UFF20 HONORS CULINARY HEROES WITH 90+ SPEAKERS IN ITS SIXTH YEAR

Indonesia’s leading culinary event, Ubud Food Festival 2020 Presented by ABC (UFF) has today announced its full lineup of over 90 chefs, restaurateurs, entrepreneurs, farmers, food writers, researchers and activists. From 17-19 April, the three-day cross-culinary discovery will be filled with an action-packed program of cooking demos, special events, food tours, masterclasses and more, in over 30 venues in Ubud.

In its sixth year, the Festival has grown into one of Southeast Asia’s most popular gourmet gatherings and the nation’s primary platform for sharing its diverse culinary cultures, unique local produce, and top restaurants with the world. UFF20 is set to inspire national and international foodies with the theme Heroes.

“One of the most significant aspects about the food on our table is the people behind it. When we’re eating, we tend to forget that there’s a story behind every food item, every meal, every cuisine,” explains UFF Founder and Director Janet DeNeefe. “We want to highlight the people behind the process and the significant role they play in creating the exemplary flavors that we have today.”

In line with this year’s theme, UFF brings together local food heroes to collaborate with acclaimed chefs from across the world, encouraging cross-cultural exchange and forging new pathways. From Amsterdam to Adelaide, Bangka to Banjarmasin, Düsseldorf to Dubai, Maluku to Manila, and from all around Bali, the lineup is testament to Indonesian food’s rising status on the world culinary stage.

Named as Chef of the Year by Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Awards 2020, Barbados-born Paul Carmichael is ready to serve eight courses of Caribbean- Japanese-Indonesian cuisines along with chef-writer Matt Abergel, whose book Chicken and Charcoal won a 2019 James Beard Foundation Book Award, local legend Chris Salans, and Khanh Nguyen, Head Chef of Sunda Dining (listed in Australian’s Hot 50 Restaurants 2019).

The Festival creates space for exciting collaborations. Germany’s youngest female Michelin-starred chef, Julia Komp, will present a romantic fine-dining experience of contemporary European artistry with Dennis Huwaë of Amsterdam’s Daalder, awarded as the Most Talented Chef of 2018 by French restaurant guide Gault Millau, acclaimed chef Nic Vanderbeeken of Apéritif Restaurant and Bar, Viceroy, and the award-winning Executive Pastry Chef from Belgium, Yannis J. Janssens.

There is a feast of culinary opportunities waiting to be discovered at UFF. At Chapung Sebali, Peruvian chef Cristian Encina, Argentinian chef Fernando Trump and Mexican chef Tamara Chavez come together to create a six-hand dining of reinvented Latin American dishes. At Desa Visesa, two of the Philippines’ finest culinary figures, Liquido Maestro Kalel Demetrio and modern Filipino chef Niño Laus, will create a four-course menu that celebrates indigenous Filipino food.

An impressive lineup of Italian artisan producers and chefs is set to startle with a an outstanding feast, featuring Alberto Panciera of Settimo Cielo and Marco Bertini of Labuan Bajo’s Made in Italy at Uma Cucina. Collaboration between female culinary figures, Audra Morrice and Euis Isnawati, will spice up the kitchen with a six- course Southeast Asian tasting menu at Chris Salans’ famous street-side eatery, while mixologist Amelia Azzai serves her award-winning cocktails.

On a mission to bring Indonesian food to the world, Eddrian Tjhia presents an extraordinary celebration of traditional dishes from his island home of Bangka, Southeast Sumatra to Plataran. While at bridges, MasterChef Indonesia judge Renatta Moeloek brings her millennial effervescence to creating dazzling French- Indonesian modern fare alongside Head Chef of bridges, Wayan Sukarta.

The Kitchen Stage gives Festival-goers a chance to get up close and personal with celebrated chefs. Bringing a new level of appreciation of meat and natural ingredients, chef-owner of the highly-acclaimed SI JIN Steakhouse Joel Lim Si Jin will serve tender steak incorporating Korean techniques with local ingredients sourced from across Bali.

“We’re thrilled to announce the full lineup of speakers joining us for our sixth year,” DeNeefe commented. “We’re also delighted to have more regional  Indonesian cuisine than ever before. From local warungs, farmers, artisan producers and village cooks to breathtaking venues and world-class chefs, we have your gastronomic desires covered at UFF20.”

      More Information

  • Tickets for Special Events, Kitchen Stage, Food Tours and Masterclasses are on sale now!
  • The three-day program from 17-19 April, 2020, spans a range of ticketed and free events, from cooking demonstrations and workshops, to markets, film screenings, live music and in-depth panel discussions.
  • Special Events will take place at various locations around Ubud.
  • A not-for-profit initiative, Ubud Food Festival is underpinned by a mission to support Indonesia’s vibrant and sustainable culinary and tourism industries.
  • UFF20’s artwork was created by Marishka Soekarna.
  • Visit ubudfoodfestival.com for the full lineup and program.
  • Follow @ubudfoodfest on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, please use the hashtags #UFF20 and #ABCUFF20

Testimonial

  • “One of Southeast Asia’s most popular gourmet gatherings” – Travel + Leisure

UFF20’S THEME HEROES CELEBRATES THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE SCENES OF INDONESIA’S CULINARY CULTURES

Image Credit_ Wayan Martino. Press Call. Amandari

From 17–19 April 2020, Ubud Food Festival Presented by ABC (UFF) will celebrate the unsung heroes of Indonesia’s culinary cultures, who work tirelessly to put the best food on our plates. With the theme Heroes, the nation’s leading food event will champion mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers who provide food rich in history and taste to their loved ones.

