Bali Dance

The Pendet is one of the oldest Balinese dances used in ceremonies. There are gestures of worship and the use of flower petals in its sequence. Yet lately the Asosiasi Seni Tari Indonesia (the Indonesian Arts Institute) in Denpasar has recreated it into an abridged version that falls into the welcoming dance category of Balinese dance.

The Agung Rai Museum of Art, better known by its abbreviated name ARMA, is located in the village of Pengosekan in Ubud, and has a mission to preserve Balinese culture and introduce local arts to youth at an early age. They provide a special space at the Museum for children to learn to dance. The children are mostly elementary grade schoolchildren and are taught basic traditional dance by experienced dance teachers. 

Dance lessons are held every day, except during certain occasions such as when religious ceremonies are at their peak. One dance can be completely mastered after a year of practice. Dancing the Balinese forms are not as easy as they may seem. There are basic dance moves that must be understood and usually this is the most difficult part, yet it forms the strong base.  

There are at least three basics that must be mastered; gem, seledet, and egol. Ngagem is executing the asymmetric position of the body in a stationary posture. Agem can be divided into two parts: right and left. The right agem is when the upper body slants to the right and the hips to the left, while the hands are at shoulder level.

Seledet is the facial expression that focuses on the sharp dashing glances of the eyes, with directions in accordance to the agem posture. While executing or ngagem to the right, then the seledet glances would normally be to the upper right and lower right.

Learning to nyeledet does not only involve the eye movements but also the facial expressions. A dance surely comes to life when dynamic expressions are skillfully carried out. Sometimes a dancer may either seem fierce, sweet and timid, or dead serious, depending on the act being performed.

Egol or the ‘hip shake’ is executed while stepping on the spot or forward. It is the most difficult move and requires stamina. Because the body posture when executing this move is not standing upright but rather in what the Balinese refer to as ngeed or standing with a slight squat. Generally this is the position throughout the dance sequence. Besides that, the ngegol is not only about shaking the hips but also maintaining the harmony between the hip, hand gestures, and the head.

Ubud surely has become a focal point in the island’s art scene. Those curious about Bali’s arts and culture will find the answers in Ubud. For those who just want to know the basics, they can pay to visit the various local workshops. But for those who want to dive even deeper, they can pay a living Balinese maestro a visit.

Several other senior Balinese dancers that can be asked for guidance include the likes of the topeng mask and gambuh maestros from the village of Batuan, I Made Djimat; Kebyar Duduk maestro, Ida Bagus Oka Wirjana or better known by the name Gus Aji Blangsinga from the village of Blangsinga.

Learning Balinese dance can be done throughout the island. One hotel in the Nusa Dua area has also added a facility for its guests, especially children. The Laguna also provides its guest’s children with complimentary Balinese dance lessons as one of their kid’s club activities. The children can get busy learning the moves while their parents have their own agenda. They can don traditional Balinese attire during the lessons and learn under the guidance of Komang Suarti, The Laguna’s Human Resources Manager. So far, the children who participate express high enthusiasm in each of their moves. Balinese dance give you the chance to feel and experience part of the heritage, which suits both young and old. 

Ecotourism in Bali

Pelaga is one of four villages that make up Jaringan Ekowisata Desa ('Village Ecotourism Network," or JED), a cooperative that aims to channel the benefit of tourism directly back to Balinese communities, while providing visitors with a substantive rural experience. Another is Sibetan , set in the foothills of mount Agung, the island's highest and most venerated volcano. Sibetan is perhaps best known for the cultivation of snake fruit, which some enterprising Germans recently taught locals to turn into a sort of tropical schnapps. Nusa Ceningan, a somnolent isle of fisherfolk and seaweed farmers, is also part of the network, as is Tenganan, a walled village dating back to the 11th century whose residents, known as the Bali Aga- literally, "original Balinese" - are renowned for their pre-Hindu customs and distinctive double-ikat weaving technique.

Pelaga is the most visited of the four JED villages, all of which derive their main income from agriculture. In Pelaga, that means export-quality Arabica coffee, which villagers sell to a wholesaler in Java. As we amble through the maze of trails that crisscross the village's plantations, Pelaga was where it was first cultivated on Bali. The network gives you access to the inner workings of places by the people who actually live there and who have a stake in protecting it. "Every year in Bali, 200 hectares of farmland are lost to tourism and real estate development."

