Kamis, 30 September 2010

ape shall not kill ape

as gamelan music rings out above our rooftops, and the soft glow of lights dots

the rice fields, it’s easy to get lost in bali’s magic and forget about the plight of

the environment in neighbouring islands
text melanie j martin image photolibrary

nfortunately for some travellers, Bali is not so magical. When infant orangutans are captured from the forests of Sumatra and Borneo, Bali often marks the first stop on their journey to a private home or zoo. Once there, they will never have the chance to swing from a tree. They will be spending their life in a small cage or room rather than the vast jungle of their homeland. “While East Java is the epicentre of illegal trade in Indonesian animals, Bali remains a prominent site for such trade as well, with captured animals often passing through Ngurah Rai airport,” claims ProFauna Indonesia.

Orangutan – critically endangered in Sumatra and endangered in Borneo – are one of the most in-demand illegally traded species. Thus, their prices are among the highest. This is in spite of the fact that since 1931 – according to the wildlife trade-monitoring network, TRAFFIC – they have been protected in Indonesia. They add: “Despite a maximum sentence of five years in jail and a fine of Rp. 100 million, the chance of being caught or prosecuted is extremely low.”Such trade leads to the overwhelming problem of what to do with the recovered animals. Many are given to rehabilitation centres in Sumatra and Borneo when they reach adulthood and no longer want to obey humans. In Kalimantan, over 1,000 orangutans have been placed in rehabilitation centres and few stand a chance of returning to the wild.

Furthermore, according to World Wildlife Fund UK, for each infant captured, five to six adults are killed as they attempt to defend the baby. Infants must survive the fall from the trees as they cling to their dying mother, and then endure the lack of proper care, extremely cramped conditions, foreign diseases, and the emotional toll of the entire ordeal. The Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS) also claims “with only about 6,600 Sumatran orangutans left in the wild, each captured or killed animal lowers the chances of the species’ survival.”

thou art my joy

the term “art” has become a grey area that is ripe for the picking, and also poking. since creative expression cannot be measured by a mathematical absolute, how does one define art and its worth? here are eight propositions in search of an argument

text peter stephenson image photolibrary

1 At first it would appear that the only trouble with culture in Bali is that there’s way too much of it. It’s hard to find a single view that hasn’t been embellished, framed by carving or careful cultivation, so that even if after a while you start to take it for granted, and stop consciously looking, the whole experience of Bali remains filtered through a filigree of creative endeavour.

2 Yet a further problem arises when someone asks whether we should classify any of it as “art”. Then there’s that other old chestnut – riddled with borers – about the distinction between craft and art; that is, between an activity adjudged to be primarily concerned with the manipulation of materials and an activity primarily concerned with the task of communication and self-expression for its own sake. Until relatively recently, most cultures had no such distinction.

3 So already, the more astute eavesdroppers in this circular argument will mention the tendency to rely on Western parameters that don’t apply to creativity in cultures in other parts of the world, such as ours. Ideas of creativity in Bali, for example, have not always been so bound up in notions of individualism, or the idea of the artist as the elegant stranger come to teach us how to see, ideas that have at least since the European Renaissance underpinned romantic Western notions of artistic endeavour.

seven things you must know about may and lou homes

One of the best things about buying a villa or a property in Bali is the whole experience of looking for the perfect location, the perfect architecture, and then finally seeing it being built. And one way to make this particular experience better is by getting professional help from the right people. As one of the island’s leading property developers, May and Lou Homes comes in with high recommendations. Here are seven things about them that might tickle your fancy:

1 architect, builder and consultant

The guys at May and Lou Homes
don’t just provide you with help in searching for that perfect villa, but you can also come to them for consultations on building your future house from scratch. This means you can come to them with something as little as a dream (and money of course!) and they will do all the necessary work to transform your dream into a reality.

2 house expansion

Should you already have a house or a villa that you want to revamp and expand, these guys can also do it. They are very experienced in building swimming pools, adding an extra bedroom, expanding your kitchen, or even enlarging your garden and working on the landscape to make it look exactly how you want it to be.

3 the kemenuh villa

This gorgeous villa is located in Kemenuh, Gianyar – the town of the woodcarvers – famous for their Balinese-style garuda statues. The two-storey villa is built on a vast 3,600 m2 piece of land and the landscape is quite impressive indeed.

villa air bali

villa air bali

where is it?
Petitenget is the up-and-coming area in Seminyak that still retains a quiet atmosphere. While not exactly next door, the beach and
the much-talked-about restaurants and bars are within walking distance. The villa complex is a stone’s throw away from the locus of Bali’s
pop and high-street cultures, but far enough from the throngs of people, yet at the same time, near enough so that whenever you feel like escaping, your personal sanctuary
is reachable in a jiffy.

what are the villas like?
The one-bedroom villa is spacious with a semi-open living area and bathroom. Each villa is decorated with little gardens, which is probably one of the best features of the villas here.
The whole complex is adorned with beautiful lush landscape with immaculately trimmed greenery. There are so many trees around, it’s easy to think that you are actually living in the woods, but with all the modern comforts of a luxurious villa.
Throughout the day, a mild breeze keeps the whole space of the villa cool. You can do something as simple as sit down, dip your feet in the pool and let the cool air caress your face.

what are the facilities like?
The bathroom is equipped with a Jacuzzi next to a fixture flowing with calming water. There is a personal computer in the room for Internet use, but unfortunately, the WiFi connection is only available at Mata Air Café.
The resort also has a very good spa, Spa Air, which is open to the public. This spa boasts a good selection of ayurvedic treatments that includes shirodara and chakra dara. They also provide in-villa massage services if you’re too lazy to leave your villa. But to get the complete experience, we highly recommend that you make the small effort and bring yourself to the spa.

what about food and drink?
Mata Air Café serves Japanese-French fusion cuisine prepared gourmet style. The in-villa dining menu is also quite extensive and offers a lot of different types of sake, which, for Bali, is very good news. There are also four types of breakfast to choose from: Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian, and American. •

Published rate for the one-bedroom villas starts
at US$ 400++.

Jl. Lebak Sari, Banjar Taman, Petitenget, T: 0361 737 378, www.villa-airbali.com

spa 2

floating on air

Spa Air at Villa Air Bali Boutique Resort offers a scenic surroundings to your blissful treatments with all spa facilities scattered around a lake and lush greenery. For the whole month of October, get a 30 per cent discount off all treatments (not including yoga and healing sessions) plus an additional 10 per cent off meals in their restaurant pre or post treatment to seal the deal.

Spa Air, Villa Air Bali Boutique Resort, Jl. Lebak Sari, Petitenget, T: 0361 737 378, www.villa-airbali.com
zen facial retreat at karma kandara

Experience three powerful days of self-growth with a pure facial rejuvenation, daily yoga and workshops under the guidance of Japanese practitioner Fumi Yamamoto, fuelled by energy spa cuisine. Fumi is renowned for her holistic approach to beauty – she is qualified in zen shiatsu, yoga, aromatherapy, reflexology, and craniosacral and lymphatic drainage therapy.
During the program, Fumi will conduct a personal zen facial for each guest alongside a facial diagnosis and daily yoga sessions. The zen facial will be complemented by daily spa therapies, collagen-boosting infrared saunas, and energy spa cuisine. This program will be held on October 23 until 25.

Karma Kandara, Jl. Villa
Kandara, Banjar Wijaya Kusuma, Ungasan, T: 0361 848 2200,

top o’ the morning to ya!

Theta Spa presents their signature treatment called the marine morning invigorator. It includes a body massage, sea salt scrub, seaweed and banana leaf body wrap, and topped off with an ocean citrus bath to put the spring back in your step.
Best done in the morning to awaken the senses and prepare your skin for sun exposure, this two-hour affair brings all the nourishing effects of the sea to the comfort of Theta’s relax-tastic treatment rooms. Your skin will emerge refreshed, hydrated, and supple, all before you can say, “he motion of the ocean”.

Theta Spa by the Sea, Ramada Bintang Bali Resort, Jl. Kartika Plaza, Kuta,
T: 0361 755 726, www.thetaspa.com

the science of life at spa the royal

Spa The Royal, which has recently opened at The Royal Santrian presents a chakra-healing ayurvedic therapy based on ancient traditions from India which uses three types of sensory therapies: vata, for a calming and relaxing effect; pitta, for rejuvenation; and kapha for stimulating mental and physical awareness. This two-and-a-half hour treatment is priced at US$ 145 and includes a four-hand massage. Bliss!

Spa The Royal, The Royal Santrian, Jl. Pratama, Tanjung Benoa, T: 0361 778 181,


01 a man’s right to spa

classic touch of comfort and care, maya spa offers everything you’d expect from a high calibre spa
text chris le images courtesy of maya ubud resort and spa

the look
Walking down the walkway from the lobby to the spa is one of the more beautiful walks I’ve ever partaken in inside a resort. It reminded me of being inside an immaculately maintained ancient redoubt of some faraway lost jungle civilization. I was only reminded of my ties to the present by the presence of an elevator, which took me down the valley and
closer to the pavilion that houses the spa lobby.

