Date Archives

October 2017

Embrace the creative side of you in Balinese Dance

Photo courtesy of Nusa Dua Beach Resort

We were recently enchanted when we had a chance to visit and attend to some of the Balinese Cultural Creation centre, located in Denpasar. We were so happy to get to meet the local actors and dancers in person and participate in different workshops. Walking through the complex we could experience how beautifully green the plants were and feel the odor of their flowers. The scent of earth, water, wind, and flowers imbued our senses and mind, leaving us in romantic space. My five year-old, especially, appreciated this chance to meet this side of nature she rarely get a chance to see at home, so she couldn’t be happier. Moreover, she was having his birthday party among the trees and on grass, and then she surprised me by saying that he would want to learn to dance Balinese Dance.

I was not sure what she was talking about at first, because she kept uttering and repeating “Balinese, Balinese,and Balinese”. This occurred after she had visited a local event that performed Balinese dance however I was not sure what it was, so I looked it up online.

It turned out that Balinese is a beautiful traditional form of dance, performed by Balinese people that have been part of their religion and their culture since ancient times. I have gotten so puzzled to know first-hand what this dance was all about, especially since there was plenty chance to attend different activities,both outdoors and indoors at one’s own convenient time. This represented an ideal opportunity to keep my son occupied by artistic yet dynamic activity, all year long.

As soon as I found Balinese Cultural Creation, I was impressed they offered so many activities and cultural activities, at such affordable terms, that I immediately booked a stay, to my own and my daughter’s amusement. Once we got there I was amazed at all the activities we could take part in so we both enrolled in a class in Balinese dance. From the minute I sat down to watch the dancers I was mesmerized, wishing to teach myself these wonderful invigorating movements, while my daughter was overwhelmed by excitement and joy. On the beginning I was clumsy with moves, but my daughter caught on like a pro, since kids are like sponge easy to adopt new skill when they are young and loving it.

Photo courtesy of Four Season Jimbaran

The instructors were particularly motivating and patient with us and everyone else, applying right balance of being friendly, yet enforcing everyone to learn the dance movements and rules correctly. However, this beautiful dance was hardly our only activity -we learned how to make a kit for example from beautiful natural materials. My daughter was successful and let his kit go fly in the sky, while I have not had much luck making it. I learned about Indonesian philosophy which includes learning how to dance as each step, each movement represented some deep insight into the nature of life and universal law surrounding us. The garments, the costumes, the colors all represent a unique aspect and harmony of life. My daughter and I learned a lot; more about the dance for her, and for me about the life philosophy.

Other activities that we participated in together included batik painting a t-shirt, with a paintbrush and colored paint, while my daughter was assisting me. She was such really enjoying showing off her artistic skills for the first time in his life. With paintbrush in hand, colors by the side we were ready – Balinese Art of batik painting is attractive with bright colors among lovely designs, traditional and quite unique. Philosophy, culture, and the respect for natural order can be seen through all their art, dance, and more.

Trying out and eating Indonesian cuisine meals together was also great fun, playing games with the other kids, and learning a new culture will definitely make my daughter more versatile woman when she grows up. I highly recommend everyone bringing your children to this kind of magical place. You will never be the same again, as it would leave you feel enriched, content, and more intimate to each other. The smile on my daughter’s face was what made the trip worth it.

“Be aware of wonder. Live a balanced life–learn some as well as think some and also draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.” – Robert Sharma

 

Indulge your ceramic interest at Jenggala Keramik

Bali is a most memorable destination hotspot for many international and local tourists. This is because the islands of Bali are graced with gorgeous and breathtaking scenery, bountiful cultures, delectable cuisines and cocktails in the various restaurants and bars and a place to explore and indulge in many watersports as amply availed by the various clear water beaches with fine white sands.

One of the reasons I was inspired to come over to Bali was to soak in all the knowledge I could regarding the vast Balinese culture. And as I went along visiting as many historical places as I could manage and talking to the indigenous people, it was brought to my attention to visit Jenggala where I could find and indulge in the Jenggala Keramik.

