Heading for the hills around Bandung

The hills and mountains that surround Bandung are sometimes somewhat humorously and affectionately referred to as the "guardian angels of Bandung". It is as if they stand guard and protect the city but they might also be thought of as brooding giants.

Heading southwest from the city, though, one is more likely to think of the hills as guardian angels. The scenery is attractive and rolling hills lead up to higher mountains, portraying a bucolic charm and peacefulness.

Heading towards Mount Patuha, some 35 to 40 kilometers from central Bandung, the urban sprawl of the city gradually gives way to the countryside and the road narrows and starts to climb into the surrounding hills.

All over these hills are strawberries being grown for the local markets but also for the passersby to pick for themselves if they so choose to. Typically being grown in raised cylinders of soil, these strawberries are small but sweet and inexpensive.

Fruitful stop-offs can be made along the way to Mount Patuha and the quite remarkable crater lake that is to be found there known as Kawah Putih. The name Kawah Putih translates as White Crater and it soon becomes clear why this scenic area is so named.

Full article

Hotels offer temporary sanctuaries during Nyepi

Tourists will likely find hotels in Bali to be temporary sanctuaries during the Nyepi celebrations of March 7.

Sugeng Purnomo of the Bali Association of Hotels' Public Relation Officers said tourists would go to hotels for activities and electricity, both off-limits to Balinese Hindus on the day.

He said many non-Hindu residents of the island also spent Nyepi holiday in hotels, booking rooms for up to two consecutive nights.

"In past years, this has increased the hotels' occupancy rates during the days prior to and after Nyepi," said Purnomo, also the public relations manager of Nusa Dua's Laguna resort and spa.

He said the increase in occupancy would likely take place in places like Sanur and Nusa Dua, resort areas full of four- and five-star hotels.

Raja Ampat to Triton Bay Liveaboard - Trip Report

Indonesia’s Raja Ampat islands have become one of the most famous places to go diving in all of Asia thanks to the area’s pristine coral reefs and incredible diversity of marine life. In February 2008 I went on the MSY Seahorse’s 11 day diving liveaboard from Raja Ampat to Triton Bay, exploring the amazing underwater world of western Papua.

Raja Ampat and Triton Bay Diving: We visited four main areas on the 11 day cruise along western Papua in Indonesia: Raja Ampat’s Kri and Misool islands, Fak Fak and Triton Bay. All of these places are justifiably famous for jawdropping coral reefs and fish life. The Bird’s Head Peninsula of Western Papua (the sticky out bit in which Sorong is located) has been scientifically assessed to have the greatest marine biodiversity in the world. For divers, this means it’s an unparalleled experience in terms of the sheer overwhelming number of marine species you can spot whilst diving. Indeed, scores of new species have been discovered here, some so new they still don’t have names, and some so bizarre you’d think the scientists are making it up, like the walking shark.

While Raja’s remoteness used to mean it was a deeply obscure destination, the word is now out. Hardly a month goes by without a rave review in one of the dive magazines. Despite requiring multiple flights on domestic Indonesian airlines to get there, Raja has seen a big growth in liveaboard and resort operators in the last couple of years. Max Ammer, the former Dutch paratrooper who pioneered Papua Diving’s Kri resort has now opened the deluxe Sorido Bay resort in the Kri area, while the Misool Eco Resort is due to open later in 2008.

The good news is that despite Raja’s newfound popularity, its big enough and still remote enough to not encounter other divers or even other boats. This is especially true once heading out of Raja Ampat proper down towards Fak Fak and Triton Bay.

Triton Bay is a new area of Papua for diving - the visibility here is generally quite poor (5 to 10 metres) due to the incredibly nutrient-rich water, which means that it has tremendous soft coral growth and lots of schooling fish. One of Triton’s dive sites is named Larry’s Heaven in honour of Indonesian dive pioneer Larry Smith who sadly died in March 2007. Larry made two trips to Triton and proclaimed to be in love with the diving here. High praise from a man who had dived pretty much all of Indonesia.

Full article with lots of pictures

Eighty pct of foreign tourists coming to RI `repeat` visitors

The culture and tourism ministry estimates that around 80 percent or 4.4 million of the 5.51 million foreign tourists who came to Indonesia in 2007 were 'repeat' visitors.

Based on these data it was concluded that most of the tourists coming to Indonesia were "loyal" ones or those who had become fond of Indonesia, the head of the ministry's Data Management and Networking System Center, Hari Waluyo, said here on Thursday.

The repeat visitors were mostly from Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and Australia, he said.

Meanwhile, Tourism and Culture Minister Jero Wacik told members of Parliament's Commission X recently that a total 5.5 million foreign tourists visited Indonesia last year.

Topping the list of countries where the tourists came from was Singapore with 1.46 million tourists, followed by Malaysia (941,202 tourists), Japan (593,784), Australia (313,881), South Korea (423,098), China (335,172), Europe (528,171), the United States (154,846), India (151,704), Middle East (45,735), and Thailand (24,735).

Indonesia earned US$5.3 billion in foreign exchange from the 5.5 million foreign tourists, the highest figure reached in the past 10 years.

For 2008, Indonesia has set itself the target of attracting seven million foreign tourists and earning a total of US$6.7 billion in foreign exchange from them, Jero Wacik said.

Is Indonesia's native music fading?

It is here, in one of Indonesia's last remaining gamelan workshops, that the complex, layered tones of the country's traditional music are shaped, fine-tuned and shipped around the world.
This family-run enterprise in its smoke-filled, tin-roofed shack has been turning out the xylophones, gongs, drums and strings that make up a gamelan orchestra for nearly 200 years. All its employees are descendants of the laborers hired when it opened in 1811.
Every day, a dozen of these grizzled men, shirtless, shoeless, clove cigarettes dangling from their lips, hover over a pit of fire and wait for a nascent gong to glow red. Then, almost musically, with sparks flying, they take turns pounding it into shape with the crudest of hammers.
It takes days to make a single gong.
The workshop in Bogor, 48 kilometers, or 30 miles, south of Jakarta and known simply as the Gong Factory, has been one of the main suppliers of gamelan instruments in Java since the 1970s, when three of its competitors shut their doors because of a lack of demand.
But over the last decade, its owner says, orders here too have been steadily decreasing.
Though gamelan music is still played throughout Indonesia - its collaborative rhythms can be heard at most traditional ceremonies and serenely wafting out of Bali's meeting houses - its popularity is dwindling among the next generation of Indonesians, who are more easily lured by Western rock.
But in early February, a performance in Jakarta by the Icelandic pop star Björk highlighted another trend, however slight, that might offer hope of the music's survival.
Björk has used gamelan instruments in a number of her songs, most famously in her 1993 recording "One Day," and has performed with Balinese gamelan orchestras several times since. Several contemporary composers have incorporated gamelan into their works, including Philip Glass, Steve Reich and the late Lou Harrison.
It can also be found in the American rock scene. Art-rock bands like King Crimson and The Residents adapted gamelan's layered, interlocking rhythms for Western instruments. Gamelan is heard in the soundtrack to the American television series Battlestar Galactica.
Perhaps more significantly, some schools in the United States and Europe now offer gamelan courses. Britain even includes it in its national music curriculum for primary and secondary education.
"They are doing all kinds of interesting community education projects with gamelan in Great Britain," Suyenaga said. "It is interesting and very sad that gamelan is used to teach basic musical concepts in Great Britain, whereas in Indonesian schools our children are exposed only to Western music and scales. The national curriculum here pays little attention to the incredible richness of traditional culture."

Coming March Events

Traditional Culture and Dance Parade
To present the Malay culture and traditions. The event features a dance competition and dance performance from dance groups and schools in city of Batam. more »

Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival
An annual event much anticipated by jazz lovers,the festival showcases over 1,000 jazz musicians from Indonesia and abroad. more »

Putri Bau Nyale Mandalika Festival
It is linked to a popular folklore of a beautiful princess Putri Mandalika, who willingly sacrified herself by jumping into the sea and promising a return in the form of the Nyale (sea worms). This event is usually participated in by youngsters. more »

Weaving and Handicraft Exhibition
Local hand weaving of different design and colour. Display of traditional woven textiles and clothing of Timorese. Various handicrafts are also performed at this exhibition. more »

MATTA Int'l Travel Fair (MITF), Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, March 2008

Hong Kong Tourist Dies in River Rafting Mishap

Sudden Water Surge on Telaga Waja River Claims Life of Woman on Rafting Trip in Northeast Bali.

Bali News: Hong Kong Tourist Dies in River Rafting Mishap
(2/23/2008) A Hong Kong tourist, Yeung Saufung (24), lost her life on Bali's Telaga Waja River in the Karangasem Regency of Bali on Monday, February 18, 2008.

According to local press reports, the Hong Kong woman was accompanied by 3 friends and a guide from PT Telaga Waja Rafting on a late afternoon rafting trip down the river when a large water surge caused the raft to capsize. While the guide, two women, and a man in the group managed to scramble to safety, the ill-fated young woman was lost until her lifeless body was discovered entangled among river-side boulders on Wednesday, more than 24 hours after her disappearance.

