Post Power Perception at IHIC 2014
Former Minister of Culture and Tourism, Gede Ardika to Address Indonesian Hotel Investment Conference in Bali in June
The 2nd Indonesian Hotel Investment Conference (IHIC 2014) has confirmed I Gede Ardika, the former Minister for Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia as a keynote speaker to open the event to be held at the Grand Nikko Bali in Nusa Dua on Friday, June 6, 2014.
The IHIC 2014 is sponsored by the Bali Hotels Association and co-hosted by Horwath HTL.
Ardika, a native of Bali, prior to his retirement served a distinguished career in government service culminating in the role of Minister for Culture and Tourism during the administrations of both Abdurrachman Wahid and Megawati Soekarnoputri (2000-2004). Leading an active retirement, Ardika is a much sought-after speaker at international conferences, as a guest lecturer at leading Indonesian universities, is a member of the Eminent Persons’ Group of Republic of Indonesia and serves as a member of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics of the United Nations World Tourism Organization.
The former Minister is known for his ardent advocacy of people-based tourism, cultural and heritage preservation, and an industry-wide reconsideration of what constitutes sustainability in tourism terms.
A thought provoking opening address will help set the tone for the day-long IHIC 2014 that will attract some of Indonesia’s and the region’s most active players in the tourist accommodation sector including property owners, investors, hotel executives, principal from management companies, money managers, bankers, lawyers, architects and design experts, and property consultants.
The plenary and breakout sessions that comprise the remainder of the day will feature speakers and panelists who will examine the Indonesian hotel investment outlook; present statistical reviews on the state of the Indonesian hotel industry; explore investment opportunities in Bali and beyond; discuss sustainability issues for the accommodation sector; provide insights on new trends in design and product innovation; look at new approaches to product financing; consider the growing role of OTAs, channel distribution and social media; and learn how Indonesian accommodation companies are tackling the issue of successful branding.
Jean-Charles Le Coz, the vice chairman of the BHA, said: “The BHA is deeply honored by Bapak Ardika’s acceptance of our invitation to present the opening address at the Indonesian Hotel Investment Conference 2014 this June in Bali. His outstanding service to tourism in the Republic and his continuing crusade asking penetrating and much-needed questions on how tourism should be developed, will stimulate a lively dialogue at IHIC and beyond.”
Participants at IHIC 2014 will have abundant opportunities to interact with leaders from the Indonesian and regional accommodation sector over coffee breaks, a power lunch and a private sunset networking cocktail event.
Bruce to Brace Sales on Nusa Dua
Bruce White Heads Sales and Marketing at Nusa Dua Beach Hotel and Spa
Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa has announced the appointment of Bruce White as director of sales & marketing as of April 1, 2014.
Bruce White will oversee the resort’s sales, marketing, revenue management, events and catering.
An Australian national with more than 20 years experience, White has a wide network of contacts in every market sector.
Cited by the past employer for a cooperative outlook and willingness to work hard both autonomously and within a team environment, he has gained extensive knowledge of the hospitality industry during his career asirector of sales & marketing for various five-star hotels in Australia.
“I am delighted to be working here in Bali and I am honored to have been chosen for the role and after regular visits to the island for the past 30 years, I am looking forward to leading the Sales & Marketing team at this iconic five-star resort to ensure Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa retains its reputation as being 'Authentically Bali,'" said White.
Masters of the House
Bali Hotels Association Appoints 2014 Board
Bali Hotels Association (BHA) has announced its board of directors for 2014.
Commenting on the line up of leaders for the BHA for the coming year, the organization’s chairman re-elected to a second term, Alessandro Migliore, said: “The new board will play a key role in the implementation of various programs that the association has planned for this year. Each executive member will be responsible for a different area to ensure that BHA remains at the forefront as a role model in the island’s hospitality industry. The main focus is still on sustainable tourism, environmental issues and conservation.”
Added, BHA Vice Chairman, Jean-Charles Le Coz: “It has been always our objective to utilize the wealth of experience and expertise of all our board members. We come together in unison to represent the hospitality industry of Bali and ensure that the island remains a popular holiday destination to travelers from around the world.”
Bali Hotels Association is a professional group of star rated hotels and resorts in Bali. Members include general managers from more than 100 hotels and resorts in Bali representing more than 15,000 hotel rooms and almost 30,000 employees in tourism sector.
A Quiet, Luxuriant Weekend in Bali's South
Accommodation Review: Grand Nikko Bali - One Bedroom Pool Villa
Hotel Reviewed: Grand Nikko Bali
Accommodation Class: One Bedroom Pool Villa
Date of Stay: March 30 – April 1, 2014 (2 nights)
The Nyepi Holiday Period of March 30 – April 1, 2014 and the island-wide prohibitionagainst venturing forth from homes or hotels provided an opportunity for a prolonged and up-close review of a One-Bedroom Pool Villa at the Grand Nikko Bali Resort in Nusa Dua.
