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Jln. By Pass Ida Bagus Mantra,
Jln. Pucuk 1 No. 70X
Denpasar, Bali

+62 (0)812 3819724
+62 (0)361 464 032, +62 (0)361 471 0242

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Bali News by Bali Update
BALI UPDATE #1021 - 28 March 2016


Taxi Halt
Bali Issues Temporary Injunction Outlawing Grab Car and UBER Taxi

The Provincial Government of Bali has temporarily suspended the online transportation applications of UBER Taxi and Grab Car from operating on the Island, pending further legal and technical direction from Jakarta on the legal ramification of permitting these services to operate.

The head of the Provincial Transportation and Information Office, Ketut Artika, told that the suspension was not based on the rules and regulations, but, instead, on recommendations from a Balinese member of the Regional Representative Council (DPD) Kadek Arimbawa, the chairman of the Bali House of Representatives (DPRD-Bali) Nyoman Adi Wiryatama and taxi drivers working in Bali.

Bali’s Governor signed the letter directing the closure of the two transportation services on February 26, 2016.

In addition to outlawing Grab Car and UBER Taxi the letter from Bali’s Chief Executive also called on the Minister of Communication and Information to block the use of the transportation applications on the Internet. The Provincial Secretary Cokorda Ngurah Pemayun signed a separate letter requesting the blocking of the applications dated March 7, 2016.

The Province has promised to coordinate the banning of the two online travel options with the Bali Police and the Provincial Enforcement Agency (Satpol PP). Enforcement will also be coordinated with the enforcement agencies of the regency of Badung and the Municipality of Denpasar.

Steps underway in Jakarta to provide UBER Taxi and Grab Car a more formal legal footing may mean that these services may legally pave the way for a return to operations in Bali in the near future.

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Fire in the Heart of Ubud
Fire Causes Extensive Damage to Ubud Traditional Market

An early morning fire destroyed a significant portion of the Ubud Traditional Market on Thursday, March 24, 2016.

The fire consumed Block A of the market that houses 134 stalls and 6 shops spread across two floors of the market.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but officials point to the possibility that rats chewing on electrical cables and crude electrical extensions fashioned by stall owners may have sparked a short circuit that started the blaze.

As reported by Bali Post and NusaBali, the fire was first discovered at 5:30 am and not brought under control until 9:30 am, four hours after its start. At the height of the inferno a total of 15 fire truck from Gianyar (6), Klungkung (2), Bangli (2), Denpasar/Badung (4) and Karangasem (1).

Most of the shops destroyed in the fire sold souvenirs, handicrafts and textiles to domestic and international tourists.

No deaths or injuries were reported in connection with the fire.

For the Birds
English Resident Captured in West Bali with Collection of Protected Birds

The Jakarta Post reports that a raid by the Jembrana Police and the Natural Resource Agency (BKSDA) has resulted in the seizure of four protected birds and possible criminal charges against a British National who rented a home in the Village of Berangbang.

The raid took place on Thursday, March 24, 2014.

The Englishman, identified as David John George Camplin, lived at the residence with his Indonesian wife and kept a collection of exotic birds. While he had the required licenses to hold three protected birds, there were four other birds confiscated by authorities for which he held no permits. The birds now in quarantine are two protected Hornbills (Rangkong) and two great black cockatoos (Kakatua Raja Hitam).

Camplin told the police he purchased the birds at a local bird market in Jembrana.

The Englishman is a suspect and likely to be charged under KUHP Pasal 21 of Law Number 5 of 1990 dealing with conservation. Police say the maximum penalty under the law is a hefty fine and one year in prison.

A Bunch of Bull
‘Red Bull’ Energy Drink Criticised for Desecrating Borobudur Temple in Central Java

Both The Jakarta Post and report that those in charge of the protection and preservation of 9th Century Borobudur Temple in Central Java are investigating an advertisement made by the energy drink “Red Bull” showing a Latvian parkour champion athlete Pavel Petkuns (Pasha) running, spinning and bouncing off  walls contain irreplacable base reliefs with representation of the Lord Buddha's life and meditative stupas.

The one-minute-23-second video has gone viral evoking criticism from many quarters that view the commercializing of the monument and the film showing behavior specifically forbidden visitors to the site as an outrage against both religion and culture.

Iskandar M Siregar, head of services at the Borobudur Conservation Agency (BKB), said, “We are investigating the actual video and the CCTV footage to determine when the incident occurred.” Siregar said they hoped to soon be able to share the results of their investigation with the public.

The BKB has demanded an explanation for the video from Red Bull.

