We are delighted to be collaborating again with our partners
at the University of Western Australia to offer the fourth annual
Indigenous Studies Program
The Bali Institute has been collaborating with the University of Western Australia’s
Indigenous Studies Department since 2015 to co-create a brand new
cultural immersion experience with a group of Aboriginal university students from UWA.
The program design will explore a deeper understanding of indigenous ways of knowing
through a lens of the Balinese culture being offered by direct experiences and
service learning. Areas of this “indigenous ecology” theme will include a richer
understanding of the Balinese philosophy and indigenous ways of life, the
Tri Hita Karana “system” of being in the world, traditional healing,
performance arts, sustainable ancient agrarian practices,
community based tourism, and much more.
Below is a sample itinerary that includes activities we often consider when designing our cultural immersion programs—it is not meant to reflect activities that are guaranteed in every program. The activities that will be included in each customized program are based on availability and program scheduling considerations, and are subject to change.
Ubud is a thriving village in central Bali and is considered the cultural capital of this tiny island. It is famous as an arts and crafts hub, and much of the village and nearby areas consist of artists’ workshops and galleries. Here you find remarkable architecture and other sites including historical museums, famous woodcarvers and artists, and an array of interesting cafes, local foods, and non-stop ceremonies. The word Ubud comes from the Balinese word for medicine, so it is here that people flock for healing energies, good spirits, meditation, yoga, artistry, and indigenous knowledge.
- Intro to Bali orientation
- Head out into the village in teams and get to know Bali through a scavenger hunt
- Visit a traditional market and temple, walk through serene rice paddies, and visit one of Bali’s active volcanoes
- Learn Balinese music and dance, woodcarving and offering-making at a local banjar (community center)
- Visit a local fair trade organization that supports small-scale Balinese artisans and learn about economic development challenges in Bali
- Attend a private dinner and dance performance at the Peliatan Palace. Over dinner, you’ll have the opportunity to ask the Prince questions about Bali’s traditional culture as well as modern-day challenges
- Spend a morning at a local NGO for Balinese with disabilities. Learn about their skill-building programs and share lunch with the residents
- Visit a holy spring temple where countless Balinese go for purification rituals each year
- Spend an afternoon with a local balian and learn about the healing powers of this mystical practice
- Learn more about Bali’s staple food and the star of its iconic landscape, rice, at a hands-on workshop with a Balinese environmental organization
Amed is an area of small fishing villages on Bali’s east coast. It was only a little over 12 years ago that an official road was built through the area. Known for its diving sites, Amed’s indigenous residents primarily work in fishing and salt-making. Amed is one of the poorer areas in Bali because of limited rice-growing land and minimal tourism. Although poor in monetary terms, the people are still rich in spirit as you will see during your visit. Ceremonies, rituals and celebrations occur on a daily basis and reflect the unique traditions of this coastal area.
- Stay in bungalows right on the seashore
- Get up early to watch the sunrise on a traditional fishing boat
- Snorkel over Amed’s incredible coral reefs and see the remnants of a Japanese shipwreck from World War II
- Meet the local “jungle healer” or Balian that will captivate your afternoon
- Walk through the hills of Amed village guided by locals. Witness ceremonies, learn about fishing and salt farming, and experience coastal village life
- Help cook a traditional Balinese meal with a local family and eat on the beach while watching the sunset
Location 3: West Bali - Mengwi
Mengwi is located in the western part of Bali and is famous for its rolling green landscapes, clove and coffee plantations and spectacular rice paddies. The village of Mengwi has a long and rich history associated with its royal family, one of Bali’s main ancient kingdoms, and is nestled in shady coconut groves, surrounded by rice fields and rivers.
- Stay in relaxing accommodations nestled among the rice paddies
- Observe traditional Balinese life during a walk around Mengwi guided by a village elder
- Watch the sunset while visiting an iconic temple by the sea
- Visit the Subak Museum and learn about this amazing rice farming system that has become a UNESCO world heritage site
- Participate in a session with a prominent local healer who uses numerology and astrology in his readings
- Enjoy a delicious final dinner and end your journey to Bali with a special closing ceremony at an important temple of the Mengwi royal family