An adjunct to the Grand Nikko Bali, the villa complex is situated in an attractive cul de sac situated around a Villa Lounge that serves as the reception and gathering point for the 19 luxury private villas. The cluster represents a "resort within a resort" where guests are ensconced in elegant seclusion or, at their will, may enjoy full access to all the facilities and amenities by venturing forth to the existing larger resort.
A major force in the configuration of leading resorts, Grounds Ken Architecture designed the 19 villas and supporting structures. Meanwhile, interiors were undertaken by JPA Design Singapore who in addition to their assignments at a long list of luxury hotels recently upgraded the look of Singapore Airline’s business class.
Depending on the exact location within the villa complex, guests can pick between a lush garden or ocean view villa. Villas are accessed through an attractive garden path traversed by shanks' mare or electrified buggies driven by the villas service staff.
Large hand-carved doors open up onto a well-planned and spacious oasis of private luxury. A small anteroom leads onto a large bedroom that opens to a private garden-pool area, dominated by a private plunge pool and a relaxation pavilion that also houses a mini-bar, wet bar and complete coffee and making facilities. Here, like the rest of the villa, the attention to detail is meticulous and impressive. Fluffly over-sized beach towels folded "at the ready" sit at the pool’s edge, an outside garden shower, and quality wine glasses and fine china tea/coffee service – all form just part of the details to the salubrious surroundings provided by the Resort in this private pleasure garden.
A survey of the sleeping room reveals: a comfortable oversized bedroom with a luxuriant king-sized bed; nearby, a day bed with a convertable trundle bed; multi-channel satellite TV and a Bose© sound system capable of playing music at home theatre standards from guest's personal entertainment devices.
The bathroom - physically large enough for entertaining - was designed with couples in mind. Double side-by-side rain showers and his and her sinks reflect the romantic inclination of the villa's designers by allowing cleanliness and hygiene to be performed in tandem. The center of the bathroom is dominated by to a free-form bathtub, replete with cross-tub reading table, that is arguably large enough for two to enjoy. Those wishing to commune with nature have, as an option, a very private outside garden shower as a back-to-nature bathing option.
The bathroom area and the bedroom are separated by an expansive walk-in closet, also specifically designed to accommodate two over-packed travelers with space left over for grooming and make-up application, Gentleman to the right and lady to the left.
Invisible in the villa but always on standby is a well-trained butler staff keeping the accommodation spotless; replenishing towels, linen and toiletries; keeping the complimentary mini-bar fully stocked and ready to respond in an instant to guests requests. During my stay, a report of a poor Internet connection immediately brought an IT Concierge to my door who quickly and efficiently installed an additional WiFi transmitter. Problem solved and I was back in touch with the large world.
The Villa Lounge cum reception area for the villa complex is the base of operations for the brigade of butlers who service the villas. A cathedral-like chalet, this is also where a la carte breakfasts, afternoon teas, evening cocktails all presented at no additional charge. My only question regarding the reception area is why the architects did not make it accessible from both the front and back sides, making it more welcoming and accessible to guest already in house. In any case, this was hardly a major inconvenience as smiling staff were always ready with a smile and a remembered name when opening the front door.
While the rest of the hotel, including the Nikko Club Lounge, is open to villa guests, the excellent service and amenities enjoyed during our stay extinguished any lingering wanderlust, leaving me preferring instead to stay close to my luxuriant villa and let the rest of the world see to itself during my two day stay.
A Bird of Pay
Garuda Seeking Funding for Fleet Expansion
Garuda Indonesia has secured a loan of US$100 million from Bank Internasional Indonesia needed to finance its fleet expansion program.
Quoted by The Jakarta Globe, Garuda’s finance director Handrito Hardjono said, “The loan will be used to expand our fleet.”
Garuda is reportedly looking for an additional US$200 million from other banks in order to complete new aircraft purchases in the pipeline.
In addition, a rights offering scheduled for April should yield US$130 million and the sale of bonds another US$200 million.
All in, Garuda wants to have US$630 million in cash to fuel its fleet expansion that will need between US$300 – US$400 to pay for new planes being delivered in 2014. US$145.6 million of this amount is already addressed in the Airline’s capital expenditure budget.
Also included in these figures are plans to pay off US$200 to $300 million of current debt. Garuda retired US$130 of its debt in 2013.
