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Aguilar inspired to put on successful defence
February 25th, 2009

Felipe Aguilar made history in 2008 by becoming the first player from Chile to capture a European Tour title. Twelve months later, the 34 year old believes that the thrilling memories of victory can inspire him to retain the Enjoy Jakarta Indonesia Open on the paradise island of Bali.

Aguilar made the 24 hour trip from Santiago to Australia last week for the Johnnie Walker Classic, where he played superbly to finish joint runner-up behind teenage amateur Danny Lee of New Zealand in Perth.

Now, with a week’s acclimatisation behind him, the Chilean is ready for his title defence as The Race to Dubai touches down in an exotic location for an event which has produced first time European Tour winners in Thaworn Wiratchant (2005), Simon Dyson (2006), Mikko Ilonen (2007) and Aguilar.

A birdie at the final hole at Cenkareng Golf Club last year secured Aguilar’s breakthrough moment with a one stroke victory over India’s Jeev Milkha Singh. After spending the winter – his summer – at home in Chile, Aguilar hit the ground running with a 16 under par total of 272 at the Vines last week to get his season under way in some style.

“It’s always good to show up to a tournament having played well the week before. I’m very looking forward to it.  I want to go back and defend my title and I feel very good having practised the last two months.

“Our summer is full going to the ocean, practicing, going to the gym and spending time with the family. It was something I needed after spending such a lot of time in Europe
“I’m playing this week, next week and then I’m playing a PGA event in Puerto Rico, and after that, I’m coming back to Europe and Asia. I’ll be playing 24 events this year.”

Aguilar’s win saw Chile become the 35th country to be represented among the list of European Tour winners, while Ilonen’s success a year earlier had allowed Finland to make it 34 nations. The Finn is in the field for his attempt at a repeat victory along with the two other past champions, Wiratchant of Thailand and Englishman Dyson.

Wiratchant, the inaugural winner in 2005, became the first player to win a European Tour event shooting 63 in three of his four rounds. He recorded scores of 63-63-66-63 for a winning aggregate of 255 (-25). However that spectacular scoring did not figure in the record books due to preferred lies being in operation.

Measuring over 7500 yards from the championship tees, the par 72 New Kuta Golf Club overlooks some of the best surfing breaks in Bali and is the island’s first championship course. Designed by Golf Plan architects Ronald Fream, David Dale and Kevin Ramsey, the course is a dramatic links-style layout and was recently certified as the first environmentally friendly ‘Laureate Golf Course’ in Indonesia.

Elsewhere, Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand, the joint most prolific winner in Asia, is in the field after withdrawing from the Johnnie Walker Classic due to illness.

A hugely popular figure with golf fans in Jakarta, Jaidee was the first Thai golfer to win a European Tour event, capturing the Maybank Malaysian Open in 2004 and successfully defending the title a year later.  Jaidee was the first Thai to play in all four Major Championships and topped the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit in 2001 and 2004.

“Although I missed out playing at the Enjoy Jakarta Indonesia Open last year, I am looking forward to returning to Indonesia at the new golf course, having visited Bali a few times in the past,” he said. “Playing in Indonesia is always special thanks to the support I get here.  I’m looking forward to the competition.”

Sweden’s Daniel Chopra, a two-time winner on the US PGA Tour, returns to a country he knows well from his childhood. Born in Stockholm, raised in India and now based in the USA, Chopra is one of the most travelled golfers in the game having played on ten different golf Tours in four different continents.

The Swede has won 14 titles around the world including two US PGA Tour victories at the 2007 Ginn sur Mer Classic and the 2008 Mercedes-Benz Championship.  Last year, Chopra also finished in the top ten at the SAS Masters, the MasterCard Masters, and the UBS Hong Kong Open on The European Tour.

“Returning to the Indonesia Open brings back great memories for me – especially playing and practicing at Pondok Indah Golf Club in Jakarta when I was still a junior golfer,” said Chopra.

“Bali is certainly a spectacular place to play golf, experience a truly beautiful landscape and a culture rich with history, the arts, great food and wonderful people. I am very much looking forward to returning to Indonesia and to playing at the New Kuta Golf Resort for the first time.”

Japanese tourists top list of tourist arrivals to Bali
February 11th, 2009

Denpasar, Bali (ANTARA News) – A total of 359,827 Japanese tourists visited Bali in 2008, accounting for 18.06 percent of the total number of foreign tourists coming to the resort island that year.

The number of Japanese tourists visiting Bali last year represented a 2.21 percent increase from the year before, head of the local statistics office Ida Komang Wisnu said on Tuesday.

Bali`s unique arts and culture as well as panoramic scenery served as special attractions for Japanese tourists to visit the world-renowned resort island, he said.

Data from the statistics office show Japan topped the list of countries in terms of foreign tourists coming to Bali last year.

Trailing behind Japan in the second place was Australia with 313,313 tourists, jumping 52.68 percent from the year before when the figure was recorded at 205,205.