Jenggala Keramik is a ceramic warehouse where clay is given the utmost respect and treatment to create beautiful tableware and home ware pieces that many restaurants and homes all over Bali use. And as in the case of the international tourists, the exquisitely handcrafted products are a beautiful way to gift your friends and family back home or keep as souvenirs of your visit to Bali.

The clay for over thirty years that is used is the finest of its kind to create the wondrous formulas used to create and showcase their aesthetic products. Also various techniques are employed like casting and throwing on a potter’s wheel but for the most part are all handcrafted. The technique to be used depends on the intricacies of the product in question. A lot of time is given in the thought, design and quality control processes of each and every product. These ceramic Balinese inspired products are offered in a wide array of shapes and colors, in sets as well as in single pieces. A gallery with a wide inventory is right round the corner where anyone that wants to purchase a piece or two can go right ahead and do so. All of them are at affordable prices and there are discounts and promotions available making the shopping experience all worthwhile and interesting.

For the most part, my time at the Jenggala was spent participating in the ‘Make a Pot and ‘Color a Pot’ program that is provided by the Jenggala Keramik team to its visitors. And I must say that it was time well spent indeed in that well air conditioned space. It reminded me of all the fun I had making various home ware pieces out of soil with friends as I was a very little girl. The beauty of this program is that it can be enjoyed by people of all ages and sizes, as a group or as an individual. I am pretty sure that many kids preferably of three years plus get a kick out of creating something using their own hands. For the adults, I believe that aside from being a fun way to spend time with friends and family, it is a very good activity for soothing oneself and get one with nature.

Everyone is given a chance to come up with their own design idea and the staff is always there to lend a hand if needed. I love that the visitors get to test and build their creative side. You are left to your own devices and you can create a mug, a bowl, a plate and so on. These have to be fired and so will be ready after four or five days. Hence make sure that your activity is well planned for so as to get to enjoy your final ceramic pieces. Your creation can be made as beautiful as you would want for paints and glazes are provided for your use.And if anyone is interested in having a one on one class, all can be arranged. All one needs to do is ask. I have found that large parties attending these workshops and they can be as fun filled as one wants them to be. So if you want to have a birthday party or anniversary party activity, then Jenggala Keramik is the way to go. All your guests will thoroughly enjoy themselves. Payment for participation is not set but depends on the number of pieces one wants to make or paint.

However if you are also one of those people that would rather feast with your eyes rather than participate directly, it is quite alright. A viewing area is provided for you to view whatever is going on in the studios.

My love for food greatly appreciates the fact that there is a café and restaurant a few minutes’ walk from the workshop and gallery where anyone can feast on the various mouthwatering Balinese cuisines on offer. So after a hard work on your special project, it is a great place to relax and catch one’sbreath with a very good cup of coffee in hand.

All in all, a visit to the Jenggala Keramik is one that I would recommend to anyone who is looking for a fun activity in Bali that will also draw them closer to Balinese history. Just make sure to secure a booking ahead of time so as not to be inconvenienced. It is also the place to be if you are looking for a venue to keep your guests entertained for whatever occasion you might have in mind. Visit Jenggala Keramik today and witness the magic.

 

A Day to The Far East of Bali

Everyone wants to travel at one point or another to cool off from life’s routine worries and hard work. But travelling is not only about visiting from one place to another, it is more about satisfying one’s inner yearnings for taste and class. Many people assume that travelling to the far east of Bali is time consuming, which is not entirely a wrong assumption. However, it is actually doable for a day trip.

Some destinations in the east coast are just magical! They are a combination of unspoiled surroundings, remote locations, intense vistas and snuggly warm people. For adventure lovers, this is probably it; an opportunity to engage with the natural wonders. In addition to that, the presence of Balinese historical sites along the area is such a delight for those who want to go deeper into an understanding of Balinese culture. Definitely worth the time and effort!

