The Most Interesting Balinese Villages & Cities: How Real Balinese People Live
The Indonesian island of Bali is famous for its national traditional crafts. And the best way to get to know them is to go to the Balinese villages. Visiting “villages of arts” is included in many excursion programs around the island.
Here vacationers can get acquainted with the production of a variety of souvenirs, authors’ works and buy what they like. As a rule, each of the local villages specializes in some kind of craft. Let’s find out more about them.
Traditional Cities and Villages in Bali
Located near Lake Batur, this village is located in the heart of Bali in the Kintamani area, which can only be reached by boat. The village is home to the Bali Aga, who perform the most interesting funeral ritual. They do not burn their dead or bury them; rather, the inhabitants of this village leave their dead in the open air to naturally decay. They lay the body under the fragrant trees, which neutralizes the smell. The inhabitants of Terunyan also differ from other Balinese in their appearance.
The men here still wear long hair in braids.
Until recently, Bali Aga lived in a very closed environment. Tourists were not even advised to come to Trunyan. Now they have become more involved in the tourism business. This is partly due to economic reasons, as primitive agriculture in the mountainous areas and fishing do not bring good profits. On the other hand, these people want to attract attention to themselves and their problems, so as not to disappear completely. After all, young people are increasingly leaving the village, looking for happiness in other parts of the island, and forgetting about the ancient traditions of their people.
Although the village of Tenganan is presented as a tourist site, where you can come and wander the streets, a stormy life goes on here. Many families live here – farmers, artisans, artists. A separate culture lives here. Tenganan village is a living museum in which people live from the 17th-century, practicing their values of life, their architecture, kinship, religion, dance, and music. Signs of the 20th century in the village can be seen in the form of TV antennas on bamboo roofs, motorcycles parked near houses, and sometimes the sounds of a cassette recorder or radio.
Tenganan can be called the most conservative Bali Aga village. This is a separate state that has preserved its traditions, customs, and culture from time immemorial. A total of 106 families live here, 49 of them are children. The inhabitants of this village are considered the richest Balinese on the island. They own more than 1000 hectares of rice fields, while they do not work for them, but hire residents of neighboring villages. The residents of Tenganan themselves are leisurely engaged in weaving, dancing, music, ritual combat, doing all this as a hobby.
Penglipuran Village is located in the mountains and is the cleanest village in the world. Picturesque nature awaits here with some imposing architecture on traditional buildings. Interestingly, tourists are not allowed to enter the village, but friendly locals can invite you to their home. Located at the foot of Mount Batur, this place has cooler air compared to other villages in Bali.
Celuk is known for its beautiful jewelry and is the largest silver jewelry-producing area in all of Bali. There is a tourist outlet where you can even try to make your jewelry. This is a great place to shop for silver and gold souvenirs that you could not find anywhere else.
Consider that you have not been to Bali if you have not visited this glorious town. Ubud is hidden in the very depths of the island and is surrounded by fresh forests and spacious green rice fields. Although it takes at least an hour to get here from the beach, many artisans are eager to buy houses here. Ubud is a real center of Indonesian culture. There is a batik center here, interesting galleries with wooden sculptures, and there is also a house, which is a museum of the Balinese “Picasso” – artist Antonio Blanco.
And after the German artist, Walter Spies moved here in 1928, a colony of artists was formed here. The residents themselves here are also all completely passionate about creativity – many of them are dancers, some are engaged in the production of furniture or sew unique clothes by hand. Whole families make sculptures from the rarest types of wood, while others pass on the secrets of making silver jewelry from generation to generation. In general, not a village, but a continuous House of Creativity.
There is also an interesting and unusual Monkey Forest near the village. All visiting tourists tend to visit this natural park and take at least a few interesting pictures for memory. If you find yourself near this beautiful town, then we also recommend that you take a look at a couple of Ubud villages. For example, the most popular of them is Mas.
Balinese Mas village consists of several streets that are gracefully intertwined in a strange pattern designed to confuse their casual wanderers. The main street of the village generously endows tourists with a variety of shops and workshops. Here you can find the best woodcarvers, sculptors, and painters. Some workshops work in such a way that they kindly allow each interested visitor to observe the process of creating art. If you feel the creative potential in yourself, you can turn to the craftsmen – some of them open woodcarving courses during the season. And the very outskirts of the village of Mas hides a workshop, where the world’s best craftsmen make furniture from bamboo and rattan.
Batubulan village is located in Gianyar Regency, near Ubud, in the central part of the island. It is known for its stone carvers. In addition, there is an old temple and several venues where traditional Balinese dances are shown daily – Kecak, Barong Legong, and Janger. More than 11,000 inhabitants or 2,500 families live here. Now the main occupation of the inhabitants of this Balinese village is stone carving, sale of finished products, music, and dancing. The village is close to a busy highway connecting east, south, and the center of the island. Therefore, it is often visited by tourists.
Denpasar is the capital and one of the largest cities in Bali. Most tourists use it only as a staging post on the way to beach resorts, but Denpasar itself has something to see, and the locals are very friendly.
There are many ancient temples, palaces, and museums in the city, but most of all it is known for its interesting shopping. The local central market sells fresh exotic fruits and a variety of handicrafts from local artisans. Gold prices are low here, and an abundance of silk goods can be found at the Duta Silk Shopping Center.
To get to know the island of Bali for real, you need to get to know its culture and crafts. Traveling through the Bali villages can help you do this. You can see ritual dances, temple statues, and watch the work of the masters. In addition, you can take home interesting souvenirs that you could not find anywhere else.
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