Hotel Bali in Ubud by wendysaputra11 at Pixabay
Today I want to focus not on a book review but on a festival dedicated to Writers and Readers (note the pretentious caps) held annually in Ubud, just a stone’s throw away from Bali, Indonesia. Writers looking for another networking link, avid readers who like to be in the company of other avid readers, autograph seekers, and people (not from Indonesia) who have money and time to burn should consider this highly entertaining five-day diversion from routine. Of course, this is a nice event for Indonesian people and gives Indonesian authors a chance to shine. But the event is not one price for all. Forgetting about airfare for a moment, there are lower event prices for Indonesian nationals, students, foreign residents of Indonesia, and other specially designated groups. Google “UBUD” in conjunction with Writers and Readers Festival and you can sign up for a newsletter that may arrive in your inbox fortnightly up to the event.
Nope, I’m not going to consider the recent internationally reported series of earthquakes. There were 132 earthquakes in two days at varied Richter Scale measurements. Residents and visitors in Bali and Ubud felt the quakes but the damage was not as severe as in neighboring Lombok. Natural disasters abound, risk is unavoidable, …blah … blah.
You can look up details of the event for yourself at http://www.ubudwritersfestival.com/ but here are a couple of things to consider that I learned through experience. I have attended the event for the past four years.
Angelo_Giordano at Pixabay
A four-day pass to the event can be purchased in advance at a 20% discount from day-of-event purchase. I took advantage of this in the past. Then I found out I could present a receipt from a hotel on the Ubud website and get 20% off. There are many hotels on the Ubud website arranged into Budget, Middle Class, and Luxury categories. I feel this is a better way to purchase discounted tickets as it gives me greater flexibility to schedule events I want to attend as well as transportation methods from my location, Malang, Indonesia, to Ubud.
I prefer to travel to Ubud from my home by rented car. Although it may take less than 24 hours, I budget a full 24-hour day for transportation. Foreigners arriving for the festival will most likely arrive in Bali by air. The “stone’s throw” distant Ubud can and probably will take one hour to navigate. Foreigners who want to experience Bali as a tourist and therefore reserve a hotel in Bali will have a long and inconvenient daily trip to Ubud. Watch out for the claimed free shuttle service from hotels. They exist at times convenient to hotel staff. Frequently a shuttle will leave once in the morning and once in the afternoon with subsequent two return trips per day. With a one-hour shuttle time plus stop times at designated pick-up points, visitors will spend a lot of their time on a bus. Event times and shuttle times from Bali are, for the most part, not coordinated. The shuttle bus located in Ubud is good, free, and coordinated. Visitors to the events will save money, time, and avoid aggravation by staying at hotels and guesthouses in Ubud and using the free shuttle between event locations.
The festival requires visitors to plan and arrange their schedules of desired events according to an approximate 80-page pamphlet/brochure/mini-magazine. Festival organizers do not hold a visitor’s hand and are not there to entertain. Staffed mostly by volunteers who may have arrived at the event one or two days prior to festival opening, assistance is available by courteous, friendly, and outgoing guides. But you have to ask. There is little problem with language, I found English is a commonly used language. I have heard different dialects of Chinese. I liked hearing German as I have little opportunity to hear it in my “hometown” of Malang. My “survival” Indonesian works but, really, English is just easier. Indonesians are generally friendly and outgoing; those who have studied and speak other languages are happy to speak those languages with foreigners. It is a good idea to look at a cultural guide to Indonesia so as not to be surprised at some of the everyday questions an Indonesian person will typically ask.
Although the festival occurs in the middle of my teaching semester, I encourage my students to attend. For those who do not (most), I have assignments based on festival presenters. I encourage students to read the works by some of the participating authors.
The Ubud Readers and Writers Festival is an adventure. For international visitors, feel free to contact me for assistance or advice. Information is free. I neither receive nor seek compensation for providing information.
I can be contacted by the email connected to my book review blog: firstname.lastname@example.org.