Despite claims that they sought permission before filming the commercial, Siregar insist that the required permits and procedures for filming an advert at the temple complex were not submitted or approved.

Siregar bemoaned the fact that the film showing the athlete bouncing off walls containing ancient base reliefs, climbing stupas and performing running flips that had the potential of causing destruction to what is considered the largest Buddhist Temple in the World.

Before Red Bull removed the video, more than 18,000 viewers online saw the video ad.

Meanwhile, a BKB official said Red Bull's actions represent a violation of Article 66 (1) of Law No. 11/2010 on cultural heritage and the protection of cultural monuments.

One cultural observer likened the desecration to the 2001 destruction of the Buddha’s of the Bamiyan Buddhist Monuments in Afghanistan, saying: “Who needs the Taliban when you have Red Bull.”

How to Catch a Cab
Bali Taxi Drivers Unite to Ban Grab Car and UBER Tax from Bali

On Wednesday, March 23, 2016, one day after thousands of taxi drivers in Indonesia’s capital city of Jakarta staged anarchical demonstrations and vicious attacks on rival transport drivers, more than one-thousand Bali taxi drivers also staged street protests against Grab Taxi and Uber Taxi online transportation services.

As reported by NusaBali, the protest march took place in front of the Governor’s office, the Transportation Department for Bali and the Provincial House of Representatives (DPRD-Bali).

In contrast to the Jakarta demonstrations, the Bali protests were peaceful with drivers issuing statements paying tribute to Governor Pastika and the DPRD-Bali for taking a firm stand against Grab Car and UBER Taxi.

Those participating in the Bali protests were from the United Bali Taxi Drivers (persotab) and the Alliance of Bali Taxi Drivers.

During orations at the protest a number proclamations were put forth:
  • The Bali Transportation Office immediately send a letter to the Minister of Communications and Information (Kominfo) to immediately block the Grab Car and UBER Taxi applications.
  • The Bali Transportation Office immediately send a request to the Denpasar Municipal Government and the Badung Regency to remove all advertising for Grab Car and UBER Taxi.
  • The Bali Transportation Office to immediately send a letter to the Minister of Cooperative and Small-Medium Size Enterprises, A.A. Gede Ngurah Puspayoga, to forbid the establishment of a cooperative to facilitate Grab Car.
  • The Bali Transportation Office to immediately take enforcements steps to halt any remaining illegal Grab Car and UBER Taxi operators in Bali.
  • A statement of thanks to the Governor of Bali and the DPRD-Bali for refusing to legalize Grab Car and UBER Taxi.

Related Article

Taxi Halt

RIP: Arie Smit 1916-2016
Art Historian Garrett Kam Recalls the Life and Times of Bali Art Legend Arie Smit who Passed Away on Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Long-time Bali resident and art historian Garrett Kam has kindly provided the following reminiscence of the life of renowned Bali-based artist Arie Smit who passed away just short of his 100th birthday on March 23, 2016 in Bali.

An extensive and detailed biography of Smit is currently in preparation by Garrett Kam, a resident of Bali since 1987. A friend of Smit since 1989, Kam has authored several books on Arie Smit and coordinated the inclusion of his works in many national and international exhibitions. 

Remembering Arie Smit

Arie Smit is a name known to anyone familiar with Balinese art and was better known to close friends as “Pak Arie.”

He was born Adrianus Wilhelmus Smit on 15 April 1916 in Zaandam, Netherlands, to a Catholic family in the shipping business. Exotic tales from a classmate from the Netherlands Indies got him interested in the Dutch colony on the other side of the world.

Smit later studied graphic design at the Academy of Arts in Rotterdam. He enlisted for mandatory Dutch military service, choosing to be sent to the Netherlands Indies in 1938. He worked as a lithographer for the Dutch Army’s Topographical Service in Batavia (Jakarta) and made maps of the immense archipelago, and also served as librarian there. He did a map of Bali and, was fascinated by its unique geography of volcanoes and lakes, and vowed to make a visit there. He had no idea at the time that it would eventually become his adopted home.

In early March 1942, Smit was part of a military unit that was captured in East Java by Japanese Imperial Military Forces that had already had invaded Bali a month before. All Dutch military personnel were transferred to active duty following the commencement of WWII and Japanese attacks across Southeast Asia that began in early December 1941. Smit was detained for almost a year in a prisoner of war camp in East Java. He was later transferred to Singapore and then sent to Thailand, where he suffered for over three years in forced labor camps along with other prisoners of war to build the infamous Death Railway between Burma and Thailand.

When the war ended in 1945, Smit was released and returned to the newly declared Republic of Indonesia. He resumed his job with the Dutch military in Jakarta as the Indonesian War of Independence raged from1945 to 1949.

