Anantara Seminyak receives Bali’s first Green Globe Certification

Anantara Seminyak Resort & Spa, Bali has proudly achieved Green Globe Certification, making the luxurious boutique retreat along the sought after Seminyak coastline the very first hotel in all of Bali to be rewarded with this status under Green Globe’s standards.

Green Globe Certification is the travel and tourism industries' worldwide hallmark for sustainability, and this recognition highlights Anantara Seminyak’s sincere commitment to operating in an environmentally, socially and culturally responsible manner through a broad spectrum of initiatives.

Anantara Seminyak incorporates all aspects of Green Globe standards in its daily operation, principally in environmental conservation such as water, energy and waste management efficiency. The resort supports its local community and environment through charitable events, and promotes the island’s social and cultural heritage through resort and area experiences. Anantara Seminyak also proudly participates in local, national and international sustainability and cultural events, such as Environment Day, Earth Hour and Earth Day.

Japanese Layer Cake Otaru Branches Out in Jakarta

When Pitarto Lauda traveled to Japan with his brother and sister last year, they made a stop in Otaru, a town located on the island of Hokkaido. It was there that the trio first came across a delicious cake called baumkuchen — and instantly fell in love.

“After we came back to Jakarta, we tried to find it here, but it was very hard,” Pitarto said.
“They sell it at the Japanese supermarket, but it’s imported, so sometimes it is out of stock.”

Last month the three siblings decided to open Otaru Cakes, a store in Kemang, South Jakarta, where the baumkuchen, known in Japan as the King of Cakes, is the star attraction. But instead of just importing the cake, they now produce it themselves.

“We called the bakery in Japan and asked them if it was possible to purchase their machines and recipe to make the cake ourselves. They actually invited us to come over again to take a look at the whole process,” Pitarto said.

The round cake with a hole in the middle features a thin, golden lining between each layer, resembling tree rings.

The soft texture of the cake seems to melt in one’s mouth, and even though it is normally eaten as a dessert, baumkuchen doesn’t taste overly sweet.

Pitarto said it takes around two hours to produce 300 pieces of baumkuchen.

“We bought the machine and got the original recipe from Japan, but the ingredients we use are local,” he said.
“At the moment, it is still me and my brother who bake the cakes. We are in the process of teaching our staff how to make them.”

The most interesting fact about baumkuchen is that it actually originated in Europe, not Japan.
There are different versions as to the cake’s origins, but given its German name, which translates as “tree cake,” it was most likely first made in Germany.
“Apparently, the baumkuchen was introduced to Japan in 1920, during a German exhibition in Hiroshima,” Pitarto said. “It became popular really quickly and Japanese people started to learn how to make it.”

Nowadays, the cake is such a common treat in Japan that some people think of it as a local delicacy. In Japan, it is often presented as a gift to wedding guests.

“That’s one thing I really like about the Japanese,” Pitarto said.
“As soon as they feel passionate about something, they master it — from the taste to the packaging.”

In that regard, he added, the trio did learn a lot from their trips to Japan, such as how to make simple things look beautiful.

The new shop in Kemang has already attracted an eager following, including many Japanese expatriates happy to find a little piece of home in Jakarta, Pitarto said.

While most of the customers stop by for takeout, the shop also offers a cozy seating area, where customers can enjoy a cup of coffee along with the cake.

“The recipe we had was for the original baumkuchen,” Pitarto said.
“But we decided to add some additional flavors as well, so now we have chocolate, tiramisu and green tea cakes too.”

The original cake is the most popular among the Japanese customers, he added, while Indonesian customers often pick the green tea flavor.

Pitarto said he was happy to be able to introduce this sweet delicacy to the country.

“Even though this is the only store so far, people can also order baumkuchen via our Web site,” he said.

“So we can deliver the cakes to almost anywhere in Indonesia.”