Spotlighting the archipelago’s culinary culture has been at the heart of every UFF. Each year, the Festival welcomes audiences and chefs from near and far to learn about Indonesia through its cuisine. In 2020, UFF will introduce the heroes of our home who play a significant role in nourishing Indonesia’s gastronomic world.

For its sixth year, the Festival will explore how the diversity of the world’s fourth most populous nation plays a vital role in its culinary delights. Through special events and cooking demos, food tours and talks, workshops and masterclasses, music and performance, films and markets, the three-day cross-cultural culinary adventure will introduce audiences to flavors far beyond rendang, sate, gado gado, and nasi goreng.

“Since our inaugural event, the Festival has introduced Indonesia’s complex and diverse cuisines to food lovers across the globe,” said UFF Founder and Director Janet DeNeefe. “For our sixth year, we want to recognize and celebrate the people behind the extraordinary flavors and evolving stories of Indonesia’s culinary landscape.

“With the theme Heroes, we want you to meet the unsung heroes of Indonesian food, the mothers and fathers who cook their age-old family recipes at home. We want to honor their immense contribution to creating the rich flavors we all love,” DeNeefe continued.

Along with the theme, UFF also unveiled the 2020 artwork created by Indonesian artist, Marishka Soekarna. An acclaimed mural artist, she is known for her playful, whimsical approach to intimate and social issues. Her artworks have been exhibited at Gudang Sarinah Jakarta, National Gallery of Indonesia, and Yeosu International Art Festival, South Korea.

The Festival is thankful to welcome back one of Indonesia’s leading food brands, ABC, for a third year, as Presenting Partner. Dhiren Amin, Director of Marketing and R&D, Kraft-Heinz Southeast Asia, commented, “We are extremely delighted to be UFF’s Presenting Partner for a third year. ABC not only shares the Festival’s passion for celebrating Indonesia’s culinary scene, we also appreciate the essential role of the people closest to us in creating the diverse flavors and sensations that we enjoy.

“The theme Heroes is very much aligned with ABC’s programs and commitment to highlighting Indonesia’s captivating culinary world and the people behind it. After two successful years of partnership, we are ready to have an even bigger and better festival for our third year,” concluded Amin.

“We are excited to have ABC join us again for the third year and we extend our sincere thanks to everyone at ABC for their continued support,” commented DeNeefe. “We are looking forward to celebrating our culinary heroes with food lovers from across the archipelago and beyond. We hope you’re ready to taste flavors and textures that will leave you in a state of delighted wonderment.”

  • The three-day program from 17-19 April 2020, spans a range of ticketed and
    free events, from cooking demonstrations, special events, workshops and
    food tours, to markets, film screenings, live music, and in-depth panel
    discussions.
  • Special events will take place at various locations around Ubud.
  • A not-for-profit initiative, Ubud Food Festival is underpinned by a mission to
    support Indonesia’s vibrant and sustainable culinary and tourism industries.
  • The first round of speakers will be announced in mid-February.
  • The program and full line-up will be released and tickets will go on sale in late
    February.
  • Visit ubudfoodfestival.com for all information.
  • Follow @ubudfoodfest on Instagram and use the hashtags #UFF20 and

ABCUFF20

Testimonial

  • “One of Southeast Asia’s most popular gourmet gatherings” – Travel + Leisure

16TH UBUD WRITERS & READERS FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS THE IMPORTANCE OF LITERATURE IN ENCOURAGING UNDERSTANDING AND CREATING SOCIAL CHANGE

Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF) has successfully delivered its 16th year, with inspiring stories, bold ideas and brave voices at the forefront of its 170+ events held across Ubud and Bali from 23–27 October. UWRF today announced the dates for its 17th year: 28 October to 1 November 2020.

In our fast-paced digital age, this year’s festival highlighted the importance of literature and storytelling in encouraging understanding and creating social change. Through the lens of its theme, Karma, the Festival became a hub of crucial conversations and powerful performances.

More than 180 authors, activists, and journalists from across Indonesia and 29 other countries shared diverse perspectives on some of the world’s most pressing issues, such as refugee rights, the environment, mental health, migration, disability access, fake news, and feminism.

UWRF’s role as a major annual injection for local businesses during the low season was strengthened, with an audience of approximately 25,000 spendings an estimated USD272. Further, 85% of attendees traveled to Ubud specifically for the Festival, highlighting its role as a major drawcard for cultural tourism.

The Festival’s renowned diversity of speakers and topics was exemplified by celebrated UK food writer and restaurateur Yotam Ottolenghi. Commenting on the political nature of food he enthused, “Let’s discuss it, let’s have a conversation, let’s talk about the difficult topics. I think food is a great way to bridge chasms between people.”

