7 Unique Things You’ll Only See in Bali

For more than half a century, Bali has been the flagship of Indonesian tourism. If it was a formula one driver, Bali would always stand on the highest spot of the podium and be the first to crack open the champagne bottle. What makes Bali shines over any other Indonesian islands is its uniquenesses. Yes, uniqueness-es—plural. Here are some of the unique things you will only encounter in Bali:

Penjor Bamboo Poles

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Manis Galungan

A post shared by Andreas Imanuel Wiwoho (@andreasimanuell) on


 It is so unlikely that you’ll miss this ornament while in Bali. Penjors are those bamboo poles decorated with enau leaves lining on the Balinese streets as a sign of (spiritual) events and ceremonies. Instead of a mere ornament, penjor is actually a spiritual symbol, a shrine where the Balinese put offerings for the gods. You’ll find the most authentic penjors during Balinese holy days such as Galungan and Kuningan. As for Galungan, the penjors usually stand for around five weeks before being burned by the villagers to conclude the spiritual ceremony. 

Giant Flying Kites

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Bayu Antara (@bayuuantara) on


In Cappadocia and Bagan, you’ll find hot air balloons when you look up to the sky. In Bali, you’ll find giant flying kites roaming over the tropical blue sky. Once a year, in July, there is Bali Kite Festival in Padang Galak Beach, Sanur, where teams from villages in Denpasar compete to present the best flying kites. They are so gigantic that the width of the main part itself spans from 4-10 meter. The kites are usually equipped with the tail which can reach 100 meters long.

Ogoh-ogoh Parade

 

View this post on Instagram

 

SANG MAUNGPATI , Mesolah ring catus pata agung ! Photo by : @eriaja_ . . . #gemeh2019#sangmaungpati

A post shared by Banjar Gemeh , Denpasar Barat (@st.gemehindah) on


The night before the Balinese perform the annual spiritual ritual, Nyepi or the day of silence, people will parade giant statues or ogoh-ogoh on the town streets all around the island. It usually takes weeks to months for a banjar (village) to prepare an ogoh-ogoh. The statues usually take form as Bhuta Kala or other demonic figures in Hindu mythology. The parade represents the purification of the environment from any spiritual pollutants which have been accumulated all year long.

Traditional Balinese Fashion


As a cultural community which still firmly hold on to their traditions, the Balinese routinely wear their traditional clothing. During ceremonies—which is often—men wear udeng on their head, white shirt, saputan, and kamen on the lower half of their bodies, while women wear beautiful kebaya, bulang pasang (belt), and kamen.

Omed-omedan

The day after Nyepi, the people of Sesetan village, Denpasar, will gather in a field to perform one of the most unique rituals in the world: omed-omedan or the kissing festival. It is where two youths from the opposite sex, surrounded by hundreds of local Sesetan youths, will pull each other and kiss each other in the mouth. Instead of being booed, they will be splashed with buckets of waters by people. But, hold yourself if you want to participate in the unique ritual, as it is only for the local youth. Basically, it is a traditional means of the people of Sesetan to find prospective husbands or wife.

 Perang Pandan

 

View this post on Instagram

 

One of the most popular culture in Bali #nakbaline #perangpandan #mekarekare #latepost✌

A post shared by Purna Yama I.Md (@purnayama) on


Who says fight club is not real. It is—at least in the village of Tenganan Pegringsingan, Karangasem. Once a year the Tenganan people gather in an open field, bring a stack of spiked pandan leave, and hit each other with it. Of course, you’ll see some bruises—and blood—but you won’t see hatred. For Tenganan people, Perang Pandan, the annual local fight club, is a way to communicate with the divine beings to ask them for the rain.

Festive Funeral, Ngaben Ceremony


The people of Bali has a unique way to say goodbye to the dead. Instead of mourning solemnly in the living room and have a hushed nostalgic chat about how the dead lived, the people of Bali conduct a festive ceremony involving hundreds of people. They build an art installation for the dead as the cremation venue. The ceremony is called ngaben. It usually takes weeks to months to prepare it. The family will come from all over the place to help prepare the funeral. The ngaben ceremony will be more festive if the dead comes from noble families.

However, besides those seven things above, there are more unique things you’ll encounter in Bali. So grab your scooter and explore!


Moreover, also read our recommendations about Bali just for you!