|— Province —|
Bali View Panorama
|Motto: Bali Dwipa Jaya (Kawi)
(Glorious Bali Island)
Location of Bali in Indonesia
|Coordinates (Denpasar): Coordinates:|
|– Governor||Made Mangku Pastika|
|– Total||5,632.86 km2 (2,174.9 sq mi)|
|– Density||630.4/km2 (1,632.7/sq mi)|
|– Ethnic groups||Balinese (89%), Javanese (7%), Baliaga (1%), Madurese (1%)|
|– Religion||Hindu (93.19%), Muslim (4.79%), Christian (1.38%), Buddhist (0.64%)|
|– Languages||Indonesian (official), Balinese|
|Time zone||CIT (UTC+08)|
Bali (Balinese) is an Indonesian island located in the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, lying between Java to the west and Lombok to the east. It is one of the country’s 33 provinces with the provincial capital at Denpasar towards the south of the island.
With a population recorded as 3,551,000 in 2009, the island is home to the vast majority of Indonesia’s small Hindu minority. About 93.18% of Bali’s population adheres to Balinese Hinduism, while most of the remainder follow Islam. It is also the largest tourist destination in the country and is renowned for its highly developed arts, including dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metalworking and music.
Balinese culture was strongly influenced by Indian and Chinese, and particularly Hindu culture, in a process beginning around the 1st century AD. The name Bali dwipa (“Bali island”) has been discovered from various inscriptions, including the Blanjong pillar inscription written by Sri Kesari Warmadewa in 914 AD and mentioning “Walidwipa”. It was during this time that the complex irrigation system subak was developed to grow rice. Some religious and cultural traditions still in existence today can be traced back to this period. The Hindu Majapahit Empire (1293–1520 AD) on eastern Java founded a Balinese colony in 1343. When the empire declined, there was an exodus of intellectuals, artists, priests and musicians from Java to Bali in the 15th century.
The first European contact with Bali is thought to have been made by Dutch explorer Cornelis de Houtman who arrived in 1597, though a Portuguese ship had foundered off the Bukit Peninsula as early as 1585 and left a few Portuguese in the service of Dewa Agung. Dutch colonial control expanded across the Indonesian archipelago in the nineteenth century (see Dutch East Indies). Their political and economic control over Bali began in the 1840s on the island’s north coast by pitting various distrustful Balinese realms against each other. In the late 1890s, struggles between Balinese kingdoms in the island’s south were exploited by the Dutch to increase their control.
The Dutch mounted large naval and ground assaults at the Sanur region in 1906 and were met by the thousands of members of the royal family and their followers who fought against the superior Dutch force in a suicidal puputan defensive assault rather than face the humiliation of surrender. Despite Dutch demands for surrender, an estimated 1,000 Balinese marched to their death against the invaders. In the Dutch intervention in Bali (1908), a similar massacre occurred in the face of a Dutch assault in Klungkung. Afterwards the Dutch governors were able to exercise administrative control over the island, but local control over religion and culture generally remained intact. Dutch rule over Bali had come later and was never as well established as in other parts of Indonesia such as Java and Maluku.
In the 1930s, anthropologists Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, and artists Miguel Covarrubias and Walter Spies, and musicologist Colin McPhee created a western image of Bali as “an enchanted land of aesthetes at peace with themselves and nature”, and western tourism first developed on the island.
Imperial Japan occupied Bali during World War II during which time a Balinese military officer, Gusti Ngurah Rai, formed a Balinese ‘freedom army’. The lack of institutional changes from the time of Dutch rule however, and the harshness of war requisitions made Japanese rule little better than the Dutch one. Following Japan’s Pacific surrender in August 1945, the Dutch promptly returned to Indonesia, including Bali, immediately to reinstate their pre-war colonial administration. This was resisted by the Balinese rebels now using Japanese weapons. On 20 November 1946, the Battle of Marga was fought in Tabanan in central Bali. Colonel I Gusti Ngurah Rai, by then 29 years old, finally rallied his forces in east Bali at Marga Rana, where they made a suicide attack on the heavily armed Dutch. The Balinese battalion was entirely wiped out, breaking the last thread of Balinese military resistance. In 1946 the Dutch constituted Bali as one of the 13 administrative districts of the newly-proclaimed State of East Indonesia, a rival state to the Republic of Indonesia which was proclaimed and headed by Sukarno and Hatta. Bali was included in the “Republic of the United States of Indonesia” when the Netherlands recognised Indonesian independence on 29 December 1949.
The 1963 eruption of Mount Agung killed thousands, created economic havoc and forced many displaced Balinese to be transmigrated to other parts of Indonesia. Mirroring the widening of social divisions across Indonesia in the 1950s and early 1960s, Bali saw conflict between supporters of the traditional caste system, and those rejecting these traditional values. Politically, this was represented by opposing supporters of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) and the Indonesian Nationalist Party (PNI), with tensions and ill-feeling further increased by the PKI’s land reform programs. An attempted coup in Jakarta was put down by forces led by General Suharto. The army became the dominant power as it instigated a violent anti-communist purge, in which the army blamed the PKI for the coup. Most estimates suggest that at least 500,000 people were killed across Indonesia, with an estimated 80,000 killed in Bali, equivalent to 5% of the island’s population. With no Islamic forces involved as in Java and Sumatra, upper-caste PNI landlords led the extermination of PKI members.
As a result of the 1965/66 upheavals, Suharto was able to maneuver Sukarno out of the presidency, and his “New Order” government reestablished relations with western countries. The pre-War Bali as “paradise” was revived in a modern form, and the resulting large growth in tourism has led to a dramatic increase in Balinese standards of living and significant foreign exchange earned for the country.Islamists in the tourist area of Kuta killed 202 people, mostly foreigners. This attack, and another in 2005, severely affected tourism, bringing much economic hardship to the island. A bombing in 2002 by militant
See also List of bodies of water in Bali and List of mountains in Bali.
The island of Bali lies 3.2 km (2 mi) east of Java, and is approximately 8 degrees south of the equator. Bali and Java are separated by Bali Strait. East to west, the island is approximately 153 km (95 mi) wide and spans approximately 112 km (69 mi) north to south; its land area is 5,632 km².
The highest point is Mount Agung at 3,142 m (9,426 feet) high, an active volcano that last erupted in March 1963. Mountains range from centre to the eastern side, with Mount Agung the easternmost peak. Mount Batur (1,717 m) is also still active; an eruption 30,000 years ago was one of the largest known volcanic events on Earth. In the south the land descends to form an alluvial plain, watered by shallow, north-south flowing rivers, drier in the dry season and overflowing during periods of heavy rain. The longest of these rivers, Ayung River, flows approximately 75 km.
The island is surrounded by coral reefs. Beaches in the south tend to have white sand while those in the north and west have black sand. The beach town of Padangbai in the south east has both. Bali has no major waterways, although the Ho River is navigable by small sampan boats. Black sand beaches between Pasut and Klatingdukuh are being developed for tourism, but apart from the seaside temple of Tanah Lot, they are not yet used for significant tourism.
The largest city is the provincial capital, Denpasar, near the southern coast. Its population is around 300,000. Bali’s second-largest city is the old colonial capital, Singaraja, which is located on the north coast and is home to around 100,000 people. Other important cities include the beach resort, Kuta, which is practically part of Denpasar’s urban area; and Ubud, which is north of Denpasar, and is known as the island’s cultural centre.