Yeung Saufung; two women Cheung Kai Chi (23) and Lau Shui Fong (24); and a single male Kwan Ching Aan (24) - all from Hong Kong - were tossed into the river when their guide unsuccessfully attempted to land on the river's banks`as waters suddenly rose. The sudden flow of water, however, thwarted his attempts causing the raft to overturn. The three tourists and the guide who survived managed to hold on to ropes attached to the raft, while the woman who perished was swept downstream.

The guide told police that all the trip's participants were equipped with safety helmet and flotation vests.

The body of the young woman was discovered by members of Bali's Search & Rescue (SAR) team and local villagers. The woman's helmet and flotation vest were discovered in a location not far from her body.

© Bali Discovery Tours. Articles may be quoted and reproduced if attributed to http://www.balidiscovery.com. All images and graphics are copyright protected.

Earlier: Hong Kong tourist still missing in Bali

Bali Resorts Rank Among the Most Family-Friendly

Australia's 'Holiday with Kids' Lists 3 Bali Resorts as Top for Family Vacations.

Bali News: Bali Resorts Rank Among the Most Family-Friendly
(2/23/2008) The Australian publication Holidays with Kids has once again published its list of favorite "family-friendly" resorts in Australia and around the world. The family holiday and lifestyle magazine includes four Bali properties among its collection of "favorite" and "highly commended" resorts.

Top 10 International Resorts

Leading the list of top ten properties is Shangri-la Fijian Resort, followed in second-place by the popular [Bali Dynasty Resort] located in South Kuta. Named by the magazine as the 10th best family-oriented resort was the [The Westin Resort Nusa Dua].

Another Bali property, the [Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel] was listed among Holiday with Kids' "Highly Commended" properties.

The selection of resorts and tourism parks included in the list of winners was based on a survey of Australian readers who gave their ratings based on facilities and activities for children, the quality of childcare and babysitting services, the standard of accommodation, the location, value for money and the overall experience.

This year's award for the Bali Dynasty Resort is the second consecutive year that the resort has been so honored, named last year to the fifth position in the same category.

Also listed in the rankings for last year's poll was Bali's Club Med, who were absent from this year's list of favorites.

"We are very proud to have been selected as the number 2 Best Family-Friendly Holiday Resort International by the Holiday with Kids voters and this is our second time in a row to win this prestigious award. This Award is not only recognizes the hotel's outstanding facilities and services for children and families, but also recognizes our staff's efforts to provide a happy and safe environment for all of our guests and keeps the continuity to afford guest satisfaction," said Rosy Whitehead, the Director of Sales & Marketing Bali Dynasty Resort.

© Bali Discovery Tours. Articles may be quoted and reproduced if attributed to http://www.balidiscovery.com. All images and graphics are copyright protected.

Tomini Bay a new economic growth hub in East Indonesia

At a time when poverty remains prevalent in almost 200 out of over 450 regencies and municipalities in the country, Tomini Bay has been introduced as a future hub of economic growth in East Indonesia, following in the footsteps of Batam in the West.

Long before regional autonomy shifted into full gear on the heels of the fall of New Order regime in 1998, the government had named Batam in Riau Islands, Tomini Bay and Bone Bay in Sulawesi, and Sabang in Aceh as the engines of economic development for their respective neighboring areas.

The Culture and Tourism Ministry, the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry and the Office of State Minister for the Environment will provide assistance to the regents, who had met to discuss development of fisheries and tourism as the prime sectors in Tomini Bay.

The bay is rich in fish and other marine resources, and stands a great opportunity of emerging as a popular tourist destination thanks to its biodiversity and beautiful nature. Dozens of enchanting small islands dot the bay.

Terri Irwin offers help to save tigers

The family of legendary environmentalist Steve "Crocodile Hunter" Irwin visited the Bogor animal park on Saturday, furthering cooperative ties between sister animal parks Taman Safari Indonesia and the Australia Zoo.

During the visit, Terri Irwin and her children Bindi, 9, and Robert, 4, played with animals, including four-month-old male lion Siro, accompanied by keeper Desta (see photo).

The family and several members of staff from the Australia Zoo also inspected enclosures to be used for Australian native koalas and kangaroos which are planned to be sent to Indonesia under the zoos' animal exchange program.

Taman Safari director Tony Sumampau said Australia Zoo would send 15 gray kangaroos and koalas, while Indonesia would send three Sumatran tiger cubs.

"We must wait until later this year before getting the kangaroos, and longer for the koalas, because we need to prepare their enclosure properly.

"Six years ago we began planting special trees for koalas to eat, so we hope to be ready to receive them in two years time," he said.

Irwin presented an operational car to the Forestry Ministry in Jakarta on Friday, while the Australia Zoo also provided infrastructure and equipment for the Sumatran tiger conservation center including GPS satellite and tracking equipment.

The tracking devices would be implanted into tigers this year by a joint team from Australia Zoo, Taman Safari and the Forestry Ministry.

Irwin told reporters she was concerned about Indonesia's damaged and dwindling forests as well as the endangered Sumatran tiger.

Women in Indonesia surfing tour

The organizers of Indonesian Surfing Championships (ISC) announced Saturday that they would include a women's division in its tour season this year.

Spokesman for the organizers, Tim Hain, said that three sponsors had already committed to including the women's division in their events this year.

"Incredibly, without any formal announcement being sent out, six women have already come to the ISC office and signed up to get their ISC membership cards this week," he said in a statement.

With the rapidly growing popularity of the sport of surfing in Indonesia, more and more women are getting into it and finding that the thrill of riding waves is not only for the guys. The stigma of surfing being a purely man's sport in Indonesia is being blunted by the alluring images of women at the beach and in the water, from the young daughters of famous Australian, American, and Hawaiian surfers in magazine ads to movies like Blue Crush and the MTV series Boarding House-North Shore.

"Not to mention movie stars like Cameron Diaz seen taking surfing lessons from Rizal Tanjung at Dreamland Beach in Bali," Tim added.

The first event will be the Roxy Open at Keramas Beach in April during the Quiksilver Open, the second will be at Legian Beach in mid-October at the Villa Mana Charity Surf event, and the season closer will be during the Rip Curl Surf and Music Festival at Kuta Beach in late October.

Rip Curl holds "Girls Go Surfing" days several times per year at their Rip Curl Surf School, inviting women and girl celebrities from Jakarta to give surfing a try alongside tourists and locals.

Related: Rip Curl GromSearch 2008 Lights Up Pacitan in East...

Indonesian Film Festival being held in Budapest

A Garin Nugroho-directed film "Cinta Dalam Sepotong Roti" was shown at the opening of the Indonesian Film Festival here on Friday.

The film festival, the first of its kind, will be screened until February 27, First Secretary of the Indonesian Embassy in Hungary Arena Sri Victoria said in a statement made available here on Friday.

Among those attending the opening were Director of the Urania National Film Theater - where the film festival is being held - Bakos Edit and Indonesian Ambassador to Hungary Mangasi Sihombing.

Bakos Edit expressed his appreciation toward the organization of the film festival as this was the first of its kind.

6 Things About Dayaks, the Fearsome Head-Hunters

The Dayak people represent a group of Proto-Malayans inhabiting the inner part of Borneo (the largest Indonesian island). They are related with the Batak of northern Sumatra, Igorrote of Philippines, and various tribes of Timor, Celebes, Sumatra and Moluccas.

During their history, the Dayaks experienced many external influences, especially of Hinduism, a religion that many ethnic groups of Borneo converted to. Still, Dayaks are highly conservative, and each village is organized in clans composed of various families that admit the authority of a sole chief; this structure allows a tight collaboration in field labor and other collective works. During the harvesting period, festivities accompanied by dances are kept.

Dayaks usually make their villages on the banks of the rivers and lakes. They make branch huts. The large houses are destined to host a whole clan.

Dayaks worship a superhuman power, called semangat, that rules the lives of humans, animals and plants. This invisible life force dwells many places: all the human body parts, cut hair, shadows, names, the water in which a human or animal bathed, traces imprinted in the mud...

Like all Proto-Malayans, Dayaks are a mix between Mongoloids and Asian Blacks, with the predominant genetic background being Mongoloid (the situation is inverse on the coast of New Guinea or Melanesia).

Men are assigned to four classes: children, teenagers, young men and old men. Each class has specific tasks. Young men are before all warriors that have to defend the village against neighboring tribes. When defeating the enemy, Dayaks beheaded them and preserved their heads as trophies in the communal houses. That's why they inspired dread amongst other people, being famous as "head-hunters".

Dayaks use machetes during their journeys through the jungle. They use blowpipes and envenomed darts for hunting small game and birds. Only Proto-Malayans and some tribes of Amazonia are known to use this weapon.

Full article by Stefan Anitei

Tourism Malaysia Statistics

Tourist arrivals hit 20.97 million mark in 2007, surpassing the 20.1 million target set by the government and brought in total revenue of RM46.1 billion, which exceeded the target of RM44.5 billion.

Tourism Malaysia in an announcement here, said the tourist arrivals for 2007, which coincided with Visit Malaysia Year, represented an increase of 19.5 percent compared with 2006.

