Food Talk: Breadfruit Offers Slice of the Tropics

There are many local ingredients that were once staples of the Indonesian diet, but are now almost impossible to find in our supermarkets. Breadfruit is one of these forgotten staples. Originally grown in Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia, breadfruit is a popular treat in many tropical countries around the world.

Shaped like a small football, breadfruit is a melon-sized fruit with green and knobbly skin. When roasted, baked or deep-fried, its cream-colored flesh develops a firm, bread-like texture with the aroma of freshly baked bread. Breadfruit is very rich in starch. It contains 25 percent carbohydrates and 70 percent water. The fruit reveals a dazzling pattern when cut lengthwise or in cross-sections.

I have two recipes this week, one savory and one sweet. The savory recipe is roasted breadfruit with a touch of Mediterranean flavor, with thyme or rosemary and olive oil. The sweet recipe is deep-fried breadfruit coated in palm sugar syrup and cinnamon, with a distinctively Indonesian flavor. Enjoy!

1. Roasted breadfruit with thyme and olive oil
2. Breadfruit coated with palm sugar, caramel and cinnamon

Read more.. (article by Petty Elliott)
Breadfruit images

Bromo reopens to tourists

Local authorities in Malang, East Java, officially reopened the Bromo Mountain tourist site on Wednesday, after it was closed for five months because of volcanic activity in the area.

“The reopening of Bromo to tourists has been considered carefully. Our decision is based on several factors,” said Suwasto, the head of Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park administration, as quoted by kompas.com on Tuesday.

The first consideration was a significant decline in frequency of volcanic eruptions, as indicated by a reduction of volcanic ash coming from the crater, Suwasto said. The other was the fact that many local people were anxious to get back to work, he said.

“Bromo has been named one of the icons of the 'Visit East Java 2011' campaign, so it has to be reopened,” Suwasto said.

Upon reopening, tourists would still be forbidden from coming within 2 kilometers of the crater, he said.

“We have installed warning signs to inform tourists of the danger,” he said.

Northern Bali to hold folk festival

Indonesia's Culture and Tourism Ministry will kick off the three-day Buleleng Folk Art Festival (PKRB) in the Bali town of Singaraja on Thursday in an effort to promote tourism in less-developed northern Bali.

“PKRB is a folk festival which will feature various traditional art performances as well as concerts featuring music of the young generation and 1970s music,” the ministry's director for domestic tourism promotion, M. Faried, said Tuesday.

He said the festival was expected to be held annually as part of an attempt to attract more visitors to northern Bali, with tourism activities so far concentrated in the south.

“Buleleng regency has a lot of potential tourist attractions. Besides, an international airport is planned to be built there,” Faried said, as quoted by Antara news agency.

He said among the potential was the well-preserved culture and traditions of the locals, as well as the beautiful valley and mountain panoramas and Bali’s northern beaches.

Bali Hotels

Balinese Dance, Papuan Noken And Taman Mini Put Forward for Heritage Status

Indonesia on Monday officially registered three items to be recognized as part of world cultural heritage.

“Today, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism is showing its responsibility to preserve Indonesian culture by proposing three cultural treasures to Unesco,” Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik.

The three items are Balinese dance, Papua’s noken woven bag and the Taman Mini Indonesia Indah recreation park, which is a nominee for cultural heritage protection, development and education space.

Nine traditional Balinese dances were proposed to the UN cultural agency, one for each district on the island.

The noken is an iconic bag woven from the fibers of plants related to orchids. It is used by tribal women in Papua to carry everything from roots and produce to young pigs.

Jero said he hoped the process of seeking recognition from Unesco would get more Indonesians interested in the country’s cultural heritage.

While the government hopes to make more proposals to Unesco, he said, it would probably have to wait for the time being.

“Just to be able to propose three items as world heritage, we had to involve thousands of people,” he said. “So I cannot even imagine how many people we would need to propose all of Indonesia’s cultural treasures to Unesco.”

Aside from the three new proposals, Unesco is expected to announce Aceh’s saman dance as a world cultural heritage sometime this year. The dance features the synchronized movements of dancers sitting in a row, and has been used in Aceh as a medium to spread Islamic teachings.

