Nestled at 700 meters above sea level between bamboo forests and coffee plantations, travelers can find one of Bali’s most traditional villages. Penglipuran is a Bali Aga town, whose inhabitants, contrary to the majority of the Balinese, aren’t Hindu but, instead, still practice their animistic faith. Accordingly, time has almost stood still in Penglipuran and even the village name itself roughly translates to “remembering ancestral lands.” In an attempt to conserve the village in its original state, Penglipuran has undergone a restoration program, the results of which are pristine streets and polished looking houses. It might look a bit too clean to be real, but the calm atmosphere and the long houses with their bamboo roofs are unique and the village manages to give a good insight into traditional Balinese life.
Along the central avenue Bale Agung, the village meeting house and the main temple form the most important buildings. While the smaller family temples are oriented towards Mount Agung to please the powerful god, the village in its entirety faces directly north towards Mount Batur, to not offend this holy mountain either and pay respect to both deities. Beyond the village lies the main source of income for the villagers: a 75-hectare bamboo forest. Each family gets to use exactly one hectare of woodland to make the delicate woven offering baskets – a trade for which Penglipuran is famous for across the country. Travelers can get a peek into these family businesses and homes and of course, purchase baskets as well.
Penglipuran can be found about 45 kilometers north of the capital Denpasar in the Bangli District. It’s easy to get there, as the village lies just off the main road between Kintamani and Bangli, so either take a taxi, jump into a bus headed to Bangli or join on with a tour.