Because his sympathies lay with the Indonesian nationalists, after the war ended, Smit chose to remain in the country and became an Indonesian citizen in 1951. He moved to Bandung in West Java where he designed magazine layouts for AC Nix Publishers and also taught graphics and lithography at the newly established department of fine arts at Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB). He continued to pursue his artistic interests during this time and began to develop his unique style.

With money saved from the sales of his paintings in several exhibitions, Smit visited Bali for the first time in 1956 with fellow Dutch artist Auke Sonnega (1910-1963), and, after two months there, decided to make the island his permanent home. He lived in dozens of different villages across the island during the ensuing half-century, preferring quiet rural villages and small towns for his artistic inspiration, which suited his quiet and modest character.

Although Smit made a few visits back to Europe over the years, he considered Indonesia and especially Bali to be his real home.

He was generous to a fault, sharing his profits from painting sales with friends and artists in need. In the early 1960s, Smit provided art supplies to a group of teenagers in Penestanan village on the outskirts of Ubud. With minimal instruction from Smit about mixing colors and thinning scarce oil paints with turpentine to create a matte effect, the youths developed a new and naïve style of genre painting. This became known as the Young Artists Style which was characterized by bright colors and dark outlines. Except for a few examples, the hundreds of paintings created over the next few years reflected nothing of the turmoil on the island caused by plagues of rats devouring rice crops, tremendous devastation and loss of life with ensuing famine caused by the eruption of Mount Gunung Agung, and the horrible massacres of 1965-66 following the failed alleged Communist coup.

With an imaginative use of color and great encouragement from Smit, the young painters' innocent works were completely grounded in Balinese traditions and were quite different in style and content from Smit’s paintings. Smit applied a similar approach in 1982 when the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees asked him to work with young Vietnamese boat people on Pulau Galang Island, the site of a refugee camp in Indonesia. In recognition of his role in the development of the Young Artists Style of painting, Smit received the Dharma Kusuma Gold Medal Award in 1992 from the Government of Bali.

Smit’s works evoked the light and colors of late 19th century Impressionism, but he never painted on location. He always did sketches on paper outdoors and made notes about colors, but created finished pieces back in his studio, often working on several paintings at the same time as he waited for newly applied layers of paint on other pieces to dry. Elements of early 20th century Fauvism also were important in his works with large dots of colors creating forms and shapes as well as a vibrant mood, but his style and variations of motifs developed and changed during the period he lived and worked in Bali.

An extremely creative and productive artist, Smit often changed, evolved, and experimented with his style in ways that showed refreshing and new views of familiar scenes such as temples and landscapes. He often reinvented himself by going back to an earlier style while incorporating changes from more recent artistic developments. With his foundation in map-making, however, he considered himself to be primarily an artist of scenery showing simplified figures living, working, and playing in the natural setting of Bali. He preferred to show temples during quiet times instead of bustling with festivities, evoking the ever-present divine spirit through his use of vibrant colors and monumental structures.

Smit was a master of color and composition by using repetitive elements, often simplified to their very essence, but always recognizable. He created lively visual rhythms in his vibrant paintings that focused on the people and places of Bali with his personal “broken colors” technique to show the beauty and deeper rhythms of life. He never showed the harsh realities of life in his peaceful paintings, using the same approach that the Young Artists used in their works.

Afflicted by blindness since 2012, Smit was unable to paint during his final years. He quietly peacefully passed away on 23 March 2016 in Denpasar, just 23 days before his 100th birthday and on the full moon during a lunar eclipse, a very auspicious time in Bali.

He will be missed but his spirit lives on in his works and of the artists he inspired. The largest pubic display of his works can be viewed at the Arie Smit Pavilion, which he funded to be built, at the Neka Art Museum in Ubud.

(2007 photo from Annemarie and Holli Hollitzer - Sydney, Australia.)

Tigers Return to Bali
Tigerair Australia Commences Flights to Bali from Australia

Tigerair Australia went international on Wednesday, March 24, 2016, when its inaugural flights to Bali departed Melbourne and Perth.

The first Tigerair Australia flight, using a Boeing 737-800, left Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport at 9:30 am local time for the 5.5-hour flight to Bali.

The CEO of Tigerair, Rob Sharp, joined the first departure championed the new service onto the very competitive Australia to Bali sectors, adding: “This is a significant milestone for Tigerair Australia as we continue to grow in line with consumer demand,” Sharp said in a statement.”

Continuing, Sharp said: “Bali is renowned as a popular holiday destination for many Australians looking for an affordable tropical holiday year round and we are confident our new services will prove popular with our core market of leisure travelers.”

