Where is Bali ?

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“Where is Bali?” most searched travel question on Google in 2016

Jakarta – New York-based travel magazine Travel+Leisure recently reported that “Where is Bali?” was the most popular travel-related question searched on Google in 2016.

Following “Where is Bali?”, the next most popular questions among world travelers were “What to do in Vegas?”, “What to do in San Francisco?”, “Where is Corfu?” and “What to do in Orlando?”.

Furthermore, aside from asking the location or things to do, the top-10 travel questions searched on Google also include “How many ounces can you take on a plane?”.

(Read also: Ahok the most searched person on Google in 2016)

These questions were ranked based on the highest spikes in traffic.

For the complete top-10 most searched travel-related questions throughout 2016, consult the list below:

1. Where is Bali?

2. What to do in Vegas?

3. What to do in San Francisco?

4. Where is Corfu?

5. What to do in Orlando?

6. Where is Bora Bora?

7. What to do in Miami?

8. How many ounces can you take on a plane?

9. What to do in Myrtle Beach?

10. Where is the Grand Canyon?

Source: TheJakartaPost

Jamahal Private (5 Star) Resort and Spa, Bali Indonesia

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This property is a 6-minute walk from the beach. Jamahal Private Resort & Spa is located on the southern tip of Bali, less than 400 m from Jimbaran Beach.

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Boasting a private beach club, the resort offers free WiFi and free shuttle services to Jimbaran Beach.

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The Balinese-style villas come with cable TV, a DVD player, and a safety deposit box. Each villa is fitted with wooden furnishings and Asian décor. Some include a private entrance, outdoor pool, and garden.

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All guests enjoy access to a private beach club, which is a 5-minute walk from the resort. Traditional massage treatments using organic ingredients can be enjoyed at the spa. Guests can also exercise in the fully equipped gym.

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The resort offers continental dishes for breakfast. Meals may be served in the Lounge or delivered to guests’ villas.

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Jamahal Private Resort & Spa is about 2 km from Ngurah Rai International Airport. The trendy Kuta and Seminyak areas are a 20-minute drive away.

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This property is also rated for the best value in Jimbaran! Guests are getting more for their money when compared to other properties in this city.

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Alila Seminyak (5 Star Resort), Bali Indonesia

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Located in Seminyak, this luxurious 5-star resort is set on the beachfront. It has an outdoor swimming pool, a spa and a fitness centre. WiFi is provided for free and available in all areas. Guests also enjoy complimentary scheduled shuttle service to nearby area.

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The air-conditioned elegant rooms and suites offers a refined décor and electric kettle. Some rooms feature a balcony, a personal safe and a flat-screen TV.

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Vehicle rental, day trips and area shuttles can be arranged by staff at the tour desk, while luggage can be stored at the 24-hour front desk. Guests who wish to stay in can relax on the sun terrace by the pool or indulge in a pampering massages. Other facilities offered include laundry, dry cleaning and ironing services. Kids club and babysitting services are also available.

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A fine selection of Asian cuisine can be enjoyed at the on-site restaurant, while the famous Ku De Ta is just a 4-minute drive away.

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Alila Seminyak is an 8-minute walk from Potato Head and a 30-minute drive from Ngurah Rai Airport.

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This property is also rated for the best value in Seminyak! Guests are getting more for their money when compared to other properties in this city.

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Double – Six, Luxury Hotel – Seminyak, Bali

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The luxurious Double – Six, Luxury Hotel – Seminyak enjoys spectacular views of the Indian Ocean. It boasts a first-class spa and fantastic dining options. Free WiFi is available in all public areas.

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Air conditioned rooms at Double – Six, Luxury Hotel – Seminyak are tastefully furnished with sofa sets and feature large windows. They are fitted with a flat-screen cable TV. Espresso machine and tea making facilities are also provided. En suite bathroom is lavishly equipped with Hermes amenities, bath tub and shower. Guests enjoy the convenience of 24-hour on call butler and room service.

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Guests can work out at the fitness center or enjoy a relaxing massage at the spa. Double – Six, Luxury Hotel – Seminyak offers a 24-hour front desk and a concierge service which can assist in airport shuttle and currency exchange services. The property offers free parking as well as complimentary valet parking. Other facilities offered include laundry, evening entertainment and express as well as private check in – check out.

