If you want to stay in Indonesia more than 30 days (what you can do with “Visa on arrival”), you can apply for another visa type, which allows you to stay in Indonesia for 60 days.
If you want to get “Tourist visa” or “Social Budaya visa” you should apply for it outside of Indonesia. Most travelers till August said that the best place for it – Penang island in Malaysia (here is information how to get to Penang). Because of the quick, 2 days, process and possibility to get 60 days visa (in some other countries the visa making takes 7 working days and can be given only for 30 days). Unfortunately after 1st of August, 2017 – things changed:
Some travelers said that in Indonesian embassy in Penang they started to have a quota system. They could issue only a limited number of 60-day visas (per month or per week) – but nobody knows how many or who will get it. Others say, that there is no quota system and is giving 30-day visas for “Tourist visa” or “Social Budaya visa” (with sponsor letter) if the sponsor is not family. The official seemed to imply that if the sponsor letter is from a spouse or other member of the family then they will get the 60 days. That, and the new RM10 KL + RM2 Penang room tax has we budget travelers giving USD$3.00 per day just in tax.
I didn’t try to make new visa in Penang after the system changed, so correct me, if there is any new changes or another place in any other country with better “conditions”.
Further information is about getting 30 days “Tourist visa”.
So, how to get Indonesian visa in Penang?
Here are some my advice and experience about applying for Indonesian 30-day “Tourist visa” in Penang island (I did such visa already twice but before 1st of August, 2017 and got 60 days visa).
Notice: all information prepared according 08 2017.
Official website of Indonesian Consulate in Penang, Malaysia (but you won’t find much information there)
467 Jalan Burma, 10350 Penang (about 4 km West of the Chinatown tourist area)
Tel: (+60) (4) 227 4686; (+60) (4) 226 7412;
Fax: (+60) (4) 227 4955
Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Before going there, be sure that in Malaysia or Penang are not public holidays.
How to get to Indonesian Consulate
If you are in the hurry and don’t want search by yourself public transport – easiest way, just to take a taxi and say the address (in some hostels in Chinatown written that taxi price to Indonesian Consulate is 20 MYR).
If you want to save some money and explore Penang use public bus – number 101 from Lebuh Chulia street or 103 from Komtar bus terminal (the main buses terminal).
The bus 101 starts at the Jetty (where the boats to Butterworth depart from). There is a bus stop on the corner of “Love Lane” and “Lebuh Chulia” streets (it’s the best stop if you are staying in Chinatown).
This bus stop not marked like usual bus stops, but you just stand in opposite street of “7 eleven” mart entrance (you will see there all the time gathering people) and when you will see coming bus 101 just wave your hand to stop it.
One way journey takes ~20-40 min. depends on the traffic and one way ticket costs 1,4 MYR (but you should say to a driver that you want to go to “Gurney Plaza”).
Get out of the bus in front of “Gurney Plaza” shopping mall (it will be on your right side). You will pass on the way first mall “Gurney Paragon”, next stop – “Gurney Plaza”. If you scared to miss it, ask the driver to say when will be that stop (I saw many people do that and drivers says when time to get out :)).
When you will get out from a bus on your left side (when you stand face to bus stop) will be traffic light. Go straight to it and turn right (to street Lebuhraya Maktab). Go all the time straight (you will pass some small streets on your right and left sides) till you will come to one big street in front of you (with 3 or 4 one way lines) – Jalan Burma. Here turn right. Go straight, on your right side you will pass “Midlands Park Center” mall. After it, on left side you will see traffic light, cross the street there and still go straight. On your left side you will see Adventist hospital. Just after it, on the same left side will be Indonesian Consulate.
First of all – dress properly. In the security post you will see the sign how you should look (no flip-flops, short shorts, T-shirt with sleeves and etc.). Some people don’t follow it and still pass inside. My advice, just dress in polite way, you are not going to a beach, yeah?.
For visa applying you should come in the morning (9:00-12:00 am.). By the way on Mondays it’s more people than on other days.
On entering the visa hall go to the table just inside the door. The lady will give you the form, fill it in and return to the table.The application form should be filled with black pen, if you don’t have, borrow it from workers.