The spa’s front desk ceiling had beautiful illustrations of scantily clad natives arranged in a sort of hieroglyphic fashion. The walk down to the actual room where the treatment took place was but a brief set of stairs down the valley wall. The rooms were classically Bali inspired with a wooden earthly feel that complemented the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape. The view itself was nothing short of breathtaking: a river below, a valley in the middle, and a blue sky above.

the touch
Being a very manly and testosterone-fuelled individual, I naturally chose the masculine express treatment. Offered to males only, this brought me to wonder what a gender specific spa therapy entailed. The first step was some reflexology on the sole. Being empowered by the title of my treatment, I communicated the need to have my reflexology at full strength. The pressure points being stimulated were marginally painful at first, but a good reflexology demands sacrifice. I felt my often-neglected feet circulating good energy at the conclusion of this stage of the treatment, a sure sign of a successful foot rub.
The second stage proved my manhood even further. It included a herbal pound, which amounts to a searing hot bunch of herbs wrapped in cloth and gently pummelled against exposed skin. Where the tougher parts of my body could take the thermal healing, some parts like my inner thighs were not as masculine as initially anticipated. It still felt pretty good though.
The conclusion of the treatment included a warm herbal bath on the balcony of the room overlooking the river. The herbs floated freely around me and very much reminded me of being in a magical stew. I was also served some delicious yogurt, fruits, granola and lime juice.

the ingredients
I was given a choice between bergamot and lime or orange rose for the final herbal bath. The herbal pound was made of a large assortment of different herbs that included China moon, ginger, lime and some roots. What this entire man therapy amounted to was a replacement of all the girly things such as flowers and fruity scrubs in favour of the manliness of herbs, which I think is completely sensible because I enjoy being pampered… in a manly way.

the exceptional
The view from your therapy room at the Maya Spa is truly something that sets it apart from a lot of spas. The sheer scenic magnificence of a jungle valley with the low rumbling of a river below whilst getting a massage is something quite magical. •

Maya Ubud Resort and Spa,
Jl. Gunung Sari Peliatan, T: 0361 977 888, www.mayaubud.com

02 perfect twenty

the twenty-fingers massage by mandara spa is the closest thing to the sublime
text indra john images courtesy of ayodya spa by mandara

the look
Think earthy colours, long, dark and cave-like pathways with unique oriental ornaments. The Ayodya Spa by Mandara is set in a large complex, therefore the treatment rooms and spa villas are quite spacious. Of their 13 single treatment rooms, four are equipped with in-room showers, and there is also a dedicated hand and foot spa area. Each of the spa villas also has their own steam shower, outdoor bale, bath and bathtub.

the touchThe twenty-fingers massage is arguably the epitome of the sublime. To the untrained mind and eyes, it might look as simple as two therapists giving you a massage at the same time, but the actual application involves so much more. These therapists must work on you in a synchronised rhythm, pace and pressure. And when it’s done properly, there is nothing more you can do because you don’t feel like you posses your own body anymore; you’re so relaxed, the only thing left to do is to close your eyes, let go, and think, “This is how cloud nine must feel like.”
On top of this, Mandara’s signature massage combines shiatsu, Hawaiian lomi-lomi, Thai, Swedish, and Balinese massage techniques and the transition from one massage technique to another is almost seamless.

the ingredients
Mandara Spa has four different aromatherapy massage oils to choose from: harmony, Mandara, island spice, and tranquillity. This time, I went for the island spice oil, which is a concoction of clove, ginger and nutmeg. It has a warming effect and I found that the strong clove aroma of the oil did the difficult task of relaxing my mind. It tingled in the beginning, but the moderate heat was a pleasure from the first time it touched an exhausted body.

the extraordinary
In addition to the excellent spa products from Pevonia Botanica used by this spa, they also let you choose your own music. This, to me, is exceptionally excellent because not everyone’s idea of relaxing music is a line-up of New Age tunes. Sometimes, a little bit of jazz might be better on that particular day, or if not, a little bit of pop. After all, a spa experience is as personal as it gets. •

Ayodya Spa by Mandara,
Ayodya Resort Bali, Jl. Pantai Mengiat, Nusa Dua, T: 0361 771 102,

food events

Astor Ballroom, The St Regis Bali Resort: Karat Caviar and Champagne Duval-Leroy dinner with a special menu created by executive chef Oscar Perez. The affair starts with a cocktail and canapé reception at King Cole Bar, which is then followed by a six-course dinner at Astor Ballroom. Rp. 2,250,000 nett, T: 0361 300 6114

Bella Singaraja Restaurant, InterContinental Bali Resort: Italian dinner – antipasti buffet and classic pasta mains – with 50 per cent off on all house wines and…a singing chef! Rp. 260,000++ per person for dinner only, 6.30-10pm,
T: 0361 701 888

Café Lagoon, The Laguna Nusa Dua: two Balinese cooking classes to choose from created by their award-winning executive chef I Made Putra. The Epicurean Exploration class includes a trip to a local food market and three-course Balinese lunch (US$ 95++), and the Exquisite Epicurean Class includes an introduction to Bali’s exotic spices and herbs and a three-course lunch (US$ 55++). Booking is a must. Every Friday, starts at 12 midday,
T: 0361 771 327

Kayumanis Restaurants: daily-themed dinners – Indonesian cuisine with keroncong (Jimbaran, Tapis Restaurant, US$ 40++), flavours from Italy (Nusa Dua, Piasan Restaurant, US$ 40++), picnic lunch in the woods (Ubud, Buahan Village, US$ 35++) and a barbeque of Balinese delicacies with live dance performances (Sanur, Gong Restaurant, US$ 40++),
T: 0361 705 777

Mata Air Café, Villa Air Bali
: healthy-lunch set menu that includes Parma ham and organic vegetables, rolled chicken, tuna carpaccio, snapper Monte Carlo and many more. Booking also comes with a special discount on beverage purchases. Rp. 199,000++, T: 0361 737 378

Pesona Lounge, Grand Hyatt Bali: choose from a myriad of their quality spirits and create your own martinis.
Rp. 98,000++ per glass, daily 8-11pm,
T: 0361 771 234


what the fizz

a refreshing cocktail is the ultimate cure for all that ails you. hip hangout spot sea circus shares some tips on getting tipsy on their signature cocktails
text annisa dharma images robert dylan

the sea circus sparkler

Referred to as “naughtiness in a glass”, this drink is based on the Sgroppino, an Italian drink that is part lemon sorbet, part sparkling wine, 100 per cent refreshing.

60g / 1 scoop fruit sorbetto
30ml peach liqueur
75ml sparkling wine
4 cubes of ice

Throw it in the blender to get on
a three-day bender.

the pow wow

Although served in a vintage milk bottle, making it very look very innocent, this drink is anything but.

135ml gin
30ml lime juice
45ml lychee liqueur
225ml pineapple juice
30ml lychee syrup
3 slices fresh ginger

Add all ingredients to the milk bottle, then stir well and serve on the rocks in latté glasses. Garnish with lychees and pineapple leaves in the bottle.

dine for....


the setting
Nestled right in front of the most frequented beach on the island, Legian Beach Hotel stands in the middle of Kuta and Seminyak. The ocean view is paired with an interesting people-watching experience as you see groups of beachcombers migrate up and down the pre-sunset beach.

shakti dining room

the setting
Placed at the centre of Fivelements Puri Ahimsa healing centre, Shakti dining room is a treat for your mind, soul, and digestive tract. The inspiring architecture of predominant bamboo stretched and structured into flowing curves exudes an austere feeling of harmony between what is grown and what is built. Don’t limit yourself to just the restaurant, walk around the place and enjoy the wonderfully crafted structures that can be best described as a Willy Wonka-Swiss Family Robinson mash-up.


the setting
Feyloon is right on Bemo Corner across the street from KFC on Jl. Raya Kuta. Its interior screams Cantonese, dominated by red and strong Hong Kong-inspired motifs. With large tables in a huge banquet setting, it’s the perfect place for large gatherings, because the only way to truly enjoy Chinese cuisine is to do it family style.

events 2....

the kite runners at bali hyatt

This year marks the 14th Bali Hyatt Annual Kite Competition. All departments in the resort challenged each other with modern or traditional kite creations, and showcased their flying abilities under the warm Balinese sun.
On the day of the Kite Festival, the competition commenced with a parade from Bali Hyatt’s Telaga Naga Restaurant to the beachfront, where each department presented interesting performances
and attractions before flying their kites. The criteria for the kite competition included concept, creativity, design, colour, teamwork and, of course, the kite’s flying performance. Judges were invited from
travel agent partners, in-house guests, and
hotel management.

Bali Hyatt, Sanur, T: 0361 281 234, www.bali.resort.hyatt.com
hot yoga, hot dancers, hot rhythm

A new sanctuary devoted to creating a happy, healthy community through freedom of movement, asana, pranayama and meditation has opened in the heart of Petitenget. Jiwa Yoga and Dance offers classes for hot yoga, dance, and other healthy activities that promote physical and inner strength.

