Secret Bali

Kintamani’s Surprising Chinese Celebrations

Culture | Mar 03, 2019

Who would have thought that the annual Chinese New Year celebrations, so visible in places like Singapore, Penang and Kuala Lumpur would also include a very colourful festival in Kintamani. While the poster said the celebrations would last all day we arrived in time for the start of a very engaging procession that led from […]

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Bali’s Extraordinary Exotic Reality

Culture | Jan 31, 2019

Bali will always be an enigma. A juxtaposition between sekala and niskala, the seen and the unseen or the material world and the spiritual. The reason the Balinese are not always present, a little bit of head in the clouds, is because their mind ponders frequently on their next ceremony. Offerings, prayer, dance and dramas, […]

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Bali Beauty – The Real Thing

Culture | Jan 19, 2019

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder they say, yet go to any traditional Balinese ceremony or head out of the city and beauty is all around you. Temple ceremony days are the best places to see beautiful girls. This is the time when everyone dresses up in their best. Makeup, jewellery, all the […]

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Tajen Bali : The Island’s Ritual Cockfight

Culture | Jan 14, 2019

If you ever happen to notice a long line of Hondas parked along a narrow road, or men discreetely rushing along with a rattan basket slung over their shoulder, chances are they are off to a cockfight or tajen. Cockfighting is as natural to the Balinese as breathing. Long after it was officially banned by […]

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Men of the Soil, Bali’s Backbone

Culture | Dec 24, 2018

The people who work Bali’s fields now are no longer young. Their children have all been sent off to school, to get an education, to follow what they see as the way to a better life!  But is it? Is there any satisfaction as strong as standing over your newly turned field, or of watching […]

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Those Wild Men of Karangasem

Culture | Nov 06, 2018

There I was, far from home, surrounded by hundreds of wild eyed men, each brandishing a wicked looking Kris – the killer dagger used in many countries of the Asian world. While the scene sounds slightly surreal, strangely enough, it was far from dangerous! These beautiful folk were all in deep trance, as part of […]

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Metatah : A Balinese Teeth Filing (Done with Style)

Bali's Biggest Celebrations | Oct 09, 2018

Its not every day that some well placed person in Ubud society organises a huge metatah or tooth filing ceremony for her greater family, it was an affair to remember. Without mentioning any names, the event took place at the popular Honeymoon Guest House where twenty two children or young adults had their front teeth filed […]

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The Children of Bali

Bali For Kids | Sep 01, 2018

The children of Bali are like a special breed. Smart, cheeky and often devout, they enliven every day with their cheeky attitudes. When Robert Koke, author of “Our house in Bali” in the ‘40’s, revisited Bali after an absence of almost 40 years, he was asked if he found Bali had much changed. His reply was […]

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Bali’s Bizarre and Beautiful: Costumes of Culture

Secret Bali | Aug 14, 2018

While the Balinese seem to go about their daily lives in a fairly normal way, in reality it is just a cover. What they really like to do is attend ceremonies and functions where they can dress up! Bali is a culture where the adherents just love to get put on costumes. From an early […]

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The Life of a Bali Sea Salt Farmer

Culture | Jul 05, 2018

Jill Gocher, otherwise known as Ayu Sekar, takes us into the homes of a Bali sea salt farmer . Once a common industry on the island, now reduced to three little shacks on Bali’s east coastline. Another great story from our Secret Bali columnist: Salt is one of our necessities of life, especially sea salt, […]

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