Three small islands lie to the immediate south east and all are administratively part of the Klungkung regency of Bali: Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. These islands are separated from Bali by the Badung Strait.
To the east, the Lombok Strait separates Bali from Lombok and marks the biogeographical division between the fauna of the Indomalayan ecozone and the distinctly different fauna of Australasia. The transition is known as the Wallace Line, named after Alfred Russel Wallace, who first proposed a transition zone between these two major biomes. When sea levels dropped during the Pleistocene ice age, Bali was connected to Java and Sumatra and to the mainland of Asia and shared the Asian fauna, but the deep water of the Lombok Strait continued to keep Lombok and the Lesser Sunda archipelago isolated.
Bali lies just to the west of the Wallace Line, and thus has a fauna which is Asian in character, with very little Australasian influence, and has more in common with Java than with Lombok. An exception is the Yellow-crested Cockatoo, a member of a primarily Australasian family. There are around 280 species of birds, including the critically endangered Bali Starling, which is endemic. Others Include Barn Swallow, Black-naped Oriole, Black Racket-tailed Treepie, Crested Serpent-eagle, Crested Treeswift, Dollarbird, Java Sparrow, Lesser Adjutant, Long-tailed Shrike, Milky Stork, Pacific Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Sacred Kingfisher, Sea Eagle, Woodswallow, Savanna Nightjar, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Yellow-vented Bulbul, White Heron, Great Egret.
Until the early 20th century, Bali was home to several large mammals: the wild Banteng, Leopard and an endemic subspecies of Tiger, the Bali Tiger. The Banteng still occurs in its domestic form, while Leopards are found only in neighboring Java, and the Bali Tiger is extinct. The last definite record of a Tiger on Bali dates from 1937, when one was shot, though the subspecies may have survived until the 1940s or 1950s. The relatively small size of the island, conflict with humans, poaching and habitat reduction drove the Tiger to extinction. This was the smallest and rarest of all Tiger subspecies and was never caught on film or displayed in zoos, while few skins or bones remain in museums around the world. Today, the largest mammals are the Javan Rusa deer and the Wild Boar. A second, smaller species of deer, the Indian Muntjac, also occurs.
Squirrels are quite commonly encountered, less often the Asian Palm Civet, which is also kept in coffee farms to produce Kopi Luwak. Bats are well represented, perhaps the most famous place to encounter them remaining the Goa Lawah (Temple of the Bats) where they are worshipped by the locals and also constitute a tourist attraction. They also occur in other cave temples, for instance at Gangga Beach. Two species of monkey occur. The Crab-eating Macaque, known locally as “kera”, is quite common around human settlements and temples, where it becomes accustomed to being fed by humans, particularly in any of the three “monkey forest” temples, such as the popular one in the Ubud area. They are also quite often kept as pets by locals. The second monkey, far rarer and more elusive is the Silver Leaf Monkey known locally as “lutung”. They occur in few places apart from the Bali Barat National Park. Other, rarer mammals include the Leopard Cat, Sunda Pangolin and Black Giant Squirrel.
Snakes include the King Cobra and Reticulated Python. The Water Monitor can grow to an impressive size and move surprisingly quickly.
The rich coral reefs around the coast, particularly around popular diving spots such as Tulamben, Amed, Menjangan or neighboring Nusa Penida, host a wide range of marine life, for instance Hawksbill Turtle, Giant Sunfish, Giant Manta Ray, Giant Moray Eel, Bumphead Parrotfish, Hammerhead Shark, Reef Shark, barracuda, and sea snakes. Dolphins are commonly encountered on the north coast near Singaraja and Lovina.
Many plants have been introduced by humans within the last centuries, particularly since the 20th century, making it sometimes hard to distinguish what plants are really native. Among the larger trees the most common are: Banyan trees, Jackfruit, coconuts, bamboo species, acacia trees and also endless rows of coconuts and banana species. Numerous flowers can be seen: hibiscus, frangipani, bougainvillea, poinsettia, oleander, jasmine, water lily, lotus, roses, begonias, orchids and hydrangeas exist. On higher grounds that receive more moisture, for instance around Kintamani, certain species of fern trees, mushrooms and even pine trees thrive well. Rice comes in many varieties. Other plants with agricultural value include: salak, mangosteen, corn, Kintamani orange, coffee and water spinach.
The province is divided into 8 regencies (kabupaten) and 1 city (kota). Unless otherwise stated, the regency’s capital:
- Badung, capital Denpasar
- Bangli, capital Bangli
- Buleleng, capital Singaraja
- Denpasar (city)
- Gianyar, capital Gianyar
- Jembrana, capital Negara
- Karangasem, capital Amlapura
- Klungkung, capital Semarapura
- Tabanan, capital Tabanan
Three decades ago, the Balinese economy was largely agriculture-based in terms of both output and employment. Tourism is now the largest single industry; and as a result, Bali is one of Indonesia’s wealthiest regions. About 80% of Bali’s economy depends on tourism. The economy, however, suffered significantly as a result of the terrorist bombings 2002 and 2005. The tourism industry is slowly recovering once again.
Although tourism produces the economy’s largest output, agriculture is still the island’s biggest employer; most notably rice cultivation. Crops grown in smaller amounts include fruit, vegetables, Coffea arabica and other cash and subsistence crops. Fishing also provides a significant number of jobs. Bali is also famous for its artisans who produce a vast array of handicrafts, including batik and ikat cloth and clothing, wooden carvings, stone carvings, painted art and silverware. Notably, individual villages typically adopt a single product, such as wind chimes or wooden furniture.
The Arabica coffee production region is the highland region of Kintamani near Mount Batur. Generally, Balinese coffee is processed using the wet method. This results in a sweet, soft coffee with good consistency. Typical flavors include lemon and other citrus notes. Many coffee farmers in Kintamani are members of a traditional farming system called Subak Abian, which is based on the Hindu philosophy of “Tri Hita Karana”. According to this philosophy, the three causes of happiness are good relations with God, other people and the environment. The Subak Abian system is ideally suited to the production of fair trade and organic coffee production. Arabica coffee from Kintamani is the first product in Indonesia to request a Geographical Indication.
Although significant tourism exists in the north, centre and east of the island, the tourism industry is overwhelmingly focused in the south. The main tourist locations are the town of Kuta (with its beach), and its outer suburbs (which were once independent townships) of Legian and Seminyak; the east coast town of Sanur (once the only tourist hub); to the south of the airport is Jimbaran; in the center of the island Ubud; and the newer development of Nusa Dua.
Another increasingly important source of income for Bali is what is called “Congress Tourism” from the frequent international conferences held on the island, especially after the terrorist bombings of 2002 and 2005; ostensibly to resurrect Bali’s damaged tourism industry as well as its tarnished image.
The American government lifted its travel warnings in 2008. As of 2009 the Australian government still rates it a 4 danger level (the same as several countries in central Africa) on a scale of 5.
An offshoot of tourism is the growing real estate industry in Bali. Bali real estate has been rapidly developing in the main tourist districts of Kuta, Legian, Seminyak and Oberoi. Most recently, high end 5 star projects are under development on the Bukit peninsula on the south side of the island. Million dollar villas are springing up along the cliff sides of south Bali, commanding panoramic ocean views. Foreign and domestic (many Jakarta individuals and companies are fairly active) investment into other areas of the island also continues to grow. Land prices, despite the worldwide economic crisis have remained stable.
