Secret Bali

The Bade Makers: Bali’s Coffin Craftsmen

Culture | Jul 10, 2019

Tucked away in a back street on the outskirts of Denpasar is a strange and wondrous sight. Every few days this wide, open shed is populated with beautifully wrought animals. Fine looking bulls are the main production although sometimes you might see a pig, a dog or even a lion.  They are bade, effigies used […]

Read More

The Rejang Dance and its Great Hat Parade

Secret Bali | Jun 22, 2019

One of Bali’s most sacred and ancient dances is the beautiful stately Rejang. Traditionally the dance is performed by village virgins and is performed within the inner sanctums of the temple grounds, re-enacting one of Bali’s great legendary myths of Dewarta Nawasangha about heavenly nymphs and a god’s water supply. And one of the most […]

Read More

Tenganan Turns it On

Culture | Jun 14, 2019

The residents of Bali’s most famous traditional Bali Aga village like to celebrate and every month of June, they really like to turn it on. During this month the village comes alive as the festival season revs up with dance, ceremony and a host of visual extravaganzas. The month’s celebrations peak, on the 24th and […]

Read More

Boys will be Girls

Culture | Apr 01, 2019

It’s late at night at the Pura Dalem in Penestanan.  The Maestro, AA Gede Bagus Mandera Earawan  famous dancer, and choreographer extraordinaire, had invited us to come along and see his troupe of male legong dancers perform their intriguing version of Bali’s most iconic dance.  It was a rare treat both for us and for […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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, […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More