All posts by kura2guide

About kura2guide

Kerry's love affair with Bali began back in 2005 and after returning more times than she can remember, she decided to make the Island of Gods her home. She's happiest on the back of a scooter, zipping past rice fields and palm trees on the way to some unspoilt, secluded beach for a day of sun, snorkeling and siestas.

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What to do in Ubud, Bali

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For first-timers visiting the Island of Gods, it’s might seem difficult getting out of the Kuta-Legian-Seminyak vortex of shopping and restaurants, however a trip to Bali is not complete without seeing the beautiful village of Ubud.

Millions of people saw Julia Roberts cycling past rice fields in Eat Pray Love but this is just one of the things you can do in and around Ubud. In this blog post we’ll recommend some of our favorite activities, many of which are very affordable and also family friendly.

1. Walk through the Monkey Forest

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Possibly Ubud’s biggest attraction, the Sacred Monkey Forest is a popular stop on tours to Bali. Located towards the southern end of Jl. Monkey Forest, the sanctuary is home to several hundred long-tailed macaque monkeys, as well as three temples.

The lush surroundings provide a cool escape from the main road, however care should be taken when feeding the monkeys, particularly if you are visiting the forest with small children as the monkeys can be a little cheeky and over-enthusiastic.

2. Eat babi guling at Ibu Oka

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Suckling pig or babi guling is a popular Balinese dish often served at important ceremonies. Luckily though you don’t have to wait to get invited to a wedding to enjoy the smoky flavor of slow-roasted pork.

Head to Warung Ibu Oka on Jl. Suweta (opposite the Royal Palace) for some of the best babi guling on the island.

3. Pick up a bargain at Ubud Market

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So you’ve come to the end of your Bali trip and haven’t had time to buy presents for friends and family back home. Fear not, the Ubud Market has everything from paintings to souvenirs, sarongs and incense.

Open from 9am, it’s best to visit first thing in the morning before the midday heat. Remember that bargaining for a better price is almost always expected. Keep it lighthearted and fun, and remember that a dollar or two probably means much more to the local vendor than to you.

4. Get the perfect Bali photo at Tegallalang

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Yes, the terraced rice fields used in glossy adverts for Bali tourism really do exist. About 15 minutes drive out of central Ubud you’ll find the village of Tegallalang and it’s here where you can see the world-famous rice terraces.

There are several small warungs and cafes where you can sit and have a coffee or fresh fruit juice while taking in the incredible view but it can get a little crowded when the tour buses arrive.

5. Watch a Balinese dance performance

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Ubud is known as Bali’s cultural center so it’s no surprise that you can watch traditional dance performances almost every night. Held in large open-air pavilions, performances last about 1.5 hours and provide entertainment for both tourists and locals alike.

Balinese dance styles include Kecak, Legong and Barong, while wayang kulit is a thoroughly entertaining puppet show. Dances are carried out to the sounds of a gamelan orchestra and watching the musicians play can be just as fascinating as the dancers themselves.

To see what shows are being performed where, head to the Fabulous Ubud Tourist Information Center opposite the Royal Palace to get the latest schedule.

6. Take a walk to Pomegranate Cafe

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Ubud is home to dozens of coffee shops, organic cafes, health bars and quirky restaurants. One of our favorites is Cafe Pomegranate which is set amongst the rice fields north of the Royal Palace.

It’s a little tricky to find, but just head past the palace towards Campuhan for roughly 10 minutes you will come to an aquaduct over the road. Turn right before the aquaduct at  the sign for Abangan Bungalows and then follow the signs for Sari Organic. The narrow pathway leads through lush countryside where farmers can be seen working in the rice fields.

Cafe Pomegranate is hard to miss, just look for the big white circus tent! Owned by two Japanese brothers, the menu includes Indonesian as well as Japanese dishes and the beers are always cold.

7. See picturesque Pura Taman Saraswati

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You don’t have to venture very far in Ubud to see a beautiful temple. In fact, a trip to Starbucks can easily include visiting the lovely Pura Taman Saraswati temple.