Jiwa Yoga and Dance, Jl. Petitenget no. 78, Kerobokan, T: 0361 841 3689,

a rendezvous with balimoon

On August 7, the Third Annual Bali Superyacht Rendezvous was held at the BPC City Hotel in Denpasar. BaliMoon Liqueurs hosted the event as the main sponsor, where more than 300 people attended to support some very special charities. This event is part of the Charity Rendezvous Series set up by The Yacht Support Group. BaliMoon and Indo Yacht Support surpassed expectations in funds raised and the chosen charities will receive an equal share of donations to further expand their goals this year. Food from the event was delivered to the Bali Street Kids Orphanage.

BaliMoon Liqueurs, T: 0361 283 840, www.balimoonliqueurs.net
we got the FEAR

Legendary front man of the Stone Roses, Ian Brown, gave a spectacular performance at Hard Rock Café in Kuta. The God-like genius showcased some of his most popular hits such as Corpses in Her Mouth, Golden Glaze, and FEAR to a screaming crowd that packed the venue end to end. Ian Brown did his famous monkey dance on stage while interacting with the fans and rocking the house.

Hard Rock Café, Jl. Pantai Kuta, T: 0361 761 869
an heir to the warisan

The acclaimed Warisan name has recently opened a gallery of their beautiful furniture and home décor collection. Warisan has been producing furniture since 1989. Also located within the gallery is a fine dining restaurant that boasts an exquisite atmosphere in line with the Warisan concept.

Warisan Living, Jl. Raya Kerobokan no. 68, Kerobokan, T: 0361 730 048, www.warisan.com
swiss-belhotel takes over bali kuta resort

Swiss-Belhotel International, a rapidly expanding international management company with over 60 hotels, resorts and projects in Asia Pacific and the Middle East took over the management of 251 international standard rooms in Kuta as of August 1.
The new property, Bali Kuta Resort by Swiss-Belhotel, is conveniently located in the heart of Kuta, 15 minutes away from the Ngurah Rai International Airport and five minutes from Kuta beach. The location of the hotel allows easy access to entertainment venues, tourist attractions, exclusive shopping and site seeing in Kuta, Legian, Seminyak and Nusa Dua.

Bali Kuta Resort by Swiss-Belhotel, Jl. Majapahit no. 18, Kuta, T: 0361 762 818, www.swiss-belhotel.com

sanur village festival cleans up

This year’s Sanur Village Festival began with an environmentally conscious activity: beach cleaning, which was held on Saturday, July 31. Along the shores of Sanur beach, students, workers of hotels and restaurants surrounding the area pitched in to clear the waste.
Mercure Resort Sanur was one of the proud participants of this eco-friendly activity, in line with their commitment to continuously support environment conservation initiatives.

Mercure Resort Sanur,
Jl. Mertasari, Sanur,
T: 0361 288 833
stars of guigal at karma kandara

Karma Kandara presented a wonderfully elegant wine-pairing dinner at di Mare restaurant hosted by Guigal’s roving ambassador Brett Crittenden. The rich and flavourful wines
from the France’s Rhone Valley were paired with an immaculate five-course meal created by their executive chef Simon Blaby.
In addition to a classically friendly crowd, a beautiful restaurant, and a luxurious atmosphere, it was indeed a night to remember.

Jl. Villa Kandara Banjar Wijaya Kusuma Ungasan, T: 0361 848 2200,
intercontinental bali’s temple anniversary

InterContinental Bali Resort recently celebrated the anniversary of its temple. This annual event was scheduled in accordance to the Balinese lunar calendar to coincide with the full moon. The day of the ceremony saw the resort’s Hindu community gather for a series of symbolic rituals and blessings performed by a high-caste priest. Colourful offerings of fruit and flowers were placed in the shrines within the temple complex to appease the Gods.

InterContinental Bali Resort, Jl. Uluwatu no. 45, Jimbaran, T: 0361 701 888, www.bali.intercontinental.com
the junction house music festival

The Junction House Music Festival hosted the sixth volume of its annual summer gathering in Bali for three days with over 3000 guests attending at various hot spots around the island. The festival saw performances by world class DJs such as Osunlade, Simon Dunmore, Gregory, Stevie G, Hideo Kobayashi and many more, including local talents Anton Wirjono, DJs Hogi and Downey. The Junction 2010 was hosted by Lupo Music, Future10 Productions and Pro Motion Events.


nusa dua fiesta
September 15 - October 19

Bali Tourism Development Corporation is putting on a festival in the most developmentally touristy place on the island, Nusa Dua. The festival organisers boast a green theme this year with a “beach plastic clean up”, Nusa Dua coral reef programmes, and “greening initiatives such as One Man, One Tree”. Also featured will be sporting events and a culinary challenge.
So be green, wash the island.
rock bar “jakarta crowd”night
September 18

Everyone’s favourite bar that’s perched on a rock reaches out to our city dwelling kin with DJ Chris Penny aka Cpen. Expect housey grooves with deep bass. Make sure you bring the most fashionable gear to match our neighbour’s status-obsessed society. Ayana Resort and Spa Bali, Jl. Karang Mas Sejahtera Jimbaran,
T: 0361 702 222, www.ayanaresort.com
of readers and writers
Oct 6-10

The 2010 Citibank - Ubud Writers and Readers Festival will once again feature a host of established writers and a constellation of rising stars from Indonesia and around the globe. Among them, Man Booker Prize winners Thomas Keneally (1982) and Anne Enright (2007), journalist and BBC correspondent Kate Adie, historian and travel writer William Dalrymple, celebrated Chinese author Ma Jian, and veteran Indonesian man of letters Sitor Situmorang. If scintillating presentations, discussions and literary lunches are not enough, there are more than a dozen workshops for budding wordsmiths, while a series of evening events including play readings, a poetry slam, spoken word and rap performances, and a clamour of parties and dinners will keep tails and tongues wagging well into the night. The theme of this year’s festival is Bhinneka Tunggal Ika – Harmony in Diversity, and a tribute to one of Indonesia’s late great harmonisers, Abdurrachman Wahid (alias Gus Dur) will be another of the festival’s highlights www.ubudwritersfestival.com
fasting month
August 11– September 10

The holy month of Ramadhan is here and it’s time to respect the fact that even if you’re not fasting, some people are. Be kind to those people, Ramadhan is an expression of faith and spirituality, and you have to admire the willpower it takes to do an entire workday without eating and drinking
dance asia
September 1

Dance Asia, a dance studio-cum-café-cum-retail outlet, will celebrate its opening grandly on September 30. The opening celebration will feature (you guessed it) dance performances. Dancing fanatics and enthusiasts alike can mingle in what has been “dubbed as Bali’s newest dance hub” starting on September 1. Check out their location for dance class schedules.

Sunset Road 48B (between Jl. Kunti and
Jl. Plawa), T: 03618475891
horace bristol exhibit
until october 4

Horace Bristol’s photography continues its exhibition throughout the month. Enjoy picturesque scenes of Indonesia in the late ‘30s that are sure to ease your mind away from the out-of-control development and traffic found in the world of today. Jalan Uluwatu ll, T: 0361 703311, www.jenggala.com
bellobono at biasa
Until September 15

Angelo Bellobono’s marvellous works of art are still on display until Sept 15 at Biasa Artspace. If you happen to be shopping in the Seminyak area (based on the tips in this shopping issue) drop in and take in some culture!
Jl. Raya Seminyak No. 34, T: 0361 847 5766, www.biasaart.com
bikini martini
September 26

Royal Santrian is hosting a beach day with free flow martinis from 3 to 5 pm (Rp. 350,000). There is no cover charge and ladies will be able to enjoy one free watersport activity. Music will be provided by DJ Chill Out. From 10am – 6pm.
Jl Pratama, Tanjung Benoa, T: 0361 778 181, www.theroyalsantrian.com
art of body
September 1

The first yoga-fit studio to open in Sanur is wide open for business. The studio will offer everything from “yoga to personal training, from Pilates to health retreats and gym concepts, of which aim is to inspire people to live healthy and balanced lives.” A wide variety of combination classes will be available so check out the website and sculpt your body into a piece of art and get fit!
Hotel Puri Tempo Doeloe, Jl. Bypass Ngurah Rai 209, T:0361 286 542, www.theartofbody.com
abstract lines at ganesha
–October 4

Opening on September 2 at 6.30pm at
the Ganesha Gallery is the dual exhibition
of acclaimed abstract artists Ida Bagus
Urip Candrabayu and I Wayan Setem.
The paintings have little basis in the visual world around us but rely on the inner
workings of emotions inside the mind’s eye. Essentially, they are painted feelings;
so get all emotional at the Ganesha.

Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay,
T: 0361 701 010, www.fourseasons.com

no place like home......

no place like home

from interviews with the movers and shakers of the island’s property industry to the a to z of building your own pad, here is all you need to know about making yourself a home in bali

saxon looker
sea sentosa and the layar

www.seasentosa.com, www.thelayar.com

on sea sentosa
Originally, my concept was to do villas because we [Sentosa Group] are known to be very good at it. But this particular site just doesn’t lend itself to it. So, what we’re doing instead is to try and make the most tasteful apartments as we possibly can. That’s why we have enlisted Patrick Blanc who is the foremost vertical garden specialist in the world. We’re trying to make everything as green as possible, as visually stunning as possible but at the same time as unobtrusive as possible to the beauty of the surrounding nature.

on the environment
Our aim is to be as environmentally responsible as we can. We will handle our waste in a responsible way meaning our water waste will have zero water pollution and we’re using power as smartly as possible. I have a personal connection to the site. I’m a surfer who surfs there every single day. Therefore, it’s very important for me how clean the rivers are.

on working with the local communities
The community [in the vicinity of the site] has actually been very actively involved with the design. It’s been a very interactive process. What the villagers have recommended for the development,
which we have adopted, has made it even better. We listen to what they have to stay about the height in relation to the temple, the aesthetics such as having certain things more Balinese and much more. We know how much
the status of the temple means to the community and this has to be respected and so are the wishes of the individual villager.

on developments in bali
I’m definitely for developments in Bali. I know there are those who are saying that all developments are bad. But if you want to take that position, we’d all be sitting down in Kuta. While some westerners are against the developments, the actual chief of the village is saying that the development is going to be really good for the community. I’m not suggesting that what the expats are saying between their yoga session and their massage is not to be listened to, but development for any place is important, especially for Bali, which depends on its tourism industry. But at the same time, you have to make it as responsible as possible. You have to make sure it relates to the community as well as it possibly can. And I know in Bali, it has to, otherwise your project won’t be a success.

and more about the layar
is it possible for the buyers of your property to personalise their purchase? Yes. Personalisation options include:
Shape of the swimming pool.
Shape and position of the garden Jacuzzi.
Layout of bathrooms, including possibility of air-conditioning.
Change/upgrade of flooring materials.
Upgrade of internal bathtub to Jacuzzi bathtub.

The best of bali Awards 2010

best of bali

ah, the moment all you readers (and nominees) have been waiting for. the votes for the 2010 hellobali best of bali awards have been submitted by the judges and have been counted and double-checked. here we present to you the list of winners, with a comprehensive vote count just so you know where they stand.
envelope, please. and the award goes to…

the judges

Our panel of judges is quite vast, although some prefer to stay anonymous. However, there are some judges that have agreed to be mentioned, as listed below:

  1. Chris Salans, chef owner of Mozaic Restaurant
  2. Jose Luis Calle, general manager of The Balé and The Amala
  3. Guy Bedarida, head designer and creative director of John Hardy Jewellery
  4. Kim Randall, director of Kendra Gallery of Contemporary Arts
  5. Mark Kuan, owner of Delicious Onion
  6. Peter Stephenson, culturalist-cum-writer
  7. Nobuyuki Narabayashi, head designer of Desain 9
  8. I Made Putra, executive chef of The Laguna Nusa Dua
  9. Darren Lauder, executive chef of Nusa Dua Beach Hotel and Spa
  10. Malik Lomax, DJ extraordinaire
  11. Judy Chapman, wellness and spa curator at Karma Resorts
  12. Martin East, DJ and music producer
  13. Tipi Jabrik, professional surfer
  14. Annisa Dharma, editor of hellobali
  15. Unggul Hermanto, editor-in-chief of hellobali.

hellobali readers’ most favourite chef
Winner: Christian Hinckley, executive chef of Amandari
Runner up: Simon Blaby, executive chef of Karma Kandara

Best fine-dining restaurant Restaurants that serve delicious food with a side of class
Winner: Il Ristorante, The Bvlgari Resort (33.33%)

Best casual-dining restaurant Affordable cuisine in a comfortable setting
Winner: Sardine (40%)

Best new restaurant
The newbie that proves to be a goodie, in all aspects mentionable. This restaurant is preferably not more than two years old
Winner: MÉTIS (46.67%)

Best place to boogie
Venues that have an ample-sized dance floor, good live music, lively atmosphere, and, most importantly, the boogie factor
Winner: Hu’u Bar (40%)

Best place to get wasted
Venues that encourage, support, and fight for your right to party. Consider the quality and variety of drinks
Winner: The Living Room (33.33%)

Best new bar or club
Recently opened bars or clubs that have made a statement in the scene
Winner: Rock Bar (53.33%)

Best party
Quite simply, events that rocked the island in the past year
Winner: The Junction House Music Festival (40%)

Best original cocktail
Many venues offer original masterpieces in the art of mixing, we would like to know which cocktails from which venues are the favourite creations of many
Winner: Bali Mary at the St Regis Bali Resort (33.33%)

Most magical fingers
Spas that offer the best, most divine massages and rubdowns, without all the frills and thrills
Winner: Jari Menari (33.33%)

Best new hotel or villa
Newly established accommodation that truly makes the hospitality industry proud
Winner: Alila Villas Uluwatu (60%)

Hotel or villa with the best design
Accommodation that stands out for its aesthetic features (interior design, architecture, and overall décor)
Winner: Alila Villas Uluwatu (53.33%)

Most original cuts in a fashion label
Fashion labels that have the most cutting-edge and unique cuts, shapes and structures for their clothing
Winner: BIASA (40%)

Most avant-garde accessories
Trinkets that possess beautiful and innovative designs
Winner: Jemme (26.67%) & John Hardy Jewellery (26.67%)

Greenest establishment
Companies, organisations, venues that support and effectively practice an eco-friendly attitude
Winner: The Green School (45.45%) & Ibuku Bamboo by Design (45.45%)

Best arts and culture event or festival
Events and/or festivals that successfully promoted, cultivated and displayed the arts and culture of the island in all forms imaginable
Winner: The Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (60%)

Rabu, 03 Maret 2010

Valley of The Gods

mount agung looks down on me with her majestic eye while i take in the astounding beauty of the bagus agro pelaga property, the island’s first ever agro-tourism site

A good view of the Golden Bridge – Bali’s longest (360 metres) and highest (85 metres from the river below) bridge built in 2003, almost eight years ago – leaves a somewhat melancholic, yet admiring imprint on the long-term memory segment of my grey matter.

As far as my eyes can see, there are forests and magnificent fields filled with organic fruits, vegetables and flowers, and one of the most amazing valleys I have ever come across. All that gorgeous colour and greenery is kept bright and shiny through the resort’s drip irrigation system, which is quite different from the usual subak method. The drip irrigation system enables precise water delivery and helps adjust the water supply for particular plants, thus increasing the efficiency in water usage and distribution.

Bagus Agro Pelaga’s agricultural beauty is spread out over 18 hectares of prolific land, of which more than 17 hectares is used for organic farming. Being 750 metres above sea level – in the mountain range of Pucak Mangu – Pelaga village invites you to enjoy its fresh mountain air and extraordinary panoramic views. Cattle, such as cows, pigs, domestic chickens and fish, are raised on the property in order to support the area’s Organic Farming System. Along with those efforts to prop up the wellbeing of our planet, Bagus Agro Pelaga offers a wide and varied range of fun environmentally friendly activities, such as guided treks around its extensive grounds, visits to the impressive Nungnung Waterfall (a 500-metre-high waterfall in the centre of a remote forest), white water rafting on the Ayung River, cycling, adventurous jungle treks, camping trips, traditional products demonstrations (making coconut oil demonstration, making Balinese cake Lak Lak demonstration, etc), a visit to the Elephant Park of Carangsari, and so much more.

Benefiting from healthy organic dishes is possible at no less than five restaurants on the Bagus property. Even environment-friendly shopping can also be done on the property. The sizeable Agro Shop features products, which includes vegetables and fruits, seeds, cut flowers, tabulapot (flowers of fruit planted in a small pot), and modern agricultural tools. •

Bagus Discovery Main Office
Jl. Ngurah Rai no. 300b, Tuban
T: 0361 761 877, 0361 751 223
E: info@bagus-discovery.com

Fish Out of Water

it’s always very smoky and it feels hot when it’s too crowded, but it’s so good, the only thing you care about is the food on your plate…

catching one fish at a time was how it all started for the young fisherman

Tables on the sand, the smell of coconut husks grilling fish, the occasional fireworks, the cheap wine, the cold beer, piles of empty plates and of course the great seafood bites, all make a great Jimbaran beachside dining experience. These joints don’t really care if they should serve food from your right or left side, or that your wine glass needs a second refill. Their charm lies in how their food is simple yet good. They go with the philosophy which believes that if your palate is pleased, nothing else matters.

Evidently, it works. The plethora of seafood restaurants that currently dot the Jimbaran coastline is a major destination for anyone visiting Bali. It’s on the recommendation list of all travel guides. In certain ways, it almost defines Jimbaran.

Looking at this phenomenon, it’s hard to imagine that it all started with one man. In fact, maybe even the entire economic picture of Jimbaran would have been much different without one great idea that exponentially blossomed.

It all started in the mid 80s along the sandy shores of Jimbaran Bay. A young fisherman named Nyoman Bagi’s would guide tourists on small fishing trips on his small boat in the bay. The tourists and Nyoman would fish and take their catch back to shore where the Balinese man would make a fire on the beach and grill the fish for his clients as part of the fishing trip.

catching one fish at a time was how it all started for the young fisherman

It then occurred to him that if he set up a cold drink stand right next to where he grilled his fish, the clients would buy the refreshments as he served their catch. This infinitesimally small idea marks the very beginning of all the grilled fish warungs in present day Jimbaran; much like an infinitesimally small spore implanting itself onto a rock can spawn into a giant coral reef.

