Bali Topeng

California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) and Bali Institute Present:

Journey to Bali

March 25 - April 6, 2017

Travel Day is March 23-24, 2017, with arrival on March 25, 2017


There are often special ceremonies and rituals that happen at the spur of the moment.  We will make every effort to incorporate unexpected events that will continually add to this spectacular trip. The itinerary described below is designed to give you a sense of the day-to-day schedule and activities being offered.

Location 1: Central Bali - Ubud

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, 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.

Day 1: March 25, Arrivals - head to Ubud

Arrive into Denpasar, Bali in the early afternoon. As soon as you step out of the airport, Bali Institute staff and drivers will meet and assist you with your luggage. It's about a one-hour drive to Ubud, the cultural capital of Bali. Your first five nights will be at a beautiful, authentically Balinese hotel owned by the Royal Family of Ubud. Enjoy your first taste of Balinese cuisine at our Welcome Dinner. Then off for a good night's sleep.

Private Palace Dinner

Day 2:  March 26, Orientation, Melasti, Water Temple, Private Palace Dinner

After a short orientation talk about Bali's culture, history, belief system, and travel logistics we will be participating in the Melasti Ceremony: a major Hindu component of Nyepi performed at a local beach area. The ceremony is done to purify the village, the world and the universe, performed with a parade procession accompanied with deities from the local village temples and shrines.   Lunch will be provided at a local Balinese restaurant.

In the afternoon, we will drive to one of the more ancient purification sites, Tampaksiring Holy Spring Temple dating from legendary times.  In popular folklore, it was made by lndra when he pierced the earth to create a spring of Amerta, the elixir of immortality.  Here people come and bathe, pray, meditate and give offerings to the gods. This is a ritual you don't want to miss!  By entering the fresh water of the springs, this sacred site is considered by the Balinese as a place to melt all the bad influences in the body, purifying the soul and mind.  Everyone is invited to experience the cool, fresh holy spring waters as preparation for Nyepi.

Later, you will be taken to Peliatan Palace for a private tour of this historically important palace and then meet/have dinner with the Prince of Peliatan Palace.  Ample time is allowed for a fascinating Q/A with the Prince.  Possible dance performance follows depending on schedule.

Early Morning Market Nyepi

Day 3: March 27, Nyepi Eve, Early morning market, sites of Ogoh-Ogoh & prepare for Nyepi

Visit the early-morning market in Ubud where local Balinese are busy purchasing foods and ritual items for Nyepi offerings and ceremonies. Later, take a walk through Ubud to see all the Ogoh-Ogoh. These are statues built for the Ngerupuk parade, which takes place on the eve of Nyepi day (today). Ogoh-Ogoh normally take the form of mythological dream-like characters, mostly demons, made collectively by members of each small village throughout Bali.

Lunch and dinner will be on your own. There are many local cafes and restaurants within walking distance of the hotel. There is a huge amount of energy and excitement in the streets during this time. Late in the day will be a Nyepi parade and more instructions on what to do during your full 24 hours of cultural and collective silence throughout the island. Nyepi begins at midnight on this day.

Nyepi Ogoh-ogoh

Day 4: March 28, Nyepi

24 hours of meditation, contemplation and silence. Everyone must stay within the confines of the hotel and food will be available for lunch and dinner.

Day 5: March 29 Banjar activities

As Ubud comes back to life, we will be visiting a local Banjar and sampling dance, gamelan music woodcarving and offering making.  Afternoon free for wandering around the arts and crafts shops in Ubud.  Dinner on own and optional dance performance in the evening.

Ceremony Steps

Location 2: North Bali - Pemuteran

Pemuteran is a small fishing village on the northern coast of West Bali. It is located in close proximity to West Bali National Park, Menjangan Island, and Gilimanuk, the port allowing passage between Bali and Java. Pemuteran is home to the largest artificial coral reef project in the world, and the village's model of community-based tourism and conservation has been recognized by the United Nations.


