Bali attracts millions of visitors every year not only because of its idyllic beaches and lush greeneries, but it is also home to unique Balinese culture and traditions not found anywhere else in the world. This was heavily featured in the book and subsequent movie, Eat Pray Love, and continues to attract those who are fascinated by this authenticity to Bali!

Located in the Indonesian archipelago with more than 17,000 islands, it is easy to see why Bali is so interesting. There are more than 300 ethnic types in Indonesia, with over 700 different languages and 6 official religions. Bali sets itself apart with 80% of its inhabitants practising the Hindu faith, and many of the cultures and traditions are an amalgamation of Hinduism and the Indonesian way of life.

The unique Balinese culture

Much of the culture in Bali is heavily influenced by the religion, and that in turn manifests itself in the architecture, art, dance, drama and life here. Some of these cultural practices may seem odd to foreigners, but visitors to Bali are encouraged to respect and observe them with openness.

A glimpse of this culture can be seen in the musical and dance performance that can be found in many places in Bali. These traditional shows are not just a tourist attraction, but have been practiced for centuries and are an important element to any ceremony. Through performing arts, it connects the people with the gods, deities and nature, and are important expressions to pay their respect.

Ceremonies in Bali are an almost-everyday occurrence, as the people celebrate important events such as natural phenomena like the full moon, or important milestones like puberty, marriage and death. You may find hundreds and even thousands at some of these ceremonies and festivals so join along and you may learn a fascinating thing or two!

The age-old traditions and heritage

Besides the cultural practices, local customs such as offerings to the gods and evil spirits are common and you will see this at almost every entrance of houses, shops, hotels and restaurants. These offerings include candies, cigarettes and flowers and are placed with lit scented sticks at dawn.

As the Hindu religion remains a central part of Balinese people’s lives, you will find many sacred temples across the island. Some of these temples are open to tourists and are great attractions, but they are also important parts of Balinese people’s everyday life from centuries ago.

There are also some other traditions that are unique such as applying rice grains between the eyebrows where it is said to contain the body’s energy or chakra, or women wearing frangipani on their hair during and after prayers.

Experience some of these Balinese culture and traditions:

  1. Visit the temples: There are many temples open to tourists, but the famous ones are Uluwatu, Tanah Lot, Luhur Lempuyang and Titar Empul. Many of these temples are located at unusual sites which also make them must visit tourist attractions in itself. Whether you are there to observe the Hindu rituals, to soak in the architectural beauty or to enjoy the views, be sure to wear proper attire and respect the offerings!

  2. Watch a Balinese dance and show: These cultural dances are unique in that you will see many interesting facial expressions and moves as dancers tell stories from the past. There are several types of Balinese dance, such as Kecak Dance in Uluwatu or traditional dance at the Ubud Palace. This is certainly a must do when in Bali!

  3. Try Balinese cooking: Food is an important expression of one’s culture and heritage, so try a cooking class when in Bali. Learn how herbs and spices are used in the flavourful dishes here, and this is also a great opportunity to speak to the locals and learn their way of life!

  4. Pamper yourself with Balinese spa: Balinese massages are world-renowned and for very good reasons. Not only is it relaxing, it is also deeply-rooted in the power of healing and traditional techniques. Try out a session of Balinese massage, facial or hair cream bath and you will see what we mean!

Guests at Club Med Bali would be pleased to know that we offer many activities and excursions if you’d like to get to know the Balinese culture and traditions better.

Join us for our cooking lessons, watch the dance performance in the evening or spend a day at our spa and try our Balinese massage. We also offer various excursions that come with tour guides should you want to venture to places like Tanah Lot, Tirta Empul, Uluwatu and more!