Singapore remained the top market with 10.49 million tourists, followed by Indonesia (1.80 million), Thailand (1.62 million), Brunei(1.17 million), China (689,293), India (422,452), Japan(367,567), the Philippines(327,140), Australia(302,363) and Britain (276,213).

The dance of bali

Combining spiritual, mystical and timeless form
by Amy Swan
Special To West Hawaii Today

The two-member dance company Purnama Sari brought ancient and timeless Balinese dance to life before an appreciative and spellbound audience at King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel Saturday night.

In this first-time West Hawaii appearance by the dance company, the intimate venue was prepared with gold umbrellas to symbolize protection, and ritually blessed with holy water, hinting at the mystical experience to come as dancer Surapsari Megumi appeared to open the performance with a dance of welcome and blessing for the Balinese deities and audience, as well.

Accompanied by the ethereal sounds of Balinese flute and percussion instruments, Megumi appeared in a dazzling traditional design fuchsia and gold costume to display the highly stylized and otherworldly movements characteristic of Balinese temple dance. This solo dance featured the scattering of flowers to symbolize the blessings conferred and effectively immersed the assembly into the mystical world of Bali, Indonesia.

This outstanding performance represents just one aspect of Purnama Sari's repertoire. The couple also conducts workshops exploring the principles and origins of Balinesian spirituality and dance as well as instruction in the ritual dance techniques themselves. They have created a children's performance featuring the traditional Indian epic, Ramayana, which is a classic struggle between good and evil. In addition to this dance, the children's program includes presentation of another Hindu myth, Mahabharata, presented through the traditional art of Balinese shadow puppetry brought to life by their associate, Lee Michael Walczuk. The dance company has been performing and teaching nationally since 2000, and for Big Island audiences for the past two years, and they hope to become more active in West Hawaii in the future.

An opportunity to experience the magic and mysticism of traditional Balinese temple dancing is rare outside of Bali itself, and Purnama Sari offers audiences this rare gift as an offering to Big Island residents simultaneously with performing the ritual for the Balinese deities themselves. It is an art form to enjoy for its obvious exotic beauty but is best appreciated in the context of the complex and ancient cultural roots from which it springs.

Full article (needs registration)

For more information about Purnama Sari and upcoming performances, information is available at http://www.PurnamaSariBali.com on the internet.

Travel Postcard: 48 hours in Yogyakarta

Got 48 hours to explore Yogyakarta, the cultural heart of Java? Reuters correspondents with local knowledge give tips on how to get the best from one of Indonesia's most vibrant cities.


6 p.m. - Tuck into a delicious nasi goreng, or Indonesian fried rice, at the charming little Via Via cafe as a local band plays foot-tapping jazz in the background. Have a cup of robust Javanese coffee and don't forget to check out the notice-board for information on special batik lessons. Book now for Saturday or Sunday.

By Mita Valina Liem


Tourism in Asian triad gets more flights

Tourists heading for destinations within the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand-Growth Triangle areas during the region’s Visit IMT-GT 2008 year are spoilt for flights and choice of destinations following a “free-fall” of ticket prices by leading regional carriers Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia.

IMT-GT destinations including Jakarta, Yogyakarta (Indonesia), Langkawi, Kota Bahru (Malaysia), Chiang Mai, and Krabi (Thailand) are poised to receive its share of tourists from member countries.

At the recent ASEAN Tourism Ministers' Meeting in Bangkok, Malaysian Tourism Minister Tengku Adnan disclosed that many activities have been lined up to celebrate the Visit IMTGT 2008 through to 2009.

"The tourism industry within the IMT-GT growth areas will get a boost with the opening of more air routes," said Minister Adnan. According to him recently, there have been more efforts to open up more destinations within the region. "Greater connectivity will help in promoting the growth triangle areas, benefiting the people through tourism and economic activities.

The Malaysian minister added: "In addition, many carriers from participating countries have asked for waiver of landing fees and discounts on airport fees. Carriers have proposed starting new routes, including Hatyai-Subang, Batam-Langkawi, Hatyai-Langkawi and Bandar Acheh-Penang."

Spreading its wings as well as introducing new routes, Malaysia Airlines and its subsidiaries are offering up to six million seats, from “free” seats to some with up to 70 percent discount, during its yearly Malaysia Airlines travel fair.

For the first time, Malaysia Airlines subsidiaries MASwings and low-cost carrier Firefly are offering 150,000 'free seats' to introduce its brand and routes to the flying public.

Not to be “unseated” by its competitor, AirAsia is offering online a million seats, starting from less than US$3 cents, excluding taxes. "This is part of our gesture to make holidays more affordable," said spokeswoman Kathleen Tan.

The ASEAN Secretariat plans to also promote the region as a single destination by publishing a coffee-table book, similar to the Commonwealth Tourism Center's book on Commonwealth countries.

"Despite pushing for a similar project for the region for many years, our efforts have received little support due to financial constrains faced by the other developing countries," said Adnan.

Seven Indonesian museums launch museum visit package

Seven museums in Jakarta, Bandung, Surakarta and Surabaya jointly launched a museum visit package on Thursday.

The seven museums are the National Museum of Jakarta, the Bank Mandiri Museum of Jakarta, the Museum of History of Jakarta, the Batik Danar Hadi Museum of Surakarta, the Museum of Geology of Bandung, the Sepuluh November Museum of Surabaya and the Museum of Sampoerna of Surabaya (House of Sampoerna).

"The program is aimed to support the Visit Indonesia Year 2008 launched by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism," Manager House of Sampoerna Ina Salis in the launching held in the National Museum of Jakarta on Thursday.

She added the cooperation was also an effort to preserve the national history and create the tradition of love of museum.

She said for the first phase, the program would be focused on the promotion to the network of each museum.

"We will cooperate with the Association of the Travel Bureaus (ASITA), the Association of Hotel Restaurants as well as the association of museum to help promote and design a follow up program sought by each of the museum," she said.

Indonesian Wins Butler of the Year Award

Robert Worotikan Johnson was recognized as the Butler of the Year by the International Guild of Professional Butlers, following his many years of exemplary service to the Ong family and their properties.

"Robert personifies the perfect butler: dedicated, caring, efficient and thorough," said Yosep Yulius Diaz, Hospitality Services Consultant for P.T. Sukses Berkat Singergi in Bali, and formerly Mr. Johnson's hotel manager aboard the MV Oceanic Odyssey. "Robert is that rare employee, someone who helps everyone else do a little better at their jobs."

The Butler of the Year award is given by the guild to that individual who has achieved the highest level of service and commitment to the ideals of devotion, professionalism and integrity.

"Robert was able to intuitively know what each guest required within moments of their arrival," said Jeff Morgan, the general manager of the Parrot Cay Resort in Turks & Caicos Island, where Mr. Johnson served as head butler. "Robert's instance on a high standard of personal service was one of the reasons our resort recently won Island Destinations' Ultimate Butler Award."

Today's butler is the epitome of personal service -- a professional dedicated to the needs of others, responsible for smooth and flawless operations, either as the head servant of a household or at a 5-star hotel.

In addition to serving as head butler at Parrot Cay, Mr. Johnson has served on several ships and private yachts, in fashionable London hotels, and was the general manager of Tamnak Thai, one of Jakarta's most famous restaurants.

Mr. Johnson is a graduate of three butler training programs, including Surabaya Hotel School and the prestigious Ivor Spencer International School in England.

Bali wedding business booming

With Bali's key wedding season due to officially kick off in April, local wedding specialist Bali Weddings International is again bracing for what Australian owner Katrina Simorangkir says is shaping up to be another bumper year for Bali's Australian romantic travel business.

Citing the strong increased Australian arrival figures throughout 2007 (which jumped by more than 70 per cent over the totals achieved in 2006*), Simorangkir said this, in combination with some of the best forward bookings seen for almost four years, was an extremely positive indicator for the 2008 season.

"But we are keeping our feet on the ground," she said.

For more information visit www.baliweddingsinternational.com.

For more information on The Little Bali Hotel & Resort Company visit www.thelittlebalihotelresortcompany.com.

The Little Bali Hotel & Resort Company's 'Where the Bali hell are you' clip can be viewed at www.wherethebalihellareyou.com.

Some 300 British tourists to visit Ambon

t least 300 British tourists aboard `Sagarose` cruise ship were expected to visit Maluku province`s capital of Ambon next March 3, 2008, a local official has said.

"Some 300 British tourists are scheduled to stay in Ambon for about eight hours to visit a number of tourist objects and enjoy Maluku`s special arts attractions," Spokesman for the Ambon city administration, Henry Sopacua, said here Thursday.

Preparations have been made jointly with Maluku province`s Tourism Office, local security authorities, immigration office, state shipping company PT Pelni and local port administrator to welcome the foreign visitors.

Various preparations have also been made in support of the Visit Indonesia 2008 program, he said.

The British tourists were slated to visit the cemetery of Commonwealth soldiers who were killed during the World War II in Kapahaha area, Natsepa beach, Liang beach and Eel tourist site in Waai village.

The British tourists were also expected to enjoy the view of Ambon City where they can see the statue of national heroin Martha Christina Tiahahu in Karang Panjang area and Mt. Nona.