In the last half of 2008, Indonesia’s currency had dropped approximately 30% against the US dollar, providing many overseas visitors value for their currencies. Visitor arrivals for 2009 were forecast to drop 8% (which would be higher than 2007 levels), but this is due to the worldwide economic crisis which has also affected the global tourist industry and not due to any travel warnings.
Bali’s tourism economy has not only survived the horrible terrorist bombings of 2002 and 2005, the tourism industry has slowly recovered and surpassed its pre-terrorist bombing levels and the longterm trend is a steady increase of visitor arrivals.
The Indonesian Tourism Ministry expects more visitors arrivals in 2010, whose target for visitor arrivals is aimed to be the highest ever.
Bali’s tourism brand is Bali Shanti Shanti Shanti. Where Shanti derived from Sanskrit “Shanti” (शान्ति) meaning peace.
Airports: The Ngurah Rai International Airport is located near Jimbaran, on the isthmus joining the southernmost part of the island to the main part of the island. Lt.Col. Wisnu Airfield is found in north-west Bali.
A coastal road surrounds the island, and three major two-lane arteries cross the central mountains at passes reaching to 1,750m in height (at Penelokan). The Ngurah Rai Bypass is a four-lane expressway that partly encircles Denpasar and enables cars to travel quickly in the heavily populated south. Bali has no railway lines.
The population of Bali is 3,151,000 (as of 2005). There are an estimated 30,000 expatriates living in Bali.
Unlike most of Muslim-majority Indonesia, about 93.18% of Bali’s population adheres to Balinese Hinduism, formed as a combination of existing local beliefs and Hindu influences from mainland Southeast Asia and South Asia. Minority religions include Islam (4.79%), Christianity (1.38%), and Buddhism (0.64%). These figures do not include immigrants from other parts of Indonesia.
When Islam surpassed Hinduism in Java (16th century), Bali became a refuge for many Hindus. Balinese Hinduism is an amalgam in which gods and demigods are worshipped together with Buddhist heroes, the spirits of ancestors, indigenous agricultural deities and sacred places. Religion as it is practiced in Bali is a composite belief system that embraces not only theology, philosophy, and mythology, but ancestor worship, animism and magic. It pervades nearly every aspect of traditional life. Caste is observed, though less strictly than in India. With an estimated 20,000 temples and shrines, Bali is known as the “Island of the Gods”.
Balinese Hinduism has roots in Indian Hinduism and in Buddhism, and adopted the animistic traditions of the indigenous people. This influence strengthened the belief that the gods and goddesses are present in all things. Every element of nature, therefore, possesses its own power, which reflects the power of the gods. A rock, tree, dagger, or woven cloth is a potential home for spirits whose energy can be directed for good or evil. Balinese Hinduism is deeply interwoven with art and ritual, and is less preoccupied with scripture, law, and belief than Islam in Indonesia. Ritualizing states of self-control are a notable feature of religious expression among the people, who for this reason have become famous for their graceful and decorous behavior.
Apart from the majority of Balinese Hindus, there also exist Chinese immigrants whose traditions have melded with that of the locals. As a result, these Sino-Balinese not only embrace their original religion, which is a mixture of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism, but also find a way to harmonise it with the local traditions. Hence, it is not uncommon to find local Sino-Balinese during the local temple’s odalan. Moreover, Balinese Hindu priests are invited to perform rites alongside a Chinese priest in the event of the death of a Sino-Balinese. Nevertheless, the Sino-Balinese claim to embrace Buddhism for administrative purposes, such as their Identity Cards.
Balinese and Indonesian are the most widely spoken languages in Bali, and the vast majority of Balinese people are bilingual or trilingual. There are several indigenous Balinese languages, but most Balinese can also use the most widely spoken option: modern common Balinese. The usage of different Balinese languages was traditionally determined by the Balinese caste system and by clan membership, but this tradition is diminishing.
English is a common third language (and the primary foreign language) of many Balinese, owing to the requirements of the tourism industry.
Bali is renowned for its diverse and sophisticated art forms, such as painting, sculpture, woodcarving, handcrafts, and performing arts. Balinese percussion orchestra music, known as gamelan, is highly developed and varied. Balinese performing arts often portray stories from Hindu epics such as the Ramayana but with heavy Balinese influence. Famous Balinese dances include pendet, legong, baris, topeng, barong, gong keybar, and kecak (the monkey dance). Bali boasts one of the most diverse and innovative performing arts cultures in the world, with paid performances at thousands of temple festivals, private ceremonies, or public shows.
The Hindu New Year, Nyepi, is celebrated in the spring by a day of silence. On this day everyone stays at home and tourists are encouraged to remain in their hotels. But the day before that large, colourful sculptures of ogoh-ogoh monsters are paraded and finally burned in the evening to drive away evil spirits. Other festivals throughout the year are specified by the Balinese pawukon calendrical system.
Celebrations are held for many occasions such as a tooth-filing (coming-of-age ritual), cremation or odalan (temple festival). One of the most important concepts that Balinese ceremonies have in common is that of désa kala patra, which refers to how ritual performances must be appropriate in both the specific and general social context. Many of the ceremonial art forms such as wayang kulittopeng are highly improvisatory, providing flexibility for the performer to adapt the performance to the current situation. Many celebrations call for a loud, boisterous atmosphere with lots of activity and the resulting aesthetic, ramé, is distinctively Balinese. Oftentimes two or more gamelan ensembles will be performing well within earshot, and sometimes compete with each other in order to be heard. Likewise, the audience members talk amongst themselves, get up and walk around, or even cheer on the performance, which adds to the many layers of activity and the liveliness typical of ramé. and
Kaja and kelod are the Balinese equivalents of North and South, which refer to ones orientation between the island’s largest mountain Gunung Agung (kaja), and the sea (kelod). In addition to spatial orientation, kaja and kelod have the connotation of good and evil; gods and ancestors are believed to live on the mountain whereas demons live in the sea. Buildings such as temples and residential homes are spatially oriented by having the most sacred spaces closest to the mountain and the unclean places nearest to the sea.
Most temples have an inner courtyard and an outer courtyard which are arranged with the inner courtyard furthest kaja. These spaces serve as performance venues since most Balinese rituals are accompanied by any combination of music, dance and drama. The performances that take place in the inner courtyard are classified as wali, the most sacred rituals which are offerings exclusively for the gods, while the outer courtyard is where bebali ceremonies are held, which are intended for gods and people. Lastly, performances meant solely for the entertainment of humans take place outside the walls of the temple and are called bali-balihan. This three-tiered system of classification was standardized in 1971 by a committee of Balinese officials and artists in order to better protect the sanctity of the oldest and most sacred Balinese rituals from being performed for a paying audience.
Tourism, Bali’s chief industry, has provided the island with a foreign audience that is eager to pay for entertainment, thus creating new performance opportunities and more demand for performers. The impact of tourism is controversial since before it became integrated into the economy, the Balinese performing arts did not exist as a capitalist venture, and were not performed for entertainment outside of their respective ritual context. Since the 1930s sacred rituals such as the barong dance have been performed both in their original contexts, as well as exclusively for paying tourists. This has led to new versions of many of these performances which have developed according to the preferences of foreign audiences; some villages have a barong mask specifically for non-ritual performances as well as an older mask which is only used for sacred performances.
The Balinese eat with their right hand, as the left is impure, a common belief throughout Indonesia. The Balinese do not hand or receive things with their left hand and would not wave at anyone with their left hand.