In 1987, Nyoman decided to actually grill and sell fish and turned his enterprise into a tiny one-table shack and dubbed it Ramayana. As time wore on and more and more fish were grilled, the shack slowly evolved into a slightly bigger shack, trading out pieces of bamboo and a tarp roof for slightly bigger pieces of bamboo and a thatched roof.

It was at this stage when a Swiss queen came to his shack and tried his delicious grilled fish and wrote him a royal endorsement, an honour which he proudly keeps till this day. Nyoman recalls, “Swiss people would be so surprised to see this certificate, they’d round up all their friends and take them to my café.”

With all things in Bali, original ideas don’t stay original for too long. Soon another grilled fish shack opened up next to Ramayana, followed by another. In 1996, the Bupati decided to move the restaurants to a different location as to not interfere with hotel development. They were allowed different slots on the beach much as how it looks today.

A couple of years later, the Desa decided to build structures behind the restaurants that became shops and kitchens. As demand for more space to build other seafood cafés grew, every available space was turned into a kitchen to support the ever-multiplying restaurants on the beach. This was how a lonely drink shack on a beach evolved into the mass of seafood restaurants you see today.

When asked about what he thought of the all the new restaurants in the format that he essentially started, Nyoman commented, “as long as it’s still healthy and there are still customers, it’s a good thing.”

catching one fish at a time was how it all started for the young fisherman

Today there are 52 seafood restaurants in Jimbaran where tourists and locals alike regularly get treated to fresh seafood grilled on coconut husks. The format of each restaurant is pretty much the same with variations in the sauces and trimmings one can get. All the seafood is from the local Jimbaran fish market located on the beach. Typical establishments offer a variety of recently caught fish, lobster, squid, prawns, clams and crab with salad, morning glory, potatoes and rice. Most seafood is lathered with a generous amount of chili sauce which, combined with the smokiness of the coconut husks, gives the seafood its unique taste. Chilli-phobics need not worry, you can request the concentration of the spice on your meal.

Once you’ve picked a restaurant that seems right for you, the first thing to do is pick your fish. To ensure freshness, the opaqueness of the eyes is a good indicator of how recently your dinner was caught. Dishes are mainly served “family style” where they are placed in the middle and diners divvy up the food. The restaurants may look almost identical, but each one has its own unique way of doing things.

No matter which establishment you choose, the immediate impression you get is of a chilled laid back dining experience, with the novelty of actually selecting your own food to be barbequed for you. It is an essential stop for any seafood lover visiting the island. Therefore, these restaurants are perfect for a casual dinner with friends, family, or a tour bus group. Tables are laid directly on the sand where customers can watch the iridescent sunsets and spot newly arriving tourists on planes landing in Ngurah Rai international. The oceanfront setting is also littered with colourful fishing boats dotting the bay from the beach to the horizon. The atmosphere is also augmented by a four-piece guitar band that serenades diners with hit cover songs. As night falls, the open setting lets you eat under the equatorial stars.

Thousands upon thousands of tourists and locals visit Jimbaran beach every year specifically to eat its now famous seafood. An entire local economy has benefited from both jobs created and the revenue harvested from what started off as a humble fisherman, grilling fish. If you haven’t done it, then chances are you will soon. •

You can find Ramayana, the original fish grilling shack, at Jl. Pemelisan Agung. It’s the third restaurant from the right if you’re facing the beach. T: 0361 702 859

The Art of Profit

art is a very subjective matter, as it is usually created based on inspiration and ideas, which can’t be quantitatively measured. however, these days, it seems there is a monetary value for everything, and enlightenment is simply a price tag away

Do not be misled by art critics, art historians, curators, collectors, gallery owners and auction houses who wax euphoric as they praise artists for their powerful brush strokes, brilliant colour combinations, striking compositions and profound (but often hidden) meanings. While the ultimate judgement of an artist’s importance should be based on his (or her) originality, relevance and ability to forge diverse influences into their own vision of something new, fresh and meaningful – make no mistake the real criteria that drives the art market in Bali and elsewhere is nothing less than MONEY!

Now that the truth is out, let’s consider the playing field. First, let’s exclude dead expatriates, like the legendary Walter Spies, whose small gem-like paintings have sold for over a million dollars for years. Once the topper, his record prices were surpassed a few years ago by Adrian Jean Le Mayeur de Merprés, whose large oils now fetch double. If one considers that if you see one you’ve seen them all, this is a stark testimony to the fact that talent and originality do not necessarily have anything to do with art prices.

Anyway, this is all irrelevant for our quest because these guys were not even Balinese. Furthermore, they have an unfair advantage because deceased artists don’t paint anymore. In the dog eat dog Adam Smith market, this means limited supply and ever-rising prices as long as there are more buyers than sellers.
A naïve person might believe justifiably that the most valuable Balinese artist dead or alive would be one of the greats of the Pitamaha period, such as Gusti Lempad or Ida Bagus Made Poleng who worked at the same time as Spies and Le Mayeur. Sadly, this is not the case.

Even though these masters are represented in international collections like at the MoMA in New York and have long been cremated, their works have rarely fetched more than a low five figures in spite of their outrageous importance – again a sad reflection of the priorities of collectors of Indonesian art.

The next generation of Balinese painters of note were those like Nyoman Gunarsa and Made Wianta who, instead of learning in the villages, attended modern academies in the 1970s and, in Wianta’s case, travelled abroad. Notably, the usual venues for their shows in the still very ethnocentric West were not contemporary art museums, but rather the old ethnological museums looking for a new identity to hide their colonial origins. The irony was not lost on some. Nevertheless, both men would go on to achieve critical and financial success.

In recent years, however, a new phenomenon has gripped the Indonesian art market as several young Indonesian and Balinese artists, like Putu Sutawijaya, gained international attention as established names who have achieved steady high prices in sales rooms and galleries.

Admittedly these artists benefited from the huge wave of interest in Asian artists, which began with Chinese contemporary artists who took the West by storm. As testimony to their own abilities, while Chinese art suffered a major setback after the fall of the Lehmann Brothers and financial crisis in 2008, Indonesian artists have fared far better.

By far the absolute King of the Hill is I Nyoman Masriadi, a young Balinese artist. Much to the shock (and jealousy) of many, his coronation took place in October 2008 when one of his large canvasses titled The Man from Bantul, the Monster sold for the world record price of US$ 1,006,356 in Sotheby’s Hong Kong, setting the record as the highest price ever paid, not only for a Balinese artist alive or dead but for any living artist in South-East Asia. The record, succeeded by more big sales, has left many people kicking themselves as they rue their failure to purchase his work when it was selling for only 20 or 30 million rupiah a painting.

A taciturn introvert, Masriadi, who dropped out of Jogjakarta’s prestigious ISI art academy after his professors labelled him untalented, is definitely an outsider. Ironically, while his reputation continues to soar in the East and West with a major exhibition in Singapore and glowing articles in Newsweek, Time and The New York Times, Masriadi himself seems to have evoked much more jealously than admiration in Indonesia.

An ugly example of this was heard during a symposium sponsored by an Indonesian art magazine to help Indonesian artists prepare for globalisation.

Rather than seeing Masriadi as a knight in shining armour who had knocked down the castle walls thus allowing other Indonesian artists to follow, the participants preferred to speculate that his international success was not based on sheer talent and hard work but rather shady nefarious plots hatched by Chinese and foreign middlemen. One expert even scoffed that nobody would pay so much for an artwork by an Indonesian!

At this point we get into psychology, another subject altogether. That said, it is no wonder so many of Masriadi’s paintings are of fight scenes and invincible super heroes. As his star continues to rise he might want to consider getting into intergalactic travel. •

A Pachyderm Experience

a trip to lampung, the lesser known part of sumatra, takes you on a walk through the rainforest on a large mammal with a long trunk and tusks, and plays football

hop on for a ride fit for a kingSituated on the southernmost tip of Sumatra, Lampung is often overlooked as a tourist destination. Holiday and adventure seekers usually head northward to see the picturesque Lake Toba, the furry orang-utans of Bukit Lawang or the underwater beauty of Pulau Weh. Therefore, the idea of a road trip made me a bit hesitant. But intrigued. Nonetheless, on paper, the trip looked quite interesting: a festival, an elephant ride and a jungle trek. Not bad.

Only when I got to this trip’s assembly point did I realise that it was going to be an eight-hour bum-numbing journey each way. Leaving from Jakarta, we were to take a 2.5-hour drive to Merak Harbor, a 2.5-hour ferry-ride across the Sunda strait, land in Bakuheni Port and then take another three-hour drive to Way Kambas.

The first leg was fine, conversation was good and a few playlists on my iPod later, we reached Merak. The ferry-ride was surprisingly pleasant. It’s a roll-on/ roll-off ferry, meaning, our car got onto the ferry, entered the belly and we could walk around the upper decks.

Before the ferry set off, some local boys entertained us by diving off the ferry into the deep waters below for some spare change. Great stunts from these kids but at the same time it tugged on my heart that they had to risk their lives for some small change.

We passed the beautiful and scenic islands across the Sunda Strait and even caught a glimpse of Krakatau volcano on the way. A mesmerising sunset greeted us while on the ferry, making me momentarily forget that we had passed the five-hour mark.