In an acquisitive mood, Garuda’s CEO Emirsyah Satar, has announced plans for the Airline to increase its stake from 30 to 80% in Angkasa Pura I and Angkasa Pura II – the companies that provide ground-handling services at major airports across Indonesia. The cost of the larger stake in Angkasa Pura is put at US$30 million.
Take the Day Off!
President Declares April 9, 2014 a Public Holiday Due to Legislative Elections
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has formally declared Wednesday, April 9, 2014 a national holiday in order to facilitate national legislative elections that will be held on that date.
The Presidential decree, signed on April 3, 2014 stipulated that in the event that the National Election Commission (KPU) should establish alternative dates for the election or follow-up votes those days will also be automatically declared national holidays.
The Presidential decree reinforces a decision by the Minister of Manpower issued on March 26, 2014 also declaring April 9th a public holiday.
Garuda as a Migratory Bird
Garuda Expanding its Fleet of Aircraft and Route Networks
Garuda Indonesia plans to commence service to a number of new international destinations in 2014 – all part of the Airline’s Quantum Leap Forward Program.
The State News Agency Antara quotes the CEO of Garuda, Emirsyah Satar, saying, “New international destinations include London, Manila and Mumbai.”
The new destinations in 2014 represent a continuation of a route network expansion that started in 2013 that saw six new international routes commenced by the Indonesian flag carrier.
Domestically, Garuda added 9 new domestic destinations with 25 new routes in 2013 that added 80 more domestic flights flown by the airline each day.
To serve the ambitious new route network, Garuda is also expanding the size of its armada focusing on fuel-efficient aircraft suitable to the distances covered and anticipated traffic loads anticipated on the new routes.
Bali New Airport of the North: Build it Right
Governor Warns that New North Bali Airport Must have Supporting Services and Infrastructure in Order to Succeed
Bali governor Made Mangku Pastika is warning that any new international airport for Bali in North Bali must include supporting facilities and infrastructure investment or risk failing to attract tourists and the airlines that serve them.
As reported by Beritabali.com, the Governor issued his warning on Thursday, April 3, 2014, after hearing a presentation by PT Pembangunan Bali Mandiri who presented the results of a feasibility study conducted by the company regarding plans for a North Bali Airport.
Pastika said that in order for a more equitable distribution of the fruits of development between Bali’s north and south to take place, more than the mere construction of the new airport must take place, but the propozed airport also needs supporting services and the relevant connecting infrastructure.
“It’s useless if we build a great airport, if the passengers who use it get nothing out of it. (If this happens) I guarantee the new airport won’t last long and will soon the quiet and empty. In addition to supporting facilities, the infrastructure leading to the airport must also be considered,” opined Pastika.
The Governor said he hoped with the selection of Kubutambahan by PT Pebangunan Bali Mandiri that area proves itself fully viable and appropriate, and that other non-relevant consideration have somehow played a role in the area’s selection.
The Governor reminded that in addition to considerations of supporting services and infrastructure, the construction of the new airport must also contemplate the social and cultural needs of the Balinese people. Pastika warned developers that the daily life of the Balinese is intertwined with daily religious ritual and local traditions, which can never be ignored.
“Don’t let our good intentions collide with the cultural norms of the people, creating future problems. Many Balinese still desire Bali to remain as it is, worried what the effects of development will have on their daily lives. Therefore, as much as possible, clearly socialize to the people plans for the new airport,” said Pastika.
Meanwhile, the CEO of PT Pembangunan Mandiri, Nur Hasan Ahmad, explained that the latest presentation by his team represented an update an improvement on the earlier feasibility study conducted in 2013, including many improvements in terms of protecting local culture.
Ahmad said: “The results of the latest feasibility study places greater emphasis on local cultural and religious values. This includes avoiding the need to relocate religious temples and burial grounds, avoiding the physical dislocation of local people, and the minimization of the need for land acquisition - now limited to a few hectares of rice fields by prioritizing the use on non-productive lands at Kubutambahan.”
Ahmad promised that Bali’s new airport of the north would be of an international standard meeting all technical, safety and operational requirements as well built in compliance with all national and provincial laws.
Ahmad continued: “PT Pembangunan Bali Mandiri is not an investor, we only carry out the research and explain our results to the regional heads. If the project is considered viable, we will open the tender process to investors. Be assured that the tender process will be transparent to both the people and the government, making it clear the benefit that they will all receive from the development of the North Bali Airport.”
Murni’s at 40
Ubud Culinary Icon Murni’s Warung Turns 40
An Ubud icon –Murni’s Warung is celebrating 40 years of operations with the publication of a new foodie book.
