Unique Bali ceremonies, festivals, rituals – my bucketlist for 2017

I believe you have seen how picturesque Bali island is? But only through Bali beaches, landscapes, nature spots you won’t see all the beauty of this island. A little knowledge and participation in Bali ceremonies, festivals (cultural or religious) can give more ineffable memories for your holidays in Bali. Like Indian writer Siddharth Katragadda said “The greatness of a culture can be found in its festivals”.

The best if you could attend any of Balinese family celebrations like Gedong-gedongan (ceremony in the 8th month of pregnancy), Menek kelih (puberty), teenagers transition to the adult’s world (tooth filling), wedding and etc. But if you will be in Bali island only for short period – I believe it’s not so easy to become close friends with local people and be invited to such sacred family ceremonies.

Cultural Bali festival

But in Bali there are many public celebrations that you can attend. Almost every month you can enter different Bali ceremonies, festivals. For example, well-known monsters parade Ogoh-Ogoh, Nyepi (silent day – Bali’s Lunar New Year), Galungan (Balinese Hindus commemorate the legendary battle of good versus evil), art or villages festivals, temples anniversaries and etc. (check 2017 calendar for most famous Bali ceremonies and celebrations).

During my 1st year of living in Bali I have participated in above-mentioned (and others) Bali ceremonies, rituals, so this year I’m more interested to attend unique, unusual, less known among travelers Bali ceremonies. Maybe you will be interested to take a part in any of these Bali ceremonies, during your trip in Bali?

Bali ceremonies, festivals, rituals – my bucketlist for 2017

MARCH

Kissing ceremony that helps to find beloved – “Omed-Omedan”

I don’t know whether believe the legend, but around 100 year ago king Puri Oka was sick. Outside his place the youngsters were playing game Omed Omed (boys pulled random boy to the side, girls pulled random girl to the side too). When pulled boy and girl were close to each other, by accident – they kissed. And this event caused many noise from youngsters. King was angry and get outside to stop this noisy game. But after he get out he didn’t feel ill anymore. After such “magic” the King announced that this Omed Omed (that literally means “pull-pull”) should be held each year after Nyepi celebration (Balinese New Year).

Nowadays in this ceremony can participate only unmarried Sesetan village youth (17-30 years old). People say, that through this ceremony many couples met and build families. As well such ritual brings good luck and prosperity to those who are taking part in it. Not enough that participants may not know each other and will kiss strangers, village priests throw water over participants to douse the flames of passion. Maybe this ceremony not so special but for sure can give good vibes. More about this Bali festival.

Bali kissing ceremony
Photo boombastis.com
  • Place: Banjar Kaja Sesetan in Denpasar, Bali
  • Time: 29th of March, 2017. Festival starts in the morning.
  • Best place to stay near Denpasar would be Sanur area (I doubt you would really enjoy staying in capital of Bali, during your holidays). I have stayed in Sanur in these places:
  • Sudamala Suites & Villas – I love this place. It’s like small oasis near main Sanur area. So many unique details inside. Inspiring, peaceful, spacious surrounding, delicious food and very friendly stuff.
  • Puri Santrian – quite big hotel but has straight access to the beach. You can choose from many different types of rooms. I enjoy there buffet type breakfast with big assortment, live Gamelan music, green surrounding and helpful stuff. 

As well can be an option to stay in Kuta (from ceremony place the distance almost the same to go to Sanur or Kuta). You can check options in Airbnb too: Kuta or Sanur. And if you are new in Airbnb you can get FREE credits for first your booking.

APRIL

Full moon ceremony to ask God’s grace

“Purnama” the day of full moon is a special day for Balinese people. Every month on full moon extra offerings “sesajen” are made in family temples. As well such offerings taken to village temple. Depending on the full moon time usually many temples will have special event for villagers, like dancing, shadow puppet theater wayang, other performances. Such full moon ceremony takes all day long activities from preparation offering, cooking, going to the temples and etc. Every 10th full moon (called “Purnama Kadas”) even more special. Unique rituals you can see not only in the main island temples but as well in smaller ones. For example on this special day, mother temple, Besakih, holds a special ceremony known as “Betara Turun Kabeh”, inviting the gods and deified ancestors for their blessings. More about this ceremony from fellow travel blogger you can find here.

