Ubud News


It was a young German university student’s decision to focus his academic thesis on images of the Komodo dragon that led this extraordinary photographer to base his life in Indonesia.

Those interactions with the dragons and his subsequent pursuit of other wildlife across Indonesia have significantly shaped a successful career in environmental management for Ubud ex-pat, Volker Kess.

Originally intended as a “coffee table” book with vivid photography and accompanying comments, the Komodo; in Pursuit of the Living Legends book is much more, capturing the realm of the dragons in an impressive and lively compilation of eye-catching photos, travel anecdotes, victim stories and personal reflections.

For more info and to have your copy posted anywhere around the world, visit www.komodo.de. At $US49 (700,000rp) it’s worth every penny.



Of all the themes for TEDxUbud over the years, I think this one suits us best; Movement for most Ubud ex-pats is about life-change and joyous choice!

This will be the 8th time that the TEDxUbud team brings us together to reconnect with old friends, make new connections and re-think the world around us.

Held on Saturday evening, October 12, at Setia Darma House of Masks and Puppets, TEDxUbud 2019 will take us on an adventure of discovery and innovation. We’ll learn new things and watch inspiring talks and performances about movements across the borders, lines, and boundaries that structure our lives.

Sign up now on Eventbrite – this event goes from first notice to sold out very quickly, every year. October 12, 3-10pm. Setia Darma House, on Jalan Tegal Bingin, Mas, is worth a visit itself for the extraordinary collection of old Javanese houses, and masks from all over Indonesia. Follow the signposts from Jalan Raya Mas or Jalan Raya Singakerta.



Over the decades, Bali public transport hasn’t been the best travel choice having, you might say, a character all of its own. However, I have to say that I’m consistently pleased with Kura-Kura Buses.

Clean and efficient with friendly drivers, they’re great for getting cheaply to Kuta Galeria bus depot or Sanur from Ubud (80,000rp one way; 120,000rp return).

Also, although mainly aimed at getting travellers between towns, they’re a great option for visitors who want to spend a day wandering round Ubud without paying a driver to “stand by”, with stops at Ubud Central Parking, Puri Lukisan Museum, Alaya Ubud Resort. There’s a great one-day / 24 hour pass for only 90,000rp on their website, or 100,000rp from the driver, and there are stops at Bali Zoo and Bali Bird Park, going south.

If you’re already a fan, claim their special “Buy 1 Get 1 Free” by tagging and sharing a favourite pic or video on www.kura2bus.com. For regular customers the promo is for July only, but readers of this column will qualify till August 16 – just mention the Bali Advertiser!



There’s something to be said for finding one’s own path on an Indonesian adventure. I still love wandering away in a new direction, with family and friends left thinking I’m lacking caution, and perhaps quite mad.

The other way (and I support both) is to reap the benefit from another’s years of experience. I can never speak too highly of tour guide and photographer David Metcalf, whose rare intuition for “getting it right” for fellow travellers, together with longstanding relationships with first nation tribes all over the archipelago, ensures a warm welcome wherever he travels. It’s a privilege to explore with him.

Next month, David is offering a week’s jungle camp experience in Setulang Village, in the ancient forests North Kalimantan, co-hosted by Borneo’s number one Dayak tour guide, Yun Pratiwi. Leaving from Bali or Java on August 13, the plane and safe speedboat journey is over in a day.

The trip includes four nights homestay with a Dayak Kenyah family, and 2 nights at the jungle camp in the forest. Visit www.davidmetcalfphotography.com to see the wealth of tours planned for the next 12 months. You don’t have to be a photographer, though you may be inspired to learn!



Grrrr! I’m trying to get more organised with composting in my garden but I’ve come across a caution from Ubud Garden Society about supposedly home-compostable takeaway clamshell boxes. It seems, although they are made from bagasse (sugarcane pulp) – and ‘certified compostable’ – they test positive for high fluorine content that appears to be from the PFAS coating that makes them greaseproof.

Check out the Garden Society’s FB page for more info. There’s such a lot of great advice shared here.

And btw, congrats to those restaurants attempting to get away from plastic containers. We’re getting better at this, but there’s a long way to go.



Oh my goodness, so much fun and fitness in one place! As a change of pace from the Balinese culture (for our tourist guests) or to get away from the inevitable hours on the computer (for those of us who live and work here), amble down to Titi Batu, just opposite Pelangi School.

Titi Batu is a sprawling “family sport and wellness community” complex with a focus on active fun for both children and adults. There’s an excellent 25-meter pool, a gym and squash courts for starters, and a skate park nearly finished.

Carnival Saturdays started this month, with Afro Cuban dance from 6pm and enough professional dancers around so you’re never short of a partner. Honestly, there’s something interesting on every night, from Game of Thrones on Mondays, Open Mike 6-10pm on Wednesdays and a Twilight market every Friday from 4pm till late, with more than 30 stalls and delicious healthy food.

Less than 20 minutes south from central Ubud, you’ll find Titi Batu Ubud Club on Jalan Pelangi, Mas. Lots more on their Facebook page.

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Copyright © 2019 Wayan Jen

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