Life, News, Photography and Reviews from Ubud: The Apple of Bali's Eye

The Big Read « Bali

Features from Bali, Indonesia

Tales from Indonesia's soul – the Island of the Gods.


West Meets East: The Faces of Trunyan »

Portrait of deaf boy with different-coloured eyes, Trunyan, Kintamani, Bali, Indonesia

Portrait of deaf boy with odd-coloured eyes in Trunyan, Kintamani, Bali.

© 2017 Ubud High.

Like their counterparts in a handful of other remote Balinese villages, the Bali Mula – or Bali Aga – of Trunyan are said to be the 'original' Balinese. Staunchly isolationist for more than a thousand years, Trunyan is best known for its open-air cemetery where corpses are left to decompose under a mystical banyan tree.

But as Ubud High discovers, Trunyan Village offers a lot more than just skulls and surly guides... ➨


Cinema Paradiso: The Story of Indonesian Cinema on Bali »

'Legong: Dance of the Virgins' (1935) nudie-cutie film poster 1930s Bali

'Legong: Dance of the Virgins' (1935) 'Bare Native' film poster, Bali.

Boobs and political censorship have never been far from the silver screen. In Indonesia, they're its bedrock.

From 1930's Nudie Cuties to the Academy Awards, Ubud High takes a front-row seat to peer at Bali's place in the history of Indonesian Cinema... ➨


The Story of Ganesha – Bali's Hindu Elephant God »

The Hindu Elephant God Ganesha guards a Hindu temple in Bali, Indonesia

The elephant god Ganesha guards a Hindu temple in Bali, Indonesia.

© 2017 Ubud High.

On the little Indonesian island of Bali, Lord Ganesha is everywhere. One of the most recognisable Hindu gods outside of India, he's easy to spot: the benign elephant head on top of a chubby, boyish body protects houses and adorns Bali's temples from north to south... ➨


How to Survive Bali on your Rental Scooter »

Motorbike accident victim, Ubud, Bali

A scooter-accident victim is treated for his leg injury at Toya Medika Clinic in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

© 2017 Ubud High.

Imagine a school of fish swimming together. Go with it.

Anyone outside that flow is the one who's going to cause an accident. Stick to an imaginary lane – and drive defensively. Keep an eye on who's overtaking or undertaking you, and don't make any sudden moves unless you're about to hit something.

Tips and tricks for keeping the rubber on the road... ➨


Once Bitten Twice Shy: The Story of Rabies on Bali »

A domestic dog is vaccinated against the rabies virus in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

A domestic dog is netted and vaccinated against the fatal rabies virus in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

© 2017 Ubud High.

Far in the volcanic highlands of Bali, a young girl trails her mother and father on a pot-holed road. Stealing up on her is a striped, mean-looking dog that stands on its hind legs and bites her quickly on the shoulder. The dog veers back into the bushes, her parents none the wiser that their child may have less than six months to live.

Read on for the harrowing story of rabies on the Island of the Dogs... ➨


Hornets, Scorpions, Mosquitoes, Poisonous Caterpillars... And Other Strange Bali Tails »

We all have to pay for our little slice of Bali Paradise. And this often comes in the shape of our stinging, biting, crawling, flying cousins. It's the downside of environment-sharing.

Find out what to do when you come up against a scorpion, an angry Balinese hornet or an unstoppable army of hungry marching ants... ➨



Luxury apartment house for rent in Ubud, Bali

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The Big Read – Java

TRIP OVER TO JAVA – Bali's Big Auntie.


Java Oilfield Pollution ➨

Freelance oil-worker's hand covered in carcinogenic crude oil at an illegal oil-field in East Java, Indonesia

THE EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS of this environmental disaster – ExxonMobil and Indonesia's oil giant, Pertamina – have long since abandoned this pocket of primary forest, the wells sucked almost dry, the tar-coated throats of the pits now squeezed by gangs of Sisyphean bit-players milking an extra 125 barrels a day from the expired earth...


Monkey Business: Topeng Monyet, or the Performing Masked Monkeys of Jakarta ➨

Performing masked monkey, Jakarta, Java, Indonesia

IT'S NOT SURPRISING when some city residents shut their doors when topeng monyet – the masked performing monkeys – threaten to come their way.

Despite being a Jakartan tradition once played out with dogs and snakes and originating from the masked dances of Cirebon, not everybody's happy with the status quo of the game...


Slow Burning in Chinese Indonesia: The History of the Tionghoa ➨

Chinese-Indonesian tomb at a Confucian cemetery in Jakarta, Indonesia

JAKARTA, INDONESIA: MAY 1998. More anti-Chinese riots.

The forty year-old engineer is standing behind a barricade. To his left, a petrol station. To his right, a row of fire-gutted shops.

