Indonesia executes six drug convicts, five of them foreigners

Indonesia executes six drug convicts, five of them foreigners
Widodo has pledged to bring reform to Indonesia

Ban appeals to Indonesia to stop death row executions

Ban appeals to Indonesia to stop death row executions
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has pleaded to Indonesia to stop the execution of prisoners on death row for drug crimes. AFP PHOTO

Pope: 'Death penalty represents failure' – no 'humane' way to kill a person

Pope: 'Death penalty represents failure' – no 'humane' way to kill a person
The pope wrote that the principle of legitimate personal defense isn’t adequate justification to execute someone. Photograph: Zuma/Rex

Obama becomes first president to visit US prison (US Justice Systems / Human Rights)

Obama becomes first president to visit US prison   (US Justice Systems / Human Rights)
US President Barack Obama speaks as he tours the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Oklahoma, July 16, 2015 (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

US Death Penalty (Justice Systems / Human Rights)

US Death Penalty (Justice Systems / Human Rights)
Woman who spent 23 years on US death row cleared (Photo: dpa)


"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Friday, October 31, 2008

Number of South Korean tourists to Bali increases

Denpasar, Bali Province (ANTARA News) - The number of South Korean tourists visiting the Indonesian most famous tourist island of Bali increased significantly, a Balinese businessman said here on Friday. 

During January-August 2008, some 88,848 South Korean nationals visited Bali, placing South Korea on the fourth rank of the most largest foreign tourists visiting Bali Island, said Anak Agung Gede Agung, a hotel and travel bureau owner in Bali. 

This year, Japan is on the first rank with a total of 243,795 tourists visiting Bali, an increase from 231,555 Japanese last year, according to him. 

Australia is on the second with a total of 194,111 Australian tourists, he said. 

Taiwan is on the third with 94,477 tourists, a drop of 7 percent from last year's 101,591 people. China is on the fifth with 84,106 visitors. 

During January-August 2008, Bali received a total of 1.2 million foreign tourists, an increase of 20 percent from around one million visitors last year, he said.

Related Article:

Singapore to Miss Tourism Target as Visitors Decline 

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Indonesia to host Int`l humanitarian conference on Palestine

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia will host an International Humanitarian Conference on Assistance for Palestine at the Jakarta Convention Center (JCC) here from October 31 to November 2, 2008, the chief organizer said. 

Deputy Chief of Commission III of the House of Representatives (DPR) which deals with legal and human rights affairs, Suripto, said here on Thursday that about 300 domestic and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) would take part in the conference. 

Suripto who is also the conference`s chief organizer said that the participants would discuss various forms of assistance for the Palestinian people, both for those who lived the Palestinian areas and for those who still stayed in refugee camps in the Middle East. 

The conference is also expected to stress rejection of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. Besides, it will also voiced its rejection of the Israeli oppression and captivation of Palestinians who are posing a threat to the people of Palestine. 

Indonesia will host the conference as part of its efforts to create world peace and justice. During the colonial era, Indonesia in its struggle for independence also got support from other countries, including nations in the Middle East. 

"India provided food assistance. So was Egypt, a country which was the first to give its international recognition of the Indonesian Independence in 1945," Suripto said. 

Suripto who is also chairman of the National Committee for the Palestinian People (KNRP), said that a number of KNRP noted members would attend the conference, such as Permadi (of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle), Abdullah Toha (of the National Mandate Party-PAN), Khofifah Indar Parawansa (of the National Awakening Party -PKB) and women`s prominent figure Tuty Alawiyah. 

Sometime in the past a number of countries in Asia and Africa (beginning from Indonesia and South Africa) in turn hosted ministerial conferences on capacity building for Palestine. 

Various sides were able to play significant roles in the program, Suripto said.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mayors agree to safeguard, protect cultural properties

The Jakarta PostSri Wahyuni and Blontank Poer, Surakarta

Mayors of the 37 participating member cities in the Euro-Asia Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) agreed Tuesday to emphasize the need to safeguard and protect cultural properties and develop a harmonious lifestyle. 

Reading out a declaration at the closing ceremony of the two-day WHC conference here, host Surakarta Mayor Joko Widodo said doing so would give the cities a distinct image and encourage a vibrant cultural lifestyle at various levels of community. 

"A clear policy, strategy and implementation program needs to be developed in each city," read Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi. 

The Solo Declaration, named after Surakarta's alternate name, underscored that outstanding cultural works of the past be maintained and preserved so current and future generations could learn, understand and enjoy the wisdom and experience of the past. 

"Cultural heritage produces inspiration and motivation as well as economic potential and input for further cultural development," the nine-point declaration stated. 

Representatives of participating cities also highlighted in the declaration the importance of local, national, regional and international efforts to protect, preserve and revitalize traditional culture and knowledge. 

The conference, attended by some 450 delegates, acknowledged cultural diversity and multicultural understanding was a basic foundation on which to build a harmonious world. 
The understanding and appreciation of the world's rich and diverse cultural heritage can contribute to multicultural understanding and friendship across regions and countries, the conference agreed. 

Also in attendance Tuesday were OWHC Secretary-General Denis Richard, OWHC Coordinator of Euro-Asia Secretariat Ressikh Sagitov and chairman of the Indonesian Heritage Trust Setyanto P. Santosa. 

The conference was part of a six-day WHC conference and expo held from Saturday to Thursday, which also presented a series of workshops on wayang (Javanese shadow puppets), keris (traditional double-edged daggers), gamelan (traditional Javanese percussion ensemble) and batik. 

