Nov 25, 2015

Sambal Bawang Matah: Our Favorite Balinese Sambal

Sambal Bawang Matah Bali Sauce4
Have you heard the word “sambal”?
Sambal is sauce made of mix of spices such as shallot, garlic, lime, chili, pepper and salt. These ingredient are then grinded with stone pestle and mortar. The paste of that mixture of spices is called sambal.
Sambal is like a sauce. We eat it together with rice, fried chicken, grilled fish or any food on our table. It adds up the taste.
Sambal bawang matah is a different story. First, the meaning of sambal bawang matah is the sambal of raw shallot. It is indeed made of raw ingredients such as: shallot, garlic, lemon leaves, shrimp paste or terasi, salt and coconut oil.
These ingredients are mixed together (just by hand, not in a pestle and mortar like the regular sambal) and then served with the food. Usually serving it fresh is the best way. We can not keep if for long time.
So, whenever going to have some meal in Bali, you can try the sambal bawang matah. It is favorite of many Balinese, me included.
Sambal Bawang Matah Bali Sauce PresentationAnd here is a photo of sambal bawang matah with his friend sambal tomat or (tomato sambal, also another kind of sambal). At the background, there is fried rice.

Nov 24, 2015

Fresh Water Splashing at Tegenungan Waterfall in Gianyar

Tegenungan Waterfall Gianyar Bali

Tegenungan waterfall is a beautiful waterfall. It is located only 5 kilometers from Ubud. You can go there anytime, but preferably in the morning or in the afternoon, when the sun is not so hot.

The entrance ticket is 10,000. You need to pay that at the ticket booth on the road leading to the waterfall.

Then you need to walk for about two minutes from the entrance ticket booth to be able to see the waterfall. There is a shop or little café from where you can look at the view of the waterfall. You can rest, relax, or take photos from here.

If you want to get closer to Tegenungan waterfall, you can continue walking. Pass the shop, you will find stairs leading you to the river where the waterfall flows.

There are about 400 easy steps going down located between bushes and trees. You will pass three water sprouts near the river. It’s for bathing place. You can bathe here, but I don’t suggest you to. (just kidding).

As you arrive in river bank, the path is not solid anymore. It is soil and stones path. Continue walking to the waterfall.

Put on your trekking shoes, if you need to. You can use sandals or wet shoes to walk around.

Put on swimming suit if you would like to join the locals bathing, and jumping to the water from the higher ground.

Some travel tips: after hard rain, the water color can turn brown, not so pretty. So, it is not advised to bathe there.

The exact location of the water fall is in this address. Clicking it will open google map where you can learn the location.

Nov 23, 2015

Something we can not live without: the Bali Flowers

Flowers are really something that we can not live without in Bali. One main reason is offerings with flowers. Have you seen the offerings made by coconut leaves and flowers?

We also create decorate our homes with flowers on special occasion. Have a look at a Balinese house when there is a wedding or tooth filling ceremony. They use lots of flowers to decorate their house.

Balinese dancers also use flowers to beautify them selves. They use frangipani, hibiscus, and cempaka.

hibiscus Bali flower 

When you visit a Balinese Hindu temple, you will also see the flowers also grown in the garden areas. Take a look at this picture of flowers plant the Ulun Danu Temple near Lake Bratan.’

forereverlove Bali flower

Flowers are also grown in the house yard in Balinese compound. One main reason is to prepare for offerings, so the family do not need to buy flowers for their offering especially in the big festival days. For those who have no flowers at home, they can still easily buy them in the local Bali markets.

purple Bali flowerFlowers are also grown in the rice fields. Farmers put aside their lands to grow flowers instead of planting all with rice plants. They then could harverst  the flowers for their own need or sell them in the market.

Do you use lots of flowers in your life?

Nov 20, 2015

Try The Balinese Snack: Klepon

Balinese cake klepon

Traveling to Bali does not just mean going tour, having massage, and spending time in the beach. It also means to learn about Balinese culture. One way to do it is to try the local food. One snack I would like to introduce here is called klepon. Funny name, but read on.
It’s not easy to find the real Balinese snack, especially if you stay in the touristy  area. Going to villages, or towns in Bali, you may be able to find klepon. And If you want to to have Balinese authentic culinary adventure, try it.
Klepon is glutinous sticky rice ball with palm sugar inside it. It is usually served with grated coconut. When do we have klepon? Any time, but usually  during the relax time, for example, when having coffee.
The colour of klepon is green. Traditionally, Balinese women use a kind of leaf (called don kayu sugih) to give color to the klepon.  So, green colour of klepon is from the colour of the leaf, not some artificial coloring. Sometimes, klepon can be black, because it is made of black rice.
If you want to enrich your experience with culinary adventure, you can try this snack. Remember, to eat them carefully, as they have liquid palm sugar inside. The liquid can splash and hit your clothes. Although the stain is washable, it is not fun to have especially if you wear white t-shirt. So, bite it with care.
If you want to try to make klepon at home, you can visit making klepon guide.
Finally, there are many kind of Balinese snacks. Most of them are made from either sticky rice, white rice, black rice, palm sugar, grated coconut or coconut milk. When you have the chance, try them too.