Dedicated to Saraswati, the Goddess of literature and art, the temple overlooks lotus-filled ponds where children come after school to try and catch a fish or two.

8. Visit the ARMA Museum

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The Agung Rai Museum of Art is set within four hectares of landscaped gardens and fountains of the gorgeous ARMA Resort. The collection includes the works not only of Balinese artists, but also of Indonesian painters from other islands around the archipelago.

The museum also offers theater and dance performances, music, and painting classes, a bookshop, library and cultural workshops.

9. Enjoy a healthy meal at Bali Buda

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Bali Buda is an inspirational, alternative café where kids are welcome and the focus is on delicious healthy and nutritious food. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a slice of raw chocolate cake!

Located in a bright purple double-storey building opposite the Post Office on Jl. Jembawan, Bali Buda is a favorite hangout for health-conscious locals, expats and visiting tourists.

There’s also a small health food shop on the street level where they sell a wide range of local & imported organic foods, as well as natural household, skincare and alternative products.

10. Watch a Hindu ceremony

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Spend a week in Ubud and you’re bound to see some sort of a ceremony or procession happening in the streets or at a temple nearby.

A good time to visit is around Nyepi, one of the island’s most important days. During the days leading up to Nyepi, a ceremony known as Melasti is held. There’s also the fun ogoh-ogoh parade that takes the night before Nyepi. Even in death life is celebrated in Bali and a cremation ceremony can be a very insightful thing to watch.

 

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Denpasar’s textile heaven, Jl. Sulawesi

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Many visitors to Bali ask where the best place is to buy fabrics. The answer simply in one word is Jl. Sulawesi in Denpasar, the island’s capital city.

Whether it’s material for a new suit, curtain fabric or traditional batik for a Balinese ceremony, you can find it all (and more) on Jl. Sulawesi.

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There are several sights and attractions to see in Denpasar, and a trip to Jl. Sulawesi can easily be included in a half-day or full day itinerary. It’s within easy walking distance from the traditional market at Pasar Badung and also Kumbasari Market.

The area before the actual start of Jl. Sulawesi (closest to Pasar Badung) is where you can find a good selection of cottons that are ideal for making pillow covers and quilts. Most fabric is sold by the meter although you can also buy pieces of pre-cut fabric, usually at very affordable prices.

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The real fun however starts at the top of Jl. Sulawesi, where fabric shops line both sides of the street. Many of the shops here specialize in the delicate lace fabric used for kebayas, the beautiful blouses Balinese women wear to ceremonies.

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Lace kebayas come in almost every color imaginable, sometimes making it quite overwhelming to decide what to buy!

Bought off the roll by the meter, the price depends on the quality of fabric. For example, the “cheaper” colorful kebaya material can start from around Rp. 50,000 per meter, while delicate French lace can be between Rp. 300,000 – Rp. 700,000 per meter.

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So now that you’ve got the top of your ceremony outfit sorted, what about the bottom? As with kebayas, sarongs come in hundreds of patterns and colors.

Popular tie-dye and “rang rang” designs are sold off the roll for as little as Rp. 25,000 per meter or you can get the famous woven endek sarongs from about Rp. 150,000. Like many things in Bali, it’s always good to try and bargain for the best price.

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Of course for a special occasion such as a wedding, it’s as good as an excuse as any to splash out on a gorgeous colorful sarong. In Bali, the brighter it seems the better so don’t be afraid to wear contrasting colors – that’s in fact the fashion amongst young girls and women.

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For more traditional batik, there are several shops on the right-hand side (if walking down Jl. Sulawesi, away from the market) that have piles and piles of cotton batik that you can buy per piece from as little as Rp. 25,000. They also sell the popular silk scarves that you see everywhere in Seminyak and Kuta for a fraction of the price.

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The best time to visit Jl. Sulawesi, Pasar Badung and Kumbasari Market are first thing in the morning, before things start heating up. Not many of the shops are air-conditioned, making it a sweaty affair in the midday heat.

Most shops are open Monday to Saturday from 9 am until 5 pm and from 9 am to 3 pm on Sundays.