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Double – Six, Luxury Hotel – Seminyak offers various restaurants and bars serving a fine selection of Italian and Western cuisine, while special diet menus can also be prepared upon request.

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Ngurah Rai International Airport is 5 km away from the property.

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Shangri-la Hotel, Surabaya

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Situated in western Surabaya, the 5-star Shangri-la Hotel Surabaya provides a resort getaway with its outdoor pool, spa treatments and tropical landscapes. Free WiFi and free wired internet are provided throughout the property. Parking is free and the property also offers free scheduled shuttle service to Ciputra World Shopping Mall and Surabaya Town Square.

Contemporary and luxurious, the air-conditioned rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TV, DVD player and a personal safe. En suite bathrooms have a bathtub, as well as bathrobes and slippers.

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Shangri-la Hotel Surabaya is a 20-minute drive from Juanda International Airport. Airport transfers and car rentals are available at an extra charge.

Guests can enjoy a game of tennis at the 3 on-site courts, or relax by the pool under the surrounding palm trees. There is a spa with a sauna and expert massages. Golf outings at one of the nearby championship courses can be arranged with the hotel staff.

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Shangri-la Hotel has both a Japanese and a Mexican restaurant on site. Cocktails are served in the lounge.

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Pura Tanah Lot, magic temple on Bali

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Pura Tanah Lot

This Balinese temple stands on a rock in the sea and that delivers beautiful pictures!

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Pura Tanah Lot means literally “Tanah Lot temple” but what is a Tanah Lot? Tanah Lot is a rock formation in the sea off the southwest coast of Bali. Pura Tanah Lot is overall a temple on a rock formation in the sea of Bali. And that makes this temple so special!

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Then why do not you might wonder: the temple was already there when Tanah Lot was still attached to the mainland? No! One Dang Hyang Nirartha claims to have built the temple when Tanah Lot was already an island. According to him, Tanah Lot was a sacred place to be worshiped from the Balinese sea gods. It is one of the seven sea temples on the south coast of Bali. From any sea temple is to see another sea temple.

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Tanah Lot is located about twenty kilometers from Denpasar, capital of #Bali.

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Asean set for tourism push

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As grouping turns 50 next year, campaign will promote 600 destinations in the region.

IN ORDER to build a real sense of community, Asean will for the first time launch a regional tourism campaign to promote 600 destinations to boost arrivals and income when the regional grouping turns 50 next year.

Pongpanu Svetarundra, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, said officials of national tourism organisations from the 10 nations had agreed at a meeting in the Philippines to introduce “Asean at 50” as the new regional tourism campaign.

The campaign will be announced tomorrow at the Asean Tourism Forum in Manila and there will be a grand opening at the International Tourism Berse (ITB) in Germany in the first quarter of this year.

“Asean promotes itself as a single-market tourist destination as all members were integrated into an economic community at the end of last year. The campaign will be part of Asean’s 50th anniversary celebrations,” Pongpanu said.

Asean will be promoting 600 attractions located across the region, which will be divided into 12 different categories under the theme of “50 Best…”.

The dozen categories will be the 50 best of cities, hotels, restaurants, food, festivals and celebrations, beaches, shopping, historical sites, adventure tourism, small towns and villages, markets, as well as unforgettable experiences.

Pongpanu said each Asean member would propose their attractions and products to a central committee, which should complete the selection procedure before the grand opening in Germany.

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Thailand is assigned to lead the selection of two categories: festivals and celebrations, as well as unforgettable experiences, he said.

“The new campaign should boost tourism income and total arrivals in the region by 15 per cent from 100 million to 115 million,” he added.

Officials from national tourism organisations also approved another 10-year Asean Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP) set for 2016-25, while Asean tourism ministers adopted the ATSP 2011-15 that focused on 19 measures.

Plan for tourism professIonals

The 10-year plan is also expected to boost tourism earnings for the entire region from 10 to 15 per cent in 2025, while employment in the sector should rise from 3 to 7 per cent, travellers’ length of stay will climb from 6.3 days to eight days and average spending per trip per visitor will rise from $900 to $1,500 or Bt 27,000 to Bt45,000.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, the total number of international arrivals in Asean is expected to rise to 123 million by 2020, 152 million by 2025 and 187 million by 2030.

