Tag Archive | "Bali"

A Perfect Place To Be Settled

UBUD, INDONESIA — After spending weeks searching the hills of Bali for a home to buy, John Duffield and Rachel Plecas settled on a house that was something of a snake pit.

But even though they found a python slithering through the run-down house during their initial inspection, they fell in love with the overgrown elements of the property, which had once been used as an aviary.

“There was so little to choose from, so we opted to take it and renovate it,” Ms. Plecas said.

Good houses for sale are hard to find in inland Bali, amid the island’s picturesque landscape of jungles and rice paddies. Most new homes are either occupied by the owners or built specifically as rentals.

Older places tend to quickly fall victim to Bali’s severe tropical elements, unless they are painstakingly maintained.

“There is more and more product on the market but not necessarily a lot of good product,” said Zoë Rice, who works for Elite Havens, a Bali property agency.

Demand for inland properties has increased dramatically in recent years, primarily driven by foreigners from Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore, local property experts say.

Foreigners cannot own land in Bali, or elsewhere in Indonesia; they either have to lease or to buy through a local surrogate. Last year, the Indonesian government discussed loosening restrictions on foreign ownership, but no action was taken.

“There was not much international investment in Bali inland properties before year 2000,” said Ricky Wirapatria, general manager of the rental company Ranadi Villa and spokesman for the Bali Villa Association. “But I see during the past 10 years, international demand or interest has extremely increased.”

With villas hard to find, many foreigners opt to lease land and build new homes, said Jared Collins, a senior advisor with Ubud Property, a property company. Since 2005, the price for buildable land has nearly tripled in the Ubud region, fueled in large part by interest from foreigners, he said. Recently, the region has received a lot of publicity as one of the locations in Elizabeth Gilbert’s best-selling book “Eat, Pray, Love” and the 2010 movie starring Julia Roberts.

In Ubud, buying a one-are, or 100-square-meter, plot of buildable land in a rice field costs about 90 million to 180 million rupiah, or about $10,000 to $20,000, which is not the bargain some shoppers expect to find on the island.

To lease a property near Ubud generally costs about 1.1 million to 2.9 million rupiah per are a year, or $125 to $325, Mr. Collins said. Leases typically run for 20 to 25 years and are renewable for as long as 70 years.

“A lot of people who come here have the idea of prices from five to 10 years ago,” Mr. Collins said.

To Jonathan Pye, the scarcity of suitable homes was one of the Briton’s main reasons for buying a house near Ubud last year, a transaction he made through a surrogate. He said he viewed the purchase as a good investment, adding, “It didn’t seem feasible that prices would go down.”

After years living in Singapore, Mr. Pye and his wife, Louise, decided to settle on Bali to enroll their two daughters in the Green School, an environmentally focused private school primarily catering to expatriates, co-founded by the jeweler John Hardy.

Working with Mr. Collins, they paid the equivalent of about $350,000 for a five-bedroom home. “A lawyer in London wouldn’t want me to sign,” Mr. Pye said. “But this is the way it works, and you get as much protection as you can get.”

After buying the property, Mr. Pye learned there were other local customs he needed to follow. They had to meet the banjar, the leader of the local community, and arrange a series of blessings. “If it has been cursed, you can’t get staff to work on the house,” Mr. Pye said.

Ms. Plecas and Mr. Duffield were already experienced in the nuances of the Bali property market when they started shopping. In 2000, they had built Villa Bukit Naga, a seven-bedroom house in a river valley outside Ubud, which they now rent to travelers for $1,650 a night during peak season.

They later decided they wanted to be closer to Ubud and, after finding the run-down house, just a short walk from the town center, they paid the equivalent of $80,000 for the remaining four years on the lease. They spent four months, and another $80,000, to renovate.

The result is an open-style house with one large master bedroom set in a sprawling terraced garden. A small pool is steps from the living room. The aviary has been restored, and they are using it to rehabilitate injured birds.

“What really struck us, and continues to fill us with joy and wonder, are the beauty of the gardens and the sense that the property is a Garden of Eden,” Ms. Plecas said.

News Source : New York Times

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Cruising Paradise

Indonesia and Singapore have agreed to jointly develop cruise ship tourism in the neighbors’ latest move to boost bilateral economic ties.

Singapore is enjoying a cruise tourism boom and they need areas that the cruises can visit; one of them being Bali. From Bali they can explore eastern Indonesia, which has many potential marine tourist sites.

Cruise ship tourism was one of six sectors Indonesia and Singapore wished to develop together.

Other targets of bilateral cooperations include civil aviation, manpower, agribusiness, investments, and cooperation in the special economic zones of Batam, Bintan and Karimun; three Indonesian regions bordering with the city state.