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A Walk Down Pantai Kuta (Kuta Beach) Street

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Love it or hate it, a trip to Kuta is almost inevitable when visiting Bali. Whether you’re driving through on your way from the airport to your hotel or villa in Seminyak, taking a surf lesson at Kuta Beach or heading out for a wild night at one of the many night clubs, you’re sure to get a taste of Bali’s famous tourist center.

The road that runs down to Kuta Beach from Jl. Legian and then parallel to the beach itself is called Jl. Pantai Kuta (Kuta Beach Street). Frustratingly it’s a one-way road like many other streets in Bali, making it a bit of a hassle if you want to go back somewhere as you will have to take the long way round.

Walking of course is the easiest option and there’s a paved pedestrian walkway that runs all along the beachfront next to Jl. Pantai Kuta.

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Jl. Pantai Kuta begins at the Bemo Corner at the end of Jl. Legian. Heading down towards the beach, there’s not anything too special to write home about. The usual local clothing and art stalls, tattoo shops, cheap day spas and “100% genuine fake” watch outlets line either side of the road. Made’s Warung is perhaps the biggest attraction along this strip of Jl. Pantai Kuta.

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The last road to the left before the beach will bring you to Kuta Square where you can buy almost all of your holiday essentials in one location. Billabong, Quiksilver, Rip Curl and Nike are just some of the stores squeezed alongside each other, as well as the large multi-storey Matahari department store which is a welcome relief when you couldn’t be bothered bargaining at local stalls.

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With 191 locations in 59 countries, there are not many people who aren’t familiar with the Hard Rock brand. The cafe on Jl. Pantai Kuta is where you can find the Rock Shop and have your photo taken in front of a giant electric guitar (domestic tourists love this one), and just a few meters further along you will find the Hard Rock Hotel.

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Kuta Beach is a popular family beach and as most parents will know, when the kids get hungry the beach starts being less fun. Luckily there’s a Pizza Hut directly opposite the beach where the little ones can rest and enjoy some of their favorite food.

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Or if it’s a caffeine fix that mom and dad are after, it’s just a few steps from Starbucks Coffee. Why not grab a take away coffee to go and head back to the beach and make most of your holiday.

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You’ll also notice pony carts operating along Jl. Pantai Kuta. While many tourists think this is a fun photo opportunity, we prefer to carry our own weight and walk.

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Of course any popular tourist hot spot can’t be without McDonalds and Kuta Beach is no different. Grab a seat outside and you can watch all the surfers catch waves while you bite into your Big Mac.

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If you’re after something a little more swanky than McD’s, then Rosso Vivo is the place to be. The trendy venue features both outdoor and indoor lounge areas and has a DJ spinning sunset tunes every evening. There’s also a swimming pool to cool off in if you don’t fancy walking across the road to the beach.

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Most backpackers and budget travelers choose to stay in the narrow lanes that run up from Kuta Beach as it’s within walking distance both to the nightlife on Jl. Legian and to the beach.

You can reach Poppies 1 and Poppies 2 from Jl. Pantai Kuta by turning right, away from the beach. If you’re at all unsure where exactly to turn, just ask any local who will be sure to point you in the right direction.

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There are several hotels along Jl. Pantai Kuta that offer beachfront accommodation.  The Sheraton Bali has a lovely rooftop pool with endless ocean views, while the Mercure hotel is great for families and within walking distance to all of the surrounding attractions.

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Beachwalk is Bali’s newest lifestyle shopping mall. Ideally located across the road from Kuta Beach, international brands like Mango, Zara, Victoria’s Secret and Gap are all housed within one airy, open design. Another bonus are the air-conditioned cinemas located on the 2nd Floor – perfect for those rainy days during the wet season.

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If you want to stay somewhere near both the shopping AND the beach, then you can’t beat the Harris Resort. Located just steps away from Beachwalk, it really is the best of both worlds!

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All along Jl. Pantai Kuta are breaks in the wall with entrances to the beach. This easy access means you can hit the white sand from almost anywhere along the 5km stretch of road.

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Another shortcut to the bustling Poppies lanes is via Jl. Benesari. Turn right of Jl. Pantai Kuta at the “Un’s Hotel / Balcony” sign and join the surfers, backpackers and budget travellers who all come to Kuta for a good time.

