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Bali News by Bali Update
BALI UPDATE #694 - 28 December 2009

ASITA Calls for Closure of Unlicensed On-Line Bali Agents
Purwa: Travel Packages Can Only Be Sold by Licensed Travel Agents.

BisnisBali has focused on how illegal travel agents operating over the Internet are damaging the image of Bali tourism and bona fide tourism operators on the island.
The Chairman of the Bali Chapter of the Indonesian Association of Travel Agents (ASITA), Al Purwa, told the press how his organization plans to use IT experts in cooperation with the Provincial Tourism Authority to identify and catch rogue travel agencies. It is Purwa's opinion that only licensed tour operators in Bali should be allowed to sell tour packages over the Internet. Insisting that Bali visitors must be handled professionally by guides, accommodation providers, transportation companies and other tourism service providers, Purwa underlined that only licensed travel agents with transparent management structures are allowed to package and sell travel in Bali.
Purwa wants the government to close down unlicensed travel agencies operating over the Internet. The ASITA chairman, however, has no bone of contention with licensed hotel operators who sell rooms over the Internet.
Saying it's time that the Provincial Tourism Authority (Disparda) had staff who were experts in Internet technology (IT), Purwa said ASITA is prepared to work with the government in helping to identify illegal travel agencies operating over the Internet. He also told the press that tracking down illegal operators and identifying those behind illegal travel sites was not that difficult to do.
Waiting to see how the government will respond to his call for the shutting down of illegal operators, Purwa told how those wishing to open a legal travel agency must meet a number of operating requirements and pay taxes.


Tax Rebates for Bali Visitors
Tax Refunds for Holiday Purchases to Be Available to Bali Visitors from April 1, 2010.

The government will introduce tax incentives for international tourist visitors to Indonesia, effective April 1, 2010.
To be put into operation at a number of Indonesia's international airports including Bali, the incentives will offer cash refunds for tax expenditures by tourist against certain pre-set limits.
Quoted in BisnisBali, the Head of the Sub-Directorate for the Regulation of Taxes, Estu Yoga Saksama, said he hoped the new program would be in operation on April 1, 2009, and that it would help increase tourism flows to Indonesia.
Foreign passport holders purchasing items during their visit to Indonesia can obtain a tax-refund on PPN (V.A.T) providing the merchandise is exported out of Indonesia, the value of the purchase(s) exceed Rp, 500,000 (US$50) and the purchase was made within a period of one month of their departure date.
Rebates will be processed at special counters prepared at major international airports operated by the tax department.


6,900 Degree Holders Unemployed in Bali
Motivation and Access to Funding to Be Given to Entrepreneurially Minded Unemployed Graduates in Bali.

According to BisnisBali. at least 6,900 university graduates in Bali are unemployed.
The Head of the Cooperatives Service and Bali Dewa Cooperative, Nyoman Patra, sees the high level of unemployment among Bali's degree holders as a matter of great concern and an assault on the education system. "This needs to be urgently addressed by changing the mindset and outlook of our graduates. The spirit to create employment opportunities rather than merely look for work must be instilled in every graduate," said Patra.
Patra sees much unexplored potential yet to be exploited by Bali's university graduates. He feels that graduates need flexibility and courage in order to exploit every opportunity offered by the current economy, contending that whenever a graduate becomes an entrepreneur, he or she can in turn create employment opportunities for others. "Initially we target for 3,000 Bali degree holders to become entrepreneurs," he explained.
As an initial step towards this goal, on December 30, 2009, a preparatory workshop for 1,000 graduates will be held at the Lila Bhuwana Sports Stadium in Bali in a program that will be opened by the State Minister for Cooperatives. At that workshop graduates will be given encouragement and motivation by successful business people in Bali, to be followed up with further programs in the future.
Also in the future, unemployed graduates wishing to become entrepreneurs will be introduced to local banks and provided access to other sources of start up capital.
According to Patra, money is of secondary importance to the need for the Balinese graduates to develop a tough mentality, flexibility, honesty and the courage to pursue every opportunity presented.


Denpasar: A Concrete Jungle?
Estimated 75-100 Hectares of Productive Agriculture Land is Lost Each Year in Bali's Capital of Denpasar.

The Chief of Denpasar's Agriculture, Food Stocks and Horticulture Department, Ir. I Gede Ambara Putra, estimates that 75-100 hectares of productive agricultural land is lost each year in Bali's capital, converted to residential and commercial uses.
This seemingly insatiable demand for land is reducing green areas that purify Bali's air and provide much-needed absorption areas that recycle rain to the island's diminishing water table.
Meanwhile, a debate rages on among the two main factions in Denpasar's House of Representatives on how best to preserve "green belt" areas of the capital, what the correct form of title should be available to those who own land within these protected areas, how to fairly tax people owning title to land designated for "special use" by the government, and the correct penalties for those found guilty of violating "green zone" building prohibitions.


Another Bali Property Deal Gone Bad
Two British Men in Jail as Police Seek Indonesian Man in Fraudulent Bali Property Deal Involving US$200,000.