Balinese woman bring offering to the temple.
|3.0 million (2000 census)|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Bali (Indonesia): 2.8 million|
|Balinese, Sasak, Indonesian|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Javanese, Sasak, Tenggerese, Sundanese|
The Balinese population of 3.0 million (1.5% of Indonesia’s population) live mostly on the island of Bali, making up 89% of the island’s population. There are also significant populations on the island of Lombok, and in the eastern-most regions of Java (eg. the Municipality of Banyuwangi).
The origins of the Balinese came from three periods: The first waves of immigrants came from Java and Kalimantan in the prehistoric times of the proto-Malay stock; the second wave of Balinese came slowly over the years from Java during the Hindu period; the third and final period came from Java, between the 15th and 16th centuries, at the time of the conversion of Islam in Java, aristocrats fled to Bali from the Javanese Majapahit Empire to escape Islamic conversion, reshaping the Balinese culture into a syncretic form of classical Javanese culture with many Balinese elements.
Balinese culture is perhaps most known for its dance, drama and sculpture. The culture is noted for its use of the gamelan in music. The island is also known for its form of Wayang kulit or Shadow play/Shadow Puppet theatre. It also has several unique aspects related to their religions and traditions. Balinese culture is a mix of Balinese Hindu/Buddhist religion and Balinese custom.
The vast majority of the Balinese follow one religion -— A Shivaite sect of Hinduism that is mixed with pre-Hindu mythologies. The Balinese from before the third wave of immigration, known as the Bali Aga, are mostly not followers of the Balinese Shivaite Hinduism, but their own animist traditions.
- Kite festival
- Pager wesi
- Ngaben (Cremation Ceremony)
Balinese art is art of Hindu-Javanese origin that grew from the work of artisans of the Majapahit Kingdom, with their expansion to Bali in the late 13th century. From the sixteenth until the twentieth centuries, the village of Kamasan, Klungkung (East Bali), was the centre of classical Balinese art. During the first part of the twentieth century, new varieties of Balinese art developed. Since the late twentieth century, Ubud and its neighboring villages established a reputation as the center of Balinese art. Ubud and Batuan are known for their paintings, Mas for their woodcarvings, Celuk for gold and silver smiths, and Batubulan for their stone carvings. Covarrubias describes Balinese art as, “… a highly developed, although informal Baroque folk art that combines the peasant liveliness with the refinement of classicism of Hinduistic Java, but free of the conservative prejudice and with a new vitality fired by the exuberance of the demonic spirit of the tropical primitive.” Eiseman correctly pointed out that Balinese art is actually carved, painted, woven, and prepared into objects intended for everyday use rather than as object d ‘art.
Prior to 1920s, Balinese traditional paintings were restricted to what is now known as the Kamasan or Wayang style. It is a visual narrative of Hindu-Javanese epics: the Ramayana and Mahabharata, as well as a number of indigenous stories, such as the Panji narrative. These two-dimensional drawings are traditionally drawn on cloth or bark paper (Ulantaga paper) with natural dyes. The coloring is limited to available natural dyes: red, ochre, black, etc. In addition, the rendering of the figures and ornamentations must follow strictly prescribed rules, since they are mostly produced for religious articles and temple hangings. These paintings are produced collaboratively, and therefore mostly anonymously.
There were many experiments with new types of art by Balinese from the late nineteenth century onwards. These experiments were stimulated by access to new materials (western paper and imported inks and paint), and by the 1930s, new tourist markets stimulated many young Balinese to be involved in new types of art.
In the 1920s, with the arrival of many western artists, Bali became an artist enclave (as Tahiti was for Paul Gauguin) for avant-garde artists such as Walter Spies (German), Rudolf Bonnet (Dutch), Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur (Belgian), Arie Smit (Dutch) and Donald Friend (Australian) in more recent years. Most of these western artists had very little influence on the Balinese until the post-World War Two period, although some accounts over-emphasise the western presence at the expense of recognising Balinese creativity.
On his first visit to Bali in 1930, the Mexican artist Miguel Covarrubias noted that local paintings served primarily religious or ceremonial functions. They were used as decorative cloths to be hung in temples and important houses, or as calendars to determine children’s horoscopes. Yet within a few years, he found the art form had undergone a “liberating revolution.” Where they had once been severely restricted by subject (mainly episodes from Hindu mythology) and style, Balinese artists began to produce scenes from rural life. These painters had developed increasing individuality.
This groundbreaking period of creativity reached a peak in the late 1930s. A stream of famous visitors, including Charlie Chaplin and the anthropologists Gregory Bateson and Margaret Mead, encouraged the talented locals to create highly original works. During their stay in Bali in mid 1930s, Bateson and Mead collected over 2000 paintings, predominantly from the village of Batuan, but also from the coastal village of Sanur. Among western artists, Spies and Bonnet are often credited for the modernization of traditional Balinese paintings. From the 1950s onwards Baliese artists incorporated aspects of perspective and anatomy from these artists.  More importantly, they acted as agents of change by encouraging experimentation, and promoted departures from tradition. The result was an explosion of individual expression that increased the rate of change in Balinese art. The 1930s styles were consolidated in the 1950s, and in more recent years have been given the confusing title of “modern traditional Balinese painting”. The Ubud painters, although a minority amongst the artists working in the 1930s, became the representatives of the new style thanks to the presence of the great artist Gusti Nyoman Lempad in that village, and to the patronage of the traditional rulers of Ubud. The key points of the Ubud Style included a concentration on the depiction of daily Bali life and drama; the change of the patron of these artists from the religious temples and royal houses to western tourists/collectors; shifting the picture composition from multiple to single focus. Despite the adoption of modern western painting traditions by many Balinese and Indonesian painters, “modern traditional Balinese painting” is still thriving and continues by descendants/students of the artists of the pre-war modernist era (1928-1942). The schools of modern traditional Balinese painting include: Ubud, Batuan, Sanur, Young Artist and Keliki schools of painting.
Modern traditional painting
The pre-War modernisation of Bainese art emanated from three villages: Ubud, where Spies settled, Sanur on the southern coast, and Batuan, a traditional hub of musicians, dancers, carvers and painters. The artists painted mostly on paper, though canvas and board were also used. Often, the works featured repetitive clusters of stylized foliage or waves that conveyed a sense of texture, even perspective. Each village evolved a style of its own. Ubud artists made more use of open spaces and emphasized human figures. Sanur paintings often featured erotic scenes and animals, and work from Batuan was less colorful but tended to be busier.
Ubud has been the center of art for centuries, with the surrounding royal houses and temples as the main patrons. Prior to the 1920s, traditional wayang style paintings dominated the subject matters, although Jean Couteau believes that both secular and religious theme paintings have long been co-existing in the form of the expression of the unity of opposites (Rwabhinneda in Balinese belief system).
Under the patronage of the Ubud royal family, esepcially Tjokorda Gde Agung Sukawati, and with Rudolf Bonnet as a chief consultant, the Pitamaha Art Guild was founded in 1936 as a way to professionalise Balinese painting. Its mission was to preserve the quality of Balinese Art in the rush of tourism to Bali. The board members of Pitamaha met regularly to select paintings submitted by its members, and to conduct exhibitions throughout Indonesia and abroad. Pitamaha was active until the beginning of the second world war in 1942.The subject matters shifted from religious narration to Balinese daily life. Ubud artists who were members to Pitamaha came from Ubud and its surrounding villages; Pengosekan, Peliatan and Tebasaya. Among them were: Ida Bagus Made Kembeng of the village of Tebesaya and his three sons Ida Bagus Wiri, Ida Bagus Made and Ida Bagus Belawa; Tjokorda Oka of the royal house of Peliatan; Anak Agung Gde Sobrat, Anak Agung Gde Meregeg, I Dewa Putu Bedil, I Dewa Nyoman Leper, Anak Agung Dana of Padangtegal; I Gusti Ketut Kobot, I Gusti Made Baret, I Wayan Gedot, Dewa Putu Mokoh of Pengosekan; and I Gusti Nyoman Lempad. Artists from other areas also participated, including Pan Seken from Kamasan, I Gusti Made Deblog from Denpasar, and some of the Sanur artists.