Supplanting flights once operated by Virgin Australia, Tigerair Australia is flying to Bali from Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth. Three aircraft have been seconded by Virgin Australia to its subsidiary and given an entire new livery inside and out. Each plane is configured to carry 180 all-economy seats with five premium rows offering added leg room.

Hindu Not Halal
Government Formally Withdraws Plans for Syariah Tourism in Bali

Long standing resistance to efforts to establish Syariah Tourism in Bali spearheaded by Regional Representative Council (DPD-RI) member, Dr. Shri I Gusti Ngurah Arya Wedakarna, have borne fruit via a formal response from Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism, Arief Yahya.

As reported by, Yahya told a meeting of the DPD-RI, “In response to suggestion from Senator Arya Wedakarna, I now confirm that Bali will not be developed as a Syariah tourism destination in Indonesia.”

In reply, Gusti Wedakarna expressed thanks, proclaiming that his fight against Syariah tourism in Bali on behalf of the Balinese people was not in vain. Wedakarna insists that Bali must only develop tourism based on Bali’s Hindu culture and was especially concerned when suggestion were tabled under the regime of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to create Syariah or Islamic-themed villages in Bali.

Commenting on Syariah Tourism, Wedakarrna said: “Bali was chosen as the World’s second best island and the best island in Asia because of its Hindu character. I asked that this be adopted in the formal presentation of the Minister of Tourism. Don’t only promote Halal destinations in West Nusa Tenggara and forget Bali. I reject any religious or racial discrimination against Bali forming a part of Central Government policy.”

Wedakarna reminded President Joko Widodo that he won with 72% of the vote in Bali and, because of this, he hopes a generous portion of the Rp. 500 billion set aside for tourism promotion is dedicated to Bali tourism.

Commenting separately, Wedakarna also acknowledged receiving a formal letter of apology from the Governor of Southeast Sulawesi, H. Longky Djanggola, regarding disparaging comments he made regarding the quality of Bali’s visitors in connection with the recent celebration of a total solar eclipse. In his exuberance over a coming surge of tourist traveling to Sulawesi to view a total solar eclipse, Djangolla said that those visitors coming to Sulawesi for the event would be of a higher quality than the nudist sand drunkard foreign tourists who regularly visit Bali.

Related Article

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Green, Green Grass of Aerodrome
Domestic Air Passenger Arrested at Bali Airport for Possession of Marijuana

Security personnel at Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport have apprehended a domestic air passenger preparing to board a Garuda flight to Surabaya on Friday, March 25, 2016, who had two packets of marijuana in his possession. reports that Muhammad Roem (34) was in the boarding process for GA339 from Denpasar to Surabaya when a security x-rays of the man’s hand luggage raised suspicion.

Roem tried to run from the scene when security officials asked to inspect his bag but was detained a short time thereafter.

Roem and the evidence consisting of 5.03 grams of cannabis were handed to the Airport police for further disposition.

Safe to Fly
Security Intensified at Bali Airport Following Brussels Terror Attacks

Following terrorist attacks on the Brussels Airport and subway system on Tuesday, March 22, 2016, security measures have been intensified at Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport where hundreds of additional security personnel are now deployed to prevent any terrorist attack from taking place.

DenPost, quotes the general manager of PT Angkasa Pura I, Trikora Harjo, as confirming that 900 additional security personnel from the Air Force, Army, Police and Aviation Security are now assigned to Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport.

The enhanced security measures were done on the instructions of the Coordinating Minister for Law and Human Rights issued after the Belgium attacks.

In addition to more security officers, 12 X-rays machined have been installed at Security Check Points (SCP) throughout the airport manned by 198 trained airport security workers.

The Indonesian police have also installed a mobile bomb detection unit at the airport, located in the parking area of the air gateway. Special anti-terror police have also been put in place for rapid response, should the need arise.

Refusing to call the precautions in place as reflective of a “Siaga I” state of alert, the head of airports for Bali and West Nusa Tenggara, Yusfandri Gona, said the security situation is still “normal” for Bali’s airport.

Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali Welcomes Indian Outbound Tour Operators

The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali hosted a gala dinner for a visiting delegation of Indian outbound tour operators Association (OTOAI) on Saturday, March 19, 2016, in the Mangupura Hall of the Bali International Conference Center.

Welcomed by Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali’s managing director Bipan Kapur, the evening began with a cocktail reception at the resort’s Beach Garden.

A traditional Balinese procession brought the VIP guests from the Garden to the Mangupura Hall for a lavish dinner with a menu prepared by the resort’s executive chef Manoj Rawat and dances, both traditional and contemporary, presented by talented performers.