One of UWRF19’s many highlights was the standing ovation for Kurdish-Iranian journalist, writer and political prisoner Behrouz Boochani, who appeared on Livestream from Port Moresby, while his translator Omid Tofighian joined the conversation from the Festival Hub. “All of my work is an act of resistance. [I write] to keep my dignity as a human,” Boochani contended.

During a panel examining the vital role of translation, Tofighian stated, “Storytelling isn’t something that just reflects or reveals a reality, but is something that can transform it.”

The importance of sharing stories for social impact was also expressed by Balinese children and teen’s book author Debby Lukito Goeyardi, who commented, “For me, as a literacy activist, books are a tool for kindness.”

The role books and literature play in the fight against fake news was addressed by Indonesian writer and journalist Stanley Widianto. During an in-depth look at Indonesia’s social media landscape and a journalism industry swimming with hoaxes, he implored the audience to, “Just read. Read a lot of books. The only way to counter fake news is literacy.”

With parts of Indonesia’s environment under severe threat, the Precious Peatlands panel – supported by Pantau Gambut and WRI Indonesia – explored how literature can connect readers with nature. Balinese poet, activist and academic Saras Dewi stated, “Literature becomes a powerful instrument to present nature as a subject, not just as a backdrop.”

With 40% of UWRF’s audience in the millennial age bracket, sessions directly concerning young people, such as Reading in the Age of Instagram and Millennial Memoir, proved popular. During the latter award-winning Australian author Bri Lee shared firm advice: “If you’re going to write first-person content don’t waste people’s time unless you’re willing to be real about it.”

In a Festival first, the realities of living with disability and how arts events can be made accessible were presented by Australian memoirist and appearance activist Carly Findlay, during a workshop for Bali’s arts managers. Findlay commented, “It was wonderful and difficult, as disability is seen as an offensive word in Indonesian culture. How do we break down the stigma – both for disabled and non-disabled people?”

“In January this year, UWRF was named one of the world’s five best literary festivals for 2019 by The Telegraph,” commented UWRF Founder & Director Janet DeNeefe. “After countless conversations during the Festival, and after reading hundreds of messages from speakers and audience members, I strongly feel that what we delivered in our 16th year was like no other literary event in the world.

“UWRF is unique in many ways, but perhaps the most resounding aspect of our uniqueness is the generosity we receive from so many different individuals, businesses, and organizations. 180 partners helped us deliver UWRF19. On behalf of the Festival team, I thank each and every one of them, as well as all speakers, volunteers, and audience members who helped bring our 16th year to life. We look forward to welcoming you back next year from 28 October to 1 November!”

More Information

Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 2019

The 16th Ubud Writers & Readers Festival was held from 23-27 October 2019, in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

About the Festival

Ubud Writers & Readers Festival’s mission is to create a world-class festival that celebrates extraordinary stories and amplifies brave voices, tackles global issues and bold ideas. The Festival brings together a diverse mix of Indonesian and international writers, speakers, thinkers, artists, advocates, commentators, and activists, to create a space for cross-cultural dialogue and connection.

Ubud Writers & Readers Festival is one of the major annual projects of a not-for-profit foundation, the Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati. It was first conceived of in 2004 by Janet DeNeefe, co-founder of the Foundation, as a healing project in response to the first Bali bombing.

Testimonials

One of the five best literary festivals for 2019 – The Telegraph UK

“The festival – surely the best in the world – ensures that you’re never at a loss for intellectual nourishment.” – Harper’s Bazaar

2020 Dates

UWRF20 will be held from 28 October–1 November.

Jakarta Fashion Week 2020 Flaunts The Collections from Hundreds of Designers

Jakarta Fashion Week 2020 that will be held in Senayan City throughout the upcoming dates, 22-28 October 2019, is just around the corner. So far, GCM Group, the organizer of Jakarta Fashion Week 2020, has secured more than 75 fashion shows that will present more than 270 brands and designers.

This year’s Jakarta Fashion Week will showcase more than 2.800 newest collections from domestic and international designers, some of them are Indonesia Fashion Forward designers. A few names to look forward to are Toton, Peggy Hartanto, BYO, Major Minor, Sean Sheila, Reves Studio, Danjyo Hiyoji, Rani Hatta, PVRA, Albert Yanuar, Novita Yunus, Friederich Herman, Bateeq, ATS The Label, Cotton Ink, Monday to Sunday, Andhita Siswandi, IKYK, Terita, Eri Dani, Alex(a)lexa, Jenahara, and many more. A few other domestic designers are Oscar Lawalata, Sejauh Mata Memandang, Natalia Kiantoro, Rama Dauhan, Diniira, and so on.

International partners will take part to enrich this year’s Jakarta Fashion Week are the British Council, Japan Fashion Week Organization, Korea Model Association, and Korea Creative Content Agency. British Council’s invited designer from England, Intoart, will share its stage with Cotton Ink. Japan Fashion Week Organization invited Rakuten Fashion Week Tokyo, one of the top global fashion weeks, which will showcase Enharmonic Tavern, Rieka Inoue, and Yoakeh. SETSETSET and Seokwoon Yoon.

