The Pasola of the Past Sumba Island

The Pasola of the Past Sumba Island

I stood at a safe distance behind a thin rope as a lone Sumba horseman advanced with great speed onto the large grassy field. With spear poised he challenged his opponent on the other side of the field to come forward. He looked like he wanted blood. Daniel, my guide,

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Nusa Penida: Angels And Nature

Nusa Penida: Angels And Nature

Nusa Penida is a beautiful, rugged island, just a short 30 minutes by boat from Sanur in Bali. Angel Billabong, a natural wonder, is one of the island’s main highlights. It is not easy to find, which makes the discovery even more delightful. An emerald green pool, which is in

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Bringing Back the Culture of the Traditional School

Bringing Back the Culture of the Traditional School

In my travels around the Indonesian archipelago, I have experienced and encountered a variety of traditional cultures. In many communities, I have witnessed a disconnection between the older generation and the younger one. While traditional culture is still alive in some villages, there are others where traditions have completely disappeared.

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Galungan in Bali

Galungan in Bali

Have you ever wondered why sometimes when you are in Bali you see rows of beautiful bamboo poles lining the streets? Why can they be seen at some times and not at others? Well, the streets get decorated every 210 days for a celebration known as Galungan. Galungan is a

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Crow Fair Powwow: Hospitality and Culture

Crow Fair Powwow: Hospitality and Culture

Looking down from a rise on the outskirts of the Crow Agency, I stood in awe of the 1,500 teepees stretched out below a wide blue Montana sky. Troupes of dancers gathered in tight circles making last minute adjustments to their ornate feathers, colorful tassels, and war bonnets. A line of white

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Indigenous People Unite in Bali

Indigenous People Unite in Bali

The Indigenous Celebration started with an opening ceremony led by the elders of the Dayak Maanyan community of Central Kalimantan. A prayer ritual was led asking for protection and permission from their ancestors to guard the sacred ground of the Arma, Ubud, Bali, which involved a sprinkling of rice and

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Indigenous Celebration in Bali

Indigenous Celebration in Bali

“This incredible 3-day Indigenous Celebration staged in Bali May 11-13. 2018 can be viewed on line. Your unique password will be sent via registration www.indigenouscelebration.art/live-streaming.” How do we celebrate culture? One way is to gather and honour traditions and rituals and share with an audience through storytelling, dance, music and visual arts.

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An Indigenous Celebration in Ubud

An Indigenous Celebration in Ubud

Celebrating indigenous people and culture through dance, music, unity, art and collaboration at the Indigenous Celebration 2018 in May. This May sees the  first ever gathering of indigenous people from around the world in a celebration that honours the wisdom passed down from their ancestors and celebrates the diversity and

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Life in a Longhouse Sungai Utik Village

Life in a Longhouse Sungai Utik Village

“Spending time among the Dayak Iban is an awakening into a community very much in tune with its surroundings. Villagers welcome visitors into their fold, share space in Longhouses, take walks along the Utik River, long considered their source of life. The shared experienceboth by community members and visitorsis compelling.”

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Gluten Free – What’s It All About?

Gluten Free – What’s It All About?

When my young daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease at the age of ten, I had to learn all about gluten. The test to diagnose the disease was in itself a major undertaking. She was hospitalised and diagnosed via an endoscopic biopsy. A small camera was sent down a tube

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Lombok’s Little Jockeys – Bareback and Barefoot

Lombok’s Little Jockeys – Bareback and Barefoot

Every year at the Bau Nyale Festival in Kuta, Lombok, jockeys come together to compete in a horse racing event unique to Indonesia. Jockeys are always light, but these jockeys are different. They are children who start their training when they are four or five years old. They are ready

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Romancing The Stone

Romancing The Stone

When I arrived at the Hotel Tugu in Blitar, a three-hour drive from Malang, I felt like I was taking a journey back in time. The pages of history opened before me as I sat in the late afternoon sun at Waroeng Jawa, an open-air lounge where guests gather around

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Bajau, The Sea Gypsies of the Togeans

Bajau, The Sea Gypsies of the Togeans

I had the honour of meeting Rohani, a wise, proud man, on the front porch of his home in Kabalutan Village, in the Togean Islands. He is a Bajau, a man of the sea, and has been a fisherman all his life, or as he likes to say, a hunter.