Source: Antara

Bali is favorite holiday destination according to DestinAsian 2011

Bali received several 2011 awards by Destinasian in the categories best hotel, best spa and best places to visit.
The best hotel was:
The Legian Elegantly crafted all-suite hotel on Seminyak Beach, with design elements from Bali and Java. Stats 67 suites; 2 restaurants; 2 bars. Readers say “Breathtaking views and an escape from the crowds.” Don’t Miss The synchronized massage at the resort’s serene spa.
In the best spa category,
With its expansive Thalasso complex (home to the world’s largest aquatonic pool) and Spa on the Rocks pavilions, Bali’s Ayana Resort & Spa earned this year’s distinction for the best resort spa in the region, winning you over with “well-trained therapists” and “world-class treatments.”
Best Places to Visit
Bali continues to be everyone’s “perfect” holiday island, offering everything from “the posh to the bare-bones, the commercial to the artistic.” On the urban scene, Singapore ranks as the best city for doing business thanks to its “extremely efficient” infrastructure and “easy access.” Come leisure time, however, Bangkok once again prevails, for its “great restaurants and nightlife” and vibrant combination of “the future and the past.”

Ritz Carlton Hong Kong is World's Tallest Hotel

We visited the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong's construction site recently and we're still reeling. The half-constructed Ritz Carlton at the top of the International Commerce Centre in Hong Kong will be the tallest hotel in the world when it opens at the beginning of 2011.

On our visit, we stood at the 102nd floor, where a couple of restaurants are currently under construction, and peered out the large windows to ogle the sight of Victoria Harbour. Vertigo ensued and we had to grab hold of the raw concrete walls to steady ourselves. It wasn't just the distance from the ground -- nearly 490 meters -- that inspired light-headedness, but the sheer beauty of Hong Kong under our feet had a knockout-punch effect on our senses. For a few seconds we forgot to breath, as our eyes met the full 180 degree-plus spread from Tsim Sha Tsui East to Central, to Sheung Wan, and then to the mouth of Victoria Harbour, widening out into an expanse of South China Sea that eventually merged with the shimmering horizon.

In every way, this is a hotel destined for hyperbole, but to say that the view is truly incomparable is no stretch of vocabulary. See the virtual tour  for a taste of what I'm going on about. It was taken from the ICC's observation deck at the 100th floor -- called sky100 -- a couple of floors below where the Ritz Carlton is going to be. It's a good way to warm up before an actual first-hand experience when the hotel is finally completed.

Read more: High at the Ritz: Unrivalled views at the world's tallest hotel | CNNGo.com http://www.cnngo.com/hong-kong/wide-eye-591731#ixzz1HtULRcSC

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Baleka Beach Resort



Baleka Beach Resort warm welcome you with the comforts of hotel standard facilities. It is a small nice property located among the busy area of Legian, in lush tropical gardens. With natural warmth and friendliness staff you will be hard to leave Baleka Beach Resort where the comfort, modern and tradition combined.Baleka Beach Resort located at the center of the shopping and entertainment district of Kuta and Legian. Just 15 minutes drive from Bali 's International Airport and 5 minutes walk to reach the Legian White sandy beach.Baleka Beach Resort invites you to experience and enjoy the magic of Bali in your home far away from home...


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Bali Villas & Lombok Villas Bali Hotel – A Private Piece Of Paradise

All luxurious Bali Villas in villas-bali.com have been filtered in order to provide you the best Bali Private Villa in experiencing holiday, bali wedding, honeymoon which guarantee Privacy and Outstanding Personalized Service.

Hotel di Bali Solusi terpercaya untuk semua kebutuhan perjalanan anda di Bali dan seluruh Indonesia

Big Business for Singaporean Crafting Boutique Hotels Out of Rickety Rooms

They may look like wrecks to most people, but to Singaporean hotelier Loh Lik Peng creaking warehouses or unused school buildings can be architectural gems just waiting to be polished.

The former lawyer is Singapore’s boutique-hotel king, and he is credited with spearheading a trend to create intimate accommodation both hip and historic in a city dominated by gleaming skyscrapers.

“I like finding old buildings that are a bit of a wreck,” Loh said in the lobby of his newest hotel, Wanderlust, which opened last year in Singapore’s Little India district.

“For me, it’s a huge amount of fun and it always makes my heart beat faster when I see a beautiful, old building and it’s available to restore, and I imagine what I could do with it.”

After a complete refurbishment, he renamed the building Hotel 1929 after the year it was built and opened its doors to the first guest in February 2003. Customers were wowed by the 32 individually-styled rooms done in what Loh called “nouveau chic” decor, with black and white photos of Singapore in the early 20th century lining its corridors.

The success of Hotel 1929 came as a surprise even to Loh, but he realized he had tapped into something worth pursuing.