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Located towards the end of Jl. Pantai Kuta is the sprawling The Stones complex. This luxury hotel includes contemporary accommodation, several restaurants, a pool with cabanas and a large entertainment and event area.

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The Pullman is the last hotel on Jl. Pantai Kuta before it turns onto Jl. Melasti. The beachfront resort’s infinity pool is the perfect place from which to enjoy Kuta’s famous sunsets.

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As at the beginning of Kuta Beach there’s also a Balinese gateway at the end of the beach, where the road becomes Jl. Melasti. This marks the beginning of Legian Beach, another popular and family-friendly stretch of sand.

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So there you have it, Jl. Legian from one end to the other! Take a leisurely walk along one of Bali’s most famous streets and see what  you find.

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Alternatively, Kura-Kura Bus have several stops along Jl. Pantai Kuta. Beat the heat and take an air-conditioned ride on one the colorful turtle buses. Kura-Kura has dedicated  bus stops at the following locations on Jl. Pantai Kuta:

Grand Inna Kuta

Beachwalk

The Stones

 

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Swich Sandwiches

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If you’ve been traveling through Indonesia for months, are living here permanently as an expat or simply on holiday for a few days and are tired of eating local food, head to Swich for the freshest sandwiches and wraps on the island.

Sometimes all we want is a simple, healthy sandwich and this is where Swich have got it right. Run by a young and friendly crew, they now have outlets in three locations across southern Bali.

The simple menu features a choice of sandwiches and wraps, fresh fruit juices, smoothies and even a special menu for kids.

Swich Legian, Jl. Werkudara

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Swich Legian is withing walking distance from Double Six Beach. If heading down Jl. Double Six towards the beach, turn left onto Jl. Werkudara at Cafe Marzano and look out for the bright green flags on the right-hand side.

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Grab a surf magazine and pull up a seat – everything is made fresh at Swich, one of the reasons we love the place (the other being the awesome music they’re constantly playing).

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Seemingly made for the fussiest child, the kids’ menu is sure to be a hit with simple peanut butter sandwiches, “fairy bread” (bread covered with hundreds & thousands), Nutella or the favorite from Down Under, Vegemite.

Address Jl. Werkudara, No. 538, Legian
Tel (0361) 2120 028
Opening hours Monday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm

Swich Seminyak, Jl. Drupadi

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Having recently moved a few doors down from its previous location on Jl. Drupadi, Swich Seminyak continues to serve up the unpretentious yet tasty food it’s become so well-known for.

There’s a small open-air seating area towards the back of the cafe where you can enjoy a fresh smoothie or juice and your choice of sandwich or wrap.

Address Jl. Drupadi, No. 538, Seminyak
Tel (0361) 713 2410
Opening hours Monday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm

Swich Canggu, Jl. Pantai Brawa

Also at a new address, Swich Canggu is perfectly situated for post-surf munchies. All three locations offer the same menu, which you can view here.

You can also create your own sandwich if you prefer some other combination that’s not on the menu. Just grab a form and fill it out with all your selections and then take it to the cashier.

Address Jl. Pantai Brawa, No. 46, Canggu
Tel (0361) 928 4688
Opening hours Monday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm

The best thing is how affordable food at Swich is, and there’s no tax or service charge – who doesn’t love that!  They also do deliveries for orders of over Rp. 100,000, bring the freshness of Swich right to your door.

Swich To Go, Jl. Benesari

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There’s no stopping the guys and girls at Swich! Location No. 4 is coming soon to Poppies 2 in the heart of Kuta. It sounds as if this is going to be for take-aways only, but we’re sure they’re going to be a roaring success keeping all the backpackers and surfers on Jl. Benesari well fed.

 

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Bali Weather

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Bali’s tropical climate is the reason thousands of tourists visit the island every month. With the average temperature hovering between 27ºC – 30ºC, it makes for the perfect summer holiday destination pretty much year round.

Located just south of the equator, Bali experiences two very distinct seasons namely the “dry season” and the “wet season“. Temperatures don’t vary too drastically from one season to the next, however it’s the humidity that sees a big change and that may affect your choice in when deciding to plan that paradise getaway.