Visit Pelaga, situated far from the crowds of Kuta and Seminyak some 1,100 meters above sea level, and your first impression will doubtless be the sheer beauty of the surroundings. Central Bali is like one vast garden of orchards, plantations, and rice fields, spread across an undulating landscape punctuated by volcanic peaks. You'll be greeted in Pe1aga's bale subak, a large thatch-roofed pavilion that acts as the administrative center of the village's subak association, which coordinates the irrigation of the paddies. (Pelaga's Subak comprises 170 families, and like all such associations, it involves a complex cycle of rituals reflecting the tripartite Balinese principal of Tri Hita Karana - roughly, " there paths to prosperity" - which advocates balance between people, nature, and god.) You'll be served local coffee laced with cinnamon from an earthenware pot steaming over a wood oven, before setting off on a tour of the coffee plantation or, if you'd rather, a longer three-hour trek that lakes in a waterfall and some fine views. The lunch is a buffet-style interpretation of the classic Balinese rijsttafel, a sampling of dishes - minced pork satay, peanut-sauce salad - that rely on organic ingredient grown or raised in the near vicinity.

Nusa Ceningan
Nusa Ceningan, the lesser known neighbor of touristy Nusa Lembongan , just off Bali's cast coast. Here, concerted action by the community kept out a development consortium that was seeking to purchase the entire island and fill it with star rated hotels. "We're now trying to draw up a strategy for managing the island based on our own sustainable principles," says my guide I Gede Lama as we eat a lunch of freshly caught tuna, purchased from some fishermen we stumbled upon during our morning tour of the 300-hedare island. Fishing, unsurprisingly, is a staple industry here, hut seaweed farming is the mainstay of Ceningan’s economy. At low tide, villagers drag their skiffs into the shallows and fill them with the Euchema Cotonii and spinosum grasses, harvested here for export as ingredients in the cosmetics and food industries.

After making the 45-minute crossing from Bali by speedboat, visitors to Nusa Ceningan usually spend the night at a lodge in the island's hilly interior. Activities include canoe trips out to the seaweed farms, snorkeling, and a moped tour of the island that takes in the rugged beauty of its western reaches, which receive a constant battering from the high swell of the Lombok Strait.

The packaging of culture is inevitable with mass tourism, and in Bali, visitors typically encounter it through carefully choreographed performances. You won't find anything staged at any of the JED villages. But that doesn’t mean you won't witness a temple ceremony or even a more intimate rite of passage in someone's home. It really iust depends on what’s happening that day.

"Next week, the pandanus-leaf wars are taking place in 'Tenganan," Gede Astana tells me as I bid him farewell back on the Bali mainland. "You should come.'· I've heard of this ancient gladiatorial ritual, unique to Tenganan, where young men do good-natured battle with thorny Pandanus leaves and woven shields, often drawing blood. "You can eyen join in if you like," Astana adds with a laugh. I tell him I'll go - but only to watch. I prefer my cultural immersion to be as painless as possible. 


The first one looks like a dark daunting male with long hair and fangs. Meanwhile, the second figure appears like a pale-faced female with squinty eyes. Both walk side-by-side, towering nearly twice the height of an average person, hence their title Barong Landung-landung, Balinese for ‘tall’. Apparently these dolls are being manipulated by a strong man inside, while peeping through the bamboo webbing at its base.

The Balinese refer to these processions as mendak betara or ‘picking up the deities’, transporting the dolls from one temple to another while in the midst of holding ceremonies. This time it was the deities of Jero Gede and Jero Luh who were being ‘picked up’.

Both these dolls remind me of the Ondel-ondel, a pair of large effigies owned by the Betawi people in Jakarta. However, due to the majority of the Betawis having embraced Islam, they do not have deities or Bhatara in their terminology any more. 

Yet there are similarities between the pair of Barong Landung and Ondel-ondel being paraded throughout the village during times of plague or when an outbreak occurs. Only recently has the Ondel-ondel taken on a more festive role. 

a pair of Barong Landung 
Both of these pairs of effigies are thought to be closely related. It is quite possible that the Ondel-ondel was Barong Landung that was brought to Jakarta by Balinese servants during the 17-18th centuries. During those times the slave trade by Balinese rulers was very active. The large mass of Balinese people taken to Jakarta resulted in almost half of the total Indonesian population in Batavia (the designation of Jakarta at that time) made up of Balinese. 

But the history of the Barong Landung did not start there, it went back even centuries prior. The Barong Landung is a result of the acculturation between Bali and China that occurred around the 12th century.

This tale has been passed down through generations. It is certainly inseparable from myths and interpretations along the course of time, but the central character was real and ruled Bali at that time.