On the agribusiness sector, the two countries had agreed that Indonesia would increase its vegetable and fruits exports to Singapore by 20 percent each year.

Source: Kompas

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Best Resorts in Asia

According to smarttravelasia, Bali is placed second of the top 10 holiday destinations list. It is because Bali has a lot of places which can be visited by tourists. By the way, there are several resorts in Bali that have achieved awards from various best traveling sites in the world. None of these sites are Indonesian site, so you will see that many Balinese resorts have passed international requirements to be the best resorts in the world. You might want to consider staying at these hotels to spend your holiday in Bali.

1. Alila Ubud and Alila Manggis, Bali, Indonesia (2nd on the list)

These two Alila Group eco resorts featured in Agoda’s Top 10 Eco-Friendly Asian Resorts for 2007. Alila Ubud was built in the style of an Indonesian hillside village while the Alila Manggis combines traditional Balinese architecture with contemporary design. Both resorts have policies to reduce their impact on the environment and each promotes Earth-friendly activities such as trekking, cycling and Balinese cooking lessons.

Agoda is Asia’s leading online hotel reservations company which recognizes resorts for their innovative environmental policies and practices. Agoda’s selection criteria for the list ensures the green policies at these top-rated eco-friendly hotels go beyond simply encouraging guests to reuse their linen or take shorter showers. Hotels are given extra credit for reducing their carbon footprint, empowering local communities and implementing green policies specific to their locations.

The next three resorts are taken from holidayswithkids.co.au. Holidays with Kids, Australia’s leading family travel and lifestyle magazine and website, helps parents to plan the family holiday of a lifetime, wherever you want to go in the world. these resorts are put in the list of top 10 family resorts in Asia. are you interested in visiting Bali with the whole family? these are the best places to stay!

1. Club Med Bali (1st)

Club Med Bali’s attention to detail, family-friendly atmosphere and its all-inclusive format make it a winner with Holidays with Kids readers. Located between a sandy beach and rice paddies, this property captures all the charm and serenity of Bali, with lotus ponds, Balinese-style bungalows and a palm-lined beach. Activities including trapeze lessons, dance and cooking classes also score highly with Australian families looking for a cultural experience in a beautiful, exotic location.

2. Bali Dynasty Resort (2nd)

Consistently popular with Australians, this beachfront property at South Kuta offers great value for money as well as a friendly, family-oriented atmosphere. The property has recently undergone a multi-million dollar renovation, and now offers six restaurants, an adults-only pool and a great kids’ pool complete with waterslide. Family suites are available as well as special Kids’ Suites complete with bunk beds; and children under 12 are free when sharing a room with their parents.

3. The Westin Resort, Nusa Dua (10th)

Combining the gentle hospitality of Bali with the highest standard of comfort, the Westin Resort in Bali is an enticing oasis. Popular with families is the Family Suite that provides two interconnecting bedrooms, with board games and PlayStation 2 a favourite with the kids. The children get to play in their own pool, complete with waterfall, while the Westin Kids’ Club will keep them busy all day long.

The last resort is Elephant Safari Lodge Park. Hotelscombined.com, the biggest hotel search engine in the world, has put this resort in the top 10 quirkiest hotels worldwide. This unusual hotel is the only Asian hotel on the list.

Situated directly in an elephant sanctuary, this safari-style lodge offers travelers an opportunity to interact, feed, ride, observe, learn, play and stay with 29 beautiful Sumatran elephants. Guests also enjoy elephant chauffeur pick up from rooms and free safari park access.

Elephant Safari Park Lodge Bali is a unique resort on the island of Bali set within 3.5 hectares of the multi award winning Elephant Safari Park, Taro. The Elephant Safari Park Lodge is located just 20 minutes north from the islands cultural and artistic centre of Ubud and 75 minutes north of Ngurah Rai Airport in the historic village of Taro.

anyway, there are still a lot of resorts in Bali that passed the requirements of best hotels in the world. here are the names of the hotel which listed in several polls in Smart Travel Asia,  the region’s only dedicated online travel magazine with over one million readers worldwide.

Top 25 Spa Hotels & Resorts

  • 3. Bulgari Resort Bali
  • 4. Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay
  • 6. AYANA Resort and Spa, Bali
  • 9. Grand Hyatt Bali
  • 16. The Royal Pita Maha, Bali
  • 17. InterContinental Bali Resort
  • 19. COMO Shambhala Estate at Begawan Giri, Bali
  • 21. Hotel Tugu Bali.

