A collection of short stories, essays, blog-posts and photographs from Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Ubud High « Today's Earthquakes and Erupting Volcanos in Indonesia ~ Latest Updates on Bali's Mount (Gunung) Agung [Current: 2021]

Bali – along with her sister islands of Java, Madura, Lombok and Sumbawa – sits on top of a massive subduction zone where the Indo-Australian plate grinds into and underneath the great Eurasian tectonic plate.

The Ring of Fire ~ Bali, Java, Lombok, a subduction zone and the Indo-Australian & Eurasian plates

This, in a picture, is why Indonesia is ravaged by so many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions: the archipelago has a volcanic spine, and the country was built on fire.

Graphic showing Bali, Java and Lombok sitting atop the subduction zone where the Indo-Australian and Eurasian tectonic plates meet

Graphic showing Bali, Java, Madura, Lombok and Sumbawa sitting atop the subduction zone where the Indo-Australian and Eurasian plates meet.

Bali's twin volcanos – Mount Agung and Mount Batur – are just two of Indonesia's 76 active burners. Upticks in earthquakes and seismic activity are often followed by a rash of volcanic eruptions across this geologically-fractured nation.

Some volcanos can be extremely fierce.

A tip.

Always leave your front-door key in the lock at night when you're in Indonesia. It saves you scrabbling about in the dark if you need to get out quickly.

The Ring of Fire is a connected thing...

Current status of Mount Agung volcano on Bali (April 2021)

April 2021: The current status of Mount Agung – Bali's active 3,142 metre-high stratovolcano in the north-east of the island – is described as Unrest, meaning that there are signs of volcanic activity, although the volcano is not expected to erupt in the coming days or weeks.

In Indonesia, 'Unrest' translates to 'Waspada' – a Level II Caution. Any area within a 2-kilometer radius of the volcano's cone is off-limits, and at risk of a spontaneous eruption or lava avalanche that may happen at any time.

Mount (Gunung) Agung is currently closed to trekkers.

Volcanic eruptions today in Indonesia ~ Bali, Java, Lombok, Sumbawa, Sulawesi and Kalimantan regions

A live, interactive guide to Indonesia's erupting volcanoes today – centred around Bali, Java and Lombok.

Yellow = Unrest.
Some signs of unrest, but no eruption in near future (days to weeks) likely.
Orange = Minor activity / eruption warning.
Infrequent small eruptions or strong signs that suggest a volcanic eruption could be imminent (days to weeks).
Red = Eruption.
Includes volcanoes with near-permanent activity (e.g. Stromboli).
Dark red = Major Eruption.
Large explosive or otherwise very significant eruptions.
Widget by © VolcanoDiscovery.com.

Earthquakes today in Indonesia ~ Bali, Java, Lombok, Sumbawa, Sumba, Sulawesi and Kalimantan

A live, interactive guide to Indonesia's most recent earthquakes over Magnitude M+3 around Bali, Java and Lombok over the past 48 hours.
Widget by © VolcanoDiscovery.com.

Today's air travel reports for flight cancellations, volcanic ash-clouds and wind-direction around Bali ~ Eruptions of Mounts Agung, Rinjani, Raung, Semeru, Bromo and Merapi

Check FlightRadar24.com for today's air traffic in and out of Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar. The website also lists today's departures and arrivals, and indicates delays and cancellations of planes.

Check today's flight arrivals and departures for Denpasar's Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali, Indonesia

Check FlightRadar24.com to check the current air traffic in and out of Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar

Real-time website and downloadable app showing up-to-date arrivals, departures and cancellations at Bali's Ngurah Rai international airport.

Check today's ashfall and ash clouds around Bali during volcanic eruptions on Bali, Java or Lombok

If you're due to fly in the Bali/Lombok/Java region during heightened volcanic activity, it pays to stays aware. See SkyVector for the latest up-to-date information for volcanic ash clouds affecting air travel.

Ash clouds affecting air travel to Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport and Lombok International Airport, Indonesia

Volcanic ash clouds [in blue] affecting air travel to Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport and Lombok International Airport during the 2017 eruption of Mount Agung. From 26 Nov to 29 Nov 2017, both airports were closed to all air traffic due to volcanic dust hazards.
Source: Skyvector.com.

