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BALI UPDATE #421 - 04 October 2004

Timely Warning from Bali's Police
Bali Police Chief Urges Vigilance During October.

Bali's Chief of Police, Made Mangku Pastika, has called on his officers and intelligence personnel to increase their vigilance as Bali enters the month of October 2004. Quoted in the Indonesian-language Bali Post, Chief Pastika, referring to the approaching second anniversary of the Bali bombing, said, "I do not intend to overemphasize the situation, but terrorists usually seek important moments in order to attract world attention to their activities."

The General's comments were made at a briefing conducted by the police for Bali's local government officials and the island's police force.

Suggesting that the September 9, 2004, bombing outside the Australian Embassy in Jakarta may be linked to the 911 tragedy of 3 years before in the U.S.A., Chief Pastika said, "as we enter October 2004, I ask that the intelligence corps work at their maximum in the field and upgrade their surveillance of areas of potential threat that have been identified by the Police."

In briefing his troops, the General praised the men and women under his command for defying predictions of a restless election process in Bali by managing to help the electoral process run without major incident. He urged all concerned to continue to be vigilant during the coming national transition of power to a new national administration.

The police have distributed 20,000 wanted posters in Bali depicting those still sought in connection with terrorists acts in Indonesia and offering cash rewards of Rp. 1 billion (approximately US$ 110,000) for information leading to the arrest of those sought by police. The posters are being placed at public areas across the island including local boarding houses in cities and villages.

Reminding the people of Bali that the mastermind of the Bali bombing is still at large and the terrorist convicted of the crime are in Bali's prison, Chief Pastika called on all people living in Bali to pay attention to the security situation of their immediate surroundings.


Bali Memorial Nears Completion
Bali Bombing Memorial Undergoing Finishing Touches from Builders.

The Bali Memorial, located mid-way between the sites of the former Sari Club and Paddy's Bar - both destroyed by the terrorist bombing of October 12, 2002, are receiving their finishing touches from builders busy to meet an October 5, 2004 deadline for completion.

The final monument will incorporate a list of the names of all the 202 victims who lost their lives in the twin blasts, the flags from each nation whose nationals were represented among the victims, and a fountain.

Supplemental work is planned to upgrade the pedestrian areas surrounding the monuments and the vacant lots where the former Bali nights spots once stood.

While no formal inauguration of the memorial is planned, local religious rights seeking the Almighty's blessing on the project are scheduled to be performed by representatives of the Buddhist and Hindu faiths on Friday, October 8, 2004.


Korean Air to Resume Bali Flights
After 5 Year Absence, Korean Air Returning to Bali.

Korean Airlines announced this week that they will resume air service to the island resort of Bali following a near 5 years absence. The airline ended its flights to Bali in 1998 after a serious drop in consumer demand resulting from the Asian financial crisis of 1997 - 1998.

Press reports say the Seoul to Denpasar (Bali) service will commence October 3, 2004, and operate twice-weekly on Sunday and Wednesday.

The flights will be operated under a code-sharing agreement with Garuda Indonesia Airlines that gives the Indonesian airline 100 seats to sell on each departure.

Korea, which has emerged as one of Bali's largest inbound markets, has suffered from a serious lack of passenger seats in the connection between Seoul and Bali.



Bali Named the Best by Condé Nast
Reader's Choice Awards by Condé Nast (U.K.) Further Cement Bali's Golden Reputation.

Condé Nast Traveler (UK) Magazine has announced the result of its 2004 Readers' Choice Awards listing the best cities, islands, airlines, cruise lines and other tourism products according to a poll conducted amongst its 2 million readers. Published in the October 2004 issue of the magazine, Bali's performed admirably in a number of categories:

Bali Voted the Best Island - Bali has consistently ranked a favorite each year in the poll and in 2004 it came in at the number one post, beating out Phuket and the Maldives in the number two and three positions, respectively, Condé Nast readers cited Bali's gentle people, beautiful scenery, and wide choice of excellent accommodation in naming Bali as their special island.

Ritz Carlton, Bali Resort and Spa Named to 10 Best Spa's in the World. The Spa at Bali's Ritz Carlton ranked number 9 in the entire world. First place went to the Banyan Tree Spa in Phuket, Thailand.

