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BALI UPDATE #410 - 19 July 2004

Life at the Top
Bali Named the World's Best Island in Travel & Leisure Readers Poll. Many Bali Hotels Also Reap Honors in T&L's List of Tourism's Best of the Best.

Now for the 9th successive year, Travel & Leisure Magazine has polled its readers to name their favorite hotels, cities, islands, tour operators, airlines, cruise lines and rental car companies. More than 425,000 serious travelers from the readership of the magazine took the time to respond to this year's survey, a record number of responses.

The results of that survey are now published in the latest edition of Travel & Leisure Magazine and on their website.

The World's Best Island

The magazine's readers continued to display excellent judgment and taste in naming Bali the world's best island destination for the third consecutive year.

Best Asian Destination

In a separate category, Bali also won the distinction of being named the best tourist destination in Asia, followed by Thailand's Ko Samui and Phuket, in second and third place, respectively.

The World's Top 100 Hotels

The survey also rates the world's best hotels with Bali securing 4 places in that hallowed ranking, up from 3 in last year's survey.

Ranked as the world's sixth best hotel in the survey was the [Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan Ubud], which managed to surpass its sister property [Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay], which came in 22nd in this year's poll - down dramatically from its number one slot in the 2003 survey.

The other 2 Bali properties named to the "Best 100" were [Ritz Carlton Bali Resort & Spa] (ranked #23) and [Amandari Resort] in Ubud (ranked #44).

The Best Hotels in Asia

Also ranked were Asia's Top 25 hotels, where [Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan Ubud] secured the #2 post behind The Peninsula, Bangkok; coming in at #6 was [Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay]; followed at #7 by [Ritz Carlton Bali Resort & Spa]; and the [Amandari Resort] in the #10 slot among Asia's top 25 hotels.

Best Hotel Under $250

In the category for the best hotel costing less than $250 a night Bali's [Ritz Carlton Bali Resort & Spa] won first place honors.

Meanwhile, [Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan Ubud] was named the world's fifth best "small hotel."

Getting to Bali in Style

Those planning to visit the world's best island destination and stay in one of the finest resorts and hotels named in the survey can rest assured that their flights to Bali can be done in comfort style.

Among the world's ten best international airlines named by Travel & Leisure's readers, 6 of these carriers offer regular service to Bali: Singapore Airlines (#1); Cathay Pacific Airways (#2); Thai Airways International (#4); Malaysian Airlines (#6); Japan Airlines (#7); and Qantas Airways (#10).



Extreme Intensity
"Wolf" - An Exhibition of Surreal Art by Wolfgang Widmoser at Krane Gallery in Ubud July 25 – August 8, 2004.

Krane Gallery in Ubud presents "Wolf" - an exhibition by surrealist painter Wolfgang Widmoser from July 25 until August 8, 2004.

Born in Munich in 1954, Wolfgang Widmoser studied renaissance painting techniques with Professor Ernst Fuchs in Vienna, and Salvador Dali in Cadaques.

In discussing his exhibition, the Artist said, "when we look into a mirror we realize we not only see a picture but a state of consciousness." He went on to explain that the face that looks at us from the mirror will change with our response and we may change ourselves whilst holding the gaze. The intensity of colors and shapes become significantly greater as portraits of our conscious selves materialize.

Concerned with discovering the "essence of the soul" as revealed through the eyes, Wolfgang Widmoser's paintings try to reconstruct the intensity of the message conveyed through the eyes.

The artists will be in attendance at Krane Gallery for the opening at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 25. The exhibition will run through August 8. 2004.

Krane Gallery is located on the main road in Lungsiakan, North Ubud next to Fly Café.

For more information telephone Krane Gallery at ++62-361-975440.


Ahmedabad to Bali
Singapore Airlines Starts Thrice Weekly Service to Ahmedabad, India.

Bali and the capital of Gujarat State in India, Ahmedabad, now have a one-stop connection with the introduction of Singapore Airlines (SIA) thrice weekly service.

One of 6 cities served by the Airline in India, the new SIA service operates on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. The service to India, using Boeing 772 aircraft (SQ462), leaves Singapore at 2:00 a.m. landing in Ahmedabad at 4:45 a.m. local time.

The return flight (SQ461) leaves Ahmedabad at 6:00 a.m. landing in Singapore at 2:00 p.m.

Both flights connect easily to Bali with Singapore Airlines operating 4 daily non-stop services on the 2 hour and 15 minute flight between Singapore and Bali.


Sing a Song of Bali
Australian Song Writer-Performer Dave Fisher Writes a Bali Anthem to Honor the Victims of the Bali Bombing.

Australian musician Dave Fisher was in Bali on October 12, 2002, and might have been at his regular haunt of Paddy's Bar if he hadn't accepted a last-minute invitation to an improptu beach party.

Like all those who have a connection to the Island, he was devastated by the loss of 202 lives at Paddy's Bar and the Sari Club on that fateful night.