Speaking at a joint press conference held after the closing ceremony, Setyanto, also a member of the conference's organizing committee, said the declaration was the beginning of a long struggle to preserve heritage in Indonesia, following its signing by government officials. 

"What we have witnessed so far here in the country is that local administrations are the main perpetrators in the destruction of our heritage," Setyanto said. 

He added many administrations had turned heritage buildings and sites into modern shopping malls in their bids to attract more visitors and hence more money. 

"They forget that malls abroad are much bigger and more attractive," Setyanto said. 
Jokowi expressed similar sentiments, saying the declaration held strategic values of promoting Indonesian cities as new tourism destinations.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Obama's former house in Jakarta up for sale

The Jakarta Post 

Robin McDowell, The Associated Press, Jakarta   

The small colonial-style house Barack Obama lived in as a child has received a steady stream of visitors ahead of the U.S. presidential election, from potential buyers and journalists, to a businessman who wants to turn it into the "Sweet Home Obama Bar."

 BEWARE OF DOG: An Indonesian "Beware of Dog" sign sits in front of the two home compound of which the house where Obama lived in Indonesia, right, is part Tuesday in Jakarta. (AP/Ed Wray)

Tata Aboe Bakar, the 78-year-old owner, is in little mood to sell, noting that the property, sequestered between a large mosque and park in an upscale neighborhood of the Indonesian capital, has been in the family since 1939. 

Much, he said, would depend on the price. 

The two-bedroom pavilion Obama lived in - initially built as a guesthouse - would be sold with the main, sprawling residence next door and the 12,900 sq. foot (1,200 sq. meter) plot of land. Together, they have an estimated market value of $3 million dollars. And that does not take into account the potential Obama-factor if the Democratic presidential candidate wins on Nov. 4. 

Aboe Bakar says one broker claimed a U.S. Embassy official was ready to pay five times its worth if that happened, though Tristram Perry, the embassy's public diplomacy officer, said he was not aware of any such offer. 

Obama moved to Jakarta with his American mother and Indonesian stepfather in 1967, spending the first two years in another humble home, where chickens and ducks used to cackle in the backyard and two baby crocodiles slithered around in a fenced-off pond. 

They relocated to the small red-tile roofed pavilion with art deco windows on Taman Amir Hamzah Street in 1970 when Obama was 9 years old and stayed there for the next two years.  

BARACK'S BARRACK: Syahhrial Rozali, the current resident of the house where U.S. Presidential Candidate Barrack Obama lived as a child, walks in front of the home Tuesday in Jakarta. (AP/Ed Wray)

Aboe Bakar has few stories to tell about Obama as a child, except the time his poodle ran away, never to be seen again. 

"Oh, he cried for two days," the former Navy admiral said, wearily taking a drag from his third cigarette as he showed off a long list of visitors who have knocked on his door in recent weeks. 

He also flashed a photograph of the young family sitting on a wooden bench in the front yard that, like much else, remains in place nearly four decades later. 

Among those who have expressed interest in the house have been Bart Bartele, a Dutchman who owns several popular pubs in Jakarta. 

He says he offered to rent the smaller pavilion to open the "Sweet Home Obama Bar" - a cafe that would feature an "Obama-blend coffee," a mix of beans from Kenya and Java. He would also serve "stroopwafels," a caramel-type treat brought to Indonesia during the centuries-long occupation of the Dutch. 

"The idea is to have snacks, simple food and maybe some merchandise," Bartele said, adding that he was not certain, with all the recent interest, if Aboe Bakar would go for it. "We'll see. It's mostly just for fun anyway."

Related Article:

Obama 'good for tourism'

Menteng kid creates great expectations

Owner of Obama's house passes away

SBY congratulates Obama

Obama claims historic U.S. presidential win

Barack Obama: An 'improbable' journey into history

U.S. to use new media technology to help promote tourism in Bali

Ni Komang Erviani, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar   

U.S. Ambassador Cameron Hume said Monday the U.S. government was ready to help promote Bali to American citizens, acknowledging the Indonesian government's seriousness in maintaining the island's security. 

"I want to bring together tourism professionals from both countries so there will be a more serious and large-scale tourism campaign to bring more Americans to this island," Hume told reporters after a closed meeting with officials from the Bali Tourism Board (BTB) in Denpasar. 

The U.S. government was among those which recommended against its citizens visiting Bali over security concerns following the Bali bombing attacks in 2002 and 2005. 

The lifting of the travel restriction made earlier this year signified a major improvement in U.S. government foreign policy toward Bali. 

Hume said apart from conducting regular information campaigns about Bali, they could promote the island through the latest media formats, including GPS (Global Positioning System) technology available on the Google Earth application on the Internet. 

By August this year, Bali's tourism agency recorded that almost 47,000 Americans visited the island. 

BTB chairman Ngurah Wijaya said he was enthusiastic about the U.S. plans and expected they could arrange further technical meetings to discuss ideas in the immediate future. 

"I hope the plan will materialize soon enough," he said. 

Separately, a group of Indonesian honorary consuls from countries across Latin America, Europe and Africa have traveled to Bali to learn about the culture firsthand under an initiative by the Indonesian government, an official said. 

The group's leader, Handriyo Kusumo Prio, also an official from the Foreign Ministry, said the group earlier visited Yogyakarta for the same reason. 

"It is the government's token of appreciation for years of their voluntary work promoting Indonesia," Prio said. 

