Enjoy the best places to see in Denpasar with a plan including Bali Driver Gede

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Denpasar Culture

Denpasar Culture
Denpasar, as the capital of Bali, has a heavy Balinese culture founded in a history of dance and religion and is a wondrous center of temples and musea. The Jagatnath Temple is Hindu and located near the Museum Bali. Known for its towering construction and peculiar shrine, Jagatnath swarms with tourists and worshippers alike. The Petilan Pengerebongan Temple hosts Ngerbong, a traditional ceremony involving a procession of people dressed as mythological creatures that happens once every 210 days, the length of the ancient Balinese year. The Temple of Maosaphit, located close to the Badung Market, boasts an incredibly old terracotta sculptural gem, an archeological find believed to date from the ancient Majapahit Kingdom of East Java. The Sakenan Temple is located on an island in southern Denpasar and is accessible by boat and car. Actually an array of temples, be sure to check out the lush mangrove trees and the beautiful panoramic views that are presented to the visitor of this destination. The Bali Museum, built in 1932, is a four-building complex that exhibits an endless number of artifacts pertaining to Bali’s prehistory, its heritage of dance and religion, and the gorgeous artwork it has created throughout all its past. The museum is open everyday, save Saturdays and holidays. At the Sanur beach, the Museum of Le Mayeur, though established by the Belgium artist Le Mayeur, is dedicated primarily to the paintings of the Balinese woman Nii Pollok, wife of Jackson Pollock who became famous for her dances and artworks. The Sidik Jari Museum is another arts center worth exploring, as is the Taman Budaya (or the Bali Art Center). There are also numerous palaces, sculptures, and other attractions to keep the Denpasar visitor busy enough for a lifetime.
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Denpasar History
Residents of Denpasar know their city by its former name, Badung. Badung was colonized by the Dutch in the middle of the 1800’s—the local raja acquiescing in the hope that, through cooperation with incoming colonists, his district would be left relatively unhurt by Western imperialism; and this maneuver did suffice to keep Badung relatively independent for six decades.

However, in 1906, after a dispute between Balinese natives and Western capitalists, the Dutch prepared to take over administration of the region. Instead of submitting, the raja and his entire royal family committed mass suicide in the face of oncoming soldiers, who afterward proceeded to shoot and kill the remaining retinue and set fire to the palace.

This filial suicide was repeated in other parts of Indonesia in coming years, forcing international pressure on the Dutch to leave the islands, which they basically did around the outbreak of World War One.

In 1936, Badung changed its name to Denpasar.

Denpasar began to economically thrive after the Second World War, and the result has been an increase in people and, therefore, pollution. All the consequences stemming from this mixed blessing of prosperity and population have yet to be fully fall out.
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Denpasar Getting Around
Traversing Denpasar is not too rough going, provided one has some means of transport: sightseeing on foot is rather impractical given the large distances that separate the capital’s numerous attractions from each other. Furthermore, given the high population density, sidewalks and streets tend to suffer from all sorts of traffic as well as both noise and environmental pollution. Driving is definitely a viable alternative. Rental car companies include Hertz, Thrifty, and Toyota Rental Car. And getting from the airport to Denpasar is a cinch; located just ten or so miles out near the resorts of Kuta, a car ride may be a better option than a lengthy (though beautiful) beach walk. Taxi service from the airport is facilitated by the Airport Taxi Service. If you hail a cab, prepare to haggle and be wise enough to insist on the use of a meter. Bus service also runs to and from the airport. Whatever option you think you will choose for getting around in Denpasar, be sure to prepare in advance by mapping out routes, choosing rental car companies, making reservations , and so on and so forth.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Balinese Life

Some Balinese Alternative Healings

Nature has been so kind to provide a variety of herbal ingredients. Their use offers another form of hope for recovery from illnesses beyond that offered by modern medical treatment. Similarly, through the heritage of hundreds of years, the Balinese have a rich tradition of healing. Both modern and traditional healings have, over time complemented each other.

