Mask Making

Even today masks are still worn during temple dances in which the Balinese teach each other epic stories of their Hindu religion, and celebrate various stages of life, the rice planting and harvesting season and the victory of good over evil. A mask carver is called the ‘undagitapel’ and those who make the mask for temples have to be a member of the Brahman caste since he knows the required rituals involved with making a sacred mask.  The Balinese believe that everything has a soul: the rain, the winds, a rock and even a mask.

The village of Mas just south of Ubud is most famous for its amazing masks and woodcarvings. When you walk around Mas you’ll observe many craftsmen working on a mask or a wooden statue where they use over 30 different tools to carve out the wood. There are four types of Bali masks found in most of these shops – human, animal, gods and demons

Tilem Gallery, Tantra Gallery, Ida Bagus Anom (for masks), and Ida Bagus Sutarja (for masks) are some of the most renowned places where masterworks are still sold amid decorative pieces which are produced in quantity for the travel memento and mass export market.

The Houses of Masks and Puppets (Rumah Topeng and Wayang) displays various kinds of masks and puppets from different regions in Indonesia and around the world that have been collected, stored, and displayed for the public since 2006.The collection includes more than 1,200 masks and 4,700 puppets. Located just a few miles from the heart of Ubud, the House of Masks and Puppets covers more than 1 hectare of land surrounded by traditional Balinese village and rice fields. The land provides a wide range of facilities, including a tropical garden, exhibition rooms, performance buildings, and a Balinese house.

Scuba DIving and Snorkeling

Scuba Diving and Snorkeling

Bali’s seas are surprisingly unheralded given its incredibly rich and varied dive and snorkeling sites. Deep drop-offs and steep banks, coral ridges and colorful fishes, volcanic outcrops and sea grass beds are all part of the underwater tapestry. With its diverse marine life and one of the world’s most famous wrecks, there’s enough here to keep you coming back for more. The best and most popular dive and snorkeling sites on Bali are Tulamben, Amed, Candidasa, Menjangan Island, Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan. There are many Dive organisations that offer 3 day courses to obtain an international dive certificate or you can opt for an introduction dive.

Bali Safari and Marine Park

Bali Safari and Marine Park

This Park is home to hundreds of amazing animals representing more than 60 species, including some rare and endangered species. Combining Balinese cultural ambiance with African Savannah, the Bali Safari and Marine Park features Sumatran elephants Sumatran tigers, white tigers, leopards, Komodo dragons and orangutans amongst many fascinating creatures. Part of its educational initiatives are many animal shows which delightfully inform. Set on 40 hectares of land with breathtaking natural surroundings at the cultural center of Bali, Gianyar, the Bali Safari and Marine Park is extremely active in assisting with the protection and conservation of endangered species that are constantly losing their habitat to natural and man-made encroachments and problems.

 

For more information: http://www.balisafarimarinepark.com

Bali Bird Park

Bali Bird Park

Witness the largest and finest collection of Indonesian birds in the world plus fantastic birds from Africa & South America. Encompassing two hectares of botanical landscape, the park provides sanctuary to almost 1,000 birds of 250 different species.The park accommodates an amazing display of flora with more than 2,000 tropical plants including 50 varieties of palms alone and attracting numerous butterflies.

Prices inclusive tax:
Adult – Rp 243 000
Child – Rp 122 000

For more information: http://www.bali-bird-park.com/

Elephant Safari Park

Elephant Safari Park

Meeting international standards for animal care, this fabulous park is set in more than 2 hectares of exotic, eco-tourism landscaped botanical gardens surrounded by national forest. Acclaimed as the World’s Best Elephant Park, facilities include a full Reception area and Information Centre, comprehensive Museum with a large collection of elephant memorabilia, and the only Mammoth Skeleton in South East Asia. 

Get up close and personal with these incredible animals. Watch them immersing themselves in the park’s lake in-between elephant rides, shows and other pleasurable pursuits.  Hand feed them, touch them, take photos with them, and learn more about their ancestry and diversity at the Park’s historical and graphic displays.

Rafting

Sobek’s well trained guides and welcoming operational staff, make your trip the most memorable and enjoyable trip possible.  Sobek is world renowned for its brand new industry leading, safety approved equipment.

Sobek Ayng River Rafting

As you carve through some of Bali’s most appealing landscape, the Ayung River provides a thrill that begins the moment you push of from the riverbanks. As you switch between Class I and II rapids, you will wind through deep valleys with cascading waterfalls and towering cliffs of prehistoric significance.

On the more leisurely stretches through tropical forests you will see Hindu shrines that are brightly decorated on ceremonial days of prayer. Just as you think it is all coming to an end, the unpredictable Ayung River propels your raft into yet another rapid.