Throughout the 10-day visit, he added, the government expected the honorary consuls would update their knowledge about Indonesia. 

"So they can further promote Indonesia in their countries," he added. 

The Indonesian government has appointed 64 honorary consuls around the world. These consuls, mostly local tourism business people and professionals were chosen to assist the government promote Indonesia's tourism to their international counterparts. 

The consuls, all volunteers, come from countries such as Australia, Brazil, India, Ireland, Nepal, Paraguay, Portugal, Russia, Spain, and Turkey. 

On their first day in Bali on Monday, the honorary consuls met Governor Made Mangku Pastika for an initial briefing. 

"Hopefully your stay in Bali will enable you to explore the beauty of our island, so you can pass on what you have learned to others overseas," Pastika told the consuls. 

He said the visit was significant considering the government's current efforts maintaining the island's security situation. 

"Let the consuls see that we mean business here," he said. 

The consuls will visit the Taman Ayun Grand Temple in Mengwi, Tanah Lot Temple in Tabanan and the Tampak Siring Presidential Palace in Gianyar. 

Nalan Rimer of Turkey said she was excited by her firsthand experiences of Bali. 

"Now I have completed my knowledge, as I have had the chance to experience Bali for myself."

Related Article:

In Bali, Not Just Another Pretty Face

Monday, October 27, 2008

Media helped Indonesia’s tourism: official


THE media has played a key role in the recovery of Indonesia’s tourism sector that experienced a decline following the Bali bombings and the natural disasters that occurred in the country, its tourism minister said. 

Jero Wacik, Minister for Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia, reminded tourism stakeholders to maintain a good relationship with the media both in good and bad times during a session in the sixth United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) International Tourism Forum for Parliamentarians and Local Authorities at the Shangri-La’s Mactan Island Resort and Spa. 

Wacik said the availability of sophisticated information technology enables media to disseminate news immediately.

Indonesia suffered from the bombings in Bali in 2002 and 2005, the tsunami tragedy in Pangandaran as well as a major earthquake in Yogyakarta, both in 2006. 

Wacik said that media--broadcast, print and electronic--desires to protect consumers who plan to take trips and encourages tour operators to be more selective and strategic in their promotions and sales of tour packages during a crisis or a tragedy. 

Wacik recalled that when Indonesia experienced the Bali bombings, the government immediately put up a media center with the help of a professional public relations company near the area of the disaster for faster and accurate channeling of information. 


He advised tourism officers to provide the media with precise information that includes the exact geographical site of the blow and present other areas that were not affected. 

Wacik also told them to allow high-level government officials and reliable industry sources to talk to the media frequently through the established media center, short messaging service, website or e-mail. 

Other ways to protect tourism promotion efforts would be putting up a website with regular updates on the repair of infrastructure, improvement of security systems and humanitarian activities as well as a familiarization tour for the press and tour operators to show to them the recovery of the tragedy site and the unaffected attractions. 

As a result, with the help of media and other stakeholders, Wacik said that the country managed to restore the image of Indonesia to the global tourist market. 

From five million tourists in 2002, 4.9 million tourists in 2005, and 4.8 million tourists in 2006, the country managed to increase its international visitor arrivals by 13 percent or 5.5 million in 2007. Indonesia is targeting seven million tourists in 2008 and eight million in 2009. (NRC)


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Carnival of artists lights up Yogyakarta in anniversary

The Jakarta Post | Sat, 10/25/2008 11:00 PM  

Yogyakarta lit up on Saturday night with 1.3 kilometers long carnival of artists and musicians parading on the streets to commemorate the city's 252nd anniversary. 

State news agency Antara reported that thousands of people, which made up of local citizens and tourists, had been gathering at Malioboro since after dark, waiting for the carnival to start at 8 p.m. 

The carnival, which was the first of its kind, heralded the theme "Street Performance". 

The carnival began with a local dance act performing the famous dance composition of Rama Tambak, which depicted events from the epic Hindu tale of Ramayana. The dancers staged their act on a big carriage pulled by horned horses. 

Tagging along the dancer's carriage was a set of contemporary gamelan music that combined the sounds of traditional gamelan music instruments with those of a modern five piece band. 

Besides local artists, there were also foreign talents performing at the carnival. South Korea sent traditional dancers of Gang Buk Gu while Japanese ballet dancers seen teaming up with ballet dancers from Surabaya, showing off their skills. 

A delegation from Lebanon also participated in the carnival, presenting a traditional dance from Baalbeck city that described the daily life of people in the Middle East. Dancers from China attracted a lot of attention with the famous Phoenix dance. 

The carnival was officially inaugurated by the king of the Ngayogyakarta Sultanate, Sultan Hamengku Buwono X. 

The sultan said that at its age of 252 Yogyakarta had become more charming with its cultural values and its endless construction of a symbiotic relation between modernity and local traditions. 

"This carnival is a meeting between contemporary arts and traditional arts as popular culture cannot be separated from the traditional," he said. 

The sultan hoped that the carnival would be an annual event in Yogyakarta. (and)

Mayors arrive for heritage cities forum

The Jakarta Post, Blontank Poer, Surakarta

At least 156 mayors from 32 cities in Asia and Europe and others from across the country are expected to attend the 2008 World Heritage Cities Conference and Expo (WHCCE) in Surakarta, Central Java, running from Oct. 26 to 28. 

