Bali Welcomes Obama, Then Najib

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The Obamas are living it up in Bali, which is where our prime minister is also heading for a vacation.

Barack Obama flew into Bali on Friday to begin a nine-day trip to Indonesia, where he lived for several years as a child.

On their way, he made a pit stop in the US overseas territory of Guam.

Accompanied by his wife, daughters, half-sister Maya Soetoro-Ng and a few other Obama family members, the former president arrived on a private jet at the military airport in Bali’s capital, Denpasar.

His arrival contrasted starkly with that of Saudi Arabian King Salman during his six-day break on the resort island in March.

On that trip, King Salman was accompanied by a 1,500-strong entourage and 459 tonnes of luggage and equipment, including two bullet-proof Mercedes Benz S600s. There were around 2,500 Indonesian police and military personnel standing by to receive him.

Obama had declined an offer to have the airport put on lockdown, but security measures were still akin to those accorded to a dignitary.

Four Seasons

The family were then driven to the Four Seasons Resort Bali in Ubud, an arts and culture centre amid hills and rice paddies where they will spend most of their vacation in Bali.

They are staying in the US$7,500-per-night Royal Villa, an epic three-bedroom three-storey residence set on the grounds of the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan on Ubud’s outskirts.

Four Seasons
Four Seasons

Julia Roberts and her two children stayed in the same stately residence for three months while shooting the film Eat, Pray, Love.

On Jun 28, Obama will fly to the ancient city of Yogyakarta on the main island of Java where his mother did anthropological research. He moved to Jakarta with his mother at age 6, before returning to the US to live with his grandparents in Hawaii at age 10.

The family will visit Borobudur, a 9th-century Buddhist temple complex near Yogyakarta.

On Jun 30, he will meet with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who will host a dinner for the Obamas at the Bogor Presidential Palace.

On Jul 1, he will give a keynote address at the Indonesian Diaspora Network Congress.

The family will end their trip flying out of Jakarta on Jul 2.

Since leaving office on Jan 20, Obama seems to be on a never-ending vacation. First was to Richard Branson’s private Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands and then French Polynesia, where he was said to be working on his memoir and living it up with A-list celebrities Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks and Bruce Springsteen. Then it was off to Europe to visit Italy, Germany and the UK.

The Jakarta Post reported that after Obama’s five-day vacation, Bali will welcome Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose holiday is scheduled to start on Jun 26.

“According to the security plan we have received, there will be two (VVIP vacations in a week): Obama and the Malaysian PM,” National Police spokesperson Brig Gen Rikwanto said on Friday.

St Regis
St Regis
St Regis

Najib is scheduled to land in Bali on Jun 26 afternoon and will reportedly stay in the luxurious St Regis Resort in Nusa Dua, the same hotel where Saudi Arabian King Salman stayed for a week during his visit to Indonesia in March.

The police, however, have yet to obtain information about the prime minister’s activities in Bali.

Rikwanto said he believed Obama and Najib’s presence would “enliven the Island of the Gods, which is already crowded by domestic and international tourists, especially during the Idul Fitri holiday.”

He added that police would cooperate with relevant stakeholders to provide security details for Najib during his stay in Bali.

“Security measures are meant to ensure both holidays run smoothly, so both VVIPs could enjoy their time here in Bali,”