Dry Season

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The pleasant dry season runs from April to October. This is the busiest time on the island, as humidity is at a low and temperatures are perfect for outdoor activities.

It’s also the best time of the year for surfing, with consistent swells hitting almost daily. This is the time of year when spots like Uluwatu and Padang Padang become crowded and as a result, accommodation prices in the surrounding areas go up (sometimes as much as double).

The peak season in Bali are the months of July and August. No rain and pumping surf is too great an attraction for thousands of visitors, and it’s best to book accommodation ahead of the time. Most hotels and villas offer hot water and air-conditioning, however during the dry season you can still get away with cold showers and fan-only rooms.

Wet Season

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Monsoon weather brings rain to Bali from November to March, with the wettest months being December and January when rainfall averages 280mm – 300mm falling monthly.  Many expats living on the island plan holidays back home during the wet season, when houses suddenly leak and roads can flood, but we actually don’t mind the cooler months and occasional downpours.

If you’re not a fan of humidity, this might not be the best time to visit Bali when levels  up to 85% can be a challenge to even the straightest, most well-behaved hair. These are also some of the hottest months and temperatures can soar above 30ºC.

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Another thing to consider if planning a trip to Bali during the wet season is whether you will be driving a bike or not. Challenging at the best of times, driving a bike or scooter in the pouring rain through Bali’s traffic can be enough to send you home ahead of schedule.

Unfortunately at this time of year, currents wash pollution from other islands onto the southern beaches of Bali like Kuta, Legian and Seminyak. The locals do their best to clear up the beaches each morning but it’s a never-ending job. For this reason we would recommend booking accommodation on the east coast, at Nusa Dua or Sanur for example.

The rain however doesn’t stop people from coming to Bali to celebrate Christmas and New Year, when the island sees an increase in tourists coming to celebrate over the festive season.

During the wet season, the surf is better on the east coast at popular spots like Nusa Dua, Serangan and Keramas.

Summary

  • Dry season (April – October) : busiest time, accommodation more expensive
  • Wet season (November – March) : temperatures are cooler, humidity levels highest

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Pura Kehen Temple

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Driving through East Bali is a must for anyone visiting the island. The scenic landscape and natural beauty is a photographer’s dream, and you can get a feel of “real Bali” in the many villages that dot the countryside.

Just 40 minutes north of Ubud, on the back road to Besakih and Penelokan, you’ll find the town of Bangli and the impressive temple complex at Pura Kehen.

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Bangli is one of the nine kingdoms of Bali, and Pura Kehen is the state temple of the kingdom. It’s the biggest temple in East Bali and is often referred to as a miniature version of Besakih, the “Mother Temple” located on the slopes of Mount Agung.

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Built in the 11th century, the temple features eight terraces. 38 stairs lead up to a beautifully decorated entrance which opens onto the first courtyard, where a massive banyan tree over 700 years old stands guard.

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The inner courtyard boasts an 11-roof meru (a shrine with many tiers) as well as shrines with thrones for Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu, the all-important Hindu trinity.

Every three years in November (Rabu Kliwan Shinta in the Balinese calendar), at the time of purnama or full moon, a major ceremony known as Ngusabha is held at the temple.

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Being a holy temple, the appropriate dress should be worn when visiting Pura Kehen. This means a sarong and sash for both men and woman, which is included in the entrance fee.

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A visit to Pura Kehen temple can easily be combined with Penglipuran Village, one of the remaining truly traditional Balinese villages.

Opening Hours 9am – 5pm
Entrance Fee Adult: Rp. 10,000 / Child: Rp. 5,000
Access Approximately 40 minutes from Ubud
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Penglipuran Traditional Village, East Bali

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If you come to Bali and stay in tourist areas like Kuta, Legian or Seminyak you may just get stuck filling your days with shopping, spa treatments and sunset cocktails. Nothing wrong with that of course, but if you’re after something a bit more authentic then why not hire a driver and head to one of Bali’s traditional villages.