The lady will check it briefly and give you a number. Then when the time will come they will announce the number and you will need to go to window 7. Give the papers and pay 205 MYR in cash (such price was in the end of July, 2017). If you don’t have cash in the “Midlands Park Center” mall (that you passed on the way) you can take money from ATM, as well make documents copy, take a picture – if needed. Important: Like in consulate will take your passport, don’t forget before make a copy of it.
After giving everything and pay, you will get a number. Then you need to wait till your number will appear in TV screen. Go to the counter and there you will get receipt. With it you will need to come back next day at from 14:00 to 16:00 pm (the same receipt you will need to show for a security when you will enter consulate next day).
When you will come next day, go to a counter 7 again and show your receipt – you will get your passport back. Important: in the evening of the day when you will apply check your e-mail. Because I had interesting experience, that in the evening I got e-mail from consulate, with information that I should come next day on different time that was written on receipt. Like some responsible person will be in the meeting and won’t be able to issue my visa earlier. If I wouldn’t check that day, I would need to go to consulate twice next day.
Beware of the day counting trap! The way the immigration officials’ count stay period is: the day of arrival counts as day one. The day of departure also counts. For example you have 30-days visa, you arrive on the 1st day, you must leave on the 30th day (not the 31st or the first of the next month). Even if you leave 5 min. after midnight, it will be counted as a full new day. If you overstay you will have to pay a penalty of 200 000 Rp per day. Up to 3 days is usually no problem, you will simply pay the fee at the immigration counter.
How to fill the application, what to have with you
The first few questions on the form (what type of visa, your name, passport details etc.) you should fill.
This lines you don’t need to fill if you apply for Indonesian 60-day “Tourist visa”
Occupation in Indonesia
Address of office/occupation
Address of residence in Indonesia
Name of sponsor/reference
Address of sponsor/reference
In the “Reason for applying” section write Tourism
For the supporting documentation I provided:
A photo (even if in a form written that it should be in red background, I gave without – and everything was fine, they accepted)
A photocopy of passport (info page only)
A photocopy of return ticket from Malaysia (when I will leave to Indonesia)
I read that I should give the photocopy of returns ticket from Indonesia but I didn’t have it yet on 1st time, so I brought photocopy from my bank account where shown that I have enough money to buy a ticket out of Indonesia (I just log in to my e-bank, made print screen and printed it). 2nd time I brought flight ticket, when I’m planing to leave Indonesia.
I didn’t got any extra questions or asking to bring something more.
If you didn’t make copies of needed documents, you can do it in Midland Park Center that you passed on the way to Indonesian embassy.
What to do after applying?
If you want to come back to Chinatown you should wait for the same bus 101 in front of “Midlands Park Center” mall.
But my advice, after consulate go further to explore Penang island, for example:
Go to Batu Ferringhi or Penang National park to spend rest of the day. You just need to return back to the stop, where you get out from the city center, take the same 101 and go further. From that stop it will take ~40 min. to National park and will cost 4 MYR.
By the way, during two my trips to Penang I stayed in 75 Traveller’s lodge. I found this place quite affordable, with good location and quite good condition. But there are many other places to stay in Penang.
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS
Have you tried to make Indonesian visa in Penang island? How was it?
Did you make Indonesian visa in any other country? What was your experience?
If you have any update to add, feel free to do it in comments
I like to book via Airbnb while I’m traveling because it helps me to save some money. As well it makes me feel like at home. For example, if I stay in a flat I can cook there and do other things that I usually can’t do in the hostels, guest houses. Also you can find some authentic places to stay, be a bit closer to a local culture. Here you can check more my pros and cons about staying or renting through Airbnb.
If you are new with Airbnb, I suggest to try it at least once and see by yourself if it suitable for you. But before booking via Airbnb you should pay attention in some things that I learned during my experience. I believe that these tips can save you a bit money and will help you avoid surprises.
How to start use Airbnb?
Sing up. You can get discount for your first booking via Airbnb by using Airbnb code.
Create informative profile and verify it. Some hosts may not accept you’re booking if you don’t have a verified profile. You want to book a place with host who tells more about himself? Host wants to know more about people which he will let inside his home as well.