A talented singer, musician and song writer - Dave was moved to write a Bali anthem entitled Bali Dreaming. He has performed this song on numerous occasions including at a peace concert attended by 2,000 people after the bombing.

Would you like to hear Dave Fisher perform Bali Dreaming?

Just follow the link provided to the Australian Broadcasting Commission Web Site and click on the icon on that page to hear Dave sing.

More information: Bali Dreaming Song Link


It's for the Birds
Bali Hilton Partners with Bali Bird Park to Help Save the Bali Starling.

Because of the generous support of the Bali Hilton International a veterinarian from Bali Bird Park will participate in a ten day training program being conducted at the Perth's Zoological Gardens in Western Australia.

Dr. Maryke Andriani has received an airline ticket sponsored by the Hotel that will bring her to a special course dealing with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases in exotic birds. Run by the Murdoch University School of Veterinary Science and the Perth Zoological Garden, the course will prove invaluable in the Bali Bird Park's pioneering efforts to protect the endangered Bali Starling. Monitoring the health of the birds at the Bali Bird Park is critical to the success of breeding programs for endangered species. During her Australian trip, Dr. Andriani will gain vital experience in the use of some of the most modern surgical equipment and techniques and will train alongside some of Australia's leading wildlife veterinarians.

In charge of the health and nutrition of the entire collection of more than 1500 birds from 250 species at the park, Dr. Andriani plays a key role in monitoring the health of the birds at the park.

The Bali Starling

Reduced to less than fifteen birds in the wild, the Bali Bird Park has a successful breeding program for these critically endangered birds and recently another three babies were successfully hatched at the Park.

Mercilessly poached by criminals in the wild who sell the rare birds to private collectors, the Bali Starlings last hope for species survival is through building a sustainable population in captivity for eventual release in large numbers into the wilds.

The Bali Hilton's Endangered Species Program

Bali Hilton International offers for sale a range of souvenirs and gift items themed on endangered animals the proceeds from which are used to support programs working to protect endangered species. The sale of items at the hotel, such as the Bali Starling rendered as stuffed animals, produces funds that are critical making Dr. Andriani's trip to Perth possible.

The Bali Bird Park

Located on a 2-hectare site in Singapadu, Gianyar Regency, Bali Bird Park has one of the finest collections of birds in the world with over 1500 birds from over 250 species. Opened in 1995, Bali Bird Park carries the mission to educate the younger generation to appreciate nature and plays a part in conserving the wildlife of Bali and the world.




Smile for Life
Cooperative Established to Help Widows and Surviving Children of the Bali Bombing.

Tourist visitors to Bali should add a "shopping stop" at one of the Island's newest Kuta area shops – the Adopt a Co-Op Shop located on Gang Ronta, just off Gang Poppies II in Kuta.

An unassuming small store front tucked away on a back street of Kuta, the Adopt a Co-Op Shop is operated by a group of women thrown together by their shared widowhood in the aftermath of the Bali bombing of October 2002. Husbands - who worked as waiters, barmen, security guards and drivers and whose lives were extinguished in a moment of senseless violence - left behind a large group of wives and dependent children whose already humble economic circumstances became dire after the loss of their main breadwinner.

Assisted through a donation drive headed by David Wedd and Moira from the Pacung Indah Restaurant, the women acquired sewing machines, training, a workshop and eventually a retail outlet in Kuta's busy shopping area.

The shop opens daily from 11:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. and sells T-shirts, polo shirts, calico bags and other items made by the widows and their new sewing machines.

Eager to move on with their lives and provide the best for their children, the widows of the Bali bombing hope you'd visit their new shop and consider purchasing their competitively priced merchandise.

More information: Adopt a Co-Op Shop Web Site


Seeking a Tidal Change
President Megawati Spends a Post-Election Weekend Day at Bali Hai's Nusa Lembongan Beach Club.

In search of some rest and relaxation following the hectic national presidential election of July 5, President Megawati Sukarnoputri spent the following weekend in Bali with her family, resting up before embarking on the final round of electioneering in the final run-off vote schedule for September 20, 2004.

In Bali with her 3 children, their spouses, and her grandchildren the President used her Bali interlude to spend Saturday, July 10 on Nusa Lembongan island's Bali Hai Cruises Beach Club. Traveling with an entourage of 30 including Presidential security, the First Family enjoyed a BBQ lunch at the Hai Tide Huts and an afternoon of snorkeling, banana boat rides, and reef viewing with Bali Hai's semi-submersible boat.



Fly to Kuala Lumpur for Only Rp. 248,999
Air Asia to Start Bali – KL Service on August 5.

Air Asia Malaysia's low-cost air carrier continues its rapid expansion of new ports of call throughout the region with the addition of Bali services on August 5, 2004.

Holding true to its motto ”Now Everyone Can Fly” - the airline is offering promotional fares of only Rp. 248,999 (approximately US$ 27.82) for a one-way flight from Bali to Kuala Lumpur.