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Bulgari in Bali – Your Luxurious Clifftop Resort Stay

Bulgari in Bali – Your Luxurious Clifftop Resort Stay

When I arrived at the Bulgari Resort Bali, I was immediately greeted by a vista which took my breath away. Located on the southern Uluwatu cliffs, the resort offers dramatic unbroken views of the Indian Ocean. A refreshing crushed basil, mint and honey drink magically appeared. I reclined on a

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The Whale Hunters of Lamalera

The Whale Hunters of Lamalera

I sat on the beach at Lamalera Village, only a couple of metres from a giant whale carcass, and chatted with my new friend, Benjamin. “We are devoutly Catholic here in Lamalera,” he said. “From late April to early May, our priest conducts a mass to open Leva Nuang, the season

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Indonesia Reflections

Indonesia Reflections

Each month, NOW! Jakarta brings you tales of hidden heritage from our intrepid traveling duo Stephanie Brookes, writer, and David Metcalf, photographer. During 2017 they have brought stories back from Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi, Kalimantan, West Timor and Bali. From meetings with tribal kings to long jungle treks to encounters with

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Seed Resort – Chilling out in Rote Island

Seed Resort – Chilling out in Rote Island

Rote Island, on the Southern most tip of Indonesia, is a remote outer island with a charm all of its own. It’s a timeless place. The roads are basic, with hardly any cars and very few traffic lights. The beaches seem endless, and have very few people on them. In

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Sustainability, Permaculture And Organic In Bali

Sustainability, Permaculture And Organic In Bali

Ever wonder where your organic food products are grown or made, distributed or sold? Stephanie Brookes looks into the local farming practices and organic trade in Bali. There is a growing trend in Bali and elsewhere in Indonesia to seek locally sourced sustainable products. Organic farmers markets are already well

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Glamping in Bali – Menjangan Dynasty Delights

Glamping in Bali – Menjangan Dynasty Delights

I have always fancied the notion of “glamping” – camping in a glamorous 5-star tent. From the moment I arrived at Menjangan Dynasty Resort in the far west of Bali, I was not disappointed. A team of enthusiastic safari gear clad “bush dwellers” greeted me, decked out in pith helmets.

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Hidden Heritage: The Sweet Melodies of Rote

Hidden Heritage: The Sweet Melodies of Rote

I slowly shuffled forward in the queue of passengers boarding the ferry at Kupang Harbour. I was about to cross the Timor Sea to Rote Island. Ahead of me, a long line of tall-coned straw-like cowboy hats snaked its way up the gangplank. Finally arriving at the comfortable VIP lounge

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Golf – Pandawa

Golf – Pandawa

Cliff Top Golfing on the Bukit in Bali What can be more inspirational than hitting a golf ball over terraced rice paddies or more satisfying than sinking a putt while a soft ocean breeze washes over you? That’s what golfers can expect at Bali’s newest golf course, Bukit Pandawa Golf &

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On the Obama Trail – Bali and Java

On the Obama Trail – Bali and Java

Published:   Garuda Colours In-Flight Magazine, September 2017 In June this year, following an invitation by Indonesia’s President Jokowi Widodo to visit the Presidential Palace just out of Jakarta, President Obama came to Indonesia. This visit had special significance for Obama as he had lived in Jakarta for four years as

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Bali Aga – Sacred Swings and Ancient Ways

Bali Aga – Sacred Swings and Ancient Ways

Published NowJakarta Magazine Sept 1, 2017   Karangasem Regency in East Bali is an area of intense beauty dominated by Bali’s highest and most sacred volcano. Mt Agung’s 3,142-metre peak, and its dramatic foothills and valleys shaped by centuries of lava flows, combine to create a landscape unrivalled anywhere in

