It seems that entrepreneurs start young in Bali! In a project designed to help them appreciate literature, learn some skills about business and inspire other youth, Ubud brothers Dante, 10, and Alessandro, 7, have each written a book and are learning how to do an Amazon launch so they can officially become international authors.

This dynamic duo – mother from Ubud, Dad an ex-pat – have created all their own artwork, done their own negotiations with sponsors and made promotional videos.

Their learning includes the highs – such as a personal sponsorship from an impressed ex-Microsoft director – and the lows, when organisations promise support and then change their minds, or the printer eventually charges a lot more than his original quote.

They seek more sponsors who will back them so that they can afford to print more copies of their books, and have recently sent their manuscripts to a publishing house, on request.

More info at www.dnabooks.net, or by emailing alessandro@carmazzi.net. You will find them in person on the lawns at BaliSpirit Festival, where they will personally sign your purchases.



Over the past decade, non-profit organisation Bali WISE has educated more than 1,225 marginalised Indonesian women, with an 85% success rate in helping young women gain quality jobs and empower their home communities. Generous donations from sponsors make the program possible.

Yanti, one of last semester’s top graduates, is from Karangasem. She is the only child of a widow who has earned only 500,000rp per month as a farmer since her husband died when Yanti was a baby.

Yanti could not continue her study after graduating from high school, but was fortunate enough to join the Bali WISE program in April this year. She has since completed her three-month Basic Work and Life Skills Training, then was highly praised by her supervisor during her job training in the spa department at Ungasan Clifftop Resort, where she now works as a spa therapist. She is delighted to be earning a living for herself and well on the way to her dream of supporting her mother financially.

For more information on Bali WISE and how to sponsor a student, donate to the program or take a cultural tour of successful Bali WISE projects, visit http://baliwise.org/.



Bali Rotary Club, Ubud Sunset, works year round to raise funds for local projects, with Rotarians also offering their assistance to programs supporting displaced people around Mount Agung and in Lombok.

When you attend their Christmas Dinner or get involved in any other Rotary fundraising event, you are supporting the many Rotary projects that help local Balinese communities and schools. These focus on sanitation, safe drinking water, health care – including doctor and dental visits to local schools, and community eye checks.

This week Rotary Ubud Sunset is holding their 5th Annual Christmas Fundraising Dinner, at the Maya Resort, and they may have a few tickets left.

You score a Christmas Welcome Drink, smoked turkey, cranberry salad, vegetarian mains and Christmas Deserts, cheeky magician, stupendous raffle and a silent auction including elegant hotel stays, fabulous dinners, cooking classes and spa packages.

Call Maya Resort on (0361) 977-888, ext. 1401, to make a reservation. 500,000rp per adult, half price for pre-teens and under six year olds free. Join or support Rotary all year round; contact Bruce Briscoe at E-mail : briscoe@brucebriscoe.com.



I don’t know if cucumber sandwiches are on the menu, but I’m sure you can bring some. There’s something delightful about the thought of having a very traditional “British Raj” croquet game in the midst of Ubud’s lush tropical splendour.

The Ubud Croquet Club is tucked away behind the wide bamboo gates at 26 Jalan Sandat, just north of Jl Raya Ubud. Members are a very interesting and eclectic group of ex-pats, who welcome visitors with big smiles – and spare croquet mallets (in case you haven’t got one in your backpack).

Join in for a game or two every Monday. It is free and fun. Start up is at 9.30am, so be there a little early to introduce yourself.




Here’s my best recommendation for a December visa run!

Visit KL – home to one of the friendliest and most efficient Indonesian embassies – and check out the award-winning MUD the Musical: The Story of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital, in its revival this month.

A few years ago I learnt a lot about the founding fathers and early settlers of 1800s KL, when I saw this highly engaging and interactive musical on my own visa run. It is performed in English, Bahasa, smatterings of Mandarin and Tamil, this time with the original cast mentoring a troupe of young aspiring actors from Enfinitia Academy.

Performed at THE PLATFORM at Menara KEN, from December 14 to 19. Check details of the afternoon and evening performances at https://enfinitiacademy.com/mud/. Tickets RM55 to RM105 (between $15-30).



Many great international trends begin in Bali – the global “Turn off the Lights” project was inspired by the Hindu’s Nyepi Day – and none more practical than “Refill My Bottle”, an app-based program that helps travellers find the nearest place to refill their drink bottles with fresh, clean water.

Originally an initiative of the BGreener group, it’s something that all our best enviro-friendly, customer-focused businesses in Ubud are taking on, both the biggies like Taksu Spa (southern end of Jl Goutama) and the Yoga Barn (off Jl Pengosekan), and lots of little places too. Yes and not coincidentally the program helps free Bali from the beeeep plastic menace!

Travellers can find RefillMyBottle stations all over Asia, from Labuan Bajo is Indonesia’s west, to Singapore, Malaysia, Bhutan, India, Vietnam, and Japan, and in parts of East Africa, Europe and California. It won’t be long before we can refill our bottle everywhere. Bad luck for bottled water sellers, but great news for the environment.

For more information or to download the app, go to :