Thursday, October 20, 2016

Sudamala Resorts scoop TripAdvisor Culinary Award in Bali And Lombok

Luxury boutique hotel brand Sudamala Resorts has been recognised for consistent outstanding performance in its culinary creations with the award of TripAdvisor Certificates of Excellence, for its restaurants at properties in Bali and Lombok. 
One of the few travel industry accolades which is based on user-generated content from real travellers, TripAdvisor awards are genuinely merit-based and recognise hospitality establishments which "consistently achieve great traveller reviews" on TripAdvisor over the preceding year. 
Establishments which achieve the Certificate of Excellence must maintain an overall TripAdvisor rating of at least four out of five, based on a minimum number of reviews over at least one year. 

With today's world-wandering, MasterChef-watching, social-media-savvy public this is no easy feat. 
However, it is one feather that both Ares Steak & Pasta, and Olah-Olah, can proudly place in their chef's caps; as well as a window-sticker, framed certificate and e-badge for the website. 
TripAdvisor states that the designation is perfect for enticing the 75% of travellers who are more likely to patronise a business displaying the TripAdvisor endorsement 

And a quick glance through some of the comments given to these two restaurants confirms the many satisfied, satiated, starry-eyed diners who have come and gone over the past year.

About Sudamala Sanur's recently revamped, curbside, home of sublime steaks, signature sauces and pasta nonpareil, reviewer comments speak for themselves.

"Beautiful place on a raised terrace under the trees. Comfortable couches to have your drinks. Great service" said one. "Fresh-made breads, and strong coffee...fresh-squeezed juices...we will eat here every morning for the rest of our trip" said another. "The sauce and the steak were both amazing," penned one contented culinary creature. "The best pasta in the island!!" exclaimed another.

Reviews of Sudamala Senggigi's Olah-Olah restaurant glow like the luminescent sunsets for which Lombok's west coast is famous. "An amazing experience...our table was right up front by the beach for a wonderful sunset" said one. "We ate here on several occasions and were never disappointed" said another about Olah-Olah's sizzling seaside barbecues and oven-fired pizzas.

Chef Juandi's traditional 'Begibung' did not go unnoticed by reviewers either. A deliciously decadent traditional feast for two, the Begibung is adapted from the Balinese tradition of Megibung with a central tower of rice encircled by a colourful selection of mouth-watering dishes.

"Request Executive Chef Juandi to prepare the traditional Lombok meal which has a wide variety of fish and meat dishes – delicious!"said one enthusiastic diner.

"I can't recommend this restaurant enough. Everything is cooked fresh and how you like it" said another. With two outstanding restaurants, in two outstanding island resorts, Ares Steak & Pasta and Olah-Olah restaurant offer a scintillating, culinary glimpse into the separate worlds of Bali and Lombok, where smiling service and a devotion to excellence continue to impress. Book your table and experience the magic of Sudamala.(source with photos)


The city of Makassar is the largest city in the eastern part of Indonesia and is therefore the trading center and airline hub that connects the western Indonesian islands with the eastern islands of the archipelago.

For centuries Makassar has been a strategic trading port where merchants from India, China, the Indonesian islands, and later the Europeans came to exchange their goods for local export commodities that include gold, silver, pearls, silks, coffee, and spices that were gathered from surrounding regions.  Until today Makassar still has that aura of the old cosmopolitan trading center, where majestic Phinisi sailing ships can be seen tied to the pier at the Paotere harbor.  

For Makassar is indeed the home of these majestic wooden sailing ships that until today continue to ply the archipelago carrying cargo, but  have lately been transformed into romantic and luxurious live-aboards for tourists to dive sites at Raja Ampat, Komodo, Bunaken. Bali and more.

The Bugis and the Makassar are widely renowned seafaring people and are admired for their sailing and fighting prowess, who settled as far away to the Riau islands in the west, and Papua in the east. However, Makassar was  conquered by the Dutch East India Company, who made Makassar their trading center in the east to be close to the Spice Islands that were the Moluccas.

Today, Makassar has become a modern city, boasting an array of top star-rated hotels along the coastal boulevard. But walk into a side street and you may well think you are back in the 19th century.  

