Posts Tagged ‘Bali’

Exploring Bali, Indonesia: Balinese Dancers at the Amandari, Ubud

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A local girl performing a Balienese Dance at the Amandari

Ubud’s rich artistic culture is one of the area’s biggest draws, and it’s known as the cultural heart of the island of Bali. One of the perks of staying at the Amandari Resort guests is the a chanced to be fully immersed in Balinese culture without needing to leave the property.

Video of a Traditional Balinese Dance Performance at the Amandari

The Amandari hosts traditional Balinese dance performances regularly. The local village children practice their dances daily on the resort grounds and their performance was impressive. Hindu children in Bali are often played music while they are in the womb since the tradition of dance is so much a part of the religious and artistic culture.

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Dazzling costumes

Balinese dance includes expressive eyes and elaborate costumes. This was not an awkward school performance… these children had amazing dance skills. Many of them are the children of Amandari employees.

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Expressive eyes are a key part of Balinese dance

The performance included group dances, solo dance, and performances with only two or three people. All were impressive. It was nice to be able to see this part of traditional Hindu culture without making extensive plans.

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The dance performance was a beautiful and memorable highlight of my stay at the Amandari.

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A full schedule of cultural events and experiences at the Amandari can be found on the hotel’s website.
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A full cast photo of the Balinese dancers at the Amandari

AMANDARI

Amandari Kedewatan, Ubud
Bali, Indonesia
PO Box 33, Ubud 80571, Indonesia

Tel: (62) 361 975 333
Fax: (62) 361 975 335
Email: amandari@aman.com

Rates from $700 USD (9,290,664 IDR) per night.

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Exploring Bali, Indonesia: The Birds of the Blanco Renaissance Museum in Ubud

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Blue-and-yellow macaw (or blue-and-gold macaw (Ara ararauna) and Green-winged macaw (or red-and-green macaw (Ara chloroptera)

An unexpected highlight of my recent trip to Bali was a visit the the Blanco Renaissance Museum in Ubud. Located in the hill top former residence of Philippine-born painter, Don Antonio Blanco, the museum is whimsical and fascinating… and doesn’t allow photography inside.

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A gorgeous statue on the museum grounds

Like Paul Gauguin in French Polynesia, Blanco’s favorite subject to paint were nude local women. If you’re visiting and have young children, be aware it is impossible to explore the museum’s interior and avoid the vast collection Balinese nudes.

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Palm Cockatoo

The museum is well worth visiting, with lots of paintings and mid-century media collages. But the unexpected find on the grounds is the collection of exotic birds.

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White cockatoo (Cacatua alba)

Several birds add the atmosphere of the Balinese gardens, including several colorful cockatoos and a very charming wreathed hornbill. The birds are friendly and happy to pose for pictures.

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Wreathed Hornbill

The museum also has a nice cafe overlooking the the Campuhan valley, where you can take in the view below.

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Flower bedecked statue in the gardens of the Blanco museum

Strolling through the gardens and seeing the collection of birds is more than worth the entry fee of 80,00o rupiahs (about $6.03 USD).

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Green-winged macaw or red-and-green macaw (Ara chloroptera)

If you’re looking for things to do in Ubud, I’d highly recommend checking out the Blanco Renaissance Museum. I had no expectations of it and found the whimsical tropical atmosphere delightful.

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Newfound feathered friend

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Blue-and-yellow macaw or blue-and-gold macaw (Ara ararauna) and Green-winged macaw or red-and-green macaw (Ara chloroptera)

Be sure to take a pic or two with the birds in the courtyard. They are highly Instagram-worthy subjects.

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Maks posing with a feathered friend

The Blanco Renaissance Museum 
Address: Jl. Raya Penestanan, Sayan, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
Phone: +62 361 975502

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Exploring Bali, Indonesia: The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud

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Getting groomed at the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary

If you’re looking for fun things to do in and around Ubud on the island of Bali, you’re going to hear about the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. It’s not hard to find since it’s located right in the center of town on Monkey Forest Road.

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Mama and baby monkey at the Ubud Monkey Forest

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Highly photogenic primate at the Monkey Forest in Ubud

Located on a site of a Hindu temple complex in the village of Padangtegal, the Monkey Forest Sanctuary has about 700 macaques roaming freely on the grounds. These are also known as Balinese long-tailed monkeys, scientific name Macaca fascicularis.

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Lunch break for a Balinese long tail monkey

These primates wander freely through the twenty seven acres of protected, jungle-like park grounds. They are very used to being around humans and not in the least bit frightened of people.