The drive from Bakuheni to Way Kambas along the hilly trans-Sumatra highway would have been beautiful, but since we were driving at night, it was quite boring. We finally got to our hotel, tired and hungry, lower body numb. After a bit of socialising, I set off to bed. The next day would be a long one.

The town of Way Kambas celebrates the uniqueness of the flora and fauna of the area and the rich diversity of the different cultures in Lampung each year with the Way Kambas Festival. As soon as we arrived at the festival grounds, six of the biggest guests immediately greeted us: six Sumatran elephants from the Way Kambas National Park’s Elephant Conservation Centre. After some lengthy speeches from the Minister of Culture and other government officials the festival finally kicked off. A number of cultural dances were performed and a tableau on the transmigration of various peoples from Java and Bali to Lampung and Sumatra Island was staged.

celebrating the diversity of the flora, fauna and people of campung at the annual way kambas festival

Of course, the real stars of the show were the elephants. The crowd eventually gravitated to the pachyderms, posing for photos, watching them perform minor tricks. The highlight of the day was the three-on-three football match these animals played. Everyone was enthralled, including me.

Done with the culture part of the day, we headed to the National Park after a quick lunch for the adventure part. Located south of the Barisan Hills, the nearby Way Kambas National Park, is a 130,000 hectare reserve consisting of swampland and lowland rain forest established in 1972. Within the reserve are the Elephant Conservation Centre and the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary. The adventure part of the day included a jungle trek, a boat ride and a night elephant safari.

The jungle trek took us deep into the rainforest. According to our guide, there are still around 300 wild Sumatran elephants in this reserve. So we had to be careful. Every time we would pass a known elephant crossing, he would remind us to give-way to the elephants if we saw one. As if any of us would dare play tag with a wild elephant. Aside from the elephants, the forest is home to a wide variety of wildlife.

It is said to be a birdwatchers delight. Among the bird species which can be found in the park include the white-winged duck, the storm stork, the desert adjutant stork and a number of owls. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any of these although maybe we weren’t really looking.

hop on for a ride fit for a kingThe 90-minute trek was easy. The only problem was the leeches. Yeah, leeches. Tiny suckers. The forest was teeming with them. If you weren’t careful, you’d miss them. But they won’t miss you. They wait for their victims, tiny mouths open. These little suckers latch onto the victim’s skin, break it and they secrete an anti-coagulant substance which stops your blood from coagulating so they can freely suck your blood. I came in hiking sandals and was actually very cautious when walking around. When we got back to camp I felt an itch under the strap of my sandal, checked it out and found a not so tiny bloated sucker, peacefully filling up from my ankle. It was a war wound and I was proud of it.

We also took a short boat ride up the Way Kanan River which runs through the Park. A number of monkeys and colourful birds made an appearance. And as the sun was setting, our guide announced that we had to head back to camp since we didn’t want to be in the forest at dark. Who would?

After a simple dinner prepared by the camp staff, we were off to the Elephant Conservation Centre for our night safari. At present, there are 62 elephants under the care of the Centre, six of these are babies. Each elephant has an assigned trainer, his job is to wash, feed and teach little tricks to his charge daily. The night we were there, there were 20 of us going on the night safari. Each of us was to get onto an elephant, driven by its trainer. The “boarding” area had two tall concrete stairs which led up to a platform, from the landing, one could easily get onto the elephants.

I chose a big one called Mambo, a 20-year-old male with long tusks. After the initial excitement of everyone getting onto their elephants, the real adventure started. Convoy style, the elephants formed a single line and headed for the forest. The pachyderms are trained to walk in line. To get them in line, each trainer is armed with a tiny flashlight. They light up a path for the elephants to see the other elephant in front and violà, 20 elephants in a line. Single file the elephants and their giddy passengers walked quietly into the forest. Once my eyes got accustomed to the darkness, I looked up. It was a magnificent night. Never had I seen the sky this clear this clear and bright. I could make up constellations of and stars. And what made it more grand was that I was soaking up this view from atop an elephant.

We made our way through some trees and to the flatlands. Then all of a sudden, my trainer asked me to hold onto his shoulders. This was when I discovered where we were. At the edge of a river. We were going to cross.

I held tight onto the trainer’s shoulders as Mambo made his way down to the riverbed. With water rushing around me, our line of pachyderms made their way across the river. When we got to the other side, the elephants again climbed out of the river onto the bank of the river. As I looked behind me, I marvelled at the sight of the long line of elephants walking through the forest and river. An unbelievable sight. I guess the eight-hour journey to get here was worth it, even if just for this experience.

The line of elephants went through the forest for a bit longer or maybe it was too long, since my thighs and bum were getting sore. On our way back to the Centre, we caught a glimpse of the baby elephants playing around, again a truly moving sight.
I went to bed quite happy and fulfilled. When I woke up, it dawned on me, I had another eight-hour journey back home. •

The office of the Way Kambas National Park’s Elephant Conservation Centre is on Jl. Raya Way Jepara, Labuan Ratu Lama, Lampung, Sumatra. T: 0725 44220.

Spa Deals

destination: the patra bali
Destination spa is a thorough treatment that offers three specific programmes: rejuvenation, stress management and detoxification. These new programmes include a range of beach activities, cycling, horse-riding, fitness and golf – all designed to integrate wellness of being through body and mind exercises along with the consumption of good healthy natural food. All spa programmes have been carefully designed by Gaya Spa specialists.
Rejuvenation is a program designed for refreshment through natural therapy; stress management utilises relaxation therapy; and detoxification is designed to improve health by getting rid of toxins from the body or even losing weight through diet management, colonic reduction and lowering cholesterol with herbal treatments.

The Patra Bali Resort & Villas, Jl. Ir H Juanda, Kuta, T: 0361 751 161, www.patrabali.com

opulent oriental indulgence
The Mandara Spa at Nikko Bali Resort & Spa offers a wide range of Bali massages and body treatments that can be enjoyed in one of eight well-appointed Bali spa villas or at the beach-side bale.
Their Ultimate Indulgence spa package is to die for - an exotic, luxurious and unforgettable celebration of indulgence consisting of aromatherapy footbath, lavender body wash, traditional body scrub, a choice of aromatherapy floral bath or herbal steam, a signature Mandara massage, foot Massage, and the icing on the cake, a refresher facial.

Nikko Bali Resort & Spa, Jl. Raya Nusa Dua Selatan, Nusa Dua, T: 0361 773 37

cruise to relaxation
Spa Bali Cruise is a unique concept that combines two of life’s most indulgent pleasures cruising Bali’s coastal waters and partaking in a nurturing spa session of traditional healing and beauty rituals.
Their Fresh Lemon Ritual is a treatment using hot stone massage as the main highlight. Hot stone massage is an ancient treatment that is powerfully therapeutic. It employs a technique utilizing smooth, heated basalt stones which are placed on specific acupressure points on the body to melt away knots, tension and stress. Hot stone massage is based on the oldest form of East Asian massage known as anma, that involves long and flowing stokes using stones instead of hand pressure.

Spa Bali Cruise, Bali Marina, Jl. Wisata Tirta, Pelabuhan Benoa, www.spabalicruise.com

sweet like chocolate
Treat the little ones to a scrumptious dose of relaxation. Anantara Spa’s Chocolate Massage for kids ages two to 12 years old starts off with a footbath ritual and helps to release tiredness and tension for the active kiddies. With a sumptuous and gentle chocolate massage oil, this 30-minute treatment package will help to mellow out the young’ins.

Anantara Spa, Jl. Dhyana Pura, T: 0361 737 773

Taman Merah "A Rosy-red Glow"

taman merah, which translates into red garden, is a contemporary wellness and beauty hub. affordable and homey, this spa will get you ready to paint the town a radiant red

the look
Akin to their contemporary wellness theme, Taman Merah Spa’s décor is very clean-cut. Red dominates the colour palette of their interiors, but with a balance so as to give my eyes a screaming bloodshot itch.

I have always thought of minimalist interior design as an excuse to not put in too much of an endeavour, and there is a fine line between finely designed minimalist interiors and those that just scream “low-budget-low-effort!”, but Taman Merah Spa is definitely not the latter.

The path leading to the front doors are stone steps set in a way so that they seem to be floating on a beautiful flow of water. In fact, water flows through each of their treatment rooms, granting me calming sounds of splashing tranquillity.

the touch
I was treated to the Taman Merah Glow package, which entailed me to a 30-minute sauna to get rid of toxins, an hour-long Balinese massage, a carrot body scrub and was finished off with a papaya enzyme body mask to polish down the skin and give it a warm, even-toned glow.

The massage was of the right pressure, with the masseuse climbing on the bed to fully coax my tense muscles into sedation.