Be reminded, these very low fares are on a limited availability basis and strict ticketing conditions do apply.

More information: Air Asia Web Site


Driven to Drink
Bali Asks for Increase in Alcohol Supply.

The Association of Liquor Dealers (APMB) has asked the Governor to increase the current quotas for the import of alcoholic beverages to the island in order to meet anticipated increases in demand during the last two quarters of 2004. The Chairman of the APMB, Mr. Anom Masta, said the increase in official quotas is needed to supply the market during the peak November-December period and to thwart the amount of illegal beverages circulating in the marketplace.

All alcoholic beverages legally distributed and sold in Bali is required to bear a tax stamp issued by the Provincial Government. The stamps range in value from US$ 0.02 for a bottle of beer to US$ 0.08 for a bottle of spirits.

During the current fiscal year the Governor of Bali has authorized the issuance of stamps sufficient to cover 22 million bottles of alcoholic beverage equivalent in tax revenues to Rp. 2.9 billion (approximately US$ 326,000).

According to Mr. Masta, an estimated 30-40% of the alcohol circulating in Bali does not bear the required excise stamp and is subject to confiscation by a special team comprised of members of the Police, APMB, and Regional Government.

Liquor sales were reported to have dropped by 70% in the year immediately following the October 2002 bombing as a result of the sudden downturn in foreign visitors.


Silolona Phinisi Launched
Latest Addition to Indonesia's Growing Fleet of Traditional Cruise Vessels.

The Silolona, a 47.5 meter-long traditional cruise vessel built by local craftsmen to the strict specifications of German Lloyd's, was formally launched in Bali at a dramatic beachside party at Laguna Bay on Serangan Island in Bali of Saturday, July 10, 2004.

Built in the time-honored traditions of the Buginese phinisi schooners, the ship has been outfitted to provide a high level of safety and comfort to its 10 passengers and crew of 12. Designed to provide diving and expeditionary cruises to Eastern Indonesia the Silonona has five air-conditioned staterooms with private en suite facilities.

Three years in the building in Sulawesi, the ship engaged the talents of ninety shipbuilders hailing from Sulawesi and Flores to help realize the vision of American Patty Seery to create a modern sailing vessel that honored ancient Buginese shipbuilding traditions that would support cultural tourism revitalization in Indonesia's eastern islands.

The dramatic sunset launch of the vessel involved dancers and musicians from Tanimbar island in the Country far east and food stands celebrating the rich diversity of the Indonesian culinary experience.

The ship sailed from Bali on July 15, engaged in a four month charter by the Aman Resort Group.


Tennis, Anyone?
Joe Russell Tennis International Comes to The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali.

The Westin Resort Nusa Dua Bali have formed a new partnership with Joe Russell Tennis International (JRTI).

JRTI is a company that specializes in tennis management and staffing of hotels, resorts, and clubs providing a variety of tennis related services. Headquartered in Singapore, JRTI's partnership with The Westin Resort in Bali will provide fully supervised training programs at the Resort's four lighted tennis courts.

JRTI offers a full range of the best tennis services, including structured tennis-themed packages, corporate clinics, private coaching, tournaments, and group sessions. Tennis packages inclusive of tennis coaching start from US$ 155 or, alternatively, tennis lessons can be purchased for US$ 46 per person.

The Westin Resort Bali's JRTI resident Tennis Director, Oliver Stephens is a USPTA, P-1 certified professional and PTR National Tester. He is also a regular contributor to "Tennis Magazine" and "Advantage Magazine." He has also worked at the Van Der Meer Tennis Center in the USA, and held director positions at the Catro European Tennis Academy in Hong Kong and the Meadowbrook Tennis and Swim Club in California.



Ain't Misbehavin', All By Myself
Australian Tourist Stuck in Bali After Misbehaving on Garuda Flight from Perth.

A 31 year old resident of New South Wales in Australia is more or less stuck in Bali after reportedly becoming inebriated and causing an uproar on a June 30, 2004, flight from Perth, Western Australia, to Bali.

The man, thought to have been intoxicated at the time of the incident, tried to force his way to the cockpit of the Garuda Indonesia flight before being tackled by crew and passengers who trussed him up and bundled him off to the rear of the aircraft. Although ticketed to connect on to Amsterdam, the man's flight ended in Bali where local police authorities were awaiting his arrival.

The man has spent the last two weeks in Bali being interviewed by Indonesian and Australian Federal police to determine if adequate grounds exists to issue formal criminal charges. Various reports alleged that at one point the man claimed to other passengers that he was in possession of explosives and intended to hijack and crash the plane. No known terrorist connection has been established for the man who was observed drinking from a private stock of alcohol during the course of the flight.

In addition to the pressing necessity of squaring matters with the Indonesian and Australian police authorities, the man also faces the problem that Garuda Indonesia have stated they refuse to carry him on any of their flights from Bali and, for obvious reasons, apparently no other airline appears to be eager of have the man as their passenger.

 
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