Hari Raya Nyepi – Monsters, deities, fireworks and silence.
By Yasmin Ririhena.
Only two months into 2019 and the New Year’s celebration is already on its way! Hari Raya Nyepi, also known as Silent Day, is the beginning of the Balinese New Year. Unlike the partying and fireworks that are common during Western New Year’s celebrations, the whole island of Bali goes completely quiet. Nyepi is a day of silence, reflection and meditation. The normally busy streets of Bali’s cities make room for peace and quiet.
Before that happens though one of the world’s most unusual parades sees huge papier-mache effigies, the ‘Ogoh-Ogoh’ carried down the streets of most Bali villages. The theory is that the spirits need to be awakened and scared away before the island goes quiet. Everyone from the youngest to the eldest members of the community are busy in the weeks leading up to Nyepi, preparing the Ogoh-Ogoh, making offerings and cleansing their homes and the island. It’s an amazing time to be in Bali and tourists are more than welcome to join in.
Several days before Nyepi the spectacular Melasti ceremony is held at all Bali’s leading temples. The Balinese dress in white and prepare spectacular offerings. The island is cleansed as they head to the rivers and the sea to lay their final offerings.
The Balinese Hindus stay inside to honour their traditions and ‘festivities’ for the day, but tourists, expats and those of other religions use Hari Raya Nyepi as the perfect opportunity for a staycation. Multiple hotels across Bali, and across neighbouring islands, have created packages especially for those who want to experience Hari Raya Nyepi without giving up the comfort and luxury they are used to. Here are our picks priced from lowest to highest, enjoy the blessings of being in Bali at this very special time of year.
Avoid Nyepi altogether and head to Lombok. Gili Air’s Sunset Beach is home to Kai’s Beach House, a beach-chic cottage that is available to rent over Hari Raya Nyepi. The house only has three bedrooms, each with its own en-suite bathroom. Your breakfast will be prepared daily in a fully equipped kitchen. Enjoy the beautiful beach in front, or jump into the plunge pool in the garden. Your stay also comes with a 15% discount voucher at Sunkissed and Da Beach Shack boutiques. Prices start at IDR 1.000.000 for one room per night and go up to IDR 2.000.000 per night for the entire house.
Located in Nusa Dua, The Sakala Resort brings you modern suites and villas with Balinese influences evident in the architecture and interiors. Their Nyepi package consists of a room & breakfast deal but can be upgraded to a full board package. Whether you prefer a regular suite, a pool view, or a luxury villa all to yourself, The Sakala Resort has you covered. Prices start at IDR 1.200.000 a night and include daily buffet breakfast, access to The Health Club and The Kids Club.
Trade in the hustle and bustle of Bali life for the virgin white beach that Hotel Tugu Lombok calls home Get ready for breathtaking sunrises over Mount Rinjani while enjoying a daily lavish breakfast. Find yourself immersed in the culturally rich and diverse history of Indonesia by taking in the architecture, art and antiques used to brilliantly decorate this uniquely beautiful resort. Hotel Tugu Lombok has been named the Conde Naste’s Top Resort in Asia by it’s readers, and this is your chance to experience it for yourself.
Nyepi at Tugu will provide you with the inclusive daily breakfast, daily sunset high tea with local delicacies and a romantic dinner by the sea. To top off your stay, you will have access to the Hening Swarga spa for a one-hour spa treatment for two.
Prices may vary according to your choice of accommodation but start at IDR 2.450.000 per night.
If you’re looking for breathtaking views on green hills and lush rice paddies, Kamandalu Resort provides you with various chalets and villas to choose from. Their luxurious accommodations give you all the privacy and comfort that you need to spend quality time with your company during Hari Raya Nyepi.
The Nyepi package gives you the opportunity to experience Balinese culture up close. Kamandalu Resort Ubud invites you to watch an Ogoh-Ogoh parade, which is an exorcism parade to get rid of all the bad spirits before the new year starts. To really get into the relaxation and meditation vibe of Hari Raya Nyepi, you will be able to do daily yoga sessions at Rumah Yoga.
Depending if you would like to stay in a chalet or a villa, prices start at IDR 2.800.000 per night and include breakfast and lunch.
Another escape to one of the Tugu hotels can be done closer to home. Hotel Tugu Bali is located in hot and happening Canggu, the latest ‘place to be’ on the island. Nyepi at Tugu Hotel Bali will provide you with a deeper understanding of Balinese culture by inviting you to arrive early and to experience the Melasti cleansing ceremony at the sacred Batu Bolong temple. This ceremony takes place on the 4th of March, in front of the hotel. It is the same spot that will allow you to observe the Ogoh-Ogoh parade a couple of days later.