Bali ceremonies - full moon
Photo fivelements.org
  • Time: 11th of April, 2017. All day long.
  • Place: island-wide in major temples.
  • Note: during such ceremonies the temples are crowded of prayers.
  • Best place to stay in Bali during this ceremony is Ubud area. Because you can easily reach main temples like Besakih, Tirta Empul, Pura Goa Lawah and others. You can check and Airbnb listing. I have stayed in Ubud in these places:
  • Tjampuhan Ubud & Spa – cozy, beautiful place with a view to a temple and just a couple minute walk from Campuhan Ridge Walk, not far from the center. Breakfast was very delicious.
  • Manyi Village Ubud – place surrounded by rice paddies but further from the Ubud center (they have shuttle bus). It’s not big place, quite, intimate. From the balcony you can see the sunrise, from bathroom window paddies. Breakfast buffet type with several options.
  • Ubud Wana Resort – city type hotel, not too big, with spacious rooms, couple swimming pools, not far from Ubud Monkey forest. Stuff very flexible and helpful. Breakfast buffet type with several options.
  • Sanggingan Villa and Permana Cottages – Ubud – both places are not too far from Ubud center. Rooms are spacious but interior of Bali in 80’s (some rooms only with fan, some rooms needs improvement). Very simple served breakfast.

Planing trip to Bali

Self-stabbing ritual that brings people closer to God – “Ngerebong”

This ritual, more than 100 years old, for sure not for everyone. I have seen some trance rituals in Java island, so I’m a bit curious to see it in Bali too. Balinese believe that stabbing themselves in the neck and chest with dagger called “keris” without drawing a drop of blood (can you imagine that it’s possible?) helps to achieve harmony between humans, nature and God. The ritual not only brings villagers closer to God, it also helps give them a sense of community. All preparation, ceremonies and ritual itself takes all day long. Find out more about this Balinese ritual or take a look to this video.

Bali ceremonies - ritual Ngerebong
Photo tripcanvas.com
  • Place: Petilan Pengerebongan temple, Kesiman, Denpasar, Bali
  • Time: Every 210 days (on the eight day after Kuningan), in April and November, 2017.
  • Best place to stay near Denpasar would be Sanur area (to stay in capital of island not the best choice). I have stayed in couple hotels in Sanur – you can check above my experience there.

Kid’s transition to the adult’s world sacred ceremony – “Usaba Dangsil”

When I saw girl’s pictures from Bungaya village (one of the oldest village in Bali) during Usaba Dangsil ceremony – I understood that it is something that I haven’t seen yet in Bali. It’s not only about different local people ritual clothing but as well about activities they do for this ceremony. Boys and girls (hundreds of them) have to follow many rituals, which shows that they became grownups. Beside all rituals are build 7 giant pillars (which symbolize welfare and protection) and with all villagers help transported to the certain place. This unique main ritual held only every 12-14 years! Last time it was in August, 2016. But until the end of April, 2017 you can still see special performances. You can read more about this ceremony here and watch a short video from event in 2016.

Bali ceremonies - Usaba Dangsil
Photo lifeinbigtent.com
  • Place: Bungaya village in Karangasem, Bali
  • Time: Every 12-14 years. Until the end of April, 2017, every full and dark moon from 10 am you can see special performances.
  • Note: if you want to visit this event, you should follow some rules.
  • Best hotels in Bali, Karangasem area you can find here or check Airbnb places. I have stayed in Rama Candidasa Resort & Spa. Honestly, it is one of my favorite places to stay in Bali – hotel is in front of the sea (even if it’s not possible to swim there), interior nicely mixed between Balinese and modern style, spacious and green surrounding, breakfast is buffet type with big assortment and stuff very helpful.
MAY

Sacred ceremony to neutralize 288 evil spirits – “Ngerebeg”

Locals believes that at least 288 different kind of demons lives along Tegelalang’s river. To neutralize these spirits Balinese from Tegalalang village every 6 months organize a parade that is conjunction with Duur Bingin temple anniversary. It’s requires villagers dress up like a demons. This traditional ceremony, sacred Grebeg ritual, in Tegalalang village known from 13th century.

There are no gender restriction but mainly in such parade participate hundreds of 3-15 years old boys (as well teenagers). As well they prepare 288 meal offerings at any major religion festival to appease these spirits. This ritual purify the village through noisy parade of scary-looking kids (reminds a bit Ogoh Ogoh before Nyepy day). People believe that supernatural being will be pacified so they won’t disturb temple ceremony. In the morning kids deliver offerings and in the evening – they participate in parade. I think it’s quite fun to watch this parade, see kids reativity. More about this Bali ceremony here.