To further spoil visitors, Fashionlink Showroom & Market, a retail program that will be carried throughout Jakarta Fashion Week on 22-26 October 2019 in The Hall, 8th Floor, Senayan City. With more than 100 fashion brands, accessories, lifestyle, as well as food and beverages, the area will also be filled with various interesting activities such as trunk show and talk show from community partners that came from various fields, starting from environmental, photography, up to wellness.

Complete schedules of all these activities, as well as fashion shows in Jakarta Fashion Week 2020, can be accessed through the official website and application of Jakarta Fashion Week. Invitations are available for the general audience in limited quota that can be exclusively acquired from Jakarta Fashion Week’s application, or Lazada, for all Lazada’s shows in Jakarta Fashion Week.

Jakarta Fashion Week 2020 is supported by Senayan City, Lazada, Make Over, Wardah, L’Oreal Professionel, UBS Gold, Tinkerlust, Matahari Department Store, Daliatex, Danone Aqua, Strongbow, Epson, KFC, and Aqua Japan. Seagram’s Vodka, Imperial Black, Sweet Escape, RSGM YARSI, CBN Fiber, Caffino, Artisan Pro, Century Park Hotel, Santika Hotel Indonesia, Aston Kartika Grogol, Sunpride, Gouw Heritage, Wondernuts, Indofood, Boga Group, Studio 47, Moonlay Technologies, Ohana, Accoustic, Savana Furnitures, Studio Hendrohadinoto, Gambo Muba, and Taco also take part of this elaborate week of fashion celebration.

Support also comes from British Council, Japan Fashion Week Organization, Korea Model Association, Korea Creative Content Agency, Tunis Fashion Week, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Education and Culture, Department of Tourism and Culture of DKI Jakarta, Enjoy Jakarta, Indonesian Embassy in Tunisia, and Indonesian Embassy in Vienna.

About Jakarta Fashion Week

Jakarta Fashion Week is the most prominent fashion week in Indonesia since 2007. It is designated as the Indonesian fashion industry’s driving platform; Jakarta Fashion Week provides direction for fashion activists and provides a prestigious arena to showcase the talent and creativity of the domestic fashion world. Throughout the year, Jakarta Fashion Week also holds various capacity-building programs for international industry players. Jakarta Fashion Week is organized by GCM Group.

About Indonesia Fashion Forward

Indonesia Fashion Forward is an intensive and curative program for capacity development with a vision to polish Indonesian designers’ skills so that they’re able to enter the regional and international market by giving guidance alongside training that involves business strategy and branding.

UBUD WRITERS & READERS FESTIVAL WELCOMES 180 SPEAKERS FROM 30 COUNTRIES FOR ITS 16TH YEAR AND ANNOUNCES NEW TRANSLATION PRIZE

One of the world’s leading literary and arts events, Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF) today welcomes 180 authors, artists and activists from 30 countries for its 16th year. Under the banner of this year’s theme, Karma, they’ll appear in over 170 events across Ubud and Bali, including panel discussions, performances, workshops, film screenings, book launches, long table lunches and more from 23–27 October.

From Indonesia to Italy, Colombia to Canada, Portugal to Pakistan and dozens of countries in between, the five-day program of extraordinary stories, diverse voices and brave ideas will demonstrate why The Telegraph named UWRF one of the world’s five best literary festivals for 2019.

International guests include BAFTA-winning hip-hop artist, writer and social entrepreneur Akala, Chinese-American author and poet Jenny Zhang, writer, poet, and playwright Lemn Sissay, Zimbabwean-American historical fiction author  Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, Iranian-American religious scholar and author Reza Aslan, Indigenous Australian writer Tara June Winch, and Australian author and radio  host Richard Fidler.

They’ll be joined by legendary Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh, journalist, author and Pulitzer Prize finalist Megan K. Stack, celebrated British food writer Yotam Ottolenghi, award-winning author, and illustrator Mira Jacob, and Kurdish-Iranian award-winning writer Behrouz Boochani, who is currently incarcerated on Manus Island and will appear via live stream.

As Indonesia’s premier platform for showcasing its writers and artists to the world, the Festival is honored to welcome author and journalist Laksmi Pamuntjak, Indigenous education pioneer Butet Manurung, BBC Indonesia journalist and writer Famega Syavira Putri, author, artist and gender activist Eliza Vitri Handayani, rising star of Balinese literature IGA Darma Putra, and one of the nation’s foremost film directors, Garin Nugroho.

Across 70 Main Program sessions comprising panels and one-on-one interviews, audiences will learn how storytelling can – and has – created real change on a local and global scale. Sessions such as Bali’s Art Activists, Indonesia Cinema as Soft Power, and the Asia Pacific Futures on the Page, Stage, and Screen will gauge the creative industry’s social and economic impact.

Audiences will also be invited to consider how the arts can break down barriers and connect people across languages, cultures, and politics at panels including The Role of the Arts in Cultural Diplomacy and Outside, Inside – a vital conversation on rewriting tropes of migration.

