Nothing reminds me more of my time in Bali than the clanging, balanced sound of the gamelan. Here, a woman plays the local instrument at a funerary procession. Full orchestras of women or men play the gamelan together across the island. It's an activity not to be missed, and an integral part of Balinese and Hindu culture.
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Attend a Balinese Funeral
This, I'm sure, sounds profoundly strange, but community funerals are one of the coolest cultural experiences you can have in Bali. The events are open to the public—neighbors, relatives, and, yes, even travelers. There is music, food, dancing, walks to retrieve holy water, a cleaning of the body, cremation, and a waterside evening party. It is a day-long event dedicated to celebrating the return of the body to the elements: fire, air, water, earth. It is an incredible way to immerse yourself in the traditions and beliefs of another culture, and observe the stark contrasts to Western concepts around death, life and community. And you're sure not going to experience it anywhere else.
Entering this temple, we had to put on a sarong for modesty. It was an amazing complex of temples, gardens, water gushing out of the walls where locals purify themselves. I love the intricate decorations on the temples, vibrant colors. The area of Ubud is such a magical place where you can hang out with the locals, go to temples, watch craftsmen create works of art and great private villas that are still affordable. I went to a cooking class to learn basic traditional recipes and I had the best Babi Guling (roast pig) in my life. It was served with spices and rice and that was enough to send me to food heaven. I spend days dreaming about going back to Bali someday, maybe I was a prince in another life!