South Korea came in third with 134,909 tourists (6.77 percent), followed by China 131,909 (6.59 percent), Taiwan 130,449 (6.55 percent), Malaysia 129,727 (6.51 percent), the United Kingdom 82,827 (4.16 percent), Germany 82,686 (4.15 percent) and France 77,379 (3.88 percent), and the United States 68,619 (3.44 percent).

The data also show the number of foreign tourists from other countries was recorded at 481,244, up 24.16 percent from a year earlier.

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Second Ancient Sarcophagus Uncovered in Bali
February 3rd, 2009

A sarcophagus, or stone coffin, estimated to be up to 2,500 years old has been found in Bali’s Gianyar district, a local archaeologist said on Monday.

Wayan Suantika, the head of the Denpasar Archeology Agency, told the Jakarta Globe that the sarcophagus had been found on Saturday in Keramas village by Muksin Riadi, a brick maker, while he was digging for brick-making material. It was found 1.5 meters below the surface.

Muksin had immediately stopped digging and reported the finding to the Blahbatuh Police.

Wayan said the size of the sarcophagus suggests that it was most likely used to inter a child, and he made a preliminary estimate that it dated back about 2,300 to 2,500 years. Bones and teeth were also found.

The sarcophagus had a width of 60 centimeters and a height of 49 centimeters.

Wayan said he would lead a team of experts to further examine it today.

“We haven’t opened it yet, so we don’t know what is inside of it,” he said.

It was the second discovery of a sarcophagus within a month, after the first was found on Jan. 13 less than 10 meters away.

Now that two had been found, the agency had assumed the location had been a residential area of people from a Mongoloid race.

Wayan said it was likely that the people buried inside the sarcophagi were from important families.

“Not everybody could be buried in a sarcophagus, only important people or a tribe leader,” Wayan said.

He said the agency would secure the sarcophagus if the landowners did not want to take care of it. They had declined an offer to keep last month’s find and it had been removed to the agency’s office.

The latest finding was the thirteenth sarcophagus in the Gianyar district.

Hundreds have been found across Bali Island.

Meanwhile, Agence France-Presse reports that Malaysian archaeologists have announced the discovery of stone tools they believe are more than 1.8 million years old and the earliest evidence of human activity in Southeast Asia.

The stone hand-axes were found at Lenggong in Perak state, in a type of rock formed by meteorites, and were sent to a Japanese lab to be dated.

Team leader Mokhtar Saidin said “this is the earliest evidence of Paleolithic culture in the Southeast Asian region.”

Mokhtar, from Malaysia’s University of Science, said he believed the hand-axes were used by homo erectus, an extinct early human.

He said the previous oldest homo erectus fossil discovered in Southeast Asia was from Java and dated at 1.7 million years.

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Buyan Lake plan rejected
February 2nd, 2009

Ni Komang Erviani ,  The Jakata Post ,  Denpasar   |  Sat, 01/31/2009 1:20 PM  |  Bali

Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika announced Friday that he had rejected an investment offer from PT Anantara to develop Lake Buyan in Buleleng into an eco-tourism resort.

“I have rejected PT Anantara’s request to develop Lake Buyan. I signed the rejection papers on Friday,” he said during a meeting with the Forum for the Protection of Sacred Sites and Bali High Priests, at the governor’s office in Denpasar

The forum was one of many organizations that had declared their opposition to allowing private investors to develop Lake Buyan.

Anantara had offered to develop Lake Buyan into a site dubbed the “Buyan eco-tourism heaven,” promising to restore the lake’s depth – which had become shallower due to sedimentation and the construction of villas on its edges – while adding a theater stage able to host up to 600 dancers in the middle of the lake.

Pastika said his decision to reject this offer was made after consulting with NGOs and community groups.

“Their offer was not in line with our philosophical and social rules,” he said.

He was referring to several claims by the community that Lake Buyan is a sacred area and that any construction in the area would destroy its purity.

In Hindu-majority Bali, residents believe that several lakes, seabeds and mountains are sacred areas. Lakes, in particular, are revered as the throne of Bhatari Danu, the goddess of water and fertility. For a religious culture that has been built upon water and agriculture, huge water reservoirs like lakes are an important and sacred cultural landmark.

This belief has been bolstered by a regional bylaw prohibiting construction at sacred sites.

“This lake is a sacred site that we must preserve for our grandchildren. I will protect Bali with my body and soul,” Pastika said.

Located in Sukasada district, Lake Buyan is one of the three lakes situated within a large caldera. A vast wild forest separates Lake Buyan from Lake Tamblingan to its west, while to its east lies Lake Beratan.

So far only the area around Lake Beratan has been developed as a tourist destination. Its close proximity with Eka Karya, the island’s largest botanical garden, has made Lake Beratan a favorite weekend getaway for the residents of Bali’s southern urban areas.

Lake Beratan also hosts Ulun Danu, one of the most important water temples on the island. Lake Buyan’s original area of 478.33 hectares has shrunk by 60 hectares due to sedimentation.

“That’s 10 hectares every year. If we allow this to continue, Lake Buyan will cease to be a lake within 10 years,” Pastika said.