Events outside the Main Program also promise ample inspiration. In the glorious gardens of Blanco Renaissance Museum, Power, Politics, and Poetry Under the Stars will be a rare opportunity to see world-renowned spoken word artists share the stage with one of Indonesia’s most progressive musicians, Nova Ruth. At [untitled], attendees will experience tales from the margins, stories of pride, prejudice and finding community through a shared experience of difference.

The Festival also today announced its new Translators’ Prize, in partnership with the Australasian Association of Writing Programs (AAWP). Open to translators anywhere in the world, the winner will receive AUD1,000 towards flights to Bali to attend next year’s UWRF, as well as a range of AAWP membership benefits.

Since 2008 the Festival has worked with a team of translators to publish its annual Bilingual Anthology of Indonesian Writing, and regularly features panels on the essential role translators play in opening our eyes to other cultures. “It’s long been a dream of ours to offer a prize for exceptional works of literary translation, so we’re thrilled to expand our commitment to global writing communities with the new Prize,” commented UWRF Founder and Director Janet DeNeefe.

“As we reflect on the last 16 years and on how the Festival has evolved into one of the world’s top literary events, we can appreciate its significance as a platform for genuine cross-cultural exchange,” DeNeefe continued. For many, it’s an introduction to Indonesian culture, while for Indonesians, it’s a pathway to reaching national and international audiences.

“Through this year’s theme of Karma, we’re celebrating the writers, artists, and activists from across Indonesia and the world who are deeply aware of the consequences of their actions, and how those consequences will impact on our shared future,” DeNeefe continued.

“If you love a good story or performance, if you’re open to innovative ideas, if you’re eager to learn more about this region, or if you simply believe in the power of creativity to generate real change, then come and experience the magic we’re now famous for. For many, UWRF has been life-changing. It has been for me, and I hope it will be for you too,” DeNeefe concluded.

More Information

Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 2019

The 16th Ubud Writers & Readers Festival will be held from 23-27 October 2019, in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. The full program is live and tickets are on sale.

About the Festival

Ubud Writers & Readers Festival’s mission is to create a world-class festival that celebrates extraordinary stories and amplifies brave voices, tackles global issues and bold ideas. The Festival brings together a diverse mix of Indonesian and international writers, speakers, thinkers, artists, advocates, commentators, and activists, to create a space for cross-cultural dialogue and connection.

Ubud Writers & Readers Festival is one of the major annual projects of a not-for-profit foundation, the Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati. It was first conceived of in 2004 by Janet DeNeefe, co-founder of the Foundation, as a healing project in response to the first Bali bombing.

2019 Artwork

The 2019 artwork was created by Yogyakarta community artist Samuel Indratma.

Find the best rates for your stay in Ubud with this link:

EN - 640x248

UWRF/AAWP Translators’ Prize

For more information check aawp.org.au and to submit go to bit.ly/TranslatorsPrize.

ubudwritersfestival.com | @ubudwritersfest | #UWRF19

Focus on BALI & LOMBOK: Luxury Healthy Break in Ubud

Back to Nature in Gili Meno

The Southside of Bali has many attractions like Seminyak and Canggu’s rollicking beach clubs, boutique shopping, and luxury nightlife. But sometimes on a short break less can be more. If you have the feeling you’ve been there and done that, it’s time for a change of scene. On this short break we set out to rediscover the natural world, get in tune with our bodies and with the earth, undistracted by bright lights, dance beats, and crowds.  Our journey takes us to Ubud and Gili Meno for a three-day trip away from the hubbub and back to nature, quietude and healthy living – but without sacrificing any of the comforts we deserve! 

Find the best deals to Bali with the below link!

DAY 1

From Bali’s Denpasar Airport the expressway to Ubud is far less congested than the roads into Seminyak, and your resort shuttle or taxi will get you there in 30 – 40 minutes. The town of Ubud, in the uplands of Bali, is known as a center for traditional crafts and dance. As we got closer we rolled down our windows and felt we were passing through an open-air art museum. We saw woodcarvings, huge stone sculptures, straw weaving, and latticework – no wonder so many expat artists had set up their workshops in Ubud. But the natural beauty was really the show-stealer on this journey.  The surrounding district’s lush rainforest and rice paddies, dotted with Hindu temples and shrines, are among Bali’s most famous landscapes.

Alila Resort, Ubud.

We chose Alila Resort Ubud for the start of our healing break because of its remote, stunning jungle location with its proximity, at only 15min away, to the arts, crafts, and culture of central Ubud.  Arriving at reception, the first thing you’ll observe is the harmonization of architecture and nature. Blending contemporary design and traditional Balinese architecture, the resort sits high up on the edge of the verdant Ayung River valley in Bali’s central foothills.  

The wood exteriors of the villas with their tall thatched roofs complement the dense botanical richness all around.  Our Pool Villa provided 120sqm of space and seclusion with high ceilings, landscaped gardens with a large private swimming pool, and an open-air bathtub set in the middle of a lotus pond bustling with fish and garrulous frogs. Cobblestone walls surround each villa and line the footpaths adding to the feeling that this must be Middle Earth (without the orcs and dragons)!