  • Place: Duur Bingin temple, Tegalalang village, Gyanair, Bali
  • Time: 10th of May, 2017. From ~11 am and lasts ~3 hours.
  • Best Bali hotels to stay around Tegalalang. Or you can stay in Ubud. My experiences staying in Ubud you can check above.
JUNE – JULY

Blood offering ritual to the Gods to appease the spirits – “Mekare-kare”

In ancient Balinese village Tenganan (where people still follows prie-Hindu culture and traditions) once a year, men participate in theatrical fight “Mekare kare” (as well known as “Perang Pandan”, “Pandan war” or “Megeret Pandan”). The aim of such battle is to draw blood, to spill a few drops on the bare earth to appease the spirits and keep them at peace. Other people say that this ceremony nowadays is about to impress the village’s unmarried women. In any case, this ritual quite interesting because man’s fights with sharp pandanus leaves, bamboo shield and accompanied by native gamelan music “Selonding” (playing only in this village). Each fight lasts only couple of minutes. Even if you won’t see a battle, during this event you will enjoy this Balinese ceremony because women will be dressed with traditional, only for this village common clothes, you will see traditional performances and hear Selonding music. It’s a time when you can be a witness of the most beautiful village. More about this ritual you can read here and watch video.

Balinese ceremony - Mekare kare
Photo baliplius.com
  • Place: Tenganan Pegringsingan and Tenganan Dauh Tukad villages in Karangasem, Bali
  • Time: 2-4 times during June – July. Starts ~2 pm.
  • Best Bali accommodation in Karangasem area you can find here. I have stayed in Rama Candidasa Resort & Spa. Honestly, it is one of my favorite places to stay in Bali – hotel is in front of the sea (even if it’s not possible to swim there), interior nicely mixed between Balinese and modern style, spacious and green surrounding, breakfast is buffet type with big assortment and stuff very helpful.
JULY – NOVEMBER

Harvest celebration – “Makepung” water buffalo’s races

Agrarian scenes is part of Balinese daily life. And to uphold agriculture traditions each year in some parts of island is organized unique festival – buffaloes race. It‘s colorful agriculture spectacle-race (known from ~1930) which symbolize mutual help of farmers carrying their harvest using carriage that pull by two buffaloes. Balinese participate in such race for honor, pride and trophy. Race tradition original came from Madura island in Indonesia. Such event was so inspiring that in 1984 was created special traditional dance “Makepung”. This dance is performed by 7 to 9 male, female and depicts riders, the buffaloes themselves. One of the unique features of the dance is that it is accompanied by the Jegog bamboo orchestra, which is also typical of the regency. Find out more about this race and you can check this video.

Bali festival - harvest celebration
Photo duniart.com
  • Place: Kaliakah village, Perancak (close to Negara) in Jembrana, Bali
  • Time: July – November. Every Sunday from 7-8 till ~9-10 am.
  • Best hotels in Bali Jembrana area you can see here or Negara here. But maybe you can find something suitable in Airbnb?
ALL YEAR LONG

Temple ceremonies – temple “birthday”

Every temple and shrine in Bali (there are more than ~4539 temples) has annual ceremony called “Odalan”. The word “Odalan” is believed to have come from the root word “Wedal” which means “birth”. This is usually the day when the temple buildings are blessed for the first time, or the day where Balinese Hindus commences to bring offerings and pray in the temple. Temple festival may come once in 210 days following the “Wuku” Balinese calendar (twice in a Gregorian calendar), thus a semi-annual celebration, or may be an annual ceremony, if villagers follow the lunar calendar. Bali ceremonies for temples are very colorful, people are making special decoration, offerings as well you can see exclusive performances.

Since every village has at least three major temples (and often many more than that), there is always some kind of community religious activity going on. So I believe you could join any such event during your holidays in Bali. Check calendar of Bali ceremonies in temples.

Bali festivals - temple ceremony
Photo duniart.com

Notice that during temple ceremony, not allow:
Enter such festival if you have open wound, bring food inside, if you mentally or physically ill, being in a state of mourning (for the Balinese this lasts 42 days or one month + 7 days of Balinese calendar), and having given birth within the past 42 days.