"Under the directives from Ambon Mayor Jopi Papilaja who has the idea of inviting the 300 British tourists, we are also preparing an arts collaboration performance dubbed `Tatobuang` and `Sawat`," Henry said.

Head of Maluku province`s tourism office, Ape Watratan, hinted that Maluku Governor Karel Albert Ralahalu has included the visit of the 300 British tourists in the provincial tourism program in support of the Visit Indonesia 2008.

"The number of foreign tourists coming to Maluku continues to rise thanks to the increasingly conducive security situation following the communal conflict which began in 1999 but has now ended in peace," Ape said.

Tourists from Australia have even frequently visited Maluku despite a travel warning issued by their government, he said

What is tempeh/tempe

Tempeh/Tempe is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form.
It originated from Indonesia, invented by the Javanese, where it is most popular, although it is common in other parts of Southeast Asia as well, introduced by migrated Javanese.

It is especially popular on the island of Java, where it is a staple source of protein.

Like tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans, but tempeh is a whole soybean product with different nutritional characteristics and textural qualities. Tempeh's fermentation process and its retention of the whole bean give it a higher content of protein, dietary fiber and vitamins compared to tofu, as well as firmer texture and stronger flavor.

Tofu, however, has a higher concentration of protein per carbohydrates, and is thought to be more versatile in dishes. Because of its nutritional value, tempeh is used worldwide in vegetarian cuisine; some consider it to be a meat analogue.

Even long ago before people found and realized the rich nutrition fact of tempeh, tempeh was referred to as “Javanese meat.”

Tempeh begins with whole soybeans, which are softened by soaking and dehulled, then partly cooked. Specialty tempehs may be made from other types of beans, wheat, or may include a mixture of beans and whole grains.

A mild acidulent, usually vinegar, may be added in order to lower the pH and create a selective environment that favors the growth of the tempeh mold over competitors. A fermentation starter containing the spores of fungus Rhizopus oligosporus is mixed in. The beans are spread into a thin layer and are allowed to ferment for 24 to 36 hours at a temperature around 30°C (86°F). In good tempeh, the beans are knit together by a mat of white mycelia.

Under conditions of lower temperature, or higher ventilation, gray or black patches of spores may form on the surface -- this is not harmful, and should not affect the flavor or quality of the tempeh. This sporulation is normal on fully mature tempeh. A mild ammonia smell may accompany good tempeh as it ferments, but it should not be overpowering. In Indonesia, ripe tempeh (two or more days old) is considered a delicacy.


Osaka donates footbridge to Indonesia

A ceremony marking the transfer of a used footbridge from Moriguchi, Osaka Prefecture, to Yogyakarta, Indonesia, was held Wednesday, prefectural officials said.

The footbridge will be used by local residents to cross a river in the Java Island city, the officials said.

Built in 1968, the footbridge will last for another 30 to 50 years, an Osaka official said.

"We hope the footbridge will also link people" between the two countries, the official said.

The relocated footbridge, which spanned a prefectural road, was taken down in November 2006. Rust was removed from the footbridge and it was repainted before being shipped to Indonesia from Osaka port in December.

Image of the bridge

Hong Kong tourist still missing in Bali

Seu Fong, of the four Hong Kong tourists who had an accident during a rafting attraction in the Telaga Waja river, Karangasem district, East Bali, on Monday evening, was still missing, rescuers said here on Wednesday.

Bali`s chief rescuer I Ketut Parwa said a team of rescuers assisted by the local people was still searching the missing HK tourist along the Telaga Waja river.

Seu Gong (24), together with three other HK tourists, was enjoying a rafting attraction using a rubber dingy when she met the accident, Parwa said. Their rubber boat capsized after it was hit by a huge clump of water.

Three others, Cheng Kai Chi (27), Kwan Ching Aan (24) and Lau Shui Tong (25) sustained minor injuries and were successfully saved. The four HK tourists, one was a male, were enjoying a tourist package of rafting when the had the accident.

Indonesian Toilet Association raises stink over cleanliness

The lack of clean public facilities in the country attests to the apathy most people feel regarding the issue of toilet cleanliness, according to a concerned group.

"Most Indonesians still look down on toilets although they use them at least five times a day," said Naning Adisowo, chairwoman of the Indonesian Toilet Association.

"Sorry to say, most toilets in state buildings are badly designed, forcing the user to spray a lot of water," she said.

"Several countries, including Singapore, China and Thailand, are selling their clean toilets to attract tourists," she said.

The Chinese government has promoted the use of green toilets to welcome millions of athletes, officials and visitors to the 2008 Olympic Games in August.

"I think it (dirty toilets) discourage tourists from visiting Jakarta," she said.

"We are now lobbying the administration of Yogyakarta to establish green public toilets and make it a selling point to attract tourists."

Earlier: Indonesia near the bottom in SE Asia clean-toilet ...

Rip Curl GromSearch 2008 Lights Up Pacitan in East Java

The Search for Indonesia's best grommet began on Sunday the 10th of November in the scenic coastal town of Pacitan in East Java, which just happens to be the birthplace the current president of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. On the Saturday before it was raining and cloud for much of the day, but on Sunday morning the sun poked through the clouds and lit up the white sand beach for a great day of surfing and fun for the 28 grommets and the local people who had never witnessed such an event before.

The kids started lining up at the Rip Curl tent before 7 am, amped and ready to put on their jerseys and paddle out in the 1-2 foot surf. With the semi-clear skies and small but glassy surf, it was perfect grom conditions. And for many of them it was their very first contest experience!

During a break for lunch, the crowd was treated to a tow-in session where they could see Rip Curl Team riders Pepen Hendrik, Made "Garut" Widiartha, and Yoga "Mega" Semadhi do some airs and big slashes. Afterwards many of the kids came up to the riders and got them to sign their surfboards and even their clothes. It was the first time most of the kids had ever seen pro surfers other than in a magazine, so it was a real treat for them. In addition, they all got copies of SurfTime magazine, Magic Wave surf newspaper, and a booklet from GUS about how to care for their environment.

Not only receiving goody bags full of cool Rip Curl products, the winners of the Under 14 and Under 16 received a free Trip to Bali to surf in the GromSearch National Finals at Kuta Beach in October. And the overall winner of the Indonesian GromSearch series in the Under 16 division will get a trip to Australia in 2009 to compete in the World GromSearch finals at Bells Beach.

The next GromSearch event will be at Kuta on the island of Lombok on March 23rd, so all you groms get signed up now!

Bali spirit Festival: March 5 - 16, Ubud

Fusing the personal transformative process of a spiritual retreat with the ecstatic communal energy of a world music and dance fest, the BaliSpirit Festival offers a twelve day exultation of yoga, dance, music, the sacredness of Being, and the bliss of Being together.

BaliSpirit Festival is centered in the spectacular hill town of Ubud, Bali. With its lush tropical surroundings, deeply artistic & devotional culture, and world-class food, shopping and retreat facilities, Bali has been crowned "The Best Island in the World" time and time again.

Synchro-mystically, the BaliSpirit Festival is preceded by Nyepi, the Balinese New Year, when the island is lovingly suffused in a day-long offering of silence, fasting and prayer.

BaliSpirit Festival 2008 has been blessed with an array of amazing individuals whose vision, creativity, commitment, and hard work have led to this first ever Yoga, Dance, and Music festival in Bali – our offering of Love and Gratitude to the island and its peoples.

We are yogis and musicians, mothers and fathers, organizers and educators, artists and techno-geeks, business-people and people-of-faith. We are humbled by this opportunity to serve, and pray our efforts are a benefit for all sentient beings.

Where and When?

Aceh's former fighters guide "guerrilla tourists"

As a rebel fighter, Marjuni Ibrahim hid out in Aceh's jungle. These days he leads "guerrilla tours" taking visitors with a taste for extreme hiking and an interest in Aceh's turbulent past over the same terrain.

The treks in the northwestern tip of Indonesia are an attempt to lift Aceh out of poverty by developing local tourism projects and reviving the crippled economy after a 30-year conflict and a devastating tsunami in 2004.

So just as tourists in Vietnam can scramble through the Cu Chi tunnels used by the Vietcong in the Vietnam war, visitors to Aceh can see where the separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM) hid from or fought against the Indonesian army (TNI) until as recently as 2005 when the two sides signed a peace agreement.

Marjuni takes tourists on a scramble over sharp rocky trails, past teak trees cloaked in creepers, and alongside pristine waterfalls and sparkling rock pools.

This part of Aceh is home to the endangered Sumatran tiger, deer, and hornbills, as well as rather less appealing leeches.

"The area is very beautiful. I like trekking and I was interested to see what life was like during the conflict," said Hugo Lamers, a Dutch aid worker who went on one of the guerrilla tours last year.

"It's difficult to imagine but three or more years ago they were running around here with guns and fighting the TNI. When I went, they took us to a place where they had lost some of their friends. And then you realise that we are there for fun, but for them this was really serious."

National Geographic Feature Video on Borneo Rainforest

Borneo or Kalimantan is the world's third largest island with some of the tallest rainforest trees.
Watch rainforests, orang utans and other fauna in this beautiful feature video

Nihiwatu: Waves of Bliss

Responsible Tourism: Guests can take time away from the resort, shown, to help out at local clinics.