And so it was that King Jaya Pangus, who also went by the noble title of Dalem Balingkang, married Kang Tjin We. This could possibly have been a political marriage; yet other sources also tell that Tjin We was a Chinese girl who lived in a Chinese temple in Kintamani at that time. 

This was King Jaya Pangus, who also went by the noble title of Dalem Balingkang, who married Kang Tjin We, a Chinese girl who lived in a Chinese temple at Kintamani at that time. This could possibly have been a political marriage.

The only big problem in their marriage was apparently due to the couple not being blessed with children. This was a big problem because a dynasty needed a progeny. The king decided to set off to meditate at Mount Batur, asking for divine guidance so that he  may be blessed with offspring. However, another version of the tale says that besides not having any children their kingdom was suffering from a plague. So the king’s trip to the mountains was also to ask for guidance in overcoming the outbreak.

In Batur the king met the lake goddess Dewi Danu, with whom he eventually had an affair with, and from this relationship a son was born. Three years passed and Kang Tjin We decided tosearch for her husband in Batur and she was shaken by the reality that met her there. Dewi Danu was no less distraught, as the king had told her that he was single.

The goddess was infuriated. In her rage she cursed Jaya Pangus and his empress, who later were transformed into a pair of effigies or dolls, the Barong Landung. Later these ‘barongs’ were placed at the temples and were only brought out to ‘attend’ ceremonies held at other temples and ngelawang or to ‘go on village parades’ at the time of certain outbreaks.

The cultural ties between Bali and China seem exceedingly broad in the Barong Landung story. The Dalem Balingkang title itself is said to have come from the words ‘Bali Kang’. However it remains unclear as to why the king is depicted as having a hideous face, yet from the name Jaya it would mean ‘victor’ and Pangus depicts handsomeness.

Since when has the acculturation between Bali and China taken place? No one can provide a precise answer. No one has a certain answer. There is no literature that can provide an exact date. But it is clear that this blend of cultures has taken place since a long time ago, so there are things that we do not realize that have been a result of the marriage between them both. Several village names in Bali were formed from Chinese words. The name of the village of Pingan in Kintamani for example, is actually from the word Ping An, which means ‘safe and sound’.

The processions have now arrived at the destination temple. Both of the Barong Landung stand tall at the temple gates. Several small children approach with a bit of edginess and curiosity. One day their parents will tell them the tale of the Barong Landung’s origin, as the oral tradition remains strong in Bali. (BALI & BEYOND)

Southeast Asia yacht charter

Not everyone can afford a yacht. and the hassles of ownership scare away some who can. But it's getting easier to charter in the region, whether you're ready to spend US$500 or- if your pockets go deeper than ours-US$500,000 (him: team up with friends and split the cost). 
Among the factors in your favor: more yacht owners. disenchanted with overcrowding in the Caribbean and Mediterranean. are docking and renting out their vessels in Southeast Asia. What's more, the region is blessed with some of the most- the most, many contend- stunning cruising areas in the world. from the turquoise seas and limestone karsts of the Andaman to the sand-fringed monsoon forests of Saleh Bay. in Indonesia. 

Keep in mind that the possibilities arc nearly endless. with the craft, duration, destination and often even the broker- a s ingle yacht can deal with many- all up to you. Read on for some luxury chartering possibilities all with (captain and crew included (and in some cases optional). 

Italian motor yachts with chic leather sofas? State-of-the-art marinas? While these have yet to arrive in Indonesia, the archipelago's stunning cruising waters, especially east of Bali, and rich cultural di versity are within reach thanks to some unusual yet delightful charter options. 

Try the KLM Atasita, a 38-mcter double-masted sailing schooner that provides top-notch comfort and style- and is built locally. The design inspiration comes from the pinisi schooners that powered the spice trade centuries ago and still plr the waters today. On board arc five spacious air conditioned cabins with big picture windows, a bar with a Russian marine clock. diving equipment and a main deck that's almost as big as a badminton court.

The Arasira is chartered by Jakarta-based outfit SongLine Cruises (62-21/787-5021;; US$4.000 per day, 10 guests maximum), whose sister company SongLine Yachts built the yacht in 2007. Try a seven- night cruise starting from Serangan Island, accessible by road bridge off Bali's southeast coast. and head to Komodo National Park. where you can disembark and wander amid the namesake lizards in their natural habitat. Stops along the way include the up-and-coming Gili Islands, with their blindingly white beaches. and excellent diving and snorkeling. and. at the mouth of Saleh Bay. off Sumbawa, the still-under-the-radar Moyo Island- the setting for the luxurious Amanwana resort- blessedwith a monsoon forest and a three-tiered waterfall.