  • Time: every 210 days. Temple ceremony usually lasts for 1-3 days, but larger ones (which occur every 5, 10, 30 or 100 years) can last for 7-11 days or longer.
  • Place: all around island
  • Best place to stay in Bali. I suggest to check and Airbnb too. If you never registered before, you can get FREE credits for your first stay.

As well maybe you can be interested to see cock fights? Legal fights you can see usually during temple ceremonies almost all around island but many people organize it illegally too. I have seen such fights in Karangasem area, it’s quite common there but it’s hard to know from before when it will be held.

Furthermore I participated in Balinese sacred purification ritual which aimed to purify a human body and soul in order to prevent havoc, bad luck and sickness (also achieve self-purification). If you would be interested to experience it too, before going to any water temple talk with local people who will explain the meaning, sequence and etc. The main thing – do it not for entertainment but with understanding why you do it and how to do it right.

I belive you don’t want to become annoying tourist. Some tips for visiting Bali ceremonies, festivals, rituals (especially religious):

  • Always wear sarong and sash (you can bring your own or rent in temple).
  • Don’t wear bikini, too transparent clothes.
  • Never sit higher that the priest, on the offerings.
  • Don’t walk in front of people when they are praying or further than the prayers are.
  • Women are not allowed to enter temples during menstruations.
  • Don’t use flash or point camera at the priest’s face.
  • Be polite if making pictures of people – don’t disturb them if they are preparing for ceremony, praying. Would be nice if you ask their permission to take photos of them.

Moreover you should know that during main religious, national celebrations can be a bit difficult to travel in Bali or other Indonesian island like people will have holidays. You can check Indonesian holidays calendar of yearly events to plan your trip in the right time.

It’s only Bali celebrations that I want to visit this year (those that I didn’t mention here I already visited or will leave for next year too). Indonesia has more than 17 000 islands, each of them has different their own celebrations. So you can imagine that in Indonesia you can feel like in never ending celebration place.

 

Bali events - Pinterest
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SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

  • Which Bali ceremonies, festivals or rituals you would like to attend?
  • In which of these or other Bali ceremonies you already participated?
  • Do you have any similar to Bali ceremonies celebrations in your country?

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First time in Indonesia

I think Indonesia is a country of adventures and opportunities. Just you need to open eyes and heart, have a will to see, taste, discover, try new things, get out from your comfort zone and be curious.

I found out that during my stay in Indonesia some of the things I did or some of them happened first time in my life. No matter what, but all of them gave me new colors in my daily life. So, here is my list of things “first time in life – in Indonesia”:

First of all – Indonesia is the first Asian country which I visited in my life

And being in Indonesia gives me more opportunities to travel in Asia. Other Asian countries now are much closer than if I would travel from Europe.

I met eye to eye orangutans in Borneo island (Kalimantan)

Couple days in a jungle, living in a boat, meeting wild monkeys, birds, other animals and of course orangutans – was experience that I will never forget.

I took selfie (never before I did that)

It was on motorbike, when I was bringing mattress on my back to first home in Yogyakarta, Java island.

First time in Indonesia - selfie
Friend Otong helped me to take mattress to a new home

I learned how to drive automatic scooter

Driving scooter in Indonesia it means – I can drive now scooter anywhere in the world.

I tried trekking to a volcanoes

Even if mount Merapi defeated me  but at least I tried. But the second time was more successful. I went to Mt. Batur in Bali for sunrise. And even if in the trek beginning I was thinking why I do it, in the end I was happy that reached the top.

Batur sunrise trek in Bali

 

I was a “model” for the Yogyakarta sketchers community members

They wanted to practice and not every time it’s easy to find people who would like to spend their time doing nothing, just pose for a while.

First time in Indonesia - "model"

took a bathe” under the waterfall and was walking in volcano crater

It was in Dieng Plateau, Java island. Never before I saw waterfall and volcano crater in real. What to say about bathing under waterfall? It was powerful feeling.

First time in Indonesia

I tried sandboarding in “grey” sand beach Parangtritis

Never before I try snowboarding, so experience with sandborading was amazing. Just sand in the mouth when you felt down doesn’t “taste” so nice as snow. I got this opportunity while I was shooting in a video.

