this area for those wishing to spend more than a single day to swim, windsurf or conduct a photo safari.

Air Terjun Kalibendo – Kalibendo Waterfall
Located 20-kilometers from the center of Banyuwangi, the Kalibendo Waterfall boasts clean, cool water at a 10-meter high waterfall located in a higher, more refreshing altitude. The road to Kaliendo passes through scenic tea, coffee and clove plantations.

Air Terjun Lider – Lider Waterfall
This waterfall is located in the village of Sumber Arum in the sub-district of Songgong. Situated 1,300-meters above sea level, the area offers some challenges in terms of access and demands a degree of fitness for the hike to the waterfall. The hike, however, has its own rewards with views of agricultural plantations and a number of Jungle Rivers. Monkey encounters and bird watching opportunities are other bonuses to trekkers walking to the Lider Waterfall.

Agrowisata Kali Klatak – Kali Klatak Agro-tourism Site
Kali Klatak was once a plantation owned by the Dutch under Moorman & Company before being transferred to Indonesian ownership under R. Soehoed Prawiroatmodjo. Located on a mountain slope, Kali Klatak sits 450-meters above sea level and is home to rich soil that grows rubber, coffee, chocolate, coconuts, fruit and a range of spices.

Cagar Alam Baluran – Baluran Nature Reserve
Home to a large savannah, Baluran Nature Reserve provides a range for a large number of wild animals. Trekking through the Reserve or sitting in one of its observation towers can provide glimpses of wild banteng, oxen, deer, kijang, boar, wild cats and 196 species of birdlife.

08 August 2016

The clean streets of Bali

Pushcart vendors (Kaki Lima -KL) who circulate Bali’s capital of Denpasar are blamed for causing dirty streets, traffic jams and a host of other social ills. The local enforcement agency (Satpol PP) and metropolitan officials are now working together to control the actions and disorder caused by the KL. On Thursday more than 10 KL selling on the sidewalks in the sub-district of Pedungan were caught up in sweeping operations and handed over to Satpol PP officers. The head of the sub-district of South Denpasar told the press that the clean-up is needed to maintain Bali’s capital as a clean, safe and comfortable city. To this end Denpasar’s streets must be free of KL. Before KL stands are actually confiscated, warnings for the vendors to leave the area are issued three days in advance of the sweeping action when the stands are confiscated. These measures are effective with the number of KL now operating on the City’s sidewalks are less. To ensure the solution is not a temporary one, the Satpol PP are regularly checking for the reappearance of KL.

07 August 2016

The Mola Mola is back

The gigantic Mola-Mola fish have returned to Nusa Penida. The Mola-Mola, a large, docile sun fish that grow to a top-to-bottom height to as much as one meter, makes an annual migration to the small off-shore island located a short distance from Bali in the months July till begin September. The remarkable fish is most often found at a depth of around 20-meters near Crystal Bay, Blue Corner Beach, Toyapakeh Beach or off Nusa Penida’s north coast. The fish is notoriously shy and those wishing to see the Mola-Mola should only do so in the company of a guide from a reputable diving operator and follow all instructions established under a code of conduct established by the Coral Triangle Center (CTC), the Klungkung Regency and the Marine Tourism Association (Gahawisri). The code protects the ecosystem, with special emphasis on marine life species such as the Mola-Mola and Manta Rays. Destruction of the reef or being disturbed by overly-aggressive divers can cause the reclusive Mola-Mola to seek new grounds.

Rain, rain, rain

The Meteorology, Climate, and Geophysics Agency (BKMG) is warning that the La Nina weather phenomenon affecting weather in much of Indonesia will persist through the end of 2016. The chief of the data and information section of the BMKG in Bali said that La Nina is predicted to be felt to a moderate degree from July until December 2016. The global weather phenomenon will bring streams of moist air from the Pacific to Bali and the rest of Indonesia. Water temperatures in the waters surrounding Indonesia are warmer than usual, contributing further to the production of rain clouds through the process of convection. This largely explains the continuing heavy rains in Bali and other parts of Indonesia, even during what is traditionally the  “dry” season of May to November. La Nina as a weather phenomenon produces rain, while El Nino results in drier than normal conditions. BMKG is warning the public to be aware of the effects of the current unseasonal heavy rains that are causing landslides, flash flooding and can create both havoc and new opportunities on the agricultural cycle.