Pitamaha has been by the descendents of the Ubud artists, and has now come to be identified with the period of the 1930s. Noted Ubudian artists include I Ketut Budiana, I Nyoman Meja, I Nyoman Kayun, A.A. Gde Anom Sukawati, I Gusti Agung Wiranata, and Ida Bagus Sena
The Batuan school of painting is practiced by artists in the village of Batuan, which is situated ten kilometers to the South of Ubud. The Batuan artisans are gifted dancers, sculptors and painters. Leading artists of the 1930s included I Nyoman Ngendon, and a number of members of leading brahman families, including Ida Bagus Made Togog. Other major Batuan artists from the pre-modernist era include I Dewa Nyoman Mura (1877-1950) and I Dewa Putu Kebes (1874-1962), who were known as sanging; traditional Wayang-style painters for temples’ ceremonial textiles.
The western influence in Batuan did not reach the intensity it had in Ubud. According to Claire Holt, the Batuan paintings were often dark, crowded representations of either legendary scenes or themes from daily life, but they portrayed above all fearsome nocturnal moments when grotesque spooks, freakish animal monsters, and witches accosted people. This is particularly true for paintings collected by Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson during their field studies in Bali in 1936 to 1939. Gradations of black to white ink washes laid over most of the surface, so as to create an atmosphere of darkness and gloom. In the later years, the designs covered the entire space, which often contributed to the crowded nature of these paintings.
Among the early Batuan artists, I Ngendon (1903-1946) was considered the most innovative Batuan School painter. Ngendon was not only a good painter, but a shrewd business man and political activist. He encouraged and mobilized his neighbours and friends to paint for tourist consumption. His ability in portraiture played an important role in teaching his fellow villagers in Batuan more than Spies and Bonnet. The major Batuan artists from this period were: I Patera (1900-1935), I Tombos (b. 1917), Ida Bagus Togog (1913-1989), Ida Bagus Made Jatasura (1917-1946), Ida Bagus Ketut Diding (1914-1990), I Made Djata (1920-2001), and Ida Bagus Widja (1912-1992). The spirit of the Pitamaha period is still strong and continues by contemporary Batuan Artists such as I Made Budi , I Wayan Bendi (b. 1950), I Ketut Murtika (b. 1952), I Made Sujendra (b. 1964), and many others. I Made Budi and I Wayan Bendi paintings capture the influence of tourism in modern life in Bali. They place tourists with their camera, riding a motorbike or surfing in the midst of Balinese traditional village activities. The dichotomy of modern and traditional Balinese life are contrasted starkly in harmony. I Ketut Murtika ( still paints the traditional story of Mahabharata and Ramayana in a painstaking details with subdued colors. His painting of the Wheel of Life viewed from the Balinese beliefs system shows his mastery of local legends and painstaking attention to details. I Made Sujendra, an art teacher at a local art school, depicts old Balinese folklore with a modern eye and a high degree of individuality. Rejecting excessive decoration and relying on the composition itself, I Made Sujendra is successful in depicting tensions in his work and the old Batuan style of 1930s.
Unlike Ubud and Batuan which are located in the inland of Bali, Sanur is a beach resort. Sanur was the home of the well known Belgian artist Le Mayeur de Mepres, who lived with a Balinese wife (Ni Polok) and had a beach house in Sanur beach.
Tourists in 1930s came to Bali on cruise ships docked in Sanur and made side trips to Ubud and neighboring tourist sites. Its prime location provided the Sanur artist with ready-access to Western tourists who frequented the shop of the Neuhaus Brothers who sold balinese souvenirs and tropical fishes. Neuhaus brothers became the major art dealer of Sanur paintings.
The beach around Sanur, full of outriggers and open horizon, provided local artists with a visual environment different from the Ubud and Batuan, which are located in the hinterland.The playful atmosphere pervades the Sanur paintings, and are not dictated by the religious iconography. It is lighter and airy than those of Batuan and Ubud with sea creatures, erotic scenery and wild animals drawn in rhythmic patterns; often in an Escher-like manner. Most early works were black and white ink wash on paper, but at the request of Neuhaus, latter works were adorned with light pastel colors often added by other artists specializing in coloring a black and white drawings. Their name code is often found at the margin.
The Sanur school of painting is the most stylized and decorative among all modern Balinese Art. Major artists from Sanur are I Rundu, Ida Bagus Nyoman Rai, I Soekaria, I Poegoeg, I Rudin, and many others. I Rudin, who started to paint in mid 1930s, draws simple balinese dancers in the manner of the drawings of Miguel Covarrubias.
Young Artist painting
The development of the Young Artist School of painting is attributed to the Dutch artist Arie Smit, a Dutch soldier who served during the 2nd world war and decided to stay in Bali. In the early 1960s, he came across children in the village of Penestanan near Tjampuhan drawing on the sand. He encouraged these children to paint by providing them with paper and paints.
Their paintings are characterized by “child-like” drawings that lacks details and bright colors drawn with oil paint on canvas. By 1970s, it attracted around three hundred peasant painters to produce paintings for tourists. In 1983, the National Gallery of Malaysia held a major exhibition on the Young Artist paintings from the collection of Datuk Lim Chong Kit.
Two early examples of the Young Artist School are shown here. The painting by I Wayan Pugur (b. 1945), was executed when he was 13 years old and was exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1964, as part of a traveling exhibition in the United States in 1964-1965. This early drawing, executed on paper, exhibits the use of bright colors and a balanced composition. The drawing space is divided into three solid-color areas: dark blue, bright yellow and magenta in between showing the influence of the Wayang painting tradition. The leaves of the large tree with the snakes show the juxtaposition of complementary colors. The faces of the figures were drawn with no details, yet the snakes have eyes and long tongues.
Major artists from the Young Artist School are I Wayan Pugur, I Ketut Soki, I Ngurah KK, I Nyoman Londo, I Ketut Tagen, I Nyoman Cakra, Ni Ketut Gampil, I Nyoman Mundik, I Wayan Regog and many others.
Keliki miniature painting
In the 1970s, miniature paintings emerged from Keliki, a small village north of Ubud, led by a local farmer I Ketut Sana. The sizes range from as small as 2 x 3 inch to as large as 10 x 15 in. I Ketut Sana learnt to paint from I Gusti Nyoman Sudara Lempad from Ubud and from I Wayan Rajin from Batuan. He combined the line drawing of Lempad and the details of the Batuan school. Every inch of the space is covered with minute details of Balinese village life and legends drawn in ink and colored with watercolor. The outcome is a marriage between the youthfulness of the Ubud school and the details of the Batuan School. The Keliki artists proud with their patience to paint minute details of every objects meticulously that occupy the drawing space.