I celebrated New Year in October with Javanese Royal family members

New year in the middle of autumn? Something new, especially when you are invited to do that with Javanese Royal family members and have an honor to walk in a parade through the city with traditional Javanese clothes.

Javanese New Year

I eat fruits which I never tried before

Even I didn’t know that such fruits exist: “salak”(“snake fuit”), “jambu” (“guava”), “buah naga” (“dragon fruit”), soursop (“sirsak”) and many others.

First time in Indonesia - fruits

I try scuba diving first time ever

I really scare to be in deep water places so this experience was one of the biggest challenges for me but I faced my fairs in Bali.

I was a witness of Ramadhan and Lebaran celebrations

I heard before a bit about Muslim main celebrations Ramadhan, Lebaran but never knew how it looks like in real. But only staying in Indonesia I had this opportunity.

I eat cobra meat and I liked it

I tried “Burger cobra”, “Sate cobra bakar”, ”Steak cobra saus cina” and drink “Ramuan empedu cobra” (traditional medicine from cobra gall and marrow). I was celebrating 6 months living in Indonesia anniversary.

First time in Indonesia - cobra meat

I was bitten by bee

Never in my life before nowhere I was bitten. Probably it was Indonesian style of “farewell” before my trip to Vietnam.

First time in Indonesia - bitten by bees

I drink the most expensive coffee in the world – Kopi Luwak

First time in Indonesia - kopi luwak

I got a first job offer – to be a guide in Vietnam

I never been a tour guide before, but probably my organizational skills can be used in any area. I liked it, that’s why till now I accompany people during their trips in Indonesia as well.

I was walking in the black sand beach

First I saw grey sand beach in Yogyakarta, Parangtritis beach but soft black sand I enjoyed in Bali, Tulamben beach. When all my life I saw only yellow beaches, see black – something unreal.

I try rafting

I’m quite scared of all water activities but I wanted to try rafting. I did it in Bali when the rainy season started. And it wasn’t so dangerous, even more easier than I thought.

Rafting in Bali

I had unique experience

I participate in Balinese sacred purification ritual which aimed to purify a human body and soul in order to prevent havoc, bad luck and sickness (also achieve self-purification).

Hindu purification

One of my dreams come true

I always wanted to see dolphins in their natural surrounding and I did it, in Lovina, Bali.

I started to write articles and blogging

I would never believe that one day I will start to write and blogging. But it happen exactly in Indonesia.

I’m willing to add more things in a future to this “first time in life – in Indonesia” list.

First time in Indonesia
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  • Have you tried something for the first time in Indonesia?
  • Maybe you tried something for the first time in other Asian countries?
  • What you would like to try in Indonesia?

 

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How to spend 5 days in Bali

Are you thinking about holidays destination? Choose Indonesia! Because this country can offer so many things at once – warm weather, sunny days, beaches, volcanoes, wild nature, rich culture and it’s affordable to travel around.

But usually holidays don’t last long and during it hard to explore a bigger part of Indonesia. If you have only 2 weeks vacation, my suggestion – half of the holidays spend exploring one of the main Indonesian islands – Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi or others and rest of the time – relax in Bali.

First time I stayed in Bali only for 5 days and it was enough to taste a little bit what this island has to offer. Here is where I went, what I did and saw during 5 days in Bali.

Travel itinerary – 5 days in Bali

1st DAY

BALI’S ANCIENT ROCKY TEMPLE – GUNUNG KAWI

This complex is constructed in the 11th century by king Anak Wungsu in honor of his father, the great Balinese ruler Udayana. There are total 10 shrine carved on the stone slope of height ~8 m. The countryside where the complex is located surrounded by beautiful rice paddies where you can enjoy the walk downstairs to the temple.
Location: Banjar Penaka, Tampak Siring, Kec. Gianyar, Bali

TIP:

  • On the way to the temple you will find few souvenir shops. The prices there will be cheaper than in main Bali cities. If you will decide to buy something there – don’t forget to negotiate the price.

HOLY SPRING WATER TEMPLE – TIRTA EMPUL

It’s Hindu temple located between 2 hills with spring water sacred by local residents to purify the soul and mind. People believe that springs were created by God Indra more than 1000 years ago. Because of that, this temple is one of the most important temples in Bali. There are: 3 country yards with 13 holy water fountains for cremation or dead ceremony; 1 pool with 3 fountains for spiritual purification; 1 pool with 5 fountains with holy water for people who come from outside to pray. Is it worth to visit?
Location: Manukaya village, district of Tampaksiring, Gianyar, Bali

TIP:

  • If you would like to have purification ritual in this temple, please before doing it, ask your guide or local people inside, how to do it in right way. Each fountain has the meaning and should be used in special order. Don’t just go under the fountains and wash yourself.

