5 Ways to Experience the Culture of Bali

Last year Bali was voted the best destination in the world, and for good reason. It has all the culture, history, and beaches you could possibly want, not to mention the friendly people and the sunny weather. Countless tourists flock to this beautiful island every year, but if you want an authentic experience of Bali’s culture that doesn’t always stick to tried-and-tested tourist spots, here are five things you can do.

1. Attend a cultural evening

The perfect introduction to Balinese culture, this event is ideal for any newcomers to the island. Live performances and a delicious dinner will give you the chance to get a taste of the dance, music, art and food Bali has to offer.

Some of these performances will tell traditional stories, accompanied by a gamelan (a Balinese orchestra mostly featuring percussion instruments). For example, Barong dance depicts a fight between good and evil. Other types of dance, such as Kecak, which is performed by chanting male dancers and often accompanied by flames, are solely about the movement.

Want to know more? UNESCO have a useful guide to dance in Bali.

(Photo by Pahala Basuki on Unsplash)

2. Explore Ubud

Start your day by hiking along the Campuhan ridge. The route overlooks the rice fields and is particularly beautiful in the early morning light (plus it gets too hot at lunchtime to really enjoy it properly). You can even hire a motorbike or go on a bike tour to explore the countryside, although make sure anything active is covered on your travel insurance policy — 1Cover have a guide to adventure activities if you need help.

If you’re looking for something a little more relaxed, stroll through the rice fields or the central market on Jalan Raya, where you can bag yourself a bargain — but only if you haggle.

3. Pay your respects at the Pura Luhur Uluwatu

This clifftop temple overlooks the beach and often hosts dance performances at sunset. It’s worth the trip to see the Balinese architecture, intricate statues and carvings, and to learn about the temple’s history, but the real attraction is the beautiful view.

Remember: You need to be wearing a sarong and sash before you enter a Balinese temple.

Bali 2

(Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash)

4. Take a safari trip

Whether you want to see mountains, lakes, waterfalls, jungles, or a bit of everything, a safari trip will fit the bill. The itinerary can be personalised to take your interests into account and English-speaking guides will share their local knowledge and history as you make your way across the island.

5. Learn how to cook Balinese food

There’s no better way to learn about Balinese food than in the kitchen of a local, where you can get a taste of proper home-cooked food. Bali’s most famous dish is juicy roasted pork called babi guling and they often use a spice blend called basa gede, which is made of garlic, red chilli peppers, shallots, nutmeg, ginger, tumeric, palm sugar, cumin, shrimp paste, and Indonesian bay leaves, which are known as salam leaves. (Check out Culture Trip’s list of Balinese dishes you need to try for more.)

Your guide will help you pick up your ingredients (and practise your language skills) at the nearby market, then teach you how to prepare some signature dishes. You’ll learn about how food plays a part in local life and — of course — you get to enjoy eating your creations at the end.

Written by: Maggie Smithson

Pakistan can be a paradise for foreign tourists: PTDC; Pakistan Today

Pakistan – Historical Monuments at Makli, Thatta

Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) Managing Director Chaudhry Abdul Ghafoor has said that Pakistan can be a paradise for foreign tourists due to its amazing historical World Heritage sites.

“Pakistan is famous for its amazing World Heritage sites which declared by United Nations, Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organisation (UNESCO),” he said. Basically, the UNESCO is the organisation that promotes different well-known sites for the education, scientific and cultural purposes.

The World Heritage sites of Pakistan includes Moenjodaro, Taxila, Rohtas Fort in district Jhelum, fort and Shalimar Garden in Lahore, historical monuments at Makli in Thatta and Takht-e-Bahi in Mardan. Archeological ruins of Mohenjodaro stands among the ancient civilisations of the world.

This city regarded as the city from the third millennium BC and is entirely made with unbaked bricks and mud. Buddhist ruins of Takht-e-Bahi were founded in the early first century that is also known as the throne of origins. Another nearby site is the Sahr-i-Bahlol which are ruins of a city. They are kept under the UNESCO world heritage sites and marked as the educational and scientific purposes.

Read more from source: Pakistan can be a paradise for foreign tourists: PTDC

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The 31 Lost Cities You Might Not Know: From The City That Sank in One Night to the Refuge City of the Rainforest; Christopher McFadden; Interesting Engineering

Peru – Sacred City of Caral-Supe

War, famine and natural disaster have long been the nemesis of many once great, now lost cities all over the world. These 31 are no exception.

Whether lost through the violence of war, natural disaster or the victim of its own success, many once great cities would be lost to the sands of time. Many of these lost cities were lost to the ages until their accidental discovery centuries, even millennia later.

