Demons and divine tranquility: Bali’s Nyepi celebrations

Posted by - March 9, 2018

WHILE every country around the globe welcomes a New Year, they don’t all follow the Gregorian calendar which dictates December 31 to be New Year’s Eve (NYE).
Normal depictions of NYE involve sozzled party-goers singing Auld Lang Syne and swaying in the arms of a loved one or someone they’ve just met. These are the usual scenes across Europe anyway.
While many people have heard of Chinese New Year – a two-week-long, lion-dance-filled, feasting-with-family festive period – few are familiar with Nyepi festivities in Bali.
Nyepi is the Bali New Year.
On Nyepi, it is prohibited to go out, use fire ,electricity, yell, and work, and people have to stay in silence on 17 March 2018.
The day before Nyepi,Balinese people parade on streets carrying “Ogoh-ogoh”.
Photo is small “Ogoh-ogoh”
— Karisma Bali Tour (@karisma_bali) February 18, 2018
On March 17, the people of Bali will shut down shops, cancel tours, activities, and entertainment. There’s even a rumor that the government will switch off internet access for the day, all in the name of welcoming in the New Year.
Nyepi is a day of silence, purification, and reflection – far from the raucous parties usually associated with NYE.
The day pushes non-committal resolutions and boozy toilet-chats to the sidelines and makes way for an internal rebalancing of your physical and mental states and becoming more in tune with nature.
But this day of self-reflection comes later in the six-day event because rebalancing needs a build-up and can’t be accomplished in just 24-hours.
First, on the festivities schedule is the ceremony of Melasti which occurs three days before Nyepi. Celebrants take all the hanging effigies of Gods down from Balinese villages and take them to be washed in the source of eternal life (rivers and oceans).
Then on the eve of Nyepi, giant papier-mache floats are waltzed around the island’s streets in a parade called Tawur Kesanga.
A post shared by I Komang Regentara (@regentara) on Mar 8, 2018 at 6:22pm PST
The floats are called Ogoh Ogoh and they symbolize the evil spirits that are believed to be on the island.
They are usually carried by villagers while crowds of terrified onlookers spurn the demonic-resembling creations.
A post shared by Padma Resort Legian Bali (@padmalegian) on Mar 8, 2018 at 8:03pm PST
By midnight, most of the floats have been burned to the ground and the celebrators make their way back home to get ready for the following day, which couldn’t be more of a contrast from the previous night’s events.
As the glorious sun shines down upon Bali on March 17, the streets will remain empty. No vehicles will racket through neighborhoods, shops, banks, airports, and attractions, as they will all be closed for islanders to truly reflect on their lives, love, relationships, work, and families. It is a period of complete calm, with no interference.
A post shared by The Laguna Resort & Spa (@thelagunabali) on Mar 2, 2018 at 12:07am PST
Not an utterance is supposed to leave your mouth, no food is meant to be eaten and if you follow the tradition correctly no electricity or flame is supposed to be used either.
This year, the Parisada Hindu Dharma Indonesia (the country’s leading authority of Hinduism) is appealing to authorities to get the island disconnected from the internet for the day – so no 20-minute-long Instagram stories.
This year Bali turns the internet off for Nyepi, the day of silence. #selfiesilence #nyepi2018
— Beau Newham (@beaunewham) March 6, 2018
If you break these century-old rubrics, it is believed you will reveal your location to the wandering demons outside – something nobody wants to linger over their heads
In rural villages especially, there is nothing to break the tranquil silence apart from the bark of a dog, the cry of a baby or the whispering insects in the bushes.
A post shared by The Laguna Resort & Spa (@thelagunabali) on Feb 23, 2018 at 12:06am PST
The day is supposed to allow you to rebalance yourself and think about your values for the forthcoming year.
On the following day, however, expect to get stuck in traffic jams and wait in long queues as everyone emerges from their dwellings on mass and travels to visit family and friends around the island.
A post shared by furamavillasubud (@furamavillasubud) on Mar 30, 2017 at 1:31am PDT
But don’t let this deter you, Nyepi is a truly unique experience and the traditions you practice on this day can be taken forward into everyday life – because it’s important to spend time with yourself.
Happy Nyepi everyone!
The post Demons and divine tranquility: Bali’s Nyepi celebrations appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Get your groove on at these incredible Indonesian festivals