All delegates also joined the resort to participate in Earth Hour with “lights off: for one hour at 8.30 pm.

Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) is a national, non-profit organization whose members are drawn from India’s outbound tour operators and travel agents. With a membership base of over 2000 members and regional chapters around India, OTOAI is dedicated to developing and promoting high ethical and professional standards within the travel and tourism industry.

The organization aspires to be the leading voice on national and global issues of travel, tourism and hospitality industry while propagating fairness, market efficiency, and customer protection.

Strings of Unequaled Beauty
Pullman Legian Nirwana Showcases Indonesian Pearls and the Woman Behind Them Through May 15, 2016

The Pullman Legian Nirwana continues its series of art exhibitions, with the latest installment showcasing the natural beauty of Indonesian pearls from Atlas Pearls.

“The People Behind the Pearls,” will feature the stunning creations of the Bali-based company - Atlas Pearls and provide inspiring insight into the lives of the women fashion the pearls of Indonesia into world class jewelry.

“The People Behind the Pearl” exhibition at the Pullman Legian Nirwana will run until May 15, 2016.

Nestled on Bali’s northwest coast, is the Atlas Pearl Farm is a place where woman workers dominate. The work of a pearl technicians requires a great deal of delicacy and a mastery of expert techniques. 100 percent of Atlas Pearls technicians are women. The current exhibition features displays of pearl shells, pearling industry tools and finished jewelry designs.

Hotel general manager, Franck Loison said: “This exhibition brings better vision to the guest of Pullman Bali Legian Nirwana about the local product and better connection with the local people. Not only pretty and elegant pearls but the important story behind it.”

“Atlas is very proud of the role we are playing in facilitating women’s empowerment in the remote regions of Indonesia and see every pearl as a reflection of the dedication of the pearl farmers and nature’s generosity,” asked Mark Longhurst, director of pearling operations for Atlas Pearls.

Established in 1992, ATLAS Pearls and Perfumes is a world leader in producing “nature’s most precious gift” the South Sea Pearl, and has five pearl farms extending from North Bali to West Papua. The company’s Bali pearl farm is located in the lush, natural environment of Bali’s north coast. 

The exhibition continues daily at The Pullman Bali Legian Nirwana through May 15, 2016.

Laser Sharp Dining Experience
Nu Lazer Restaurant, Sports Bar and Club in Sanur Offers Great Food and Drink at Reasonable Prices

Nu Lazer Restaurant, Sports Bar & Club – as its name suggests, has something for everyone. Located in central Sanur on Jalan Danau Tamblingan (No. 82), Nu Lazer offers both air-conditioned and al fresco seating, TVs suspended here across the venue broadcasting major sporting events, a DJ station, a small stage where regular musical performances are staged, a flashy and well-stocked cocktail bar, and even a wine cellar.

But what caught my attention at Nu Lazer was the food, both in terms of quality and price. While prices are already reasonable by local standards, keep your eye out for special offers that included during my visit “free-flow” pasta with a wide range of sauces and a salad for only Rp. 65,000 and "Two-for-one pizza" for Rp. 85,000.

The Pizza’s at Nu Lazer are, to my opinion, the "real thing." It may betray my Catholic upbringing, but I want my pizza communion-wafer-thin that, when done right, comes close to being a transcendental experience. Select from a wide choice of pizzas on offer. With a guest, I sampled a four-cheese pizza and a Lamb Pizza that incorporated imported lamb, red onion, feta cheese, tomato and fresh mint. Both were expertly cooked in the Nu Lazers's wood-fired oven. All were tasty in the extreme

If you're a fan of wood-fired bread and want something to accompany drinks from the bar, order the house-made flat bread. Reminiscent of an Indian garlic naan, this is a delicious pizza-sized bread wafer has a very generous covering of garlic with a slathering of Indonesian sambal. Wonderful with cold beer or while sipping wine.

Meat lovers are certain to be tempted by Nu Lazer’s choice of 200-250 gram US or Indonesian steaks, chops or ribs served with a choice of sauces and all the traditional sides.

Hamburgers are two-fisted affairs that come with the Dutch affectation of a sunny-side-up egg that can be supplemented with cheese, sautéed mushrooms, and bacon (beef or the genuine article). Double-fried French Fries served in a small basket are also part of the burger experience.

The manager of Nu Lazer is Gede Yudhi Suryawan, recently moved from his job as the lead Sommelier at The Laguna Luxury Resort in Nusa Dua. Reflecting these roots, Yudhi seems determined to put Nu Lazer on Bali’s wine map. During my visit, Yudhi uncorked a reasonably priced bottle of Wolf Blass Cabernet Sauvignon.