Illustrated on the left is a drawing by I Lunga (c. 1995) depicting the story of Rajapala. Rajapala is often referred to as the first Balinese voyeur or “peeping Tom.” According to the story, Rajapala catches sight of a group of celestial nymphs bathing in a pool. He approaches stealthily, and without their knowledge, steals the skirt (kamben) of the prettiest, Sulaish. As her clothing contains magical powers enabling her to fly, the nymph cannot return home. Rajapala offers to marry her. She accepts on the condition that she will return to heaven after the birth of a child. With time, she and Rajapala have a healthy young son. Years pass, and one day, Sulaish accidentally discovers her clothing hidden in the kitchen. Understanding that she has been tricked, she takes leave of her husband and son and goes back to her heavenly abode.
Major artists from the Keliki Artist School are Sang Ketut Mandera (Dolit), I Ketut Sana, I Wayan Surana, I Lunga, I Wayan Nengah, I Made Ocen, I Made Widi, I Wayan Lanus, Ida Bagus Putra, Sang Nyoman Kardiana (Sabuh) and many others.
Like the Balinese painting, Balinese wood carving underwent a similar transformation during the 1930s and 1940s. The creative outburst emerged during this transition period is often attributed to western influences. In 2006, an exhibition at the Nusantara Museum, Delft, the Netherlands Leidelmeijer traced the Art Deco influence on Balinese wood carving. Leidelmeijer further conjectured that the Art Deco influence continued well into 1970s.
During the transition years, the Pitamaha Artist Guild was the prime mover not only for Balinese paintings, but also for the development of modern Balinese wood carvings. I Tagelan (1902-1935) produced an elongated carving of a Balinese woman from a long piece of wood that was given by Walter Spies, who originally requested him to produce two statues. This carving is in the collection of the Puri Lukisan Museum in Ubud.
Other masters of Balinese modernist woodcarving were: Ida Bagus Nyana, Tjokot (1886-1971) and Ida Bagus Tilem.
Ida Bagus Nyana was known for experimenting with mass in sculpture. When carving human characters, he shortened some parts of the body and lengthened others, thus bringing an eerie, surreal quality to his work. At the same time he didn’t overwork the wood and adopted simple, naive themes of daily life. He thus avoided the “baroque” trap, unlike many carvers of his day.
Tjokot gained a reputation for exploiting the expressive quality inherent in the wood. He would go into the forest to look for strangely shaped trunks and branches and, changing them as little as possible, transforming them into gnarled spooks and demonic figures.
Ida Bagus Tilem, the son of Nyana, furthered Nyana and Tjokot’s innovations both in his working of the wood and in his choice of themes. Unlike the sculptors from the previous generation, he was daring enough to alter the proportions of the characters depicted in his carving. He allowed the natural deformations in the wood to guide the form of his carving, using gnarled logs well suited for representing twisted human bodies. He saw each deformed log or branch as a medium for expressing human feelings. Instead of depicting myths or scenes of daily life, Tilem took up “abstract” themes with philosophical or psychological content: using distorted pieces of wood that are endowed with strong expressive powers. Ida Bagus Tilem, however, was not only an artist, but also a teacher. He trained dozens of young sculptors from the area around the village of Mas. He taught them how to select wood for its expressive power, and how to establish dialogue between wood and Man that has become the mainstream of today’s Balinese woodcarving.
Museums holding important Balinese painting collection
There are many museums throughout the world holding a significant collection of Balinese paintings.
- Europe: In the Netherlands, the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam and the Ethnographic Museum in Leiden, Museum Nusantara in Delft have a large number of paintings from the Wayang period (before 1920s) and the pre-War period (1920s – 1950s). Notably, the Leiden Ethnographic Museum holds the Rudolf Bonnet and Paul Spies collection. In Switzerland, the Ethnographic Museum in Basel holds the pre-War Batuan and Sanur paintings collected by Schlager and the artist Theo Meier.
- Asia: In Japan, the Asian Art Museum in Fukuoka holds an excellent Balinese collection after the Second World War. The Singapore National Art Museum has significant collection of pre-War and post-War Balinese paintings.
- Australia: The Australian Museum, Sydney, has a major collection of Kamasan and other traditional paintings assembled by the Anthropologist Anthony Forge. The National Gallery of Australia in Sydney holds some Balinese works.
- Indonesia: the Museum Sana Budaya in Yogyakarta and Museum Bentara Budaya in Jakarta. In Bali, pre-war Balinese drawings are at the holdings of the Bali Museum in Denpasar and Center for Documentation of Balinese Culture in Denpasar. In addition, there are four major museums in Ubud, Bali, with significant collections: Museum Puri Lukisan, Agung Rai Museum of Art, Neka Museum and Museum Rudana.
- America: Duke University Museum in Durham, American Museum of Natural History in New York, United Nations in New York.
Tourism in Indonesia
Tourism in Indonesia is an important component of the Indonesian economy as well as a significant source of its foreign exchange revenues. In 2008, the number of international tourists has reached over 6 million people who spent more than 7 billion US dollars.
Both nature and culture are major components of Indonesian tourism. The natural heritage can boast a unique combination of a vast archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, the second longest shoreline in the world, and a tropical climate. The beaches in Bali, diving sites in Bunaken, and various national parks in Sumatra are just a few examples of popular scenic destinations. These natural attractions are complemented by a rich cultural heritage that reflects Indonesia’s dynamic history and ethnic diversity. One fact that exemplifies this richness is that over 700 languages are used across the archipelago. The ancient Prambanan and Borobudur temples, Toraja, Yogyakarta, Minangkabau, and of course Bali, with its many Hindu festivities, are some of the popular destinations for cultural tourism.
Tourism in Indonesia is currently overseen by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. International tourism campaigns have been focusing largely on its tropical destinations with white sand beaches, blue sky, and cultural attractions. Beach resorts and hotels have been developed in some popular tourist destinations, especially Bali island as the primary destination. At the same time, the integration of cultural affairs and tourism under the scope of the same ministry shows that cultural tourism is considered an integral part of Indonesia’s tourism industry, and conversely, that tourism is used to promote and preserve the cultural heritage.
Some of the challenges Indonesia’s tourism industry has to face include the development of infrastructure to support tourism across the sprawling archipelago, incursions of the industry into local traditions (adat), and the impact of tourism development on the life of local people. Tourism industry in Indonesia has also faced setbacks due to problems related to security. Since 2002, warnings have been issued by some countries over terrorist threats and ethnic/religious conflicts in some areas, significantly reducing the number of foreign visitors for a few years. However, the number of international tourists has bounced back positively since 2007, and reached a new record in 2008 .
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As with most countries, domestic tourists are by far the largest market segment. The biggest movement of domestic tourists is during the annual Eid ul-Fitr, locally known as “lebaran”. During this period, which is a two-week holiday after the month of fasting during Ramadan, many city-dwelling Muslim Indonesians visit relatives in their home towns. Intercity traffic is at its peak and often an additional surcharge is applied during this time.
Over the five years up to 2006, attention has been focused on generating more domestic tourism. Competition amongst budget airlines has increased the number of domestic air travellers throughout the country. Recently, the Ministry of Labour legislated to create long weekends by combining public holidays that fall close to weekends, except in the case of important religious holidays. During these long weekends, most hotels in popular destinations are fully booked.
Since 2000, on average, there have been five million foreign tourists each year, who spend an average of US$100 per day (see table). With an average visit duration of 9–12 days, Indonesia gains US$4.6 billion of foreign exchange income annually. This makes tourism Indonesia’s third most important non-oil–gas source of foreign revenue, after timber and textile products.