Radar Bali carries news of yet another property transaction by foreign nationals attempting to secure land in Bali gone sour.
U.K. nationals, Christopher James Forbes, 50, who list his address as the Bali View Apartment, Jalan Nakula 390 in Kuta, and Angus Knowles Jackson were arrested on Christmas Eve pursuant to a criminal complaint filed with the Bali police by Dmitry Dhernikov, a Russian national. Also reportedly listed in the complaint was the Commissioner of Asian Estate Investment, Agus Setiawan Waworuntu, an Indonesian national residing on Jalan Danau Tamblingan in Sanur.
The police complaint alleges malfeasance in the handling of funds for the purchase of land on Balangan Beach, Bukit Jimbaran in South Bali.
Although Indonesian law specifically prohibits the purchase of land by foreign national, many website and property companies in Bali offer property and "freehold" land for sale to aliens using legally contravening nominee structures.
Reza Akbar Maya Poetra, the attorney for Forbes and Jackson, was quoted by the press as alleging the incarceration of his clients is unjust. Peotra said: "On May 13, 2008, Dmitry Dhemikov, claims he transferred Rp. 2 billion to the account of Waworuntu at Bank Permta as the down payment for the purchase of the land. I don't know why Dmitry Dhernikov cancelled the transaction and asked for his money to be returned. The money requested by Dmitry was not returned by Agus."
Eventually Dmitry decided to bring his case to the police. Poetra explained further: "My clients and one more person known to be employees of the company have been arrested because of this case. What's strange, three people were reported to the police. However, Agus was not arrested. It's clear here that the person who received the money was Agus, so why is that my client and his friends are the ones arrested?"
Poetra admitted that there were numerous inconsistencies in Agus' explanation as to why the Russians money was not returned as requested. One glaring inconsistency, according to Poetra, was Waworuntu's explanation that he had forgotten the address of the Russian. "Based on statements such as these made (by Woworuntu) to the investigators, it seems strange that my clients are the ones arrested. This was an electronic transfer of money. O.K., the arrest of my clients is the prerogative of the police, but there are rules to the game. Don't act with impunity," complained Poetra.
Speaking separately, the Head of the Criminal Division of the Denpasar Police Headquarters, Rendra Radika Dewayana, denied that his department was being selective in who they arrested. "Agugs is being sought. The address he provided in the case was fictive. Agus is now listed on the ‘most wanted' list of the Bali police. This case is still being developed," said Rendra.
Related Articles
[Bali Property Ownership by Foreigners]
[This Land is My Land, This Land is Your Land]
[Freehold Land Title for Foreigners in Bali: Caveat Emptor]


Bali Legislators Protest Tune Hotels Entry into Local Market
Tune Hotels Poor Environmental Policies and Destructive Pricing Policies Labeled Bad for Bali by Local Lawmakers.

Following accusations leveled by Kuta residents and widely reported in the Bali press that the newly opened Tune Hotel on Jalan Ciung Wenara in Kuta was contaminating ground water with fuel oil [See: A Discordant Tune], the two low cost hotels in Bali owned by AirAsia have come in for more sharp criticism, this time by local legislators who question both the hotel's environmental practice and its destructive impact on the market mechanism.
Quoted in Bali Post, I Wayan Puspa Negara, a member of the Badung House of Representatives (DPRD-Badung), alleged that a second Tune Hotel in Legian was "of a five star standard" but offering prices as low as Rp. 230,000 (US$23) a night which compete with locally owned and operated "Melati class" hotels. Said Puspa Negara: "The Tune Hotel is five star class, but is selling at prices cheaper than Melati class properties. That is what you call unhealthy competition. Whatever the reason for this, even in the name of promotion, this is unacceptable. Five star hotels should not sell below a minimum promotional price of Rp. 500,000 to Rp. 600,000."
Balinese tourism leaders are concerned that the low price approach of Tune Hotels - who brand their properties as "no-frill" hotels, will destroy Melati hotels owned by local businesspeople and destroy the normal market mechanism. "Don't let the foreign investment sector run riot and destroy local investments in the process," said Puspa Negara.
For at least the Tune Hotel operating at Jalan Ciung Wenara, Puspa Negara is calling for their operating permits to be withdrawn for violations of local environmental standards until such a time as the owners are prepared to obey local rules.
Another member of the DPRD-Badung, A.A. Anom Guamanti, said the Tune Hotel has also violated the coefficient zoning rule which requires 40% of any building project's land be kept open to for gardens can absorb rain water that replenish ground water reservoirs.
Both legislators are calling on the Badung Tourism authority and the Indonesian Hotel & Restaurant Association (PHRI) to take firm action against Tune Hotels in Bali to halt violations of the law.
In year's past, Melati class hotels were the more-or-less exclusive preserve of local entrepreneurs, offering low investment and minimum regulated access to the indigenous investors. Over the past several years, however, rules for low-cost accommodation providers have been manipulated creating loop holes for foreign investors building seeking to build low cost hotels or luxury villa developments.
Related Articles
[Two Tune Hotels Set to Open in Bali]
[Air Asia to Build Pay-as-You-Go Hotels in Indonesia]
[Editorial: Out of Tune in Bali]


Balieats.com - 2009 End of Year Wrap
Bali's Authoritative Dining Website Names Bali Best Eateries for 2009.