Starting early in the morning is a must. Driving 2.5 hours from Denpasar, you will reach at Candidasa. You can make a quick stop here. Feel the tropical climate and smell the fresh morning air from the ocean, it creates an intoxicating perfume to mark the start of the day.

Driving another 30 minutes further up, you will pass by Bugbug village. Since you are here, you may want to consider visiting Bukit Asah Bugbug. If you are looking for a silent and a peaceful scene, this semi-hidden spot offers green hills with the exotic expanse of blue sea. While hearing the roar of the ocean waves, embrace the blowing cool breeze to maximize the relaxation of your solitude. Morning visit doesn’t attract many visitors, which is a perfect time to retreat from the frenetic city.

Moving on from your solitary moment, the next stop is the neatly crafted garden of Tirtagangga Water Palace. Quite well known for its holy water and religious ceremonies, this location consists of three separate complexes each having its own set of ponds and attractive sculptures which simply add to the beauty of the overall water garden. As you enter the place, the first thing that comes into view is a long row of sculptures of guardian figures. You will also notice the neatly placed polygonal stepping stones to tour the area over the ponds and pools. Pools in the complex have designs from the olden days and created with natural materials like sandstone. There are a lot of stories behind the creation of this garden.

 

Another historical site nearby is Ujung Water Palace. Located at Tumbu village, a short distance from Tirtagangga, Ujung Water Palace was basically the resting and entertainment place for the Kings of Karangasem and their guests. On similar lines like Tirtagangga, this place has a beautiful park with huge fish ponds surrounding the heritage buildings. From the highest level of this palace, you can have an enchanting view of the sea line and hills with absolute greenery. It also displays the beauty of Mount Agung and nearby green terraced rice fields.

 

Driving another 30 minutes to the north, slightly after lunchtime, you will arrive at Amed Beach. Almost 90 percent of the population in Amed relies on fishing, which explain the traditional fishing boats line the beach area. Apart from fishing, hospitable people can also be spotted selling salt, trinkets, and other items to support their families and the community. Unlike in the southern coast, the local people of Amed are genuinely warm and friendly to visitors. With the large number of tourists flocking to this part of the island each year, this village has transformed from quiet fishing village and is currently on verge of change. Amed village has now become backpacker’s area near the coast with ease of access to Jemeluk Bay, which is the next stop.

Jemeluk Bay is only a short drive up from Amed Beach. Be prepared for a bumpy road! However, the view is breath-taking. One of the first beautiful glimpses of the Jemeluk Bay is from the sunset point. Along with the scenic view of Amed Beach coastline, it is easy not to capture Mount Agung of your sight. Several options for lodging have come up in this area along with new restaurants and shops popping up, making it a much sought-after tourism destination.

With easy access, Tulamben Beach is located 30 minutes’ drive from Amed village. Overlooking the Lombok strait, the sea water in this beach is calm and clear with gradations of bluish green colour. Rich in marine bio life with a thousand-year-old shipwreck and coral gardens, Tulamben is an all-year diving destination for the diving enthusiasts. A perfect place for underwater photography. With the overall surge in tourism, the small village of Tulamben is developing.

Not far from the beach, Paibon Tulamben Temple is just around the corner. This temple signifies and highlights the Balinese Hindu culture and religion. Like many other temples on the island, Paibon Tulamben Temple signifies the honour shown to the Sea Gods. The temple complex has multiple temples in it and each one is visible from the next one forming a chain. This was built as early as the 16th century during the Majapahit era to offer spiritual protection to the people living in the area.

There you have it! A one-day trip to the eastern part of Bali doesn’t seem impossible to do. Of course, there are still tons of places and hidden spots need to be discovered. However, the list mentioned above suits for either tourists who have limited visiting time and scheduled plans or local people who need to get away from the chaotic southern part over the weekend.

This article is also published at NOW! Bali Magazine