Secret Bali

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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A Pantheon of The Extraordinary: The Colours of Bali’s Ceremony

Culture | Jun 28, 2018

Bali is a source of endless ceremonies and celebrations, performed across the island. Starting at the end of May until June 9th is Galungan, Bali’s happiest festival when every village dresses up to the nines and gets ready to welcome the gods returning ancestral spirits. It is a celebration of the victory of Dharma over […]

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The Melasti of the Full Moon

Culture | May 08, 2018

It looked almost like an Indian Kumbh Mela with the whole of Bali’s southeast coast covered with people dressed in white. Right to the misty distance, penjors and processions could be seen proceeding along the wave drenched coastline.  Dressed in their ceremonial best, the Balinese came from villages near and far to pray and be […]

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Coming Clean: The Melukat Cleanse

Culture | Apr 24, 2018

It’s six thirty am and we are meeting at the carpark of Tirtha Empul, Bali’s most well known holy spring. This Hindu Balinese water temple in the cool highlands founded in 942 AD sees hundreds of visitors a day, coming to do a melukat or ritual cleanse. Surrounded by bathing pools and old growth trees […]

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In Need of Refuge: The Other Side of the Volcano

Culture | Mar 22, 2018

  While visitors in the south brave Bali’s holiest mountain, the volcanic, Gunung Agung continues to engage, fascinate and terrify visitors and Balinese alike. But in fact for visitors, their lives are little affected by the volcano’s activity as there is not much effect except a possible rare delayed flight and even that is not […]

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