Alison Viatos: From Bali with Love 🎑🍃🌿💖

Alison Viatos at Queensland Orchid International

✿❀ Click here to learn more about ALISON VIATOS ALISON VIATOS at Queensland Orchid International ❀✿

Originally from New Zealand, Click here to contact Alison ViatosAlison Viatos has been residing in Australia and living the good life of an enthusiastic traveller for many years. As a florist and horticulturist by trade, she possesses a keen eye on the floras and staged presentations of many tourist destinations on the one hand. On the other, she is able to observe local vegetations and customs even as she ventures away from the beaten paths into remote trails and villages, especially when she can be assisted by a guide, driver and/or language interpreter.

Being the seasoned vacationer, Alison seems to be fond of visiting once a year one major destination whose name begins with the alphabet B: Brisbane in 2014, Bali in 2015, and Bendigo in 2016. Whilst visiting Brisbane, she had a chance to celebrate Australia Day at the Government House with the Governor, the ex-Patron of the Queensland Orchid Society. One wonders what Alison’s future tours and targets will be in 2017 and beyond, as she continues to be unstoppable on her many shared journeys. Is her next stop going to be Bangkok, Brunei, Bhutan or somewhere else in Southeast Asia or even Australasia?

Having edited and formatted Alison’s essay as well as inserted various photos into their respective places to create a cohesive multimedia post, SoundEagle would hereby like to present to you Alison’s account of her trip to Bali. Hopefully, she will provide additional notes or commentaries on some or all of the photos, each of which can be enlarged and commented upon by anyone reading this post.

An Introduction by Click here to contact SoundEagleSoundEagle on 29 July 2016
The Island of Bali in Indonesia

The Island of Bali in Indonesia

The Map of Bali

The Map of Bali

The Map of Bali Regions

The Map of Bali Regions

Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world, covering an area almost the size of Australia but only 20% is land, the rest is water. My holiday destination was Bali, one of over 17,500 islands that make up Indonesia! Admittedly only about 6,000 island are inhabited. My airline flights were rescheduled three times due to volcanic ash clouds in the atmosphere. These inconveniences are to be expected, when you understand that Indonesia is home to approximately 400 volcanos, about 130 of which are active. Would you agree?

Travelling before Christmas of 2015 in Sydney is a perfect time to avoid heavily congested roads and stressed shoppers. However, traveling closer to the equator has certain disadvantages, for example: 100% humidity!!!

My flight was enjoyable and a good opportunity to watch two movies very cheaply to pass the time. There are now facilities to recharge the all-important mobile phone while you sit quietly. My time in Bali was short – only one week. So I was very grateful to have been recommended not only a fantastic, affordable accommodation but also a lovely personal driver by the name of Jack, by my friends who had only recently returned from Bali.

Staying in Seminyak is a must when in Bali. The suburb boasts fashion designer boutiques, homewares, restaurants, cafes and beachside bars in which anyone can enjoy 5 o’clock cocktails and watch the sun setting into the ocean.

Once I had satisfied my shopping needs, I couldn’t wait to get out to the country and see agriculture, landscape and meet the locals – although someone should have mentioned that there are 300 ethnic groups and about 365 different languages spoken!! Thank goodness for Jack – my driver/guide and translator. Local knowledge is a very underestimated treasure!!

I travelled as far north as Bedugal, which is ¾ of the way up the island and situated on Lake Beraton. The major land mark is a Shivaite Balinese Hindu water Temple called: Ulan Danu Bratan Temple.

Local restaurants have the local delicacy of gourami on the menu. I have heard it being described as a delicious tasting fish, especially after it’s eaten your expensive fish in the tank!! Only joking!!! I did observe fish farming in the lake.

The journey north was winding and hilly, where single-carriage way was buzzing with scooters around slower cars. The scooters are truly utilized in Asia and often carry whole families and cargo, sometimes both! It is very noticeable when you encounter a tourist riding a scooter or bicycle! It probably takes years of practice to become any good at it. Once again, I was very grateful to have Jack’s driving experience.

I was offered the opportunity to see the beautiful Nungnung waterfall rated as the third most beautiful waterfall in Bali. However, there was one catch – 509 steps down and 509 steps up!!! Now that I know where it is, I shall return when the temperature is cooler and humidity less than 100%!! Postcards have their uses!!

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the vast jungles, tropical fruits and spices growing. In the 1600s, Moluccas Islands were called the Spice Islands, when trades in spices led to the great voyages of Ferdinand Magellan, Christopher Columbus and others.