The resort restaurant Plantation built in the Balinese style with an angular straw roof over tall trunk-like pillars was the perfect setting for a contemplative morning coffee and an a la carte buffet.  Plantation’s lunch and dinner menu infuse organic health and freshness into every dish. Executive Chef Erwan Wijaya is committed to locally sourced ‘Farm to Table’ freshness and is a proponent of the ‘Slow Food’ movement. The plantation has earned the ‘Snail of Approval’ by Slow Food Bali for its organic and sustainable food, and has been voted “Best Balinese Restaurant” in the 2014 and 2015 Now! Best of Bali Awards. 

Downstairs from Plantation is Cabana Lounge, overlooking Alila Ubud’s celebrated 25-meter infinity swimming pool on the ridge of the valley. Cabana provides evening relaxation with a drink menu curated by Conrad Michael O’Riordan, whose creative flair is more than evident in the selection of signature organic cocktails, featuring ingredients picked fresh from Alila’s organic garden.

A night in Ubud would not be complete without dance, one of the highlights of the region.  We were lucky enough to dine on a night where Alila had organized a Balinese traditional Kecak dance with over 30 performers. Sitting and standing, some in extraordinary masks, they chanted, danced, thumped their breasts, hurled fire at each other, and competed for a young woman whose wide unblinking eyes darted left and right as her fingers drew intricate patterns in the night air.    

DAY 2

After morning coffee we walked up to Alila’s sculpture park and joined the 8am Tai Chi session, one of many weekly fitness activities for guests that include yoga and aerobics.  Before checking out we could not resist a visit to Alila Spa.  The spa provides unique holistic treatments developed in-house, blending traditional Balinese healing techniques with timeless beauty recipes using all-natural ingredients.  Alila has its own line of bath and spa products.  They also feature unique outdoor treatments in inspiring settings.  As it was raining we chose the indoor Balinese massage. With the sound of the rain and the precise but intuitive palm and thumb pressure on our limbs and back, we drifted into a state of Zen.  We’ve tried the spa at many a five star but Alila was in a class above.

The taxi ride from Ubud to Padang Bai is roughly an hour and traverses a stunning landscape of mystical hills and valleys.  Allow more time if you want to stop at viewpoints along the way.  Ferries to the Gili islands depart from Padang Bai with various boat companies. It is best to book in advance and choose a large capacity boat (we chose the Eka Jaya Fast Boat)as the smaller ones pack in tourists like sardines.  From Padang Bai to Gili Trawangan is an hour and a half and it is recommended you sit at the back of the boat for smoothest passage.  Once we arrived at Gili Trawangan, our Seri Resort boatman was waiting to shuttle us to Gili Meno

Seri Resort, Gili Meno

Seri resort main building at night

The Gili Islands are a series of three distinct islands that fall within the province of Lombok, just East of Bali. Gili Trawangan, the largest, is known as ‘the party island’. Gili Air, closest to Lombok mainland, is known as the ‘social’ island. Gili Meno, the smallest and least developed, lies in the middle and is known for its serenity and romantic sunsets. All three islands share a special feature: no motorized vehicles are allowed on them.  Horse and buggy is the quaint but common mode of transport, as are bicycles.  

As our hotel speedboat lunged across the waves leaving busy Gili Trawangan behind, we felt we were really getting away.  Ahead was Gili Meno, rumored by some to be the island that time forgot. Within 10 minutes we had half-circled the island and Seri Resort loomed almost majestic before us.  The three-story main building stands out white and bright like a miniature palace as turquoise waters lap over an unspoiled white sands beach in the foreground. Our boat pulled up and we stepped ashore, catching sight of the infinity pool and the Sea View Beach Bungalows we were soon to move into. 

As we walked the grounds of Seri Resort, it was notable for a variety of accommodation from the luxury beach bungalows with king-size beds and private verandah to the comfortable king and twin bed garden suites in the 2-storey ‘longhouse’ behind, and further inland the rustic but cozy bale huts for budget travelers.  This brought to Seri a good mix of people from all walks of life.

For dinner, we ate at Seri’s main restaurant which spreads out from the lobby bar to tables around the pool and on the beachfront. There is also indoor seating on the second floor and a cocktail/shisha lounge on the third floor.  Seri offers freshly caught fish and seafood grilled to perfection, along with a selection of healthy salads, soups and Indonesian dishes made from local produce.  After dinner, you can stroll, chat on the veranda, chart the stars, listen to the sea, and like most guests, retire to bed at a good hour.

DAY 3

Mornings are golden on Gili Meno and it’s a joy to wake up early.  Seri is more than just a ‘nice resort on the beach’ – it is also a Yoga Retreat and health and detox center with its own spa and vegetarian restaurant, fresh juices, and detox smoothies. After a light fresh fruit breakfast, we were eager to join the daily morning yoga session.

Yoga sessions are held with Swedish instructor Zandra twice a day on the second floor of a beautiful bamboo pavilion and wellness center. For a beginner, practicing yoga in this environment was very conducive to learning. Zandra also offers private yoga sessions and Reiki therapy as well.  After an hour of stretching and sweating, I felt centered and cleansed – and ready for a day of swimming, snorkeling, and cycling. 

