Category: Travel

West Java’s Beauty at Bay

The sun is shining, the weekend lies ahead. What better way to spend the free time than unwinding far from the stresses of city life by catching some rays on a beach or...

The Importance of Being Charming

My home village of Batur may be more spectacularly beautiful, but Ubud is where tourists choose to linger for longer. Asked by my uncles and aunts why this is so, I...

Mads Johansen Lange: A Danish Adventurer Nicknamed ‘King of Bali’

Most people know Kuta as a hedonistic beach resort where anything goes. It’s a Phuket-on-Bintang, just about the only place in the archipelago where public displays of...

Four Faces Needed to Face Bali’s Brave New World

On July’s windy days, the skies of Denpasar fill up with kites. These grand birds and fish dance and glide with the glee of children (of all ages, of course) tugging...

Climbing Mt. Merapi: No Jumping Pictures, Please

What makes a great Monday morning? Sleeping in? Not wearing any clothes until lunch? How about summiting one of the world’s most active volcanoes via a treacherous...

The Comfort Woman

As job titles go it is difficult to think of any more crass, more cynical than ‘comfort woman’. To the uninitiated it conjures up images of fair maidens, perhaps...

Get on the Bus

My Pembantu, Mami, who has worked for me for eight years mentioned after my asking how her weekend was that she had taken the bus from Sanur to Kuta to go shopping at...

It’s Karimunjawa, Dan, not Kilimanjaro!

Kilimanjaro, Kalimantan, Karimunjawa, Kilimantanjawa? For a foreigner, it’s fairly easy to find yourself mixing and twisting these rather similar names as if they were...

JAKARTA – from Health Hazard to Traffic Jams

Batavia, as Jakarta was called during the colonial days, was once styled the “Queen of the East”. This label was lost in the early years of the 19th century...

The Legend of Kebo Iwa

If you frequently travel between Sanur and Ubud, there’s a fat chance you’ve seen the big baby statue sitting in the Sakah intersection. It depicts baby Kebo Wanara,...

Miguel Covarrubias’ Visual Notes

Miguel Covarrubias’ father was a Sunday painter. As a very young child, Miguel liked to sit by his father, watching him work. This happened nearly every weekend....

Bandung’s Colonial Legacy

Bandung, with its factory outlets and bakeries selling the ubiquitous brownie, this city has long been a favourite destination for Jakarta folk looking for a cooler...

Do as You’re Told – An Artful Welcome to Bali

“It appears that each Balinese native, from the womb to the tomb is creative,” rhymed Noel Coward in his irreverent 1932 ditty to Charlie Chaplin, now cemented among...

BALI–Before The Tourists Invaded

Traders-colonisers from the coast of Coromandel brought Hinduism to Java. The religion was adopted by the Majapahit kingdom in the eastern part of the island. Bali was a...