Penglipuran is one such village, located in the Bangli regency of central Bali. Although it’s just 30 minutes’ drive from bustling Gianyar it feels worlds away, and that’s exactly why we love it.

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At an altitude of 700m above sea level, Penglipuran is just 6km north of Bangli town which is perhaps most well-known for its large temple, Pura Kehen.

Although there are thousands of villages scattered across Bali, peaceful Penglipuran is unique in that it has managed to retain much of its traditional charm. It’s also spotlessly clean, thanks to waste management and landscaping regulations known as awig-awig.

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Another unique feature of Penglipuran are the entrance gates to each home which are all very similar in style. With walls made of mud and the roof from bamboo, this gives the village a very neat appearance.

At the entrance to each home is also a sign displaying the family’s name, address and family members (number of males and females), so you know exactly who lives there.

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At the northern end of the village is the all-important temple where religious ceremonies are often held. Running down from the temple is a central paved street, with houses on either side.  The village is home to just under 750 people, many of whom have lived there their whole lives.

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An especially good time to visit Penglipuran if you can is around Galungan, one of the most important religious ceremonies in Bali. The celebration is held roughly twice a year, every 210 days according to the Balinese calendar.

During this 10-day period, decorative bamboo “penjor” are placed outside local homes and nowhere is this more striking than in Penglipuran. 

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Many ceremonies are also held around Galungan time, when you can see villagers walking up to the temple to pray. Women wearing brightly colored kebaya carefully balance offerings of fruit and flowers on their head while managing not to trip over sleeping dogs and children playing.

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No accommodation is available in Penglipuran for visitors to stay at, however the friendly locals will be more than happy to invite you into their family homes and show you around.

A visit to this traditional village is a unique experience and a chance to get away from the “modern” Bali – although it’s never really too far away!

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Opening Time 9am – 5pm
Entrance Fee Rp. 10,000 per person
Access Approximately 2 hours’ drive from the southern resort areas / 30 min from Gianyar

Penglipuran MapClick here to view map

gelato

3 Favorite Gelato Ice Cream Shops in Bali

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Ice cream. Who doesn’t love ice cream? Whether served in a cup or piled high in a cone, there’s just something about a cool scoop of delicious gelato that everyone loves. Maybe because it reminds you of being a carefree kid or summer days spent at the beach?

In Bali, it’s as much for the cooling effect as the taste that gelato cafes have become so popular. In this blog post we introduce to you three of our favorite gelato hangouts on the island.

1. Gusto Gelato & Cafe

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Gusto used to be a bit of a best-kept secret amongst locals and expats when it was originally located in Umalas, however now since it’s moved to Jl. Merta Nadi it seems that the secret is out! With easy access from Sunset Road, the new location also offers a larger parking area as well as more seating both inside and in the garden towards the back of the shop.

We’re not sure what our favorite flavor of gelato here is, there’s just too many to decide. They’re well-known for their chilli chocolate but then there’s also guava, choc mint and apple. Luckily you can combine two flavors in a small cup for Rp. 28,000 or three flavors in  a medium cup for Rp. 30.000. It’s a win-win!

Opening Hours Monday – Saturday : 10am – 9pm
Address  Jl. Mertanadi, No. 46, Seminyak, Bali
Tel  (0361) 552 2190
Website  http://www.gusto-gelateria.com/

2. Lello Lello

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Would you like to imagine a life without gelato? Lello Lello wouldn’t. They believe that without gelato there would be darkness and chaos, and we tend to agree.

This sweet little gelato shop is located opposite the Samaya in Seminyak, just a short stroll up from Bodyworks and Sea Circus. With gorgeous decor and a relaxed seating area, it’s the perfect place to stop off for a cool scoop of gelato or a fresh young coconut. Exotic flavors include orange chocolate, mango, pandan & ginger, dragon fruit and blood orange.

If gelato weren’t enough, there’s also a small curry stall serving up traditional Indian curries with hot steamed rice and rotis. Gelato and curry, what’s not to love!

