Ubud: a green oasis between the mountains

The island of Bali, one of the more than 18.000 islands that make Indonesia, the most touristic one with its resorts, yoga and retreat centres, surf schools, is quite big actually. It takes more than an hour to get to Ubud from Denpasar Airport. The island population is mostly Hindu, 80 % of the population belong to Hindu religion and it’s widely practiced. You will not feel you’re in a muslim country if you do not travel to other parts of Indonesia. The most beautiful thing about Ubud is the...

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A long day in Ubud: Tanah Lot and Bedugul

The rock formation on this beach in Tanah Lot definitely makes the atmosphere of this place; as you walk on black rocks on the beach you feel the water under your feet, a gentle breeze comes from the ocean, the temple just stands on the big rock by the sea. The Hindu temple on the rock was built in the 16th century and was dedicated to the sea gods. According to Balinese mythology it is also protected by the sea snakes under the temple. The Pura Tanah Lot Temple has always visitors, mostly at...

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A long day in Ubud: Walking along the rice terraces and Bali Bird Park

A place taken out from the postcards. In Tegallalang green rice terraces follow one another. It’s raining but we don’t mind getting wet. We then continue to Bali Bird Park in Ubud which hosts more than 250 bird species. My favourite one is the Australian pelican, black and white coloured they are known as the bird with the longest beak, some of them may have a 50cm beak! They are also called the ‘traveler’ bird as they are able to fly for 24 hours, and can travel from one ocean to the other....

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Meeting Gusti Nyoman Lempad in Puri Lukisan Museum

This is Ubud’s first museum: Puri Lukisan Museum is located right at the heart of Ubud centre and is a beautiful place inside a wonderful garden. It has a rich collection of the Balinese art. The real gem is the work of Gusti Nyoman Lempad. He was born in the second half of the 1800s in a village in Bali. Being a multi talented person he becomes a master in painting, wooden carving, architecture and other forms of art. As he meets the Western painting he starts using black ink on paper. His...

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Ubud, doors and hills: Om Swastiastu and Campuhan Ridge road

While you are walking in the streets of and pass by the little narrow wooden doors of houses, schools, temples, etc. you will often see these two things: 1.‘Om Swastiastu’, this is the greeting word in Balinese culture. 2. the symbol of Swastika similar to gammadion cross. It’s the ancient symbol originated in the Indian subcontinents that is used to bring auspiciousness. It also represents the continuity of the cosmos… There’s a way to run away from the tourist crowds in Ubud, it’s right at...

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Bali beaches: Balangan beach, a surfer’s paradise

The island of Bali is quite big; it is geographically impressive in the sense that in the same day you can watch the sunrise on the top of a volcanic mountain, and at the very same day watch the sun set on a beach looking at the horizon while listening to the sound of the ocean; it touches all your senses. The interior part of the island is made of rice fields, volcanic mountains, green valleys; the coasts are both made of beaches where big waves are always at the disposal of surf lovers or...

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Borobudur Temple

It’s three a.m. in the morning and it’s still dark. I am on a bus with other three tourists, one Italian, one Croatian, one American Indian and me, one Turkish; we are laughing ourselves as we feel as if we are inside a joke. We are going to Borobudur Temple to watch the sun rise, although it’s cloudy and we know we will not get a clear view of the sun rise, we are hurrying to get there before the day begins. Borobudur Temple is about an hour drive from Yogyakarta city centre, it is known as...

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Prambanan Temple

After visiting the Buddhist Temple of Borobudur we head to Prambanan Temples. 50 years younger than Borobudur and a Hindu temple, they are dedicated to the trinity of Hindu Gods, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, the creator, sustainer and the destroyer. Here, as in Borobudur, three areas circle one another, this time three squares, the third, most sacred one dedicated to gods is where the main temples are located, 16 main temples with 3 main temples dedicated to three gods. The square that surrounds...

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The Ramayana Legend and the Tree of Life in Prambanan Temples

If the Greeks have Odyssey and Iliada, the Indians have Ramayana and Mahabharata.The exterior walls of the main temple in Prambanan are covered with replicas from the epic Ramayana, the story of the Prince of Rama. One of the three main gods in Hinduism, Vishnu is reincarnated in Rama, a god/prince, who is sent exile- such as in Odyssey there’s a story of journey. The journey of Rama, his brother and his fiancée and their exile which lasts years are finalised with a victory. Some of the main...

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Yogyakarta Streets

Yogyakarta is the centre of the island of Java, the locals call it shortly Yogya. It is known as the cultural capital of Indonesia due to Borobudur and Prambanan temples. Some tips to spend a day in the street: take a bacek, the little transportation bikes similar to tuktuks, where you sit in the front and the driver is at the back, either on motorcycle or bicycle. Go out early in the morning when it’s cooler and watch the Yogya people in their daily routines. As you go along the streets with...

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Taman Sari, the Palace Complex and the batik handicrafts

Taman Sari is a complex of Palaces with pools from mid-18th century, the era of Sultanate of Yogyakarta. It is located very close to Kraton Palace. At the entrance you will meet the tour guides who are dying to offer you their service. Let’s take one and support the economy! Although his explanations are like ‘My dear Sultan used to have fun here at this pool with his third wife, my Sultan used to play at this another pool…’ it’s always good to have a company of a local… The Palace complex...

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Tat Tvam Asi: ‘I am you, you are me’, a rooted philosophy

Ubud Writers and Readers Festival is the leading literary festival of South East Asia. The 13th of the festival was held in October 2016, with a diverse mix of Indonesian and international writers, readers, editors, bloggers, activists and during four days people from around the world exchanged ideas, participated in seminars, watched movies, read poems. This year’s theme was ‘Tat Tvam Asi’, ‘I am you, you are me’, a rooted philosophy with its origins back in Upanishads wrote in Sanskrit more...

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Bali and Yogyakarta, an introduction

I had my doubts about Bali, was I going to travel all the way to visit a honeymoon destination and sit in a resort to get a massage? Until one day I traveled for a writers and readers festival in Ubud which gathers every year at the end of October various writers, readers, journalists from around the world. The most famous tourist destination in Indonesia the island of Bali is quite big; I would recommend you to divide your stay between the mountain village of Ubud and the sea side like...

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