Check today's current wind-direction and 5-day weather forecast for Bali, Indonesia

Check today's real-time wind gauge for the Bali region during nearby eruptions.

Wind brings volcanic ash – which not only knocks out airplane engines, but is also not good for your respiratory health. Particles of crystalline silica in the ash – a little like finely-ground glass – can cause silicosis, or long-term scarring of the lungs.

It also makes your windows dirty. And your eyes scratchy.

Real-time wind gauge and 5-day weather forecast for Ubud, Bali at Windy.com

Real-time wind-gauge at Windy.com.

Flying during volcanic eruptions in Indonesia? Check (Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation) VONA's erupting volcano status before you board

VONA stands for the Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation. It issues reports for changes in volcanic activities, a description of the nature of unrest or eruption, and potential or current hazards for aircraft flying in Indonesian airspace.

Older Mount (Gunung) Agung News ~ The 2017 volcanic eruption in Bali

In November 2017, Gunung Agung experienced large phreatic eruptions that sent gas and volcanic ash-clouds up to 6 kms above sea level.

By the end of November '17, the eruption had turned magmatic – meaning that lava was forming in the crater.

Video ~ Balinese-Hindu priest Mangku Mokoh climbs to Mount Agung crater's edge – 29 September, 2017

The viral video clip of Balinese-Hindu priest Mangku Mokoh as he climbs to the edge of Mount Agung's crater to make pacifying offerings to the Gods on September 29, 2017.
© 2017 Mangku Mokoh.

Video ~ Timelapse from Telkomsel's live-stream CCTV of Bali's Mount Agung volcano erupting on 10 December, 2017

Timelapse of Gunung Agung erupting on the 10th of December, 2017 via the Telkomsel CCTV live stream, compiled by Nick Burgoyne.

Video ~ Phreatic eruption of Mount (Gunung) Agung in Bali, Indonesia ~ November 2017

Time-lapse of phreatic (steam, ash and sulfur dioxide) eruption from Mt. Agung in Bali, Indonesia, on November 25, 2017 as seen from the coastal tourist resort town of Amed. Courtesy Alex Hope at YouTube.

Cold lahars – volcanic mud flows – on the slopes of Mount Agung during the 2017 eruption

What is a lahar?

A lahar is a type of volcanic mudflow composed of a slurry of pyroclastic material, rocky debris, and water. The material flows down from a volcano, typically along a river valley, and can have the consistency of water or wet concrete.

Lahars pick up material such as boulders or tree-trunks as they move, which can cause serious damage to structures in their path. Lahar mudflows can be deadly. During the violent eruptions of 1963-64, cold lahars streaming from Mount Agung killed upwards of 200 people.


Lahar is an Indonesian word, and is used in English specifically to describe volcanic mudflows. In Indonesian, lahar can mean a cold mudflow or molten lava – which can lead to misunderstandings and misreporting in the English language press. The more accurate Indonesian term for a cold mudflow is lahar dingin – literally 'cold lava' – which is in itself misleading.

What are the danger zones around Bali's Mount Agung during a major eruption?

Immediate danger zones around the Gunung Agung stratovolcano

Infographic of the danger zone around Mount Agung volcano in Bali, Indonesia, during a Level 4 warning.

Danger zone around Mount Agung volcano in Bali, Indonesia

The red zone shows where "bombs" of molten rock are expected to land during a large eruption of Bali's Mount Agung – the orange zone shows where molten rock might reach. Ash and smaller debris could reach a distance of 12 kms or more. Depending on the size of eruption, molten lava and lahars may reach the coast at Amlapura and Semarapura.
Graphic © Reuters.

The exclusion zone around Bali's Mount Agung volcano during a major eruption

Infographic of the exclusion zone around Mount Agung volcano in Bali, Indonesia during a Level 4 alert.

The exclusion zone around Bali's Mount Agung volcano, Indonesia

During the 2017 eruption, a 12-kilometer exclusion zone was set up around Mount Agung's crater. Thousands of people were evacuated into temporary shelters in nearby villages.
Graphic © Reuters.

Areas around Bali's Mount Agung's crater that could be affected by lava and pyroclastic flows during a large volcanic eruption

Infographic showing areas around Mount Agung's crater that could be affected by lava and pyroclastic flows in the event of a large volcanic eruption.

