Balinese funeral rites involve a series of ceremonies which can spread over a number of weeks or even years. In this ceremony we honored Pak Nyoman along with 3 of his relatives. Each village has slightly different traditions. In this case, the deceased people were cremated shortly after their deaths.  This ceremony deals with their spirits and items representing the people who died were placed in the bellies of the bulls.

Earlier in the day was a procession leading to the cremation ground and ceremonies conducted. Then the 4 bulls with their contents were set on fire using gas pipes. After the cremation of the bulls, who will lead the souls to heaven, the ashes are carefully gathered. After additional ceremonies at the cremation ground, the ashes are ceremonially carried to the beach and released into the water.

The final funeral rites will take place after the Galungan and Kunningen festivals are finished.

This is the tradition of Banjar Angaswara the village near the Longhouse. Many Ngaben ceremonies occur just before the Galungan/Kunningen period and can be seen right here in Jimbaran at the cremation ground near the market.


Open Sesame! Balinese Doors

Balinese doors make my heart skip a beat. Their beautiful proportions, sometimes intricate carving and strong metal hardware form a perfect architectural feature giving instant drama and beauty to a house or temple.

Bali Bedroom door at The Longhouse, Jimbaran - Bali

Bali Bedroom door at The Longhouse, Jimbaran – Bali

The wood of the Balinese door is chosen with consideration to whether the door will be internal or external. Jackfruit wood, Teak and other woods are popular. When commissioning a door you will normally have to wait a few months for the carver to obtain the materials and then to do the carving itself. Alternatively, you can search for antique doors to use in your building. Antique doors are normally very narrow, so  if you are using one for your front door ensure there is another access for moving in furniture.

Antique door

Antique door

Detail of the front door of our villa.

Detail of the front door of our villa.

Traditional Balinese doors are made with a lintel that must be stepped over when entering. Some door carvers will eliminate the raised bottom lintel if requested.

Spend time looking and you will know when you find the right one! Many good door carvers can be found in Batubulan.


Door by Made Jojol in the shop before we bought it.


Mega Kites at the Bali Kite Festival!

Kites begin to dot the skies of Bali when the cooler, windy weather begins at the end of June, but the 3 day Bali Kite Festival is something else entirely!  It is huge! 

DSC_0063There are many categories of competition for varying types of kites and participants range from children to village teams of adults reigning in the largest kites you’ve ever seen. Kites of up to 12 meters in length can be seen flying in the sky and all sorts of designs and colors can be viewd being taxied back and forth to the competition grounds and flying high!

The competition is well organised and strings don’t seem to get tangled! You have to be careful to stand back – the participants only have eyes for their kites – rightly so – and it is dangerous to get in the way. 

The festival is well attended by local Balinese, but last year I saw very few tourists. 



Saraswati Day


Saraswati Day is a sacred day in the Balinese calendar dedicated to the Hindu goddess of wisdom and learning and knowledge. Students will attend school in traditional Balinese Dress. Books and other learning materials will be gathered and blessed by teachers and priests. But Saraswati Day is celebrated by all Balinese since knowledge is regarded as the most important thing for human life.

The day after Saraswati day is Banyu Pinaruh. People often take a bath in the sea, lake or river on this day. The philosophy behind this is that wisdom should flow like water. People also drink traditional medicine made from special leaves since good health is the next most important element in human life.

Soma Ribek follows on Monday and on this day, prayers are offered to Dewi Sri in thanks for the food and drink that is necessary for human life.

Three days after Saraswati day is Sabuh Mas meaning “gold belt” On this day, thanks is given for cloth and gold and the material things in life.

Finally, on Wednesday is Pagerwesi. This day is the second biggest holiday after Galungan. Offerings will be made in the home temple and prayers offered to Sang Hyang Pramesti Guru. Knowledge, health, food and cloth and gold must be looked after for a balanced life and to maintain balance in the universe.

Palm sugar – Gula Bali

Making Palm sugar

Making Palm sugar

Palm sugar, which is gaining popularity as an alternative sweetner tastes like a combination of maple syrup, brown sugar and caramel- all rolled into one!

The Village of Pedawa, an isolated Aga Bali village in the northern mountainous regions of Bali is famous for their small natural production of this traditional product. The palm is tapped placing the sap into the large gourds that grow in the region. It is then boiled down over a wood fire for 6 or 7 hours. The sugar produced is a rich dark color and mouthwateringly delicious.

If you are in the area and are looking for a place to eat, Terrasse du Lac is a hidden treasure. The owners are French Canadian and Balinese, the food yummy and very unexpected in this rural area. Their number is 081 916 178874. Call for directions – it’s off the beaten track.

To find Pedawa you will need a map and someone who speaks Bahasa Indonesian. It is down a dirt track barely accesable by car.

Having fun in Jimbaran – there’s so much to do!

Looking for things to do in Jimbaran? Here are some of the things we recommend to our Longhouse guests.



