There is more to Bali than its tourist-y spots like Kuta, Nusa Dua, or Legian. The island is teeming with hidden gems from less congested villages. If you are game to go off the beaten path, these awesome Bali Villages should provide plenty of adventure for the whole family:
Founded by the Mengwi Kingdom in 1634, the Mengwi Village was once the political stronghold of Bali. The glory days of the Mengwi kingdom may be gone but its splendor lives on through its beautiful temple complex!
Photo credit: Edy Smile Tour
The Taman Ayun Temple, which literally translates to “beautiful garden,” is a sacred shrine surrounded by lotus ponds. The network of water inside the temple was used by the royal family for bathing and relaxation. Taman Ayun Temple is famous for its unique architecture, tiered roofs, and a maze-like complex worth exploring! Another tourist spot at Mengwi Village is the Manusa Yadnya Museum. The museum features an array of religious relics and works of art related to the circle of life.
Located at the foot of Mt. Abang, Trunyan Village sits in between the local lake and the outer crater rim of Batur. You must cross the lake by boat, but the trip is well worth the effort because the view is something else! The village is inhabited by the indigenous Balinese or Bali Aga people. The villagers follow neolithic customs from before the introduction of Hinduism.
The Trunyanese reject outside influences and this is evident in the many rituals integrated into their daily lives. Unlike the modern Balinese, Trunyanese people do not cremate their dead. They perform a cleansing ritual by washing the deceased with rainwater and place the dead inside a bamboo cage. Then, the bamboo cage is placed under the Banyan trees, allowing the earth to dissolve the body tissues until only the bones are left. Once fully decomposed, the skulls are joined with the others that are already placed on a stone altar.
If you are interested in exploring the region, we highly recommend hiring a local tour guide to walk you through the village. Usually, the tour includes a visit to the local cemetery.
Batukaang translates to “hill of rock,” which refers to the rocky hill where the village stands. Located 1,150 meters above sea level, Batukaang village is the perfect spot for anyone who love to get close to nature. If you’ve always been curious about trying the local coffee, there are several coffee plantations in the area.
Photo credit: Fabulous Ubud
Apart from the stunning views, the region also features a vibrant culture that’s very unique. The villagers of Batukaang follow pre-Hindu beliefs mixed with contemporary Hindu rituals. It’s a joy learning about the local culture and discovering everyday life in such a tranquil village. There are also 188 ancient statues scattered all over the village. Most of these relics can be found inside the temples like Pusering Jagat Pura and Pura Puseh Sanggambu.
The Tihingan Village is the main producer of Gamelan in the island. Its inhabitants are the descendants of the Pande family. The Pande family are experts in metal crafts. Today, 90% of the village population is in the gamelan business.
Photo credit: You Tube
Gamelan is traditionally a bronze or copper musical instrument used to accompany Balinese dance or for religious ceremonies. These instruments are commonly percussive gongs or xylophones made of different materials. Most types of Balinese dances are performed using gamelan. Because the village is in the gamelan business, you can bet that various musical instruments are sold at every turn. These handmade music instruments are deeply embedded into the Balinese culture. Wouldn’t it be awesome to check out the village, know more about Bali’s rich history and even get a couple of souvenirs?
Celuk is a popular village located in Gianyar Regency, just 15 minutes from Ubud. The villagers specialize in silver and gold crafting. This is a great spot for shopping because of the dozens of jewelry stores that sell handmade accessories.
Photo credit: Asia Web Direct
From gold brooches to hairpins, earrings to belly rings, there is something for everyone in Celuk. You can even make your own jewelry and keep it as a souvenir!
Located just a few minutes from Ubud, Mas is home to some of the best wood carvers on the island. The villagers live and breathe carving and this can be seen everywhere in the village.
Photo credit: Mari Bali Tours
If you love taking something handmade home from your holiday, it’s definitely worth traveling to Mas to find a hand carved sculpture. And while you are there, you can learn more about the local art and discover skill and effort that goes into every wooden sculpture.
Belega and Bona Villages
Belega and Bona villages are famed for their bamboo craftsmanship. Most of the bamboo furnishings in Bali are sourced in Belega and Bona villages. The use of bamboo is prominent in every aspect of life for a typical Balinese.
Photo credit: Simplifying Fabulous
The villagers of Belega and Bona pride themselves on their own unqiue brand of furniture making using bamboo. Walking through the streets of Belega, you will come across villagers working together to piece together a this furniture. Bona Village is a great place to catch a performance of traditional Balinese dances too!
Scenic, tranquil, and art-centric, the villagers of Sebatu and Pujung are born sculptors. Most sculptors in these villages set up their own makeshift shop right in front of their home and sell their products directly to customers.
Photo credit: Bali Island Surf
Apart from exploring the local art scene, you can also do bits of sightseeing. There is a beautiful temple complex located in Tegallalang. Pura Tirta Dawa Gunung Kawi Sebatu is a massive temple that features water gardens and walled bathing sections for pilgrims and locals. You can also take nature walks in some of the region’s most popular trails, visit local farms, and tour around coffee plantations in the village.
Located in Gelgel in the Klungkung regency, Kamasan village is renowned for its ancient painting style, and gold and silver crafts. Egg painting was first developed in the village, followed by other mediums like wood and precious metals. The village is literally a community of artists that utilize traditional art-making techniques to create unique, handcrafted works of art!
Photo credit: Novica
The village is best known for its Kamasan paintings. This one of a kind art form utilizes canvas and carbon of wood or sediment to create a flat, one dimension painting. Usually, the paintings depict gods and heroes, mythical creatures, or scenes from legends and epics.
Photo credit: Bali Traveler
Kamasan village charms with its quiet, rural atmosphere. The village is now being developed into a tourist destination because several art shops and restaurants are now popping all over the region so there are lots to see in Kamasan.
Located in the Karangasem Regency, Tenganan village is one of the oldest villages in Bali and was once the most secluded societies in the country. But since its discovery in the 70s, Tenganan village has quickly caught up with the times and has become a tourist attraction. However, the residents still observe age-old rituals and traditions.
Photo credit: Kamarul Shahrin
If you are visiting Tenganan village, we recommend checking out the ikat fabric shops for colorful textiles. Ikat is a Balinese fabric woven by hand by Tenganan village women. The unique double ikat is a weaving technique that’s only made in the village.
Bali Villages are the Heart of the Island
In Bali the villages are the real life and soul of the island. People go about their daily lives, creating works of art, offerings to the Gods and spending time with their families. Visiting these Bali villages is a real insight into the life of the Balinese.