In what has become an annual tradition at Balidiscovery.com, here's [www.balieats.com's] 2009 end of the year wrap covering developments in the Bali dining sector.
Balieats.com – 2009 Year End Wrap
Every year I begin by expressing my amazement at the continuing stream of new restaurants that have opened in the past year. 2009 was no exception. The Bali food scene just seems to keep on getting better, and better. And the promises for 2010 look just as mouth-watering!
Once again the pleasant surprises were not just limited to the new elite up-market restaurants, although there were some wonderful ones, it has rather been the constant stream of high quality, yet budget-priced, restaurants that excite most. It is a sure sign that Bali has "grown-up," as far as its restaurant scene goes. Anyone who complains about the cost of quality dining in Bali (apart from that of imported beverages) must lead a sheltered life in their home country.
Others fell by the wayside as always happens. Many that deserved it and others will be missed. However 2009, as in every recent year, saw a significant net increase in the number of restaurants. Some have spent a million dollars and may fail, whilst others may only have spent $20,000 and may well succeed. That great cocktail of life; experience, work ethic and luck!
I sometimes walk into a new restaurant and look around in amazement at how anyone could spend so much money setting up a place that looks and feels to me as if it will never work. Whilst other new places give out the opposite feeling; one of somewhere with success just around the corner, although sadly that does not always come.
New restaurants in the Nusa Dua/Tanjung Benoa area were once again confined to inside the major 5 star hotels. The most important newbie was Rin at The Conrad. Australian chef Richard Miller, who had kicked off Dava at the old Ritz Carlton, returned to Bali to set up this Modern Japanese restaurant after having spent some time in Japan at Sheratons Grand Ocean Resort. Chicken and Wild Mushroom Ravioli [one large piece], baby lentils, wolfberry and chorizo was International, a Green Tea and Asparagus Risotto with baby barramundi and seaweed emulsion an experiment in Fusion, Shiitake and Cabbage Gyoza a vegetarian version of that Japanese classic adopted from the Chinese.
Nearby at Ungasan/Uluwatu it is all action and the development has only just begun. The eco-friendly Alila Villa, clifftop at Uluwatu leads the way. With the foresight to import brilliant Dutch chef Stefan Zijta it is no wonder that their frontline restaurant CIRE is one of Balis best, overnight. Stefan had led the team at Jakarta's SHY Restaurant that took that city by storm in recent years after coming from Amsterdam's famous Michelin-rated Restaurant Vermeer.
Great chefs can produce dishes with often simple ingredients but marry them in such a way that your "taste meter" goes through the roof! A large open soup plate arrives with a curled jumbo prawn topped with dried tomato sitting all alone on centre stage, poured in from a small old fashioned iron kettle is the chilled melon soup that you have ordered, sweet to the taste and so refreshing on a hot day. Follow that with a salad of baby Romaine lettuce leaves [called Cos lettuce outside of America] served in a crunchy bunch, scattered with slivers of smoked duck breast and tangy papaya chutney, sparsely sprinkled with orange vinaigrette. A grilled fillet of barramundi is perfect, the mild passion fruit vinaigrette does not overpower the fish, the potato croquettes a good example of simple things done well; the breaded shell remains firm and crunchy, the mashed potato contents never go mushy, even when cut through. To finish; the most perfect Raspberry Soufflé! The soufflé is soft and fluffy right to the bottom of the bowl with no sludge in sight. An accompanying spoon of intensely flavoured raspberry sorbet is studded with small chunks of frozen white chocolate. Definitely the best of 2009!
In Ungasan itself were a number of new small restaurants, as well as branches of others already established elsewhere in Bali. Most interesting is Kat's Kitchen with its true to the original Thai cuisine, including a few dishes rarely seen in Bali, including one of my old favourites, Money Bags. All at budget prices, and air-conditioned!
The Holiday Inn re-opened in Tuban, after spells as The Bali Hai and "closed for renovations." The previous "The Beach" was revamped and became "Envy". Always a great beach spot, it now combines many fresh food choices with lounge drinking to go with the sunset viewing. Not far away, Ma Joly changed chefs and styles, still one of Balis best beachfront restaurants. One of the more unusual newcomers to Bali was Bugils Bali, almost opposite the Harris Hotel. It is a Dutch Pub! Green Pea Soup [with smoked pork sausage and crisp bacon, Frikandel, an imported Dutch Sausage or Broodje Frikandel, on a bun, Broodje Gehaktbal [meatball on a bun], Krokets, Andijvie Stampot [mashed potato combined with strips of Endive with bits of fried bacon and a meat ball] or Hutspot. Plus Heineken beer on tap, of course. For the domestic market newcomers to Jln. Tuban included another Papa Ron's (Indonesian pizza chain with local varieties) and Nasi HOT, great Rawon and Indo-Chinese "fusion;" chicken feet in sweet soy.
Kuta has two halves the old established area close to the beach and the quickly developing North, out and around Sunset Road. Chinoiserie with its stylish interior and wonderful Singaporean cuisine was one of the year's highlights. The basic Chinese dishes are sometime in original form, sometimes a variation thereof. The Chinese had been cooking pork ribs for centuries before that great American discovery. The most traditional follows a marinating and subsequent basting with Chinese red wine. A modern version has them marinated and braised in a coffee sauce, like all the sauces here well balanced with just a hint of coffee flavour. Salt & Pepper is the ancient method. The ribs are large chunks of flesh and fat, with little bone. Tender and wonderful! Their star attraction is genuine Singaporean Chilli Crab. It is quite a process but one that they do properly, unlike other places that just promote the name.
In old Kuta Formosa was a newcomer with its Taiwanese cuisine, a mix of Chinese and Korean in taste and style. It replaced one of the many large restaurants that mainly serve bus loads of tourists but retains a similar trade.