Areas around Mount Agung's crater that could be affected by lava and Pyroclastic flows

An explosive eruption could send an avalanche of hot gas, ash and rock fragments racing downhill at speeds of up to 700 km an hour, burning everything in its path. This pyroclastic flow can cause serious injury or even death from burns and inhalation of hot ash and gases. The highlighted areas indicate points of high risk, moderate risk and potential risk from mudflows, debris and falling ash.
Graphic © Reuters.

Bali's major tourist areas in relation to Mount Agung volcano, Indonesia

Infographic showing Bali's major tourist areas in relation to Mount Agung.

Bali's major tourist areas in relation to Mount Agung

Bali's tourist areas – from the beaches of Kuta, Seminyak and Nusa Dua to the cultural centre of Ubud – are far from the volcano's reach but could still feel it's wrath. A major eruption could disrupt air travel to one of Southeast Asia's premier tourist destinations.

The popular dive sites of Amed and Tulamben are close to Mount Agung and lie on the edge of the hazard zones. Slightly further south on the coast is Candidasa, a coastal town that is popular with tourists. It falls between two hazard zones.
Graphic © Reuters.

Satellite image showing the locations of Mount Agung, Mount Batur, the Bratan Caldera and Ubud in Bali, Indonesia

Satellite image showing the location of Mount Agung, Mount Batur, the Bratan Caldera and Ubud on the island of Bali, Indonesia.

Satellite image of Bali showing location of Mount Agung and Ubud

Image © Google Earth.

How far is Ubud from Mount Agung volcano, and am I safe during an eruption?

Infographic showing the distance in kilometers between Ubud and Bali's Mt. Agung volcano. Ubud is approximately 32 kms away, and far outside the 12 km exclusion zone around the volcano.

Distance in kilometers from Ubud to Mount Agung volcano in Bali, Indonesia

Mount (Gunung) Agung's major volcanic eruption of 1963

Pathé News clip of the 1963 eruption

Short film clip of the destruction caused by Mount Agung's last disasterous volcanic eruption in 1963, from Pathé News.

All The Old Bali Blog Posts ~ 2016-2018

2020 ~ Bali in the time of Covid-19

Poster shaming Western tourists and foreigners for not wearing face-masks in Ubud, Canggu, Seminyak, Kuta and Sanur in Bali, Indonesia

Public poster outside Ubud Market shaming Western tourists and foreigners for not wearing face-masks and disobeying Indonesia's Covid-19 health protocols. Masks have been mandated in Indonesia since March 2020. Foreigners' adoption of masks is embarrassingly weak on the resort island.

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia on Feb 13, 2021.
Photograph by © 2021 Ubud High.

© 2021 John Storey. All Rights Reserved.

The Last Pic

Portrait of the Day

Portraits from Bali by Ubud High
Old Balinese woman, Trunyan village, Kintamani, Bali

Bali, Indonesia.
Portrait by © Ubud High.

The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

© 2021 John Storey. All rights reserved.

Urban art of a young Balinese girl using a smartphone by the street artist Wild Drawing of Bali, Indonesia

Search Ubud High

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ganesha bali / covid / scorpions / scooter rental / bali street art graffiti / trance / hornets / arma art gallery ubud / nyepi / traditional balinese paintings / rainy season / snakes / 2022 bali spirit festival / dengue fever / ecstatic dance

Bali's Street Art

Street art, graffiti and murals for the masses – the most public of Bali's urban art scene hidden in plain sight on the walls of Canggu, Ubud, Seminyak and Kuta.

Street art and graffiti murals at Batu Bolong beach in Canggu near Old Man's bar and restaurant, Bali, Indonesia

➤ Bali's Graffiti Artists & Street Murals in the Wild...

The Ubud Handbook

The Ubud Handbook

THE UBUD HANDBOOK ~ Your free guide to living in Ubud and Bali in an online nutshell.