Nu Lazer also features one of Bali’s largest and most creative cocktail menus, priced well below the levels found at most Resorts on the island.

The sweets and ice creams on offer looked very tempting, but will have to form part of a future visit.

NU Lazer Restaurant, Sports Bar and Club
Jalan Danau Tamblingan No. 82, Sanur
Denpasar Bali


Telephone : +62-(0)361288807

Extortion on Bali’s Roadways
Truck Drivers Report Officials Extorting Illegal Fees at the Cekik Weigh Station on the Denpasar - Gilimanuk Road.

While many drivers complain of illegal payment and abysmal enforcement control at the official weigh-station located at Tukadaya, Jembrana on the Denpasar to Gilimanuk highway, Bali Post reports that drivers are still being bled for as much as Rp. 150,000 in non-receipted payment to “officials” stationed at the weigh station.

Drivers, angered at the additional illegal levy, are reported to be arguing with the extortionists and managing to bargain down the payment to a lower figure.

The chief of the Transportation, Communication and Information Department for the Regency of Jembrana, I Gusti Bagus Ngurah Putra Riyadi, said that efforts to confirm that extortion is being demanded from passing drivers in the night have proven problematic. Those employed at the bridge deny that any payments are being sought and, according to Riyadi, in the absence of proof it is difficult to move again the officials working the roadside and collecting any illegal payments.

To eliminate the possibility of illegal payments, officials are now being asked to sign integrity oaths and warned of the possible legal consequences of the abuse of their office.

Plans are also under consideration to install CCTV cameras at the weight station.

Bali’s Clogged Arteries
Seeking More Tax Revenues, Provincial Transportation Officials Say Bali Still Has Lots More Room for Cars and Motorcycles on its Roadways

The number of vehicles traveling Bali’s roads now numbers more than 3 million, a number approaching a figure that is two-thirds of the total population of the Island, put at 4.25 million.

Is this too many vehicles for province measuring only 5,577 square kilometers?

Reflecting the same “more the merrier” view that governs the granting of licenses to build new hotels, Bali officials argue the taxes collected from the registration and yearly licensing of vehicles represents the single largest source of provincial tax revenues, insisting the total carrying capacity of the Island is 5.1 million vehicles.

As reported by the Bali Post, the head of the Provincial Revenue Department, I Made Santha, says 91% of regional tax income is derived from vehicle taxes.

At the end of November 2015, the breakdown of registered motor vehicles in Bali was:
  • Motorcycles 3.058,539
  • Passenger vehicles 345,158
  • Buses 9,435 units
  • Goods vehicle 135,568 units 
Meanwhile, police say that, aided by easy credit policies for new motorcycle ownership, Bali added 32,678 new motorcycles on its roadways in 2015 alone.

When the Hotel Boom Goes Bump
Editorial: Bali is Sinking in a Sea of Empty Hotel Rooms

With an estimated 130,000 rooms for rent every night in Bali, many of which remain empty, it should be apparent to even the most casual observer that Bali is in a critical oversupply situation.

As reported by Bisnis Bali, further confirmation of Bali’s oversupply of tourist accommodation is also seen in occupancy rates well below 50%. Low occupancies and the open tariff war now underway is resulting in bottom line results viewed by industry experts as non-sustainable over the medium to long term.

The vice –chairman of the Indonesian Tourism Industry Association (GIPI), Bagus Sudibya, admits that accurate data on the actual number of tourist accommodation rooms for sale in Bali is hard to come by, especially when illegal villas and unregistered hotel rooms are added to the equation. If, however, Bali assumes the number of 130,000 room number is largely correct, this translates into 47,450,000 hotel room nights for sale in a single year.

Extrapolating further and assuming an average of 2 people per hotel room, Bali would need its current estimated 10 million domestic and international visitor to stay between 9-10 days each visit to achieve 100% occupancy.

But, in fact, the average length of stay for tourists visiting Bali is only 3.8 days resulting in an average of 25-30% occupancy across the board.

Despite the dismal reality reflected by these figures, Collier International estimate 25 new hotels opened in 2015 with a number of major hotels still under construction. Add to this, controversial plans to build a major new hotel project on reclaimed land in Benoa Bay that, if completed, would add thousands of new rooms to the Island’s alreay overstocked accommodation inventory.

Pleadings from Bali’s Chamber of Commerce (Kadin), professional hotel associations and Bali’s governor for a moratorium on new hotel projects are all falling on deaf ears on the Regency and municipal levels of government where new hotel licenses are issued.

