Secret Bali

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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Mapeed : A Balinese Ritual Procession

Secret Bali | Feb 14, 2018

One of Bali’s most iconic ceremonies is the Mapeed – or sometimes mepeed – where lines of Balinese women walk together as ritual. Our contributor Ayu Sekar shares more: Out of the squalor and chaos of the market, a stream of waving long bamboo flagpoles or penjors start to appear. Accompanied by the sound of […]

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The Old, The Bold and The Beautiful

Culture | Jan 03, 2018

Even while the Holy mountain rumbles, life in Bali goes on. The Balinese tend to take life as it comes, living in the moment, rather than fretting about what may or may not happen sometime in the future.  Here, people from all different walks of life – farmers, tourist people and old folk working in […]

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Tandjung Sari Part 3: The Family Tree

Culture | Dec 06, 2017

When speaking about Tandjung Sari, its founding father WijaWawo-Runtu always said “my hotel is my living room, my guests are my friends”, but it was also their beloved home at BatuJimbar, that Wija and Tatie opened up to people from all over the world, and the ever-growing clan of Wawo-Runtu children. This is Part 3 […]

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Stalwarts of the Sawah: The Life of the Balinese Rice Farmer

Culture | Nov 30, 2017

Bali’s beautiful glistening green rice fields are no accident. They are the result of a rice culture that has been handed down for centuries. A carefully integrated system of planting and irrigation through the UNESCO World Heritage recognised Subak system means that for centuries, rice farmers all over the island have received water to irrigate […]

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Under the Rumbling Holy Mountain

Culture | Nov 01, 2017

While Bali’s holy mountain Gunung Agung rumbles threateningly, keeping everyone on their toes, life in the villages continues unabated. Here in a tiny hamlet, within shouting distance of Gunung Agung, the villagers celebrate their temple celebration or Odalan without turning a hair. Even though this little village of Yeh Poh – water of the heavenly […]

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Dance, Trance and the Bali Spirit

Culture | Oct 11, 2017

Balinese ceremonies will always provide a little something. Something visual, something surprising, something out of the ordinary. People come together at their village temple, primarily to pray to their gods, yet at the same time it keeps each community strong and connected. It is this regular procession of temple festivals or Odalan, which happen in […]

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