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

The Big Read « Java

Picture Stories and Features from Java, Indonesia

Trip over to Java, Bali's Big Auntie.


Java Oil Well Pollution »

The unprotected bare foot of a freelance oil worker at an illegal oil well in East Java, Indonesia

The unprotected bare foot of a freelance oil worker at an illegal oil well in East Java, Indonesia.

© 2017 Ubud High.

The executive producers of this environmental tragedy – 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 Masked Monkeys of Jakarta »

Performing masked monkey, Jakarta, Java, Indonesia

A chained masked monkey – topeng monyet – performs on the streets of Jakarta, Indonesia.

© 2017 Ubud High.

It's not surprising when some city residents shut their doors when topeng monyet – masked 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 exploitative 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

Chinese-Indonesian tomb with offerings of candles, cakes, incense and fruit at a Confucian cemetery in Jakarta, Indonesia.

© 2017 Ubud High.

Jakarta, Indonesia: May 1998. More anti-Chinese riots.

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

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

© 2017 Ubud High.

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: Jakarta's longest, most flood-prone – and most polluted river... ➨


Dede Koswara: The 'Tree Man' of Indonesia »

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

Dede Koswara, the so-called 'Tree Man of Indonesia', at a freakshow in West Java, Indonesia.

© 2017 Ubud High.

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... ➨


Dede Koswara and the Association of Strange People »

Dede Koswara, the Treeman of Indonesia, at home with his parents in Bandung, Indonesia

Dede Koswara, the 'Treeman' of Indonesia, at home with his parents in Bandung, Indonesia.

© 2017 Ubud High.

Meeting Dede Koswara – the so-called 'Tree Man of Indonesia' – and friends for the first time in 2007.



Luxury apartment house for rent in Ubud, Bali

Your Thoughts, Your Comments?

Please feel free to post as Guest.



The Big Read ~ Bali

FEATURES AND STORIES from Indonesia's soul – the Island of the Gods.


The Heads of Trunyan: West Meets East ➨

Portrait of female farm-worker, Trunyan village, Kintamani, Bali, Indonesia

RABIDLY ISOLATIONIST for more than a thousand years, Trunyan Village 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 offers a lot more than just skulls and surly guides...


Cinema Paradiso: The Story of Indonesian Cinema on Bali ➨

'Goona Goona (Love Powder)', 1932, nudie-cutie film poster 1930s 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 Cannes, Ubud High takes a front-row seat to peer at Bali's place in the history of Indonesian Cinema...


The Story of Ganesha – Ganesh – Bali's Hindu Elephant God ➨

The Hindu Elephant God Ganesha guards a Balinese-Hindu home in Bali, Indonesia

FROM INDIA, TIBET AND JAPAN to Bali. The legends, stories and history of the Hindu Elephant God Ganesha – Ganesh – Lord of Learning and Remover of Obstacles...


How to Survive Ubud on your Rental Scooter ➨

Motorbike accident victim, Ubud, Bali

IMAGINE A SCHOOL OF FISH swimming together. Go with it.

Anyone outside that flow is the one who's going to cause a road accident. Stick to an imaginary lane – and drive defensively.

Keep an eye on who's undertaking or overtaking 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 in Bali...


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

Dead green lizard killed by Bali dogs in Ubud, Indonesia

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, a jumping spider, an angry Balinese hornet or an unstoppable army of hungry marching ants...


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.