Worrying signs of the practical results of this worsening situation are evident across Bali’s hotel sector. “Belt-tightening” becomes the order of the day; a large number of contract and expatriate employee contracts are not being extended; service charges paid to hotel workers are down by 66% or more when compared to just a few years ago; and hotel management contracts are being truncated by disgruntled hotel owners.

A lack of understanding on just how dire the oversupply of hotel rooms has become among Denpasar and Badung officials who sign the “lucrative” permits for new projects suggests that the worst is yet to come in the continuing decline of the Island’s once proud hotel sector.

Whether greed or incompetence drives the eagerness of Denpsar and Badung officials to grant new accommodation licenses, the disastrous results are much the same and increasingly self-evident.

Room Boon Without End

Room Boom Threatens Bali on Several Fronts

The More the Merrier?

Oops! What They Really Meant to Say
Posting by a Management Team Member of Hawaii Hotel Bali in Facebook Lands Hotel in Hotel Water with Many Balinese Hindus

DenPost reports that the Hawaii Hotel Bali located on Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai in the Tuban area of Bali has found itself in hot water following a Facebook posting by a member of their senior management, Najumal Laili (Lae Lie), suggesting Balinese Hindus need not apply for vacancies on the hotel’s culinary team.

The racially charged Facebook posting appeared on Thursday, March 10, 2016, and immediately precipitated a quick and sudden protest from many quarters in Bali, including threats of formal police complaints against the hotel by Hindu Activists.

Since the incident, Fu Jan Phin, the owner of the Hawaii Hotel Bali, has been busily engaged in damage control, disavowing the Facebook postings by a member of his management team, attributing the “misunderstanding” to an effort to ensure minimum staffing numbers can be maintained over Bali Hindu holiday periods.

Fu Jan Phin, has made apologetic calls to the police, the Badung government and Hindu High Council (PHDI), community leaders and many others begging forgiveness from the public in Bali and all those offended by the actions of a member of his management team.

Fu Jan Phin has also published a letter seeking public pardon for the Facebook posting, assuring that at least of 50% of the kitchen jobs at his hotel are filled by Balinese Hindus.

Less Than Legal
Majority of Tourist Pontoon Operators at Nusa Penida Accused of Damaging the Corral Reef and Illegal Operations

Bali Post reports that at least nine floating pontoons at Nusa Penida lack the needed legal permits and are generally considered to be causing damage to coral reefs at the popular dive and snorkeling destination.

The right to issue operating permits and licenses for recreational pontoons rest solely with the Provincial Government making it problematic for officials on the local level in Nusa Penida to take action against illegal operators.

Officials at Nusa Penida say from the 16 pontoons in operation 9 are known to be in violation of the laws. According to The Bali Post, the nine illegal pontoon operators are: Semaya One, Funtasea, Sufriwa, Honeymoon Beach Club, D, Nusa, Dream Walk, Marine Walk, Equator and Crystal Ocean 7.

Meanwhile, among the operators reported to be in compliance with the law are: Semayaone (sic), Fantasi, Marine Walk (sic), Bali Hai and Quicksilver.

The illegal and unlicensed operators are deemed to be anchored over coral reefs, an act that will eventually cause the destruction of the reefs.

Nusa Penida authorities estimate that between 1,250 – 2,000 tourists use the pontoons located off its shore each day.

Tricky Currents
Rafting Operators in Northeast Bali Refuse to Collect Passenger Tax Sought by Karangasem Regency

Rafting operators on Bali’s Telaja Waja River are rejecting calls from the Karangasem Regency to collect a tax of tourists following a rafting trip, claiming such a practice would only worsen the operators’ already precarious financial position.

As reported by The Bali Post, an advisor to the Telaga Waja Rafting Association, Nengah Predana Putra, said on Wednesday, March 23, 2016, that current low demand for rafting trips has slashed incomes and employment opportunities. Because of the current business climate, Putra said rafting operators would refuse to collect the tax demanded by the Karangasem Regency.

Putra said that while approximately 80 paying rafting customers are needed each day to cover operating expenses, only an average 12-20 customers have taken a rafting trip over the past several months. Continuing to comment, he claims that rafting operators are having severe problems making payroll for their staff drawn from surrounding communities in northeast Bali.

The rafting operators were told by the Regency on March 23, 2016, to begin collecting a tax from each rafting customer, although a formal socialization on how the tax is to be collected and paid to the Regency has yet to take place.

For the immediate future, Telaga Waja rafting operators appear united in their refusal to charge the subject tax, worrying that such an additional cost would only worsen current financial difficulties.