TIP: you can check places in Airbnb (see the prices, free days in calendar and etc.) without signing in, but some of the functions you won’t be able to use.
You sign in. What’s next?
Write your destination, how many days you want to stay and how many people will be (in search box that appears in the Airbnb landing page). You will get all results that suit your search request.
Now you can mark, choose, use all filters to get only those results that fit exact your needs: choose room type, price range that you want to pay for a stay. Click “More filters” and check all boxes that are important for you. Then click “Apply filters”. You will get all results in the list that suits your search. Also all those places will be marked in the map on the right side of the list. So you can easily see which place is in which part of the city/island and etc.
TIP: in the right-bottom of the page you can change the currency and language. All search result information will be given by currency, language you want.
What you should pay attention first before booking via Airbnb?
When you will get all list that match your detailed search, choose some hosts that you like.
Check the pictures of the place – is it exactly what you are searching for?
Read the reviews about the place – but be objective reading them. People’s understanding of cleanliness, distance and etc. can be different from yours. But those reviews can give you general impression of the place. As well what I like in Airbnb – reviews appears only when both sides (guest and host) write them. So if guest wrote bad review, host don’t know it till he will write review about guest – there can’t be “revenge” – you wrote bad, I read and I will write bad about you as well.
Check the profile of the host – you will find there information that host provides about himself, picture, guests reviews and list of other places that he rents (can be that host have several different apartments or renting more rooms in the same house but with different conditions). I had experience in Oslo, when the couple was renting 2 their rooms – one was bigger and more expensive, other – smaller and cheaper. I didn’t know that because I didn’t check the listing of the host, so I booked bigger one when the smaller was free as well. At that time I could save a bit more money. But it’s my lesson that I learned for next Airbnb booking.
TIP: if you like several places add them to wish-list (button under the calendar – see the picture above). If during booking via Airbnb process something won’t work out with your choose place, you won’t need to start the new search and spend again your time. You can pick the places from your wish-list and contact those hosts.
Places that you picked match your needs? Check other important things
Till you won’t make booking via Airbnb you won’t see exact address but it will be shown rough area where it is. Usually the host in the place description writes distances till main tourist objects. If not, sometimes you can find this information in guests reviews.
Check carefully host information about the place. What is the place rules, check-in, check-out time, booking cancellation policy (different hosts can have different cancellation rules), is it easy to get to the place with local transportation, what kind of equipment host provides and everything else that is written
You should know that host can put different prices depending on the dates. For example on weekend or holidays the price can be higher than on low season. When in the first search step you add dates you want to stay, the prices already shown of those dates. But if you will decide to change the dates, the price can be different. As well Airbnb take some service fee – it can be different amount depends on duration of your stay, the booking price. Some hosts as well put extra fee for cleaning, extra bed and etc. (even if you selected that will be 1 guest and later change your mind – will come 2 people, the price can be not exactly just double, but even more). Sometimes depends on some countries rules, can be added even special tax fee. So final sum can be a bit different that was shown in the beginning.
Not a member yet? Try Airbnb and save $20 on your 1st trip through this link.
Some hosts allow you to book the place instant (please, check the first photo, I marked it near the price). In this case you don’t need to get any approval from host. You like the place, rules and etc. you just book it.
If the place doesn’t have instant booking, after you will make reservation, the host during 24 hours can accept it or reject. Yes, sometimes even if you choose free dates in calendar host can cancel booking without any explanation (maybe he doesn’t find information in your profile, maybe he didn’t update calendar and those dates already booked).
Different hosts can choose different cancellation policy. Before booking via Airbnb be sure about your will to stay there, dates. If you will change your mind and the host has strict cancellation policy you will lose some of your money, if it’s flexible cancellation policy – only Airbnb won’t return their fee but other money will be refund to your account.
CONTACT THE HOST
If in place photo you saw that something is missing what you need or you didn’t find information in the description – before booking via Airbnb, contact the host and ask what is important for you. As well if you need something extra to be prepared for you, you can ask host if he can organize it. If it’s not written and you didn’t ask but expected that something will be – don’t be disappointed. The host provides all information that he thinks it’s important, but for you can be important something else.