Nihiwatu sunrise to the West, Sumba
Flickr Photo: Nihiwatu sunrise to the West, Sumba, Uploaded on 15 August 2007 by Rana Pipiens

Do everything or do nothing. Nihiwatu allows you kick back all day overlooking paradise, relax by the pool, take leisurely walks along the beach or island excursions. Excellent dining and suite accommodation are not overlooked, and the resort's friendly staff and leisure facilities ensure that amid the wonders of nature you have plenty of creature comforts.

And then there is culture. Surrounding Nihiwatu are Stone Age sites and traditional villages that have remained unchanged for centuries, this unique tribal culture with its ancient animist rituals is truly incredible.

Since 1989 our philosophy has been to create a model of tourism that gives more than it takes. We are proud to have become an acknowledged leader of the Responsible Tourism movement and we intend to continue to pave a path for others to follow. It is through our strong support of The Sumba Foundation, its mission and its efforts to help the Sumbanese people that a new paradigm of responsible tourism has been created.

If the wait time to ride the waves at popular Bali swells like Dreamland and Uluwatu begins to remind you of a Friday-night traffic snarl in Kuta, then it's time you checked out other surfing options in the Indonesian archipelago — specifically Nihiwatu, www.nihiwatu.com. This seven-bungalow, three-villa eco-resort lies 250 miles (400 km) east of Bali on the southwest coast of Sumba Island and overlooks the Indian Ocean. Its draw? Some of the fastest curls short of Oahu's iconic Pipeline, and a policy of allowing only nine surfers to enjoy them at a time.

Full article by

2nd Annual DEEP Indonesia International Underwater Photo Competition

On the heels of announcing the prestigious 3rd-annual, US-based international photo and video competition, Wetpixel & DivePhotoGuide have once again organized a unique joint collaboration with a second international competition in association with DEEP Indonesia , Indonesia’s first-ever Diving, Adventure Travel and Water sports expo.

2007 marked the first time two international competitions associated with dive expos on opposite sides of the world cooperated to establish a complementary series of categories and prizing opportunities.

Photographers will compete in 7 themed categories to win over $30,000 in prizes, including photo equipment, dive gear, and premium dive travel packages to some of the top photo destinations in Indonesia and beyond. Indonesia trips include Ambon, Bali, Fak Fak, Komodo, Lembeh, Manado, and Raja Empat. Additional dive packages include Papua New Guinea and The Bahamas. The contest includes a category for images that focus on conservation and the marine environment, one specifically for entries taken by compact digital cameras, and one specifically for Indonesian entrants.

Esteemed judges Eric Cheng, Stephen Frink, and David Espinosa will select winners after the Feb 15, 2008 deadline. Winners will be announced online, published by our media partners worldwide and exhibited during the DEEP Indonesia Expo in Jakarta, Indonesia (March 28-30, 2008).

As with all Underwatercompetition.com events, 15% of entry proceeds will be donated to marine conservation efforts.

For more information, please contact:
DEEP2008@underwatercompetition.com or
contest@divephotoguide.com .

Deadline: Feb 15, 2008

  • Divers
  • Animal Portrait
  • Animal Behavior
  • Compact Camera
  • Reefscapes
  • Environment & Conservation
  • Indonesian Residents

A trek into the Papuan rainforest

I'm somewhere in a godforsaken rainforest on the north coast of West Papua, Indonesia, and I'm ready to get the hell out of here. I'm five days into a three-week jungle trek and things have got both weird and dangerous. Now I'm scared and confused, and I've lost all faith in my guide.

'We'll meet them, share a little tobacco, chill for a bit, and then move on - like passing nomads,' said Kelly Woolford, our 43-year-old tour leader. But five minutes ago we encountered bow-and-arrow-wielding bushmen who were so angry that they charged our camp, lobbing three arrows above our heads. To avoid puncture wounds, I ran straight for a nearby river and almost swam across it, until I remembered that it contained crocodiles.

When I heard about 'First Contact', a trip offered by Woolford's Bali-based trekking company, Papua Adventures, I couldn't quite believe it. It costs around £4,200 and promises an expedition to seek native tribes who have never had contact with outsiders. There are two more 'first contacts' planned for August and October this year.

'There are a handful of places in West Papua that are untouched - still Stone Age tribes, still cannibals,' said Woolford, an easygoing American expat. 'It's just that a lot of people are too scared to look for them.'

Full article.

Realted: Papua Adventures

Jakarta print exhibition out of this world

As beautiful as etchings are, they have only recently been taken seriously in Indonesia.

Disturbed by a lack of opportunities to see the fine art of Jakartan printmakers, curator Jim Supangkat and Art Sociates director Ibu Andonwati were determined to mount an exhibition of prints at South Jakarta's Ark Gallery, displaying their richness and power to challenge oils and watercolors.

What unfolded was an exhibition showcasing four print artists: Tisna Sanjaya, Christine Ay Tjoe, Nicolas de Jesus and Jochen Kohn.

Both Tisna and Christine graduated from the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB)'s School of Art and Design, majoring in printmaking. Christine's name may ring a bell for her paintings and installations, and for her pulling power with buyers and collectors.

Tisna is a popular lecturer at the ITB and a natural-born performance artist.

The other two participants, de Jesus and Kohn, live in the United States and Germany, respectively, though de Jesus is an ethnic Mexican.

Andonowati, who represents the artists in the exhibit, said Monday at the "International Print Talk: From the Dark Background of Etchings" forum that de Jesus and Kohn initially didn't take her seriously when she invited them to exhibit in Jakarta.

From the Dark Background of Etchings
Until Feb. 20
Ark Gallery
Jl. Senopati Raya No. 92. (Also home to Bakoel Koffie)
Phone: (021) 7254934

Japanese dominate 2007 tourist arrivals in Bali

Japanese topped the list of foreign tourist arrivals in Indonesia`s resort island of Bali in 2007, reaching 351,752 persons, or about 21.11 percent of the total number of foreign tourist arrivals (1,666,079), a local official said.

Head of Denpasar`s statistics bureau Ida Komang Wisno said here on Saturday Australian tourist arrivals came second on the list with their number recorded at 204,811 or about 12.29 percent. Next were tourists from Taiwan who accounted for 138,859 or about 8.33 percent of the total.

Compared with the previous year, when the figure was 1,262,537, the number of foreign tourist arrivals in 2007 had increased 31.96 percent.

He said the occupancy rate of hotels in Bali in 2007 was recorded at 60.58 percent, while foreign tourists` length of stay averaged 3.34 days.

Earlier: Bali's January 2008 Arrivals Burst Out of the Star...

Indonesia International Travel Fair 2008 to target buyers and consumers

With the theme 'Plan Your Holidays Ahead', the Indonesia International Travel Fair 2008, one of the key events in Visit Indonesia Year (VIY 2008), will be held on March 27-30 at the Balai Kartini Expo, located in the heart of Jakarta.

IITF 2008 is a one-day B2B and a three-day consumer show where visitors can purchase domestic and international travel packages at special prices.

Panca R. Sarungu, project director IITF 2008, said, "We want to educate the public to get information for their holidays and at the same time to start their planning earlier."

Target visitors are 30.000 from Jakarta and nearby areas.

"Malaysia has the MATTA Fair and Singapore has NATAS, both held twice a year, so we should also have a yearly event as well," said Paula Purba, regional sales director, Aston International, a participant at the event.

She added, "The opportunity for hard selling or direct selling to consumers during this event will enable us to observe and analyse the market behaviour, especially in the leisure market."

NTOs from Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia have confirmed their participation to target the Indonesian market.

The private sector initiative is jointly organized by PT. Prakarsa Sinergi Utama and RajaMICE.com.

It is supported by ASTINDO (Indonesian Ticket Sellers Association), ASITA Jakarta (Indonesia Travel Agents Association – Jakarta Chapter), Indonesian Tourism Council and Jakarta Tourism Board.

To support VIY 2008, the organisers have invited 50 foreign buyers from ASEAN countries in the hosted programme which has the support of the hotels in Jakarta who will be providing accommodation facilities, and local and international airlines who will be giving special discounts.

More information: Panca R Sarungu, Project Director
Mobile : +62817 817 846

Cap Go Meh in Singkawang

Cap Go Meh is the 15th day in the Chinese Lunar Year, the first full moon of the year. This year it falls on February 21st.
In China it is also known as the Lantern festival. In South-East Asia, Cap Go Meh is sometimes called the Chinese Valentine Day, because it is a day when young unmarried women gather to toss tangerines into the sea, in a hope that their future spouse will pick it up.

Here are some clips from Youtube on Cap Go Meh in Singkawang, West Kalimantan (2007) by PrimaProduction:

More Clips:
More informationon Cap Go Meh: Wikipedia

Indonesia's Wongso unearths culinary treasures

Whether he's serving slow-cooked chicken or marinated soybean, Indonesian chef William Wongso sees spicing up his dishes with unusual local ingredients as key to his mission to promote the archipelago's diverse cuisine.

Choosing recipes from his grandmother's time, such as tempeh, or soybean cake, fermented in garlic and salt until it turns black, the 61-year-old chef introduces new twists to the old on his popular television cooking show "Cooking Adventure with William Wongso".

