Now here’s a challenge: visit Bali’s cultural center of Ubud and not see any art. Creativity is everywhere here, from pura (temples) to palaces, galleries to gardens, with shops and handicrafts and lovingly decorated shrines. In this village there is a sense that beauty is cherished, though in general Bali is one island that really knows how to work a stone carving and a water feature.
Walking around Ubud it seems every second shop is a gallery, or has art for sale, with almost too much to choose from should the traveler decide to buy.
Ubud’s history goes back to the 8th century, when a Javanese Buddhist priest meditated at the confluence of the two Wos rivers at Campuhan, just west of the modern-day town centre. A shrine was established and the area became a centre of natural medicine and healing, giving Ubud its name from ubad, ancient Balinese for medicine.
To appreciate contemporary Balinese art it’s useful to look at some classical Balinese art, and west of town on Jalan (street) Sanggingan is a good place to start. Here you’ll find the Neka Art Museum, which aims to help visitors learn more about Balinese art and culture, with a rich collection of local, Indonesian and global works. Collector and former teacherSuteja Neka established the museum, which opened in 1982, to help preserve Bali’s artistic legacy, and the surrounding gardens are cool on a hot afternoon.
Walking towards town you will pass a number of small galleries, and another worth a look is Sika, which has been promoting contemporary Indonesian and Balinese fine art since 1996. Collections by young and established artists are displayed around a peaceful courtyard.
Symon‘s large “Art Zoo” studio is a bit further down, and this entertaining American (who ran away from home when he was 17 to look for writer Henry Miller) has lived in Indonesia for decades, producing paintings drawing on Balinese customs and pop art. He said he was moving from this location, but welcomes visitors to his “Art Zoo Camp Color”, two hours north of Ubud (inquiries: email@example.com).
Eating is also an art, and Ubud is fortunate to have a world-class restaurant in Mozaic, located approximately halfway between Sika and Neka. Mozaic serves culinary art – an innovative blend of classic French techniques and Indonesian ingredients. It offers an experience rather than just a meal; on arrival guests relax in the slickly modern lounge with a canapé before they are escorted to the tropical gardens, where the soft lighting is perfect for romantic foodies.
French-American chef Chris Salans opened his award-winning venture in 2001, and it was the first restaurant in SE Asia to be recognized as one of Les Grandes Tables du Monde, and is listed as the best restaurant in Indonesia by Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2013. Diners choose from four six-course degustation menus, including a vegetarian option, with optional wine pairings by sommelier Cok Bagus Senajaya from the excellent winelist. The “Discovery” menu incorporated local ingredients, such as ginger flower (its gel a rose-flushed base for seared king prawns), delicately spiced baby starfruit with glazed Tasmanian salmon in a perfectly seasoned broth, and sweet kluwek puree accompanying a slow-roasted duck breast with a crunchy orange-hazelnut salad.
Continue down the hill, towards the Wos River ravine and Campuhan Bridges, towards town, and on the right there will be signs for the Antonio Blanco museum, dedicated to preserving the flamboyant works of the “Bali Dali”.
Across the bridge going up on the left hand side, an Australian teacher called Sandy Elliott recently opened Sari Aktif, an agency for organizing all kinds of local activities. If you want to commission a work and don’t where to start, she knows a range of local artists and can offer guidance.
In busy Monkey Forest Rd, Komaneka is an attractive modern gallery with changing exhibitions. Ubud also has many shops selling homewares. For the best shopping, head north on Jalan Raya Andong (the road to the Tegallalang rice terraces) – it’s a virtualhandicrafts highway.
For art with less bustle, there is Alam Puri Art Museum & Resort, a boutique hotel with gardens and innumerable water features that are a work of beauty in themselves. To reach its 10 villas of varying sizes and sumptuousness, you pass its own gallery, the Putrawan Museum of Art, which contains the only collection of tribal art in Indonesia.
Located about 20 minutes south of Ubud (shuttle provided), Alam (meaning view) Puri (meaning kingdom) is set in about three acres of grounds, with a view of another 70 acres of peaceful rice paddies. The villas are named after artists – and feature plenty of art – as the owner is a collector and painter. It also has an intimate spa, next to the small river, open to light breezes, where relaxing but firm Balinese massage is accompanied by the sound of birds and tumbling water.