Three years later, he opened the New Majestic Hotel across the street from Hotel 1929.
Trendy boutique hotels in Singapore do not come cheap, though. An online check showed that the New Majestic’s published rate for a basic room averages 280 Singapore dollars a night, more expensive than the nearby four-star Amara hotel.

Full article by Bernice Han
Singapore Budget Hotels

Four Bali Villages to be Eco-Tourism Models

Four villages in Bali will become eco-tourism models in Indonesia. The four villages have spatial plans designed by their villagers, synchronizing economic, socio-cultural and environmental concerns.

“I will coordinate with the Public Works office concerning the four villages that will be used as models at the national level,” said Hengky Hermantoro, the Research and Tourism Development Center head of the Culture and Tourism Ministry, yesterday.

The four villages are Tenganan Pegringsingan-Karangasem, Banjar Adat Kiadan-Badung, Dukuh-Sibetan-Karangasem and Nusa Ceningan- Klungkung.

Borobudur receives the 2011 PATA Gold Award

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2011 PATA Gold Awards. These awards have long been proudly supported and sponsored by the Macau Government Tourist Office. This year, the awards recognise the achievements of 21 separate organisations and individuals.

The awards ceremony will take place on Monday, April 11, 2011 at China World Hotel during the PATA 60th Anniversary and Conference, Beijing, China.

PATA Grand Awards are presented to outstanding entries in the four principal categories: Marketing, Education and Training, Environment, and Heritage.


PATA Gold Awards 2011

1. Marketing - Primary Government Destination
‘Amazing Thailand social networking’
Tourism Authority of Thailand

2. Marketing - Secondary Government Destination
‘Your moment is waiting’
Kerala Tourism, India

3. Marketing - Carrier
‘THAI 50th anniversary project’
Thai Airways International Public Co., Ltd, Thailand

4. Marketing – Hospitality
‘Taj Forever Campaign’
Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces, India

5. Marketing - Industry
‘Kuoni Travel Group’
Kuoni Travel (India) Pvt. Ltd, India

6. Ecotourism Project
‘Whale Watch Kaikoura’
Whale Watch Kaikoura Ltd., New Zealand

7. Corporate Environmental Programme
‘CGH Earth green book’
CGH Earth, India

8. Environmental Education Programme
‘El Nido Resorts be G.R.E.E.N. campaign’
Ten Knots Development Corporation/El Nido Resorts, Philippines

9. Heritage
‘In Praise of Borobudur & Prambanan World Culture Heritage’
PT. Taman Wisata Candi Borobudur, Indonesia

10. Culture
‘World Thai martial arts and Wai Khru Muay Thai ceremony’
Tourism Authority of Thailand

11. Education and Training
‘Corporate social responsibility and market access partnership’
Thai Ecotourism and Adventure Travel Association, Thailand

12. Marketing Media - Consumer Travel Brochure
‘Maharajas express luxury train in India’
Royale Indian Rail Tours Ltd, India

13. Marketing Media - Travel Advertisement Broadcast Media
‘Your moment is waiting’
Kerala Tourism, India

14. Marketing Media - Travel Advertisement Print Media
‘Incredible India domestic creative- adventure down under’
Ministry of Tourism, Government of India

15. Marketing Media - Travel Poster
‘Essence’
Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau

16. Marketing Media - Promotional Travel Video
‘India is awesome’
Ministry of Tourism, Government of India

17. Marketing Media – Public Relations
‘Your moment is waiting’
Kerala Tourism, India

18. Marketing Media - Web site
‘There is nothing like Australia’
Tourism Australia

19. Travel Journalism – Destination Article
‘It's a Mentawai Paddle’
By Eddy Patricelli and Brown W Cannon III
Islands Magazine, April/May 2010, USA

20. Travel Journalism - Industry Business Article
TTGmice - Rebuilding the Team
TTG Asia Media Pte Ltd, November 2010, Singapore

21. Travel Journalism - Travel Photograph
‘Dive Master’
By Eugene Tan, Fah Thai, July-August 2010
INK, Singapore

22. Travel Journalism - Travel Guidebook
‘Hong Kong living culture guide’
Hong Kong Tourism Board

Ki Ledjar Subroto's Vivid Shadow Puppets

In the hands of Ki Ledjar Subroto and his grandson Nanang Ananto Wicaksana, wayang shadow puppets are no longer the demure traditional Javanese characters, moving slowly and gracefully, casting their shadows on a large white screen.

Their wayang puppets are vivid, colorful and full of life.

At this year’s re-opening of the Museum Nusantara in Delft, the Netherlands, Ki Ledjar’s puppets danced, galloped on horses, boarded ships and shot at one another, regaling the story of William of Orange, the founding father of the nation.