In front of Andreas are four handguns, laid out on a neighbour's kitchen table. An off-duty naval officer urges him to take his pick of the weapons before the mob returns.

"Today," the officer says to Andreas, "you can kill. Shoot anyone who comes over the barricade..."


The Rise and Fall of the Ciliwung: Jakarta's Most Polluted River ➨

Children pass the time in their shanty-house overlooking the highly polluted and flood-prone Ciliwung river in Jakarta, Java, Indonesia

"THE AIR'S TERRIBLE HERE, and the river stinks. We get massacred by mosquitoes in the dry season. The best thing about the river is we can throw our rubbish into it. When it rains it's even better because the nappies get washed away much quicker."

The story of the Ciliwung River: Jakarta's longest, most polluted and most flood-prone waterway...


Dede Koswara and the Association of Strange People (Part 1) ➨

The Tree Man of Indonesia Dede Koswara's hands

MEETING DEDE KOSWARA – the so-called 'Tree Man of Indonesia' – and friends for the first time in 2007.


Dede Koswara: The 'Tree Man' of Indonesia (Part 2) ➨

Dede Koswara, the Tree Man of Indonesia, at a freakshow in West Java, Indonesia

RYAN THE GIANT has already confided that if he had Dede's condition, he would have killed himself by now.

None of us know how Dede keeps sane.

Dede puts it down to acceptance, patience and prayer. He also believes that he's going to be cured one day – in a country where free healthcare for the poor does not, in reality, exist...


The Big Read ~ Indonesia

TALES FROM INDONESIA – Always dangerously beautiful.


The Critically Endangered Bornean Orangutan in Indonesia ➨

LOOK DEEP INTO THE EYES of an Orangutan, and you might find a very old soul gazing back at you...

Endangered Orangutan skulls carved by Dayak tribe in Borneo, Indonesia

Critically-endangered Bornean Orangutan skulls carved by Dayak tribes in Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo.


Indonesia: The Vulnerable Clouded Leopard of Borneo ➨

SOME SAY A LEOPARD CAN'T CHANGE ITS SPOTS – but the Bornean Clouded Leopard did. Its uniquely long sabre teeth and gaping jaws just gave the game away...

The skull and sabre-teeth of an endangered Sunda Clouded Leopard from Dayak Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo

The skull and saber teeth of a vulnerable Sunda Clouded Leopard in a tribal Dayak longhouse in Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo.


Coming soon:
Anyone for Honey? The Sun Bear of Borneo ➨

ALSO KNOWN AS 'THE HONEY BEAR' for its love of honey, the vulnerable Malayan Sun Bear of Borneo is the smallest of the bear species.

Indonesia's Sun Bear is also one of the rarest bears on the planet...


The Big Picture

PHOTOGRAPHS FROM BALI – The Soul of Indonesia.


Bali Portraits ➨

Balinese housewife with rice-paste facial, Ubud, Bali

PORTRAITS from Bali's female side.


Balinese-Hindu Melasti Water-Purification Ceremony Before Nyepi, the Day of Silence ➨

Balinese-Hindu faithful de-camp from trucks at Masceti Beach for the annual Melasti ceremony, Bali, Indonesia

BEACH-SIDE water purification ceremonies in the lead-up to Nyepi, Bali's Hindu Saka New Year and Day of Silence.


Ogoh-Ogoh Parades and Festivals on the Eve of Nyepi in Bali ➨

A toothy, topless ogoh-ogoh monster sports a necklace of poisonous snakes in Singakerta, Ubud, the day before Nyepi

OGOH-OGOH PARADES of papier-mâché monsters in Ubud, Sanur, Renon and Kuta on the eve of Nyepi – Bali's Hindu Day of Silence.


'Kerauhan' – Trance and Mass Possession at a Hindu Village Temple Ceremony in Bali, Indonesia ➨

Possessed Balinese-Hindu women dance and pray during a mass-possession ceremony at an annual village temple festival in North Bali, Indonesia

TRANCE AND MASS POSSESSION at an annual Hindu village temple festival in Buleleng, North Bali.


Yoga, Dance, Music and Therapy at the Bali Spirit Festival in Ubud, Indonesia ➨

A Watsu water-therapy session is conducted in a swimming pool during the Bali Spirit Festival in Ubud

A WEEK-LONG FESTIVAL of yoga, therapy, music and dance at Ubud's annual Bali Spirit Festival.


Coastal Beach Erosion and Climate Change in Bali, Indonesia ➨

Sandbags support the foundations of a beachside Hindu temple damaged by coastal erosion and freak waves in Canggu, South Bali

CLIMATE CHANGE and coastal erosion washes up on the shores of Bali.