Seri offers a variety of activities from island tours, fishing, snorkeling, horse riding, and sunset speedboat trips, to kayak, paddleboard, and bicycle rentals.  After a dip in the infinity pool and some snorkeling, we tried out Seri’s spa.  Behind the yoga pavilion in a shady forested area, Seri’s bamboo spa rooms immerse you in the sounds and fragrances of nature while you lay down and let the therapists work their magic.

The first floor of the Yoga pavilion houses Seri’s vegetarian and detox restaurant.  After all the morning activities and spa, we’d worked up an appetite.  The menu offers a detailed selection of juice combinations for detox, power, hydration, weight loss, and dry skin.  We started with soup and salad each. The Kecinan quinoa salad was so hearty and filling as to be a full meal in itself.  But we couldn’t resist the sandwich and veggie burger list.  The Trikona burger made of chickpeas with avocado and greens gets top marks!  

Feeling stuffed full of health and not in the least guilty, we spent the afternoon cycling around the island and making new friends.  Gili Meno can be circumnavigated by bicycle in less than an hour. There are many nooks and crannies, odd conceptual guest houses like Gili Gula, live music bars, rival beach resorts like Karma, charming local restaurants, a salt lake, goats, cows, laughing school children, and a Sunset Beach bar that is a must-see in the evening.    

Before bedtime, we shared a drink with Seri’s managing owners Eddie, Jane, and Akihiro. They bring a philosophy of living to their resort that is felt in the details and in the warmth of the guests and staff.  The resort is ecologically conscious and encourages guests to participate in using water moderately, disposing of waste properly and taking care of this corner of the island.  Or perhaps it was because we all walked barefoot and connected to the earth.

As morning came, we got in the last yoga session and reluctantly prepared for checkout.  But on this short break, we felt we had accomplished what we had set out to do.  We rediscovered nature, tuned in to health and tranquility, and found that the true luxuries of life are simple: sharing a smile, feeling the earth, caring for the body.  A day spent doing these things is a day spent in paradise.  Thank you, Seri. 

Words by Nigel D’Sa / Coordination: Fluxus Agency

Cheap flights

 

UBUD WRITERS & READERS FESTIVAL REVEALS FULL LINEUP OF 200+ SPEAKERS FROM 30 COUNTRIES FOR ITS 16TH YEAR

For its 16th year as Southeast Asia’s leading literary event, Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF) has today announced its full lineup of over 200 authors, journalists, artists and activists from 30 countries. From 23–27 October, they’ll appear in more than 170 events across 70+ venues in Ubud, which this year placed sixth on Travel + Leisure’s Top 15 Cities in the World.

From Indonesia to Italy, Colombia to Cameroon, Thailand to Turkey, Portugal to Pakistan and dozens of countries in between, the five-day program of in- conversations, panel discussions, literary lunches, music and arts performances, writing workshops and more will demonstrate why The Telegraph named UWRF one of the world’s five best literary festivals for 2019.

The first round of speakers announced last month featured celebrated British food writer Yotam Ottolenghi, bestselling American author Susan Orlean, human rights advocate Andreas Harsono, and Kurdish-Iranian journalist, scholar, and award-winning writer Behrouz Boochani, who is currently incarcerated on Manus Island and will appear via live stream.

Among the names revealed today are legendary Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh, feminist firebrand and New York Times contributing opinion writer Lindy West, BAFTA-winning hip-hop artist, writer, and social entrepreneur Akala, journalist, author and Pulitzer Prize finalist Megan K. Stack, and award-winning writer, poet, and playwright Lemn Sissay.

They’ll be joined by internationally renowned Iranian-American writer and religious scholar Reza Aslan, Canada’s bestselling memoirist Lindsay Wong, Pakistani journalist and author Sanam Maher, Turkish author, and translator Nazli Karabiyikoglu, and Man Booker Prize-nominated author and documentary filmmaker Guy Gunaratne.
As Indonesia’s premier platform for showcasing its writers and artists to the world, the Festival is thrilled to welcome award-winning author and journalist Laksmi Pamuntjak, one of the nation’s foremost film directors Garin Nugroho, author and film director Richard Oh, veteran journalists Leila S. Chudori and Maria Hartiningsih, and author, artist and gender activist Eliza Vitri Handayani.

Celebrating emerging Indonesian talent is a core part of UWRF. In addition to the five winners of this year’s Emerging Writers Competition, the Festival will welcome novelist and poet Faisal Oddang, author and visual artist Lala Bohang, and fashion designer Didiet Maulana.

As ever, the Festival will shine a spotlight on the region’s most stimulating voices and committed journalists, which this year includes Thailand’s Pitchaya Sudbanthad, Filipina poet Eunice Andrada, Singaporean global strategist Parag Khanna, Chinese author and journalist Karoline Kan, Bangkok-based author and journalist Patrick Winn, Southeast Asia-based journalist and analyst Erin Cook, and Singapore-based author and journalist Michael Vatikiotis.

Due to its proximity Australian authors always form a strong contingent of Festival speakers, which this year includes Lonely Planet Founder Tony Wheeler, author and appearance activist Carly Findlay, award-winning author Toni Jordan, and award-winning writer, editor and critic Fiona Wright.