He said he planned to gather a number of experts to find the best way to restore the lake, adding that damage to the lake had reached a critical point.

“We’ll see what they’ve come up with. What’s certain is that we have to move fast to save Lake Buyan,” he said.

Si Ketut Mandiranatha, coordinator of the Forum for Protection of Sacred Sites and Bali High Priests, said he was happy about the governor’s decision, adding that the forum expected all projects on sacred sites in Bali to be stopped.

“We want the exploitation of our sacred sites to stop because it is an insult to our religion, culture and traditions,” he said.

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Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali
February 1st, 2009

First Holiday Inn Resort in Indonesia to open in Bali
Set on three hectares of Balinese gardens with direct beach access, Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali sets new standards for affordable accommodation

Bali will become the first location in Indonesia to have a Holiday Inn resort.On the “Island of the Gods,” the beachfront Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali is named after Baruna, the Balinese God of the Ocean.Located on three hectares of beautifully terraced tropical gardens and set to open in March, this contemporary, Balinese-inspired resort features 195 guest rooms and suites along a perfect stretch of white sandy beach.The Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali is the only hotel in the Tuban area to have a direct access to the beach.The resort is set to provide guests with what they expect from a modern, affordable, idyllic and relaxing resort accommodation.

Appealing to families and couples alike, Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali is situated in the secluded enclave of Tuban, a 10-minute drive from the airport, and a short stroll to the vibrant shopping and entertainment area of Kuta. It is also only 30 minutes from Denpasar, Bali’s capital city, and 60 minutes from Ubud, Bali’s artistic centre.

Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali will have several categories of rooms which include spectacular Ocean rooms, Garden rooms, Family Suites, kidSuites and more. All the rooms will have 32″ flat screen satellite TVs and seamless Internet access. The resort will also have a new selection of eateries including “The Beach” – the newest chill-out spot in the area which has a direct beach access with decks where guests can relax and enjoy stunning sunsets.

A purpose-built spa, Tea Tree Spa, awaits guests along with a fitness centre, a kid’s club with extensive outdoor play area and many other new products and services that will reflect the resort’s policy to encourage their use by setting reasonable prices.The resort willhave its own resort hub which will include a travel desk, mini mart, internet café, concierge and ice cream & coffee kiosk.

There will also be a Departure Lounge which provides departing guests with a space to relax prior to their flight. The Departure Lounge offers showers, changing rooms, lockers, safe deposit boxes, a 32- inch plasma TV, refreshments, and reading materials.

“We are raising the bar and redefining the next generation of Holiday Inn Resorts serving the next generation of guests” said general manager Stéphane Varoquier. “A new self-confident generation of guests are pushing the boundaries and our resort, through its amenities, will meet their needs.We provide a relaxing environment with affordable and modern facilities.”

General Manager Stéphane Varoquier has spent the last nine years as IHG Regional Director, Hotel Finance & Business Support, Southern Asia & Korea.His team includes Fiona Redman, Executive Assistant Manager (EAM) for Food and Beverage and Mayoshi Diah, Director of Sales and Marketing who was previously working at InterContinental Jakarta MidPlaza foreight years and was holding title of Director of Sales for three years.

The opening of Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali signifies IHG’s (InterContinental Hotels Group’s) commitment to growing its brands in Indonesia. IHG has five other properties in Indonesia – InterContinental Jakarta Midplaza, InterContinental Bali Resort, Crowne Plaza Jakarta, Holiday Inn Bandung and Holiday Inn Batam.

More Story

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April launch confirmed for Alila Villas Uluwatu in Bali
January 27th, 2009

The latest villa-style accommodation with a spa is to open in April 2009 under the Alila Hotels & Resorts brand in Bali. Alila Villas Uluwatu is located near to Jimbaran Bay. Designed by Singaporean architectural firm WOHA, it is intended to showcase Balinese-inspired design.

Each of the 56 villas has been specifically designed to follow an environmentally-sustainable framework.

There will also be a deluxe spa offering combining Asian and Western therapy techniques. Details: http://www.alilahotel.com

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Bali to finish construction of special tourist port in 2009
January 24th, 2009

Denpasar, Bali (ANTARA News) – The Indonesian tourist resort island of Bali expects to finish the construction of a special tourist port worth Rp92 billion in Tanah Ampo, Karangasem district, this year, Karangasem district head Wayan Geredeg said.

Wayan Geredeg said that the construction of the port is in cooperation with three parties, namely the Karangasem regional administration, the provincial government of Bali and the central government.

He said that the Karangasem district administration provided location for the port while the Bali provincial government and the central government provided funds worth Rp22 billion and Rp70 billion respectively.

According to the district head, the physical construction of the port was now undergoing, but he said that its master plan was still in the stage of submission before a recommendation could be asked from the central government.

“For this purpose, we still need a recommendation from the Bali governor,” the district head said.

He said that the special tourist port located in the eastern tip of Bali island would be very important for the development of Bali`s tourism.

“A number of international cruise ship operators have contacted us, asking when the port would be operational,” Gredeg said.

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