Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bali Turns Into Ghost Town as Nyepi Is Observed

Bali’s normally bustling streets and beaches resembled a ghost town on Thursday as all activities were put on hold for the Hindu Day of Silence, ushering in the Saka New Year.

For 24 hours, the popular resort island observed Nyepi, the Balinese Hindu ritual that proscribes complete silence and puts prohibitions on worldly distractions such as work, travel, entertainment — and even tourism.

In Kuta, for instance, not a single visitor, local or foreign, was seen bathing or sunning on the beach, and all restaurants, bars and shops shut their doors for the day. Only groups of pecalang, or traditional security guards, were seen roaming Bali’s neighborhoods, ensuring public observance of the prohibitions.

“In addition to keeping security, the purpose of the patrol is to warn visitors who stray into the streets,” said Balinese customary law authority secretary Kuta Made Gunawan.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

How Green is My Bali

FEW DESTINATIONS HAVE BENEFITED FROM MODERN TOURISM QUITE LIKE BALI. BUT WHEN YOU SELL CULTURE FOR PROFIT, ASKS JOHN BOWE, CAN YOU REMAIN TRUE TO YOURSELF?

I have a neighbor named Richard. He’s a prime example of what I call a Baby Boomer Bummer. Richard was a globe-trotter in the late ’60s and ’70s, before exotic travel became popular with the masses. When I pass him in the hall with my suitcase, he always asks where I’m going — then interrupts to wax euphoric about how much better my destination was back in his day. Evidently, food and sex were not only free, but better and unlimited.
When I told Richard I was going to Bali, I braced myself for the worst. Few places provoke baby-boomer rhapsody like this Indonesian island. It makes them so sad: hundreds if not thousands of years of cultural evolution undone by a few decades of modern, Western-style development, much of it of the globalized luxury persuasion. But this has always struck me as a na├»ve, not to mention selfish, point of view. Yes, of course, Bali was a different place before it had a Four Seasons, a Hard Rock Hotel, two million tourists a year, terrorist bombings and so on. And, of course, at some level I — like all travelers — want every quaint corner of the world to remain untouched. Yet whom does t

Monday, March 23, 2009

Bedazzled in Bali

Hinduism came to Bali by invitation. It was not a religion foisted by conquering hordes or unloaded by traders as they exchanged gold for vanilla pods. What the traders brought with them were stories of India’s great Rajas and the Javanese chiefs aspired to emulate the luxurious lifestyle of these kings. There was just one little problem — these simple-minded people were unaware of political machinations and so Brahmin priests were brought in from India to accomplish their goal.

As the kings grew stronger, so did Hinduism in the region. This process went on from the 1st century to the 14th century. Buddhism came to Bali and the Majapahit Empire was the strongest and largest. But all this changed in the 15th and 16th century with the advent of Islam in Java and Sumatra. The aristocrats, musicians, artists and learned men fled to Bali to avoid conversion and Bali became what it is even today a veritable fairground of arts and crafts.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bali Hotels Association Offer "Bali Bonus Nights"

Bali, Indonesia (PRWEB) March 11, 2009 -- Bali Hotels and Resorts are world renowned for offering outstanding value for the most discerning travelers. True Balinese Hospitality in combination with one of the world's most vibrant traditional cultures HAVE caused Bali time and again to be named the world's favorite tropical island destination in prestigious international surveys.

In response to the uncertain global financial situation and encourage travelers not to delay their Bali holiday plans, more than 40 leading Bali hotels have joined forces to offer "Bali Bonus Nights" on new bookings for hotel stays through June 30, 2009.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Bali hotels slash rates

Hotels in Bali are slashing room rates amid falling occupancies as the global economic downturn takes its toll on the tourism-dependent economy.

Total foreign arrivals hit a record 1.97 million last year as the island recovered from the impact of the 2005 terrorist attack. The second biggest market behind Japan, Australia accounted for more than 300,000 visitors, up 51 per cent from 2007.

However, the recovery is expected to be disrupted amid the international credit crunch, with the Bali Tourism Authority estimating foreign visitor numbers will drop 8.6 per cent to 1.8 million this year.

Hotels are scrambling to fill rooms. Budget and mid-range properties popular with Kiwis are offering the steepest discounts, with some halving published rates, while upmarket resorts hit by a slowing in the executive market are trying to be more creative in their response to the downturn.

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