The owner of three top restaurants, such as the showpiece, appointment-only, William's Kafe Artistik in Jakarta, where businessmen woo clients with foie gras egg curd and tiny chocolate pianos, Wongso recently opened an innovative "infused noodle" shop, Mie Item, which sells black squid ink noodles.

Here he talks to Reuters Life! about Indonesia's varied cuisine and why specialities from across the archipelago deserve a greater appreciation.

Q: You've said that enlightening foreigners about the diversity of flavours in Indonesian cooking is one of your long-term goals. Do you think visitors to Indonesia typically get a good introduction to Indonesia cuisine?

A: "All they know is nasi goreng (fried rice), satay and maybe rendang (slow-cooked beef curry). With 17,000 islands and 600 dialects, there's so much more."


Udjo`s Angklung Studio to hold 15 concerts abroad

Udjo`s Angklung Studio has set itself the target of holding 15 concerts abroad this year.

"The opening concerts will be held in March - April in Turkey, South Africa and Rome (Italy)," the studio`s head, Taufik Hidayat Udjo, said on Tuesday.

He said foreigners` interest in music produced by the bamboo musical instrument had remained high.

His studio, he added, had also prepared thousands of angklungs to support the concerts.

The studio is one of Bandung`s popular musical art venues for both local and foreign tourists.

In the studio, he added, people can learn how to play angklung, watch the production process of the bamboo musical instrument and buy souvenirs.

The studio also runs a "home stay" program for people wishing to learn angklung and other Sundanese arts.

The Foreign Ministry was also providing scholarships for people from Asia Pacific countries to learn angklung at Udjo`s Angklung Studio.

Bali's January 2008 Arrivals Burst Out of the Starting Gate

Bali by the Numbers: Preliminary Arrival Figures Indicate a Very Strong Start for 2008.

Bali News: Bali's January 2008 Arrivals Burst Out of the Starting Gate.
(2/10/2008) The National News Agency Antara reports that 154,000 foreign tourists visited Bali in January 2008.

While these figures remain preliminary until confirmed by yet-to-be-received official figures from Bali's immigration office, the 154,000 tally suggests a record-breaking start to 2008, exceeding arrival totals for January 2007 (109,504) by a whopping +40.63%.

As reported on balidiscovery.com [See: Bali's Year for the Record Books] Bali ended 2007 as the "best year ever" for foreign tourist arrivals with a cumulative total of 1,664,854 - a dramatic +32.1% increase over total arrivals for 2006 (1,260,317).

Bullish that Bali tourism will continue to grow apace, Bali tourism officials are targeting 1.9 million foreign arrivals for 2008 – an improvement of +14.12% over 2007.

The next installment of Bali by the Numbers will review the official arrival figures for January, expected shortly from officials at Bali's airport.

© Bali Discovery Tours. Articles may be quoted and reproduced if attributed to http://www.balidiscovery.com. All images and graphics are copyright protected.

Turangalîla Symphony, Royal Festival Hall, London

Visitors to the Southbank Centre for the latest concert in its year-long Messiaen festival were transported briefly to Indonesia: as they arrived for a performance of the composer's colossal Turangalîla Symphony, they were met by the sounds of Javanese gamelan, performed by the centre's own ensemble.

The sensual, hypnotic pulse of that music undeniably infiltrates Messiaen's first big orchestral work - commissioned by conductor Serge Koussevitzky in 1945 and first performed four years later - but what is striking about the work is its ebullient eclecticism, its cheerful plundering of sources as disparate as Stravinsky and Mussorgsky, Indian rhythms and modes, even jazz.

Turangalîla (the name derives from Sanskrit, and can loosely be translated as "love song") is also an encyclopaedia of instrumental effects. Part piano concerto, part essay in orchestration, coloured throughout with the eerie whoops and cries of the ondes Martenot, Turangalîla is a challenging piece to pull off, unpredictable in its mood and sometimes uncontrollably volatile.

Full article

The future for shadow theatre may just lie in a merging of East and West.

The shadows that breathe.

What kind of a world would it be like if there were no shadows? Without shadows, children will no longer have fun playing with light and silhouettes; there would no longer be contrast between light and dark in paintings and cinematography; there would be no difference between standing under a big tree or being out in a field; the colours of the ocean and the sky will seem like plastic, and the fun of seeing how time changes in one location would definitely be dull. In reality, the lack of shadow eventually means the lack of light. Without shadow, our perception would become altered and our emotions parched.

Although our bodies cast unique shadows that intimately accompany our lives, shadows have often been culturally associated with the space between life and death, for example, many ghostly appearances have been referred to as shadows. Nevertheless, many countries in Asia have turned the mysterious quality of shadows into a part of their performing art traditions, such as the Wayang Kulit (shadow puppet theatre) of Indonesia, Pi Ying Xi of China and Nang Yai of Thailand. While the ancient art of traditional shadow theatre is diminishing at an alarming rate, many experiments and efforts have been used by artists all over the world in order to preserve a place for the special art to live on.

Racing with the rapid change in the world filled with modern entertainment, including the fight for the audience's familiarity and acceptance of the shadow theatre, Larry Reed (a US shadow theatre artist based in San Francisco) and I Nyoman Sumandhi (a Balinese shadow-theatre master or dalang) have spent most of their lives trying to preserve the art of the shadow theatre. They have a friendship that started in 1974 when Reed first met Sumandhi, who at the time was teaching a gamelan (musical ensemble of Indonesia typically featuring percussion instruments such as metallophones, xylophones, drums and gongs) class offered by the the University of Washington. After that summer, Reed continued to pursue his studies with Sumandhi's father, I Nyoman Rajeg, who was a master dalang in Bali. He discovered that a dalang is the sole performer in the tradition. Accompanied by the gamelan ensemble, the dalang conducts the ritual ceremony, narrates the story, sings, improvises dialogue and manipulates all the puppets, while giving cues to the musicians. Hence, a dalang's art encompassed many qualities and talents.

Full article

Indonesia to hold fashion show in China

The Indonesian Embassy here will hold a fashion show in Beijing and Shanghai next April to promote the Indonesian traditional wardrobe, including batik, to the Chinese people.

"We will invite several provinces to organize the fashion show next April," Head of the Socio-culture Section of the Embassy Rosmalawati Chalid said on Saturday.

She said such traditional attire as batik should not only be seen as a commercial product but as an original Indonesian art work.

The embassy, she said, would also hold an Indonesian Week in Wangfujing, the most popular shopping center in Beijing, as an effort to attract more Chinese tourists to come to Indonesia.

The Indonesian Week is slated to be held next September, after the organization of the 2008 Olympic Games, she added.

"We actually want to hold it a week in August, in conjunction with the organization of the Olympic Games, but the local government does not allow any event to be held during the sports festivity and we then rescheduled it," she added.

Tribal Music Tours: Bali Temples

Witness a once-a-century religious ceremony centered on an open-air temple in the village of Pejang. The two-day event includes music, feasting, dancing and elaborate costumes. Tour-goers can take part in mini-workshops that illuminate local customs and demonstrate gamelan music, the trance dance and more.

Christine Stevens (author of "The Healing Drum Kit") will travel with the group and is among workshop speakers. The 11-day tour also includes guided walks to waterfalls and caves, shopping jaunts to bazaars and artisans' villages and a catamaran snorkeling trip.

Info: Tribal Music Tours Inc.; (626) 799-4795, www.tribalmusictours.com.

Dates: May 31 to June 11

Lumpia Receipes

Lumpia are cakes Philippines and Indonesia similar to the spring rolls Lumpia. Lumpia The term derives from lunpia in the Hokkien dialect of Chinese Lumpia. The recipe was brought by Chinese immigrants from Fujian Province of China to Southeast Asia and became popular at that settled in the Philippines and Indonesia Lumpia. In the Netherlands, who has written loempia which is the old spelling for lumpia from Indonesia and has also become the generic name of "spring roll" in Dutch Lumpia. A variant is the Vietnamese lumpia, wrapped in a thin piece of pastry, in a size of about a roll of spring, but the wrapper is closed completely out of the ends, which is typical of lumpia Lumpia.
Lumpia Basah
It literally means "wet spring roll," which means spring roll without frying Lumpia. It is similar to the Vietnamese spring roll filled with soybeans, carrots, shrimp and / or chicken, and serve with sweet tauco (another word for Hokkien salted soy) sauce Lumpia.
Lumpia Semarang
It 's name from the capital city of Central Java in Indonesia, Semarang Lumpia. It was created by Chinese immigrants in the city of Semarang Lumpia. It is full of bamboo shoots, dried shrimp (Ebi in Indonesian) and chicken or shrimp Lumpia. Serve with sauce lumpia which is made of dried shrimp (optional), coconut sugar, red chilies, bird 's eye chilies, water, ground white pepper, tapioca starch and water, can be served in unfried either fried or condition Lumpia.

Scuba Diving: Raja Ampat Trip Report

Well, I’ve procrastinated long enough. I think I put this off for so long since I hated to write a trip report that wasn’t absolutely glowing. While this trip was a once in a lifetime adventure, I don’t always mean that in a positive way. All in all, though I’m glad I went. Overall, I would say it was a good trip, with high points and low points. However, spending as much time and money, I had very high expectations; expectations that were not always met.