People are different and different things matter for them, but I usually ask such things (if don’t find it it in description):
What is in the neighborhood? Who is living around? Is there are any noisy bars, busy streets around?
How far is the public transportation stop?
Will I have separate set of keys? Will my room where I will stay have a lock?
Is there is coffee, sugar that I could use?
Will be there any other guests during my stay (if I’m renting a room in several rooms apartment)?
TIPS: some hosts give discounts if you stay longer – for a week or month (it’s written in place description). I never tried but I know that you can contact the host and negotiate the price as well. Even if he don’t give the discount for longer stay – you can ask for it.
Time for booking!
Final step from your side – click the “Request to book” and booking process will start.
The booking should be accepted or rejected by host during 24 hours otherwise the system without host approval will reject it automatically. If it will happen – no worries – you still have other places that you liked in your wish-list.
When host will approve your booking you will get email with all information. The phone number of the host, most of the time the exact place address (if you won’t receive it – ask from host).
After booking is accepted your money won’t go straight to the host account. Airbnb will “keep” it till your end of the stay. So if something will be not exactly how was agreed and etc., you can claim for Airbnb, they will inspect the case and if you are right – they will return your money back.
Keep in touch with host – before coming agree the time and how you will meet, how you will get the keys and etc.
What else you should know about booking via Airbnb?
Not only local people rents their homes, sometimes you can find hostels, guest houses and etc. who suggest to stay in their place. If you find such – before booking via Airbnb, check their prices in other websites, for example Agoda, Booking, Hostelworld and etc. Maybe in these websites have extra discount or even better price (you can see below one of examples of different prices of the same place).
Sometimes it happens that the host cancels the booking even couple days before you arrive. Not nice, but no worries, try to contact other hosts from your wish-list.
If the host asks you to pay in cash or make a transfer straight to his account – never do it. If something will go wrong, Airbnb won’t protect you or refund your money. All renting through Airbnb should be done only by their system.
If you found amazing place, the price looks extremely cheap and there is no review yet, be vigilant, maybe something is not right. You can just save picture of the place on your desktop and add it to google search. If it’s not real place or the picture is stolen you will find it in google. In this case you can report Airbnb that somebody try to cheat.
Don’t book the place instead of your friends, because if something will happen you will take the responsibility for it (because you booked the place). Better after you will join Airbnb share the discount code and ask them to join as well – they will stay cheaper, you will get discount also and won’t need to worry about anything.
Using Airbnb doesn’t mean that the host will be all the time around. The host can help you as much as he can but don’t expect that he will become your guide.
After your stay don’t forget to leave the honest review that could be useful for future guests.
Let’s see quickly in practice how to choose the best place, for example inBali
In price range I choose the cheapest places (9-20 EUR/per night). The result – more than 300 offers. I pick randomly 4 of them.
No air condition, now parking (but if you want to reach this place you need to drive a motorbike).
This room by itself doesn’t have reviews yet, but host in general has 160 reviews.
If you click for host listing he offers 10 different rooms in the same villa just conditions are different. For example, other rooms have air condition, strict cancellation policy, check-in, check-out times, free parking and etc.
Even if the price written 9 EUR/per night, already in March all dates are with higher price. No matter 1 or 2 guests the price the same 10 EUR/per night. Service fee – extra 1 EUR. In total for 2 people will cost 11 EUR/per night.
Already from the name you see that it’s not a person’s home it’s guest house with breakfast, 24 hour check-in, but no WI-FI (just simple internet).
You can book it instantly.
The prices changes to higher after April.
If you click for host listing, he offers 10 different places in Ubud. From guest houses to hotels and villas. I hope I won’t offend anyone but renting via Airbnb it’s this person business.
Like it’s guest house I found their offer in Booking. The same dates for 2 people there costs 12 EUR/per night. But they charge extra 2 EUR for breakfast. As well in booking.com written check-in/check-out times, in Airbnb it’s not mentioned. If you would like to rent this place – this time booking via Airbnb is cheaper (except if you have some discounts in Booking or rewards that you can use and get better price).
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 stayaround 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?