Traditional healing is not intended to take over from the modern medical treatment. Balinese people consider that a medical problem should be resolved with medical solution, while the non-medical one should be treated with the alternative solution. When the patient does not recover by previous treatment and submits to his fate, he will be inclined to try any other possible treatments. In Bali, alternative healing is provided by traditional healer or balian.
This traditional healer has some specializations. Among them, there is one who specially offers healing service by referring to the traditional healing manuscripts like Taru Pramana (Soul of Plants), Usada Rare (Child Healthcare) and so forth. By and large, the healer recommends using herbs in the form of herbal drink (loloh), scrub (boreh) and simbuh or chewed ingredients that are then sprayed by mouth onto the aching point. This traditional manner has helped maintain people’s health and has been inherited from past generations.
Another specialization is balian apun or balian uwut (masseur). It provides a massage on the patient’s point of ache. With the help of self-prepared massage oil, the masseur will massage the muscle or set the broken bone. In most cases on the island, patients take medical treatment first and then resume with this traditional healing. In the case of fractures or broken bones, it’s proven that this combined treatment gives satisfying results.
If the problem seemingly is concerned with the unseen world, the Balinese regularly consult the balian tetakson or medium. With the help of sacred spirit (known as taksu) to empower him or her, the medium will look through his spiritual eyes. The result of this medium’s search may range from disturbance caused by spirits due to improper geomancy of the house or shrine, impurity at sanctum, help requested from the ancestral soul for any unpaid vow during his lifetime, to the conveyance of unseen material by others through the power of black magic. Having been told the result of the search, the medium will then inform the patient of the solution for the problem. It could be in the form of apologizing ritual, purificatory ritual or vow payment ritual and it is ended by providing holy water.
Meanwhile, there is also a healing practice run by balian paica or the healer using divinely endowed gift. Such gifts vary; they could be in the form of kris dagger, jewel, marine shells (lungsir) and so forth. The gifts are obtained through meditation at particular place or sanctum. However, they can also be delivered by an unknown person. Or the gift can also exist mysteriously on the shrine platform. For healing, the balian soaks the marine shell in blended palm oil; or soaks the jewel in clean water; or rubs the particular jewel on clay basin. This oil or water is intended for drinking.
Prior to beginning the healing practice, the balian always places the offering brought by the patient and informs his or her taksu about the intention and condition of existing patient. Hopefully, the patient could successfully find what it searches for. There is usually no fixed charge for this service.
Like modern medicine, Balinese healing also has something like ‘rules of conduct’ as mentioned in the book Usada Sari Sang Budakecapi. In essence, it carries two points, namely recommending diagnosing which patient may be healed and which one may not because the healer is suggested not to help the patient who is approaching their death. Violating this is considered to argue against his destiny. Secondly, it concerns sesari or voluntary money offering put on the oblation. Ideally, the healer should only take two thirds of the sesari and one third is given back to the patient after being presented to God. According to the book, infringement of these rules will cause the healer to lose his healing efficacy.
Alternative healings remain close to the heart of Balinese. Modern medical treatment takes priority and the traditional method follows. If they do not get satisfying results with the modern one, they will attempt to find some alternatives. Here, it does not the matter whether they ‘believe it or not’ but recovery should be continuously sought anywhere and in any way. (BTN/029)

Local Healing with a Global Reach

Balinese traditional healing relies not only on herbal medicine or oil scrubs but also pays close attention to environmental conditions, both visible and invisible. Environmental conditions here refers to the layout of house compounds as regulated on the local geomancy, asta kosala kosali, or it may be said to refer to Tri Hita Karana or three interdependent sources of bliss that consist of harmonious relationship between human beings, nature and God.