I only saw one snake slithering into a rice padi near Ubud, and we came across a python squished on the road (2 metres long) – it smelt like fish.

A highlight was meeting a luwak (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) and tasting the world’s most expensive coffee. The civit, a cat-like animal, swings through the jungle trees at night using its powerful claws and eats fruit and coffee berries – all going well – but then there’s the downside whereby civits are caged and fed coffee berries exclusively for luwak coffee production.

I observed locals processing the fibre that hangs from palm trees for use in roofing. Palm fruits are fermented to make palm sugar – delicious!

Basically, nothing is wasted. I saw cocoa, coconuts, bananas, papaya, peanuts, rice, durian, cloves, passionfruit, cinnamon, mangosteen, mangos, strawberries, jackfruit, mandarins, teak, coffee, vegetables and more.

Bearing in mind all the tropical produce, it stands to reason that the bird life would be impressive. I especially loved the parrots with their colourful plumage.

Bali is a special mix of Balinese Hinduism (or Agama Hindu Dharma) a mix of Buddhism, Hinduism and animism, which is the belief that souls and spirits can be found in all things. Indonesia calls their national airline Garuda, which translates as:

  1. A supernatural eagle-like being that serves as Vishnu’s mount.
  2. The eagle in the coat of arms of Indonesia.

Did you know that the largest flower in the world is Rafflesia arnoldii and is only found in certain parts of Sumatra? Indonesia is also home to the world’s largest lizard – the komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis). And no, I didn’t see one this trip – maybe next time and I’d better have my Nike shoes on as they can travel up to 20km per hour!!

I can hear you say: “What about Orchids?” Well, we’re nearly at the botanical gardens in Pura Ulan Danu in the north. This botanical garden is one of four located in Bali (I’ll leave some for the next trip!!), and construction was in progress, renovating a large fountain in the orchid area.

Emphasis was given to species. The Coelogyne were gorgeous in bloom.

Botanical gardens in Bali

And I saw some Vandas, Phragmipediums, Epidendrums and more.

The cacti glasshouse was truly spectacular as I’m sure that you’ll agree. Interestingly, cacti were introduced to Indonesia by the Dutch in the late 19th century as cattle fodder especially during the dry season. Nowadays cacti are ornamental and some like the dragon fruit (Hylocereus spp) are edible.

Orchid Nursery and Garden Centres

I’d been told about Sanur, a district or suburb, and in between tropical downpours, I visited several garden centres there but mainly orchid ones. The photos tell the story and I was glad to help Jack (my driver) with choosing some Phalaenopsis very cheaply for his wife who, I’m told, has a green thumb. There is one photo of a dwelling and yes it was situated right in the middle of the nursery! It was definitely a family business and I spotted at least three generations busily working. It did seem that some specializing was evident.

And yes, flasks were available – unfortunately, I don’t have space nor the facilities for such purchases as yet.

I loved the tree fern stands with pots for orchids, and watched the nurseryman planting one up ready to go out as an order.

Anyone who knows me will know that I love bromeliads. I couldn’t resist crossing the traffic and photographing this dragon installation made with potted bromeliads. It was an impressive size and made a big impact, especially to me!!

Unfortunately, my week wasn’t to be extended due to the courtesy of Mt Bromo, and I had an overnight flight home until I visit again.

Photo & Video Contributions

Those who are interested in contributing photos or videos can upload them to the Queensland Orchid International Facebook Group.

9 thoughts on “Alison Viatos: From Bali with Love 🎑🍃🌿💖

  1. Pingback: Charlie Robino: Loving Orchids in Far North Queensland | ✿❀ Queensland Orchid International ❀✿

    • You are very welcome, thenakedflorist! Mission accomplished!

      As mentioned to Barbara in the previous post regarding Charlie:

      SoundEagle has finally found the time and energy to publish another new article today for one of our most regular and chummiest Queensland Orchid International Avian Fold members. This time, the hot destination has moved from the expansive region of Far North Queensland to the island life of Bali, where you can wash someone right out of your hair and meet a stranger on some enchanted evening!

      Please feel free to provide additional notes or commentaries on some or all of the photos. Simply click or touch any photo to see gallery images displayed in a full-size carousel view and to comment on the photos.


    • Happy September to you, thenakedflorist! Do you feel Younger than Springtime?

      Please be informed that SoundEagle has added a nice photo and a map of Bali to the Introduction, and also included dozens of Related Sites and Articles for further readings about Bali. Enjoy!


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