Pongpanu said Asean will be also focusing on other developments such as improving infrastructure, enhancing competency, labour transfer, a single visa for all nations in the grouping as well as maintaining major tourism markets such as China, India and Russia.

Myan Mar

On January 19, all 10 Asean tourism ministers signed an agreement on the establishment of the Regional Secretariat to support the implementation of Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Tourism Professional (MRA-TP.) The secretariat will be based in Jakarta and will commence operations this year.

Signed by Asean Tourism Ministers in November 2012, MRA-TP was developed to facilitate mobility of tourism professionals in the region.

Dr Ong Hong Peng, secretary-general of Malaysia’s Tourism and Culture Ministry, said the MRA-TP marked a significant milestone for tourism development in Asean.

“Moving forward, Malaysia, as chairman of the Asean Tourism Professional Monitoring Committee, will fully support and contribute towards the realisation of the objectives and targets of the Asean MRA-TP,” he said.

Source: The Nation

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Lombok Island – Surf, sand, sun, sea and solitude

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Lombok Island is gradually joining its more prosperous neighbour Bali in the global spotlight.

For decades overshadowed by its neighbour to the West, the Indonesian island of Lombok is today gaining favour with holidaymakers wanting something a little less commercial than Bali.

The four bikini-clad Americans taking in the sun at Kuta beach are among them. Jessica, a lithe blonde, says she wants to see the sunset.

In the world’s largest archipelago, Bali was the only Indonesian island included on a list of the top 30 islands in the world by US-based Conde Nast Traveler magazine in October 2015. It ranked 17th, far behind Palawan Island of the Philippines, which earned first place.

“Lombok deserves to be included on the list. Now it is heading that way,” says Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB) Culture and Tourism Agency head Lalu Faozal.

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Surrounded by 35 smaller islands, the 4,514-square-kilometre Lombok is flanked by Bali to the west and Sumbawa Island, NTB, to the east.

Like Bali, Lombok provides hospitality, serenity, rich culture and beautiful natural features.

Unlike Bali though, it never feels overcrowded.

Kuta is among the many breathtaking spots for sunbathing, swimming, surfing, snorkelling and diving on Lombok and its smaller islands, or gili as they are called in the local Sasak language.

Off the northwest coast of Lombok, the Gili Islands comprise three exotic islets: Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. All have crystal-clear waters, rich biodiversity, enchanting coral reefs and beautiful sea creatures.

Visitors can reach the Gili islets by using the services provided by one of the 370 travel agencies in NTB.

The Komodo Dragon Backpacker Cruise, for example, offers a four-day boat trip for 2.5 million rupiah (Bt6,500) to visit the Gili islets and other tourist attractions. The boat, 25 metres in length and 4.5 metres wide, can accommodate up to 35 people.

Other agencies not only offer trips, but also provide surfing, snorkelling and diving courses.

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Faozal advises tourists to climb the 3,726-metre Rinjani Mountain, the highest of the seven mountains on Lombok, to admire the astonishing views.

“The mountaintop is home to the beautiful Lake Segara Anak,” he says.

Besides natural tourist attractions, Lombok is also rich with cultural events, such as the annual celebration of Bau Nyale, adds Central Lombok Tourism and Culture Agency head Lalu Putria.

Local people celebrate Bau Nyale on the 20th day of the 10th month of Sasak calendar. They go to sea to search for the colourful nyale (sea worms) that they believe to be the reincarnation of Princess Mandalika.

According to legend, Mandalika was a pretty princess of the Tanjung Bitu Kingdom that existed on Lombok a long time ago. Due to her good behaviour, many princes from other kingdoms were in love with her. Mandalika thought that if she chose one of the princes, wars would break out because the others would feel jealous and disappointed and they would fight against each other.

She then asked the princes and people to meet her at the Kuta Beach. She stood on a reef, telling them that she chose no one. Afterwards, she threw herself into the sea, The princes and local people tried to save her, but they found thousands of colourful sea worms floating on the sea instead of the princess’ body. They believed that the worms were her reincarnation.