Your stay will include daily breakfast and high tea with local delicacies and a complimentary yoga class on the day of Nyepi to savour the silence and rejuvenate. Lastly, a one hour spa treatment for two at Waroeng Djamoe Spa is part of the package as well. Prices start at IDR 3.300.000 per night.
Hideaway Villas in Uluwatu is the perfect place to spend Hari Raya Nyepi, if you would like to combine your stay with the opportunity to visit picture-perfect beaches in Bali, not actually on the Nyepi day, however. Unlike the tourist centres of Kuta or Seminyak, the beaches here are white and the sea is a gorgeous aquamarine colour.
The villas are located on the cliff of Bali’s Bukit peninsula and include a private terrace and swimming pool. Your 3-day stay includes daily breakfast and a one-time lunch and dinner for IDR 4.920.000.
Waking up with beachfront views at the Ritz-Carlton in Nusa Dua offers a luxurious feeling of tranquillity. Their selection of suites and villas have spacious layouts, Balinese décor and outdoor spaces to enjoy. Choosing to stay in a villa will also give you the luxury of having a private pool with a floating breakfast. Complimentary to their Nyepi package is access to daily resort activities, access to the Hydro-Vital Pool and access to Ritz Kids. Prices for a two-night accommodation start at IDR 5.000.000 for a suite and IDR 9.000.000 for a villa.
Escape Bali for a visit to the neighbouring island, Lombok. The Lombok Lodge has nine exclusive Lodge Suites located in a quiet, idyllic and romantic part of northern Lombok. Daily shuttle service to Gili Air will provide you with the opportunity to make the most out of your stay and explore more of what Indonesia has to offer.
Your stay at The Lombok Lodge starts with a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine upon arrival along with delicious canapés. Daily a la carte breakfast and five-course dinner are arranged for you by Chef Jiwa Raga. Daily afternoon tea is provided upon request. You will be able to complete your stay with one 60-minute relaxing massage and one 60-minute natural facial per couple. This Nyepi package comes at US$515 per night, which is roughly IDR 7.256.513.
AYANA Resort Bali gives you the opportunity to combine a relaxing holiday with a one-of-a-kind cultural experience. Guests are given the opportunity to participate in the resort’s Ogoh-Ogoh parade, dressed in traditional Balinese attire. Afterwards, there will be a delicious buffet feast at Kampoeng Bali where the cultural celebrations will continue.
Your stay at AYANA also includes buffet breakfast on both mornings and a ‘star grazing and gazing’ dessert-style picnic on Hari Raya Nyepi. Ultimate relaxation is also ensured by an aquatonic seawater therapy pool treatment for two. This package comes at US$652 per room per night, which translates to IDR 9.180.167.
The Samaya in Ubud is hidden in the hills of Sayan village. The combination of the surrounding area and the luxurious design of the villas create the ideal sanctuary for those who seek a balance of mind, body and soul. Hari Raya Nyepi in the Samaya will provide you with three days at a Hill Side Villa, either in the upper level of the resort or close to the Ayung River below. The package includes daily breakfast, daily afternoon tea, one light lunch and two dinners at Swept Away restaurant. Complimentary to your stay is a 60 minutes spa treatment, yoga, painting class and a traditional Balinese offering class. The total price for a two-night-stay is IDR 9.666.600.
Located on Bali’s ‘Billionaire’s Row’, Karma Kandara comes to you with ultimate luxury. Their villas sit in a stunning lush greenery landscape and offer cliff-side ocean views of tropical beaches. Hari Raya Nyepi at Karma Kandara gives you a welcome drink, a fruit basket, daily breakfast and one dinner during your stay. Complimentary is access to the Karma Beach Club and kids activities at Three Monkey Kids Club. A two-night stay for two persons during Silent Day will start at IDR 12.554.000.
If you want to take your kids on a staycation during Hari Raya Nyepi, Karma Jimbaran has you covered! This family-friendly beachside resort is located at the Jimbaran Bay. You will stay in a private pool villa for three days with complementary activities for the kids at Three Monkeys Kids Club. A welcome drink and a cold towel will be provided upon arrival and daily breakfast will be provided as well. One Nyepi dinner and brunch with your family will take place at The Bay Bar and Grill. A two-night-stay for four persons during Silent Day will start at IDR 14.000.000.