If this combination was described in a healthcare system, it would have something to do with the system of belief, genealogy, physical treatment and geomancy. The Balinese traditional healthcare system is performed by a balian. He or she works in accordance with Ayurveda, several lontar manuscripts that have been inherited from an indefinite and very long period, or divine inspiration. In addition, the balian sometimes also masters black magic, as it may be very beneficial in diagnosing and curing illnesses caused by such factors.
Just as in the modern medical profession, the Balinese traditional healing system also has ‘specialists’, giving patients a choice as to whom to consult for certain health problems. Firstly, there is balian usadha, a healer that performs a healing service based on the lontar (palm leaf manuscript). This expertise has been passed down through the ages.
Secondly, balian tetakson is a balian who obtained his expertise through divine inspiration (taksu). In many cases, a balian began his ‘career’ by peculiar accidents, like dreams, guidance of medium, or even near the end of life in critical illness. Such conditions then present him or her with only two choices, to live or die. As there is real interference from the third party or taksu, a balian of this kind is immediately popular even without promotion. As long as he obeys his ethics, particularly in charging sesari (a gift of money), his practice will continue to flourish.
Thirdly, the balian paica is a balian who performs a healing service by means of divinely bestowed gifts (paica). The paica can be in the form of various kinds of jewels, kris daggers, stones, perforated coins, oil or even undersea plants that are familiarly known as arungan articles. In practice, the balian will submerge certain paica in a glass of drinking water and the patient will quaff it.
Then there is also a balian manak. This balian gives a massage service for womb disorders, abortion (now illegal) and childbirth. In the decades before the 1970s, many balians of this kind were still in practice, more so in the hinterland. But, when the Puskesmas (Public Healthcare Centers) were introduced into the sub districts, the service gradually decreased and people received a new alternative. Governments realized that the introduction of this new medical service would not change people’s behaviors instantly. For this transition, many balian manaks got special training on childbirth treatments. So, they also supported the program of the government in providing a healthcare service and at the same time minimized the risk of their practice.
The fifth type ‘specialist’ is balian tenung. This balian has a supernatural power or magical insight to find lost items, environmental disorders or ancestral problems that can cause illness. The last two items are usually called kesisipan. For instance, when a patient suffers from intermittent stomach aches, when consulting this balian, it may be diagnosed as pemalinan due to disorder or impurity occurring in the house compound such as a hindrance at the entrance of the family temple or the lack of partitioning among certain shrines. If this happens, the family of the patient usually promises to tidy up such disorders if the patient recovers within 3 days. It will be followed up by putting offerings on the ‘suspected’ place and told to the invisible world (niskala). If it confirms, the patient usually recovers as soon as completing the offerings. And for this case, when consulting a medical doctor, the information will be that everything is all right. In the case of lost belongings or family members, people also take advantage of this service.
Balian tulang is the sixth type. He specializes in handling fractures or broken bones. Some balian tulangs nowadays also make use of x-rays to see the condition of fractures. Certainly, it is helpful information for them and makes it easier for them to perform treatment.
Seventh and lastly is balian sabuk. Sabuk literally means belt. This balian makes a belt or talisman and its variants that contain certain ingredients to generate magical powers. By applying this belt with certain terms and conditions, one may change one’s appearance to animals, bicycles, bade towers, or whatever for certain purposes. This power can also make someone ‘immune’ to sharp weapons or firearms. Sometimes, this is misused by certain people to carry out crime. As a matter of fact, this service is beneficial for killing fear and raising braveness, or protecting babies against the disturbance of black magic.
In these modern times where many sophisticated medical technologies have been invented and many more are being developed, there are still many Balinese who take advantage of the traditional healing performed by ‘specialists’ mentioned above. Why do many foreigners also consult a balian in Bali? It is believed that there is something akin to a ‘bad sector’ in the patient, like in computer terms, where it cannot be detected by modern science, as the problem is located in ‘virtual or invisible space’ and beyond their reach. So, traditional healing should take this portion to complement modern science and they should cooperate with each other.
Other products of traditional healing dedicated to beauty and wellness are now also offered in a spa package. Here, this traditional method (including the Oriental) mixes with Western methods. This treatment is available as amenities at most hotels in Bali. (BTN/*)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Primeval Paperbacks

If the world’ s history of paper advance since the classical antiquity of the papyrus used by the Egyptians and Greeks,the heritage of Balinese literature lies in the antiquity of palmyra leaves.

These were the earliest forms of recordings,having become vaults of inherited knowledge,and Bali has its own wealth embodies in the dried and bound leaves of the Borassus flabellifer,collectively knows as lontar.From traditional medicinal recipes,vedic texts,local folklore and literature,to chronologies and royal genealogies,the lonta has become the treasure reference since ancient times.

As Balinese history has close ties to the Majapahit kingdom,the lontar is derived from the Javanese ron and tal,meaning ‘ leaf of the (namesake palm) tal tree’.Both names, rontal and lontal are used alternatively,perhaps among the exam[les of many cases of variations in local language.

Singaraja houses the only lontar museum in Indonesia,the Gedong Kirtya,Formerly as known as the Liefrinck Van Der Tuuk Library,named after the Dutch scientists F.A.Liefrinck and Dr.H.N Van Der Tuuk,who together with the then Raja Of Buleleng,I Gusti Putu Djelantik,gathered and preserved various lontar from Bali and Lombok and built alibrary for the collectionin 1928.The Gedong Kertya has since been a valuable source for study among Balinese scholars and international historians.