Sobek’s two hour, visually spectacular rafting trip down the Ayung River is made even more enjoyable and comfortable by the brand new industry leading, safety approved equipment.

Sobek Telaga Waya River Experience

The thrilling Telaga Waja adventure begins in the foothills of the sacred Mount Agung, after an in-depth safety and equipment briefing by Sobek’s experienced guides. From the time you drop into the first set of rapids, your heart will be racing and your adrenalin pumping.

In a continual spray of white clear water, you will rush past steep banks and ancient hanging trees, whilst rafting straight through cascading waterfalls of cold natural spring water. The Sobek guides will give you instruction and work with you to safely navigate the raft through torrents, twists, tight turns and inclined rapids.

Over head obstacles, narrow gorges and breathtaking views of terraced rice plains all along the way will give you an appetite for your final challenge! The Water Dam! Hold on, Take a deep breath, and down you go!

Evening Performances

Balinese Dances

The very essence of Balinese culture is dance and drama, which is performed during temple festivals and ceremonies. Every movement of fingers, hands, head, body and feet is important and tells the story of the Balinese vision of life. Balinese dance cannot be separated from religion. Even the dances for the tourists are preceded by many dancers praying at their family shrine for taksu (inspiration) from the gods.Tickets are widely available on the streets of Ubud especially at Monkey Forest Road and around the Central Market. The most popular dances are the Kecak, Barong and Legong.

Kecak
No other dance is so unnerving as the amazing Kecak, also known as the ‘’monkey dance’’. This dance is to protect the village of dark powers and is often performed when things go bad and to prevent more misfortune. A serpentine stream of bodies coils itself, circle within a circle, around a large, branching torch. Two hemispheres of men: one, a pattern of silhouettes; the other, sculptural faces of brown skin caught in a net of torchlight.

Kecak, a name indicating the “chak-a-chak” sounds, evolved from the male chorus of the ritual Sanghyang trance ceremony. By ingeniously simple choreography, the chorus is transfigured into ecstasy. Kecak include a drama, in which the circle of light around the torch becomes a stage, and it’s a periphery of men, a living theatre with dramatic effects. Accompanied by the bizarre music of human instruments, the storyteller relates the episode enacted within the performance, usually one drawn from the Ramayana. At the end of the Ramayana story one man is in a trance. He performs the trance dance and rides on a wooden horse kicking burning coconut shells around.At the end of the dance a priest helps him to come out of the trance and the performance ends.

Barong
If black magic prevails, a village fails into danger, and extensive purification ceremonies become necessary to restore a proper equilibrium for the health of the community. Dramatic art is also a way of cleansing the village by strengthening its resistance to harmful forces through offerings, prayers and acts of exorcism. Such is the symbolic play of the two remarkable presences-the Barong and Rangda. Barong, a mystical creature with a long swayback and curved tail, represents the affirmative, the protector of mankind, the glory of the high sun, and the favorable spirits associated with the right and white magic.

Legong
This Bali dance of Legong (balih-balihan dance) is without any doubt the most gracious of all the dances. The dance is accompanied by the beautiful sounds of the gamelan.The Legong dancers are often young girls around 8 to 10 years old and selected from the village for their beauty and suppleness. They are wearing identical costumes with tightly bound gold brocades and their faces are made up with detail to the eyebrows and their hair decorated with beautiful frangipani flowers. Their movements are choreographed in detail with the twisting of the fingers, hands, feet and facial expression.

The Legong Kraton tells the story of a king, who kidnaps a maiden called Rangkesari. Her brother begs the king to let her free rather than to go to war. The king ignores his begging and is on his way to the battleground when he meets a bird that brings ill omens. He ignores the bird and continues to meet Rangkesari’s brother on the battleground, who kills him.

Bali’s Rice Terraces

For  the Balinese, rice is more than just their staple food; it is an integral part of their culture. The rituals of the cycle of planting, maintaining, irrigating and harvesting rice enrich the cultural life of Bali beyond a what any single staple can ever hope to do.

Tegalalang, Ubud
These rice terraces just north of Ubud are set on a cliff bank with a small river valley underneath it.  The road leading to the most panoramic outlooks is lined with shops selling all types of crafts, so it may take a while to get there.  However, it is the closest spot to Ubud to absorb the miraculous feat of agricultural engineering that makes Bali one of the most beautiful islands in the world.

Jatiluwih, Tabanan
Jatiluwih is a lovely spot to linger and enjoy the serenity of shimmering rice terraces and farming families working the land as their families have down for centuries.  On a sunny day, Mount Batukaru dominates the backdrop.  The most stunning days are when the rice starts to turn a vibrant shade of green just before harvest,

Tirta Gangga, East Bali
The many streams around Tirta Ganggafeeds the complicated irrigation systems that form the amazing rice terrace landscape found in this area. With Mount Lempuyan looming in the background, the view is quite breathtaking.