Murni’s Warung, located in what is arguably the cultural capital of Bali, was Ubud’s first international standard restaurant and, on February 20, 2014, it marked 40 years of continual operations.
Celebrating the landmark, The Orchid Press publication “Forty Delicious Years" is the story of Bali’s most enduring culinary landmark—Murni’s Warung in Ubud.
Narrated by some of the Warung’s most noteworthy patrons and with a preface by the legendary Murni, the book tells the story of how a humble roadside food stall became an Ubud institution and a ‘must visit’ on a magical ‘must visit’ island.
According to Ibu Murni, considered by many to be a Mother of Balinese Tourism": “The 20th of February in 2012 also happened to be my calendar birthday and, what's more, this date also fell on the same day as my Balinese birthday. This rarely happens, so it's was a triple… no, a quadruple celebration.”
What Goes Up, Goes Up Again
Bali by the Numbers: Bali Inflation Rates for March 2014 Higher than National Average
The State News Agency Antara reports that the inflation rate in Bali’s capital of Denpasar for the month of March 2014 hit 0.32% - higher than the national average for that month of 0.08%.
The higher rate of inflation in the Island’s capital was driven by five specific areas of consumer expenditure.
Meanwhile, according to the Bali Bureau of Statistics (BPS-Bali), the rate of inflation for Bali as a whole for March 2014 stood at 0.29%, a rate also more than three times the national average.
BPS-Bali said Bali experienced higher rates of inflation in five areas of the consumer economy: health (1.31%), foodstuffs (0.58%), transportation (0.51%), communication (0.51%) and financial services (0.51%).
Housing, water, electricity, gas and fuel experienced price inflation of 0.09% in Bali in March.
Deflation of 0.10% occurred in March in the clothing sector
Prices for basic food supplies of chili peppers, rice, eggs, plus airfares and shampoo all increased in March.
Meanwhile prices decreased in the same period for chicken meat, kai choy (sawi), tomatoes, tuna fish, scallions and bananas.
Rooms, Rooms and More Rooms
Indonesia’s Booming Nation-wide Investment in New Hotels
The largest amount of investment in Indonesia’s tourism sector is in the hotel and restaurant sector, according to the Minister of Tourism and the Creative Economy, Mari Elka Pangestu.
Quoted by the State News Agency Antara, Pangestu said: “The largest amount of investment in tourism is dedicated to the development of hotels and restaurants.”
In 2013, tourism investment in Indonesia totaled US$ 602.648 million comprised of US$462.47 million in the form of foreign investments and the remaining US$140.18 million in domestic investments.
The Minister cited examples of several anticipated sources of new tourism investment via hotel developments at second and third-tier cities by the Santika, Tauzia and Dafam Hotel Groups.
Minister Pangestu specifically cited the aforementioned domestic hotel companies as pursuing an aggressive expansion program. “These operators plan to add 140 hotels before 2015,” she added.
The Minister also mention the Carlson Rezidor Group as a foreign operator joining forces with the PT Panorama Group with plans to build 20 new hotels in the next 5-7 years. Four of these hotels will begin construction this year in Lampung, Bali, Makassar and Bandung with a total initial investment estimated at US$250 million.
The Minister continued, “There are also foreign operators working together with domestic investors to expand their business.”
At this time there are also 76 Aston Hotels, including the Aston Belitung, which just opened. Aston plans to open 150 more hotels in the coming 3-4 years.
Meanwhile, the Accor Group has been operating in Indonesia for 20 years and now runs 70 hotels in 24 cities, Accor is targeting to open 100 hotels with 20,000 room by 2015.
And the Winner is . . .
Bali Loses Bid to Host 20th National Sports Week in 2020 to Papua
Bali has received the unwelcomed news that it has lost its bid to host the 20th Indonesian National Sporting Week (PON) in 2020.
Indonesia’s Minister of Sports, Roy Suryo, has issued a decision giving the 2020 games to the far-eastern Indonsian province of Papua.
Defending the decision, a deputy of the Sport Ministry Djoko Pekik Irianto said by selecting a more remote region of Indonesia for the 2020 games a more even distribution across the country of quality sports facilities would be the result.
In the final voting by the selection committee for the 20th PON Games, Papua earned 66 votes, while Bali and Aceh each got 46 votes.
The chairman of the Bali National Sports Committee (KONI), Ketut Suwandi, said that his team must accept the Minister’s decision, even if it was not the outcome desired for Bali to host the 2020 games.
Saying the decision not to let Bali host the 20th PON should not discourage the Island from trying to become an international sports destination, Bali governor Pastika congratulated Papua on its selection commented: “Congratulations to Papua. Hopefully the local government and its staff can organize the event properly.”