In the following article, we will take a look at 31 such lost cities and discover just why they fell and were forgotten.

1. Helike: Ancient Greek City that Sank

Helike could very well be the real Atlantis. According to Greek legend, Helike was destroyed by an enraged and vengeful Poseidon for exiling Ionian tribe members from the city.

The Ionian was loyal worshippers of the god of the sea. The city was lost in 373 BC and had been forgotten by the world at large.

Read more from source: The 31 Lost Cities You Might Not Know: From The City That Sank in One Night to the Refuge City of the Rainforest

France’s Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey evacuated after threat; The National

France – Mont-Saint-Michel and its Bay

The World Heritage site was locked down after man reportedly uttered threats against security services

France’s medieval Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey was locked down on Sunday morning while 50 police officers searched door-to-door for a man who reportedly threatened to attack security services.

The UNESCO World Heritage monasteryand monument were shut as a precaution.

A local bar owner heard a man uttering threats while at the site in the northwestern region of Normandy around 0530 GMT, district prefect Jean-Marc Sabathe told France Info radio.

“For security reasons and in order to clear up any doubt, since we don’t know his aim, I’ve decided to evacuate the Mont,” he said.

Mr Sabathe said the man was trying to stage a street performance and got in an argument with a cafe worker when the threat was uttered. Others also reported hearing threats.

“I am ordering house-by-house searches to verify if the individual is still on Mont-Saint-Michel. It’s possible that the individual left the Mont with the flux of tourists,” Mr Sabathe said.

The man was reportedly mixed in with the first visitors of the day.

Read more from source: France’s Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey evacuated after threat

What is not known about Saudi history and heritage; Iman Zayat; Middle East Online

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Saudi Arabia – Al-Hijr Archaeological Site (Madâin Sâlih)

From archaeological treasures to historic cities, to traditional markets and ancient villages, Saudi Arabia has a lot to offer visitors. The kingdom boasts architectural treasures that are a lifeline to the past and a beautiful natural heritage, including virgin sands and clear blue water, that is largely untapped.

Tangible heritage in Saudi Arabia

Four Saudi archaeological sites are featured on UNESCO’s World Heritage List: Al Hijr (Madain Saleh), Al Dir’iya, the Rock Art of the Hail region and the Jeddah historic area.

Al Hijr, an ancient pre-Islamic archaeological site, contains numerous Maenean and Lihyanite inscriptions referencing Al Ula, Khoraiba and Hiania, towns that date to around 1700BC.

Al Dir’iya, historically viewed as an important national symbol in Saudi Arabia, emerged in the mid-18th century as the capital of the First Saudi State, the establishment of which constituted a turning point in the history of the Arabian Peninsula. Al Dir’iya was the capital of the first Saudi state until Imam Turki bin Abdullah designated Riyadh as his government’s new headquarters in 1824.

Read more

San Antonio marks 300 all this year; Beth J Harpaz; AP

USA – San Antonio Missions

San Antonio is remembering the Alamo along with the rest of its history as part of a 300th birthday celebration.

The city was founded in 1718 when Spanish settlers built the Mission San Antonio de Valero — today known as the Alamo — along the San Antonio River. In 1836, the Alamo was the site of a legendary battle as Texas fought for independence from Mexico.

A tricentennial commemorative week is scheduled for May 1 to May 6. For visitors, May 4 will be of particular interest, with arts events, a festival and fireworks. For travelers who’d like to see San Antonio but can’t make that week in May, the city is hosting exhibitions and other festivals throughout the year, and you can visit the Alamo anytime, along with the River Walk just across the street.

TRICENTENNIAL COMMEMORATIVE WEEK

The Alamo and four other 18th-century missions built as outposts of Spain’s colonial empire make up the only UNESCO World Heritage site in Texas.

Read more from source: San Antonio marks 300 all this year

Challenges face Hạ Long Bay-Cát Bà nomination; Viet Nam News

Viet Nam – Ha Long Bay

Việt Nam is in the final stages of preparing a dossier for re-nomination of World Heritage Site (WHS) Hạ Long Bay to include Cát Bà Archipelago for submission to the UN cultural agency UNESCO by September.

If approved, the expanded heritage site would confirm the country’s prestige in natural preservation, and allow it to boost its tourism development.

However, experts have warned more fierce challenges would face the region’s people and authorities in the balance between development and conservation.

A Vice Chairman of the National Heritage Council, Đặng Văn Bài, said Hạ Long Bay in the northern province of Quảng Ninh with its status as a world heritage site, had brought big potential for tourism but also placed local people and authorities under the strain of conservation and management, of which the most dangerous impact was from increasing environmental pollution.

