Weaving Bali’s Traditional Heritage

October 01, 2018

The beauty of Indonesian textiles is boundless. Its bright colors and intricate patterns still a part of everyday rural lives, including in Bali as ceremonies are held frequently attended by men and women attired in traditional garments. The patterns signifying various symbolism, from cultural to religious, as well as signaling one’s status in society.

The most popular traditional textiles—and perhaps most widely used across the archipelago—is the batik, which is not a motif but actually the name of the design technique utilizing wax and wax-resistant color dyeing. But batik is all about designing patterns on top of a piece of cloth, while the local Ikat textiles are way more complicated in terms of the process. Ikat (or “to bind” in Indonesian) is a hand-spun and hand-weaved technique on which pattern is dyed into the thread prior to the weaving process. The ikat threads are bound in a pattern so that the threads covered by the binding resist the dye, creating a design. The more binding is done before weaving, the more complicated the pattern. A more complicated technique is the double Ikat where both the warp and weft threads are dyed.

The time-consuming process to create a piece of cloth deemed the real artisans a rare “breed”, luckily a few good Samaritans are holding down the fort to conserve the artform. You’ll find an eclectic collection of fine traditional textiles in Threads of Life Jl. Kajeng No.24, Ubud; Phone: +62 361 972187; threadsoflife.com), their modest showroom has an air of a mini-museum as rows of the textiles are arranged neatly with a sufficiently explanatory signage detailing every piece.

Over 650 pieces in the archive, held in a museum-standard conservation facility.

The gallery practices fair trade business and collaborates with weavers in Bali’s rural eastern regions of Sidemen, Seraya, and the island of Nusa Penida, the proceeds of the sales goes to empowering and supporting the livelihood of these local artisans, thus ensuring the preservation of the craft. It’s an immaculate and exquisite collection, with vivid colors that stem from natural dyes extracted from indigenous floras like the noni or Morinda citrifolia fruit. Due to the painstaking Ikat process and the use of natural dyes, the items on the shop fall into the collectible category with prices start from USD 500 and more for rare and exotic items. If you want to know more about the craft, you can sign up for their regular class about the history of Indonesian textiles and natural dye process.

For more premium collection, other recommended spots in Ubud are Ikat Batik Ubud (Jl. Monkey Forest; www.ikatbatik.com) and Tenun Ikat Setia Cili (Jl. Ciung Wanara, Gianyar), the latter where you can see women artisans weaving the cloth with looms at the back of the shop. However, for a more wide-ranging price, take a stroll at the Sukawati Market (around 25 minutes from Ubud). Though perhaps more renowned for its artwork scene, you may find quality Ikat textiles made by the region’s artisans with the most expensive one is around 1.5 million. Or you can also visit the village of Sidemen, to the south of Ubud, to get your hands on their version of Ikat known as endek with intricate motifs ranging from the local flora and fauna to mythological Balinese figures that are worn mostly for religious ceremonies.


Indians Gone Wild – Why Bali is the Latest Holiday Hotspot

January 18, 2018

Bali and the Smell of New Shoes

Choosing a holiday destination is a bit like buying a pair of shoes. They have to be comfortable, first off. Then we ask ourselves do they look good? Always nice to have something you can wear out at night time as well as the day, right? But the most important question we ask ourselves when buying shoes….I mean….holiday destinations - “ is it really me?”

It used to be fashionable to throw a dart at a world map and follow its flight by booking yours to
wherever it landed, but, to be honest, that could find you in some ridiculously far-off places, amongst a bunch of what only looked like human beings just staring back at you, plus no nice food to eat. But, if you are a traditionalist and still fancy your chances at a game of Let the Dart Decide, be my guest. If not take my word for it instead, Bali is amazing.

Gajah Tour, door to door service

We stayed in an amazing Villa resort just a short walk from Ubud for a family Bali golf safari. So,
let’s test out those shoe-buying rules. Was it comfortable? It was so comfortable we never wanted to leave. Was it nice at night time as well as the day? It was so nice we never wanted to leave. Was it really me? It was so ‘us’ we never wan…. You get the picture. It was perfect. 