Three quarters of Indonesia’s visitors come from the Asia-Pacific region, with Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Japan and South Korea among the top five countries of origin. The United Kingdom, France, Germany and the Netherlands are the largest sources of European visitors. Although Dutch visitors are at least in part keen to explore the historical relationships, many European visitors are seeking the tropical weather at the beaches in Bali.
Around 57% of all visitors are traveling to Indonesia for holiday, while 38% for business purposes. 
In 2005, tourism accounted for 7% of job opportunities and 5% of Indonesian GDP.
Much of the international tourism of the 1920s and 1930s was by international visitors on oceanic cruises. The 1930s did see a modest but significant influx of mainly European tourists and longer term stayers to Bali. Many came for the blossoming arts scene in the Ubud area, which was as much a two-way exchange between the Balinese and outsiders as it was an internal phenomenon.
Tourism more or less disappeared during World War II, and in the early years of the Sukarno era. National pride and identity in the late 1950s and early 1960s was incorporated into the monumentalism of Sukarno in Jakarta — and this included the development of international standard hotels. The political and economic instability of the mid-1960s saw tourism decline radically again. Bali, and in particular the small village of Kuta, was however, in the 1960s, an important stopover on the overland hippy trail between Australia and Europe, and a “secret” untouched surf spot. In the early to mid 1970s, high standard hotels and tourist facilities began to appear in Jakarta and Bali, and from this period to the end of the Suharto era, governmental policies of the tourism industry included an array of regulations and developments to encourage increasing numbers of international tourists to both visit Indonesia and stay longer.
Indonesia has a well-preserved, natural ecosystem, such as rainforests that stretch over about 57% of Indonesia’s land (225 million acres) and about 2% of them are mangrove. One reason why the natural ecosystem in Indonesia is still well-preserved is because only 6,000 islands out of 17,000 are permanently inhabited. Forests on Sumatra and Java are examples of popular tourist destinations. Moreover, Indonesia has one of longest coastlines in the world, measuring 54,716 kilometres (33,999 mi), with a number of beaches and island resorts, such as those in southern Bali, Lombok, Bintan and Nias Island. However, most of the well-preserved beaches are those in more isolated and less developed areas, such as Karimunjawa, the Togian Islands, and the Banda Islands.
With more than 17,000 islands, Indonesia presents ample diving opportunities. Bunaken, at the northern tip of Sulawesi, claims to have seven times more genera of coral than Hawaii, and has more than 70% of all the known fish species of the Indo-Western Pacific. Moreover, there are over 3,500 species living in Indonesian waters, including sharks, dolphins, manta rays, turtles, morays, cuttlefish, octopus and scorpionfish, compared to 1,500 on the Great Barrier Reef and 600 in the Red Sea. Tulamben Bay in Bali boasts the wreck of the 120 metres (390 ft) U.S. Army commissioned transport vessel, the Liberty. Other popular dive sites on Bali are at Candidasa and Menjangan. Across the Badung Strait from Bali, there are several popular dive sites on Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida. Lombok’s three Gilis (Gili Air, Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan) are popular as is Bangka. Some of the most famous diving sites in Indonesia are also the most difficult to reach, with places like Biak off the coast of Papua and the Alor Archipelago among the popular, more remote, destinations for divers.
Surfing is also a popular water activity in Indonesia and the sites are recognised as world class. The well-known spots are mostly located on the southern, Indian Ocean side of Indonesia, for example, the large oceanic surf breaks on southern Java. However, the north coast does not receive the same surf from the Java Sea. Surf breaks can be found all the way along Sumatra, down to Nusa Tenggara, including Aceh, Bali, Banten, Java, Lombok, the Mentawai Islands, and Sumbawa. On Bali, there are about 33 surf spots, from West Bali to East Bali including four on the offshore island of Nusa Lembongan. Sumatra is the second island with the most number of surf spots, with 18 altogether. The common time for surfing is around May to September with the trade winds blowing from east to south-east. From October to April, winds tend to come from the west to north-west, so the east coast breaks get the offshore winds.
Two well-known surf breaks in Indonesia are the G-Land in the Bay of Grajagan, East Java, and Lagundri Bay at the southern end of Nias island. G-Land was first identified in 1972, when a surfer saw the break from the window of a plane. Since 6 to 8 foot (Hawaiian scale) waves were discovered by surfers at Lagundri Bay in 1975, the island has become famous for surfing worldwide.
There are 50 national parks in Indonesia, of which six are World Heritage listed. The largest national parks in Sumatra are the 9,500-square-kilometre (3,700 sq mi) Gunung Leuser National Park, the 13,750-square-kilometre (5,310 sq mi) Kerinci Seblat National Park and the 3,568-square-kilometre (1,378 sq mi) Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, all three recognised as Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Other national parks on the list are Lorentz National Park in Papua, Komodo National Park in the Lesser Sunda Islands, and Ujung Kulon National Park in the west of Java.
To be noticed, different national parks offer different biodiversity, as the natural habitat in Indonesia is divided into two areas by the Wallace line. The Wallacea biogeographical distinction means the western part of Indonesia (Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan) have the same flora and fauna characteristics as the Asian continent, whilst the remaining eastern part of Indonesia has similarity with the Australian continent.
Many native species such as Sumatran elephants, Sumatran tigers, Sumatran rhinoceros, Javan rhinoceros and Orangutans are listed as endangered or critically endangered, and the remaining populations are found in national parks and other conservation areas. Orangutans can be visited in the Bukit Lawang conservation area. The world’s largest flower, rafflesia arnoldi, and the tallest flower, titan arum, can be found in Sumatra.
The east side of the Wallacea line offers the most remarkable, rarest, and exotic animals on earth. Birds of Paradise, locally known as cenderawaish, are plumed birds that can be found among other fauna in Papua New Guinea. The largest bird in Papua is the flightless cassowary. One species of lizard, the Komodo dragon can easily be found on Komodo, located in the Nusa Tenggara lesser islands region. Besides Komodo island, this endangered species can also be found on the islands of Rintja, Padar and Flores.
Hiking and camping in the mountains are popular adventure activities. Some mountains contain ridge rivers, offering rafting activity. Though volcanic mountains can be dangerous, they have become major tourist destinations. Popular active volcanoes are the 2,329-metre (7,641 ft) high Mount Bromo in the East Java province with its little desert, the upturned boat shaped Tangkuban Perahu on the outskirts of Bandung, the most active volcano in Java, Mount Merapi and the legendary Krakatau with its new caldera known as anak krakatau (the child of Krakatau). Puncak Jaya in the Lorentz National Park, the highest mountain in Indonesia and the only mountain with ice caps, offers the opportunity of rock climbing. In Sumatra, there are the remains of a supervolcano eruption that have created the landscape of Lake Toba close to Medan in North Sumatra.
Indonesia consists of at least 300 ethnic groups, spread over a 1.8 million km² area of 6,000 inhabited islands. This creates a cultural diversity, further compounded by Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic and European colonialist influences.
From the 3rd century until the 13th century, Hinduism and Buddhism shaped the culture of Indonesia. The best-preserved Buddhist shrine, which was built during the Sailendra dynasty in the 8th century, is Borobudur temple in Central Java. A few kilometers to the southeast is the Prambanan complex, a Hindu temple built during the second Mataram dynasty. Both the Borobudur and the Prambanan temple compounds have been listed in the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1991. In Bali, where most Hindus live, cultural festivals are major attractions to foreign tourists.