“Our milestone 15th-year last year was very special,” commented UWRF Founder and Director Janet DeNeefe. “It will be hard to beat. But there’s something in the air right now – a crackling hunger for diverse voices from lesser-known regions, for works in translation by people of color, for stories that open our eyes to worlds completely unlike our own.

“For 16 years UWRF has prided itself on sharing these stories, and now we feel like the global literary community is finally catching up. I think the fact that a relatively small and intimate event in Indonesia, which is delivered by a not-for-profit foundation, is now listed among the world’s best literary festivals is nothing short of extraordinary,” DeNeefe continued.

“If you’re a lover of a good story, brave ideas and unique insights into this incredible part of the world, come and share our 16th year with us, and experience the magic we’re now famous for.”


More Information

Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 2019

The 16th Ubud Writers & Readers Festival will be held from 23-27 October 2019, in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. The full lineup is now live and tickets are on sale. All other program categories (Special Events, Workshops, Cultural Workshops, Live Music & Arts, Film Program, Book Launches, Art Exhibitions and more) will follow on 20 August.

About the Festival

Ubud Writers & Readers Festival’s mission is to create a world-class festival that celebrates extraordinary stories and amplifies brave voices, tackles global issues and bold ideas. The Festival brings together a diverse mix of Indonesian and international writers, speakers, thinkers, artists, advocates, commentators, and activists, to create a space for cross-cultural dialogue and connection.

Ubud Writers & Readers Festival is one of the major annual projects of a not-for-profit foundation, the Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati. It was first conceived of in 2004 by Janet DeNeefe, co-founder of the Foundation, as a healing project in response to the first Bali bombing.

The Clubhouse at Ulu: A Decadent Hideaway in the Heart of Uluwatu

Boutique Asian hospitality group M. Group launches sister property to its award-winning Balinese beach club – Ulu Cliffhouse

M. Group is proud to announce the September launch of its latest project in Bali – boutique hotel The Clubhouse at Ulu – alongside sister-property Ulu Cliffhouse beach club.

Sitting atop Uluwatu’s dramatic cliffs some two hundred feet above the world-famous breaks of the Indian Ocean, The Clubhouse at Ulu is a collection of seven stunning, individually-appointed suites, each named and inspired by the seven legendary surf breaks that surround the property, including Padang Padang, Impossibles and Racetracks.

Each of The Clubhouse at Ulu’s suites offers uniquely designed spaces and laid-back luxury – the perfect elements for a decadent hideaway. For guests, this translates to a tactile and colorful experience with four-poster beds, nomad-inspired artwork, 1950s California style furnishings, cocktail bars with private bartenders and freestanding baths.

Guests, whether after an intimate escape or an unforgettable break with friends, will also have exclusive use of a private members’ lounge, a Clubhouse bar, and in-suite or poolside spa treatments. In addition, they will be able to access the island’s premier beach club, Ulu Cliffhouse: a 25-meter infinity pool, world-class dining experiences and an exceptional music program in an ambiance melding a tropical Balinese soul with iconic 1950’s California surf culture and the glamour of Palm Springs.  

Conceived to innovate and surprise, The Clubhouse at Ulu resets expectations around the traditional hotel experience; guests will be welcomed by their dedicated Clubhouse ‘host’ upon arrival; front desk check-ins are swapped with in-suite or clifftop welcomes. In-suite amenities include organic products, massage candles, and bamboo razors to name a few. 

Ben Jones, CEO of M. Group states: “We opened Ulu Cliffhouse to enormous acclaim two years ago, bringing a new level of sophistication to Bali’s beach club scene. We are really proud to now be launching its sister-property The Clubhouse at Ulu, which will offer guests an incredible experience to stay atop the cliff tops of Uluwatu – while benefiting from service that is consistently warm, discreet and bespoke.”

The Clubhouse at Ulu is conceived and designed by M. Group, the leading design-forward development and hospitality group behind Bali-based Ulu Cliffhouse, Mandala Places, Berawa 9 and Singapore-based Oxwell & Co and Operation Dagger. With more than 10 years’ experience in Asia and an internationally-acclaimed portfolio, M.’s vision is to redefine the full potential of extraordinary hospitality and lifestyle, without compromise. 

To celebrate the launch of The Clubhouse at Ulu, M. Group is offering a special Launch at The Clubhouse package. The offer is available for stays between 2nd September to 15th December 2019 and includes:

–          USD300++* per night for two guests sharing

–          Daily breakfast for two in-suite or at clifftop restaurant at Ulu Cliffhouse beach club

–          Daily US$ 100 F&B credit to be used either in-suite at The Clubhouse at Ulu or at Ulu Cliffhouse beach club

The Launch at The Clubhouse package also includes: 

–          2-night stay – complimentary upgrade to next available suite, subject to availability           

–          3-night stay – one-hour complimentary massage for two on our ocean deck

–          4-night stay – bonus 5th-night stay

For more info on The Clubhouse at Ulu visit: 

W: https://theclubhouseatulu.com/

IG: @the.clubhouse.at.ulu and @ulucliffhouse

IG Hashtags: #theclubhouseatulu #ulucliffhouse #playalldaystayallnight