Ubud News


It’s the end of January but still many of us are trying to figure out how to make some changes, both in our personal lives and in ways that will help the planet.

The health magazines call Ubud “Asia’s yoga capital” so trying – or getting back to – some regular yoga makes a lot of sense, with both Taksu Spa and the Yoga Barn running excellent classes for novices. At the Barn, in a spacious big yoga space surrounded by relaxing tropical views, I’d recommend the beginner classes run by Estee, one of my favourite yoga teachers. Though she often has a large group, somehow Estee finds the time for giving personal advice; answering questions and making each individual feel welcome.

Taksu Spa, on Jalan Gautama, specialises in small (no more than eight people) classes, with a variety of different tranquil settings to choose from. Their discounted 5, 10, 15 and 20-class passes, though non-transferable, can be used to bring along family or guests and introduce them to yoga too.

After getting back into my old habit of waking up and doing seven “Salutes to the Sun” in the morning at home, I’m already feeling much more flexible (ok, I really mean less creaky) and energetic. Ready to tackle challenges outside my own patch, if you want a hand.



BAWA (Bali Animal Welfare Association) has a solid warning for anyone with dogs. At the BAWA clinic they are treating lots of dogs with nasty tick infestations this season. As ticks carry diseases that can cause anaemia, blindness, paralysis, and even death, it’s vital pay close attention to your dogs and make sure they are tick-free.

BAWA helps many abandoned dogs, some in such a poor state that they have already gone blind. They need your help to keep the dogs of Bali as tick-free as possible. Every year they treat thousands of animals, with every dose of medicine costing $15-30 – a huge expense!

If you have friends coming to Bali, BAWA would love any donations of tick medications – or cash of course. For how to donate: info@balianimalwelfare.com.



Great news that Kaltimber will continue their networking events in 2020, bringing together locals and expats – including some very experienced Bali architects and builders – with interests in working sustainably and with recycled wood products.

On Valentine’s Day, February 14, the evening’s speakers will open the discussions with three different perspectives. Christian Fritz from EcoSmartHUB will talk about installing quality decking and ways to finish the timber so it stays strong and healthy in this climate, while Asali Bali’s Olivier Bettling will look at the challenges that come up in the building process on ecological projects.

Kaltimber’s manager, Jean-Baptiste Orcel will offer a caution about the product being sold around Bali called “ulin rendaman”, the so-called recycled timber that often leaves its purchasers with big problems down the line.

Kaltimber has a solid track record of recycling only old timbers from genuine Kalimantan sources such as unseaworthy boats or dilapidated jetties, all with authentic government certification. In my experience, the information gained at these networking events is equally legitimate and useful.

Join them from 4-7pm in Kaltimber’s Batuan, Sukawati showroom.



Do you know that expression “first world problem”? There are some traditional ways of thinking here in Bali that occasionally remind me what a privileged world I come from. For example, divorced Balinese women can be highly stigmatised in the more traditional banjars, and in some cases find it very difficult to regain any independent life or find a decent job. Often, these women end up with the toughest tasks – such as carrying rocks on their head from the road to a building site. Literally backbreaking work.

For others, the challenge is access to their children. Ibu Sari, founder of KIM Women’s Centre in Desa Puhu, Payangan, says she wasn’t allowed to see her daughter for 12 years after her divorce. She says that regardless of the individual circumstances, women are often not accepted back into their own communities, becoming virtually homeless.

Ibu Sari decided to go back to school as a way out of severe depression. Now she is a successful school principal and an inspiration to others. Through the women’s centre she is empowering others to gain their own independence, by providing training, teaching them healthy cooking, sewing and yoga, and helping them to find work.

There are many ways to support KIM Women’s Centre. Email: kimwomenscentre@gmail.com; mobile: 0822 3795 7829.



What a treat! Many thanks to the Maya Sanur Resort for hosting the “When the Moon Rises” dinner and show on January 25, and enabling a rare performance of Candra Metu by one of Bali’s true living treasures, 76 year old Ibu Ni Ketut Arini.

An absolutely exquisite and extraordinary Balinese dancer, she has spent more than six decades teaching and performing across the country.

We were privileged to meet Ibu Ni Ketut Arini in March 2007 at the first BaliSpirit Festival, where she performed and led a workshop in Balinese Sensual Dance. Many professional dancers – some decades her junior – were reduced to tears of joy watching her and learning some of those gracious moves.

The “When the Moon Rises” event was an opportunity to show appreciation for all this precious lady’s contributions to Balinese culture. In addition to dances by Ibu Arini, the evening included dances by her students and the accomplished Wayan Purwanto, a book launch and a photo exhibition.


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Copyright © 2020 Wayan Jen

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