Cross-Cultural Activities in Bali

Cross-Cultural Activities in Bali
You can see examples of Bali's rich cultural and artistic heritage throughout the island, but it can be difficult to share a truly cross-cultural exchange with Balinese artists and performers. The annual Bali festivals give you the opportunity to experience the island and its people in an engaging, interactive way that is rarely possible in a tourist setting, where the performances and activities are designed strictly for the tourist trade.

Bali Arts Festival

The monthlong Bali Arts Festival is held every year throughout the month of June. It began in the early years of the tourism boom in Bali as a means to ensure the survival of traditional Balinese culture in the wake of foreign influences. While foreign visitors are welcome to attend, it is a popular event with the Balinese people as well. The Bali Arts Festival gives you the opportunity to see traditional dancers, musicians and artists who rarely appear in public. You can watch Balinese artists and artisans at work and purchase art, wood carvings, batiks and other traditional crafts directly from the artists. The center of activity is the Bali Arts Center in Denpasar, the capital city. To get there, ask a taxi driver to take you to Taman Budaya Denpasar.

Bali Arts Center (Taman Budaya Denpasar)
Sari Wisata Budaya Barong
Jalan Ngurah Rai By Pass
Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia
baliartsfestival.com

Ubud Writers and Readers Festival

Since its inception in 2004, the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival has grown to be an international event. Dozens of writers, poets, performance artists and other artists from Bali, other Indonesian islands and the rest of the world share their work, hold workshops and mingle with the guests in the village of Ubud. In addition to the readings and performances, you can attend cultural workshops and learn about Balinese arts, crafts and language. There are also writers workshops and children's workshops.

The Ubud Writers and Readers Festival is held for five days in early October every year. It has become popular, so it is advisable to book both your accommodation and your festival tickets in advance. The festival directors also welcome volunteers. Volunteer spaces also fill quickly.

Ubud Writers and Readers Festival
Jl. Sanggingan Raya
Indus -- Second Floor
P.O. Box 181
Ubud, Bali, Indonesia 80571
+623-617-808-932
ubudwritersfestival.com

Kuta Karnival

The inaugural Kuta Karnival launched in 2003 in response to the devastating 2002 Kuta terrorist bombing in Kuta Beach. The purpose of the original ceremony was to cleanse the area surrounding the bomb blast and pay respect to those who died. Since then, it has evolved into a yearly "Celebration of Life." The event begins with a "puja," or religious ceremony to honor those who died in the bomb blasts of 2002 and 2005. Following that, there is a Balinese kite festival on the beach. Daytime activities include surfing contests, Balinese martial arts demonstrations and other outdoor attractions. In the evening, Balinese dancers perform on the beach while onlookers enjoy traditional Balinese and Indonesian dishes at the beachside food festival.

The festival, held on the last week of September each year, closes with a street parade and closing remembrance ceremony. It is free to attend, but book your accommodation in advance

Kuta Karnival
kutakarnival.com

Article Written By Rob Schneider

Rob Schneider has been a freelance writer for most of his adult life. His travel and sports articles have appeared in a number of major newspapers and periodicals, including the "Sydney Morning Herald," "Tracks: the Surfer's Bible," "Heritage" and "Rock," Australia's premier rock climbing magazine.

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