Otaru Cakes

Jl. Kemang Raya No. 31
Kemang, South Jakarta
Tel. 021 719 3631

Monday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Price range between Rp 18,000 and Rp 95,000 ($2 and $11)

Article by Katrin Figge
Baumkuchen images

Las Vegas Global Travel and Tourism

China, India and Brazil are poised to fuel an explosion in international tourism in the coming years, showering money and jobs on countries ready for it, and trouble for those that aren't, industry leaders say.
With an estimated two billion new middle class consumers expected to come into the markets from those emerging powerhouses over the next two decades, the travel industry sees a potential gold rush ahead.
"The growth of China outbound travel is moving at a huge pace -- it is about 20 percent increase every year. And the number of outbound Chinese travelers hit 58 million last year," said David Scowsill, CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council, an industry promotion group.
"And if you look ahead, (with about) 1.6 billion coming out of China and India, they are a huge amount of people coming in with money to burn," he told reporters.

The impact of that coming wave is a top topic at a three-day global travel and tourism summit that is opening in Las Vegas, drawing CEOs from many of the world's largest travel companies and top tourism officials.
Barriers to travel, technological innovation and change, body blows to tourism in quake-struck Japan and the turbulent Middle East also are on the agenda here.

"We'll ask the attendees whether they are ready to absorb that level of growth," said Scowsill.
"Are governments ready with infrastructure build? Are private investors ready to put the investment in, and generally speaking are we ready to absorb that level of growth?"
Countries that haven't caught up in time are likely to be cursed with fun-killing bottlenecks and overcrowding as millions of new tourists pour through the global travel system.

Ironically, said Scowsill, it is "the developed market leaders that don't fully understand the impact of tourism. They kind of take it for granted in a way that we do not see in some of the developing world."

The United States, for instance, has seen little growth over the past decade in the number of long-haul travelers it receives, at a time when the rest of the world has seen an increase of about 40 percent.

The biggest increase, 18 percent, came from the Asia-Pacific region. Visitors from China, Singapore, and South Korea increased their tourism related spending by 39 percent, 31 percent and 30 percent, respectively.

In the view of the travel industry, the US numbers would be much higher were it not for a system for granting US visas that is so gratingly slow that it is driving away visitors.

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, the United States instituted requirements that every visa applicant be interviewed in person by a consular level officer.

Seminyak La Villais Exclusive Villa

Exclusive stays await at La Villais, which features modern Balinese-style villas with private pools and free Wi-Fi. A 5-minute stroll from Seminyak Square, it offers free parking and area shuttles.

A 15-minute walk from numerous dining options, La Villais Exclusive Villa & Spa is a 20-minute drive from Ngurah Rai International Airport.

Featuring modern dark wood furnishings, well-appointed bedrooms that open out to views of the private pool. Luxurious villas have a fully furnished kitchen and large bathrooms with over-sized windows.

Guests can enjoy relaxing massage therapies at Adella Spa or lounge in the afternoon sun by the outdoor pool. Friendly staff at La Villais can attend to business and travel needs.

Featuring Indonesian specialities, Membon Restaurant offers hot meals and light refreshments with views of the pool. Room service is available.

Hotel Rooms: 35.
Book online
Jalan Pangkung Sari Br Taman, Bali, 80361 Seminyak (Show map)

Sumbawa: Indonesian Island of  Earthly Delights

No one else in Sumbawa wears a smile like Zul. It’s a knowing, enlightened grin, full of heart and born of experience.

For the past 13 years, Zul has spent most mornings cruising the strait between Sumbawa Besar and the Amanwana resort on Pulau Moyo, dodging pods of dolphins and cutting a solitary wake on the way to a reef dive.

Every resort in Indonesia knows what it is they do, but very few know why they do it. Amanwana, the only resort on Pulau Moyo, is one of those rare exceptions. The staff here thinks from the inside out, not the outside in. They have a purpose and a cause.

“Pulau Moyo isn’t a part of us,” says Kevin Brooke, the general manager at Amanwana. “We’re a part of Moyo.”

Sure, Amanwana is the most luxurious resort east of the Wallace Line. Sure, the only way to get to the secluded resort is on a privately-chartered Cessna C-208 seaplane. And sure, its 20 luxury tents are as lavish and gallant as any exclusive hotel in Southeast Asia — from the triple-digit thread-count sheets to the salmon quiche served at breakfast.