Markets

Ubud Area Markets

Ubud Market
Located on Jl. Raya Ubud, the Ubud Market has kept much of its traditional charm, with squatting Balinese sellers haggling loudly among spices and vegetables. The market also sells handicrafts which are primarily made in the neighbouring villages of Mas and Tegalalang. Early morning is a great time to visit as this is when the locals do much of their shopping.

Sukawati Art Market
Sukawati Art Market is located on Jl. Raya Sukawati, Gianyar, across the Sukawati Traditional Market. Set in a new two-store building, the art market sells a wide variety of merchandise, ranging from statues to dance costumes, all at reasonable prices. A large variety of woven baskets can be found here, along with Balinese ceremonial items made from colorful prada (gold painted cloth).

Batubulan Market
Batubulan Market, situated at the border of Denpasar and Gianyar, is the home of stone sculptures. You will find various kinds of styles here, from traditional to modern and small to large. Traditionally, stone sculptures carved from soft volcanic rock (paras) were used to decorate temples and palaces but recently they are sold for export as well. The craftsmen can make practically anything you request from small to large sculptures.

Beyond Ubud Markets

Galiran Market, Klungkung, East Bali
Galiran Market, Klungkung is known as the central market of Eastern Bali because of its agricultural commodities from Karangasem, Bangli and Gianyar. The most crowded market day falls every three days on pasha (a three-day week based on the Balinese calendar).

In 1994, the market area was extended to 3 hectares which consists of 14 building blocks each selling different goods. In addition to food, drinks and products for East Bali residents, it also is a great place for visitors to browse for handicrafts, artwork, traditional fabrics and much more at reasonable prices if you are willing to haggle.

Candi Kuning Market, Bedugal
This market is a favorite stop on day trips to the north of Ubud. With its cooler climate it features super fresh fruits, vegetables, spices, and exotic flowers as delicate orchids and roses to create an intoxicating array of wonderful colors. Spices include nutmeg, pepper, paprika and turmeric. Seasonal fruit includes jeruk Bali (pomelo), durian, strawberries and rambutan.

Kuta Art Market
Situated close to Kuta Beach on Jl. Bakung Sair, the Kuta Art Market has a large number of shops selling a wide variety of merchandise including sarongs, clothes, shoes, jewelry, handicrafts, leather goods and furniture. You can find some good pieces and reasonable prices if you shop carefully and exert strong bargaining techniques.

Sanur Art Market
Located on Jl. Danau Tamblingan, the Sanur Art Market has a  relaxed atmosphere and is less crowded than Kuta. This art market has an interesting variety of shops selling a wide range of merchandises such as sarongs, woodcarvings and other handicrafts. It is also surrounded by lots of local style restaurants.

Kumbasari Market, Denpasar
Kumbasari Market is located on Jl. Gajah Mada near the Badung River. This traditional, non-air-conditioned market offers an interesting overview of an Indonesian market. In the basement, you will find the traditional market with loads of traditional kitchen crafts made from woven bamboo. The second floor provides spices and dried goods, as well as a wide variety of Balinese printed batik, Balinese and Javanese hand-woven textiles and various batik textiles at reasonable prices. Household wares and clothing can be found on the third floor.

Badung Market, Denpasar
This 24 hour traditional market is located on Jl. Gaja Mada across from the Kumbasari Market, yet separated by the Badung River. This largest and oldest market in Bali, it provides such local needs as meats, fish, vegetables, tropical and subtropical fruits, groceries, spices, clothes, textiles, and much more. Apart from consumables, one can also find betel leaves which are used in Balinese Hindu prayers, as well as fabrics and household supplies. Although it is rather unclean, this tent market attracts many local shoppers and wholesalers for its completeness and competitive prices. The peak hour is the afternoon when the big transaction occurs.

Pasar Burung (Bird Market), Denpasar
Pasar Burung (Bird Market) is located on Jl. Pramuka.  This colorful and noisy market provides a wide range of birds and other such small animals such as monkeys, squirrels, small wild cats and other unidentifiable animals from the heart of the dark jungles of Indonesia.

Sanglah Market, Denpasar
Sanglah market is located in south Denpasar area, about 2,5km from the city center. Like other traditional markets in Denpasar, this market offers commodities for daily needs. Although it is open the whole day, the busy activities are only in the morning around 6 am.

Satria Market, Denpasar
Satria market is located at the north side of Gajah Mada Street, in the corner of Nukala Street and Veteran Street. This market sells art crafts such as wooden handicrafts, paintings, and other handicrafts on the second level, and daily commodities on the ground level.

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