Jenggala Ceramics The Longhouse loves Jenggala and most of our plates come from here. Wonderful colors and creative shapes featuring lotus leaves, frangipani and other Bali images. Paint your own ceramics (kids too) and enjoy periodic exhibitions and the trendy cafe. 
Jimbaran Seafood Market Buy vanilla and spices and bargain with fishermen for freshly caught seafood! (The first stop for The Longhouse cooking class) 
Nusa Dua Theater World Class theatrical performances with state of the art stage, sound and lighting systems in fully airconditioned auditorium. Cirque de Soleil meets Asian tradition.
Museum Pasifika This hidden gem contains amazing paintings of Bali by world famous artists curated in a historical context. Wonderfully organized and beautifully displayed in a series of pavillions. We love this place!
The Bali Collection Collection of shops and restaurants gathered together for the convenience of Nusa Dua tourists. Not a first choice for shopping or eating as a destination point, but if you are passing you may want to drop in. There is a branch of Uluwatu here featuring some lovely ladies clothing. 
Benoa Bay: Fishing, Glass bottom boat snorkling A day of fishing can be arranged from boat owners at Benoa Bay. Start early in the morning for a lovely voyage and bring your fish back to be cooked by Longhouse chefs! Enjoy other seafaring activites from this popular port.
Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park A huge statue of the Garuda looks down at the scene of this former quarry that has been changed into an activity center with segways, flying foxes and daily cultural shows. Go in the cool of the morning since the rocks radiate heat! It is a little old fashioned, but you can have some fun there with a positive mindset. 
Belangan Beach and temple Beach beds and quiet atmosphere make this a getaway escape. Picturesque temple nestled in a cave next to the beach is sometimes locked but can be visited when open for those wearing appropriate dress – sarong, sash and appropriate blouse/shirt. 
Uluwatu Temple For a breathtaking sunset experience, you can’t beat Uluwatu Temple which seems to grow out of the rocks and perches dramatically many meters above crashing waves. The kecak dance is performed every evening at  6pm and is a sight that shouldn’t be missed! Bring your sash and sarong and arrive early – it’s popular! 
New Kuta Golf Course Drive down the dramatic entrance to Dreamland. Charming lady caddies will guide you through the picturesque course.
Pandawa Beach Beautiful hidden beach that has now been developed and “discovered”! Still a fun place to visit. Paddle boats and protected water on one side and surfers on the other
Nusa Dua (Geger) Beach Haunt of seaweed farmers this beautiful beach has been shortened by the construction of the new Melia hotel. Stop at Nusa Dua beach Grill for a cozy lunch.
Jimbaran Beach Perfect for swimming, lounging, viewing the sunset and long walks with lapping waves. Nearby seafood restaurants are famous but get a recommendation since some are less than scrupulous. Recently opened Sandara lends new cool to the beach. Wear your smart casual best for stopping for the delicious food at Sandara.
Padang Padang Beach Padang Padang is the beach that many people rate as the best in Bali (and one of the best in the world –  Dramatic rocks!  Churning surf! Many small surfer shops and casual restaurants in the vicinity. 
Bali Cliff Beach Lots of steps beautiful clear water, clean sand and surfers. Watch out for the monkeys in the car park! Lots of steps! 
Pecatu Graha Water Park The three-hectare tourist attraction offers a range of activities including flying fox, paintball warrior and bungy trampoline in addition to a wide range of water attractions. “Water park” may be your toddlers first words after a visit here. Entrance fee Rp. 100,000, Fun for the whole family. 
L’Atelier Parfums et Creations at the Ayana Hotel (reservations required and can be made by our Longhouse staff)  Create your own lovely signature fragrance in a 90 minute workshop guided by charming and knowledgable ladies. Relax in front of your “organ” of scents and enjoy learning how to make your very own perfume. Highly recommended.
Jimbaran Corner Light shopping and lunch. Jimbaran corner has a pleasant selection of easy restaurants where you can enjoy western, Japanese or Indonesian food. Cute little shops include Bin House with is super lovely high quality batik unlike all other!
Balique Restaurant Shabby chic café with charming décor and great food. There is a small shop inside to entertain while waiting for your order. Right next to Balique are 3 lovely shops with Jewelry, home furnishings and pretty things. 1 minute down the road from Jimbaran corner. 
El Cabrone Beach club and restaurant. Amazing sunsets and dramatic Cliffside view make this a must do for Longhouse guests. Go before sunset and stay for a dinner of light tapas and Paella. Spanish owner and Spanish chef ensure you are getting the real thing.
Made in Italy Restaurant Italian son and mum ensure you are getting real Italian home cooking. This charming eatery near Belangan beach has high standards and yummy food. Love the freshly baked bread sticks.
Budda Cafe More for the local expat scene, but if you have run out of your favorite health food or detox aids stop into Budda on Jalan Uluwatu. Yummy healthy sandwiches  and juices too.
Salt Restaurant Basic wooden benches and tables with surfer dude owner tucked in the corner. Simple cheap food in charming rustic setting.
Garasi Local and western food with a German accent. Sit in the outdoor courtyard elbow to elbow with local expats. Great friendly service and nice food.
Cuca Molecular gastronomy in a sophisticated environment. Cutting edge and delicious food at prices to make you come back for more!


Beggers on holiday- what should you do?


You’re eating and drinking like royalty in Bali, dressed in your designer togs. Two scruffy children come up to you with an outstretched hand. One is pointing to his mouth indicating he needs to eat. It’s so little to you and would mean so much to them, right? Wrong.

The children haven’t thought this up by themselves. They are “working” for an adult gang who send them out. Why? Because children are normally more successful at getting money from tourists than adults. Any chance at going to school, learning skills to become employable are quashed. They will be beggers then perhaps graduate to thievery for their life’s work. By giving money you are teaching them that begging is the road to success.

What can you do? By coming to vacation in a third world country you have already contributed to the economy. By staying at a hotel or a villa you are helping


a company that employs local people, teaches skills in a positive way .  By eating in local restaurants, buying local handicrafts from their makers you are showing respect for the culture and helping the economy.

Want to do more? Check out some of the charitable organizations  that have pinpointed the needs of the community. Make a contribution there. Does handing out money willy-nilly make you feel like you’ve done a good deed. It shouldn’t. Show respect for the culture of the place you are visiting and think through the long term effects of your actions. People don’t want or need pity, they need jobs and an appreciation of their skills.