Also read: Tips for traveling in Asia


LUNCH AT “LAKE VIEW RESTAURANT”

Lake view - Batur in Bali

In this restaurant you can have lunch or dinner with spectacular view of still active Mount Batur with it beautiful caldera and lake Batur. If you are not planning to eat there, visit it just for a cup of tea, juice or beer. Food is simple but good (buffet style). Is it worth to visit?
Location: Jl. Raya Panelokan, Kintamani, Bali

TRANQUIL WATER TEMPLE – GUNUNG KAWI SEBATU

Gunung Kawi Sebatu temple in Bali

It’s a peaceful place with verdant gardens around ponds filled with carp and blooming lotuses. Shrines surrounded by crystal clear pools fed by natural springs. Inside you will find many colorful demons decorations protecting the sacral places. I believe you will enjoy the walk as well. All place reminds cozy park and not so crowded. Is it worth to visit?
Location: Sebatu Village, Tegallalang, Gianyar, Bali

FAMOUS TEGALALANG RICE TERRACE

Tegalalang rice terrace - Bali trip

This rice terraces are famous for its beautiful scenes of rice paddies involving the subak (traditional Balinese cooperative irrigation system). Tegalalang is one of three most splendid terraced landscapes in Ubud area.
Location: north of Ubud, ~30 min. from Ubud main market

RELAXING CAMPUHAN RIDGE WALK

Green walk in Bali, Ubud

Just after stop in sometimes crowded Tegalalang rice terrace you can enjoy relaxing walk in “green walk” which is not so crowded. It’s ~1 hour one way walking distance. You can enjoy green surrounding, cool wind and have dinner in one of the restaurants on the way, see the sunset. Also you can see people there ridding bicycle, jogging – it’s like a small escape place from busy city. If I wouldn’t go there, I wouldn’t believe that you can have such walk almost in the heart of Ubud. Is it worth to visit?
Location: Jl. Raya Ubud No.35, Ubud, Kec. Gianyar, Bali

TIPS:

  • Bring a torch with you because the path doesn’t have any lights and after sunset it will be dark.
  • As well can be many mosquitoes, take repellent with you.

COLORFUL BALINESE DANCE PERFORMANCE

Dance performance in Ubud - Bali

I believe you have seen Balinese dance performance photos before coming to Indonesia? Now you can enjoy Balinese music, dance and I could call it small piece of theater in live. In Ubud every day you can see different Balinese dance performances in different places. You can check which performance and where will be on your stay time.

TIPS:

  • If you want to get better sitting places, come at least 20 min. before the performance starts.
  • You can by tickets on the spot or in the streets. You will see many sellers offering tickets.
2nd DAY

UBUD’S MONKEY FOREST

Monkey forest in Ubud, Bali

Officially Monkey forest called Mandala Wisata Wanara Wana (houses three holy temples). In this place lives hundreds of grey-haired and long-tailed Balinese macaque. Walking in this forest you will see not only greedy monkeys but as well some huge trees, old temple and some sculptures. But the most interesting (at least for me) is observing monkeys behavior. Is it worth to visit?
Location: Jl. Monkey Forest, Padangtegal, Ubud, Bali

If you want more adventure while visiting monkey forest and other Bali areas – take vintage VW tour. Luke from Backstreet Nomad had much fun!

TIPS:

  • You can enter forest through 1 of 3 gates: the main one at the Southern end of Jl. Monkey Forest; from 100 m further East, near the car parking; from the Southern side, on the lane from Nyuhkuning.
  • Please, don’t feed monkeys, avoid eye contact and showing your teeth, including smiling, which is deemed a sign of aggression.