Back in Ubud again, the Agung Rai Museum of Art, is another venerable institution in attractive grounds which shows traditional and contemporary works. On my first visit to Ubud I recall seeing a cremation (street procession, body exhumed and placed in decorated bull for incineration) in the Monkey Forest in the morning, and paintings of past cremations that were remarkably similar at ARMA that afternoon.
Of course not everyone comprehends the need to create art. But most people understand the need to dispose of garbage, and they might appreciate Oh Waste in Jalan Jembawan (near the post office) where recycle artist Pat makes bracelets and accessories from old tyres and discarded toothbrushes.
(c) Carolyn O’Donnell
Surrounded by azure crystalline waters, Indonesia lies between the two continents, Asia and Australia. Speckled with mesmerizing islands, Indonesia is a panorama inspiring nothing but awe.
One of the most popular travel destinations, the exceptional beauty and the rare culture draw people like a magnet. With an aim of treating all holidaymakers alike, Indonesia has several facilities to allow disabled tourists to enjoy and experience Indonesia to their heart’s content.
Particularly famous in this regard is the city of Bali where ease and accessibility reach new heights. To accommodate the needs of the physically challenged, Bali has everything from wheelchairs to ramps. A lot of temples and parks have been specifically designed without stairs so that those with issues of reduced mobility can move and explore the area effortlessly.
Some of the most accessible tourist attractions in Bali are as follows:
Tanah Lot Temple:
Set against a backdrop of beautiful beaches, proudly sits the Tanah Lot temple. A park progresses to the temple and this is the place where you will come across divine beauty with an air of purity. The most famous temple in Bali, Tanah Lot was built by fisherman and legend has it that it was protected by sea snakes. All the walkways in park are wheelchair accessible so you can roam and absorb the beauty easily.
GWK Cultural Park:
An embodiment of Bali’s heritage and cultural performances is the renowned GWK cultural park. Unique with its limestone pillars, this park promises some of the most exceptional vistas of Bali’s valleys and peaks. Home to two giant statues, one of lord Vishnu and other of a giant mythical bird, this park is definitely worth a visit on a trip to Bali. One can explore the entire park and statues on wheelchairs that are easily available.
Mount Agung and Pura Besakih:
Perched atop Mount Agung is the celebrated and most sacred Pura Besakih temple. Adorned with vibrant banners, visitors get to see the multitude of courtyards and the trinity shrines. Although the ground is not very uniform, the disabled can enjoy it with the help of numerous ramps and wheelchair facility provided in the area.
In short, Indonesia does not limit you one way or the other. Even with any physical disabilities, you can have a fantastic holiday in Bali, Indonesia. Most people will reach Indonesia by air. U.S. and E.U. airlines only will guarantee certain standards of service to travellers with disabilities. Assistance to travellers with reduced mobility on all other airlines may vary considerably.
Read more on the exhibition: www.bridgesbali.com/theo-zantman.php
CNN Traveler Article by ABC’s Claire Shipman Recounts a Family Holiday as Volunteers with East Bali Poverty Project
In August of 2011 Bali Discovery Tours had the privilege of assisting in the travel arrangements for Claire Shipman, her husband Jay Carney and their two children, Hugo And Della.
Claire is well known in the U.S.A. as the Peabody Award-winning senior national correspondent on ABC’s Good Morning America while her husband, Jay Carney, works asBarack Obama’s White House Press secretary.
While in Bali we helped arrange a visit to the East Bali Poverty Project (EBBP) at Ban in North Bali run by David Booth. There, the Carney children enjoyed Indonesian Independence Day with the children of EBPP.
The Carney children were so inspired by their experience working with the kids of EBPP that they mounted a fund-raising activity back home in Washington, DC that successfully raised enough funds to buy new school uniforms for their Balinese friends.
Claire Shipman has just published a wonderful account of her visit with Hugo and Della to EBPP in CNN Traveler.
