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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Bali – Green Utopia

The ultimate palms and paradise destination? There are many, and Bali is definitely on the shortlist. But there’s more to the Indonesian island besides white-sand beaches and clear blue water. We hop on our bikes to experience the authentic life and ways of Bali. At the top of the Kintamani

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FULL MOON RISING – BUDDHA’S BIRTHDAY PARTY

  Every May, a vibrant festival is held at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Borobudur, the world’s largest Buddhist temple, located in Central Java. Buddhists from the far reaches of Asia gather to celebrate the holy festival known as Waisak, celebrating Buddha’s birthday.   “I used to be a

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Ternate Tales Of Natural Selection

The Spice Islands are wrapped in an aromatic history of cloves, mace and nutmeg, Kings and Sultans, spice wars, and the rise and fall of invading armies. As I travelled through the Spice Island chain, I saw massive groves of cloves and nutmegs clinging to the perfect cone-shaped volcanic islands

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Festival of Colour

 FESTIVAL OF COLOUR  I arrived late in the evening to catch the Prince and Princess Tourism Competition. Suddenly chairs were parted and bodies shifted to make room for me in the front row. I was ordered to sit here, by one of the Dayak ladies, so I quickly took my

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THE GHOST STALLIONS OF MUNA ISLAND, SULAWESI

  As we headed out of Raha on rutted roads and made our way into the interior of Muna Island, I peered out of the car window, passing villages and hoping for a glimpse of a stallion. Latugo Village on Muna Island is where, word has it, most of the

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Reflecting on Indonesia’s Hidden Heritage 2015

Each month, travelling duo Stephanie Brookes and David Metcalf, explore some of the lesser-known enclaves of Indonesia and bring back tales of hidden heritage and cultural journeys of discovery. Here are a few highlights from 2015. Kejawen A holy energy resides in the Dieng Plateau, Java. A rich history unfolds

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Stairway to Heaven

Stairway to Heaven: Nusa Penida Island, Bali I squeezed my way through a tiny gap between two huge boulders and was assured by my guide, “Yes, yes this is the way, just keep squeezing”. This was by far the most unusual way I had ever entered a temple. Within seconds, my

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Tiwah Life and Death in Dayak Country

Tiwah Life and Death in Dayak Country

Tiwah Life and Death in Dayak Country    Recommended by Stephanie Brookes   Written by David Metcalf    Photos by David Metcalf  www.davidmetcalfphotography.com   Napin Dalin, the chief of Tewang Rangas village, looked me straight in the eye and said, “The spirits of the dead are all around us and

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Mass Cremation – The Balinese Way

Mass Cremation – The Balinese Way

Arriving in Medahan Village, just South of Ubud, I was met by my Balinese friend Ketut. Stepping over gaping holes (and trying not to fall in one), I followed her to the temporary wooden shelves that housed the bones of the deceased. The bones had been exhumed from over thirty

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Colombo: Full of History

Colombo: Full of History

COLOMBO HAS PLENTY TO OFFER THE VISITOR, ABOVE ALL, ITS FRIENDLY, WELCOMING PEOPLE WHO WILL CHARM YOU EVERY STEP OF THE WAY. Colombo is the gateway city to Sri Lanka, a small country that boasts pristine beach stays, elegant hotels in the highlands surrounded by tea plantations, elephants wandering the

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Weh Island : The Outer Edge

Weh Island : The Outer Edge

A small tropical treasure trove of peace and adventure can be found tucked away in Aceh’s far north, at the north-westernmost edge of the Indonesian archipelago. Weh Island is a small active volcanic island with a fringe of magical beaches, colourful corals, and rich marine life, just 45 minutes by

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Dieng Plateau “Abode of The Gods”

Dieng Plateau “Abode of The Gods”

Dieng Plateau “Abode of The Gods” Some wonderful examples of the oldest architecture in Java lie sprinkled across the Dieng Plateau in Central Java.  Towering volcanic peaks surround these isolated Hindu temples, which date back to the 7th and 8th centuries when Java was ruled by a vast Hindu empire. 

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Tales, Myths and Legends

Tales, Myths and Legends

Abu Bakar, the grave keeper, recited the legend of Princess Lala Jinis to me as we sat in the 1,000-year- old cemetery that Abu conscientiously protects, near the small village of Seran, in a remote part of West Sumbawa. “My quest for more tales and legends took me to the

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Pride of The Desert

Pride of The Desert

  Every year, the Rajasthan desert plays host to the vibrant Pushkar Camel Fair, as well as a spiritual festival at Lake Pushkar, to purify the soul. A line of camels, horses and their traders, as well as musicians, vendors and snake charmers appeared over the sand dunes, stretching for

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Heavenly Halong Bay

Heavenly Halong Bay

A boat trip into Halong Bay, a world heritage listed site in North Vietnam is a spectacular experience. The beauty of this region leaves you spellbound as you cruise alongside hundreds of sheer limestone peaks rising out of the sea, stone mountains clad in jungle, ancient caves and thundering waterfalls.

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Bodie: A Wild West Ghost Town

Bodie: A Wild West Ghost Town

Bodie: A Wild West Ghost Town It’s a long bleak road to Bodie, a ghost town left abandoned in the arid high desert plains of the Eastern Sierras, California. It’s a day trip out of Mammoth Lakes on the Scenic Highway 395 North. The lonely 13-mile stretch of dirt road

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Pasola and Ancient Rituals

Pasola and Ancient Rituals

Recommended by Stephanie Brookes   Written by David Metcalf Photos by David Metcalf  www.davidmetcalfphotography.com Sumba – Pasola and Ancient Rituals Adi steadied his horse as he prepared for battle. A chorus of feisty yelping surrounded me, as Adi’s fellow clan members urged him on. The frenzy was exciting and frightening

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