Religion Matters

The Tale of Ganesha the Globetrotter ~ Bali's Elephant-Headed Hindu God

Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed god, depicted as a spray-can- and roller-wielding street artist in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

‘First stop on Shree Ganesha's round-Asia tour was a spell in Buddhist Tibet with its strong tantric leanings – a convenient spot to re-invent himself as Vinãyaka, and then as the dancing red Nritta Ganapati – before a full-blown alter-ego revamp as the scarlet, twelve-armed Maharakta Ganapati. Now, Maharakta Ganapati was unusually fond of skullcaps filled with human flesh and blood – and this we might charitably put down to a bad trip.

After all, what happens in Tibet stays in Tibet...’

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An American Calonarang ~ Trance & Possession on Bali

Graffiti street art of a Balinese Salvador Dali sipping on a cup of kopi luwak in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

‘To cut an all-night story short, the mask was donned by a dancer who fell into a deep trance. But instead of staying in the temple, he began to run. And run. He became violent and uncontrollable. He ran for four kilometers down the road – the crowd scrambled after him. He ended up in a cemetery just past my house, and in the dead of night began to do frenzied battle with unseen foes...’

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'Nyepi' ~ Bali's Hindu New Year, and the Day of Silence ~ Melasti, Ngerupuk, Ogoh-Ogoh & Manis Nyepi

Balinese-Hindu devotees pray as sacred temple objects are bathed and cleansed during a Melasti ceremony before Nyepi on Pantai Purnama in Bali, Indonesia

‘If previous New Years' Days have seen you waking up with a crippling hangover trying to remember what you did the night before, maybe it's time you headed to Bali in March. Nyepi – the Balinese Day of Silence, and the start of the Hindu Saka New Year – is a day, a night and a day you'll never forget....’

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'Kajeng Kliwon' ~ A Very Bad-Hair Day on Bali

Film poster for Indonesian horror film 'Kajeng Kliwon: Nightmare in Bali'

‘Kajeng Kliwon is the kind of day when anything that can happen will happen. It invariably does.

You have been seriously warned...’

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Personal Stories

Diary of a Market Girl

Photo-realistic urban art by an anonymous street artist of a 1930s market scene in Bali, Indonesia

“When I had my sixth and seventh babies at the hospital – my twin girls – the doctor ordered me to have a Caesarian. And without asking me, he tied my tubes off as well.

I think he thought I'd had enough babies...”

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Food Talk

Durian ~ The King of Stink

“On the third bite,” says one hater, “it was as though I'd just eaten a diseased, parasite-infested animal with a bad case of rabies. I prayed I wouldn't be sick because I really didn't want to taste it again on the way back up...”

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Culture Bites

Cinema Paradiso ~ Bali's Seat in the History of Indonesian Cinema

1932 Virgins of Bali Thirties nudie-cutie bare-native film poster 1930s Bali, Indonesia

‘Boobs and political censorship have never been far from the Silver Screen – in Indonesia, they're its bedrock. The silent flicks of Thirties' Bali sucked hungrily on the island's bare-breasted cabinet-postcard image that encouraged so many gilded tourists – and dodgy film-stars like Charlie Chaplin – to visit its sultry, forbidden shores...’

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Getting Around ~ Bali 'Biking

Surviving Bali on a 'Bike

Motorbike accident victim being treated for a leg-injury in an Ubud clinic in Bali, Indonesia

“For me, some of the most dangerous people on the road are white people. I avoid them like the plague. You can tell the ones who are going to hurt others – the fixed grins, the hunched over the handle-bars, the wobbling around corners and shouts of indignation when they finally hit someone – because they have absolutely no idea how life and the road works around here...”

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It's Silly Season Again ~ Renting a Scooter, and Crashing it, on Bali

A monkey tourist crashes his scooter in a road accident in Bali, Indonesia

‘She tears into the traffic. She can't stop. She narrowly misses hitting a car head-on, swerves past a mum on a 'bike and slaloms across the road. Before she hits anyone – it's a miracle she doesn't – she falls in a bad-sounding heap of bent metal and smashing plastic. A group of Balinese rush to pick her up before the cops see her...’

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The Other Side of the Coin ~ Just Another Motorbike Accident on Bali

Commercial street art mural of a Balinese man sitting astride his Norton motorcycle as his wife hovers with daily offerings

‘She starts sweeping and I notice that she's limping. There's a spreading bruise and an angry graze running past her knee and down her calf. She wants to carry on cleaning – I sit her down and ask her what happened.