Top 25 Leisure Hotels & Resorts

  • 4. Bulgari Resort Bali
  • 4. Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay
  • 5. Grand Hyatt Bali
  • 5. The Legian Bali
  • 7. Amandari, Bali
  • 7. Amankila, Bali
  • 12. Amanusa, Bali
  • 19. InterContinental Bali Resort
  • 21. The Chedi Club at Tanah Gajah, Ubud
  • 22. Conrad Bali
  • 23. Alila Ubud, Bali
  • 25. The Oberoi, Bali

News Sources: Travel Guide to Koh Samui, Agoda, Holiday With Kids, Hotels Combined, Smart Travel Asia

Photo Sources: Hotel Hhatter, Global Easy Tour, ocbc.com.sg, Balistarisland.com, Bali-Indonesia.com, Triasbali.com

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Balinese Ensemble in United States

The floors of New York City’s music halls attain various states of cleanliness. Few ensembles are in a better position to observe them up close than the Balinese ensemble Gamelan Dharma Swara.

In an October performance at a West Village club, its musicians sat cross-legged behind an array of glittering bronze percussion instruments on the black basement floor, a linoleum surface one suspects began as some other color.

Pool-playing patrons sat next to more sober listeners on beer-stained sofas.

It might seem far from Bali in spirit, but the music’s spectacular brightness attracted a rogue dog, something you might encounter in any temple courtyard.

Home for Dharma Swara is not Indonesia itself, but rather its consulate in New York.

That converted town house has a basketball court’s worth of hardwood on which to rehearse. Membership in the group is open to anyone.

The set of instruments — gongs, xylophones, drums and flutes — accommodates about 20 players.

Some are Balinese, but most are not.

The ensemble serves both to promote Balinese music and dance and, in a practical sense, to support diplomatic events.

The performers are roving diplomats themselves.

In addition to sundry clubs and concert halls, they have performed on the carpets of the United Nations, in the lobbies of museums, at college auditoriums and in the gardens of private patrons.

A flurry of dates last year helped raise money for a summer tour of Bali.

Last Sunday the group celebrated the release of its first album, a double CD set titled “Gamelan Dharma Swara,” with a concert in Greenwich Village.

An offering dance, a traditional form of temple worship performed with a nimble trio of women, honored the audience in a shower of flower petals.

The program also featured Pan Wandres’s Kebyar Legong (1914), a 30-minute tour de force with such explosive shifts of mood and tempo that few groups try to perform it — even in Bali.

The sound of gamelan ensembles, which have distinct Javanese and Balinese forms, became known to Western classical music connoisseurs through Debussy, Ravel and other composers who found its tonalities novel and inspiring.

In the 1930s, a young Canadian named Colin McPhee (1900-64) began drawing on gamelan’s interlocking melodic patterns in his own music, and his works and a later book of research became reference points for Balinese music in the West.

“In some ways Colin McPhee had the wrong impression of Balinese music,” said Pak I Nyoman Saptanyana, Dharma Swara’s artistic director since 2001.

“He preserved the older forms at the expense of all the new 20th-century styles. He didn’t see this as a living tradition that should continue to evolve.”

As in McPhee’s time, Balinese music continues to be swept up in romantic fantasies of the primitive and exotic, which Westerners frequently confuse with authenticity.

“Bali still serves as an icon of the mysterious premodern East,” said Andrew McGraw, the executive director of Dharma Swara.

“It satisfies a neo-liberal nostalgia for community and spirituality.

“Gamelan in the US is as much, if not more, a story about us than an accurate representation of Indonesian culture.”

It’s a story told by scores of gamelan ensembles across North America, many of which trace their roots to Mantle Hood, a pioneering ethnomusicologist who believed that scholars should learn to perform the traditions that they study.

In 1958 he started the first US-based gamelan at the University of California, Los Angeles, and trained the leaders of a hundred more.

At least that many ensembles exist today, on college campuses and as community groups like Dharma Swara.

Although the roster changes from year to year, Dharma Swara tends to include both emerging and established talents on the new music scene.

Recent members include the bagpiper Matt Welch (Blarvuster), the trombonist and instrument builder Richard Marriott (Club Foot Orchestra) and the percussionist Michael Lipsey (Talujon), who starts his own gamelan ensemble at Queens College in January.

“The learning process makes you use your brain in a completely different way,” said flutist Jessica Schmitz, co-director of the Asphalt Orchestra.

New pieces are taught by rote without notation, which requires deep understanding of musical structure as well as attention to detail. Because multiple parts combine to create a single melody, players depend on one another to rehearse as well as perform.

Saptanyana also notes that half the members are composers, some of whom have contributed to Dharma Swara’s repertory.