The museum, which focuses on Indonesian history and culture, had been closed for two years for refurbishment before it reopened this month.

For the re-opening ceremony, the museum ordered two sets of wayang characters representing the history of William of Orange. One set will be displayed among the museum’s collections. The other will be used for wayang shadow puppet performances for special events at the museum.

“By staging the history of William of Orange using wayang puppets, the museum wants to show that there aren’t too many differences between Asia and Europe,” Dr. Hedi Hinzler said. “These wayang puppets could become a bridge to connect the East and the West.”
Hinzler is a patron of the museum, who also teaches archeology and Asian cultures at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands.

Image
Full story by Sylviana Hamdani

The Four Seasons of Vivaldi?

$40 Million 3V Rebing Bay Resort Being Built in Bali's Jembrana Regency.

(3/19/2011) Hong Kong-based Vivaldi Holding Group have announced they will build an integrated resort in the Jembrana regency of Bali at a cost of US$40 million.

The resort will be operated under the brand 3V Rebing Bay.

The chairman and CEO of Vivaldi Holdings, Fran Giradot, told Bisnis Indonesia that the groundbreaking for the project took place on March 1, 2011.

The first phase of the project will utilize 3 hectares dedicated to 8 villas and 12 apartments with a capacity of 60 rooms. For the first phase a total of US$10 million will be spent and 100 employees will be on the payroll by the end of the year.

Phase two of the resort will occupy 8.5 hectares to host 350 rooms at an investment cost of US$30 million. These rooms will be sold to owner-investors at a promised return on investment of 8% per month.

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

Rare Rafflesia reaches full bloom in Bengkulu

Bengkulu province welcomed on Monday another gigantic Rafflesia Arnoldii, which reached full bloom at Bukit Daun Reserve in Tebat Monok village, Kepahiang regency.
Holidin, a member of the local Kelompok Peduli Puspa Langka group, which has been active in conserving the habitat of the rare flower, said the blossoming flower was the biggest among the other three “corpse flowers” that also recently reached full bloom in the location.
“The diameter of this one is about one meter,” he said as quoted by Antara.
His group previously found three other Rafflesia flowers blossoming in the reserve.
The Rafflesia blooms for only five to seven days and is endemic to Bengkulu’s rainforests.
Holidin said his group had made a 200-meter trail into the forest for visitors who want to observe the rare flower.
He added that his group had found 22 other buds growing within a radius of 1 kilometer in the forest.
“We have the most flowers blossoming this year; there are 22 others. Hopefully they will all reach full bloom,” he said.

Batur Lake, Pacitan awaiting UNESCO geopark approval

Indonesia’s Culture and Tourism Ministry has submitted to UNESCO a proposal for Batur Lake in Bali and the East Java town of Pacitan to be approved as geoparks.
“Batur and Pacitan were submitted to UNESCO in September 2010. We’re asking for people’s support and prayers so that [UNESCO] will approve them [as geoparks],” the ministry’s director for tourism products Acyaruddin said recently, as quoted by kompas.com on Saturday.
He said both spots would be the first UNESCO-approved geoparks in Indonesia.
Acyaruddin said that if the documentation for the proposal was in order, a UNESCO team would survey the two locations in June or July.
UNESCO would then announce its decision in September, he added.

Batavia Apartments in Jakarta’s Golden Triangle


Batavia Apartments feature well-equipped kitchens and spacious living and dining areas. Situated in Jakarta’s Golden Triangle, it offers an outdoor pool, fitness centre and tennis courts. Free parking is available.

Spacious apartments feature classic furnishings and modern amenities like a flat-screen cable TV. Kitchenettes are fitted with a fridge and microwave oven. Private bathrooms have a bathtub and toiletries.

Batavia’s extensive range of facilities includes squash and basketball courts. There is a sauna, jacuzzi and games room available for those looking to unwind. For convenience, there is also a business centre and mini mart.

International buffet spreads are served at Batavia Apartments’ restaurant. Room service is provided.

Apartments Batavia Jakarta is a 10-minute drive from the world-class shopping of Plaza Indonesia and Plaza Senayan. It is a 5-minute drive from the main toll road, easily accessible from surrounding industrial areas.

Hotel Rooms: 126.
Jl. K.H Mas Mansyur Kav. 126, 10220 Jakarta (Show map)
Book online here

Tourists could see SE Asia on single visa

Travellers could soon be able surf in Bali, shop in Singapore and eat spicy street food in Thailand before crossing into Cambodia and cruising the Mekong in Vietnam -- all on a single tourist visa.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) is working on a plan that would open the region to foreign tourists in the same way Europe's unified visa system has streamlined travel.