The carrot body scrub and papaya enzyme body polish were the highlights of the whole treatment though. The therapist applied the papaya enzyme elixir onto my body with a large, soft brush, and that alone tickled my fancy, but that’s only the beginning; I could literally feel the enzymes working on my skin, as it felt tingly, like my pores were being cleaned out by a cool breeze.

the ingredients
I chose the Tropical Oceanic essential oil, which has a more refreshing sweet scent. The other option offered by the spa is the Musk Oceanic oil, which smells, well, musky.
Taman Merah Spa’s treatment products are all natural, as were my carrot scrub and papaya enzyme body polish, which makes it safe to repeat the treatment a couple of times per month.

the exceptional
I must say that the best part about the Taman Merah Glow treatment was the look on my face as I looked in the mirror afterwards. My skin was literally glowing, which resulted in a smile on my face. It’s a rarity to have a beauty treatment work so instantly, so I was giddy.

I looked radiant, an even-toned tan-like colour emanating from my shoulders and cheeks and the rest of my body. Even my legs (which were bruised from a previous bike accident) looked more vibrant than before the treatment.

The spa manager explained that the more often you do this treatment, the better your skin will look. I totally believe her – and I won’t take her word for it. As Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “I’ll be back.” •

Taman Merah Glow is priced at Rp. 750,000

Taman Merah Spa, Jl. Petitenget,
no. 469, Kerobokan, T: 0361 736 656, www.islandvillasbali.com

Free Wyllie

hamish daud wyllie is a fun-loving, carefree, silly man, but he’s also the creative director of tarita furniture, one of the largest furniture companies on the island, an architect-cum-designer with saka designs, and an art aficionado with a charitable heart at the age of 30.

so who is hamish daud wyllie? How about I give you a brief surface rundown. Currently, I am design director at Saka – which focuses on architecture and design. I am also creative director of Tarita Furniture. My mother was born in Singapore to Boyanese parents (an island north of Madura, Central Java) and my father is Australian. I’ve been based here in Bali since I was a baby but spent time travelling between Jakarta, Singapore and Sydney.

how do you balance out all these businesses, have a life and manage to not burn out? Well, I’ve pretty much mastered the art of looking busy [laughs]. No, I really owe much of my work credit to my partners Novan and Aan and the rest of the team from Saka Designs and Tarita. We all have something to bring to the table and have respect for each other’s visions. Respecting each other at work is very important.

Being in Bali, there are always ways to unwind. But if I see a gap in the schedule, I usually try and head down to Sumba to visit my dad. He usually has his ways of clearing my mind and looking at things differently.

what is your passion in life? Learning, seeing, touching, and tasting new things in life. You need to learn something everyday. So, I guess I love to tell stories about the journey.

I’m currently working very closely with Arief Rabik of Indo Bamboo (Linda Garland) on ways to push sustainability into our industries – both design and architecture. Subjects such as bamboo and other low-emission categorised products and ideas are exciting the possibilities of our future. I pretty much learn something new every time I come over to his house!

you were busy with setting up a new studio, what is that about? Well, the studio is a new chapter for Tarita Furniture. Now, under the same roof, we provide architectural services focusing on both the hospitality industry and private residential projects. The space is a hub for clients and designers to come in with an idea, and we basically execute it for them.

tell me more about blowing smoke, the exhibition/ auction/ fundraiser taking place this month at tarita studio. There are over 30 established artists donating work to this exhibition so we should see some cool things. All proceeds will be donated to the Narayan Seva childrens home in Singaraja. Two women who have dedicated their lives to sheltering built this place, educating and nurturing marginalized and disadvantaged children in an all encompassing approach.

Art has always been a great platform with helping charities. It also allows up and coming artists to get exposure. I think it’s a healthy relationship between everyone involved.

what are your hobbies? Food and laughter. I would have said surfing, but it just gets too crowded here these days.

what are you busy with at the moment? We have a few projects on at the moment in the region and abroad. I have this jinx thing that every time I talk something up before completion, it crumbles. Promise to tell you once I’m done, though!

what do you think about bali’s current wave of spiritual tourism? Well, to me, it’s funny that tourism has only just now tapped into this niche. Spirituality is something most of us grew up with here; I just hope that Bali and its culture don’t get exploited anymore than it has. However, if tastefully done and capturing the right amount of nostalgia and knowledge, it could be a winner.

recently, the tourism industry in bali has exploded and developments are sprouting everywhere, what do you think of that? I think as far as development, we went through a shocking couple of years where money was pouring in almost too quickly (post-bombings) and the lack of vision and site planning caused upsetting design and infrastructure or lack thereof.

Bali is an affordable place to holiday, bringing in people from all ends of the world. I think the Balinese people are strong enough to maintain their values and not get too fussy about wild holidaymakers. Thankfully, Kuta and Seminyak are a very small aspect of Bali – tourism-wise.

A firmer council regulation would be great in order to control developments sprouting too quickly without much thought to the surrounding environment. Let’s keep Bali beautiful!

what will you be doing on nyepi (seclusion day)? Nyepi is a sacred and holy day here, so we usually spend our time exploding fireworks and being completely mad. I’m kidding. No, I’m guessing I’ll be with a close group of friends somewhere nice.

where do you see yourself in five years? The future hasn’t happened yet and the past is gone. So I think the only moment we have is right here and now, and I try to make the best of those moments – the moments that I’m in. I think Annie Lennox said that. That’s pretty much where my head is at. •

Check out www.tarita.com and www.sakadesigngroup.com to learn more about Hamish Daud Wyllie’s work

What's on calender...?

bali island villas gets revamped

Bali Island Villas, a private complex of ten self-contained luxury villas located in the heart of Seminyak now features a spa-styled Jacuzzi for heightened relaxation in each villa. There is also high-speed Internet service available that operates on a 24-hour basis.

Jl. Petitenget no. 469, Seminyak, T: 0361 736 656

I wayan wicaya of bvlgari bali resort wins global chef title

The Global Chefs Challenge is the largest single chefs’ competition in the world, sponsored by the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS) and every two years, the finalists from the seven regions of the world take to the stoves to prepare a four-course dinner for 12 people to exacting standards. The six other Global Finalists were from Norway, Canada, Portugal, Holland, Dubai, and Australia.
I Wayan Wicaya explains, “Winning the title of Global Chef Asia was one of the highlights of my career. I remembered to stay calm and focussed and just did my best. It was an amazing experience and I am very happy for myself and for my colleagues who have supported me and given me the confidence to take on this great challenge.”

Bvlgari Bali Resort, Jl. Goa Lempeh, Uluwatu, T: 0361 847 1000

ku de ta goes audiovisual for a good cause

The prominent beachside venue hosted a DJ marathon and contemporary art event on Feb 26 to raise money for I’m An Angel, a Bali-based charity.
The eight-hour DJ marathon saw the likes of Donni One, Billy the Kid, DJ Stuart, Kevin Kloer, Stevie G and Wayne Wonder working the funk and donating their earnings to the cause. Internationally acclaimed urban graffiti artist, David Walker performed an explosive live art show on a two by two metre canvas. The finished piece will be auctioned on July 31, with all proceeds generously being donated to I’m An Angel.

KU DE TA, Jl. Laksmana no. 9, Seminyak, T: 0361 736 969

art with heart

On Valentine’s Day, the Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali showed love by displaying a vibrant collection of paintings by a rising new talent – Ms. Linda Satya. All works showcased were on sale and the funds raised during this one day charity initiative were donated to the Salam Children’s Home in Tabanan to help cover daily operational costs.
The Salam Children’s Home currently provides a nurturing environment for 50 underprivileged children of different ethnic backgrounds from across the Indonesian archipelago. It relies on community based funding to educate the children and give them the chance of a brighter future.

Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali, Jl. Wana Segara no. 33, Tuban, T: 0361 755 577

michelin star chef marcello fabbri at the st regis

Michelin Guide award-winning Marcello Fabbri presented a six-course, wine matched degustation dinner sensation at the Valentine’s Gourmet weekend at the resort’s Kayuputi Restaurant. This two-day gourmet gala saw an unforgettable dining experience for the romantic as the Chef extraordinaire invented a culinary extravaganza with his creative flair, which extended to cold pea mint soup with chestnuts. Kayuputi Restaurant, St. Regis Resort Bali, Kawasan Pariwisata Nusa Dua Lot S6, Nusa Dua, T: 0361 847 8111

lucky charms
march 19
The rainbow ends at Hu’u Bar’s St Patrick’s Day festivities. Indulge in their green cocktail specials, Guinness specials and great music tracks all night long. Catch leprechauns starting from 10pm until late.
Rp. 100,000 cover charge. Drink specials all night.

Hu’u Bar, Jl. Oberoi, Petitenget, T: 0361 736 443, www.huubali.com

transubstantiation: a collaboration
Until March 7

Coming from different generations and cultural backgrounds, S Teddy D and Daniel Flanagan are collaborating together to present their works on Transubstantiation. Although, empirically unchanged, the main idea is about presenting how their artworks interact one to another.
Both artists depict through their
dialogue that a painting is a complex image that can either be simplified or complicated but in the end, it is a small fragment of
the mind of its artist.

Kendra Gallery of Contemporary Art,
Jl. Drupadi no. 88b, Seminyak, T: 0361 736 628

embracing nature’s poem: a solo exhibition by nyoman sujana kenyem
March 4

Since his appearance on the scene in
the 90s, Kenyem has won national and international praise for the poetic beauty of his canvasses. The subject of each of his images, mirrored in titles like Touch, Smile and Nostalgia are inevitably highly personal visualisations of feelings and emotions. Swirling leaves, flowers, tiny human figures and luminous celestial
bodies flow with grace and beauty like the reflection of the moon in running water.