Two Faces of Bali – Photography and Mask Exhibition at Bridges in Ubud April 19 – July 14, 2013
In support of Bali Kids, the work of two talented artists – Jayesh Madhoo and I Wayan Muka will be exhibited at Bridges in Ubud starting from Friday, April 19, 2013.
The exhibition will run until July 14, 2013.
Two Faces of Bali is an exhibition of photography and traditional Balinese masks. “We are delighted to have Jayesh and I Wayan Muka exhibiting their work together at bridges. The stunning photos and fascinating masks are showing two different arts how Bali’s profound significance is explored,” said Claude Chouinard, founder of Bridges.
South African-born photographer Jayesh Madhoo captures touching moments of beauty and variety in the daily life of Bali. The exhibition shows the photographer’s initial steps on a journey into the realms of discovery regarding the rites, rituals and customs of Balinese people’s culture and traditions. The photography on display at bridges is a multifaceted burst of colorful faces of Bali, in portraits, flowers or ceremonial artifacts.
Mask maker I Wayan Muka studied mask making with many Balinese masters. The works of this exceptional mask carver are incredibly artistic and intricate. Muka enjoys making his masks come alive and will demonstrate this on the opening night of the exhibition.
Bridges supports the charity foundation Bali Kids by donating 20% of the proceeds of the sales of art from this exhibition.
Bali Kids is an inspirational support organization established in 2005 that helps sick and orphaned children in Bali. Every year Bali Kids reaches out to more than 7,000 disadvantaged children providing health education, including a wide range of medical services, such as expert treatment for children who are HIV+.
Bali Kids aims to become the best program in Bali assisting poor children to access quality medical treatment and health education.
To welcome the Two Faces of Bali Exhibition a special opening night launch has been prepared by Bridges Bali that will incorporate music and dance
For more details contact [Email Hani] or telephone ++62-(0)361-2120095.
TWO FACES OF BALI – Photography and Mask Exhibition
Jl. Raya Campuhan, Ubud, Bali
Friday, April 18 2013
Exhibition runs until July 14, 2013
© Bali Discovery Tours
Ubud Village Jazz Festival August 9-10, 2013
Bali will be the venue for a major musical event in August with the Ubud Village Jazz Festival 2013 (UVJF-2013) scheduled for August 9-10.
According the Beritabali.com, a number of leading Indonesian and world-class musicians are slated to perform in the hillside arts community of Ubud, including: Peter Beets (Holland); Uwe Plath, Dian Pratiwi (Germany); Yokohama Association of Artists (Japan); David Ades (Australia); Balawan, Dwiki Dharmawan, Simak Dialog, The Jongens, Dira Sugadhi, Yuri Mahatma, Koko Harsoe, Astrid Sulaiman, Rio Sidik, Ito Kurdhi, and the Underground Jazz Movement (Indonesia).
Promoted as the first international jazz festival to be operated as a “Green Festival” – plans are underway to minimize the use of energy with LED lighting and torches. Musicians will travel to and from their appearance on bicycles, and recyclable materials will be employed wherever possible.
Carbon compensation programs will include a tree-planting program held in conjunction with UVJF 2013.
Grace Jeanie, the spokesperson of UVJF 2013, told the press in Denpasar on March 8, 2013: “Our hope is that even though this is a relatively small festival, it will send a big message to those who attend. Because of this, we are calling this a ‘small festival with a big message.’ The programs are of a small scope but of high quality with participation by jazz musicians from across Indonesia and other countries.”
© Bali Discovery Tours
What looks like a family of snails, immobile on a Fish Tail Palm in the garden behind the KECAK room.
The palm is bearing berry like fruits, lots of them, which might be the reason of the gathering.
That or the frequent rain showers we have had recently, mainly in late afternoon or during the night.
Rather unusual since this is supposed to be the start of the dry season.
Het regenseizoen is volop aan de gang: boven de 30 graden Celsius, hoge luchtvochtigheid, vaak flinke buien, drukkend warm…
In Jakarta fikse overstromingen met al meer dan 15 doden.
Gelukkig zitten we op een heuvel, Gunung Sari, en moet er al heel wat gebeuren voor Villa Sabandari onder water staat.