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The Magic of Kalimantan

The Magic of Kalimantan

Kalimantan is an island offering superb snorkeling and diving, pristine rainforests, a rich array of exotic wildlife and is home to the Dayak people, some of the friendliest people in the world. Come on a journey to three handpicked places and discover what adventures awaits you. Text by STEPHANIE BROOKES

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Coffee Jakarta Story

Coffee Jakarta Story

ROAST OF THE TOWN From artisan coffees and exotic aromas to in-house roasting and award-winning baristas, Jakarta’s coffee houses offer the perfect blend of quality and taste WORDS: STEPHANIE BROOKES Rich, aromatic and stimulating, coffee’s allure has endured over thousands of years, with more people than ever enjoying the brew

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The King and I Boti Village, West Timor

The King and I Boti Village, West Timor

In the highlands of Timor on an isolated mountain ridge is the village of Boti. A very humble and gracious king reigns there, ruling over 76 families and 316 Boti tribal members. He is often referred to as the last king of West Timor. There is no evidence that the

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Culture, Color and a Global Gathering at Gawai Festival

Culture, Color and a Global Gathering at Gawai Festival

Story by STEPHANIE BROOKES Photos by DAVID METCALF I stood with my blowpipe at the ready. “Gather strength from your core and aim high,” Agus advised. “We are excited to have an Australian team enter the competition and best of luck to you”, he added with a broad smile. More

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Bloo Lagoon – A Quiet Hideaway In Bali

Bloo Lagoon – A Quiet Hideaway In Bali

Padangbai is a small, friendly Balinese seaside village and a great little getaway about an hour and a half from the airport. Tony and Marita, the visionary owners of Bloo Lagoon, have designed and built a gorgeous small villa resort, which is more like an eco-tourism village. It is located

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Viewpoints: Indonesia In Pictures

Viewpoints: Indonesia In Pictures

Story by David Metcalf Bali-based photographer David Metcalf captures the magic and wonder of Indonesia while traveling across Kalimantan, Java and Bali. I took this photo much closer to the village trying to emphasize the grandeur of the area as a lone horseman starts to make his way along the

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The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah, Ubud, Bali

The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah, Ubud, Bali

An art-filled Bali beauty Endless rice fields and tasteful artwork combine to create a sense of harmony and balance at The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah in the foothills of Bali. This hidden luxury retreat, which has 20 individual villas dotted around its lush sprawling grounds, is nestled in the jungle

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The Wana Wanderers of Sulawesi

The Wana Wanderers of Sulawesi

Story by Stephanie Brookes Photos by David Metcalf There is only one way to meet the Wana tribe. You must walk into their rugged territory. Arrangements should be made in advance because the Wana are wanderers and their territory is vast. They pack up and move when the village council

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Top Five Treetop Stays In Bali

Top Five Treetop Stays In Bali

While the island is often regarded as a beach paradise with a variety of boat tours and diving options, many foreigners are looking for the quintessential jungle experience when they get on a plane bound for Bali. If you are keen to stay somewhere that is surrounded by nature, here

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Travelling With A Diabetic Child

Travelling With A Diabetic Child

We were living in Jakarta, thousands of miles from our home country, when we took our daughter to the doctor with flu-like symptoms. We did not expect the diagnosis. A urine test revealed “sweetness in the urine”, or diabetes mellitus (known simply as diabetes). Our daughter, then only seven, was

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Why People From Around The World Want To Retire In Bali

Why People From Around The World Want To Retire In Bali

John and Kerry For many, Bali is a wonderful retirement option. The climate is perfect, the culture fascinating and the cost of living relatively low. In addition, the Balinese warmly welcome foreigners. You can choose to relax or you can become involved in the social and cultural life of the

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Ogoh Ogoh on the Loose in Bali

Ogoh Ogoh on the Loose in Bali

Life in Bali revolves around ceremonies, and one of the major highlights is Nyepi, the Day of Silence. The three to five day period leading up to Nyepi Day is one of the most exciting, colourful and festive times on the island. However, from the stroke of midnight on Nyepi

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Into the Wilds – Sabangau National Park