The sole newcomer of any quality in Legian was a French restaurant almost hidden inside small hotel grounds. The Pearl is way above standard fare, its young French chef turning out great meals at reasonable prices. It has a mix of interesting vegetarian dishes (a pumpkin Veloute in a coconut milk curry, a Confit of Vegetables Terrine and a Ravioli stuffed with eggplant caviar and a basil veloute) and normal ones (chicken breast stuffed with mushrooms and herbs and a Lamb Shank in mustard with fried garlic eggplant and potato gratin. Sea Bass is with pesto and the Mahi-Mahi a ginger sauce.)
Seminyak just stutters along these days with as many places closing as opening. Colonial Living on the north side presents quality and innovative Vegetarian, their Mushroom Loaf is wonderful. Finely diced mushrooms (normal, oyster and shiitake) have been combined with crushed cashew nuts and carrot. Two slices of the loaf sit on the plate like patties, surprisingly hot, accompanied by a pile of perfect greens that have been doused in a tangy dressing. The combination of fashion and food has now spread to this area, The Backyard Lounge and Word of Mouth are but two. It is a concept that only a handful of experienced restaurateurs can make work. In the same Jln. Kunti Atelier 13 replaced the always-full Café Marzano (which moved to Legian and is still packed every day,) The new version is French and quiet.
Ryoshi also moved its premises, but only to the enormous next door premises that used to house Kura Kura. Care was taken to replicate the old Ryoshi as much as possible, in the downstairs air-conditioned section, but add outside garden seating and roof top with live Jazz. The result has been that the new Ryoshi is now one of Bali's busiest restaurants. The legend continues.
Delicious Onion also moved, from a mini shop on the main road to a larger one in Drupadi almost next to the vibrant Sorriso, one of last year's success stories. Chicken Rice still its mainstay. Cosa Nostra opened on Drink Street to feed the hungry late night drinkers with a common combination for that area of pre-cooked Italian dishes and pizzas. A little warung sized restaurant further down Dhyana Pura was one of 2009s highlights. Passargad is a Persian Kebab House, producing steamed rice and marinated kebabs nothing like any other rice or meat on a stick you have had before. Not surprising as Persian cuisine is amongst the worlds oldest, they have had centuries to perfect the simple processes.
Kerobokan has seen a major change. The original Eat Street [Laksmana] has had a facial, now fashion and real estate have taken over. Perhaps they are the only ones now able to afford the escalating rents. The restaurant scene has moved around the corner to the other side of that triangle, Raya Petitenget, and is rapidly going up-market, although quality budget places still thrive. In the old street Gusto was new (Spanish) but soon changed its coat and became the street's second Greek restaurant, Zorba. Seminyak Square opened though it is not even in Seminyak, on lower Laksmana, and contains another Bali Bakery as well as a close-to-original Black Canyon (one of Thailands best chain restaurants) with other restaurants also about to open.
One place that has successfully combined fashion and food (and champagne) has been Red Carpet. The major attraction being their fresh oysters and vintage champagne. Your oyster starter can be in the way of a shot (an oyster inside a shot glass of a Bloody Mary mix) or a plate of Natural, Kilpatrick or Rockefeller. The choice of Champagne is one of the most extensive I have ever seen, and some of the prices of the rarer vintages are scary. The more standard varieties are sold by the glass but the bottle range is world class. Even Rose Champagne, pink champers! And very busy, every day!
Another most unusual restaurant opened in the bottom loop of Laksmana, a gourmet hamburger palace called Wah Wah. The search for that elusive perfect hamburger has interesting results at Wah Wah, where the meat is cooked so as to remove all the fat. No Bali cow in your hamburger here, but imported chilled (not frozen) and hung prime Wagyu beef. They offer Gourmet Burgers with many combinations, even one topped with Foie Gras!
On the new Eat Street the building frenzy has been constant. The ex operators of Kafe Warisan opened Gourmet Café to go with the mini outlet at their Bali Catering Co. Snacks, light meals, a wide variety of sandwiches and chickens from the rotisserie a star attraction. Biku is a tea house. An incredible 150 year old Joglo house from East Java that was once an antique shop, that has now been transformed into one of the most relaxing environments for sipping your preferred cup of tea, checking your emails and nibbling Aussie Scones, noshing on Aussie style meat pies or enjoying any of the other light or full meals from their extensive menu. The range of teas is mind boggling, and takes up 9 pages of their menu.
Café Jemme was one of the finds of the year, alongside and apart of Jemme Jewelry, its cool clean feel is very welcomes on a hot Bali day. Simple food, extremely well prepared and served includes Duck Maryland (leg and thigh combined) served with a crisp skin. The flesh is so tender and the skin crisp, Asian style. Butterfish sits on a slab of roast pumpkin and shiitake mushroom noodle cake. On top a wasabi sauce, quite mild and not overpowering. The food is interesting, innovative and tasty. Budget priced as well!
Kembang Goela at SILQ is an up-market Indonesian restaurant, Rubicon Kitchen is Swedish and Neno is Japanese-owned but with mostly International offerings and many vegetarian options but also many Udon dishes.
Sanur continues to re-invented with many new places still under development. Charming, an off-shoot of the long established Mings, steadily made its mark with International offering in very pleasant surroundings. At Sanurs southern end there are now many small ethnic budget priced restaurants. Sale e Pepe is Italian, Fortune Cookie is Chinese, and Warung Bunaken offers the cuisine of Manado, from Indonesias north most point.