During Dharma Swara’s Balinese tour, audiences applauded wildly for an original work by McGraw, “Sikut Sanga,” which appropriates swaths of melody from “New York, New York” and “A Night in Tunisia.”

Next week one work will be a world premiere, by Saptanyana’s 18-year-old son, Putu, who performs on multiple instruments.

“I brainstormed using all the music I’ve ever heard and picked some ideas that I liked,” said Putu Saptanyana, who has spent as much time around New York City as in his Balinese village, Ubud.

As the audience ponders its intricately layered pulse and shimmer, few would suspect that the young composer does his most intensive listening to gamelan while he plays his Xbox 360.

News Source : The New York Time, The Jakarta Globe

Photo Source : dharmaswara.org

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Tennis Stars and Bali

When we hear the word “Bali”, what will be the first thing that comes to our mind? If it was me, i would say, Bali, an island full of attraction, has surely become a favorite place for many tourists, both local and international. even some hollywood celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, admit that Bali is a perfect place to spend their holiday. This is also what these tennis stars say about Bali.

Several tennis players who just competed in Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions, an international tennis tournament held in Bali, say that they had a good time in Bali. check the story,

Bali made sure its high-profile guests from the WTA would have good reason to remember their stay on the Island of the Gods.

In return, the tennis stars who competed in the Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions put on a show Indonesia won’t forget any time soon.

Even before the first serve had been hit, all eight women’s players were describing the tournament to friends and fans as “memorable.”

From day one, organizers lined up the best Bali has to offer — from surfing clinics to spa pampering sessions — much to the delight of the athletes.

“It’s a one-of-a-kind tournament,” Russia’s Alisa Kleybanova said. “I hope I can come back here for a vacation, or I hope I can qualify here again next year.”

Ana Ivanovic, whose matches drew the biggest crowd at the Bali Convention Center, will surely remember her time in Nusa Dua.

On the eve of Sunday’s final, organizers held a charity dinner to benefit the Bali Smile Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides medical assistance to people with craniofacial disabilities.

Among the items auctioned off was a ceramic plate signed by all the players participating in the Tournament of Champions, Ivanovic’s outfit from last month’s Beijing tournament and T-shirts donated by Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic.

News Source : The Jakarta Globe

Photo Source : cirdoc, live tennis,

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A Painter From London In Bali

Last week GNFI posted an article about a former football player from Australia who’s having a traditional therapy to cure his cancer in Bali. This week, another good news came from Bali. This “Pulau Dewata” (island of gods) surely attracts a lot of foreigners. Once they visit Bali, they would be craving for going back.

This also happen to Neal Adams. Adams, a painter from London, first visited Ubud in 1998. He sensed something unique about the town, and finally taking up permanent residence there in 2003.

Adams has found a spiritual place which full of inspiration in his home, surrounded by green rice fields and fog-shrouded mountains of Ubud. He said, “I adored sitting in gardens but preferred to be within the depths of a forest with a pencil and sketch pad, to be in its silence, surrounded by its energy, I had a sense of calm.”

one among many of Neal Adam's Painting, JG photo : Richard Horstman

Neal Adam’s painting succeeded to satisfy many art lovers. His paintings were sold out in his Indonesian debut at Jakarta’s Canna Gallery in July 2007.

His works are regularly traded at Masterpiece Auction House in Jakarta and each October, he exhibits his paintings in sold-out shows at the JL Gallery Modern Art & Design in California.  In Ubud, his works can be viewed at Orgone Gallery on Jalan Raya, Sanggingan, just up the road from Mozaic Restaurant.

News Source: The Jakarta Globe

Photo Source: The Jakarta Globe

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A Traditional Therapy to Cure Cancer

Do you know that in Bali, there is a traditional treatment to cure cancer? Yes, there is. The treatment is a body and soul therapy. Instead of using any drugs, they meditate daily and take reiki massage. It helps the patient to relax and heal himself  unconsciously.

One among many patients who is having himself treated in Bali is Jim Stynes, an Australian Football legend. After spending a couple weeks in Bali, Jim is surely getting better than before. If the therapy doesn’t dismiss all the cancer, at least it cured some of old sporting injuries he had, which was something western medicine couldn’t do. Balinese smoke and massage is the first traditional treatment he got, and he’s now feeling the best he had since he was diagnosed.

FOOTY legend Jim Stynes has spent the past week undergoing smoke and massage therapy in Indonesia to treat his cancer.

Business partner Hugh Ellis said Stynes was looking and feeling the best he had since he was diagnosed 18 months ago.