Day 6: March 30, Visit ARMA Museum, travel to Pemuteran, Ulun Danu Temple

Morning we will visit ARMA Museum and meet with Agung Rai, the founder of ARMA and recognized historian on Balinese culture. Agung Rai is an indigenous leader and your meeting with him is usually a highlight of the entire trip. On the way to Pemuteran, considered the spiritual capital of Bali, we usually stop at Bedugul, Bali's leading traditional fruits and vegetables markets and Pura Ulun Danu, one of the top iconic temples in all of Bali. You'll be staying in a gorgeous private villa resort, right at the ocean. Dinner and evening on your own.

Melangting Temple

Day 7: March 31, Sunrise Boat Ride, Snorkeling, Coral Reef Restoration Project, Melanting Temple, Sea Turtle Hatcher

The day includes taking a sunrise boat ride. Learn about the United Nations-recognized coral reef restoration programs. Snorkel above the gorgeous coral. Visit the Sea Turtle Hatchery. Time to enjoy the gorgeous private beach. Dinner will be with a Balinese Family at their home compound. Evening visit to the majestic Melanting Temple, considered the Temple of Prosperity.

Menjangan Island

Day 8: April 1, Menjangan Island

Menjangan Island is a small island off the Western coast of Bali. Menjangan translates to "deer," as the island is home to a population of mostly male deer that can withstand the hot, harsh climate of the island. The habitat is varied with rainforest, dry savanna, acacia scrub and lowland forest, as well as more mountain forest in the higher center. There are also several temples around the island where Balinese Hindus go to pray. The coral reefs that surround the island are home to some of the greatest biodiversity of species in the world. Dinner on your own.

Day 9: April 2

Free day for massage, snorkeling and reflection

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.

Mengwi Temple

Day 10: April 3, Travel to Mengwi, Botanical Garden

Bali Botanical Gardens is located in Candi Kuning village, Tabanan Regency. The gardens include hundreds of species of orchids, ferns, begonias, bamboo, and cacti native to Bali and Indonesia. In addition, there are exhibits of aquatic species and plants used in traditional Balinese medicine, Hindu ceremonies and Indonesian cooking. Settle into relaxing accommodations nestled among the rice paddies. Enjoy lunch at the rice fields with homegrown Balinese food. Swimming and wandering through village of Mengwi. Dinner on own.

Tanah Lot Temple

Day 11: April 4, Tanah Lot Temple, Village walk, Community Discussion

Tanah Lot temple means "Land in the Sea" in the Balinese language. The temple is located on the rocky shore of Beraban village in Tabanan regency. It is one of seven sea temples said to have been built by the revered 15th century Hindu priest Danghyang Nirartha. Each temple was built within eyesight of the next temple, forming a chain along the southwest coast of the island. Lunch on your own at Tanah Lot.

Afternoon, participate in an engaging meeting with an internationally renowned cultural leader and entrepreneur who is recognized for his projects, concepts on community-based tourism and cultural preservation. Pak Agung Prana is one of the founders of the award-winning Coral Restoration Project in Bali. He was nominated for the UN Environment Program for its prestigious Sasakawa Environmental Prize, recognizing him for his remarkable capabilities in advancing environmental awareness and promoting understanding between international scientists, conservationists, business owners, fishermen and community leaders.

Pak is highly regarded as one of Bali's visionaries who has developed a new concept in community-based tourism -- bringing dignity and new economic opportunities to local villagers while supporting the fight against extreme poverty in North Bali. Optional: participate in a session with a local healer who uses numerology and astrology in his readings. Enjoy a delicious dinner and special ceremony at a private temple of the Mengwi Royal Family.

Royal Palace Prince
Ubud Morning Market

Day 12: April 5, Travel to Ubud - shopping, dance performance, free time

Upon arrival in Ubud, you'll have free time to pick up any last cultural souvenirs and attend a dance performance.

Wood Carving Class

Day 13: April 6, Head home

Batik Painter

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