The resort offers day trips on the Aman XX, a 32-foot catamaran, and the Aman XV, a 25-foot Boston Whaler. Visitors can head to Satonda Island, a small volcanic island an hour’s ride from the resort, or spend the day trying to hook trophy fish in the sea. Anglers often battle dogtooth tuna and barracuda, but luckier guests land something for the mantle, like a marlin or sailfish.

Sitting a two-hour bike ride away from the resort is one of the most unforgettable waterfalls in all of Indonesia. The jaw-dropping formation — which collects into 300 yards of spectacular lozenge-blue pools — is sometimes referred to in guidebooks as Lady Di Waterfall.

However, if you ask any local about her visit to the waterfall and its subsequent renaming in 1995, you are likely to see countless furrowed brows and pursed lips that open only to ask who Lady Diana is.

Amanwana strenuously refuses to market itself too much, which is, of course, a kind of marketing in and of itself.

Read full article by Zack Petersen

8Hotels opens Seminyak villa resort

Australian hotel operator 8Hotels gas opened its Chandra Villas resort in Bali.
The luxurious private villas are located in the Oberoi area of Seminyak, north of Legian and have been designed by Bali-based architect Maria Paiva.

Each villa is boasts outdoor rock showers, freestanding bathtubs, sundecks and private lap pools.

8Hotels CEO Paul Fischmann said: "We're thrilled with the addition of Chandra, the villas are a perfect complement to our Australian hotel collection and apartments in Paris."

Saving the last remaining Javan Rhinos in Ujung Kulon

Ujung Kulon National Park, which may be the last remaining safe haven of the near extinct Javan Rhino, signed an agreement this week with Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) to help fund a new conservation and rehabilitation initiative in an effort to expand the population of what is widely regarded as the world’s rarest mammal.

Ujung Kulon National Park, a 122,451-hectare pristine forest and marine reserve located on the far western tip of Java Island, is home to one of the last known populations of Javan Rhinos. The Javan Rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus) was once one of the most widespread of the Asian rhinos, with populations ranging across Indonesia, India, Myanmar, Thailand, and Peninsula Malaysia. Hundreds of years of game hunting during the Colonial era resulted in the most dramatic population reduction. Until the past decade, illegal poaching for the valuable and rare single horn of the unique animal due to poverty in rural Indonesia and habitat degradation continued to threaten the remaining Javan Rhinos in Indonesia. Today, the population has fallen to a level of grave extinction and Ujung Kulon National Park officials believe the estimated 50 Javan Rhinos that live in its forests could be the last known existing in the wild anywhere in the world. No Javan Rhinos currently live in captivity.

With the support of Indonesia’s Ministry of Forestry, an agreement was signed this week between Ujung Kulon National Park and APP for a new partnership to help advance Indonesia’s Rhino Conservation Action Plan, which was enacted by the Ministry of Forestry in 2007. Mr. Darori, Director General, Forest Protection and Nature Conservation witnessed the signing of the agreement by Agus Priambudi, M.Se., Head of Ujung Kulon National Park, and Aida Greenbury, Managing Director of APP.

The Ujung Kulon partnership with APP will help increase protection of the existing population and advance expansion goals in support of Indonesia’s Rhino Conservation Action Plan. The new program will encompass a range of rehabilitation and conservation activities to improve the overall environment for the protection of the existing population, and provide community empowerment, and awareness and education programs to help protect rhino and its habitat.

“We all share a tremendous responsibility in our struggle to save the Javan Rhino and I have great respect for APP for their commitment to help preserve this very rare and special animal for generations to come. We need the support of national stakeholders and private companies to work as true partners to help protect and enhance the environment in the existing national park and to help us create new habitats that are essential to our effort to expand Indonesia’s Javan Rhino population by as much as 50 percent by 2015,” said Mr. Priambudi.

APP has committed IDR 3 Billion (equivalent to approximately US$300,000) in initial funding as part of a five-year initiative that supports the Strategy and Action Plan for Rhino Conservation, particularly for Javan Rhinos. The major focus of the program includes population protection, habitat rehabilitation, harmonious co-existence of rhinos and the community, and research. APP will also support the National Park’s Patrol Unit that strengthens forest security, and support monitoring of the existing population using camera traps.