The Linn City is the perfect place to stretch your sea legs. Not only is a yacht-filled marina never far away. but it doesn’t take long to reach destinations such as Malaysia's Pulau Tioman or Indonesia’s Riau Islands, which offer pristine beaches and great diving. But what’s especially fun about chartering in Singapore is how quick and convenient it can be. For some boats, you can even buy slots via Pay Pal- take the 11.6-meter Jobel (ON£15 Luxury Yachting; 65/ 6274-0 175; 5$2.688 for a six-hour weekday Slot, 10 guests maximum), docked at Sentosa Island's ONE 15 Marina Club. just a quick cab ride from downtown.

The fully air-conditioned motorboat has two cabins with double beds. ami an entertainment system with a 19-inch LCD TV. DVD player and interior speakers that stream music to the outdoor deck. Dining is alfresco, and while you can bring your own food and wine sails corkage, you can also order upscale fare in advance- think sautéed Alaskan king crab with linguine and chili- from the marina's Latitude Bistro. A typical jaunt heads first to the Southern Islands, where guests can swim. fish or explore on land. and then cruises past city-skyline highlight like the Singapore Flyer and Marina Bay Sands- the scene is especially beautiful at dusk. as the building's light up and the sun fades away.

The Langkawi Archipelago. a sprinkling of about a hundred islands in the Andaman Sea. has stunning bays and beaches as well as sublime luxury resorts. such as the waterfront Casa del Mar and the rainforest-nestled The Andaman. Both on Langkawi island. Take it all in from the Jojo. a 25 meter motor yacht with alfresco dining and an upper deck offering 360-degree views. Indoors. the master cabin has a walk-in wardrobe and Jacuzzi. while the saloon includes a 42-ineh TV complete with karaoke system. (Don’t worry about waking the neighbors- there arc none.)

Simpson Marine (60-4/966-8188;; RM38.000 per night. eight guests maximum) offers overnight cruises on the charter. starting at Langkawi's Telaga Harbour Marina. Graced with a jet ski. a dinghy. Fishing equipment and snorkeling gear. you'll make the most of the area's stunning natural attractions: stop by the Kilim River to explore lush mangroves. emerald lagoons and feed eagles: splash around on Pul au Beras Basah. an undeveloped island with crystal1ine waters and secluded beaches; and discover the forest-covered Pulau Dayang Bunting. rich in wildlife and believed by locals to bestow fertility upon visitors- the hills behind a lake at its center take the shape of a pregnant woman lying on her back.

Just off Thailand's west coast in the Andaman Sea, Phuket has a profusion of marinas and luxury villas matched by a dizzying array of chartering options. where to begin? For starters, check out an overnight cruise on the Andara (66 -76/338-777;; US$9.000 from 3 p.m. to 11 a.m.; eight guests maximum), a 28-meter Italian yacht you'll find at the Yacht Haven Marina on the island's north side. The Four cabin cab in boat exudes Style. from the spacious earth-toned main lounge to the chic open-air flybridge. with oversize wooden tables and wide cushioned recliners for sipping cocktails. The comfy seating extends to the front exterior where about the only thi ng between you and water is the wind and a bit of sea spray.

Heading out into Phang Nga Bay. one of the world's most beautiful cruising areas. you’ll glide past giant limestone formations that rise from the calm waters like surreal. monumental artworks. But your main destination might be even better. Turning northwest. you'll find the Similan Islands. with sugar-sand beaches. dazzlingly clear water and world-class diving sites. The underwater sightseeing takes in massive schools of colorful tropical fish and vast stretches of even more colorful soft coral- don't miss Christmas Point. on Koh Bangru. where divers can swim through a series of dramatic archways. Non-divers can head to Koh Miang, home to the Similan Marine National Park office. for superb snorkeling just off the beach.

Luxury Resort and Spa in Bali

Pack your bags and tell the post office to hold your mail because it's time to take yourself and the kids on a well-deserved family holiday. Here are a couple of ideas , perfect for those families looking for beachside break.

The Bulgarl Resort, Bali.

The Bulgarl Resort, Bali. Is an exclusive and intimate setting for guests seeking privacy and luxury. Located on a secluded plateau at more than 150 metres above the sea-shore, the Bulgari Resort boasts unrivalled views across the Indian Ocean and sophisticated facilities, such as the Italian and Indonesian restaurants, the lounge bar, the cliff-edge pool and the Spa, offering a complete range of Balinese,Asian and European therapies. Nestled between the cliff and the ocean, the Bulgari Resort enjoys private access via funicular to a 1.5 kilometre long pristine stretch of beach.
The Bali Resort with its incomparable backdrop and contemporary interpretation of Balinese style, conveying the distinctive Bulgari Italian style. is a unique destination for sophisticated and discerning travelers.