To get you on your way to sightsee around Makassar, here are a number of must-see landmarks:                   

Fort Rotterdam

Fort Rotterdam was built by the Dutch to defend the city from invading ships, which in the 19th century included the British. The fort stands on the grounds which, since the 16th century was once the seat of the  powerful Bugis kingdom of Gowa. This is one of the few fortresses in Indonesia that have remained intact, so that it is interesting to see how these old forts were constructed. From its parapet you can overlook the entire shore of Makassar way to the horizon in the Bay of Makassar were lie the Spermonde islands. It  now houses the Museum of Makassar and South Sulawesi as well as  the legendary books called the Il La Galigo.    If you are interested in this Dutch heritage fort log on to:  

Pantai Losari: The Losari Beach walk and the Orchid Gardens

West of Makassar is the popular Pantai Losari, or the Losari Beach Walk, which is the best place to watch the tropical sun slowly sink over the horizon. This place becomes busy near sundown when hawkers come to sell all kinds of yummy foodstuff including mouthwatering seafood, while lovers await the setting sun beyond the blue sea. Not far from Losari Beach is the C.L Bundt Orchid Garden and  Collection of Seashells, a favorite spot for tourists to visit.

Most upmarket hotels are also located within walking distance from the Losari Beach.

The Somba Opu Street Shopping Haven

Also close by is Jalan Somba Opu, or the Somba Opu Street, which is your Shopping street where you can find anything and everything ranging from gold and silverware, pearls from Ambon, Bali woodcarving, silk sarongs or hand-woven fabrics from Toraja, and a whole lot more. For details and what to shop, click on the following link :

Chinese Temples
Makassar has a number of Chinese temples, the oldest and most important is the Tian Hou Gong temple, or “The Temple of the Heavenly Queen” located on the corner of Jalan Sulawesi and Jalan Serui, which was built in the 18th century.  The other is the Long Xian Gong, or “Temple of the Apparition of the Dragon”  which is also between Jalan Sulwesi and Jalan Bali, built in 1868.

This area comes  definitely alive during Chinese New Year and at Cap Goh Meh with clanging lion dances and lots of festivities.

The Paotere Harbor
The Paotere harbor is located some 4 km north from the city center. If you love old sailing ships then this location is definitely a must visit to take fantastic photographs. Nearby is one of Indonesia’s largest fish markets where you can find giant tuna, giant crabs and every sea creature you can imagine on sale.  The place is busy from morning to late afternoon.

Trans Studio Makassar
But if you prefer something more modern and entertaining, then the Trans Studio Makassar is your attraction. This is the world's third largest indoor theme park (as of 2009) and includes the Trans Hotel, a residential area, Trans Walk and Rodeo Drive, recreational beach and office area. Here is the perfect place for a fun family adventure because the park offers all the thrills and spills of a regular theme park. The difference? It is indoors and air-conditioned so you don't have to worry about rain or heat.

The Bantimurung Waterfall and the Kingdom of Butterflies

Ballalompoa Museum.
If you are interested to know more of the history of Makassar visit the Ballalompoa Museum located in the former palace of the Sultan of Gowa. Every morning at 09.0 local time an impressive “Changing of the Guard” takes place on the plaza in front of the Museum. Wearing resplendent bright red costumes, “soldiers” involved in the “Changing of the Guard” at the former Gowa Palace will perform their drill, which is open to the public.
(Source of content including photos: 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Asmat Cultural Festival a great initiative

The annual Asmat Cultural Festival, which is currently underway in the easternmost province of Papua, is a great initiative and has its full backing.

Spearheaded by the Diocese of Agats-Asmat, the festival, which is being held at the Yos Sudarso Field in Asmat District from October 7 to 12 this year, marks the 31st anniversary of the event.

Asmat District Head Elisa Kambu said the Asmat Cultural Festival is a great initiative by the Diocese of Agats-Asmat. "This is the moment to continue to admire the work of the Supreme God, and the local government will continue to support and maintain it," Kambu said. 

The highlight of this years festival is the cultural expressions of Papuas renowned Asmat tribe, which has been represented by 207 engraver artists and 102 traditional dancers. The festival has also been enlivened by 60 weavers and 88 rowers who are part of the rowing race along the Syirets river.

The bishop of the Diocese of Agats-Asmat, Mgr Aloysius Murwito, said the Asmat tribes culture should be preserved through such festivals. The festival, which has been an annual event since 1981, appreciates the various art forms of the Asmat people, their traditional dance -- an expression of what they feel and think -- and their way of life, which defines the tribes identity, Murwito said.

The Asmat Cultural Festival is packed with thousands of invited guests and international tourists who have a keen interest in anthropology, tribal art and the culture of Papua.

One of the main features of the festival is the communitys signature wood carving. The Asmat people are known for their unique ability in carving wood into beautiful works of art without the use of drawings or sketches. For them, these wood carvings are linked with the spirit world. Tribal warfare and ancestor worship are as important to them as showcasing their daily life and history.