Nyepi Day Fires at Bali’s Mambal Market
As Nyepi dawned – Bali’s mandatory day of silence greeted a sunrise on March 31, 2014 and fires that caused substantial damage to a deserted local traditional market in Bali.
The fire occurred at the Mambal Market in Abiansemal.
In a show of respect for the day of silence and the fact the roads were largely empty of all traffic at the time of the fire, the five emergency vehicles dispatched to the scene did not sound their sirens.
The Regional Disaster Mitigation Office (BPBD) in Badung confirms there was no loss of life or injuries resulting from the fire.
News reports state there were two fires. The first at 5:30 am destroyed a local food stall (warung). Another fire at 7:15 am affected the second floor of the market.
The fire that took an hour to extinguish the fires that destroyed 15 small shops and is believed to have started from burning incenses that were part of a ritual offering left by a shop owner as the Nyepi period of devotion got underway.
Permission to Work
Denpasar Government Forming Teams to Catch Foreigners Working without Legal Permits
Metrobali.com reports that the municipality of Denpasar plans to soon taking action to enforce measure against illegal foreign workers in the Island’s capital.
Erwin Suryadharma, chief of the municipality's Manpower Office said on Saturday, April 5, 2014, “We will form enforcement teams involving the police and immigration.”
In addition to immigration and police elements, the enforcement teams will also include Denpasar’s Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) and officers from the Public Registry Office (Dinas Kependudukan dan Cataan Sipil).
Once in operation the teams will circulate the city checking the documentation and administration of foreign workers.
The team will be looking for foreigners working on tourists visas and not holding the required temporary stay permits (Kitas) and Work Permits (Izin Kerja).
Erwin said many illegal workers are employed as teachers at local schools and language centers. He pointed to the large number of international schools operating in Bali, claiming each school employed between “12 and 20 foreigners.”
Erwin Suryadharma specifically mentioned a number of international schools operating in Bali, including Dyatmika, Taman Rama, Mahatma Gandhi, Daud and JB School.
Saying many of the teachers employed at international schools in Bali come form Australian and the United States, he reminded “foreigner can not join the teaching staff or assume any position before they hold the needed permits.”
He also pointed to the large number of Taiwanese working in the Island’s fishing industry at Benoa Harbor.
Narcotics in Bali: High Risk, High Profit
Top Drug Cop in Bali Counts Profits and Losses of International Drug Trafficking in Bali
The head of the Bali division of The National Narcotics Agency (BNNP) has described Bali as a center for the international narcotics trade.
I Gusti Ketut Budiartha of BNPP warned: “Bali is an island heaven, an international tourism destination. Bali is prone to be a place for drug circulation. While there are many positive aspects to tourism’s development, the negative aspects of that development are being exploited by narcotic dealers."
Saying that not all tourist visitors bring benefit to Bali, this fact is demonstrated by the large number of foreigners who have been apprehended and imprisoned for drug offenses in Bali.
Budiartha acknowledged that the potential profits of the narcotics trade are tempting to potential lawbreakers. He explained: “In Iran 1 kilogram of sabu-sabu (methamphetamines) costs between Rp. 15 -30 million. Once it is landed in Bali the value reaches Rp. 2 billion. This is why the syndicates are so keen on Bali because the profits are enormous. If they get caught they go to prison. If they evade arrest they become rich.”
The top law enforcement officer in the agency battling the international drug trade in Bali counts that there are currently 65 foreigners incarcerated at Kerobokan prison, 60% of who are in jail from drug-related crimes.
Low Season, Fewer Flights
Flights and Passengers Using Bali’s Ngurah Airport Slumped in February.
The number of international and domestic flights operating from Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport declined in February after the Chinese New Year's Rush.
Departing international flights in February from Bali’s airport totaled 2,014, down 9.85% from the 2,234 international flights recorded in January.
In terms of passenger carried, International passengers flying out of Bali hit 316,019 in February, down 8.5% from the 345,360 who flew in January.
While Australia remained the main destination for departing flights in January and February, passengers departing for Australia in February dropped 40.34% when compared to those leaving for OZ in January.
Domestic flights leaving Bali in February totaled 2,900 flights, down 20.79% from January when 3,661 flights operated.
Throwing the Book at Corruptors
Prosecutors Seeking Record High Sentences in Corruption Case Over Parking Fees at Bali’s Airport
Two of the men charged in the corruption of parking fees from Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport have heard State Prosecutors call for record jail sentences as punishment for their crimes.
State Prosecutors are demanding prison terms of 14.5 years for the operational manager of Parking Authority - Penata Sarana Bali (PSB) Mekhael Maksi and PSB employee Rudi Sitorus.