She's shy; I press...’

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Health Matters

Let's Get Wet ~ The Rainy Season on Bali

Blue sky pokes from behind a gathering of stormy monsoon clouds over Bali, Indonesia

‘Rule number one on a monsoon day? Don't get wet.

You may not realise that getting caught in a cloudburst or shower on Bali – particularly if you're on a motorbike – is the tropical equivalent of walking naked outside during a Prague Winter after a lukewarm bath.

It'll really slow you down. The shivers, hot-and-cold flushes, a chesty cough, diarrhoea, sneezing, stomach pains, a belting headache and aching bones are all at the top of the list...’

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Bali hornet or Tabuhan, a dark brown, stinging, flying, wasp-like insect that may cause anaphylactic shock

Bali's Scorpions, Hornets, Mosquitoes, Poisonous Caterpillars... And Other Strange Tails

‘Nowhere is free from the tax of life. We all have to pay for our slice of Bali paradise – and this often comes in the shape of our biting, stinging, crawling, flying insect-cousins.

It's the downside of environment-sharing...’

.. ➤ ..

Holidays from the Jungle

The Heads of Trunyan

‘Agricultural, and unpractised in the dark art of handling international tourists, the aristocratic farmer-people of Trunyan have acquired a damaging reputation for aggression. Their unique tourist draw – a jungle-cemetery where bodies are left in the open to disintegrate underneath a magical banyan tree – is regularly shunned by travellers on the time-sensitive tourist circuit...’

.. ➤ ..

Lombok ~ A Line in the Sand

‘Ten meters away and the young man finally looks up – an inane, animal-like grin taped across his face as his girlfriend grips his porcelain butt and grimaces towards the empty blue sky. They disengage like street dogs, utter an invective in Russian, and stare...’

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Tourism & Self-Enrichment

Eat, Pray, Self-Love

I love-heart Ubud, Canggu, Seminya, Sanur and Kuta in Bali, Indonesia

‘My concentration's shot to pieces. The spaghetti keeps falling off my fork. She's on her third large beer now. She starts to say 'facking' even more, and is speaking so loudly that people passing on the street have begun to look her way, and she's spitting bits of ciabatta bread and tomato and fish into her friend's dinner...’

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From Ubud With Love

Will you marry? in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

‘I'm staying at a cute, family-run bed-and-breakfast – a homestay – on Ubud's trendy Jalan Goutama. A young member of the homestay's family tours her compound, blessing it with incense and rice and flower-petal offerings in little hand-made palm-leaf boxes.

All is well in Bali's spiritual capital...’

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A Dutchman Goes to a Gypsy Fortune-Teller

Wooden cock bottle openers, Ubud Market, Bali

‘A Dutch boy in Holland goes to a gypsy fortune-teller who tells him that he is, in fact, Balinese. Afterwards, his uncle visits the Island of the Gods and brings him back a wooden carving of a bare-breasted lady.

Lucky for him it wasn't one of those funny-shaped wooden bottle-openers that looks like a cock...’

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The Land of Self-Healing and Snake Oil

Yoga-wear for an Ubud yogini manifesting her abundance, exploring her Divine Feminine and inserting a Jade Egg at The Womb Temple near The Yoga Barn in Bali

‘Shake out those Kundalini Awakenings with some HoopYogini™ and Bhakti Boogie® at the Yoga Barn. Celebrate The Divine Feminine with a splash of Shakti Dance. Puff up your lungs in a Sacred Breathwork Immersion Workshop®, insert a Jade Egg for luck at The Womb Temple™ and polish it off with some tantalising Manifesting And Abundance.

You know you're worth it...’

.. ➤ ..

Balinese street art mural graffiti of Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed Hindu God and mystic in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

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ganesha bali / covid / scorpions / scooter rental / street art / trance / hornets / arma gallery / nyepi / traditional balinese paintings / rainy season / snakes / 2022 bali spirit festival / dengue fever / ecstatic dance

And finally, the weather

Today's weather forecast for Ubud, Bali, Indonesia ⇨

Fake styrofoam clouds over the main 'Cloud' stage at the 'Plastic-Free Gili Air Music Festival' near Lombok, Indonesia