Lontar collection besides the thousands successfully collected and kept at the Gedong Kertya are also found in ather palce on the island,some having been subjected to looting during the Ducth colonial period,for example several boasting texts of the Ramayana epic have shown up in a collection at the Leiden University in Holand.The Central Library of Balinese Culture in Denpasar boasts a collection of over 1,700 copies,and a significant amount at the libraries of other university in Bali.A myriad of unaccounted lontar also reside within Balinese villages,particularly belonging to various personal collection,village temples,noble palaces,and Balian shamans.They are traditional kept in dedicated wooden boxes or keropak.Copies of ancient and rare specimens are always made to anticipate loss or deterioration;such works and their contents are regarded as priceless.

Leaf strips are bound between two narrow cover,sometimes pieces of bamboo or wood –thus ‘hardbacks’.Versus paper,the relatively thick leaves of lontar are nor so easily damaged by insect or climatic changes.This durability ha made it possible for them to last for centuries.

Old manuscripts are found to be in Old Balinese,Old Javenese and Sanskrit using Kawi alphabets.As with modern books,there are also illustrative works found in lontar form.Written and drawn using a traditional small sharp knife called a temutik,the final leaf page is rubbed with charcoal,burnt candlenut oil or other traditional darkening agents rendering it readable.Often lemongrass oil is applied to ensure its resilience against insects.These illustrative or ‘comic strips’ are known as a separate and special art form called prasi .

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Fishermen Grow in Harmony with Tourism

Expansive sea and charming white and black sand beaches surround the tiny island Bali.In addition,the coconut palms along the beach enhance and beautify the view.This condition generates a rich treasure for tourism and fishermen.So,discover and explore this gorgeous island and its many splendors that are waiting,just for you…..

This potential is further embellished by some traditional fishing spots where fishermen are based throughout the island.Some Balinese people rely on catching fish at sea for their livelihood while others catch fish as aside job whilst also tending their rice fields or plantation.Uniquely,they still use traditional wooden Jukung outriggers.To move it,fishermen may apply paddle,sail or motor.Non-fishermen also get advantage from this workplace.For instance,when fishermen are coming ashore,these poeple would happily offer assistance.They can help bring along the fish basket and fishnet,drag the jukung ashore and so forth.In short,there are some interesting activities to see through the day.

As a religious community,they have also established a traditional organization for fishermen called Bendega.Like other Balinese traditional organization such as Subak ( irrigation cooperative),these fishermen also have temple of profession or swagina called pura segara or temple of the sea.It’s meant to organize their fellow fishermen and to make their worship easier.Basically they wish to invoke welfare and safety in undertaking their livelihood in the sea.This reflect the concept of balancing the ore et labora or praying and laboring.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Bali The Performing Arts

Bali The performing Arts

When the first Western settlers found Bali, they were awed by the unique, mystical art forms and music in this island oasis such as Kecak dancing and gamelan music. On the island, Balinese consider art to be a natural activity, as most performers are peasants who work in the fields during the day and perform during the night. Dynamic and agile, Balinese dance is dramatic, each dance with a different story, performed often by candlelit at the foot of a crumbling, magnificent temple. Dance is a part of life and often times the whole village will partake in the performance as these dances are performed according to strict tradition. Many of the dances tell stories involving the Ramayana epic, battling the ubiquitous themes of love, death and war. The Barong dance is accompanied by Gong Kebyar - an orchestra formed by a group of gamelan instruments and various metal gongs and symbols. The Barong dance is the classic story of good, the lion-like Barong conquering over evil, a witch Rangda .

The Kecak dance is one of the most famous, aesthetically impressive dances in Bali, although it is not a traditional dance. Created in the 1930s, this dance is not accompanied by traditional music. Instead, the dance group is accompanied by a large crowd of young shirtless men, with flowers in their hair who recite “kechak-ke-chack” over and over at various rhythms throughout the dance.

The crisply percussive gamelan music which accompanies most Balinese dances shares their vitality and agility. The Gamelan are musical instruments with five notes forged from copper and bronze. Each village that can afford it has their own gamelan orchestra. On any night in Bali, tourists can amble around a village, find a quiet porch for a soothing drink and listen to the sound of the gamelan orchestra radiating from the village " banjar " (meeting place) in the background.
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Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Bali Architecture

Bali Architecture

Balinese architecture is not only aesthetically impressive with wood carvings, majestic stone gates and ornate Indian influence engravings, Balinese architecture also has strong spiritual symbolism. Many temples, rice barns and other structures are built according to traditional Balinese rules, called Asta Kosala Kosali, which traditionally were written down in lontar palm books and interpreted by traditional architects called Undagi. This leads to very distinctive designs and architectural congruence throughout Bali’s villages, which all delicately interwoven with the natural surroundings.