Monkey on the stairs

There are also fruit vendors selling bananas, should you wish to feed the monkeys. I’d suggest passing on the chance to feed the monkeys. These Balinese long tail monkeys are already very comfortable with humans and can get aggressive. One jumped on my back and grabbed my hair while I was holding a banana. And we all know how virus movies start, don’t we?

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Up close with a monkey at the Sacred Monkey Forest

With an entry fee of less than two US dollars, visiting the Monkey Forest Sanctuary is definitely a worthwhile activity if you’re visiting Ubud, which is known as Bali’s cultural center.

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Super cute monkey in the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud

Pro-Tip: skip the bananas. Feeding the monkeys makes them very aggressive. They have no problem opening your backpack or grabbing your iPhone

Monkey Forest

Monkey Forest Street – Padangtegal Ubud
Gianyar – Bali, 80571

+62 361 971304

info@monkeyforestubud.com

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A Guide to the Best Beaches on the South Coast of Bali (Including a Map)

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Perfect mix of black & white sand with aquamarine waters on Melasti Beach

Editor’s Note: Anastasia Chernykh, the social media manager for this blog, recently went to Bali and worked remotely for a month. During her time in Indonesia, she took up surfing and made a point to find the best beaches on the south coast of the Bali. I asked her to do this round up of her favorites for the blog. – Jen

When you go to a tropical island in the middle of the Indian ocean like Bali, you expect to find a lot of beaches. The choice can be overwhelming. The Southern coast of Bali has a wide array of different kinds of beaches. You can take your pick from smooth and wide sandy beaches perfect for sunbathing, to rocky coastal shores and coral reefs.

Here is the selection of my favorites.

Dreamland Beach

Dreamland beach is a popular surf spot. This is not a good choice for swimming. Coral along coast and strong breaks in the surf make it almost impossible to go in the water without a surfboard.

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Abandoned construction near Dreamland beach

You’ll spot numerous surfers waiting on a line up to catch their perfect wave. There is surfboard rental on site, and surf lessons also available for an additional fee.

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Sunset surf at Dreamland

Jimbaran Beach

One of the two beaches of Bukit Peninsula (the other one is Nusa Dua), Jimbaran is perfect for swimming, walking, running, and it is easily accessible by car or bike. With almost no waves, even during high tide, Jimbaran is a perfect place for families on vacation or a lazy day of sunbathing.

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Smooth and shallow Jimbaran beach is a great place for kids

Like seafood? The fish restaurants and markets along Jimbaran beach are the best in Bali. If you’re having a dinner at one of the places near the northern end of the beach, you’ll get the best sunset views:)

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Fishermen boats at sunset in Jimbaran bay

Nusa Dua Beach

The first thing you notice about Nusa Dua is how empty it is. The area is known for its luxury hotels, but the beach is open to the public. You don’t have to be a guest at one of the resorts to enjoy the golden sand, clean water and relative solitude for free, making Nusa Dua beach a budget luxury.

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You can have it all by yourself!

There is one spot in Nusa Dua called Water Blow, water comes there through a narrow opening, and then blows up, when the waves keep coming.

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Waves crashing at Waterblow

Pantai Pendawa

Pendawa has a few downsides. This is one of the few beaches in Southern Bali you have to pay for. The fee is 14K rupiahs (about $1USD) per person and should be paid upon entering the road to the beach. During a high tide, Pendawa is not advisable to swimming, but we spotted several surfers and kayaks there.

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Picturesque road to Pendawa Beach

Pendawa used to be a lesser known spot favored by locals, but since the new road was built it has became more popular with tourists.

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View from one of the Pendawa caves

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Surfing at Pendawa

Pantai Melasti

When we went to Bali we thought Melasti beach would be our secret spot. But we soon discovered that this beach is everyone’s secret spot, although it is still favored mostly by locals. There is a lot of coral, so it can be hard to your feet. But once you go into the water, but you can still enjoy the sand and the view.

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A view of Melasti Beach from a nearest hilltop

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The lines of black sand on Melasti

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Nyang-Nyang

We were warned this would be one of the hardest beaches to get to. Locals told us there would be “more than 500 steps down.” This is not exactly the case. But getting to Nyang-Nyang beach did involve a steep hike through the woods, complete with monkeys and spiders. The effort pays off when you arrive at the wonderful white strand of sand, where the sunset view is the most incredible on the whole island.

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Because of the hard to get to location, the people you’ll find at Nyang-Nyang are those who are not daunted by the steep hike. We saw a few photographers and campers, and a small group of Chinese students.

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East side of the sky at the sunset time

Nyang-nyang is located at the most southern tip of the Bukit, so the sun is setting on your right side, and the left side of the sky can burst with incredible colors.

Added Bonus– there is an old wooden shipwreck right on the beach, which makes a great spot for photography!

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Perfect sunset on Nyang-Nyang beach

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