The technique is based on the concept that immersing a patient in smoke can help the body rid itself of toxins and parasites, which therapists claim are keys to their method of fighting cancer.“While there is a spiritual element, it’s based on very sound principles which they claim can cure cancer,” said Mr Ellis, who spent the past week by his friend’s side.
“Jim says he’s feeling really good. And he says they’ve managed to help some of his old footy injuries that haven’t gone away after treatment back home. People can judge these things all they want, but they’re not the ones with cancer.”
Wife Sam Stynes said she would join her husband in Indonesia today.
Stynes planned to be in Indonesia for a week of therapy, but the positive reaction had encouraged him to stay for the full three-week treatment.
Mrs Stynes said the latest chapter in her husband’s bid to beat cancer was in “pure Jim style”.

“Psychologically, it’s good for him to be doing it. He’s really enjoying it and there have been no adverse side-effects,” she said.

“He’s approached the travel to Indonesia sensibly. He has gone with a really good emergency plan, but he obviously hasn’t needed to use it.”

Mr Ellis said that he had been sceptical for the first three days of treatment, but after seeing good results in his friend he felt like there was real value.
He said the pair had little time to do anything else other than wake up, have breakfast, go to treatment, have dinner and then go back to their hotel to sleep.

“The treatment is quite intense and will go for three weeks, so it’s not for the faint-hearted,” he said.
“But there is certainly no downside to it.”
A documentary aired last month detailed Stynes’ brave battle against cancer, revealing his willingness to embrace alternative medical options on top of conventional Western treatment such as chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy.
In the documentary he revealed he meditated daily, had taken up reiki massage, drank a special juice mix three to five times a day and was trying a drug on trial in immunotherapy.
He had also tried coffee enemas and drinking his own urine.

News Source: About Indo, Herald Sun
Photo Source: Herald Sun

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Bali Named The Best Island… Again!

Travel + Leisure Magazine has concluded its annual survey of the discerning travelers who comprise its readership asking them to name their favorite cities, islands, hotels, resorts, airlines, cruise ships and even rental car agencies.

Bali: World’s Best Island

For many years, Bali consistently ranked as the world’s best island in the prestigious poll, slipping momentarily in the 2008 polling to the number two slot. However, the 2009 Travel + Leisure survey has returned Bali to the coveted #1 spot, followed by Galapagos, which displaced Bali in the 2008 rankings.

Source: www.balidiscovery.com

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What Global Recession? Bali Arrivals Are Growing!

Bali by the Numbers: Arrival Numbers Grow as Australia Displaces Japan as Bali’s Top Source Market for Foreign Visitors.

Foreign tourist arrival to Bali in April 2009 totaled 179,879 representing the best April on record for Bali tourism and 21.94% improvement over April 2008 (147,515).

View cumulatively, the first four months of 2009 saw 645,061 foreign tourists come to Bali, an increase of 8.15% when compared to the same period last year (596,469).

As predicted by balidiscovery.com, April 2009 also saw the historical unseating of Japan by Australia from its top-ranking as the largest source market for Bali. Through the end of the first four months of 2009 Australian arrivals totaled 102,179 – increasing 30.08% as compared to the same period in 2008. Meanwhile, reflecting their troubled national economy, Japanese visitors decreased 7.45% for the first 4 months of 2009.

Similarly, South Korea, which is traditionally Bali #3 source market, declined to a #5 ranking as that nation’s economy faltered and arrivals dipped 5.62% over the first four months of 2009. Taiwan which has long been Bali’s #4 market, is now relegated to the #7 position.

The Winners
Markets clocking improvements for the period January-April were: Australia (+30.08%), People’s Republic of China (+54.03), Malaysia (+37.70%). Russia (+4.75%), The Netherlands (+0.42%) and France (+25.32%).

The Losers
The markets in decline for Bali over the first four months of 2009 were; Japan (-7.45%), Taiwan (-23.24%), South Korea (-5.62%), U.S.A. (-1.80%), Germany (-11.66%) and the United Kingdom (-6.50%).

Source BaliDiscovery.com

Pic from Ngurah Rai International Airport.

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Bali, The Best Island In Asia Pacific

Kompas reported on Bali as the best island in Asia Pacific according to a Hong Kong based magazine, DestinAsia. It’s such an honor, but is it that surprising? Bali has snatched that title four times already. Apparently foreign tourists still love Bali so much.

A beautiful resort in Bali

I bet there are still hundreds, or even thousands, of islands in Indonesian archipelago that would be the next best island, only if they were as well-known as Bali. Check out Lombok, Sikuai Island, and some other natural islands! Don’t be surprised if soon in the future the list of 10 Best Islands would be all Indonesian’s.

Credit: Thanks to Anak Indonesia for the tip.

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