“She jumped because she did not want people to become victims due to her choice. She showed us heroic values as she sacrificed herself for the interest of the people,” Putria says, adding that the locals consume nyale because they believe they would make women look ageless and boost the sexual vitality of men.

NTB hosts different festivals to bring in tourists. Last August to September, it hosted the first Lombok Sumbawa Cultural Month to boost tourism on Lombok and Sumbawa islands by exploring and developing the potential of arts and culture through various exhibitions and cultural events. The Pearl Festival, involving the producers of pearls with international standard quality, was among the highlights.

Faozal is optimistic that the number of tourists will reach two million in 2016, up by about 25 per cent from last year’s 1.6 million. Out of those 1.6 million, 752,306 were from overseas.

Besides the three airports, hotels and restaurants in the province are ready to welcome the tourists, he said.

The province has 925 hotels, consisting of 50 five-star hotels and 875 jasmine-class hotels along with 1,378 restaurants.

Faozal believes that the target of 2 million tourists could be realised because Bali, which was visited by 3.4 million tourists last year, has committed to encourage its tourists to visit NTB.

“The beauty of Lombok is complete. It ranges from the tops of the mountains to the bottom of the sea. Our rich culture will also attract tourists,” he says confidently.

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Walking in the clouds

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An active volcano on the Indonesian island of Lombok, Mount Rinjani is definitely worth the arduous climb

Lombok - Rinjani National Park
Rinjani National Park

IT IS ALMOST noon and the midday sun is shining mercilessly down on my head so the quiet breeze that occasionally blows across the massive open dry hilly savannah on the foot of the majestic Mount Rinjani in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, comes as a welcome relief.

I’m on my own and relishing the quiet walk along the dusty dirt path at the foot of the mountain, recalling the journey I made here several years ago that ended in disappointment.

I was 19 when along with friends, I hiked up Rinjani, aiming to ascend its 3,726 metres-above-sea-level peak. Strong winds around the Crater Rim however forced us to return to our base in Sembalun village.

After resting for two days, we launched another attempt, this time from Senaru village. But we were already exhausted from the first attempt and called off our climb. Going back home, I made a promise to myself that I would come back to Rinjani — and perhaps reach its peak.

Lombok - Segara Anak Lake
Segara Anak Lake

So here I am, 18 years later, saying hello to an old and dear friend.

This time I am in a group of 10 – seven Czechs, one German, one French national and myself, the only local. Obviously experienced climbers, they are way in front of me and I find myself struggling to keep a steady pace.

Nazwan, the 35-year-old guide, told us that our first day of climbing would end at the Sembalun Crater Rim, a mere 2,639 metres up.

Starting at 10am from Sembalun village, we have a two-hour lunch break at Tengengean Post, and then set off for the Sembalun Crater Rim. The difficulty comes after Padabalong Post: seven consecutive steep hills in front of us.

Famously known as “The Seven Hills of Regret” as it is here that many trekkers begin to regret their decision to climb Rinjani, I recall ending up in tears on my last visit and almost giving up. Today though, despite the same level of exhaustion, I am simply grateful to be here. Life, it seems, has taught me patience and a greater sense of acceptance.

When I finally reach the Sembalun Crater Rim, the sunset is fading. After a rest, we set off for the summit at 2.45am.

The journey is arduous and I move as much as to keep warm – the temperature is a chilly 3 degrees Celsius – as to reach my target. The soles of my shoes are torn and I can feel volcanic sand and gravel through my socks.

The plan is to catch the sunrise from the summit. Predictably, though, I am still only halfway up the thin Crater Rim as dawn breaks.

Hours later I am still struggling to maintain my pace on the most difficult section of the climb. Every three steps upwards, I go two steps downwards. It’s so frustrating.

Lombok - Climbers take pictures at the peak of Mount Rinjani.
Climbers take pictures at the peak of Mount Rinjani.

I finally reach the Rinjani summit just before 8am and breathe a long sigh of relief that I have finally kept my 18-year-old promise.

The way down is supposed to be easier, but my toes hurt and I am now wearing sandals. That day’s trek is slated to end at Senaru Crater Rim, from where our final descent would begin the next day.