The experts analysed various issues that if not solved, could lead to unpredictable consequences.

Specifically, Bài highlighted issues arising between limited human management and a surplus of natural exploitation in the region.

Read more from source: Challenges face Hạ Long Bay-Cát Bà nomination

Not Enough Funding for Interpretation Centre: Chair; VOCM

Canada – Mistaken Point

The Chair of the Mistaken Point Cape Race Heritage Incorporated is fearful their UNESCO World Heritage status could be jeopardised by what she sees as a lack of appropriate government funding to keep them going.

Gertie Molloy says the group operates the Mistaken Point Interpretation Centre in Portugal Cove South and the Myrick Wireless Interpretation Centre in Cape Race.

She says a great deal of hard work went into gaining UNESCO World Heritage status for Mistaken Point, a site containing the fossilized remains of some of the Earth’s earliest complex lifeforms, but Molloy says they have barely enough funding to keep the interpretation centre and gift shop open.

She says Tourism Minister Christopher Mitchelmore refused their request for additional funding beyond the $15,000 dollars provided.

That, says Molloy, means their ability to operate the gateway to the site is limited.

She met with her staff a few weeks ago and let them know that she can’t guarantee they’ll get an entire season of work. If the centre opens June 1st, they may may have to close by the end of July or early August.

Read more from source: VOCM – Not Enough Funding for Interpretation Centre: Chair

Travel to Montenegro; Chris Christensen; Amateur Traveler

Montenegro – Natural and Culturo-Historical Region of Kotor

Hear about travel to Montenegro as the Amateur Traveler talks to Gary Arndt from everything-everywhere.com about his recent trip to this beautiful mountainous country in the Balkans.

Gary says of Montenegro, “It’s a really interesting place.  I recently spent 10 days there. I think it is going to be one of the next hot regions in Europe. I think the Balkans in general, is the next big thing because it’s very affordable, It’s opening up. Montenegro, in particular, of the non-EU Balkan countries has some of the best prospects.”

Montenegro is a small country. You can base yourself in one part of the country and visit the entire country with day trips.

The Bay of Kotor, including Budva, is the biggest tourist attraction in the country by far.  “Kotor, if people aren’t aware of it, Is very similar to Dubrovnik. It’s on a natural day, probably the best bay in the Mediterranean. It’s a very popular cruise stop now. I went in February and it’s really the off season.”

Read more from source: Travel to Montenegro – Episode 604 – Amateur Traveler Travel Podcast

Celebrating Chaco Canyon — a living, breathing museum; Paul F Reed; Santa Fe New Mexican

USA – Chaco Culture

On April 18, International Day for Monuments and Sites, people from around the world honored cultural and historical treasures that helped shape and continue to guide and inform societies.

These are the places that represent significant eras or events in human history and are so special that they are protected for future generations to learn from and enjoy. Here in Northern New Mexico, we don’t need to look far to find a place that could be the “poster child for this day” — Chaco Canyon.

Greater Chaco is one of just 22 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country. The area contains ecologically, culturally, spiritually and economically significant public lands. The San Juan Basin was the center of Puebloan culture and economic life, and holds thousands of archaeological sites — some of which are more than 12,000 years old. Over many generations, Puebloan people built great houses, astronomical observation sites and ceremonial kivas throughout the Four Corners region. Today, these sites continue to be places of prayer, pilgrimage and a living connection to generations past.

Chaco Canyon was first designated as a national monument by Republican President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907.

Read more from source: Celebrating Chaco Canyon — a living, breathing museum

Saudi Arabia readies ancient sites in boost to tourism; Aya Batrawy; SF Gate

Saudi Arabia – At-Turaif District in ad-Dir’iyah

Just outside Saudi Arabia’s capital of Riyadh, a group of elementary school children are on a field trip at Diriyah, where engineers and construction workers are busy restoring a 17th century fortress, mosques and clay-colored structures that were once the ruling family’s seat of power.

The UNESCO World Heritage site lies in an arid patch of the country and is unlikely to feature high on any bucket lists for world travelers, but the kingdom is hoping to alter perceptions as it prepares to open the country to tourist visas and international tour groups later this year.

Diriyah lies at the heart of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to both control the narrative of its past for future generations of Saudis and to revamp its image to curious world travelers.

It’s an especially important site to the ruling Al Saud family because it’s here where the first Saudi dynasty was founded in the 15th century. The architecture is associated with the tribes of Najd, the landlocked region in the heart of the Arabian Peninsula that is now home to Riyadh and surrounding cities.

Read more from source: Saudi Arabia readies ancient sites in boost to tourism