If agreed by the panel of judges handling the case in which the State is estimated to have lost Rp 28 billion (US$2.45 million), these punishments would represent the stiffest sentences ever handed down in Bali in a corruption case.
To date, the harshest sentence in a Bali corruption case was 6 years given to Arnawa, the former regent of Bangli.
In calling for the punitive sentences, prosecutors cited the uncooperative testimony presented to the Court by the accused.
Prosecutors are also seeking a Rp. 1 billion fine for each of the accused.
Two other officers of PSB are still undergoing trial in the same corruption case: the CEO of PSB Chris Wisnu Sridana and the company’s general manager Indrapura Barnoza.
Round and Round We Go
Indonesia to Build Four International Race Circuits
The Bali Post quotes The Indonesian Minister of Sports, Roy Suryo, saying that Indonesia will soon build four international race circuits in Bali, Jakarta, Lombok and on Samosir Island in North Sumatra.
Suryo said the Jakarta Circuit would be located in the city center, duplicating how races are presented in Australia and Monaco.
Plans are apparently to create race circuits that use public roadways during the actual race events.
The Indonesian Sports Minister enthusiastically endorses the plan as a means of elevating the nation’s sporting image and encouraging young Indonesians interested in competitive car racing.
At the same time, Suryo cautioned that the Central Government would allocate no funding such projects, leaving financing to the private sector and regional governments.
Jakarta will, however, issue letters of recommendation in support of these projects.
Bali, Hounded by Rabies
Bali Pushed Back its Target of Being Rabies Free to 2016
The appearance of as many as 4 suspected rabies cases among Bali’s human population in 2014 means that Bali will fail to meet its target of being rabies-free by 2015.
While Bali managed to go for almost a year without a new case of rabies case among its human population, the recent re-emergence of rabies infections and at least two fatalities in Buleleng, North Bali mean the earliest that Bali can now be free of the disease is 2016.
After decades of being rabies-free, the dreaded disease appeared again in Bali in 2008 and has claimed an estimated 147 victims since then.
In 2014 there have already been four cases of suspected rabies among residents of Bali and a large number of confirmed cases in the canine populations.
Health authorities bemoan the low level of public understanding and cooperation in with the governent in combating the disease, chiefly among villagers reluctant to have their animals vaccinated against rabies.
UFOs in Bali?
Hundreds in Ubud See a Fireball Thought to be ‘leak’ during Nyepi Observances
Hundreds, if not thousands, of residents of the Bali arts community of Ubud experienced a supernatural phenomenon when a giant fireball moved across the community on Monday night, March 31, 2014.
Known locally as a “leak” – flying fire balls are thought to be the incarnation of black magic practitioners and reside in the psyche of all Balinese, many of who will retell of personal encounters with the leak phenomenon.
The leak that visited Bali on March 31 was estimated to be the size of a large chicken cage.
The fireball first appeared on Monday night at around 11:00 pm in a position atop the Bale Kulkul at Bale Banjar Taman Kelod, just east of the Puri Agung Palace in Ubud.
Eyewitness quoted in NusaBali say the fireball hovered in place for nearly 5 minutes before moving the northeast and eventually disappearing into the night sky.
A local member of the Banjar Pacalang Corps from Taman Kelod, I Gusti Ketut Keramas, said efforts to find the source of the fireball were unsuccessful. Villagers were reportedly placed in a state of panic and fear, seeing the leak’s appearance during Nyepi as signifying that the deity Ida Batara had descended to earth while other possessing a more pessimistic view saw the fireball as proof of of evil black magic at play.
Many residents managed to capture the fireball on their hand phone cameras, posting the images later to their Facebook pages.
The former regent of Gianyar, Tjokorda Oka Arta Arhana Sukawati (Cok Ace) and the head of the Ubud Palace household confirmed he had received many reports of the fireball sighting, saying many villagers found it difficult to sleep after the incident.
Cok Ace’s personal view was that the fireball was the manifestation of a black magic practitioner testing his or her powers. This suspicion was backed up, he said, by the fact that the phenomenon appeared on Kajeng Kliwon Kulantir on the Balinese calendar – a rare and most auspicious day for experiments with the dark side.
Cok Ace said whether or not the leak poses a personal threat, depends largely on the attitude of those who witness the event. He said it was important to neither be frightened by the fireball or to try to oppose it.
Urging that such phenomenon and those behind them be left alone in their own separate dark reality, Cok Ace said those encountering someone in the act of practicing such magic should merely say “nyelang margi” or “please allow me to pass” and then quickly move on.
