Monday, August 17, 2009

Bali Bombings Aftermath

 Bali Travel or Holidays Is Safe As Ever!

Recently, I've been receiving alot of mails and queries regarding Bali and whether it's safe. Friends and distant-relatives were asking whether Bali is prone to terrorist bombings, political unrest, tsunami and etc.

Other friends also asked whether violent political unrest remain a daily occurrence in Indonesia. Mamma Mia! These friends of mine must have not read the news or must be MTV-viewers. Hasn’t CNN or Newsasia been all quiet on Bali lately? Even when it broadcasts news on some demonstration in Indonesia, one must take it with a pinch of salt and pepper. Why are we still being punished with unfortunate catastrophes that took place eons ago?

Activities In Bali?

Honestly, there's endless answers to that! It really relies entirely on youself! If you are crazy about spa and massages, you will find out that Bali Island is actually one of the world's spa capital. Cheap budget spas to most exclusive and customised ones. If being a beach bum is you, I’m sure you’ll rate Bali among the top ten favourable beach destinations. Fashion or interior designer? Then Bali is the place for you where you can definitely get the most creative and unique inspirations. Whatever you do or who you are, there is always a piece and part of Bali just for you. Yes, Bali is multi-dimensional. The sights, nature, cultures, arts, tropics, beaches, cuisine, shopping, whatever it is. It is all in BALI! And they can be found at their most unique element in Bali. Even just doing nothing and bumming around comes at its very best in this Island of Paradise. Bali is even better during our Balinese Nyepi celebration – a yearly tradition and festival where people observes silence, stop committing crimes, cut out lights entirely and just pray. Believe me, visiting Bali during Nyepi is the best remedy and destressing solution for your tired soul.

I am normally in Bali for 9-10 months a year due to the occasional work trips to Jakarta, Singapore, Thaiiland and etc. When i return to Bali Kuta after each work trips, I would find at least one new surprising discovery – be it a place to eat, to shop, or to pamper myself. Two months ago, after treaching Bali, and driving back home to Kuta, I found a newly opened pearl shop near the busiest cross-roads in Bali – the famous ‘Simpang Siur’. I am away that authenthic natural pearls from Indonesia are highly valued in Japan. But, now, you can buy distinctively designed pearl-jewelry items in this shop, priced at a fraction from those in Tokyo plush shops. And, you know what? If you love your wife or wish her to love you more, this pearl shop is just the right address for you to make her eyes shine brightest and give you a kiss immediately! Hehe...

My childhood Balinese friends always ask why I've never decide to stay in other parts of Indonesia such as Jakarta or in Singapore where I normally travel to for work. That's because I have everything i need and want in Bali and besides I'm a Balinese! Even if I never leave Bali, at all I know I will never get bored. There are still so many things waiting to be discovered eventhough I am born in and stay in Bali! Yes there's so much  to experience in Bali even for a Balinese! 

One Of The Best Place To Hold Conference And Meetings

Last month I was in Alam Kul Kul Boutique Resort in Kuta where I was invited to speak regarding promoting modelling, photo shoots and catwalks in Bali. Executives and big shots in the modelling world such as Elle Macpherson, Tyra Banks and my lovely boss  Jane Stewart from Elite Models made up the crowd  which I have to talk to. Guess what? The dress-code is - STRICTLY NO TIES AND FORMAL WEAR.

So what am I trying to say? Bali is the place under the sun that is most suitable to hold a meeting or conference of any scale! We started off nicely with a candle-lit dinner under the moon with soothing sounds of the waves from a nearby beach, the cicadas, and the gamelans from afar. The soft light breeze caressing your skin, and the fragrant of frangipani from numerous trees in the surrounding. Gosh! It was really hard to stay focus and pay attention to the head of the organizing committee, talking about what we speakers must do at the conference.

After the conference, during the cocktail, I heard nothing but only praises from everyone! If there were complains, then they were mostly: there are so many beautiful places to go in bali but so little time! One beautiful lady who is the wife of Tom Ford told us about her diving escapade to Nusa Lombongan. She remarked- “World class!”. Another lady took the spouse program to golf at Bedugul in the mountainous part of Bali. “Exquisite!” she exclaimed.

Balinese Culinary

If you think nasi goreng (fried rice) is the only pride of Indonesian culinary, you are only 1% right. For most Indonesians, nasi goreng is  actually a 'fast food' or ‘desperate menu’. Meaning: when you don’t know what else to eat, then nasi goreng is the only choice. Street vendors of nasi goreng are everywhere to find. So, don’t be trapped into the same fallacy.

Even for the average Indonesians, Balinese foods and cuisines is yet to be fully discovered. It is understandable that most Indonesians have the suspicion that Bali – being mostly Hindu – offers food that is non-halal in nature. Thanks to those many halal Balinese restaurants that opened the eye – and palate, for that matter – of Indonesian muslims. Be-sisit (shredded chicken in spicy sambal), sate lilit (grilled ground fish meat on skewer) and tum ayam (marinated chicken steamed in a packet of banana leave)  have now become well-known dishes.
Balinese foods are always misunderstood as "spicy dishes" however that is not true! Bali offers a vast selection of culinary heritage – sweet, hot, sour or otherwise. For a starter, a visit to "Bumbu Bali"– a fine-dining restaurant serving only Bali cuisine, is a good choice. Chef Heinz Von Holzen, the owner, has successfully unveiled the secrets of Balinese cuisine and made them available for international diners. Don't be misled by his caucasian name, although he is a caucasian, he is now an Indonesian citizen and have stayed in Bali for more then 15years! Bebek Bengil and Biah-Biah is another two restaurant where international tourists could get a taste of the tantalizing Balinese cuisine.

If you survived the street-food of Thailand, you would do well in Bali. For the more adventurous, the street-side is always the place to go. Try babi guling Ibu Oka at Ubud, or nasi campur at Sanur Beach. Warung Satria, Warung Wardani, and Warung Renon in Denpasar are three famous medium-class eating houses that serve Balinese authentic foods.
The babi guling (roast suckling pig) is a ‘die die must try’. The pig is slowly roasted on wood. The skin is crispy. The meat succulent. Placed atop of steamed rice with lawar (chopped veggies in a spicy shredded coconut), and a bowl of soup (mostly made of young jackfruit or banana trunk) on the side. Ask for an extra help of the delicious sambal matah (chillies, shallot, and kecombrang chopped in salt and coconut oil).

Lawar is also a dish in itself. There are restaurants specializing in lawar. The most authentic lawar uses fresh pig blood and shredded pig inner skin as the main ingredients. Many different vegetables can be used for lawar, such as long beans, fern, young jackfruit.

Nowadays, to cater to the Muslim and vegetarian visitors, lawar also comes in halal and vegan version. No blood, no pork components! In Semawang, a beach area near Sanur, there is a unique version of lawar hitam, made with the black ‘ink’ of squids.

Eat your heart out and don’t say you’ve experienced Bali if you have not tasted the tantalizing cuisine Bali has to offer!


bali said...

i like this very good useful article on bali!

Travelbug 2009 said...

I remember the bombings in 2001, what a tragedy. But no matter what has happened in the past, don't cloud the future. If you decided to go only to places that were 100% safe, you wouldn't go anywhere. I think Bali is a safe enough place, it certainly hasn't been in the headlines lately. / Travelbug

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