Some of the best way to get to know the Balinese culture is to blend in with the locals, try their cuisine, and visit its traditional villages where you get to see the real Balinese people going about their daily lives. You can even take it up a notch by joining the ceremonies.

Here we list the best activities to do to immerse all things Bali:

Sample local cuisine:

Warung Babi Guling Ibu Oka

Warung Ibu Oka
Sure there are countless name of local warungs serving famous babi guling. However, this particular spot gets most attention due to its convenient central location, just beside the Ubud community hall and across from the Puri Saren royal palace. It always seems packed with both locals and tourists.

The standard serving is a plate of steamed white rice topped with strips of juicy roast pork, a veggie and shredded coconut mix and chillies, sliced pork sausages and crackling skin. We must warn you that Babi Guling’s herbs are delicious as it is strong, so make sure you can stomach the richness.

Warung Ibu Oka|Jalan Suweta, Ubud| Call +62 361 976 345

Nasi Ayam Kedewatan Bu Mangku

Nasi Ayam Kedewatan
Just like Babi Guling, the list of must try Nasi Ayam (Balinese Chicken Rice) is just as endless. This popular warung we like is located  on the Kedewatan main road is always full with customers craving for  the spicy strips and chunks of chicken, soft steamed rice, fish wrap-style satays, deep-fried crispy chicken skins, half a slice of boiled  egg, and a salad mix of shredded coconut, chopped long beans and salted roast nuts.  Eating here can feel like you’re eating at your family’s AL-fresco dining room, with gardens and ponds surrounding you.  Down side, parking can be quite tough especially during peak lunch time.
The warung sells Balinese snacks too for you to bring home to relatives and families. Oh, as spiciness levels are typically high. You can always ask for a non-sambal serving, if you like.

Nasi Ayam Kedewatan Ibu Mangku| Jalan Raya Kedewatan, Ubud| Call : +62 361 974 795

Naughty Nuris Ubud

Naughty Nuris Ubud
Ubud Naughty Nuris, is another one of Ubud’s pioneer popular little warungs, serving premium grilled pork ribs. Besides the main highlight of succulent baby ribs generously doused in a wonderful homemade, sweet barbecue sauce blend, and cooked at its small roadside grill that invites passers-by, you can also order other local favourites such as nasi and mie goreng, and a selection of well marinated and freshly grilled satays. Sandwichers, burgers and steaks are also available. A cold Bintang is the best pair for the ribs but we like to stay longer for its signature Nuris’ vodka martini.

Naughty Nuris  |Jalan Raya Sanggingan, Ubud| Call: +62 361 977547

Crispy Duck

Located in Seminyak area, this restaurant is quirkily named ‘Warung Eropa’ although it is actually best known for its Crispy Duck, served with sambal matah, rice and vegetables. Definitely a must try!

warung eropa

Warung Eropa| Jl. Jalan Petitenget No. 9D|Seminyak| Call: +62 361 7471771

Nasi Goreng & Nasi Campur

Made’s Warung was established in 1969 and has become a social eating and meeting venue for locals, expats and tourists alike. It has grown from a traditional roadside warung into a cosmopolitan restaurant serving a variety of local and international food in Bali.

Made’s Warung|Br. Seminyak, Kuta, Bali, Indonesia| Call: +62 361 732130

 

Explore the Traditional Villages

Penglipuran Village

Penglipuran Village is a traditional Balinese Village located in Bangli Regency, Central Bali, about half an hour’s drive from Gianyar. Situated about 700 meters above sea level, making a visit to this village a refreshing break from the island heat to the cool mountain breeze. We particularly love Penglipuran for its incredibly clean state. In fact, this island recently was named as one of the cleanest villages in the world alongside Giethoorn in Netherlands and Mawlynnong in India.
The best time to visit is around Galungan time, when rows of penjor (bamboo poles with weaving of coconut leaves and offerings suspended at the end) line up and decorate the village.

Trunyan Village

The above-ground burial site

Trunyan or Terunyan is a Balinese village located on the eastern shore of Lake Batur, a caldera lake in Kintamani Regency, central Bali, Indonesia. Other than as an isolated home of the Bali Aga people, the village is particularly unique for the their tradition in treating the deceased. Instead of burning the bodies, as commonly done for the Hindu Balinese by way of ngaben, The Trunyan people leave dead bodies are placed on ground, simply covered with cloth and bamboo canopies, and left to decompose. The influence of a nearby tree is said to remove the putrid smell of the corpses.
Trunyan Village is located on the west of Lake Batur, at the foot of Mount Abang, a peak on the eastern rim of the large caldera. The easiest access to the village is by boat.