A Fatal Sleep Disorder
Bali Student Sleeping on Main Road Killed by Passing Truck During Nyepi Period
Tragedy struck early on the morning of Monday, March 31, 2014, just hours before the 24-hours of mandatory silence of Nyepi Day descended on Bali.
A junior high school student from Negara, Krisna Dwi Saputra (17), together with a group of compatriots had participated in watching traditional ogoh-ogoh parades and, according to NusaBali, drinking alcoholic refreshment on the evening of the dawn of the Balinese New Year.
According to reports, Krisna and some friends decided to take a nap on the main body of the Denpasar-Gilimanuk highway near Yeh Sumbul village.
At 1:30 am the group of young men had fallen asleep on the road when a truck traveling from the east carrying a Barong for use in ceremonies at the nearby Pura Rambit Siwi ran over the sleeping group. According to police, the truck’s headlights were not working and the driver did not see the bodies of the young men sleeping on the road until he struck them.
As a result of the collision, Krisna Dwi Saputra died at the scene due to massive head injuries. Marsiadi, another boy said to be intoxicated and sleeping on the road, suffered a broken right leg and left elbow resulting in his hospitalization.
The driver of the truck is being held by police for further examination.
Meanwhile, Nusa Bali reports that 105 patients were treated in the emergency room of Bali’s Sanglah General Hospital during a 24-hour period beginning from midnight on Nyepi Eve.
Of those receiving treatment 16 were hospitalized for medical complaints, 7 were hospitalized for injuries/accidents and 7 were hospitalized for surgical treatment. The remainders were treated on an outpatient basis.
During the same period,15 babies were born at Sanglah Hospital comprised of 9 boys and 6 girls.
29 patients received outpatient fastrack treatment at the Hospital’s polyclinic and 14 were treated at the Cardiac Center.
During the Nyepi period 4 bodies were received by Sanglah mortuary, 3 delivered from other hospitals in Bali.
Committed to Excellence
WakaGangga Resort Makes Two Key Management Appointments
Waka Hotel and Resorts have announced two key management appointments at their WakaGannga Resort at Gangga Beach, Tabanan, West Bali.
Juliana Rosenboom has been appointed resort manager. A long-time resident of Indonesia, Juliana grew up in Indonesia the daughter of German expatriates and, as a result, speaks Indonesian fluently.
On hand to supervise the WakaGangga’s development and building program, Juliana reflects on the job ahead: “I like to think I combine the heart of Bali with a German approach to efficiency, service and hygiene. I have worked hard with the staff to ensure that everything runs smoothly, There still the warm and generous hosts that Bali is famous for and they have responded well to the training and the systems we have put in place, they soak it up and we all work together as a team.”
Juliana graduated from the École hôtelière de Lausanne in Switzerland before coming back “home” to Indonesia to work with leading hotels including the Kempinski in Jakarta and Hotel Tugu in Lombok.
Juliana added: “My hope is that our guests will treasure the time they spend with us at WakaGangga. There are so many unique aspects to this property, from the architectures to the food and location. With a sensible pricing policy, we are aiming to deliver great value to our guests for accommodation, restaurant, bar and spa to encourage them to enjoy our wonderful facilities and the unhurried pace at the resort.”
Determined to share the unique culinary traditions of Bali with the resort’s guests, Putu described the professional journey that has brought him to WakaGangga: “My background covers it all. I first worked at Warisan before going to Oberoi Hotels. Working under European executive chefs has helped me tremendously to learn and put into practice the fine art of continental cuisine. I now have the chance to also share more of my own Indonesian dishes with my guests.”
Putu has brought his wide experience from working in outstanding kitchens to bear at WakaGangga. The resorts menus offer a tempting selection of both continental and Asian dishes, together with home-styled Balinese cooking with ingredients provided by local farmers.
“The guests at WakaGangga can learn more about the locally grown vegetables and herbs used in our food and, if they are interested, from our local gardens. I look forward to discussing the ingredients, taking guests to cooking classes and introducing authentic cuisine,” Putu explained.
Putu also takes charge of the Waka Bar and Restaurant, perched above the Indian Ocean and encased in rustic woods and glass. Designed by Ketut Siandana and Japanese designer Nobuyuki Narabayashi, the venue is filled with natural light and open space offering unequalled views of the coastline and sweeping surf of Bali’s west coast.
“If I am making continental dishes, I want them to be authentic. The same with Indonesian and Balinese food. I don’t believe in fusion, I want it to taste true to its roots. At WakaGangga, the only thing changed is the way we try to make the dishes a little lighter, We also offer half portions and shared plates for guest to enjoy by sharing food with family and friends, as in most Balinese homes, known as “megibung eating style” on the Island. I want my guests to enjoy the food, the service and, of course, the beautiful views,” Putu added.