Ratatouille replaced Figaro at the northern end of Sanur. It is under Dutch management which is evident from the many Dutch options on the menu. At Sanur's Paradise Plaza Hotel a marriage was performed between the old Sanur Harum and the Brasserie coffee shop. Now a new, strikingly modern, restaurant, still called Sanur Harum, offers a wide range of Asian cuisine as well as the original Cantonese, Szechuan and Beijing standards. The daily Free-Flow Dim Sum lunches continue to be as popular as ever.
Ubud went on another splurge of restaurant openings, the usual mix of budget and classy categories. Mojo's Flying Burritos offers just that, burritos, from the ex-management of the now defunct Dragonfly. Siam Sally opened on the site of the old Barandi after a massive re-building project, offering their version of Thai cuisine. Bar Luna, an off-shoot of Casa Luna opened on a back street and remains undiscovered. The Pond is just across the lotus pond from the other Artini restaurant, Pundi-Pundi, but so far not as busy. Istanbul Restaurant was a late opener in the year, with its hot Turkish bread a necessary order with whatever else you have.
At city centre two new restaurants from a well-established chain from Nusa Dua that cater for the bulk tourist market, menus and food simple and the menus available in many different languages. Tropical opened to a permanent full house soon followed by Coco Bistro, their other brand name.
Up on the hill, just below Sayan is The Melting Pot, their Louisiana-style Cajun Gumbo (a spicy, thick, meat and vegetable stew containing celery, okra, scallions, green peppers, chicken and pork sausages as well as many secret ingredients) the main attraction. Down the hill is West End Café, a simple café with no pretensions. Their large salad selection includes the Classic Cob, a monster Chefs Salad served in a large wooden bowl, a Grilled Chicken and Glass Noodle Salad with a bit of a chilli bite and a few pure vegetarian options. Sandwiches of Cajun Chicken, perfectly rare Roast Beef, and an old favourite that will take you back to your school days; Chopped Egg in Mayonnaise with shredded lettuce.
At Sanggingan a classy small restaurant opened without any fuss. It soon became a popular haunt for those who appreciate high quality food, albeit from a vastly different cuisine. Minami is laid back and stylish, tables well spaced for privacy all facing a small garden. Japanese it is but unlike most others, Minami serves Osaka cuisine, rarely seen outside of Japan. An example is Dashimaki, an egg broth that has been folded and rolled finishing as a rectangular block topped with grated daikon radish It is the 1st of four appetizers that can be sampled in a special Tasting dish for 2 persons. 2nd is Shiro ae, organic vegetables in a tofu sauce served in a small ceramic bowl. 3rd is the very tasty Nasu Miso ae; minced beef and minute strips of eggplant combined in a sweet miso sauce and the 4th a wonderful miniature bowl of super soft baby chicken with gratings of carrot and radish in a miso broth. Refined Dining!
On Bali's eastern coast Candi Dasa continues to come alive and Amed promises to be the success of the coming decade. New restaurants in Candi Dasa include Rendezvous at Alam Asmara Resort, beachfront and quite stylish offering a mix of European and local, Le 48 is a part of a refurbished boutique hotel under French management, of the same name. Vegetarian dishes predominate; Frozen Carrot Cappuccino with cumin flavoured Chantilly, a Trilogy of Sweet Peppers with goat cheese foam and black olive tapenade and a Tart of Caramelized Sweet Peppers and blue cheese certainly changed the face of Candi's main road, previously so staid for many years.
In Amed small places operated by local or local/foreign mixes are still the norm. Star of the year was Aquaterrace, with Japanese management and direction, with a mix of local and Asian dishes and views to Gili Trawangan, on a cool clean locale. Barong Café was another nice clean newcomer, with majestic views, trying to do something a little different from the normal Indo-Chinese mix, although temporarily injured by the sudden closure of Dancing Dragon Cottages across the road. Not far away the OnlYou Villas also opened a small European restaurant featuring German sausages with mustard, sauerkraut and pretzels.
There were quite a number of potentially excellent restaurants that opened late in 2009, too late to be reviewed as I prefer to wait till a place has been operating for a few months and ironed out all the bugs, rather than to pre-judge, and therefore are not included in this Wrap. At the top of that list are the two French cousins on Raya Petitenget, Metis and Sardine both of which have been busy from inception. The Red Square at the new Novotel Legian maybe needs a little more time to settle down.
2010 is full of intrigue and promise, some official, some just rumour, whilst others are still a secret. A Modern Chinese restaurant will be another for the new Eat Street, Raya Petitenget, and from proven operators so a sure-fire winner! On the same street will be a large restaurant/bar (Harry's Bar?) with an Australian connection where Brown Sugar used to be. A high class restaurant is proposed for the Candi Dasa area from an exciting young chef already here, another certain success. The Banyan Tree project at Ungasan is finally about to open, the W Hotel at Kerobokan we are still not sure about. At Amed (actually Bunutan). The exciting Griyas Bali Pool Villa project is taking shape rapidly. Café, pub and fine dining restaurant will be a part of the final product. And old faithful Warung Brith is no more, now to have an Italian flavour.
Bali continues to be a paradise for gourmands, and at a price that anyone can afford.
Best New Restaurants - 2009
Best Fine Dining - CIRE - Uluwatu
Class on the cliff top at Uluwatu. Master chef Stefan Zijta turns simple food into masterpieces.
Best Restaurant - Minami - Ubud
Osaka cuisine! Rarely available outside of Japan, very refined dining. Even their Bento Box is a work of art.
Best Value - Café Jemme - Kerobokan
The Gem of 2009! White walls, chandeliers and flowers are the back ground to this wonderful simple restaurant, tasty food, organic produce and very modest prices!
Best Cafe - Biku - Kerobokan
A classic teahouse, their High Tea a daily specialty. The range of teas is amazing, and not just commercially flavoured ones.
Best Cheapie - Passargad - Seminyak
Ancient Persian cuisine. Meat Kebabs and steamed rice but like no other you have ever had before. A simple warung but food that you remember and talk about