Opening Hours  Monday – Sunday : 8am – 11pm
Address  Jl. Kayu Aya, No. 21, Seminyak, Bali
Tel (0361) 733 815
Website  https://www.facebook.com/LelloLelloGelato

3. Gaya Gelato

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Ubud people would know all about Gaya Gelato – they have a small gelato shop at Gaya Fusion on Jl. Raya Sayan. But now there are two new locations in the south to keep the kids happy – one on Jl. Werkudara near Double Six in Legian, and the other at Echo Beach in Canggu.

Gaya like to keep things simple, from the look of their logo to their gelato flavors. Classics like strawberry, vanilla and chocolate are all hand-made without using preservatives or anything artificial. Again, you can buy one or two scoops for Rp. 20,000 and Rp. 35,000 respectively.

Opening Hours  Monday – Sunday : 10am – 10pm
Address  Jl. Pura Batu Mejan, Echo Beach, Canggu, Bali
Tel  (0361) 979 252 (Ubud Branch)
Website  https://www.facebook.com/gayagelato

 

 

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Kuningan Ceremony, 27 December 2014

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Galungan is an important religious ceremony that is held every 210 days, according to the Balinese calendar. It’s an important time of the year when the creator of the universe and the spirits of ancestors are honored.

Visitors who come to Bali during Galungan will notice bamboo “penjor” lining the sides of the roads, and many ceremonies are held during this time. The 10-day period ends with Kuningan, when it is believed that the gods and ancestors return to the heavens.

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It is a day of prayer, filled with blessings and feasts, when the Balinese prepare yellow rice and special foods, giving their thanks to the gods for the abundance they have received during the year.

The next Kuningan ceremony takes place on Saturday 27 December 2014. If you’re in Bali around this date, you will be sure to see many local Balinese Hindus going to temple to mark the end of Galungan.

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Next year the first Galungan ceremony will be held on 15 July 2015, with Kuningan taking place 10 days later on 25 July 2015.

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Balinese Caste System

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If you’ve ever been to Bali, you would be forgiven if you thought every second person’s name was Wayan. Balinese children are named according to which caste the family belongs to and the order in which they are born. Since 90% of the population belong to one caste, names like Made, Wayan and Komang are extremely popular.

Balinese society is based on the Hindu caste system, although it’s not as complex as the form practiced in India. This simplified version places people into 4 different castes:

○ Brahmana (priest)

○ Ksatria (ruler / warrior)

○ Wesia (merchant / official)

○ Sudra (rice grower)

Language

Members of the four castes use various dialects of the Balinese language to address people of a different caste. Middle Balinese is generally used to speak to people whose caste is unknown, to avoid possible disrespect.

The national language of Indonesia, known as Bahasa Indonesia and which is taught in schools, simplifies communication to an extent however if speaking Balinese then the correct dialect should be used for each caste.

Names

Each caste has names that are unique to that caste, and confusingly both boys and girls use the same names. To differentiate between males and females with the same name, boys will use “I” before their name and girls will use “Ni” before their name.

Brahmana (priest)

This is the caste of priests and holy men who perform the all-important religious ceremonies.

Ida Bagus – for a male
Ida Ayu or Dayu – for a female

Ksatria (ruler / warrior)

Members of this caste include some nobility and kings (ie. members of the Royal Family).

Anak Agung, Agung, Dewa – for a male.
Anak Agung, Agung, Dewi, Dewayu – for a female

Cokorda, Dewa Agung for members of the kingdom ruling clan.

The Ksatria caste also often has the following middle names:

Raka – older sister / brother
Oka – child
Rai – younger sister / brother
Anom – young woman
Ngurah – an indication of authority

Wesia (merchant / official)

Gusti (lord) – for men and women
Dewa – for a man
Desak – for a woman

Sudra (rice grower)

The majority of the population (over 90%) in Bali belong to this caste.

Wayan, Putu, Gede – first born male child
Wayan, Putu, Iluh – first born female child
Made, Kadek, Nengah – second born male and female child
Nyoman, Komang – third born male and female child
Ketut – fourth born male or female child

A fifth child reverts back to the same name as the first born child.

This unique system is just another fascinating part of the Balinese culture. So don’t be surprised if you call “Made” in a crowd and several people turn around!