Posted by - March 5, 2018

THIS YEAR, Indonesia is running a jam-packed event and festival schedule full of color, music, food, creation, imagination, sports and once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
The tourism ministry, headed by Arief Yahya, has invested billions of Indonesian rupiah into showcasing the best of Indonesian culture, recreating spectacular traditional shows including dancing, spiritual music, and underwater adventures.
Camp in comfort: Southeast Asia’s top glamping spots One destination in Indonesia that is hosting its fair share of music, food, and cultural festivals is Bali.
Throughout 2018, travelers will be able to experience the true vibrancy of Indonesia across this paradise region – so much so, you may feel a little spoilt for choice.
We understand the struggle of FOMO (fear of missing out) so we’ve pulled together what we think are the not-to-be-missed events throughout the year in Bali, so you can cancel all your other plans and schedule your trip(s) to Indonesia.
Magnificent Komodo Festival A post shared by FloresPlus Magazine ( on Mar 1, 2018 at 7:44pm PST
Happening next, this festival will be ideal for those already in Indonesia or nearby. The festival invites you to explore the fascinating Komodo National Park. One of the only places on earth where the ferocious Komodo Dragon can be found.
Don’t worry though, they won’t be adoring flowers in their hair and partying with you.
The event will be held at the harbor town of Labuan Bajo in West Manggarai Regency, East Nusa Tenggara province.
Spend your time here playing beach volleyball, rowing, admiring the komodo beauty pageants (not real ones), and soaking up the sun and local culture.
East Nusa Tenggara is in the perfect location to head off on a boat and explore the other tiny islands with translucent water inlets and the most stunning marine life.
When: March 5, 2018
Where: Labuan Bajo in West Manggarai Regency, East Nusa Tenggara province
Bali Spirit Festival A post shared by Sunset_Beach_Yoga (@sunset_beach_yoga) on Mar 1, 2018 at 6:26am PST
If you’re a yoga bunny and love to bend and groove and flex in unusual directions, then this is the perfect event for you.
Held in Ubud, the week-long festival gathers like-minded yoga instructors and practitioners from around the world to come and teach, display and practice yoga. Over the week, arts from the East and West of the nation will also be celebrated, including music performances and dances shows.
When: April 2 to April 8, 2018
Where: Bali Spirit, Jl. Hanoman, Ubud
Ubud Food Festival A post shared by Petty Elliott (@pettyelliottskitchen) on Jul 14, 2017 at 8:30pm PDT
Does your heart pound with excitement at the thought of sampling some of Asia’s finest cuisine from Michelin-starred chefs? Ours does, very fast.
At the Ubud Food Festival, foodies can explore a wealth of tantalizing flavors from world-class chefs, learn about Indonesia’s culinary history and heritage, and discover the pioneering technologies of innovative young culinary creatives.
Festival-goers will also get the chance to meet with food photographers and culinary storytellers. Enjoy the live music and early morning yoga sessions on offer too.
When: April 13 to April 15, 2018
Where: Ubud, Bali
Camp in comfort: Southeast Asia’s top glamping spots Bali Blues Festival A post shared by Bali Blues Festival (@balibluesfestival) on Jun 7, 2017 at 7:17am PDT
Jazz up your life and get jigging to some funky blues at the Bali Blues festival. Out on the Peninsula Island in Nusa Due, the festival is set to get you dancing anywhere from a slight toe-tap all the way to a hip-shaking bonanza.
The festival will be featuring blues and jazz genres of Indonesian jazz, electric blues, country blues to Asian American jazz, bebop, gypsy jazz, and jazz-funk.
Headliners include The Six Strong, Krakatau Reunion and Balinese band Crazy Horse.
Where: Peninsula Island, Nusa Dua
When: May 25 to May 26, 2018 (tentative)
The 39th Annual Bali Kites Festival(s) A post shared by Less Human ; More Being (@salty_wild_moon_child) on Feb 24, 2018 at 5:30am PST
Between July and October every year in Bali, you can look up into the sky and you’re guaranteed to see at least one kite soaring up in the skies with the birds.
July marks the start of the windy season in Indonesia, which is obviously perfect for flying kites. These range from professional troupes of kite flyers who perfectly choreograph their displays, to the kids who love pulling all the strings to see their kite sweep and swoop.
Where: Padanggalak Beach, Sanur
When: July to Oct 2018
Bestival Bali A post shared by micaela | travel + adventure (@micaelashalane) on Oct 2, 2017 at 12:03pm PDT
All the way from the South of England where this festival is massive, Bestival has grounded its roots in Bali. The boutique festival comes to the cultural park for two days in September.
The line-up isn’t identical to the UK, but there are certainly some fantastic acts, including bands, DJs, drum and bass artists, hip-pop genres, circus acts, and comedy.
This year’s line-up hasn’t been announced yet but we’re sure it’s going to get you grooving all the way from your tiptoes to eyebrows.
Where: Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park, Jimbaran
When: September (tentative)
But don’t limit yourself to just these events and don’t just take our word for it. Go and explore to discover the incredible variety of events, festivals, and celebrations.
The post Get your groove on at these incredible Indonesian festivals appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Foodies rejoice: Ubud Food Festival line up revealed