Also read: Travel resources


ELEPHANT CAVE TEMPLE – GOA GAJAH

Goa Gajah temple - travel in Bali

Legend says that the name of this temple came from nearby Sungai Peatanu, which was known like Elephant river. It was build in 11th century and discovered by Dutch archaeologists.
The cave is carved into a rock face and you enter through the cavernous mouth of a demon. Inside you can see fragmentary remains of the Hindu god Shiva, a statue of Shiva’s son, the elephant-headed god Ganesha. It’s really small temple but you can have a walk around the area. Is it worth to visit?
Location: Jl. Raya Goa Gajah, Ubud, Bali

VISIT TRADITIONAL BALINESE VILLAGE AND HOUSES

During you trip you will see many Balinese houses but only after visiting them you can see and understand how all buildings inside the house area follows a strict ancient architectural guide, how everything build to bring a harmony for a family. I was visiting Singapadu village. People there was very nice and explained, showed their homes.

LEARN TRADITIONAL BALINESE DANCE, MUSIC IN MEKAR BHUANA GAMELAM MUSIC, DANCE CENTER

You can better understand Balinese culture if you will become a part of it. This center is founded by family. And they not only share the secrets of Balinese culture but as well reconstructs rare or extinct Balinese music instruments, with Balinese musicians, dancers organize performances all around Bali. I really enjoy the time spending in this center, which by the way, is in their home. It was a big pleasure to learn and play gamelan music, as well to remember some moves of Balinese dances (I was studying traditional Indonesian dance before).
Location: Jl. Gandapura 3 No. 501x, Kesiman-Kertalangu, Denpasar

TIP:

  • You don’t need to prepare yourself before visiting this center, you will get everything you need there. So bring your good mood and will to learn something new.

KECAK DANCE IN ULUWATU TEMPLE

Kecak dance - Uluwatu in Bali

Uluwatu is one of the important temples to the spirits of the sea along the South coast of Bali. It’s build on the Indian Ocean cliff. It’s really beautiful to see the sunset there – seeing the temples silhouette in the horizon of the Ocean. But more impressive to see Kecak dance while sun goes down.
Kecak is a form of Balinese dance and music drama that was developed in the 1930s in Bali. Some people call this performance fire dance or Ramayana Monkey Chant as well. Nowadays Kecak dance (in touristic places) contains some flat jokes for pleasing travelers (honestly, I don’t like this part), still the sound and the rhythm of Kecak gives some spiritual energy. Is it worth to visit?
Location: Kawasan Wisata Pura Uluwatu, Pecatu, Bali

TIPS:

  • For watching Kecak dance come at least 30 min. before the performance starts to get the best seats.
  • If you will decide to sit in the side facing ocean, bring your sun glasses – like sun will shine straight to your face and will be hard to see the dance.
  • In the temple lives a lot of monkeys – so take care of your belongings, monkeys can steal it.
3rd – 5th DAYS

 

I spend my 3 days in Sanur. I just enjoy the time there, had a walk and small shopping around. If you want in Bali just relax, have sunbath, enjoy beaches – rest 3 days stay in one of South Bali beaches. Some of them are famous for soft sand, others for beautiful sunset views from the cliffs.

If to stay 3 days in the beach is too much for you, you prefer to explore more in Bali – you can have half day trips for example to Tanah Lot or Lampuyangan temples, water palace, Taman festival, hidden canyon or one of amazing waterfalls.

If you want to see not only Bali – you can go to Lombok, one of the Gilis or Lembongan islands.

If you love snorkeling or diving – go to Tulamben, Amed, Padang Bay or even plan 1 day trip to the North of Bali.


Also read: My days in Bali beaches


WHERE I STAYED?

  • Tjampuhan Ubud & Spa – cozy, beautiful place with a view to a temple and just a couple minute walk from Campuhan Ridge Walk. Breakfast was very delicious.
  • Manyi Village Ubud  – place surrounded by rice paddies but further from the main streets. It’s not big place, quite, intimate. From the balcony you can see the sunrise, from bathroom window paddies.
  • Puri Santrian Resort Sanur  –  quite big hotel but has access to the beach, several swimming pools. I enjoy breakfast with Gamelan music.
  • Sudamala Suites & Villas Sanur  –  I love this place, it’s like small oasis near main Sanur area (but you even don’t hear the sounds from the street). So many unique details inside, inspiring surrounding.

Mentioned and visited places on the map


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SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

  • Would you like to visit these places?
  • If you have been in these places what was our experience?
  • Maybe you have other places recommend in Bali to visit?

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Useful? Great! :) You might also like these:

Lombok beaches which should be in your bucket list
Unique Bali ceremonies, festivals, rituals in 2017
My days in Bali beaches

 



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