Islam has also contributed greatly to the cultural society in Indonesia. As of 2006, about 88% of Indonesians are Muslim. Islamic culture is prominent in Sumatra, and a few of the remaining sultanate palaces can be seen in Medan and Pekanbaru.
Despite foreign influences, a diverse array of indigenous traditional cultures is still evident in Indonesia. The indigenous ethnic group of Toraja in South Sulawesi, which still has strong animistic beliefs, offers a unique cultural tradition, especially during funeral rituals. The Minangkabau ethic group retain a unique matrilineal culture, despite being devoted Muslims. Other indigenous ethnic groups include the Asmat and Dani in Papua, the Dayak in Kalimantan and the Mentawai in Sumatra, where traditional rituals are still observed.
A discussion of cultural tourism is not complete without a mention of Yogyakarta, a special province in Indonesia known as centre of classical Javanese fine art and culture. The rise and fall of Buddhist, Hindu, and Islamic kingdoms in Central Java has transformed Yogyakarta into a melting pot of Indonesian culture.
Metropolitan tourism activities are shopping, sightseeing in big cities, and enjoying modern amusement parks. The nation’s capital, Jakarta, offers many places for shopping. Mal Kelapa Gading (the biggest one with 130 square kilometres (50 sq mi), Plaza Senayan, Senayan City, Grand Indonesia, EX, and Plaza Indonesia are some of the shopping malls in the city. Another popular tourist activity is golfing, a favorite sport among the upper class Indonesians and foreigners. Some notable golf courses in Jakarta are the Cengkareng Golf Club, located in the airport complex, and Pondok Indah Golf and Country Club. Bali has many shopping centers, for instance, the Kuta shopping center and the Galeria Nusa Dua. Nightlife of Indonesia is also popular among foreigners, especially in the big cities like Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, Manado, Denpasar and Medan.
Food in Indonesia
The variety of cultures in Indonesia is reflected in the wide range of foods in the nation. Since the 15th century, many European traders have visited the archipelago to buy different kinds of spices, including black pepper and mace. In modern times, many cultures and countries have influenced the cuisine of Indonesia, such as the Western and Asian cultures. Many claim that this diversity has resulted in one of the most distinctive cuisines in the world.
The main principle of almost all Indonesian food is halal. Rice is Indonesia’s most important staple food. Most Indonesians eat rice twice a day, at lunch and dinner. The rice is usually served with a side dish, such as chicken, meats and vegetables. Although the meals are generally simple, the plentiful use of various roots, spices, grasses, and leaves adds flavour to most dishes. An Indonesian meal will often be accompanied by various condiments at the table, including sambal and kecap. Other main meals, such as potato, noodles, soybeans and wheat are common. The most common method for preparing food is frying, though grilling, simmering, steaming and stewing are also used.
Indonesian cuisine is also influenced by Western culture. The most obvious example is the presence of fast food companies in Indonesia, such as McDonald’s, KFC and Pizza Hut.
To popularise the food of Indonesia, food related events were created, such as a food festival called “Enak-Enak”, which ran from August 15 to August 31, 2006.
International tourist arrivals
Each of the larger Indonesian islands have at least one international airport. The biggest airport in Indonesia, Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, is located in Tangerang Regency, Banten. There are five more international airports on Java, Adisumarmo International Airport in Solo, Central Java, Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, East Java, Achmad Yani International Airport in Semarang, Central Java, Husein Sastranegara International Airport in Bandung, West Java and Adisucipto International Airport in Yogyakarta. On Kalimantan, there is one international airport and there are two on Sumatra. Bali, which is part of the Nusa Tenggara Islands, has the Ngurah Rai International Airport.
Tourists from Brunei, Chile, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Morocco, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam can enter Indonesia without a visa. Citizens of these countries will be issued on arrival a permit for a 30 day stay upon presentation of a valid passport with at least six months to run. This stay permit cannot be extended or converted to another type of visa.
On February 1, 2004, Indonesia introduced unpopular and tighter tourist visa regulations. Although tourist visas were formerly free and valid for 60 days, visitors from certain countries must now purchase one of two visas on arrival: a US$15 visa valid for 10 days or a US$25 visa valid for 30 days. This was heavily protested by the tourist industry, which pointed out that this cost adds up for families and 30 days is a very limited time to travel in Indonesia with a number of remote and hard to reach locations. The countries now subject to these tighter regulations include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States. On July 14, 2004, the Indonesian tourism ministry granted permission for more countries to be included on the VOA list, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Egypt, Austria, Ireland, Qatar and Luxembourg. The visa on arrival cannot be extended or converted into any other kind of visa. The visa holder also has to leave the country on the 30th day of the stay.
Visit Indonesia Year 2008
The Indonesian Ministry of Culture and Tourism, declared 2008 as a Visit Indonesia Year. Visit Indonesia Year 2008 was officially launched on 26 December 2007. The figure of Visit Indonesia Year 2008 branding took the concept of Garuda Pancasila as the Indonesian way of life. The 5 components of pancasila were represented by 5 different colored lines and symbolized the Indonesian Unity in Diversity. The targeted number was 7 million. Visit Indonesia Year 2008 was also commemorating 100 years of Indonesia’s national awakening in 1908.
Threats to the tourism industry
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Central Sulawesi, Aceh
The 2002 Bali bombing was a major blow to the tourism industry in Indonesia. A series of travel warnings were issued by a number of countries. Subsequently, the rate of tourism in Bali decreased by 31%. After the first Bali bombing, one major bombing occurred in each of the next 3 years: the 2003 Marriott Hotel bombing, the 2004 Australian embassy bombing in Jakarta, and a second bombing in Bali. In 2008, no major terrorist attack had occurred since 2005, and the United States Government lifted its warning against travel to Indonesia. In 2006, 227,000 Australians visited Indonesia, and in 2007, this rose to 314,000.
An outbreak of bird flu throughout the country has affected the numbers of foreign visitors. As of 2006, the outbreak had killed at least 46 people since 2005, making Indonesia the country with the highest death-toll from the recent epidemic. However, since the disease has not yet been proven to mutate into a form that can transfer from human to human, the U.S. embassy, for example, has not yet issued a travel warning regarding the outbreak.
Another major threat to the tourism industry are sectarian and separatist conflicts in Indonesia. Papua is still affected by Papuan separatism, while Maluku and Central Sulawesi have suffered in recent years from serious sectarian conflicts. Conversely, decades of separatism-related violence in Aceh ended in 2005 with the signing of a peace agreement between the Indonesia Government and the Free Aceh Movement.
In 2008, the U.S. government lifted their travel warning on Indonesia.
Guide books and travel accounts with details of the country and people have had a long history – some books from the 1800s and early 1900s being classics with description of places that were perceived as things to see. Both private authors and government publications (such as the 1920s Come to Java books produced in Batavia by the government tourist bureau of the time) have been made each decade through to the present. There were restrictions to tourism during World War II and the mid to late 1960s – other than those two periods – travel accounts and guide books have been produced regularly. James Rush’s and Adrian Vickers’ texts mentioned below are excellent introductions to the range of writing that has been created.
The most popular Guide book on Indonesia in English in the 1980s was Bill Dalton’s Indonesia Handbook, while from the 1990s onward, the Lonely Planet’s edition Indonesia (Guidebook) has gone to its eighth edition in 2007. Many other guide books have also been produced in English and other languages.
Additionally, major international newspapers regularly have travel sections and stories about Indonesia.