Festivals & Events
Tenganan has customs and festivals different from the Balinese norm.
The Bali Aga are reputed to be exceptionally conservative and resistant to change. Well, that's only partially true: TVs and other modern conveniences are hidden away in the traditional houses. But it is fair to say that the village has a much more traditional feel than most other villages in Bali. Cars and motorcycles are forbidden from entering. It should also be noted that this is a real village, not a creation for tourists.
The most striking feature of Tenganan is its postcard-like beauty, with the hills providing a photogenic backdrop to its setting. The compact 500m by 250m village is surrounded by a wall and consists basically of two rows of identical houses stretching up the gentle slope of a hill. As you enter the village (10,000Rp donation) through one of only three gates, you'll likely be greeted by a guide who will take you on a tour – and generally lead you back to his family compound to look at textiles and lontar (specially prepared palm leaves) strips. However, there's no pressure to buy anything.
A peculiar, old-fashioned version of the gamelan known as the gamelan selunding is still played here and girls dance an equally ancient dance known as the Rejang. There are other Bali Aga villages nearby, including Tenganan Dauh Tenkad, 1.5km west off the Tenganan road, with a charming old-fashioned ambience and several weaving workshops.
Candidasa and it's wide range of accommodation options is close by.
You can get refreshments and snacks in the village.
Drinking & Nightlife
After dark the village is quiet. If staying in Candidasa, there's fun to be had.
A magical cloth known as kamben gringsing is woven here – a person wearing it is said to be protected against black magic. Traditionally this has been made using the 'double ikat' technique, in which both the warp and weft threads are 'resist dyed' before being woven. MBAs would be thrilled to study the integrated production of the cloth: everything, from growing the cotton to producing the dyes from local plants to the actual production, is accomplished here. It's very time-consuming and the exquisite pieces are costly (from 600,000Rp). You'll see cheaper cloth for sale but it usually comes from elsewhere in Bali or beyond.
Many baskets from across the region, made from ata palm, are on sale. Another local craft is traditional Balinese calligraphy, with the script inscribed onto lontar in the same way that the ancient lontar books were created. Most of these books are Balinese calendars or depictions of the Ramayana. They cost 150,000Rp to 300,000Rp, depending on quality.
Tenganan crafts are also sold in Ashitaba shops in Seminyak and Ubud.