Bali Government May Reconsider Tax Quotas
Government Calls a Temporary Halt to New Taxi Licenses in the Face of Protests from Taxi Drivers.

According to Beritabali.com the government of Bali is may reconsider its position on the issuance of new taxi licenses following demonstrations and protests by hundreds of taxi drivers opposed to more taxis being allowed to operated on the island.
Governor Made Mangku Pastika said the government has been issuing licenses for additional taxis based on requests from taxi operators, the need to replace aging vehicles in the current armada, and a study which showed Bali needs 3,500 taxis by 2012.
The size of the current taxi armada in Bali stands at 1,900 from among a total of 2,000 licenses issued.


You Take the High Road
Governor Says Suspended Flyovers the Only Solution to Congested Traffic Near Bali's Airport.

Governor Made Mangku Pastika wants to help solve the growing problem of traffic congestion surrounding Bali's airport and has offered the solution of building a suspended highway from the airport to Nusa Dua and Simpang Siur as perhaps the only way to reduce the current traffic congestion.
Those traveling from Nusa Dua in Bali's south are increasingly likely to encounter delays at the three-way intersection near Udayana University, the three-way intersection at Ngurah Rai airport, and at the Dewa Ruci monument (Simpang Siur).
Quoted in Radar Bali, Governor Pastika has warned that if action is not taken quickly the traffic situation will only become worse. The national Department of Public Works is trying to assist Bali with its traffic problems by designing a system of suspended roads in the areas leading to and from Bali's airport. The Governor sees fixing the traffic mess as essential to preserving and improving what is, in fact, visitors' first and last impression of the island.
The governor explained to the press that while many people complain of the traffic lights on the roads leading to the airport, the traffic jams would only be made worse by removing the lights. Pastika also said that any widening of the current feeder roads is impossible, leaving suspended fly-overs as the only remaining alternative as underground tunnels would prove too expensive.
The Governor called on all elements of Bali society to consider and study the traffic problem in order to come to an agreement that will satisfy both religious and cultural elements of local society. Said Pastika: "I hope that Bali's leaders will undertake a joint study. I don't care how complicated this becomes. Come on, let's look at the problem together. I don't want to violate any of our community's norms. I am a Balinese and required to preserve Balinese concepts, but the right concepts."
Similar solutions proposed in the past for Bali have always run afoul of religious and cultural leaders who maintain raised highways, pedestrian overhead bridges or underground tunnels would violate Balinese religious norms.


Bali at the Crossroads
Is Bali's Hindu Culture Divorced from Intellect and Drowning in Ceremony?