Sep 21, 2015

Gemstone Ring in His Every Finger

This is Richard from US. He told me that he liked to collect gemstone. In every country he visited, he usually bought a gemstone ring for collection. But it has to be cheap, because it is just for collection, he told me.

In one of the visit in Bali, we got to visit a house in north Bali. It happened that the host also sold gemstone rings. So, he tried to put them all, just for fun. I took his video, and asked him if I could use this video in my blog. He said yes. So, here it is.. The video where he tried all the rings.

In Indonesia, and including Bali, there are gemstone fever at the moment. All important people, artists, and many people collect gemstone. So, it is quite a special moment to find one of my traveler is also interested in gemstone.

Do you collect gemstone?

Sep 19, 2015

Purification .... when the soul needs spiritual cleansing

At some point in their life, a Balinese would do a spiritual cleansing ritual. It's the ritual for cleansing their body, mind and spirit.
Why do we need a spiritual cleansing? We believe in balance between physical and spiritual. When the physical body is dirty, we can wash it by water and soap. When the spiritual body is dirty, we do it by purification ritual.
One of the place for this is the temple of Pura Tirta Sudamala in Bangli. Located by the river with a spring, it is an ideal place for such ritual.
The spring temple of Pura Tirta Sudamala.

To do this, first we pray to the God or universe for blessing and guidance at the temple. The prayer is lead by a Pemangku or priest.
Next we will go to the river, wash our face and body, and then go to each of the water sprout available close to the temple.
The water sprouts. 

The river just in front of the temple. Some people were cleansing themselves there.

The end of the ritual of cleansing is the blessing by the pemangku or priest.

Finally the priest will sprinkle us with holy water and bija as the mark of the end of the ritual and sign of blessing.

At the end of the ritual in the river, the local would go to the main temple, located also at the same area, to pray for thanking the God.

Sep 18, 2015

Piles of Skulls at The Cemetery of Trunyan

One of the village you can visit in Bali is called Trunyan village. 

Head to Kintamani, and drive down to Lake Batur. There is a pier by the lake where you can take a boat and ride for about half an hour crossing the lake to reach the other end of the lake, where Trunyan village is located.
Arriving at Trunyan Village by boat.
You will arrive in the village of Trunyan, You can visit the village. You will see a village that's a bit different from the rest of Bali village. Their farming is limited because they don't have enough resources. But many locals would say they worked as farmer and fishermen. 

The path among the houses in Trunyan village.
You can finish your mini trekking around the village in about fifteen minutes.
From the village to the cemetery of Trunyan, you can go on the boat again. It will take about 5 minutes ride.
The entrance of Trunyan cemetery.
There are some locals in the graveyard who sit behind desk waiting for visitors. You can pay donation here before entering the grave yard.
Entering the grave yard, what will you see?
The bodies were placed on the ground but protected by bamboo frame.

It will take around 5 minutes to explore the graveyard,  Depending on your interest, you may spend more time there. It is amazing how the locals their passed away.

The dead body can be easily seen. They are wrapped in white fabric, but the face is still visible. The body is placed on the ground, not buried, but it is protected by framework made of bamboo, This is to protect it from animal.

When the body is completely decomposed, the skeleton will be thrown away. You can see some skeletons lying the graveyard along with some garbage. The skull, on the other hand, was taken and put on a platform together with other skulls.
Pile of skulls.

 You can also see many personal stuff, such as plate, coffee, money, comb, and lots of other things scattered around the grave, Dying is like a journey to the next world that the family equip the dead with things they would probably need during the travel.

Sep 2, 2015

How to be a funny person and make your friends laugh with Bali masks

Wayan Muka is a mask maker who live in Mas Village, Bali. I went there with a groups of travelers and a friend of mine, Emanuel. Wayan showed us some masks. He put on those masks and then danced according to the masks he wore.

When he wore king mask, he would become a king and danced as a noble person. An old mask would turn him into an old man. And when he put on a princess mask, he would dance like a lady.

He is mask maker and also a dancer. Now, that's really a good combination. He can perform the masks by himself and no need for him to ask other dancer to perform.

A mask or masks are really important part for temple ceremony in Bali. There is a special mask called Sidakarya, which would be performed as a dance at the end of every festival. It is believed that without this ritual, a festival would never be completed.

In this video, my friend tried to put on some several masks. And he instantly become funny and make some the travelers laugh. It would also surely at leadt smile.

Aug 27, 2015

Trip to Ulun Danu, Tegalalang, and Ubud with French Clients

Here is a short video that I made for the trip I took with French speaking clients. I don't speak French. Not one word. But it's not a problem.

Sometimes I work for local travel agent in Bali who have French clients. But this time they also assigned one of their staff, a French girl, named Orianne to go tour with me. She translated what I explained to the clients. I think she also added some of her own stories. I think that's great.