06 August 2016

The Hidden Canyon of Sukawati

There is a beautiful and fascinating place that local people often referred to as Beji Guwang Hidden Canyon. Hidden canyon is located near the village of Sukawati. Beji Guwang is a river with a stone wall that is formed and patterned very wonderful because it's eroded by river water for hundreds of thousands years to create a masterpiece that makes everyone amazed. In addition there is a beautiful engraved rock wall and also some other things that are as beautiful as the cluster of rocks with clear water rippling and is calm in some places so you can swim in it. A quiet peaceful place makes this place very suitable for meditation or yoga. This hidden canyon is popular since a few months, because this place is only known by the locals but the local villagers decided to open this hidden canyon to visitors from outside to increase village and local communities income as being one of tourisms attraction exist in Bali.
Beji Guwang hidden canyon is located in the village of Sukawati adjacent to the famous center of Balinese souvenirs shops. Because the place is not so popular so the signposts leading to the hidden canyon are abit lacking but the locals will be happy to give you a hint.
Although it presents a very beautiful natural and stunning scenery, Beji Guwang hidden canyon does not have many supporting facilities. The rocks in this area are enormous, slippery and sharp so watch your step. So we suggest to use the services of a local guide that will help you to get you there so you do not get lost and reduce the possibility of accidents. They will also help you carrying your bag and also as a reminder to you what you can and can not do in this place because this place is very secret so you may not disturb the spirit in this place. The other security factors are the height of the water that is always changing, and the water could be reach 5 meters high. But you do not have to worry because the water in the river is controlled by a dam and a guard will always monitor the water level, so if the water is to high the dam will be opened and visitors will be evacuated and the place will be closed temporarily.

05 August 2016

Best Temples to visit

Spirituality is very important in Bali. The main religion here is Balinese Hinduism and there are over 20,000 puras (Balinese term for temple) in Bali.People called Bali therefore “The island of thousand puras”.
Here are the best temples in Bali to visit:

Besakih Temple (Mother Temple)
Pura Besakih is the most well-known as being the mother of all temples in Bali. This is one of the oldest one, over 1000 years old. On the way to Besakih, there are several places of interest to visit like Kerta Gosa and Bukit Jambul. Besakih Temple is located in bevel side southwest of Agung Mount.

Uluwatu Temple (Pura Luhur)
Uluwatu Temple, also known as Pura Luhur, is a famous Balinese sea temple. Located on a high cliff at southern area of Bali, Uluwatu temple is one of the six most important temples after Besakih temple. The wide view of the temple sitting on the edge of the peninsula and the Indian Ocean panorama is absolutely breathtaking. Also famous for the monkeys living around the temple.

Tanah Lot Temple
This temple is called the “land in the middle of the sea” as it is located on an incredible rock. Pura Tanah Lot is a very well known temple in Bali. It is part of the seven temples that form a ring at the southwest of Bali. Make your trip at the sunset, the view is incredible !

Pura Tirta Empul Temple
Considered as one of the six important temples of Bali, Pura Tirta Empul is known for its sacred spring water with healing properties. People believed that this temple brings happiness, fortune and health.

Goa Lawah Temple
Goa Lawah, which means “bat cave” is located in the southeast of Bali. Goa Gajah dates back to the 11th century (1007), built as a spiritual place for meditation. This temple is filled with thousands of bats. One of its role is to protect Bali from the evils spirits.

Taman Ayun Temple
This royal temple of Mengwi empire is located in Mengwi village.Taman Ayun means “beautiful garden”. This temple, built in 1634 by the Raja of Mengwi, I Gusti Agung Putu is one of the most beautiful temples in Bali, it is surrounded by a moat that makes it appear as if floating on water. The entire complex was designed to symbolize the mythological home of the gods floating in the sea of eternity.

Pura Gunung Kawi Temple
This temple known as the “valley of the Kings’ is located at the cliffs between rice fields in the south of Tampaksiring. This Buddhist temple complex is used as a residence and as a place for meditation. It consists of some nooks and it is located in the cross east of Pakerisan River. Other nooks are located spread out and near the temple bunch.

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple
Ulun Danu Beratan temple is a Balinese Hindu temple located at Candi Kuning countryside, about 50 km north side from Denpasar to Singaraja. The name of Ulun Danu Beratan is taken from the lake where the temple is built at Beratan Lake. Ulun comes from the word Hulu which means head or power.

Pura Luhur Lempuyang Temple
It is one of the six sad kahyangan (temples of the world) which is dedicated to the supreme God, Sang Hyang Widi Wasa and also one of Bali’s nine directional temples to protect from evil spirits. It takes 2 and half hours to get there from Sanur, 2 hrs to climb and 1 hr to get down. There are 1700 steps to the top temple but the view is incredible !

Pura Saraswati Temple
Saraswati temple Kingdom of Ubud is dedicated to honor the Hindu Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of learning, literature and art. This artistic temple has exquisite exterior design : fine carvings, bale barong, giant masks, statues of Goddess Saraswati and the statue of the devil Jero Gede Mecaling …