"You would just have to apply for one visa and you could then visit all the countries using that visa," said Eddy Krisneidi, an official at the Jakarta-based Asean Secretariat, which recently released its Tourism Strategic Plan for the next five years.

With attractions ranging from jungle-covered temples at Angkor Wat in Cambodia to five-star beach resorts in Bali, Southeast Asia is a region that tempts travellers from all walks of life.

Asean countries recorded more than 65 million foreign visitor arrivals in 2009. Malaysia led the field, followed by Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Burma and Brunei.

Analysts say visitor numbers could be boosted by slashing the time-consuming and confusing visa requirements for each of Asean's 10 countries, which range from vibrant developing democracies to isolated, military-dominated Burma.

While some allow foreigners to simply purchase visas on arrival, others require wads of paperwork, photos and up to a week to issue the required stamp.

"One of the major concerns of the industry, as well as visitors, is the difficulty of obtaining visas, a series of widely differing regulations and information needs for visas," Asean's strategic plan states.

It is a view shared by Stuart McDonald, who runs an online travel forum for Southeast Asia.

"One of the most common questions that we see on travelfish.org is people asking visa questions: What kind of visa can I get? How long is it valid for? What does it cost?," said the Australian who travels extensively in Asia.

"The rules change all the time and it introduces a level of uncertainty and confusion that the industry can do without."

The concept of a single visa has wide support among tourism bodies across Southeast Asia.

Cancelled Japanese trips cost Bali hotels Rp 1.7b

Thousands of tourists from disaster-hit Japan have cancelled trips to Bali, costing local hotels at least Rp 1.7 billion (US$1.188 million) in losses, the Association of Indonesian Hotels and Restaurants says.

“The tourists had earlier booked 1,308 rooms 45 three-to-five-star hotels with room rates of around Rp 750,000 on average in Kuta, Nusa Dua, Tuban, and Sanur,” the association’s Bali chapter secretary, Perry Markus, said in Denpasar on Wednesday, as reported by tempointeraktif.com.

The chairman of the Bali chapter of the Association of Indonesia Tours and Travel, Aloysius Purwa, said he expects the number of Japanese visitors to Bali this year to drop by 30 percent to 150,000 compared to last year.
“The potential losses could reach about US$400 million,” he said.

The number of Japanese tourists who visited Bali had been declining consistently over the past few years. Last year the total number of Japanese tourists who came to Bali was 245,000, compared to 334,000 in 2009 and 360,000 in 2008.

Maharta Bali Formerly Maharta Beach Resort

Maharta Beach Resort is situated right on the beach of Legian, the neighbor village of Kuta, Bali's most popular area. Maharta Beach Resort shaded by coconut palm trees, surrounded by lush tropical gardens and only a 15 minutes drive away from Bali's International airport.
Read more here

Long-Lost Mural Reveals the Mystery of Batavia

Deep in the heart of Jakarta, hidden beneath the faded facade of the capital’s Kota Tua, a secret chamber holding an enigmatic relic has been uncovered. Concealed under a thick layer of dust, deep within the bowels of Jakarta’s History Museum, also called Fatahillah Museum, is a mural by master painter S. Harijadi that tells the sinister story of the city during its colonial past.

The mural is spread across three walls. In the center wall, a Dutchman holds court at a grand party, looking dapper in a white suit and tie. Javanese servants, clad in traditional lurik cloth and caps, are occupied with trays of food. Soldiers in gallant uniforms gather together while Dutch ladies in genteel kebaya sip tea and pick at hor d’oeuvres.

But the mural’s story is in fact far grander in scope, covering a vast stretch of the archipelago’s tumultuous past. Although the mural is only partially painted, Harijadi sketched the whole story. It begins at the edge of the first wall, when the archipelago was still free, save for the local thugs running amok and extorting money. Next up are illustrations depicting the assimilation of Chinese and Arabs. Then come the Dutch, taking center stage. Finally, automobiles, modern architecture and fancy garb enter the picture, alongside violent scenes of hangings and beatings.

Past the banquet, the narrative depicts a carnival of menacing characters, filled with wily pickpockets and sad buskers, before ending with a depiction of a family being evicted from their home by soldiers.

This ambitious work of art was left fragmented and forgotten for more than 30 years until a group of young artists stumbled across it in 2010.

“We found the hidden room with the mural when we were doing a video mapping project at the museum,” said Yudhi Soerjoatmodjo, a program manager at the British Council, which produced the video mapping projection shown at Fatahillah Museum in March 2010.