I realize I chose to dive in a very remote area of the world, but did expect more of a focus on safety. Any discussions on safety focused more on not inconveniencing fellow divers than on anything else. (In stark contrast, the folks on the Galapagos Aggressor encouraged oxygen use by anyone who thought they might have blown a safety/deco stop without question.)

I think as the area becomes more popular, there will be more competition and a higher standard for liveaboards in the Raja Ampat cruising waters. Right now, I guess it’s the trade-off of being able to dive the area before the crowds descend. I would suggest to anyone considering a trip that they plan to take along adequate safety/signaling equipment and either have a buddy they know they can rely on or be a competent and comfortable solo diver (preferably the latter as many divers were not able to stay together and often got separated). I’d also not suggest this area for less than advanced divers who are comfortable in very strong currents. The currents were stronger than any I've experienced in Palau or the Galapagos and divers were not always dropped in the best areas. I saw more than one diver get themselves in dangerous situations. (For example, as mentioned earlier, divers were pressured to dive the day before flying as the diving was planned to be “shallow.” However, the currents had a mind of their own (as they often do), and a number of people got caught in down currents causing them to go significantly deeper than planned.) Also, if you are used to boats like the Aggressors and Peter Hughes boats, the Ondina still has a ways to go, but the crew does deserve an A for effort.

Serendipity and a Journey to West Bali 2008

Over these past two weeks I returned to Bali for a vacation at a pair of resorts, each of special character, first South Bali and then in West Bali.

I had stayed in Kuta an Legian in South Bali several times before, but this time, I stayed in Tanjung Benoa at the Peninsula Resort for a week prior to moving out to West Bali and staying in the isolated Medewi Cottage Retreat near Pekutatan.

This latter resort in Medewi was so isolated it had neither internet nor telephone access. This Medewi Retreat is located amongst a village hidden off the main west-east roadway and with in walking distance from the black sand beaches of Medewi, where surfing and body surfing are among life’s simple pleasures.

Meanwhile, the hotel at Tanjung Benoa was special because from it, I had access to local bicycle journeys and boating journeys—including a rafting trip northeast of Denpasar one day.

Full article

By Kevin A. Stoda

Rescuers search for missing Japanese tourist

Rescuers aboard a ship and a helicopter continued to search for a Japanese touristwho was missing in Nusa Penida waters, Klungkung regency, Bali.

"Hiro Hiko Kubo, 66 years old, from Japan was reportedly missing while diving," Barokna, chief of the search and rescue team, said at Badung Strait, on Saturday.

The Japanese disappeared Friday at around 3p.m. local time, and the accident was reported to the rescue team at 7.30 p.m., he said.

Last July, the search and rescue team managed to rescue four German tourists whose boat has sunken after being hit by huge waves in Nusa Penida waters.

Spice island

It's easy to be seduced by Bali. In most corners of this intensely coloured island, lush with hot pink and purple blossoms and cool-green terraced rice fields, there's a spread of elegant Western-style restaurants: French, Italian, Indian, modern Thai, even Spanish. And there is no shortage of upscale Indonesian-esque eating: prettily presented versions of favourites such as nasi goreng (fried rice), fried chicken and nasi campur (a mix of small dishes set around a mound of rice).

But there's more to Bali than borrowed dishes. Just as language and religion differ between the tiny, fan-shaped, Hindu island and its Muslim-dominated big brother, Java, Balinese food has its own personality. "Balinese flavours are like music, a stream running over stones," says Penny Williams, an Australian chef working at one of the island's luxury resorts. "Javanese tastes are like a pounding river."

Also in Ubud, expatriate Australian Janet De Neefe takes visitors into the heart of Balinese food culture through her Casa Luna cooking school. Standing at a table spread with leaves, roots and spices, she explains the bumbu - the spice pastes that form the basis of Balinese cooking. We pound and sniff nubbly sticks of tabiabun (a Balinese long pepper), delicate, almost lemony torch-ginger petals and the medicinally astringent kencur - a gnarly tuber that resembles galangal. We are warned against snacking on too many macadamia-like candlenuts. They are a common Balinese laxative.

It's here I learn about bebek betutu, a smoky duck specialty smeared in shrimp paste, tamarind and palm sugar. A whole bird is stuffed with herbs including staghorn, cumin leaves and daun salam (a subtly flavoured Indonesian leaf), then steamed. It's rolled into a palm-leaf sheath and buried under a cone of slow-burning rice husks. Using a similar technique to a Maori hangi, or ground oven, it will smoke and bake for up to 11 hours.

Full article

Humboldt Penguins arrive at Taman Safari Indonesia

The rare Humboldt Penguin (Speheniscus Humboldti) can now be seen at Taman Safari Indonesia (TSI), Cisarua, Bogor, West Java.

Six pairs of the animal arrived at TSI on February 2,2008 from Tokyo`s Sea Life Park, Japan, to be saved from extinction.

TSI spokesperson Yulius Suprihardo said the animals, aged between 10 and 13 years, had been placed in a special pond and cage.

Their new home was equipped with a temperature controlling system and a device to maintain the salinity level of the water in the pond in order to emulate their natural habitat near the South Pole.

TSI would feed the penguins "teri" and "japuh" fish.

Native to South American, the 12 penguins still need to be quarantined under the supervision of TSI`s medical team, consisting of Tokyo veterinarian Hiroshi Takeuchi and the head of TSI`s nursing department, Imam.

Yulius said the animals were in a reproductive phase and expected to breed at TSI.

More Chinese restaurants open in Jakarta with greater acceptance of its culture

Chinese restaurants in Muslim-majority Indonesia have grown in the past five years because of greater openness for ethnic Chinese to celebrate their traditions.

And most major restaurants in the capital Jakarta are already booked for the traditional reunion dinner on the eve of the Lunar New Year.

Sun City Luxury Club Restaurant, a Chinese restaurant in Kota is the latest among dozens that have sprouted in the capital in the last five years.

This, after the Indonesian government declared the Lunar New Year a national holiday and allowed the ethnic Chinese citizens to celebrate the festivities openly.

Yuyun Marsiani, spokesperson of Sun City Luxury Club Restaurant, said: "Chinese New Year celebration mood at Sun City Luxury Club has increased. For example our restaurant and grand ballroom reservations are already fully booked."

The restaurant can only sit 2500 diners at one time but it's already been overbooked by about 30 per cent despite holding their first reunion dinner event since opening its doors less than a year ago.

A few hundred meters down the road, 30-year-old Furama restaurant has also seen an unprecedented spike in business the past few years.

Jakarta floods are a dampener for Bali

Leaders of two influential tourism associations in Bali have expressed concern over the negative impact the recent floods in Jakarta would have on the country's tourism image, particularly as it had just kicked off the 2008 Visit Indonesia tourism campaign.

Jakarta was paralysed by heavy flooding last weekend.

"What we should worry about is the impact of the flood on the image we would like to present to the world during the 2008 Visit Indonesia Year," executive director of Bali Hotels Association, Djinaldi Gosana, told the Jakarta Post.

The Bali chapter of the Association of Indonesia Tour and Travel Agencies (ASITA) expressed similar concerns.

"The news of the closure of the Soekarno-Harta International airport must have travelled far and wide in the international community by now," said ASITA head Al Purwa, adding that such an incident wasn't the kind of positive image the country's tourism industry wanted to convey to its global potential market.

Lanterns light up Chinese New Year festivities in Indonesia

As Chinese New Year falls on Feb. 7,many of the residents in Jakarta, capital of Indonesia, regardless of their ethnicity, are busy shopping and their the most favorite items are Chinese New Year's decorations in the city's Chinatown, or known as Glodok in West Jakarta.

This is part of the Chinese New Year festivities in recent years. The festivities have been greeted with a great deal of hype in the capital city as well as other cities in the country.

"I love buying Chinese lanterns because I feel serene when I look at them," the Jakarta Post daily on Wednesday quoted Rini, a housewife from Cibubur in East Jakarta as saying.

Rini, who was shopping in Glodok with her daughter, said she began to collect Chinese decorations after a recent visit to Singapore. Red lanterns were her favorite Chinese ornament, she added.

Elis Susana owns a shop in the Glodok area. She said Chinese lanterns were the most popular ornament in the weeks leading up to Chinese New Year.

"Lampions are a must-have Chinese New Year decoration at home and at the office," she said.

Elis stocks both round and square red lanterns in her shop, selling them for between 50,000 rupiah (5.43 U.S. dollars) and 600,000 rupiah (60.2 U.S. dollars). She also stocks small sets of lanterns with Chinese zodiac signs painted on them.

Elis said pink plum blossom (Mei Hua) trees were the second most popular item after lampion in the weeks leading up to Chinese New Year. She said most customers preferred to buy plastic Mei Huatrees, which cost between 125,000 rupiah (13.6 U.S. dollars) and 1.5 million rupiah (163 U.S. dollars) depending on size.

However, she said some customers purchased real Mei Hua cuttings imported from China, which sell for 100,000 rupiah (10.87U.S. dollars) per bunch.

