Indonesia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, I Gde Ardika, personally escorted a group of foreign ambassadors and their families on a 3-day tour of north Bali December 28-31, 2002.
Minister Ardika, who himself hails from the Buleleng area of Bali, took an obvious pride in demonstrating both the safety and the many undiscovered tourism potentials of north Bali to his group of distinguished guests.
Arriving on Saturday, December 28, the group was accommodated at the Menjagan Jungle and Beach Resort and Matahari Beach Resort where they experienced jungle trekking, bird watching, and horse back tours in the vicinity of Bali's West Bali National Park. On Sunday the group visited the beach and water sports areas of Pemuteran, the Buleleng Museum, and the Gedong Kirtya housing Bali's extensive collection of ancient lontar-palm books. On the last day of their tour the special guests of Minister Ardika traveled along the northeast coast of Bali, visiting the sacred temples of Pura Beji and Pura Ponjok Batu.
The Forgotten North of Bali
While the north coast is often neglected by modern visitors, this area was, in fact, the original gateway to Bali for the island's first tourist visitors in the days before scheduled air service. In the 1920's and 1930's passengers arriving by ship all disembarked at Bali's northern capital of Singaraja, traveling overland to stay in the Bali Hotel in the southern capital of Denpasar. Accordingly, Singaraja also played the role as the commercial center of Bali and the chain of lesser Sunda Islands, supporting an active commerce in inter-island and international trade.
The ambassadors and family members joining the Minister's tour of the North included representatives from Sweden, North Korea, Canada, Vietnam, Cambodia, Russia, China, the Philippines, and South Korea.
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