The Dangers of Taking ‘Selfies’
Chinese Woman Drowns at Nusa Penida While Taking a ‘Selfie’ on Easter Sunday

A Chinese tourist, Ye Xiao Hong (48) has died while taking a “selfie” photograph on Batubelek Beach at Nusa Penida on Sunday, March 27, 2016.

The woman, from Quantong, China, fell 6 meters into the ocean from a seaside cliff and was swept to her death at around 11:00 am on Easter Sunday morning.

Efforts by a guide leading Ye’s group to save the woman were unsuccessful, requiring the guide, Along (37), to eventually be rescued from the waters when he tried to save the woman.

The woman was part of a 19-member group that had traveled earlier in the day by boat from Sanur Beach to tour Nusa Penida and enjoy a day on the beach. A large number of the group had paused at Batutebal Beach to make “selfie” photographs when Ye fell into the ocean as a large wave swept over the ledge.

While waiting for a rescue boat to arrive, the guide Along jumped into the ocean and managed to hold on to the woman’s body for a period before becoming exhausted.

Rushed to a beachside medical center, the Chinese woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

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Bali Update #595
February 04, 2008

Bali Update #594
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Bali Update #593
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Bali Update #592
January 14, 2008

Bali Update #591
January 07, 2008

Bali Update #590
December 31, 2007

Bali Update #589
December 24, 2007

Bali Update #588
December 17, 2007

Bali Update #587
December 10, 2007

Bali Update #586
December 03, 2007

Bali Update #585
November 26, 2007

Bali Update #584
November 19, 2007

Bali Update #583
November 12, 2007

Bali Update #582
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Bali Update #581
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Bali Update #580
October 22, 2007

Bali Update #579
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Bali Update #578
October 08, 2007

Bali Update #577
October 01, 2007

Bali Update #576
September 24, 2007

Bali Update #575
September 17, 2007

Bali Update #574
September 10, 2007

Bali Update #573
September 03, 2007

Bali Update #572
August 27, 2007

Bali Update #571
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Bali Update #570
August 13, 2007

Bali Update #569
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Bali Update #568
July 30, 2007

Bali Update #567
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Bali Update #566
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Bali Update #565
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Bali Update #564
July 02, 2007

Bali Update #563
June 25, 2007

Bali Update #562
June 18, 2007

Bali Update #561
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Bali Update #560
June 04, 2007

Bali Update #559
May 28, 2007

Bali Update #558
May 21, 2007

Bali Update #557
May 14, 2007

Bali Update #556
May 07, 2007

Bali Update #555
April 30, 2007

Bali Update #554
April 23, 2007

Bali Update #553
April 16, 2007

Bali Update #552
April 09, 2007

Bali Update #551
April 02, 2007

Bali Update #550
March 26, 2007

Bali Update #549
March 19, 2007

Bali Update #548
March 12, 2007

Bali Update #547
March 05, 2007

Bali Update #546
February 26, 2007

Bali Update #545
February 19, 2007

Bali Update #544
February 12, 2007

Bali Update #543
February 05, 2007

Bali Update #542
January 29, 2007

Bali Update #541
January 22, 2007

Bali Update #540
January 15, 2007

Bali Update #539
January 08, 2007

Bali Update #538
January 01, 2007

Bali Update #537
December 25, 2006

Bali Update #536
December 18, 2006

Bali Update #535
December 11, 2006

Bali Update #534
December 04, 2006

Bali Update #533
November 27, 2006

Bali Update #532
November 20, 2006

Bali Update #531
November 13, 2006

Bali Update #530
November 06, 2006

Bali Update #529
October 30, 2006

Bali Update #528
October 23, 2006

Bali Update #527
October 16, 2006

Bali Update #526
October 9, 2006

Bali Update #525
October 2, 2006

Bali Update #524
September 04, 2006

Bali Update #523
September 04, 2006

Bali Update #522
September 04, 2006

Bali Update #521
September 04, 2006

Bali Update #520
August 28, 2006

Bali Update #519
August 21, 2006

Bali Update #518
August 14, 2006

Bali Update #517
August 07, 2006

Bali Update #516
July 31, 2006

Bali Update #515
July 24, 2006

Bali Update #514
July 17, 2006

Bali Update #513
July 10, 2006

Bali Update #512
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Bali Update #511
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Bali Update #510
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Bali Update #509
June 12, 2006

Bali Update #508
June 05, 2006

Bali Update #507
May 29, 2006

Bali Update #506
May 22, 2006

Bali Update #505
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Bali Update #504
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Bali Update #503
May 01, 2006

Bali Update #502
April 24, 2006

Bali Update #501
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