"Some of the delegations have already arrived in Surakarta," the event's promotion manager Irfan Sutikno told The Jakarta Post on Friday. 

Performers dressed as the white monkey warrior Hanoman walk along a main
 road of Solo, Central Java, on Sunday. The performance was part of a street parade
 held to mark the opening of the World Heritage Cities Conference. JP/Blontank Poer

At least 450 members in all have confirmed their participation. Mayors and regents from across the country have also registered as participants. An estimated 2,000 people will flock to Surakarta to attend the conference. 

Russia is the country with the highest number of participants (67), followed by Thailand (26), China (14), and Ukraine (9). Other countries participating in the event include Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea and Spain. 

At least 93 mayors from Indonesia will also participate, in addition to those representing heritage cities. 

One heritage city, Kutai in East Kalimantan, will send a 150-member arts troupe to the event, to be opened by Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik. 

Kutai will present a Hudoq performance from the Bahau Dayak tribe. The city of Kazan in the Russian Federation will also send a cultural group to perform at the Pura Mangkunegaran, the palace in Surakarta. 

Head of Sustainable Tourism at the World Tourism Organization and secretary-general of the Organization of World Heritage Cities, Eugenio Yunis, and Indonesian ambassador to Russia Hamid Awaluddin are also slated to attend the event. 

"Besides boosting networking, the conference will also be beneficial to share experiences among participants, especially in managing cultural assets as tourism potential," Surakarta Mayor Joko Widodo said recently. 

Joko said preparations for the event were almost completed both at the main site, the Sunan Hotel, and at the Pura Mangkunegaran where various art performances would be held and historical artifacts exhibited. 

Joko said the country's cultural riches have not been well promoted, so the heritage of many regions and cities were unfamiliar both to the Indonesian public and the outside world. 

He urged cities in Indonesia to present their respective local cultural products during the event, including cuisine, arts and handicrafts, music and dramatic performances. 

Joko has also requested the entire membership of the Organization of World Heritage Cities fully support this year's event in Surakarta. 

The event will commence on the afternoon of Oct. 26 with a parade involving the entire delegation and host committee. At least seven horse-drawn carriages and dozens of buggies have been prepared to carry the mayors who will don traditional attire. It will then be followed by various attractions, such as dances and music from cities across the country. 

A welcome dinner will be held the first night at Taman Balekambang, a new park in the city which rejuvenated a once-squalid area. 

The WHCCE conference will also organize various art performances and exhibit historical artifacts, such as masks, kris, leather shadow puppets and gamelan. Participants will also be invited to visit Kampung Laweyan and Kauman, two batik centers in Surakarta. 

The Pura Mangkunegaran will also organize workshops on gamelan playing and kris making.

Russia to appoint honorary consul in Bali

Andra Wisnu, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar 

In response to the increasing number of Russian tourists coming to Bali, the Russian government will open an honorary consul office in the near future, Russian ambassador to Indonesia says. 

In a meeting with Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika at his office in Denpasar on Friday, ambassador Alexander Ivanov said the new consul would be located at Jl. Ngurah Rai Bypass No. 118A and the honorary consul would be handled by Chairul Nuku Kamka, the chairperson of an association of tour operators in Bali that deals specifically with Russian tourists. 

Nuku Kamka is an ideal candidate because he deals with Russian tourists directly, Ivanov said after the meeting with Pastika. 

Chairul will be Indonesias first Russian honorary consul to Indonesia, a position Russia endowed him in anticipation of the increase in Russian tourists to Bali. 

The number of Russian tourists has been growing over the past couple of years. Ivanov said he expected the number of Russian tourists to Bali to rise to 70,000, an increase from last years 50,000. 

Japanese and Australian tourists traditionally make up the most frequent visitors of Bali. 

As of last August a total of 1,298,046 foreigners visited Bali, with Japan and Australia making up the first and second spot for the islands top five markets for the islands tourism industry, respectively. 

Taiwan, South Korea and China make up the remaining top five markets, while the United States is in 10th place. 

Ivanov said he had discussed with Governor Pastika several services required for Russian tourists, including visa permits and other immigration services. He said he expected the rise in Russian tourists would improve bilateral relations between the two nations. 

Of course its an input to the Balinese economy. But apart from that, its an input to the cross-cultural relations between our countries because Russian tourists are very much interested in Balinese culture and its a great experience for them to know Balis culture, he said. 

He gave the example of a large number of Russian painters who came to Ubud a few weeks ago and stayed for 20 days to capture Balis landscapes and its architectural sensitivity. 

He said the painters will organize a painting exhibition in Moscow soon to show their perception of Bali. It will be so interesting for Russian people and as well as for Indonesian people to see how the Russian artists receive the local balinese nature,he said. 

"(Its) Balis nature through the eyes of Russian painters." 

He said the arrival of the consul would serve as an intermediary party to promote tourism programs for Bali in Russia that could benefit people from both nations. 

"This is very important. This is a very important aspect of our bilateral relations," he said. 

It was the first time a Russian ambassador to Indonesia had visited the islands governor office. 

Pastika welcomed the gesture, saying the honorary consul appointment signified a good level of trust from the Russian government in Balis government. 

Pastika said he hoped both nations relations would extend further to include industrial, trade and cultural cooperations.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The spa experience

International influences bring relaxation to a whole new level

Cathryn Atkinson, Special to the Vancouver SunPublished: Saturday, October 25, 2008 

Taman Sari Royal Heritage Spa, Whistler 

The opulence of a Javanese palace greets guests at the Taman Sari Royal Heritage Spa at the Summit Lodge Boutique Hotel in Whistler. 