Bali's Strong Performance in Best Hotel Category. In the race to be named the best leisure hotel in the Asian region Bali dominated the top 20 list securing 6 places. [Amankila] in Karangasem ranked #5; [Begawan Giri Estate] in Ubud came in at the #9 spot; followed by [The Ritz Carlton Bali Resort and Spa] at #10; [The Four Seasons Resort and Spa at Jimbaran Bay] got the nod for #15; [Le Meridien Nirwana Resort and Spa] at #17; and [Nusa Dua Beach Hotel and Spa] at #19.

Indonesia Ranked #17 Among Favorite Nations. When readers were asked to name their favorite national destinations, Australia and Thailand got the top two positions, while Indonesia came in at the #17 position in the final count.



Surfer, Surfer, Surfer Girl
Bali Launches Unique All-Female Surf Retreats.

Surf Goddess Retreats - a new Bali-based surf adventure company catering exclusively to women is about to open on the island.

Combining surfing, spa pampering and personal growth opportunities, Surf Goddess Retreats will provide a special space where women can learn how to surf, or improve their surfing, in a fun and supportive environment, while also unwinding from the pressures of life and taking time to nourish their inner being. Activities on offer at the Retreats include "luscious living" life coaching, Indonesian lessons, wild turtle releases, daily yoga sessions and expert surfing instruction from local female instructors.

"Something wonderful happens when women surf," explains Chelsea Rostill-Huntley, professional life coach and founder of Surf Goddess Retreats, "we grow more confident in ourselves, we find new places in our soul, we wash away the cares of the world and see the big picture of our lives and our place in it. Surfing is more than a sport; it is a state of mind and way of being."

Surf Goddess Retreats is designed to bring women together who want to challenge themselves physically and spiritually in a luxurious setting; which is why the warm waters, exotic landscape and welcoming environment of Bali makes for an ideal location.

Keeping space at the retreats limited, Surf Goddess Retreats focuses on providing a top notch experience. "Most surf camps in the region cater for the 'hard core' male surfer who is content with a cold shower and a couple of beers at the end of the day. We know that women surfers are looking for a different experience. We want the same quality waves, but with amenities to suit the 'surf goddesses' that we are!" says Chelsea.

The retreats are full of tempting offerings: tropical beachfront accommodations at a three-star resort with pool and spa overlooking the Indian Ocean, "surfaris" to Bali's best surf spots, daily yoga sessions and Traditional Balinese massages just for starters. They pride themselves on providing the highest quality surfing experience. Beginners learn surfing etiquette, water safety, paddling techniques and wave riding skills; while more advanced surfers receive instruction on fine-tuning their skills and extending their ability. For all guest there are 'surfaris' to Bali's famous surf spots around the island.

Saving Bali's Turtles

Devoted to ending the illegal trading of the island's endangered green turtles, Surf Goddess Retreats donates a portion of profits to a local group that saves the turtles from slaughter. Guests are regularly invited to join in releasing the turtles their donations have saved. They release the turtles at the Surf Goddess 'home break', sending their wishes and prayers for a long life and hopes to see the turtles again when they are out riding Bali's waves.

Surf Goddess Retreats

Surf Goddess Retreats offers eight-day/seven-night retreats situated in the serene rice paddy bordered village Batubelig on the west coast of Bali. The main beach breaks at Kuta and Legian, providing easy, fun waves in which to learn while the surrounding area offers more challenging surf, including world famous point and reef breaks.

The package price for an eight-day/seven-night trip starts at US$ 950 per person, based on shared accommodations, with solo travelers as well as small groups welcome. Surf Goddess Retreats also offers deluxe private rooms, private suites and even private villas with their own exclusive plunge pools for those who are looking for a truly divine luxury.

More information: Surf Goddess Retreats


George Negus at Ubud Writers and Readers Festival
Australian Writer and Journalist to Appear at Ubud Writers and Readers Festival October 11-17.

Celebrated Australian journalist George Negus is a featured guests slated to appear at the inaugural Ubud Writers and Readers Festival from October 11-17, 2004.