04 August 2016

Lombok ferry's

Fast boats – speedboats and small ferries with powerful outboard motors – are a popular option for travelling between Bali and Lombok, the Gili Islands and even Southwest Lombok. However, not all fast boat operators are created equal. Some operators practice over-booking, particularly during busy periods, and either dangerously overload their boats or, if they can’t possibly squeeze another passenger onto their boat, put you onto another boat at the last minute. Some boats are operated by professionals who adhere to international safety standards (not required in Indonesia) and make sure that passengers’ safety is the priority. Others are ‘in it for a fast buck’ and are only concerned with the money to be made. Overloaded boats, poorly trained crew, not enough life jackets on board, poor maintenance of craft and cheap repairs to keep the boat operating are all common in the industry and accidents are inevitable.
While fast boats between Bali and Lombok are generally considered a safe and convenient option for travel between the two islands, travellers should be aware that the Lombok Strait is one of the deepest in the world. In bad weather, waves have been known to reach up to five metres high and currents can be treacherous. This highlights the importance of choosing a fast boat service that has high safety standards including a code of conduct that puts passengers safety first. The fast boat industry – particularly transfers between Bali and the Gilis – has boomed in the past 5 years and now there are dozens of operators from which to choose.
So when you choose to travel by fast boat, do some research before you book. This can be as simple as entering the company’s name into a search engine such as ‘Google’ or checking what other passengers say on a review site such as ‘TripAdvisor’. Blue Water Express and Gili Getaway are two recommended companies that have been operating fast boat transfers between Bali and Lombok safely for a number of years and have good reputations.

03 August 2016

Illegal taxi billboards

Although expressly forbidden to operate by Bali’s Governor, Grab Taxi apparently continues to operate openly in the Island’s capital and is even openly advertising their service on large street side billboards. The secretary of an Alliance of Local Transport Providers claims such advertisements show the Ministry of Transportation to be impotent and ineffective. “We are deeply saddened that there are billboards for Grab Taxi to be found in several areas. Moreover, it’s strange that there is one billboard even near the airport. What’s going on with our government?” He said that UBER, GoCar and Grab Taxi continue to operate in Bali despite being declared illegal by the Governor and the local transportation office.
The head of Bali’s Transportation Office said he had received no reports regarding the billboards promoting, a service the Governor has outlawed.“Thanks for the information. I will coordinate with the appropriate agencies to come up with a strategy."

02 August 2016

Does Bali want Chinese tourists?

There is an old Chinese saying that warns: Be careful what you wish for, it may come true! Ironically, this saying is sadly apropos of the situation that currently confronts Bali tourism with Mainland Chinese (PRC) tourists now the second largest source of foreign visitors after Australians. Aided by a liberalized visa-free policy that includes Chinese travelers, plans for more air charters connecting the PRC with Bali and a national tourism policy that is hell-bent on putting quantity before quality - we can only expect Chinese tourism numbers visiting the Island to grow even more in the months and years ahead. And while the enthusiastic Minister of Tourism Arief Yahya can be seen thumping his chest in self-congratulation when discussing rising tourist totals, we pray leaders in the national tourism sector may find time to pause to examine what are the actual long-term effects and costs of this policy?
The average length of stay for tourists in Indonesia in 2015 was 7.5 days, a figure that is down 39% when compared to the 12.26 days recorded 15 years ago in 2000. Meanwhile, operators and tourism leaders in Bali are complaining that while Chinese tourists to Bali are growing apace, their impact on the Island’s economy is diminished by the low spending patterns of Chinese travelers. As a result, PRC tourists are flocking to economy hotels, eating inexpensively in Chinese restaurants or in their room, demonstrating little interest in local handicrafts and not proportionately atttending Balinese cultural presentations.The changing composition of Bali’s tourism market mix has left the Island in an anomalous situation of recording record numbers of tourist arrivals while, at the same time, seeing local cultural performances and handicrafts producers closing due to a lack of customers.
Overwhelmed by mounting trash, traffic congestion, water pollution and an accompanying shortage of electrical power and water, Bali’s tourism future can only go from bad to worse unless policymakers quickly bolster and supplement the Island’s infrastructure BEFORE blindly seeking and welcoming even more tourists to Bali.

01 August 2016

Opposition against the "Bali Crossing" electricity towers

The Buleleng House of Representatives (DPRD-Buleleng) has declared its opposition to the construction of the “Bali Crossing” - a proposed high-voltage transmission line stretching between Java and Bali, that pundits claim will be the highest electrical transmission line in the world. The chairman of Commission II said the high power lines carrying electricity from Java should not be constructed because Bali wishes to be self-sufficient in its power supply, it would be preferred for Bali to develop its own local energy resources. He cited the new power plants in Pesanggaran and Buleleng, and the coal-powered power plant at Celukan Bawang in North Bali. The Bali lawmaker called for the development of Phase II of the Celukan Bawang power production scheme that would expand its power production capabilities. He said "Bali must be self-sufficient in energy and not be dependent on power supplies from Java to Bali. It’s pointless if Bali has power generating plants and that it does not maximize their use. We have pushed for the development of phase II of the PLTU Celukan Bawang instead of erecting the power lines connecting Java and Bali." The building of the proposed “Bali Crossing” is still in its planning stage.Reports that the foundations of the giant supporting tower on the Bali side would transgress the sacred grounds of the Segera Pupek Temple at the West Bali National Park have caused religious elements in Bali to voice opposition to the plan.