Ganesha Gallery, Four Seasons Resort
Jimbaran Bay, T: 0361 701 010

an artcoustic wednesday
Every Wednesday
Beat the midweek madness with freestyle music by KACIR DUNIA KETIGA, set in a beautiful garden setting and laidback artsy ambience.
Hosted by the musically proficient Yarri Satja, this weekly event is the perfect way to stomp out the Wednesday blues. Starts at 8pm until 11pm.

Art Café, Jl. Sari Dewi no. 17, Seminyak, T: 0361 736 751

silence is golden
March 16
Nyepi is the Balinese New Year, otherwise called Icaka New Year, the day of total silence throughout the island. No activity, no traffic at all on the roads, no fire or lights may be lit for 24 hours. Great purification and sacrificial rites are held the day before so as to exorcise evil spirits from every corner of the island.

a feast by the lagoon
March 16
Explore the finest four-course set menu presented in Western style specially created during Nyepi night at Nusa Bagus Island, an exclusive venue located in the middle of lagoons and surrounded by an impressive view across the tropical gardens. Ravioli, baby lobsters, beef tenderloin are a few dishes that will be served.
Priced at Rp. 500,000 per person (without wine pairing) and Rp. 800,000 per person (including wine pairing).

The Laguna, Kawasan Pariwisata Lot N2, Nusa Dua, T: 0361 771 327

moonshine rhythms
March 23
Specialists in African Drumming, Hamanah have over five years experience in the Australian market and are now based fulltime in Indonesia. They are Indonesia’s first African drum and dance company and endorsed by African drummer/dancer Sibo Bangoura of Guinea, Africa. cJoin their Full Moon Party in Canggu on this night for an organic, uplifting experience.

Due North

located on the northern coast of the island, singaraja used to be the centre of everything during the golden age of the balinese kingdom. with one damaged leg and a previously horrifying road trip experience, our writer headed up north to find out what’s left of the former capital of bali and check out its vicinity

Faced with another roadblock, the driver decided to swerve his dinky and weary car to the left, into a narrow alley that led to the much more slummy side of the town. I kept looking back to check that the mobs with guns were not tailing us anymore while praying that this would get us across the roadblock. But that hope immediately faded when we stumbled upon yet another roadblock. They had covered every single possible escape route. What was left was to get out of the car and negotiate our way through the blockade, which my travelling partner did exactly.

Fuelled with fear, my eyes were indeed open, but everything was blurry. Soon, I started hearing people shouting. I expected the worst. And with the shouting becoming more and more intense it did look like we were going to end up getting shot or tortured in prison for the rest of our lives. But then I heard a familiar voice saying, “Come on. Get out of the car. We’re walking through the roadblock.”

“What? How many days do you expect us to walk?” I asked.

“Only until after the blockade. There will be cars there.”

I got out of the car, cursing every single staring, angry-looking and sweaty mob member in my head and at the same time thanking my lucky stars that I had just scored travel story gold.

And suddenly, my mind fast-forwarded to the present. I had just been reminiscing about a road trip in Kathmandu. I was in a car again, not moving and parked right next to a cliff in Bedugul. Vertigo immediately hit.

That’s exactly what happens whenever I’m on a road trip - I have too much time to think and the rapid movement of objects through the car windows are somehow hypnotic to me. Images of Nepali communist mobs carrying guns, chasing my car apparently resulted in immediate paranoia and one guaranteed week of nightmares. Add this with being forced to hop on a tiny, eight-seat propeller plane which then flew above the Himalayas with dodgy seatbelts and cotton buds to cover my ears, I had to be immediately taken to an asylum as soon as we landed.
But if the images are green vegetation growing wildly among traditional Balinese houses, adorned with the occasional red, yellow and white from the flowers, the result is a state of almost absolute happiness.

this traditional house is one of the main features that decorates matahari beach and resort and spa

The view of the villages we went through leading up to Bedugul reminded me a lot of the town in Lombok where I grew up. The markets, for instance, looked beautifully raw. The buildings that made up the shops looked old, with plenty of scars. The bricks in the walls were sticking out like damaged bones on deeply severed flesh. Dust was the prominent component, but also optimism. None of the old ladies looked upset or broken. Even the parking man looked cheerful.

The higher we climbed up the mountain, the stronger the feeling of serenity. I think you are left with no option when you’re given the combination of a sleepy town – there was hardly anyone on the street, a big lake that looks very calm, green hills, cloudy sky, and the slightest hint of fog - you can’t help but feel at ease. It was as if the complications of life had not penetrated this part of the mountain yet.

I spotted a trucker talking on his mobile phone on the side of the street and caught myself getting carried away, finding the whole scene odd. But then I remembered that at the same moment, I was receiving football match results from halfway across the planet directly on my phone, in real time.

The former capital of Bali, Singaraja, had its own way of welcoming you. While the town looked pretty and friendly, the sun was less so. The first time I stepped out of the car, the heat was almost unbearable. Not because it was just hot, but because it felt like it had a sting that punctured right through my flesh.

The finer side of town was, like most Indonesian towns, a little outside the centre. I noticed how the streets were much bigger compared to the ones in Denpasar. The government offices also looked better taken care of. The colours of the walls still looked good. And their candi bentar (gates) were bigger too, with more intricate carvings.

A left turn took us to the even posher side of town, where a lot of Dutch-style houses were lined up. Some of them looked really old and had been turned into offices. The others, meanwhile, are still standing tall looking beautiful.

Our first stop in Singaraja was not far from this area. The Buleleng Museum (Jl. Veteran Singaraja) failed to give me any significant information about this coastal town. We indeed came across a lot of old lontar (palm leaf) manuscripts, but there wasn’t much explanation as to how significant they were to the history of Bali.

Apart from feeling excited about being able to buy copies of old books about Bali, I found out that the shadow puppet figures from this part of the island look more gothic compared to their Javanese counterparts. They have a more monstrous look. The Hanoman figure, for example, looks like he has really bad skin and sharp fangs.

The centre of the city – or what I thought was it because it has more shops and looks busier – is located near the old harbour. Right behind this harbour is a line of streets that reminds me of Macau. Ageing two-storey houses that resemble old warehouses decorate the small street in the middle. We came across a mosque and a few Moslem wear shops. This must have been the Moslem area of the city.

Not far away, through the gate to the old harbour, is a Chinese temple.

Because the harbour was dominated by grey, pastel and black, the red paint of the temple makes it stand out. However, the highlight of this abandoned harbour to me was the patina left on the ruins of what used to be the harbour’s warehouses. The walls are scarred, the locks broken and the roofs destroyed. If it weren’t for the heat, I would probably have spent hours staring at those walls, risking being taken away as a nutter by the police, but we had other missions to accomplish.

One of which was to check out a hot spring. The way there, we passed Lovina Beach along a road that presented you with the sea on one side and the mountains on the other.

As soon as we entered Banjar, the vegetation changed. Rows of grapevines replaced paddy fields and the smaller the road, the slimmer and taller the plants became. Bamboos, banana and coconut trees were almost everywhere too.

A hot spring usually means a lot of steps to tackle. And I recently had a motorbike accident, which temporarily lessened the mobility of my left leg. Hesitating to even get out of the car, from a distance, I saw a very old woman in a wheel chair emerging from the direction of the hot spring. She was pushed by another old woman and was in a group of similarly aged people. The thought of seeing their faces haunting – and mocking - me for the rest of my life gave me extra strength to soldier on. I couldn’t care less if I lost my left leg in the process as long as I didn’t embarrass myself in front of them. On top of that, seeing the wheel chair, I knew the steps wouldn’t be too difficult to tackle.

Indeed, without much pain I managed to reach the hot spring. It was not just full of local tourists, there were some foreign looking faces bathing too. Our driver told me that one of the springs is believed to have a healing powers. So he suggested that maybe I could give it a try. The thought sounded good for a moment, but after looking at the colour of the water, I didn’t have the courage for an infection.

Leaving Banjar, the sky slowly became more and more cloudy. Before, our left side view was green and yellow, grown against a blue background. But within minutes, it morphed into green, yellow and brown on a dark purple background before it became black and the rain inevitably poured down on us.

When we reached the even quieter side of North Bali, Pemuteran, the rain had subdued. One wrong left turn brought us to an unknown beach. It was a little scary as the small road went on and on, past a swamp that looked like it had giant crocodiles living there, before it ended on a small and secluded beach. I saw motorbikes parked there but the owners were nowhere to be seen. Realising the lack of lights around and the fact that the sun was almost gone, we decided not to risk getting even more lost and headed directly for the hotel. •

where to stay

Matahari Beach Resort & Spa
Jl. Raya Seririt, Gilimanuk
Pemuteran, Buleleng
North Bali
T: 0362 92 312 / 93 435

Located in a very secluded and quiet part of Singaraja, this 32-room, five-star hotel operates with serenity and peace as their priority. The rooms are adorned with intricate Balinese carvings and are also very spacious. The winner of Relais & Chateaux Environment Trophy 2007, this hotel has a beachside restaurant that offers a good fine dining experience.


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