I can’t bear the thought of another gruelling ascent and ask that I be allowed to take the unofficial route down. Between Sembalun and Senaru, the Torean, as it’s known, has a reputation for being a perilous trek.

Nazwan the guide refuses at first, reminding me he is responsible for every one of the group’s members. But after a long argument – I don’t want to slow the group down and I have experienced the Torean route before — he finally agrees, sending one porter – Doni – to accompany me.

So, instead of walking four hours up to Senaru Crater Rim with the rest of the group, I spend the afternoon soaking in the hot spring and hanging out sipping hot coffee.

Passing the enormous Mount Sangkareang (2,588 metres) on our left, we follow a steep narrow path down surrounded by beautiful golden hilly grassland. I slip many times along the trek and pray that my flip-flops will survive until I reach Torean village.

“Hard to the left! Hard to the left!” Doni shouts on the steep parts of the trek and I remember the thrill of crawling along a dangerously rocky and narrow path on the Sangkareang mountain ridge, with an endless ravine on our right.

But the view is stunning and we cross the crystal-clear Lokok Putih sulfuric river without incident.

As we walk down further into the forest and Rinjani’s Crater Rim topography gradually disappears behind us, I silently wave farewell. I don’t make another promise to visit Rinjani again though underneath I know I will be back the moment opportunity presents itself.

Source: The Nation

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Voyage of discovery on Bali

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bali

Benoa (Bali), Indonesia

Bali is an Indonesian island located in the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, between Java and Lombok. With miles of sandy beaches, towering volcanoes, flowing rivers, and lush tropical forests full of exotic wildlife, Bali has been the favorite destination for locals and international tourists for ages. Experience Bali’s rich cultural heritage through tales from the Ramayana, while shopping for woodcarvings, silver work and paintings in the artisan villages, or through a traditional Barong dance.

Ulun Danu Temple, Bali

The One Thing You Don’t Want to Miss
Theater and dance are an integral part of Balinese culture. Balinese dances are a very ancient tradition, part of the religious expression in Bali. There are various categories of dance that are based on separate religious functions and include different types of performances. Barong includes a contest between opposing forces of chaos and destruction; Legong is characterized by intricate finger movements and Kecak is performed by a circle of 100 or more performers. Regularly scheduled performances can be found throughout the year.

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Other Fun Things to Do
Surf’s up in Bali. Lakey’s Peak, Lakey’s Pike, Periscopes and Nuga Dora are just a few of the classic Balinese waves. Depending on the time of year, you’re sure to catch big waves somewhere on the island.
In 1963, Mt. Agung erupted, just as the ceremony of the 11 forces was being performed. Take a tour of Mt. Agung and Mt. Batur where a volcanologist will help you to understand the connection between them and Krakatau, Mount St Helen’s and Mount Fuji.
Temples are everywhere in Bali and they remain a focus of life throughout the island. Visit the Besakih Temple, the largest and most important Hindu Temple in Bali or Sebatu, the temple with the holy springs.

Bali, Indonesia

Get a Taste of Local Flavor
Like the food of other regions in Indonesia, Balinese food is rice as the central dish served with small portions of spicy, pungent vegetables, fish or meat and served almost always with sambal or chili paste. Though the tourism industry has brought international fare in Indonesian restaurants, local food still remains in the culinary spotlight. Balinese still keep to their traditional culinary roots especially in a temple ceremony, Balinese birthday Otonan, or when hosting special guests. Traditional Balinese dishes you should not miss include babi buling, pieces of a roasted suckling pig and the Bebek Betutu, a smoked stuffed ducked wrapped in bamboo leaves.

BaliBesakih

Shopping for Bargains
Enjoy a most distinct shopping experience in Bali. Shop for fine art and handicrafts which include antiques, semi-antiques and modern furniture, a variety of paintings, delicately crafted gold and silver jewelry, wood and stone carvings, masks, woven and dyed fabrics and so much more. Popular shopping centers are Geneva, Kuta Square, Bali Galeria and the huge, fully air-conditioned beachfront Kartika Discovery Mall.

Bali rijstvelden

Local Currency
The Indonesian Rupiah (Rp) is the official currency of Indonesia. Many stores and restaurants also accept major credit cards, which usually offer you a good exchange rate.

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