Posted by - February 16, 2018

INDONESIA’S most anticipated food festival has just released its full line-up and it’s a real tantalizing treat for foodies everywhere.
Ubud Food Festival is spectacularly cooking its way into a fourth year and the festival is set to be more delicious, inspiring and flavorful than ever before.
Ubud is known as the cultural and culinary capital of Indonesia, so where better to showcase dishes from one of Southeast Asia’s most gastronomically revered nations?
Ready to chow down at Singapore’s Michelin Guide Street Food Festival? This year’s festival theme is Generasi Inovasi, which focuses on young Indonesians who are tech-savvy and driving not only the nation’s booming innovation economy but also transforming the entire spectrum of the nation’s food industry.
Ubud Food Festival will showcase nearly 100 chefs, restauranteurs, farmers, social entrepreneurs and foodie innovators who are shaping and developing Indonesia’s makan scene and also introducing exciting ways of eating and exploring food across the globe.
A post shared by Ubud Food Festival (@ubudfoodfest) on Nov 27, 2017 at 11:45pm PST
Across the three-day event in April, foodies will be able to delve into Indonesia’s diverse cuisines and learn about the vibrant home-grown produce found across the paradise archipelago.
So, who’s coming to town? This year, the festival will be welcoming a variety of Asia’s best-loved, inspirational chefs who will be showcasing their culinary magic, running workshops and engaging an intrigued audience with Q&A sessions.
While all the professionals showcasing at the event have something special to get you excited, there are a few highly distinguished chefs that will be sure to get your mouth watering and your tummy rumbling.
A post shared by Ubud Food Festival (@ubudfoodfest) on Nov 29, 2017 at 1:17am PST
Among the esteemed culinary experts popping in to inspire your palate is Rydo Anton, Head Chef at Bangkok’s double-Michelin starred restaurant, Gaggan. Holding the top spot on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list for three years running and coming in at an impressive seventh in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.
A post shared by Rydo Anton (@rydoanton89) on Mar 5, 2017 at 1:19am PST
Anton will be teaming up with local heroes Locavore to create a serious foodie event. It’s not to be missed.
Guests can also catch Singapore’s Meta restaurant chef Sun Kim cooking up a storm alongside other chefs such as Australia’s Sam Aisbett, Sri Lanka’s Rishi Naleendra, and South Korea’s Jun Lee, all of whom received Michelin stars for their pioneering cooking style and fantastic flavors.
A post shared by Meta Restaurant (@metasingapore) on Oct 19, 2016 at 6:36pm PDT
Indonesia’s resident chefs will also be serving up devilishly good dishes to showcase Indonesia’s cultural heritage.
Pastry queen Chef Kim Pangestu of Kimmy Patisserie and Nomz Kitchen & Pastry will be creating the perfect bites to satisfy your sweet tooth.
MasterChef Indonesia judge Rinrin Marinka and Chef Andrian Ishak, whose Namaaz Dining has been described as Indonesia’s first molecular gastronomy restaurant, will be joined by culinary storyteller Ade Putri Paramadita and respected food writer Jed Doble.
A post shared by Kimmy by @kimpangestu (@kimmypatisserie) on Mar 9, 2016 at 8:28pm PST
“We’re so excited to bring together almost 100 speakers to dish up our fourth Ubud Food Festival,” commented festival founder and director Janet DeNeefe.
“From the Balinese farmers to the app designers, the social entrepreneurs to the world-class chefs, they all show the reason why the world should be paying attention to Indonesia’s incredible creativity and ingenuity, and of course its fantastic food. We look forward to learning from these rising stars and culinary heroes with you in April, and feasting together too!”
Game of cones: Kuala Lumpur’s best ice cream and desserts However, this is only a small selection of the talented culinary geniuses that you can see, meet and learn from at the festival. Check out the website for full details, tickets and a spectacular programme, sure to get you wishing every day was the Ubud Food Festival.
The post Foodies rejoice: Ubud Food Festival line up revealed appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Some of Bali’s best New Year’s Eve spots, away from the volcano