Bali is widely considered to possess one of the world's richest cultures founded on mutual assistance, spirituality and time-honored traditions and rules. However, modern developments and global challenges of development are beginning to overwhelm Bali, placing the island, willingly or otherwise, as a critical crossroad in its history.
This situation was once again discussed at a year-end dialog conducted by the Forum of Mindful Duty (Forum Panyadaran Dharma). The gathering, which attracted the participation of a cross section of local leaders, adopted as its theme Bali at the Crossroads: Between Pragmatics and Public Interest. Among those contributing their thoughts were Bali's Governor Made Mangku Pastika the Rector of Udayana University Prof. Made Bakta, the former Rector of the University Prof. Wita, the Chairman of PHDI (Hindu Dharma Association) IGN Sudiana, and the Rector of the Hindu University (IHDN) Prof. Made Titib.
One of Bali's leading Pedanda or religious priests, said that if the Balinese are overwhelmed it is due to an inability to understand their own religion. Pedanda Sebali Tinayar, quoted in Radar Bali, said that the people of Bali are drowning in ceremonies. Each day is fully occupied with ceremony, although the true meaning and significance of these ceremonies has been lost. He said: "At this time Bali is drowning in ceremonies, ceremonies, ceremonies. What's more, these rituals are costing a great deal. Everything's been forgotten in order to create big ceremonies. This has brought Bali to its critical crossroad."
The well known religious authority said he fears people are so caught up in ceremonies that they have lost site of the true path to Jnana Marga or spiritual liberation; that is, the cultivation of religion through growing intellectualism, education and knowledge. "In the end," he said, "what's important is 'Jnana.' The people of India have managed to make their people able to compete with the world; with 60% of the richest people in the world are now Indians. This is because they practice their religion with "Jnana.'"
Echoing this, Bali Governor Made Pastika urged the people of Bali to be modern in their thinking, while at the same time keeping their connection with Bali's core values.
Pastika alluded to the views of sociologists Ania Loomba and George Ritzer who said that changes in the social intelligence of mankind is identical with changes in behavior, social norms and public behavior. This situation when it is not accompanied by intellectual enhancement or Jnana we will plunge into narrow mindedness.
"The Hindus of Bali will succumb to narrow thinking, and their own cultures will be left behind. This will leave Hindus on the side of the road, " warned Pastika.


Japanese Woman Murdered in Kuta
Police Suspect Woman Killed by Acquaintance as Investigation into Death of Japanese Woman Living in Bali.

Beritabali.com quoted the Chief of the Denpasar Police, Gde Alit Widana, as saying he suspects the death of a 41 year-old Japanese woman, Hiroma Shamadi, in her rented residence on Jalan Sada Sari in Kuta was due to a private motive. His suspicions are linked to the fact that no items of personal value were taken by the person who took the woman’s life.
According to Alit, the woman was stabbed 10 times in the murderous assault which took place on Sunday, December 27, 2009.
Bali police have already interviewed 12 individuals in connection with the crime and are also interviewing a former husband of the woman.
Shimadi had reportedly been married and divorced twice from local men and is the Mother of a young girl.
Police are assuming that the crime was one of passion. The woman was found dead in her cheap accommodation, naked and with no personal items of value missing. She had been beaten and stabbed prior to her murder. Police also saw signs of a struggle at the scene.
The woman, who was working in Bali with a temporary residence permit (KITAS) was discovered by a friend.


He is Watching You; From a Distance
Lifeguards are Saving Lives on Bali's Busiest Beaches.

Bali's badly equipped and underpaid team of lifeguards are credited with saving 348 people from drowning in 2009, while, during the same period, they have reduced the number of actual drowning deaths on Bali's southern beaches.
Bali answer to "Baywatch" works from 16 life-saving posts spread across the Badung regency and including Nusa Dua, Uluwatu, Kuta, Legian and Canggu. During the current peak holiday period over Christmas and New Years, the Bali lifeguards are on full alert to safeguard beach visitors flocking to Bali's most popular swimming beaches.
The 16 lifeguard posts are manned on two shifts from 7:00 am - 2:00 pm and 12:00 noon until 7:00 pm. This scheduling provides for overlap between noon and 2:00 pm when the beaches are busiest.
In 2008, 15 people drowned on beaches supervised by the lifeguards.


Denpasar Festival December 28-31, 2009
Street Festival in Downtown Denpasar to Close the Final Days of 2009.

Bali capital will host the Denpasar Festival December 28-31, 2009, featuring a range of exhibitions and activities to close out the year. Centered on the newly gentrified Jalan Gadjah Mada and Catur Muka monument the four-day event is open to the public.
The streets and public park areas will be turned over for exhibitions, public entertainment, and cultural shows.
Organizers have adopted the theme "Embracing Tomorrow" and wish to showcase the Balinese capital's culture, multiculturalism, humanity, nostalgia and inspiring qualities.
Running concurrently with the Denpasar Festival is a large exhibition of orchids and agriculture. Closing on January 1, 2010, Florikultura has been impressing the public with its large display of orchids.
Roads Closed
Jalan Gajah Mada will be closed to the intersection of Jalan Veteran until the program's close on December 31, 2009. Jalan Kartini from the direction of Jalan Gajah Mada will continue to operate normally. Jalan Sulawesi from Jalan Hasanudin which normally provides access to the Badung and Jumbasari markets is completely closed. Similarly, southbound traffic on Jalan Udayana in the direction of Jalan Veteran is closed with traffic being deterred in the direction of Jalan Kaliasem.