Negus, whose latest books "The World from Islam" and "The World from Italy", is one of the featured authors at the festival, joining one of the largest gatherings of literary talent ever assembled on the island.

Supported by partner and photojournalist Kirsty Cockburn, he will participate in workshops, interviews, exhibitions, keynote presentations and programs of joyous revelry set in Ubud - the mountain village long regarded as Bali's cultural heart.

George, who hosts ABC's Television's 6.30 p.m. half hour each Monday through Thursday, has been asked by the Festival organizers to share his well-known conversational, anecdotal yet analytical style - honed over a career of global roving with top rating programs such as Sixty Minutes and Foreign Correspondent.

Sponsored by Indonesia's national airline Garuda Indonesia, Negus will join scores of Australian and New Zealand visitors attracted by the unique Festival featuring well over 60 writers and cultural workers from Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Europe and the USA.



Fine Feathered Friends
While Building a Bird Feeder When You've Got Willing Kids to Help? Feeding the Birds at Bali's Bird Park.

Bali Bird Park at Singapadu in Gianyar, half-way between Denpasar and Ubud, is home to over 1,500 birds from 250 species reason enough for its strong popularity with Bali visitors seeking a bird's eye view of the island.

Now, visitors to the Park can get an even closer look at the birds by participating in the daily feeding program. Scheduled for 11:00 a.m. each day, guests step into the rainforest aviary with a bowl of bird food, within moment at least 3 dozen Lorries and other birds will be fighting to make you and your bowl's acquaintance. In addition to Lorries, keep an eye for hungry Drongos fed each day at 9:45 a.m. and 1:45 p.m.. The Pelican's get their ample beaks filled 10:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.. The voracious Komodo Dragons are only fed once a week (by the trainers), on Saturdays at 10:30 a.m..

"This is an excellent opportunity for people to learn to appreciate and get practically involved in understanding birds life," said Chris Hibbart, the Bali Bird Park Avian Curator.

More information: Visit the Bali Bird Park


Rudy Suliawan - Aging Gracefully
Owner of Ritz Carlton Bali Resort and Spa Celebrates His Birthday in Style with Friends.

On Thursday, September 30, 2004, Rudy Suliawan, the owner/founder of the Ritz Carlton Resort and Spa celebrated his birthday in Bali.

A man with much to celebrate, Rudy is the man who owns one of Bali's premier resorts recently named the best hotel in the world under US$ 250 per night; is a man much adored by his beautiful wife, Yoko, and 5 children; is about to open a new 38-villa extension to his hotel that promises to set new standards for lucury accommodation on the Island; and has just completed his luxurious "dream house" set atop Jimbaran cliff, overlooking the Indian Ocean and adjacent to the Resort.

To share his happiness and his birthday, Rudy invited some 220 guests to join him at his new house for dinner. Festivities commenced with a seaside champagne reception on the house's private boat-jetty where a performing saxophonist strolled while fire dancers provided illumination. Later, dinner adjourned to the cliff-side pool area of the just-completed house where guests sampled a multi-cultural feast served by the hotel's talented food and beverage team - a meal that included a wine tasting featuring vintages from 3 separate continents.

During dinner, Rudy, his eldest son, and the Resort's Manager, David Wilson, all appeared briefly in the open living area of the home to thank guests for attending the birthday bash.

As guests attending the party had to pass through the reception area of Rudy's new house, they could hardly be blamed for having a quick look at the exquisite weekend retreat he has built for himself in Bali. The house and adjoining grounds cover a total 10,600 square meters with the house itself consuming 2,500 square meters to accommodate its 3 bedrooms, tatami tea room, private kitchen, formal dining room, osulro bath, study, lounge, bar, billiard room and outdoor pavilion.

As one might expect, the details and accessories are exquisite. Bali-based Japanese glass sculptor Sieku Torige fashioned many of the house's glass features, including a stunning molten-glass formal dining table. All artwork through the premises were a special commission by Wah - a well known artists formerly know as Louis Wah, whose works are also a central attraction at the new Ritz Carlton Hong Kong and the new villas soon to open at the Bali property.