Full article by Titania Veda
Image of Mural

Mystery of Batavia
Fatahillah Museum
Performances every 30 minutes
Saturdays from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Until May 15
Entry to the performance is free

Thermes Marins Bali Spa at Ayana launches new treatments

The Thermes Marins Bali Spa at the Ayana Resort in Bali has launched four new signature treatments.

The treatments were created by wellbeing coach Rhett Hatfield, founder of Body Wisdom Coaching which focuses on ‘coaching from the inside out’ and owner of Body Wisdom Massage School in the USA.

Each treatment aims to provide a completely holistic experience to balance the energy centers in the body, with innovative approaches to ancient healing remedies. Rhett spent months developing the treatments and training Ayana’s spa therapists in the art of holistic healing.

Hot Shell Massage
Ayana Fusion
7 Chakra Dhara
Lava Stone Reflexology

“We continually strive to be the best, and these new treatments are not just about relaxation and pampering, they elevate the concept of wellbeing to a whole new level,” said Ayana’s Spa Director, Michi Sonoda. “They use the earth’s natural resources to specifically target our body’s seven energy centers to counter the negative influences of modern living, and restore our inner balance. Seashells are warmed for use as unique and effective massage tools, herbal blends are bundled and warmed to deeply relax the body, lava stones known for their healing properties are used for reflexology, and Ayurveda-inspired methods are used to open your chakras. Each treatment is exclusively available at Ayana, and is an experience not-to-be-missed.”

Full article

5 Reasons to Visit Papua New Guinea

Perhaps not immediately associated as being a tourism destination, Papua New Guinea is still relatively up and coming in this respect. This does not mean that there is lack of things to entertain visitors who arrive on this Indonesian island. Below are 5 reasons to choose Papua New Guinea as your holiday destination.

Flora - Papua New Guinea is somewhat of a haven for lovers of nature in the respect that it has a wide range of flowers and general plantation to observe and enjoy. Some of these flowers are unique to Papua New Guinea.

Hiking - There are some extremely challenging but altogether enjoyable hikes which can be undertaken in Papua New Guinea. There are also scenic hikes to suit those perhaps not prepared to be exposed to the tougher climates. The site of the Second World War battle between Australian and Japanese troops is particularly popular for hikers.

Surfing - Due to the favourable weather conditions in Papua New Guinea, surfing is an activity which can be enjoyed all year round. Different beaches are advisable depending on the time of year that you visit.

Festivals - With the Papua New Guinea locals being highly cultural, there are a number of festivals that take place throughout the year. A large number of these are open to tourists. Amongst the most festivals popular are the Kindu and Canoe Festival and the Hiri Moale Festival.

Markets - Markets play a significant role in the culture of Papua New Guinea. There are certain festivals which are more tourist-orientated whilst others retain their local charm.

If you are planning a visit to Indonesia soon then you might find yourself first of all in Bali. You can find Bali holiday rentals with companies such as Holiday Velvet. Holiday Velvet also offer budget Paris accommodation for Asian travellers.

Borobudur to get Rp 1 billion per year for tourism development

The Culture and Tourism Ministry is ready to disburse Rp 1 billion (US$114,000) per year to develop the area around the Borobudur Buddhist monument in Central Java in efforts to increase income from one of Indonesia's top tourist attractions.

“The Borobudur [monument] complex is among 15 tourist destinations in Indonesia that the Culture and Tourism Ministry is targeting to develop in 2011,” tourism development official Winarno Sudjas said Thursday in Magelang, as reported by kompas.com.

He added the funds would mostly be channeled in form of supporting programs, including empowerment programs for the local community, instead of being disbursed in cash.

Winarno said other tourist destinations that had been targeted were Raja Ampat in Papua, Lake Toba in North Sumatra and Tanjung Puting in Central Kalimantan.

The policy, he said, is expected to help increase the number of foreign visitors to Indonesia by up to 20 percent between 2010 and 2015.

The Last Balinese Suling Master

On the misty slopes of Bali’s mountainous central highlands dwells a charismatic man renowned as a master flute maker. Made Ransi has spent over half of his 65 years fashioning instruments from the abundant bamboo growing all around his ancestral home.

Ransi specializes in crafting the suling, a type of bamboo flute particular to Bali, using the slender reeds which grow in every yard of his small village of Kerta.

Ransi learned the craft from his grandfather, who was also a renowned suling maker. Now a grandfather of three himself, Ransi remembers how driven he was to practice both the making and playing of the flute as a young boy.