Cutting through the lodge, with its neat West Coast architecture of cedar and stone, visitors to Taman Sari are hit with a blast of delicious smells as they enter. Spices and citrus mix with mahogany at this authentic Indonesian spa, while the carved lattice woodwork and earth-toned décor recall this tropical Asian country with its 17,000 islands. 

Jamu -- traditional Indonesian herbal medicine -- is at the core of Taman Sari's philosophy of how Javanese culture respects nature as the main source of food and medicine for all life. At Taman Sari, they try to promote these traditional practices. 

Whistler was selected as home to the first, and so far only, Taman Sari in North America by international spa and beauty products company PT Mustika Ratu, which was founded by Indonesian noblewoman Mooryati Soedibyo. She says her aim is to take guests beyond the palace walls and into a new world of pampering. There are sister spas to the Whistler location around the world, including in Europe and the Middle East.

The spa's signature treatment is The Jamu, 90 heavenly minutes of Indonesian massage with Asian-style spice-and-oil combinations using vetiver grass, ginger, lemongrass, and ylang-ylang. By the time the top-to-toe massage is complete, a treatment aimed to improve blood circulation and soothe tired muscles, visitors are sure to be soothed by a heavy aroma of spices. 

Other treatments have such inviting names as Royal Javanese Pampering, Minaka Praja, and the regal-sounding Royal Essential Touch. Couples are catered to, with a special his-and-her honeymoon massage day available. The Honeymoon Package is four hours of body wraps, facials, and sensual massages.

And, of course, after such a unique treat, guests are still in the resort of Whistler, with its skiing and snowboarding in the winter, anAlign Centerd golf, hiking and biking in the summer. The resort is home to many excellent hotels and restaurants, so a trip to Taman Sari can be part of a longer stay, or a day trip if you are within driving distance. Either way, this spa is a little piece of Indonesia in a world-class Canadian resort experience. 

Taman Sari Royal Heritage Spa, Summit Lodge, 4359 Main Street, Whistler, B.C.
Phone: 604-938-5982 , 

A second Taman Sari spa will open in the Whistler Hilton in November.
Miraj Hammam Spa, Vancouver

Related Article:

Mustika Ratu smiling on high demand

Indonesia’s New Focus on Marine and MICE Tourism

Travel News Gazette, Ozgur Tore, 

Indonesia’s tourism industry remains confident, according to I.Gede Pitana, Director of International Promotion at the Indonesia’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism. 

He told a ITB Asia press conference 23 October in Singapore: “The [global financial] crisis will probably affect our target of seven million international travellers this year. However, we should still be able to achieve a growth of over 20% with 6.5 to 6.7 million tourists.” 

Mr Pitana said that Indonesia had invested a lot in new infrastructure and these efforts were starting to pay off. He cited close to 11,500 classified hotels with over 255,000 rooms, 10 world-class convention centres each able to receive up to 5,000 delegates, and 450 first-class shopping centres, which make the country an attractive destination for Singaporeans, Chinese or Malaysians. 

The Indonesian government will extend its Visit Indonesia Year 2008 campaign into 2009. However, new promotions will be more centred on marine and MICE tourism. “We have a unique natural and historical heritage. We have over the years gained recognition from the scuba dive market for our exceptional coral reefs. We also have over 50 national parks and nine UNESCO listed-world heritage sites,” said Mr Pitana. 

The tourism director also said that Indonesia is not only Bali. He beseeched the tourism industry: “Look beyond Bali please. And discover the amazing diversity of our land.”

Visa-on-arrival services deplored

The Jakarta Post, Wed, 10/22/2008 10:47 AM  |  Bali 

DENPASAR: Japanese Ambassador to Indonesia Kojiro Shiojiri expressed concern Monday over the poor visa-on-arrival services at the Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali. 

Speaking during a meeting with Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika in Denpasar, Shoijiri said the poor quality of the service could be seen from the long queues of arriving tourists waiting to get visas. 

A good visa-on-arrival service determines tourists'first impression, he said.first image is very important for tourism,"said Shiojiri, who suggested adding more service booths so that there would be no need for tourists to queue for hours.

Shoijiri said Bali constituted the second most popular destination for Japanese tourists after Paris. The great interest among Japanese to visit Bali lies in the unique culture and hospitality of the Balinese, he said. 

Last year at least 350,000 tourists from Japan visited Bali, he said. Most of them were interested in learning about Balinese culture and history besides running businesses on the resort island, he added. 

Pastika admitted to the poor visa-on-arrival services and pledged to convey Shiojiri's input to state-owned Angkasa Pura I, which manages the airport.

Related Article:

Crowds at Games below expectations

Beach Games: Indonesia and Bali`s image at stake


The Jakarta Post 


Former Free Aceh Movement (GAM) leader Hasan Tiro (center) and Vice President Jusuf Kalla (second left) pose for a photograph in Jakarta on Friday. Tiro, on a historic homecoming to Aceh after 30 years in exile, said he met with Kalla to bid him farewell before going back to Sweden. Kalla was the government’s chief negotiator in a successful GAM-Indonesia peace deal in 2005.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Jakarta to host "Pesta Blogger" on Saturday

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta 

Information and Communication Minister Mohammad Nuh said on Wednesday that Jakarta would host this year's national blogger gathering on Saturday, heralding the theme "Blogging for Society". 