“Conservation and preservation of our wildlife and biodiversity must go hand-in-hand with community development and education. We have to promote harmony and co-existence of wildlife with the people of Indonesia who live in these remote areas and have a culture and history of relying on the land and nature for their livelihoods. Our goal is to create partnerships that will enable us to ensure the future health and well being of the Javan Rhino as well as other endangered species across Indonesia while creating opportunities for our people to live better lives,” said Ms. Greenbury.

APP’s initial involvement in the Javan Rhino conservation effort started with a partnership with the Indonesian Rhino Foundation (YABI) in June 2010. Under the direction of the Department of Conservation of the Ministry of Forestry, APP partnered with Ujung Kulon National Park to develop a multistakeholder working group that included collaboration with NGOs, academics, regional and local government officials to identify and address the most urgent needs to support population expansion. This multistakeholder working group led to the creation of this new partnership.

To view photos of Indonesia’s Javan Rhino, courtesy of Alain Compost photography, visit:

To view video associated with this release, visit:

About Ujung Kulon National Park

Ujung Kulon, managed by the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry, was Indonesia’s first proposed national park and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. The area contains one of the largest remaining lowland rainforests in Java and protects 57 rare species of plants and 35 mammal species. Among endangered and rare animals roaming the national park are leopard cats, gibbons, long-tailed macaques, leaf-monkeys, crocodiles, muntjaks, mousedeer and herds of grazing wild oxen. In the park’s surrounding seas are the great clam, clown fish, angel fish, parrot fish, mudskippers which can climb trees and archer fish which spit water up a height of more than two meters to catch insects.

In March 2011, images from a hidden video trap were published showing adult and juvenile Javan Rhinos within the park, indicating recent mating and briefings. Within the last 10 years, 14 Javan Rhino births have been documented, including evidence of a female birth that would help promote continued expansion of the population.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available:


A Satellite Tour of a Threatened Sumatran Rain Forest

A new animation produced by the group WWF-Indonesia offers a tree-level tour of a biodiversity rich region of Sumatran rainforest targeted for destruction by logging companies. The animation, created using Google Earth, highlights proposed logging efforts in a region known as Bukit Tigapuluh, or “Thirty Hills,” a landscape that is home to endangered Sumatran tigers, elephants, rhinos, and orangutans, and represents one of the last large blocks of untouched forest in the area. While some parts of the region are protected as a national park, a large segment of lowland forest is located outside protected areas and is already concessioned for logging by major logging conglomerates. Google Earth has become an increasingly popular campaign tool for environmental organizations. Groups such as the Amazon Conservation Team and Amazon Watch have used it in efforts to halt illegal logging and the proposed construction of a dam on the Amazon River. 

Watch the video 


Scientists spot beauties in Bali

Researchers say they've seen nine potentially new species in the waters surrounding one of the world's most exotic locales, the island of Bali — but they've also seen the damage that humans can do to a once-pristine environment.
The good-news, bad-news report comes from Conservation International, a nonprofit group that has been cataloging new species and the perils they face for decades. Over the past three years, Conservation International's Rapid Assessment Program has documented 953 species of fish and 397 species of coral in Bali's reefs.
The group is working with local partners at the request of the Bali provincial government and fisheries officials, who are looking for advice on how best to protect the region's marine riches.
"We carried out this present survey in 33 sites around Bali, nearly completing a circle around it, and were impressed by much of what we saw," Mark Erdmann, senior adviser for the CI Indonesia marine program, said in a news release. "There was a tremendous variety of habitats, surprisingly high levels of diversity, and the coral reefs appeared to be in an active stage of recovery from bleaching, destructive fishing and crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks in the 1990s."
This year, a two-week survey identified eight species of fish and one species of coral that may be new to science, Conservation International said. Those species include two types of cardinalfish, two varieties of dottyfish, a sandperch, a fangblenny, a garden eel, a goby fish and a previously unknown type of bubble coral.

Check out this slideshow to see the marine menagerie.

Read full article by Alan Boyle