Into the Wilds – Sabangau National Park

I started my trek in the Sabangau National Park, Central Kalimantan under a veil of darkness.  The earthy smell of the peat bog forest rose sharply to greet me as I held my torch steady so as not to trip and fall into the organic black water swamp that lay

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A Centre Of Strength For Divorced Women In Bali

Ni Komang Sariadi is the founder of Pusat Kegiatan Perempuan Women’s Centre (PKP) located just outside Ubud, Bali. PKP is a community where Balinese women can go for support if they have left a marriage. It is a nurturing and safe place for divorcees who seek comfort and support. Bali

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Where The Wild Things Roam

Tangkahan is a remote village in Northern Sumatra where you have the opportunity to sleep in the jungle with the ‘big five’ of Indonesia – the Sumatran elephant, the Sumatran tiger, the Sumatran rhinoceros, the Sumatran orangutan, and the clouded leopard. There were only two ways to access my bed for the night at

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The Body Temple Spa – Canggu,Bali

Spas have a personality. From the delicate scented air of the lobby to the presentation of fresh ginger tea in a delicate pot to the flow of the gracious staff – all of this hints at a spa’s unique personality. As I entered the Body Temple Spa, I immediately felt

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Family Fun at the Canggu Club

If you want to bounce your day away and keep the kids entertained then head on out to the Canggu Club, located 15 minutes from Seminyak. Bounce Bali is one of the attractions at the club, where up to 50 kids at a time can trampoline to their hearts content,

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Suku Sawang Orang Belitung Island

Belitung Island emerges gracefully out of the Java Sea inviting curiosity and exploration. It does not disappoint. It is unquestionably a place of extraordinary and untouched beauty. The beaches are chalky white, and are touted to be some of the most exquisite in South East Asia. Huge granite boulders rise

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Reflecting on Indonesia’s Hidden Heritage 2016

Reflecting on Indonesia’s Hidden Heritage 2016 Each month, our intrepid duo Stephanie Brookes, Writer and David Metcalf, Photographer set off to explore some of the lesser-known enclaves of Indonesia and bring back tales of hidden heritage and culture. Over the last 12 months, NOW! Jakarta magazine has covered unique festivals

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COCKFIGHTING SHOWDOWN

COCKFIGHTING SHOWDOWN   I witnessed my first cockfight in Bali, in a small village just outside Ubud. I stumbled upon it by chance when I was running, with a local sports club, on a Saturday afternoon. Our route took us through a temple complex in the middle of the jungle,

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Happy Daze

Stephanie Brookes delves deeply into her yoga practice while falling in love with Bhutan, a spiritual Buddhist nation widely known as ‘the land of happiness’. EXPERIENCE  MOVING SLOWLY AROUND, around the giant prayer wheel at the Memorial Chorten in Thimphu, I was aware I was spinning and releasing more than one

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Kalimantan Ma’anyan Death Ceremony

Kalimantan Ma’anyan Death Ceremony

“We believe that the human body is inhabited by a life giving spirit. We call this an amirue. When a person dies, his or her spirit becomes an adiau, just for the time of its journey to the place where the amirue resides. During the nine days of the Ijame

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Sheila in the Rice Fields – Ubud Yoga House

Reinventing Your Life at 60 Sheila first came to Bali in 1985 and had a strong connection with Ubud which she maintained through the years.  After a career working in International schools around the world, she felt ready to settle down, but where? As she was considering the options a

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A large, tropical retreat in Bali

A large, tropical retreat in Bali

376 Rooms / 22 Suites / 17 Villas French elegance and Balinese tradition blend seamlessly together throughout Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort on the island’s southern peninsula, but no place more than in the lobby. Sweeping ocean views fan out before you and there is not a welcome desk

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Making silver jewellery

When you sit in an artist’s studio, surrounded by banana palm fronds swinging in the breeze and a hint of frangipani in the air you get inspiration. The workspace at Sanur Jewellery Studio is set in a sprawling tropical garden. The studio is all-white, reflecting a blank canvass, a subtle design

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