Nuh said the event was to be titled Pesta Blogger 2008 and would be held in the BPPT II building on Jl M.H. Thamrin, Central Jakarta. Nuh added that the gathering would be attended by the U.S. ambassador to Indonesia Cameron R. Hume. 

"To establish an information-based society, we need creativity. Events like this undoubtedly give people room to express themselves," Nuh said, as quoted by 

The event's administrative chairman, Wicaksono, said bloggers from across Indonesia would participate, and that his team expected to double the attendance levels seen at last year's gathering. 

"We hope this event will make a positive contribution to society," Wicaksono said. (and)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bloggers reveal the other side of the famous Kuta Beach

Luh De Suriyani, The Jakarta Post, Kuta, Bali 

As many as 20 bloggers from the Bali Blogger Community (BBC) have gathered with one goal - to reveal the other side of one of the island's hotspots, the famous Kuta Beach. 

"We are challenged to find the old face of Kuta, not the modern one where Kuta is merely known as a beach area that is full of nightclubs and tourists," Putu Hendra Brawijaya, one of the BBC members, told reporters Saturday. 

"Besides, we are conducting this field trip so we won't forget the historical side of this area,"he added. 

The BBC's field trip was one of the activities offered by the Kuta Carnival, which kicked off Sunday. Featuring 33 activities varying from painting exhibitions to traditional martial art competition, the carnival is organized by the Kuta resident's organization in cooperation with local and international companies. 

The carnival will last until Oct.26. 

As part of the so-called Blogger Day Out, the bloggers decided to visit two of the area's icons, the Dharmayana Buddhist Monastery and the former Kuta Seaport. 

The Dharmayana Buddhist Monastery, once known as the Leeng Gwan Kuta Temple, is located around two kilometers east of Kuta Beach. 

Hindra Suarlim, chairman of the Dharma Semadi Foundation that runs the monastery's daily operations, said that the temple was originally built at a different location in the area around two centuries ago. 

"Our ancestors moved the monastery's location after experiencing some mystical visions that told them to move it to the new location here,"he told the bloggers. 

"The vision said that the new location would bring us more peace and prosperity." The monastery was built by the Chinese community in Bali to honor Tan Hu Cin Jin, a noble and a multitalented Chinese architect who served the Mengwi king in Bali. 

The story of Jin's nobility attracts worshippers. 

Today, many Chinese residents and visitors believe that offering prayers at the monastery will not only bring them peace of mind but also prosperity. 

The monastery is acknowledged as one of Bali's important Buddhist monasteries because dozens of monks from foreign countries, including His Majesty Dalai Lama XIV on Aug. 7, 1982, have visited the monastery to pray. 

The Chinese community, which was famous for living alongside locals peacefully, regularly visited the monastery. 

The way the community offered sacrifices during prayer sessions was the same as practiced by the locals, Suarlim said. 

"We use gebogan (flower bouquet) and canang (fruit bouquet) during our praying sessions just like our Hindu brothers and sisters here," he said. 

The community's ability to adapt to the area can be traced through the establishment of the Dharma Semadi community, where both the local Balinese and Chinese communities organize social activities together. 

Furthermore, the Chinese community formed a banjar (customary village) resembling the locals' way of organizing a community compound. 

"Around 90 percent of people from the Chinese community have a mixed marriage with locals," Adi Darmaja, another resident, said. 

After visiting the temple, the bloggers then headed to the former Kuta Seaport at Jerman Beach, south of Kuta Beach. According to locals, the beach was named after the Germans who once resided there. At the time, the Germans were hired to build Ngurah Rai International Airport. 

In the 18th century, Jerman Beach was an important part of Kuta Seaport, which later became the island's trade centre, Nyoman Rika, head of Banjar Segara Kuta, said. 

"At the time, a group of merchants from Tuban, East Java, were cast ashore on this beach. That is why locals have called this beach Boat Beach," Rika told the bloggers. 

In 2002, Rika added, the locals built a boat statue to honor the Tuban merchants. 

The history of Jerman Beach can be traced from reports made by Pierre Dubois, a Dutch government representative who resided in Kuta in 1827. 

According to Dubois' reports, the Kuta region, once known as Coutaen, was the centre for commodity trade in and out of the island. 

The reports also state that Kuta was once under the kingdom of Kesiman's jurisdiction and that around 400 Balinese families, who mainly worked as sailors, were living in harmony with around 40 Chinese and Bugis households, who worked as merchants.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Lombok announced to be host of TIME2009

Friday, October 17, 2008  , Travel Blackboard          

In a hurriedly organised press conference at October 16 at the Celebes Convention Centre, Makassar, South Sulawesi, it was announced that the next Tourism Indonesia Mart & Expo (TIME) in 2009 or "Pasarwisata Indonesia" will be held on the island of Lombok, which is not far away from the better-known tourist destination of Bali. 

The Chairman of Indonesian Tourism Promotion Board (ITPB), Mr. Pontjo Sutowo, had already assured this year's delegates at the opening ceremony in Makassar that eversince its first conduct of TIME in 1994 at Jakarta, TIME has been held to project the positive image of Indonesia and promote the Indonesian tourism industry in the international market. 

Staging its 16th year of conduct in 2009 at Mataram, Lombok, TIME will definitely continue this tradition to speed up the development of the Indonesian tourism industry accordingly. As Makassar in Sulawesi this year, Lombok will offer visiting delegates a sound infrastructure and easy access via its new international airport. A post-tour is already planned to explore the nearby island of Sumbawa. 