"I would like to grow them in my own garden. I would like to see the buds blossom on New Year's Day," said one customer after buying a bunch of the cuttings.

Elis' husband Murtalim said Mei Hua trees usually grew in cool subtropical weather.

"But with a bit of luck, they might also grow here," he laughed. Elis began selling Chinese New Year ornaments in 2000. Her shop also stocks a range of other ornaments.

Most Chinese New Year decorations express a person's wishes for prosperity, good health and happiness.

Min Noi from Pondok Kelapa in East Jakarta said she purchased Chinese New Year ornaments to make her grandchildren happy.

"All I know is each ornament symbolizes good things. Just look at the red and gold colors on the ornaments. They create a positive spirit to welcome Chinese New year," she said.

Another group of women said they were shopping for Chinese New Year ornaments to decorate their office.

"Most of our company's clients are Chinese-Indonesian. Because Chinese New Year is just around the corner, we want them to feel at home when they visit our office," one of the women said.

Bali wins best exotic destination award from English magazine

The Island of Bali has received an appreciation as the Best Exotic Destination from the Luxury Travel Magazine handed by editor Alyson Cook to Indonesia, in this case the Indonesian Embassy`s Economic Counsellor Tumpal MH Hutagalung and First Secretary Mayuzar Adamy in London.

The January 2008 edition of Luxury Travel Magazine the magazine`s readers picked Bali Island as the Best Exotic Destination, Embassy First Secretary Mayuzar Adamy said in London on Monday.

Bali managed to collect 17% of the total votes of the readers who joined the polling beating 13 other participants, including Mauritius and the Thailand Golden Triangle as other tourist destinations which had also been nominated as Best Exotic Destinations.

Mayuzar said Luxury Travel Magazine viewed the world of tourism from various aspects, especially by medium and upper class readers.

The monthly magazine provides analyses and expert information on world tourism to both the consumers and tourism operators.

Luxury Travel Magazine covers the latest international tourism trends and products, and disseminate them to the readers.

The magazine is published by Haymarket Media Group based in the United Kingdom and has branch offices in 27 different countries in the world, including China, the United States and several countries in Europe.

A single edition of Luxury Travel Magazine across the world normally consists of 9,275 copies, including 6,995 copies in the UK, and 2,280 copies in other countries.

According to editor Ms Alyson Cook, the number of readers of magazines pubished by Haymarket Media Group has reached 2.5 million worldwide.

Haymarket Media Group also issued other publications on behalf of its clients, including America`s Cup, Champions, England, Jaguar, London 2012 Olympics, Manchester United, Nike, Panasonic, Sony, Toyota, UEFA and United Review. The British Army is also one of the clients of Haymarket Media Group.

Mayuzar said the Indonesian Embassy will send the appreciation to the Bali provincial administration as soon as possible.

Earlier: Bali named "best exotic destination" by Luxury Tra...

Indonesia takes part in international folklore festival in Spain

Two dancers hailing from Bali who had been living in Spain for quite a long time Ketut Diatmika and Endang Kadeg, along with dancers from the Indonesian Embassy`s women`s organization in Madrid taking part in the 28th Folklore Festival at the Feria De Madrid auditorium, received a warm welcome.

In front of about 700 viewers, the Indonesian dancers performed the Panyembrama and Tari Cendrawasih dances, Social and Cultural Affairs official at the Indonesian Embassy in Madrid Allen Simarmata said Tuesday.

Twenty two countries took part in the Folklore Festival held amid the Spanish FITUR Internasional Expo.

Allen Simarmata said that before the performance of the Indonesian dancers, the master of ceremonies introduced interesting tourist objects in Indonesia, including the Borobudur Buddhist temple.

Ritz-Carlton Bali owners win Bulgari damages

Karang Mas Sejahtera (KMS) the Indonesian owners of the Ritz-Carlton Bali Resort & Spa have been awarded US$10 million in punitive damages by a Maryland Federal (U.S.) jury who found the that Ritz-Carlton - part of Marriott International - had violated a non-competition exclusivity agreement by participating in the development of a second hotel in Bali, the nearby Bulgari Resort.

According to a published report in the Wall Street Journal, lawyers for KMS successfully argued that the Bali Bulgari Resort unfairly benefited from Ritz-Carlton's name in marketing and promotion when it opened its 59 villa luxury hotel, just five kilometres up the beach their client's property.

The court case, which awarded KMS US$382,304 in compensatory damages together with US$10 million in punitive damages, also allows KMS to terminate its contract with Ritz-Carlton.

Papua to hold Lake Sentani Festival in July

The Papua Tourism Office was slated to hold the Lake Sentani Festival here on July 16-19 to support the annual Lembah Baliem Festival in Jayawijaya District in August, 2008.

"The Lake Sentani Festival will be held as an effort to protect the culture of the Jayapura District, mainly in the Sentani Lake area," Head of the Papua Tourism Office Elly Weror said on Saturday.

The two festivals were designed in such a way to ease tourists wishing to enjoy the fetivities, Weror said, adding that the festivals were also intended to prolong their stays in the province.

Previously, there were only three big cultural festivals, namely the cultural festival of Lembah Baliem, that of Asmat and that of Kamoro, he said.

He added the office was likewise trying to realize the Cendrawasih Bay Festival.

Besides holding the cultural events, he added, the province has been reorganizing the tourist sites in the area, including the Holtekam Beach located some 60 kms from Jayapura.

Bali to hold festivals in support of Visit Indonesia Year 2008

Indonesia's resort island Bali is expected to organize 17 festivals, 14 of which already approved by the Minister for Arts and Tourism, to celebrate the "Visit Indonesia Year 2008", according to local media on Sunday.

The festivals were expected to attract tourists to visit Bali, Antara news agency quoted head of the Bali Chapter of the Indonesian Hotels and Restaurants Association (PHRI) Ir Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati as saying.

The promotion for the events had also been made, he said in Bali.

Oka said his side had set the target of drawing 1.9 million foreign tourists from the events in 2008. The target was set based on the arrivals of 1,664,047 foreign tourists in 2007.

Last year, about 5.5 million foreigners visited Indonesia. The government wanted to have 7 million foreign visitors in 2008.

Jazzing up Jakarta

The Java Jazz Festival returns next month and will put Indonesia back on the regional map for good music.

COMING as sweet music to the ears of regional jazz lovers is news that the Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival in Indonesia – now celebrating its fourth anniversary – will be returning for another three fun-filled days of world-class performances from renowned international musicians in March.

Organised by PT Java Festival Production and supported by the Provincial Government of Jakarta as well as the State Ministry Office of Tourism and Culture, the Dji Sam Soe Super Premium Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival (to give the festival its full name for this year) will be held on 16 stages spread all over the Jakarta Convention Centre from March 7-9.

Among the international artistes to be featured on the bill of the festival are the likes of Incognito, George Clinton, Raul Midon, Bobby Caldwell, James Ingram, Lee Ritenour, Ray Parker Jr, Jody Watley, Najee, Eric Darius, The Manhattan Transfer, Matt Bianco, Gregg Adams and the Earth Wind and Fire Experience featuring Al McKay All Stars among others.

JavaJazz Website
How to get there
Clips 2007

PT. Java Festival Production
Ruko Simprug Galery Blok A1
Jalan Teuku Nyak Arif No. 10
Jakarta 12220, Indonesia
Phone : +62 21 72783601 - 02
Fax : +62 21 7204030
Email : info@javajazzfestival.com

Ticket Hotline : +62 21 99911466
General Information : +62 21 99911477

Bali named "best exotic destination" by Luxury Travel

The Indonesian resort island of Bali has again won "The Best Exotic Destination" award, this time from the London-based Luxury Travel Magazine, a tourism official said.

"The readers of Luxury Travel Magazine in 27 countries have chosen Bali as the best resort island," the head of the Bali Provincial Tourism Office I Gde Nurjaya said on Thursday.

The award was presented to Bali through the Indonesian Embassy in London, he said.

"We are waiting for information from the embassy on when the award will be sent to Bali," he said.

He expressed hope the award would further improve Bali`s tourism image in the eyes of the world community as a comfortable and secure tourist destination.

Last year, the province received similar awards from one of the leading magazines in the United States and two magazines with large circulations in Asia.

In 2006, 4.7 million readers of the US-based Time magazine chose Bali as the world`s best tourist island.(Antara-News)

Tourist arrivals in December 2007 up 10 pct

The number of foreign tourists who entered Indonesia through the country`s 15 main gateways in December 2007 was 401,001 or 10.29 percent up from the figure in the same month in 2006, the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) said.

Compared to November 2007, the number had risen 7.86 percent, BPS Deputy Chief for Distribution and Service Statistics Ali Rosyidi said on Friday.

Cumulatively, the number of foreign tourists who came to Indonesia through the 15 main gateways last year reached 4,541,458, up 13.35 percent from the same period in 2006 when the figure was 4,006,525, he said.

Overall, 5.51 million foreign tourists visited Indonesia last year including those who entered the country through other gateways, or an increase of 13.02 percent from the year before, he said.

The figure matched the government-set target of 5.5 million for 2007.

Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik said in December 2007, the number of tourist arrivals last year hit a 10-month record high of 5.5 million.