Traffic Havoc on Tap for New Year's Eve
Walk, Don't Drive, if You're Planning to Celebrate New Year's on Bali's Kuta-Legian Beach Strip.

New Year's revelers in Bali would be well advised to allow lots of time for moving around the southern part of the island on the eve of 2010.
Traffic in many popular night spot areas of the island turns to grid lock as tourists on New Years eve, many of them from Indonesia driving their own vehicles, attempt the impossible and seek parking space in Kuta and Legian where bars and night spots are in full swing to usher out the old year and welcome in the new.
Four days prior to New Years Bali Police are still discussing which roads will be closed or altered to one way, betraying an indecisiveness that may add to the confusion on Bali's streets.
The best advice when considering driving on New Year's Eve is: Don't. Consider leaving your vehicle parked, taking a taxi to a outlaying area of Kuta and walking into the bar and restaurant scene for your end of the year night on the town.
Roads will be closed in the Kuta and Legian area (we just don't know which ones) from 5:00 pm on December 31, 2009 until 6:00 am on January 1, 2010.
Thousands of extra police and military officers will be deployed on the streets, at police stations and at hundreds of special "security posts" set up across Bali.
Also on watch will be numerous new CCTV surveillance cameras allowing police to monitor public order in the busiest parts of the island.
Stay tuned to www.balidiscovery.com where we will published a list of actual road closings when they become available.


Once in a Blue Moon
Full Moon on December 31, 2009 Offers an Opportunity to Experience a Truly Unique New Year’s Eve in Bali.

December 31, 2009, not only will mark the end of the current year also qualify (by some definitions) as a ”blue moon.”
Blue Moon
”Once in a Blue Moon” is commonly accepted metaphorically or idiomatically to denote an event that happens only rarely.
While most years have 12 full moons, but the “excess of about 11 days results in a month with two full moons every 2.7154 years.
Thus it is so that on December 31, 2009, the world will experience a “blue moon” – the first full moon having taken place on December 1, 2009.
This will be the first time since 1990 when New Year’s Eve fell on a “Blue Moon.”
Why Blue?
Why this infrequent astronomical appearance of the second full moon within a single month got labeled “blue” is a topic of popular conjecture. The long-held belief that the moon was made of cheese has prompted some to suggest the moon was made of Stilton or some other blue-veined fromage. Another explanation ties the event to Indonesian and the two years following the 1883 explosion of the Krakatau volcano when dust particles suspended in the atmosphere caused the moon to look blue in the nighttime sky.
In Bali any full moon invariably sees an upsurge in special nighttime markets and celebrations used to mark an odalan - the birthday of a Balinese temple. Each Balinese temple has an odalan each year celebrated during one of the Bulan Purnama or full moons of the year.
If you’re in Bali on December 31, 2009 (Bulan Purnama Sasih Kapitu) and have made your accommodation bookings with balidiscovery.com, then contact us and we’ll give you the name and location of the nearest temple celebrating its odalan on that date. The night market, prayers, colorful offerings and prayers that are de rigueur at every odalan guarantee to create a New Year to remember for you and your family. We’ll even arrange Balinese costumes for your entourage and some practical tips on how to truly howl on this full moon.
Related Link
[Full Moon Offering Tour]


 
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March 04, 2002

Bali Update #284
February 25, 2002

Bali Update #283
February 18, 2002

Bali Update #282
February 11, 2002

Bali Update #281
February 04, 2002

Bali Update #280
January 28, 2002

Bali Update #279
January 21, 2002

Bali Update #278
January 14, 2002

Bali Update #277
January 07, 2002

Bali Update #276
December 31, 2001

Bali Update #275
December 24, 2001

Bali Update #274
December 17, 2001

Bali Update #273
December 10, 2001

Bali Update #272
December 03, 2001

Bali Update #271
November 26, 2001

Bali Update #270
November 19, 2001

Bali Update #269
November 12, 2001

Bali Update #268
November 05, 2001

Bali Update #267
October 29, 2001

Bali Update #266
October 22, 2001

Bali Update #265
October 15, 2001

Bali Update #264
October 08, 2001

Bali Update #263
October 01, 2001

Bali Update #262
September 24, 2001

Bali Update #261
September 17, 2001

Bali Update #260
September 10, 2001

Bali Update #259
September 03, 2001

Bali Update #258
August 27, 2001

Bali Update #257
August 20, 2001

Bali Update #256
August 13, 2001

Bali Update #255
August 06, 2001

Bali Update #254
July 30, 2001
 

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