Posted by - December 19, 2017

BALI is certainly feeling the effects of the Mount Agung eruption in more than just darkened skies and trickling lava. The paradise island is also seeing a decline in Christmas tourism, with only 25 percent of rooms being filled up compared to an average of 80 percent this same period last year.
Responding to the dismal dip in arrivals, island officials and governor Made Mangku Pastika are insisting the destination remains safe to travelers, with only an 8km-radius around the volcano remaining closed as the new year approaches.
This leaves at least 5,772 square kilometers of unaffected space, and more than enough room for visitors to have plenty of festive fun as they bid goodbye to 2017.
A post shared by Travel Adventure Hiking (@merknmountains) on Dec 17, 2017 at 10:46pm PST
Bali is party central and a popular tourist pick for New Year celebrations; it’s an island of culture, incredible sunset locations, gorgeous villas for the both the budget and luxe traveler and golden sands just begging to be danced on until sunrise.
So if you’ve decided to buck the trend and head over for New Year’s, usher in 2018 from one of these few party spots:
Bali’s Governor insists the island is safe Puputan Badung Square in Denpasar A post shared by NAK BALI Ne (@nakbaline) on Sep 20, 2016 at 6:08pm PDT
If you’re looking to immerse yourself in Balinese culture, this is probably the best place to celebrate the New Year.
Located near Bali’s biggest market, Pasar Badung, in the heart of Denpasar city, here you’ll get to join the locals for their customary New Year countdown, which will culminate in a dazzling display of fireworks, and plenty of singing and dancing.
This spot can get crowded though, so we suggest you head down early to catch the colorful parade of local religious leaders and school children.
Parties, parties, parties Bali has some very talented musicians coming ashore this festive season to usher in the New Year with the funkiest beats and special guest treats.
Mulia Beach Resort will be welcoming British pop princess, Charli XCX, to give a special performance on New Year’s eve in the resort’s grand ballroom as the clock ticks down.
The resort in Nusa Dua, a popular enclave of high-end hotels and eateries, is also offering New Year’s accommodation packages, which include breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner for two.
A post shared by ‘Vimala Acala’ (@vimalaacala) on Mar 27, 2017 at 5:21pm PDT
If you’re looking to party into the early hours of the morning safe in the knowledge that every DJ on the line-up is as legendary as the last, then head to Finns Beach Club in Canggu where you can boogie to the jazziest sounds from Australian duo, Flight Facilities, German award-winning Dj Claptone and Ozzy singer, Hayden James.
A post shared by Finns Beach Club (@finnsbeachclub) on Dec 18, 2017 at 1:22am PST
Mother Nature reminds us of her supreme power in Bali Perfect for couples and families A post shared by BALI TRIP Explore Bali Beyond (@balicili) on Dec 15, 2017 at 2:40am PST
For those looking for a quieter New Year’s with close friends and family, Bali has the perfect place for you to sit back, relax and count down to 2018 as calmly as you wish your year ahead to be.
Away from the oftentimes chaotic and messy gatherings in Kuta and Denpasar, Jimbaran Beach is a wonderful spot for couples looking to enjoy a delightful dinner and share a kiss as fireworks light the sky for the new year.
A post shared by Conchu & CJ on Tour! (@vamonosala.ctm) on Dec 18, 2017 at 3:26am PST
Another beach certain to make your Balinese New Year’s Eve a night to remember is the Canggu Echo Beach on the Western coast.
Known for its idyllic surf conditions in the day and stunning 180-degree sunset-scapes in the evening, here you and your family can enjoy the freshest seafood and admire the pyrotechnic displays happening across the island.
So where will you welcome 2018?
The post Some of Bali’s best New Year’s Eve spots, away from the volcano appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.