Ubud Raya Hotel Budget Hotel

But of course, we had to leave the majesty of our villa to discover what was on offer in Bali and it appears my dear Indian friends in Bali, the rumors are true - this is definitely the hottest new holiday destination around. And I’m not just talking about the weather. Bali has everything Indian holiday makers could ask for and then a little bit more.

Of course, the sunny weather is a bonus. If you are anything like us, escaping the chilly city for the perfectly tempered beach scene is just too tempting at this time of year. The South offers an array of beaches to choose from and a gentle bicycle ride through the rice paddy fields is the number one antidote to fast-paced city life. But don’t be fooled into thinking there is nothing to do but laze around! 


Bali is the perfect balance of nature and adventure and, along with the beautiful scenery and peaceful
moments, there is also a treasure trove of wild and outrageously fun ways to spend your hard-earned

Watersports are a big-time pastime on Bali with windsurfing, kitesurfing, ‘boogie’ boarding, paragliding, water jetpacks, Banana Boat rides and more on offer. Tanjung Benoa Peninsula is the favoured area for making a splash and, for surfing - which is crazy popular in Bali - try Kuta, Kermas in the east, the black sand beach breaks of Medewi and Canggu in the west and the more challenging reefs around the Bukit Peninsula.

Bali is prime-time, real-deal, amazing for scuba diving. The crystal clear waters give view to incredible marine life and coral reefs. Divers can see manta rays, turtles and sharks on some awesome dives including drop-off walls, shipwreck dives, and drift diving. Best spots to dive during the rainy season are Menjangan Island and Pemuteran on the North coast. Go, go! It seems even miracles can happen in Bali. Take a day trip to a nearby Nusa (meaning island) such as Nusa Penida, Nusa Ceningan or Nusa Lembongan, where you can walk on the seabed!

If you are looking for even more of a challenge, then we dare you to try white water rafting. Take the wildest rides of your lives on the Ayung River in Ubud or Telaga Waja. Meanwhile back on land, but still in keeping with the fun junkie program, how about a high-adrenaline Volcano Trek. You can hike the Kintamani volcano or cross over to Java and hike the Kawah Ijen volcano. The view will just blow your mind! Looking for exhausted of a different kind? You can shop ‘til you drop in Bali with an exciting range of treats from hand-painted Batiks, designer clothing and beautiful, hand carved home furnishings to art, antiques, jewelry and more. If shopping in the markets as opposed to the malls you can pull out your best bargaining skills to make sure you are paying good prices.

Did you know, the Balinese people, have a passion for Indian cinema? They are such a sweet and welcoming people. It’s no wonder so many celebrities love to holiday on the island. Actresses Alia
Bhatt and Jacqueline Fernandez have both been seen looking more than sizzling on sunbeds and Bipasha Basu and Karan Singh were spotted on (yet another) romantic break in Bali recently. We don’t blame them - this is one of the most romantic islands you could imagine. It has been well reported that Bali is a favorite for weddings and honeymoons and I can totally see why.
It’s also a Hindu country. Ok, ok, not everyone wants to visit temples on holiday but it has to be said we did feel more comfortable (see shoe buying rule number one) in familiar surroundings. Just a touch of home never did anyone any harm and some of the temples have breathtaking views. We suggest Besakih, Goa Gajah, Ulun Danu and Tanah lot where we recommend you visit after lunch and stay until sunset.

After dark, Bali is just as buzzy so get your best shoes on and get dancing. Clubs include Mirror Bali
Lounge, Jenja or Opivm in Seminyak or the SkyDome Super Club or Bounty in Legian, Ubud also offer Jazz venue and live music. So..about those shoes, to ask yourself the question “is it really me?” You would have to try the shoe on first, wouldn’t you? So go. Go, go, go to Bali. It will be you. It’s everyone. And they are all human beings. Plus the food is great. Thank Goodness.
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