During a press conference on October 15, Chairperson of TIME2008 Steering Committee, Mrs. Meity Robot, said that TIME2008 is attended by 104 buyers from 21 countries, 108 sellers from 16 provinces of Indonesia occupying 86 booths, and 15 international travel writers from 9 countries. The event features mostly marine tourism products as well as new emerging MICE facilities in Indonesia. 

Appointment sessions are on October 16-17 and on the exhibitor list are companies, such as ACCOR Hotels & Resorts, Garuda Indonesia, Holiday Villa Bali, Makassar Hotel Network, Patra Jasa Jakarta, Santika Indonesia Hotels & Resorts, Taman Simalem Resort in North Sumatra as well as National Tourism Organisations (NTOs) of North Sumatra, West Sumatra, West Kalimantan, East Kalimantan among others from Central Java, Bali and far away Papua. 

It was up to Mr. Sapta Nirwandar, Director-General of Marketing from the Ministry of Culture & Tourism in Indonesia, to host a luncheon on October 15 for invited guests at the Celebes Convention Centre, while on October 16 the Governor of South Sulawesi, Dr. H. Syahrul Yasin Limpo, hosted a dinner reception at his residence in Makassar. 

TIME2008 will conclude on a festive note with another dinner hosted by the Major of Makassar, Mr. Ilham Siradjudin, at his residence on October 17.

Ternate`s Orange fort soon to be renovated

Ternate, (ANTARA News) - The Orange Fort, a colonial heritage in Ternate, North Maluku (Moluccas) would soon be renovated with Rp2 billion fund taken from the 2008 state budget as it seemed to be neglected. 

"The Orange Fort will soon be renovated. The Rp2 billion fund from the central government is now in a tendered contract process," the Chief of Ternate`s tourism and cultural office, Arifin Umangsaji, said here Sunday. 

The Orange Fort was built in the 16th century by the Dutch government when they colonized Ternate. In Ternate, similar forts were also built by Portugal and Spain during their ruling times. 

Arifin said the Orange Fort renovation would raise its function for scientific needs and tourist attraction in the area. 

The Orange Fort is located in the center of Ternate city, and has become the center of attention of many people due to the concerning condition of the valuable historical heritage. 

Meanwhile, a Ternate history observer, Djafar Noho S.pd, wished that the Fort`s renovation should be done precisely to keep its originality as a historical relic. 

Contractors should involve experts dealing with historical renovation and consult with Ternate`s royal family who knows the fort very well. 

"I hope the renovation deviation case in Kastela fort several years ago will not recur on the Orange Fort. This has to be the contractor`s attention and everyone relevant to this renovation project," he said.

Govt declares 10 regions top tourist destinations

Sungailiat, Bangka (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian government has declared ten regions in the country top tourist destionations in a move to boost the national tourism industry. 

"The policy to declare ten regions top tourist destinations will hopefully encourage each of the regions to improve their performance in developing their respective tourism potentials," Wibowo, a deputy drector general at the Culture and Tourism Ministry, said here at the weekend. 

The ten regions are North Sulawesi, South Sulawesi, West Nusa Tenggara, East Nusa Tenggara, West Sumatra, North Sumatra, Riau Islands, South Sumatra, East Kalimantan and West Irian Jaya, he said. 

"Every year we make an evaluation of the regions to be declared top tourist destinations by taking into account various aspects, namely natural potentials, infrastructure facility and the local people`s way of thinking," he said. 

He said Indonesia had 33 tourist destination areas stretching from the country`s western-most province of Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam to the country`s eastern-most province of Papua. 

"Of the total, only 16 tourist destinations are able to attract 90 percent of local and foreign tourists, including the ten top tourist destinations," he said. 

The 16 tourist destinations are Bandung, Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Batam, Bali, Toba, Karakatau, Tana Toraja, Lombok, Semarang, Java, West Sumatra, Manado, Sangalaki, Komodo and Kupang, he said. 

"The figure suggests that there is still a gap among tourist destinations. That`s why there need to be directives and policies to develop the tourist destinations in a concrete way," he said.

Games open in style

Niken Prathivi, The Jakarta Post 

President Susilo Bambang opened the inaugural Asian Beach Games on Saturday, saying he hoped the event could bring about peace and harmony among Asian countries and across the world. 

In a rare appearance at Garuda Wisnu Kencana cultural park in Ungasan Hill, Jimbaran, Bali, the President dressed in Balinese attire. 

"I see Asian Beach Games as the agent to create harmony of civilization and antidote of the clash of civilization," Yudhoyono said in front of some 5,500 guests, including International Olympics Committee president Jacques Rogge, Olympics Council of Asia president Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, and the royal families of Brunei Darussalam and Jordan. 

"And by competing with fairness, you can also help to keep the brotherhood of mankind." 

Athletes and officials from 40 participating countries marched across the park, with five countries having their flags paraded. 

Indonesian sprinter Suryo Agung Wibowo held the flag of the OCA before being raised next to the Indonesian flag. 

Indonesia's former volleyball player Agus Salim, Olympic shuttler Taufik Hidayat and windsurfer I Made Oka Sulaksana took turns relaying the torch, with the latter igniting the cauldron to mark the start of the nine-day Games. 

The flame shall remain lit during the Games, which will close on Oct. 26. 

A 10-minute fireworks display summed up the spectacular opening of the sporting event, which was held on a hilly venue located some 20 kilometers from downtown Kuta. 