Building his new home so close to his hotel, you might justifiably accuse Rudy of "living over the shop." Be that as it may, you have to accede that Rudy's got his priorities truly in order; the nearest hotel facility is the Ritz Carlton Spa, just 50 meters away from his new home and recently named by Conde Nast as one of the world's top ten spas.



Air Paradise to Brisbane
Queensland Capital Brings to 5 the Number of Australian Ports Served by Bali Air Carrier.

Air Paradise Internationals business to Australia is growing again.

Commencing December 2, 2004, Air Paradise will start a twice-weekly service on Thursdays and Sundays from Brisbane to Bali.

Departures from Brisbane on days of operation will be at 10:00 a.m. touching down in Bali at 13:10 in the afternoon.

Air Paradise International already operates services between Bali and Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.


You're so Vein
Due to a Sudden Abundance of Blood, Bali Blood Bank Ask Donors to Wait a While.

Bali's blood bank at the Sanglah General Hospital is suffering a temporary over-supply of blood stored for needed transfusions in accident and surgical cases across the island. As a result, donors are literally being turned away at the door until such a time as new supplies are needed.

According to Dr. Sudewa, the head of the Blood Bank, the sudden surplus of blood is the result of a blood drive held last week among electrical workers (PLN) in Bali that netted 600 bags of fresh blood supply.

In fact, the over supply of blood is so acute that the hospital is contacting other hospitals in the region to see if they need fresh blood supplies or, for that matter, have excess storage capacity to reduce the strain on storage facilities in Denpasar.

Dr. Sudewa was quick to add that a "blood surplus" at his facility was a rare event and encouraged potential donors to continue their program of regular blood donations.

The blood now in storage at the Hospital has a shelf-life of approximately 5 weeks, after which new donations will be needed.


Tougher Standards for Foreign Travel Agencies
Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agents Proposes Restrictions and Controls on Foreign Travel Agents.

The Vice-Chairman of the Indonesian Association of Tour & Travel Agents (ASITA), Rudiana, has urged the Government to impose a number of restrictions and conditions on foreign travel agents establishing businesses in Indonesia.

Quoted in the October 1, 2004, issue of the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia, Rudiana suggested the following changes be considered by the Government on foreign tour operators:

Foreign tour operators establishing agencies in Indonesia be required to post cash guarantees.

Foreign tour operators be prohibited from selling outbound tours for at least the first three years of their operations and required to promote only inbound tour programs.

That foreigners employed at foreign-owned tour operators be required to possess a fluency in the Indonesian language.

That new permits for foreign tour operators pass through a single door, ending the current practice where permits may be granted by either the Foreign Investment Coordinating Board or the Tourism Service.

While admitting that the information and management systems of foreign tour companies are often faster and more efficient than existing domestic operators, Rudiana insisted it is not inappropriate for the Government to protect domestic enterprises by imposing the standards and restrictions he suggests.

The total number of travel agents operating in Jakarta is estimated at more than 1,600 while the number in Bali is approaching 360.


Indonesia Needs To Host International Events
Tourism Official Cites Need for International Events to Help Drive Indonesian Tourism.

At an autobiography launching ceremony held in Jakarta on October 1, 2004, Mr. Sapta Nirwandar, a Secretary to the Minister of Culture and Tourism, said the lack of large-scale international events hosted in Indonesia was delaying the growth of national tourism.

Quoted in the Indonesian-language Bali Post, Nirwandar said, "Indonesia's tourism strategy for the future must change. We can no longer rely on old frameworks and must create large-scale international events, both tourism events as well as cultural, entertainment and other types of activities."

According to Nirwandar, Indonesia has thus far failed to create a large scale international event of which the Nation can be proud. He said existing events, such as the Krakatau Festival, Borobudur Festival, Bunaken Festival and others are still operated as local affairs and unable to attract large pan-national audiences, let alone foreign tourists.

Speaking of sporting events, Nirwandar suggested that Indonesia has been left behind by its neighbor Malaysia which hosts much publicized annual Formula One Racing.

Bali Arts Festival

Shifting his focus to major art events in Indonesia, Nirwandar said neither the annual Bali Arts Festival nor the Jakarta Art Summit are managed in ways that will attract an international audience.
 
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