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Bali’s iconic Kecak dance

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Imagine dozens of men in traditional Balinese costumes, loudly chanting and dancing in rhythm in a large circle, while immaculately dressed actors enact stories from the Ramayana around fire torches. That’s what the iconic Kecak dance of Bali looks like. Based on the Hindu mythology of Ramayana, the actors and dancers enact how Ram and his brother Lakshman rescued the former’s wife, Sita, from the evil Ravana.

The Kecak dance has been recognized internationally as a unique Balinese art form that is performed every evening at the Uluwatu Temple and the Tanah Lot Temple.

Bucket List Item in Bali

The performance draws a massive crowd and is regarded as one of the top 10 activities to do in Bali. You can ask your local travel guide to take you to either one of the two locations and club this activity with a visit to the respective temples for a perfect way to end the day.

Kecak dance
Kecak dance performance

This dance form is quite dramatic in more ways than one and gives the audience a glimpse of rich Balinese culture and traditions in a beautiful setting. With the sun setting in the background, the stage is set for a dramatic performance by the actors, while the fire torches at the centre stage add to the ambience. The presence of fire is of much significance in this dance in order to portray how Ram’s loyal aide Hanuman burnt Ravana’s territory in their attempt to rescue Sita. There are no musical instruments used in this act, but the synchronised chanting of the dancers provide a wonderful backdrop for the entire performance.

Kecak dance
Kecak dance fire performance

If you are looking to have a truly authentic cultural experience in Bali beyond the usual tourist attractions, watching the Kecak dance is a must! These days there are also slight variations of the original performance enacted in certain places in Bali using a different storyline from the Ramayana. So if you’d like to watch something different, ask your guide from Locaguide to take you to the right places. A magical setting, coupled with gripping performances by the dancers, makes this one of the top things to do in Bali!

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CultureLocale

Shop At Sukawati Art Market in Bali

Sukawati Art Market in Bali Image 1

The moment you land in Bali, you’ll notice the rich cultural tradition of this fascinating destination. The influence of the traditional art is quite evident in everything you find here, The Sukawati Art Market is a must visit location. 

As any experienced tourist would tell you, if you wish to keep a souvenir of the distinctive Balinese art and culture, one of the best places you can check out is Sukawati Art Market or ‘Pasar Seni Sukawati’ as the locals would call it.

This sprawling traditional market, located in Jalan Raya, Gianyar, is well-known for its amazing artwork, sculptures, and hand-crafted items. Unlike many tourist shopping streets, everything in Sukawati Art Market is sold for a song!

What to expect

Sukawati Art Market is indeed a paradise for souvenir-collectors. The crowded market has everything, from handcrafted jewellery, bags, and accessories to wooden sculptures, traditional kites, framed paintings and ceremonial items at dirt-cheap prices. On the ground floors, you’ll mostly find colourful clothing stalls that sell all types of dresses and fabric. There is also an aromatherapeutic section towards the backside of the market, where you can buy aromatic candles, incenses, and fragrance oils.

Sukawati Art Market
Sukawati Art Market

The market at Sukawati is open on all days. You can find most stalls open even before the clock strikes 8 in the morning, and the pedlars awaiting their first visitors. The crowd would often start pouring in as early as 10 am. However, the best time to practice your bargaining skills would be in the late afternoon hours and evenings, until all the shops close at around 7 pm. Having said that, if bargaining is not your forte, having a trustworthy local guide with you in Bali will ensure that you’re not paying higher prices. A personalized guided tour with Locaguide will give you a unique experience of this traditional market.

So if you’re planning to visit Bali, don’t forget to pay a visit to this bustling local market where you’ll be looking at an entire collection of paintings, jewellery, handicrafts, and accessories made by the Balinese craftsmen. But even if you don’t end up purchasing anything, just a stroll through the market is bound to make your day come alive!

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Culture

Experience Bali’s Authentic Balinese Massage

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There are some things in Bali that attract not just our eyes but also our other senses like smell and touch. The sensual Balinese massage is one of them.

Almost similar to the other traditional southeast Asian massage techniques, the Balinese massage is also greatly influenced by the Ayurvedic and the traditional Chinese medicines.

However, since there are hundreds of spas in Bali, it is often hard to distinguish between an authentic Balinese massage centre and others. A local guide could be greatly helpful in such a scenario to take you to authentic massage centers. If you’re looking to get a Balinese massage during your trip, here are some things you should expect:

1. Know the difference between a hard vs a soft massage

As soon as you enter the spa, this is the first question that a Tukang Pijit (a Balinese masseuse) would ask you, almost always. And no, a hard massage does not mean they’ll take all their strength to break your ribs and bones. It just is an indication that they know their onions. If you opt for the soft massage, they will ensure that they use a more gentle pressure during the massage.

2. Aromatherapy is an integral part of Balinese Massage

Any Balinese masseuse would tell you that, in order to reach the stage of a complete relaxation, you need to sooth all of your senses with equal priority. That is why, unlike the Thai technique, the Balinese massage taps into the therapeutic power of the scented essential oils to soothe your mind and body alike. Do ask your personal tour guide from Locaguide to suggest the best aromatherapy centres in Bali!

 Balinese massage
Herbs for the massage and healing

3. Expect deeper pressure in a traditional Balinese Massage

You shouldn’t be surprised when your masseuse uses a deeper pressure during the massages, even if you opt for the ‘soft’ massage, as mentioned earlier. More pressure simply allows greater access to the deeper tissues and muscles in your body.

4. You’ll feel a lot lighter (in a positive way)

After an amazing hour-long session of the Balinese massage, you will feel revitalized, refreshed, and relieved from all the stress in your body and mind.

 Balinese massage
Balinese massage

So, if you’re on a Southeast Asian adventure, an authentic Balinese massage would be the last thing you want to drop out of your list. 

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Culture

5 Unusual Things To Do In Bali

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Its the scenic beauty of lush green paddy fields, equatorial rainforests, volcanic mountains, pristine white sand beaches and the ancient temple architecture that draws one to the south-eastern paradise Bali; but there’s more in Bali for everyone. How about experiencing some unusual and unique activities in Bali, that you generally don’t hear out there? Here is a list of some of the fun things to do in Bali to make your trip an awesome one!

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