Indonesia was named the host of the continent's largest multisport beach games during an OCA meeting in Beijing four years ago.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Kaliandra trekking: The march of the eco-tourists

Duncan Graham, Contributor Jakarta Post, Malang

Call them flashpackers, or backpackers-plus to their face. These knowledge-hungry 60-somethings can be found in every corner of the world, out to flex their muscles as well as their minds. 

Having conquered the Australasian wilderness they'll soon be heading for the mountains of East Java, if Janet Cochrane and her Indonesian colleagues have their way.

British academic Cochrane has done the hard yards in the tourism industry. Before teaching at Leeds University she led organized tours, including outdoor adventures. 

She's also been a frequent visitor to Indonesia, so her surprise at the lack of development in hiking, eco and cultural tourism carries some clout. 

"Trekking tours are extremely popular in other parts of the world," she said. "It's amazing that nothing has yet been successfully developed in Indonesia, other than hikes of a day or more up and down mountains that can be extremely challenging." 

This dearth is now being tackled in central East Java, where a group of young Indonesians, backed by a conservation center and some of Cochrane's students, are developing a one-week trekking tour with the pedestrian title "A Walk Around Arjuna" ( 


Local villagers carry bundles of firewood along one of the trekking paths at the foothills of Gunung Arjuana. Locals have enthusiastically welcomed the trekking program, as it will add to their income through the opportunity to build and maintain tracks, and act as trek guides and accomodation hosts. (JP/Wahyoe Boediwardhana)


Arjuna, 3,339 meters high, stands between Surabaya and Malang Mountains. It last erupted in 1952. Its neighbor, Mount Welirang, is just 183 meters lower and is a well-known sulfur mine. For those brave or driven enough to enter the smoking crater, there's a 1,000-meter deep valley between the two peaks to traverse first. 

"We want to create an experience where visitors can get involved in local culture and traditional arts," said Agus Wiyono, executive director of the Kaliandra Sejati Foundation, which runs an education and training center. "We'd like them to understand and maybe experience the cycles of rural life, including the harvesting of rice. 

"To do this successfully we need to be supported by the local communities. We are taking things slowly and smoothly. We are calling this our 'pride campaign' and want it to encourage conservation of the environment. We don't want them to feel threatened." 

Or exploited. The days when tourism was considered benign and a plus for the locals have long gone. The Bali experience, where farmers' land has been lost to hotels and the anticipated post-construction jobs went to outsiders, is a classic example of the downsides of tourism. 

Cochrane said the negative impacts included arousing the desire for material goods, particularly the shiny, buzzy things that tourists carry. However mobile phone coverage in the Arjuna area is like the landscape -- full of holes. So the pleasure of arousing envy by browsing emails from Exeter while standing on the crumbling cusp of a smoking caldera will be limited. 

Then there's the danger of infection from the glazy-eyed monotone "have a good day" virus that infects city supermarket checkout-chicks. It would be tragic if this sickness found its way into the Arjuna villages because the locals are genuinely friendly, even though their interrogation of visitors' age, faith and fertility can get a bit wearing. 

Agus and his Kaliandra colleagues, Sapto Siswoyo and Agus Sugianto, have been organizing village meetings to help people understand what might happen when the trekking program gets underway in a big way. So far there have been nine sessions involving farmers and householders. 

Agus Wiyono said the locals were enthusiastic because they had the chance to add to the income they currently earn from farming and forestry. They'll get the opportunity to build and maintain tracks, erect signs, act as tour guides and provide handicrafts, food and accommodation. 

The other issue concerning the organizers is whether they should try to limit visitors. 

If the trekking tours get too popular, cashed-up developers from outside might muscle in to build flashy resorts that would destroy the things that attract genuine eco-tourists. 

Although the trekkers are likely to be hardy Europeans and Australians enjoying an active retirement on handsome pensions, they will still want their little comforts. 

They may be prepared to forgo hot showers and sit-down toilets, but they will insist on cleanliness, and their desire for contact with nature will vanish if the little black things on the bedroom floor turn out to be rat droppings. 

So the Kaliandra crew are busy explaining foreigners' needs and funny customs, like wanting to take part in some of the most boringly repetitious jobs in agriculture -- threshing rice by hand and pushing buffaloes to plow paddy. 

As a tourist spot, Arjuna and its neighboring mountains have so many add-on attractions that even the most wilderness-worn will find something new. It's not just the views that make high-definition TV look like distorted transmissions. 

The area is rich in culture and history, mystery and magic. For in these lush and fecund mountains the major religions haven't had the missionary successes they've enjoyed in the coastal cities. 

Many ancient traditions and ceremonies have survived, particularly those involving planting and harvesting of crops. The locals will share these with outsiders, provided they're not trying to put a stop to these practices. 

Then there's the chance to spot a rare Javan hawk-eagle, or the grizzled langur. Both are heading down the one-way track made by hundreds of other Indonesian birds and beasts, as forests are felled. 

"There's a huge variety of things to see, from ancient temples and pristine montane forests to nightclubs, from hot springs and waterfalls, to tea plantations and rice fields," said Cochrane. The area is also cool -- Kaliandra is 850 meters up Arjuna. It's not quite outside mosquito range but they're not the saber-toothed brutes found on the steaming floodplains far below. 

Although it will be another year before the long tour is ready for its first corrugated-sole footfall, shorter one-day tramps around Kaliandra are almost ready for business.