In Balinese building, one of the most common features is the Bale, which is an open pavilion with a thatched roof and no walls. The Bale represents the Hindu-Balinese universe. The roof is the 'gods' section, the body is the 'human' section, and the base is the 'demons' section

Other impressively symbolic architectural sites in Bali are its palaces. Since in classical 19th century Bali, the Balinese believes their king was divine, his residence was the puri - a replica of the cosmos and thus a sacred symbol. Balinese palaces are always square, walled, and courts within courts.

In Bali, all buildings have to be brought to life and ceremonially purified in a ceremony called Melaspas before they can be lived in. It is important that all materials – such as the wood, stone and thatch, which have been cut down and killed for the construction, are, as it were, re-incarnated. During this ceremony, many offerings and gifts are made, including animal sacrifices.

Friday, February 20, 2009


Balinese Life

Bali, an Island of Endless Festivals

Having organized an elaborate arts festival last June-July, on this 20 August the Balinese community (Hindu) will celebrate their solemn Galungan Festival. It denotes a festival of the earth lasting for ten days. All villages throughout Bali Island will become merry and bright. Prayers and the scent of incense combine in the atmosphere of Bali invoking prosperity for all creatures on earth

Celebrated every 210 days falling on Buda (Wednesday) Kliwon Dungulan, Galungan can be said to be the most grandiose Hindu festivity. Firstly, it goes for ten days and is preceded and followed by processions. Secondly, the celebration is marked with the setting up of various paraphernalia at temples and shrines and each house compound entrance. The typical icon for this festivity is penjor or a bamboo pole filled with a variety of cakes, fruits, tubers, coconut and white-yellow piece of cloth as an expression of gratitude for crops they obtain. Thirdly, they perform comprehensive worship both for the Almighty God and ancestral souls.
Mythlogically, the Galungan celebration represents the victory of Dharma (virtue) against Adharma (evil). It is said that there was a cruel king named Mayadenawa. During his rule no subject was allowed to pay homage or organize any ritual. In other words, all subjects had no freedom to perform their religious practices. Similar mythology is also recounted in the manuscript by Jaya Kasunu where his forefathers could not rule the kingdom any longer. Based on the revelation he received, it was caused by all subjects who ignored their religious duties. Ever since then, he instructed his subjects to carry out their previous religious duty by holding rituals. Both the death of Mayadenawa and coronation of Jaya Kasunu marked the re-awakening of religious practice to the path of Dharma.
On the day of Galungan, all families worship at their own temple, village temple and present offerings at their property and land. Additionally, they also invite their ancestral souls to come down to earth for ten days and celebrate together. Having worshipped, they visit their relatives and neighbors. Preparation for worship is made in the early morning because they hope to worship at all places where they should. All motorbikes and vehicles are also conferred with offerings. Therefore, on that day during your island excursion you may encounter cars with ritual paraphernalia made from young coconut leaf. Neat and artistic penjors at the village you are passing through will give you a ‘seasonal’ spectacle and unique experience on this island.
If other Asian destinations have at least one event or festival every month, Bali has much more than that. Armed with the artistic talent and pursuance to their religious teaching, they hold various festivities and celebrations. Besides, almost all villages and hamlets in Bali have art and gamelan troupes and there are some important days to hold regular festivity. On one occasion they may organize an art festival, while on another they organize temple festival. The latter is a regular event that may be celebrated once in 210 days or a year. On that account, there would be more than twelve festivals held within a year, both of religious and non-religious nature. This is one of the reasons why you need to visit Bali more frequently, to witness the endless festivals on this island.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

welcome to my blog

Welcome to my blog...
Firstly, let me introduce myself… My name is Gede Suyasa and most people just call me Gede which is pronounced like the English greeting ‘G’day’. With this blog I offer you the opportunity to best plan your Balinese holiday with the use of my services as your own professional driver and guide.
The island of Bali is one of the great tourist destinations of the world and, although many guide books have been published about Bali for tourists, I will be able to assist make your holiday unforgettable and uniquely designed to suite your special interests and plans.
My own background is I was born in Kubutambahan, north Bali, in 1970. I studied English at a foreign language academy in Denpasar before travelling to Australia to further develop my language skills. In 1992 I moved to Ubud to work in a well-known Art Gallery and then from 1997 ,I worked as a driver/guide in a leading Balinese adventure tour company which included White Water Rafting, Cycing and Treking.
My experience in working with a wide range of tourists from different nationalities and backgrounds ensures that I will provide you with personalized service and help make your holiday in Bali truly unforgettable.