“I first learned to play traditional tunes, such as “Semaradana.” At that time, playing the flute was a way to entice girls, so I had some strong motivation for wanting to perfect my style,” he said with a look of mischief in his eyes.

“Sometimes, when I’m playing my flute, people will toss coins at me,” he said with a laugh. He can play traditional Balinese music, dangdut and even the theme song for “Titanic” — Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.” “If tourists hear me play that, they really become interested!” he said. Some tourists have even visited him in Kerta, wanting to witness for themselves the process of making the suling.

For his painstakingly-crafted flutes, Ramsi charges a modest $15 for the smallest ones, with prices up to $50 for the largest flutes. He can usually sell a good number of them at the art market. “But I don’t only seek profit — if I make my customers happy with my flutes, then that is worth more to me than the money,” he said.

More worrying to him, however, is the influx of new wind instruments made from lightweight materials such as fiber, plastic and ebonite, which are more durable than bamboo. Ransi said these mass-produced wind instruments exhibit less beauty and subtlety in their sound.

“I worry that if these kinds of wind instruments take over, it will not bode well for the bamboo flute, whose alluring and beautiful sound will be lost. It is possible the art of bamboo flute-making may end with my generation,” he lamented.

If so, Ransi really may be among the last of the true Balinese flute-makers.

Full article by Wayan Budiartha

Indonesia Budget Hotel Sector is Booming

Growing Indonesian Domestic Travel Market Create Demand for Budget Hotels.

The Indonesian hotel industry is discovery the strong potential for revenues and profits to be earned form the country's growing budget hotel sector.

As reported by Bisnis Indonesia, Ferry Salanto, the Research Division Manager of Colliers International, points to the large number of relatively new players in the budget hotel sector, including: Amaris, Tune, Whiz, Pop Harris and Formule1.

Investors are attracted to the budget hotel sector because of the relatively low investment required and a demonstrated ability to maintain high occupancies.

Said Salanto, "over the past three years, the 'budget hotel' segment has grown and will continue to do so in the future, particularly in large cities which are a transit point for traders – such as Surabaya, Jakarta, Batam, Yogyakarta and other cities."

He explained that the major attraction for guests staying at budget hotel is linked to prices that range between Rp. 250,000 to Rp, 400,000 (US$27.75 – US$44.50) per night.

Investors are also often building budget hotels in close proximity to shopping centers, which compensates for the lack of restaurants and other attractions found in larger, starred hotels.

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

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More Singaporeans visit Bali

The Bali Central Statisics Agency (BPS) says almost 17,000 Singaporean tourists visited the resort island in January, an increase of 121.4 percent over the same period last year.

"The significant increase was a result of various factors including the image of Bali as secure place for a vacation, its many unique attractions and the relatively short flight time between Singapore and Bali," Bali BPS chief Gede Suarsa said Tuesday as quoted by Antara.

Almost 5,900 tourists from Singapore visited Bali in January 2010. For the whole year of 2010, the total number of Singaporean visitors to Bali was 97,402, up from 55,992 in 2009.

In terms of their numbers and country of origin, Singaporean tourists constituted the eighth-largest group to visit Bali in 2010, after those from Australia, China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan, Suarsa said.

In January 2011, Bali received a total of 209,093 visitors, a 16.6 percent increase over the same period last year.

PATA: Chinese and Indian Travelers Give Asian Tourism a Big Lift

The sun is shining on the tourism trade in Asia-Pacific with double-digit growth notched up in 2010, spurred largely by the Chinese and Indian middle classes packing their bags for a break abroad.

Strong economies, the proliferation of low-cost airlines and a burgeoning constituency of online shoppers are adding to the region’s rosy outlook.

There was an 11 percent rise in arrivals in the region overall last year, according to preliminary data from the Pacific Asia Travel Association. And 2011 is also expected to be a strong year.

“Asia will receive international arrivals at close to double that of the world average growth rates,” PATA’s deputy chief executive John Koldowski said.

“It’s Asians traveling to Asia, that’s the key to all these numbers and the big shift we are seeing globally in the tourism market. It’s all happening in Asia now.”

South Asia reported the strongest arrivals growth with a gain of 14 percent, highlighting a record year for India which posted 5.6 million foreign inbound visits for the year, a 9 percent increase.

Indonesia saw a 9 percent growth, with 7 million tourists arriving in 2010 over 6.4 milion in 2009. Australia and New Zealand and the Pacific islands also had a record year for tourist arrivals.