Jalann Goa Lempeh. Banjar Dinas Kangin. Uluwatu. Bail 80364. Indonesia 
Phone: +62-36 I 847 1000 Fax +62-36 I 847 I I I I Email:

Niko Bali Resort and Spa

Perched atop a 40·meter cliff In Nusa Dua, the Luxurious Nikko Ball Resort and Spa provides a 180· degree view of the Indian Ocean, modern facilities, and a wide range of activities catering to both business and leisure guests, as well as families with children. In addition to 365 recently refurbished rooms, the resort features four all new- luxurious room types: Nikko Club. Nikko Family Room, Nikko Family Suite. and the stunning Seventh Heaven Room.

Moms, dads. and kids will love the Nikko Family Room, which comfortably accommodates two adults and two youngsters below 12 years old and features a range of modern child·friendly amenities such as anti·slip padding in the bathtub. Those looking to enjoy additional space and privacy can upgrade to a Nikko Family Suite with connecting rooms.

Adolescents of all ages can spend their holiday hours laughing and playing at anyone of the many leisure spaces. From the children's lagoon and pool to a 3O' meter waterslide, four interconnecting swimming pools, three floodlit tennis courts, a jungle camp, and the only camel safari ride in Bali, there is no shortage of on-site kid friendly activities.

Upon arrival at the resort, you'll be treated to a range of special gifts. before stepping into your room where a children's television network will entertain the kids while you unwind. To add to the fun, the family rooms and suites have been packed to the rafters with toys, including a Playstation 2, equipped with enough games to entertain both children and parents alike. While the young ones are otherwise entertained, mom and dad can retreat to the calm surrounds of a Spa Villa for a little pampering.

Take the opportunity to participate in a Balinese cooking class, an arts and crafts lesson or learn to dance, wander along the fabulous Sawangan beach, or sit back, relax, and enjoy a quiet meal at the hotel's award· winning The Shore Restaurant & Bar, Benkay Japanese Restaurant, or for authentic Italian cuisine, at La Terazza. No matter what your itinerary, a holiday with Nikko Bali Resort and Spa wil l be a t ru ly perfect family getaway.

The Legian Bali - Dining In Paradise

The Legian is an exclusive, an-suite hotel in a prime location on Bali's famed beachside Strip, Seminyak. Set a mid beautifully landscaped tropical gardens, The Legian has become that place in Bali for style-conscious travelers to relax and unwind. Share memorable moments at The Legian Bali as you enjoy magical dining experiences conceived by chef' Dorin Schustcr. Having won numerous awards over the course of his career, including the prestigious San Penegrino "Chef of the Year" award at the" 'World Gourmet Summit in 2007, chef Sehuster Joins The Legian following a stint as the head chef at Singapore dining institution, Iggy's, widely regarded as one of the best restaurants in the world.

At The Legian, in his role as Executive Chef, Schuster continues to wow guests with his creative menu ideas at the hotel's numerous dining outlets, including The Restaurant, serving European cuisine, as well as (he Pool Bar and the Lobby Bar.

An intimate dinner you win never forget

Experience a romantic five-course dinner for two, specially crafted by chef' Schuster and held at a secluded Balinese pavilion or in your own privat beach bale. Sip a flute of champagne while being lulled into a state of bliss by the serene sound of the ocean, Just meters away, before enjoying a gourmet meal that you'll want to last forever.

Indonesian Rijstaffel
Taste the true flavor; of Indonesia with chef Schuster’s Indonesian Rijstafel , or "rice table," banquet, served with ocean views at The Restaurant. Presented in traditional clay pots, the Rijstafel offers a variety of Indonesian specialties, from appetizers to desserts, giving you an authentic taste of the world's largest archipelago.

Seminyak seafood barbecue
Head to the Sunset Terrace to dine on the Freshest seafood cooked to perfection over wood grills. Served at a private bale or beach front table, the delectable barbecue fare is perfect for both intimate diners and family affairs, with the cuisine outshone only by the sparkling ocean view.

A royal Balinese feast
At The Legian, authentic Balinese cuisine is carefully prepared utilizing the finest ingredients on offer. Indulge in a feast of suckling pig, followed by a unique salad incorporating minced pork and Balinese sausage. At the end of the meal, look forward to a dessert of exotic Fruit and black-rice pudding with palm sugar syrup, the sweetest ending you'll find in Bali.

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