Tenganan

Photo: https://balihellotravel.com

Desa Tenganan or Tenganan Pegringsingan is a village in Karangasem Bali which before the 1970s was known by anthropologists to be one of the most secluded societies of the archipelago. It is now one of the very few villages in Bali that still has a well-preserved Bali Aga culture. It still holds to the original traditions, ceremonies and rules of ancient Balinese, its unique village layout and architecture, as well as its Gamelan selunding music and double ikat textiles. Best time to visit is when they hold the Mekare-Kare tradition every June and Perang Pandan (Pandan leaf war) on July.

Visit The Museums

Neka Art Museum

Neka Museum

As one of the most renowned museums in Bali, Neka Art Museum was established in 1976 by a famous Balinese art enthusiast Wayan Suteja Neka. The Neka Art Museum presents his wide and ever-growing collection since 1976, from classical to contemporary, traditional to modern. Here, you will see paintings, sculptures, traditional tools, and weapons that will give insight into the elaborate culture of Bali.

Neka Museum features traditional keris dagger collection. Many people come to this museum bringing old and new keris to be examined by Neka.

Neka Art Museum, Kedewatan, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia, +62361 975074

Bali Museum

 

Bali Museum

Located in Denpasar, this museum is definitely a heritage centre that depicts Balinese culture and history. Built in the early 30’s, Bali Museum pillars four main structures. In Tabanan complex, visitors can see musical instruments and theatrical masks whilst paintings and sculptures are on display in Karangasem complex. If you are into local textile industry and its history, you can see them in Buleleng complex and archaeological artifacts fan can opt to go straight to Timur complex. Bali Museum  houses various Balinese looms and ancient calendars.

The collections stored in Bali Museum can be classified as a prehistoric object collection.

Museum Bali, Jalan Mayor Wisnu, Dangin Puri, Denpasar City, Bali, Indonesia, +62361 222680

Agung Rai Museum of Art

Agung Rai Museum of Art

Founded in 1996 by Agung Rai,  ARMA allows you to enjoy the special exhibitions, theatre performances, dances, music and painting classes, a bookshop, library and reading room, cultural workshops, conferences, seminars and training programmes.

The painting collection at ARMA ranges from traditional to contemporary, including the classical Kamasan Collection on tree bark, masterpieces by Batuan artists of the 30s and 40s, and the only available works to be seen on the island from 19th century Javanese artist Raden Saleh and Syarif Bustaman.

Agung Rai Museum of Art, Jalan Raya Pengosekan, Ubud, Gianyar+62 361 976659

Participate in the ceremonies

First, remember to ask your Balinese friends about the rules.

Nyepi Day

The day of silence across Bali The month of March brings Nyepi – the day of silence throughout the whole of Bali. In the Balinese lunar calendar (Saka), Nyepi is New Year’s Day. It is a day wholly dedicated to rest, staying in, turning off the lights and keeping quiet for 24 hours. It is one of the biggest and most unique ceremonies of the year, where staying in and resting is enforced by law. It is practiced island-wide where the Balinese dedicate an entire day to introspection and spiritual cleansing. No businesses are open, no transport is allowed on the roads (except for emergency services) the airport even shuts down for 24 hours. Nyepi is a sacred day to give the island a break from 364 days of human activity, so Bali can replenish and recharge for the new year. Nyepi is a 6-day long festival, the ‘silent’ day falls on day 3 and is the most important and sacred Hindu holiday in Bali. It is also a public holiday for the rest of Indonesia.

Galungan and Kuningan

Galungan is a Balinese holiday which celebrates the victory of dharma over adharma (the triumph of good over evil). It marks the time when ancestral spirits of deceased relatives visit the Earth. The last day of the celebration is Kuningan, when they leave earth. The spirits of deceased relatives return to visit their former homes and the Balinese have a responsibility to be hospitable and welcoming to their past ancestors through prayers and offerings throughout their home. The most obvious sign of the celebrations are the penjor – bamboo poles with offerings suspended at the end which line the roads.

Odalan

In Bali there are over 4,500 temples where ceremonies take place almost every day of the year and Odalan is the celebration of each temple’s anniversary.  Temple festivals are held on the anniversary of when the temple was consecrated and usually on a new or full moon.

An Odalan or temple ceremony usually lasts for three days, but larger ones, which occur every 5, 10, 30 or 100 years, can last for 11 days or longer. The gist of what is happening here is that the Balinese are honoring the deities that rule over the temple by giving them a myriad of offerings, performances of vocal music, dance and gamelan music.

Galungan is a Balinese holiday which celebrates the victory of dharma over adharma (the triumph of good over evil). It marks the time when ancestral spirits of deceased relatives visit the Earth. The last day of the celebration is Kuningan, when they leave earth. The spirits of deceased relatives return to visit their former homes and the Balinese have a responsibility to be hospitable and welcoming to their past ancestors through prayers and offerings throughout their home. The most obvious sign of the celebrations are the penjor – bamboo poles with offerings suspended at the end which line the roads.