The total travel market in Asia Pacific is expected to reach $212 billion this year, reflecting a near five percent increase over 2010, according to industry analyst PhoCusWright.

Growth in the region is being boosted partly by a newly minted middle class in the enormous populations of China and India — around 46 million Chinese travelled abroad last year, as did over four million Indians, PATA says.

People from Europe and North America are also heading to Asia and the Pacific in their droves — arrivals from Europe were up 11 percent to 24 million, PATA says, while arrivals from North America grew by over 10 percent to 13 million. “Travel has generally rebounded from the global financial crisis,” said Carl Jones, director of advisory services for American Express Business Travel in the region.

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Conrad Tanjung Benoa Bali

Boasting 6.8 acres of landscaped gardens, beachfront Conrad Bali provides direct access to Tanjung Benoa Beach. It features a large outdoor lagoon pool, 5 dining options and an award-winning spa.

Conrad Bali is just 1.5 km from shopping and dining options at Bali Collection. The popular Seminyak Area is 18 km away. Ngurah Rai International Airport is a 20-minute drive from the hotel.

Luxurious and spacious, rooms at Conrad Bali feature private balconies overlooking the ocean or garden. Modern comforts like a free pillow menu and coffee maker can be enjoyed in all rooms. In-room entertainment includes a flat-screen cable/satellite TV and DVD player.

Jiwa Spa boasts exceptional massage treatments and beauty therapies. The hotel also organises guided bicycle tours through nearby villages, basic Indonesian language classes or Balinese cooking classes. Yoga and water aerobic sessions are also held regularly. Free Wi-Fi is available in public areas.

Buffet and à la carte breakfast options are served in an outdoor setting at Suku Restaurant. Mediterranean and seafood dishes can be enjoyed at the beachfront Eight Degrees South. Light refreshments and drinks may be enjoyed at East Bar and Azure Bar.

Hotel Rooms: 360. Hotel Chain: Conrad Hotels & Resorts.
Jalan Pratama 168, Tanjung Benoa, 80363 Tanjung Benoa (Show map)

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President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to attend Java Jazz music festival

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is scheduled to watch performances at the Java Jazz music festival, at Jakarta International Expo Kemayoran from March 4 – 6.
“First Lady [Ani Yudhoyono] and palace officials, and probably several ministers, will accompany [the President],” presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha said Friday.
Julian said he did not know which performances the President planned to attend. Last year, the Yudhoyonos watched an on-stage performance of iconic singer Diane Warren.
This year, the festival, under the banner “Remarkable Indonesia, Harmony Under One Nation”, is featuring world-class musicians including Santana, George Benson and Corinne Bailey Ray.

Javan rhinos breed at Ujung Kulon: WWF

Rare and endangered Javan rhinos (Rhinoceros sondaicus) are found to have bred calves in Ujung Kulon National Park, Banten province, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)-Indonesia.

WWF-Indonesia said video trap it has installed in cooperation with the Ujung Kulon National Park Authority documented two Javan rhino and their calves there. The videos recorded these endangered species activity from November to December 2010, WWF-Indonesia says in a press release to ANTARA, on Monday.

A clip from first video recorded in November 2010 showed mother and calf walking steadily to the video trap. Several more videos of this family were obtained from November to December, enabling proper and accurate identification of the calf. The calf then identified as a male Javan rhino.

On December 2010, another family successfully documented. The 30-seconds video shows a larger calf-compared to the male calf identified earlier-walked with its mother. Further identification proved that it is a female rhino, with an estimated age of 1 year old.

These findings are great news proving that Javan rhino breeds in Ujung Kulon National Park-especially after rhinos death last year.

"Video evidences showing these two calves are important discoveries as they provides us with substantial information about Javan rhino`s population dynamics in Ujung Kulon National Park," explained Head of Ujung Kulon National Park Authority, Agus Priambudi.

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Foreign tourist arrival in Indonesia down in January

The number of foreign holidaymakers arriving in Indonesia in January decreased by 14.81 percent to 548,800, year on year, the National Statistic Bureau announced on Tuesday.

But, the number of foreign holidaymakers visiting Bali, the center of country's tourist industry, rose by 16.81 percent to 208,300, year on year, Head of the Bureau Rusman Heriawan told a press conference at the bureau office.

More than 7 million foreign tourists visited Indonesia last year, exceeding the initial target of 7 million people.

The government is targeting 7.7 million foreign tourists this year, and expecting them to spend 8.4 billion U.S. dollars from 7. 6 billion U.S. dollars in 2010.

Indonesian tourism industry has recovered from the impact of terrorism and epidemics.