The Resort is located a 45-minutes drive from Bali’s busy Seminyak area and 20-minutes from the world class Nirwana Bali Golf and Country Club.
Situated a short distance from Bali’s iconic Tanah Lot Temple, WakaGangga Resort is also within easy striking distance of Bali's World Heritage Rice Terraces at Jatiluwih.
Not Impressed with Bali’s New Airport
Bali's 'New" Airport Winning Few Fans and Generally Seen as an Airport that Simply Doesn't Work
Willem Loots, a long-time Bali resident and semi-retired professional in Indonesian tourism, had the occasion to travel through Bali’s still-under-construction Ngurah Rai International Airport on April 1, 2014.
On that same date, a more costly International Passenger Service Charge applied for all outgoing passengers went into effect. The Domestic Passenger Service Charge will follow suit in August.
Representative of the widespread disappointment with Bali’s new air gateway, Loots shared his experience at Bali’s new airport at the invitation of Balidiscovery.com.
The Sad Decline from Airport Tax to Service Charge
Last Tuesday, April 1st I went through the experience of using the departure facilities at Ngurah Rai Denpasar Airport for the first time since the new international terminal was inaugurated last September.
I have been flying in an out of Bali countless times since I first came to the island in 1973. In a way, Ngurah Rai has always occupied a dear place in my heart, so I was totally unprepared for the awful situation that I found.
I had booked and checked-in online and printed my boarding pass at home. With hand luggage only, I thought that it would be sufficient to reach the airport an hour and a half before boarding time. A few days before my departure I had read that the airport tax would be raised from Rp. 150,000 to Rp. 200,000 as per August 1. Therefore it came as a surprise that August had arrived early when the young lady at the desk, now marked Airport Service Charge, informed me that the new rate was already in force.
The immigration procedure was swift and efficient and I am ready to admit that it is a measure of progress that I had to go through security screening only once. (Last year, I had to take off my shoes twice).
However the nightmare started immediately afterwards. After security it is impossible to just walk to the gates. In the old days shopping, tax free or not, was an OPTION. In the new setup of Angkasa Pura it is an absolute MUST to be confronted with loads of stuff you do not need. They make you stumble through a ridiculously long, serpentine labyrinth of department stores that are not only shocking in their opulence but probably extremely dangerous in emergency situations as well. Everything is placed much too close together and in case of an earthquake you better not find yourself in the airport-shopping stampede…
Once I had waded through the tax-free nightmare and reached the hallway of the boarding gates I found that the first four electronic signboards I encountered were not functioning. There was no departure information whatsoever in the area where one exits from the tax free zone. I took off on a long walk to the East, asking anyone in uniform where I could find out from what gate my flight would leave, but no one could offer any advice or assistance. After hundreds of meters I finally did find ONE electronic information board lit up. While it did provide a list of flights departing during the rest of the day, THERE WAS NO GATE INFORMATION FOR ANY FLIGHT LEAVING DURING THE NEXT HOUR. My own Air Asia boarding pass indicated that I had to be at the gate at 12:15 and that I would be denied boarding if I would not show up before 12:35.
At my advanced age and with rising anger and blood pressure I kept pacing up and down the corridor that looks out on the runway, accosting anyone looking official on my path. When I finally found two uniformed Angkasa Pura officials lounging in between some of the gates they could not give any gate info either, so I asked where I could find the office of the people responsible for running the airport. I was told that I had to leave the terminal and go across the street to find them.
At exactly 12:13 a notice finally appeared on the single working information board that flight QZ8494 scheduled to depart at 12: 55 could be found at Gate 10. To reach Gate 10, from where the busses leave to the outskirts of the apron we had to go down an escalator to an area where there was neither air conditioning nor any room for passengers to sit down. Those who came last ended up sitting on the stairs.
For this scandalous lack of service everyone on QZ8494 had paid Rp. 200,000. These passengers should get their money back and the people at Angkasa Pura who are responsible for this outrage should be fired.
When I arrived in Singapore I was in a taxi within 20 minutes from the moment the plane touched down. It is always a pleasure to witness how the Changi Airport Authority implements a taxi management system that works seamlessly. It feeds passengers fairly and efficiently into taxis strictly on a first come-first serve basis. No one loses time unnecessarily. It is a perfect procedure for both drivers and their clients.
When, three days later, I returned to Bali it took more than an hour to clear immigration and customs. For a Friday rush hour, that was by itself not too bad since all officials were friendly and working hard. But afterwards, as a final insult, Angkasa Pura once again made me march through a TAX FREE shopping area before I could walk out into the mad chaos of the taxi touts.
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