The festival gives hundreds of artisans and performers the opportunity to showcase their skills in weaving, boating, and numerous traditional song and dance performances, which with the colorful costumes and the painted faces, are an amazing sight.

The festival closes with an display of Asmat artworks, which can be bought in an open auction.

In 2011, the UNESCO recognized Asmat District, located in the southern part of Papua facing the Arafura sea, as a world heritage site. Prior to this, way back in 1961, the region had attracted international attention when Michael Rockefeller, son of New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, disappeared here whilst on an expedition, never to be seen or heard of again.

Besides the Asmat Cultural Festival, the Museum of Asmat Culture and Progress in the Asmat district town of Agats can also preserve the cultural values that will constitute the identity of the Asmat people, and also help them accept new things through a learning process.

Vatican Ambassador to Indonesia Mgr Antonio Guido Filipazzi inaugurated the Museum of Asmat Culture and Progress in Agats on Monday.

"As a representative of the Holy See, I would like to say that the Catholic Church is not only present in Asmat district, but one thing the Asmat people need to know is that the local artworks, in the forms of carvings, have also been present at the Ethnographic Museum in Vatican," Filipazzi remarked.

He noted that in every culture there is found truth, goodness, and artistic values that must continue to be preserved.

Thus, he added that the Asmat population is able to respond to new things, while maintaining their culture, and therefore the museum will be called the Asmat Museum of Culture and Progress.

The Asmat Museum was designed as a place in which the Asmat could look at their past and present, and partake of the environment of their culture, and form relationships with the housed artefacts.

The purpose of the museum is to prevent the Asmat from losing their identity.

Its most important contribution, however, is to expand and evolve the consciousness of the Asmat concerning the value of their past and their art.

Thus, the museum not only preserves the old, but revived carvings. In addition, it is a place of learning, where educational and recreational films and slides are viewed.

Made up of 193 ethnic groups that speak 193 different dialects, the population of Papua cannot be compared with any other region in Indonesia in terms of cultural diversity.

In other parts of Indonesia, modernization has resulted in profound changes in many aspects of the peoples life but in Papua much of the traditional social structures, tribal customs and arts of the Asmat, Ka Moro, Dani, and Sentani have endured.

Besides, the source of various local wisdom for humanity and better environmental management can be found among the tribes of Aitinyo, Arfak, Asmat, Agast, Ayamaru, Mandacan, Biak, Arni, Sentani, and others.

Ancient rituals are still performed for important social events in which each province and district has its own cultural festivals and shows for visitors and tourists to have the opportunity to glimpse the many visual and performing arts of Papua.

No wonder various efforts have been made to maintain and preserve the cultural diversity in Papua.(Antara)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Garuda Indonesia and Korea Tourism Organization Join Hands

National flag carrier Garuda Indonesia and the Korea Tourism Organization, or KTO, have agreed to cooperate in an initiative to boost tourism.

Garuda Indonesia marketing vice president Selfie Dewiyanti and KTO president Jung Chang-soo signed the agreement at the Garuda City Center auditorium in Cengkareng, West Jakarta, on Monday (17/10).

In an effort to attract more tourists, Garuda and the KTO will provide special fares and discount coupons for tourist destinations in South Korea.

The two companies are optimistic that their cooperation will see positive results, considering an upward trend in the number of Indonesian tourists visiting South Korea.
"In the first semester of 2016, Garuda Indonesia flew 71,349 passengers from Indonesia to South Korea and we are certain that the number of passengers will increase and exceed last year's total by the end of this year," Selfie said.

Jung said his agency is very enthusiastic about cooperating with a world-class five-star airline such as Garuda Indonesia to boost tourism in South Korea.

According to KTO data, the number of Indonesian tourists visiting South Korea increased by 37.5 percent in the first semester of 2016.
"It was such a significant rise compared to the first semester of 2015. After seeing the trend, we are very optimistic about working with Garuda Indonesia and looking forward to see how it develops," Jung said.

Garuda Indonesia provides flights to Seoul from Jakarta and Bali using Airbus 330-300 jets offering 24 business-class and 263 economy-class seats. (Jakarta Globe)

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Bridge connecting Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan collapsed

30 injured, 9 dead so far. This is happening on the Indonesian vacation spot and resort island of Bali. A bridge connecting two small islands near collapsed on Sunday. No tourists were among the victims.
There were too many people passing over the bridge for a religious ceremony when it collapsed at 6 PM .Some motorbikes also fell into the water.
The sea beneath the bridge was less than two meters deep, but many of the victims were crushed by debris.
Indonesia's search and rescue agency stopped the search for the day at 9 PM local time, but will resume at daybreak on Monday. (eTurbonews)


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