Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Night Life in Bali

Contrary to popular beliefs spread by travel guidebooks, not all of night life activities in Bali are the result of foreign tourists. Two spectacular night time activities that are on the opposite end of a spectrum are distintly Balinese:

* The Kecak Dance

Also dubbed by Westerners as the Monkey Dance, the Kecak Dance is a spectacular coreographic accomplishment that showcase another aspect of Balinese artistic excellence. One hundred or so bare-chested men sit down on the ground surrounding a bonfire or a fire made from coconut husks, led by a priest or a female dancer in the middle. The only music to accompany them are the beats of their palms clapping or hitting their chests, their thighs, or other parts of their bodies, rhythmically accompanied by shouting and chanting. The dancers move in unison, creating a spectacular sequence of hands stretched out, pulled in, rested on the shoulder of the next person, and waists gyrated left and right. All in a dizzying tempo.

* Wayang Kulit
Or shadow puppet. Typically performed very late at night, a Wayang Kulit theatrical performance can last until morning. The night performance of wayang kulit is usually considered strictly entertainment, as opposed to a day performance which usually serves strict religious purpose. Temple festivals and other ceremonies can sometimes be a good place to find a wayang performance.

Balinese dances are sometimes performed at night; regularly scheduled performances are available throughout the year.

Besides those two activities, night life as commonly known in the West also exists in Bali, especially in Kuta. For you people-watchers, the cafes, pubs, and discotheques lining the streets of Kuta and Legian are definitely the place to be and to be seen. Pub crawls can require many nights, and the varieties beat even the wildest college town you would ever know. So, if your idea of fun consists of nightly pub crawls and daily sun bathing to cure the hangover, stop simply stay in Kuta, day and night. You won't be disappointed.

Up North near Singaraja, Lovina Beach also has its own collection of pubs, restaurants, and discotheques. The environment is nice, friendly, and relaxed, certainly not as hectic as Kuta. And midnight dipping into the tropical water is also something to experience up there...

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