Sunday, December 20, 2009

Kecak at Uluwatu Sunset

Day 2 (23 Aug 2008). Beyond everything…..

I’ve seen a few culture show or dance in many countries, in fact; I saw Barong Dance in Bali too; but somehow Kecak took it to the next level. And I’ve read that for you to "feel" it more, you must watch it at Uluwatu during sunset, other places won’t have the same impact. TRUST ME!

Let me “cut and paste” about Kecak Dance from Wikipedia before I tell you MY version, MY feel & MY experience. Jeng jeng jeng….

Kecak a form of Balinese music drama, originated in the 1930s and is performed primarily by men. Also known as the Ramayana Monkey Chant, the piece, performed by a circle of 100 or more performers wearing checked cloth around their waists, percussively chanting "cak" and throwing up their arms, depicts a battle from the Ramayana where the monkey-like Vanara helped Prince Rama fight the evil King Ravana. However, Kecak has roots in sanghyang, a trance-inducing exorcism dance.

Now that everyone more or less understood the dance ritual, here’s my experience of it.

Pak Dewa kept promoting Kecak Dance located in Uluwatu as to the those around town (I hereby AGREES with him 100%), maybe partly because I told him that I really love historical site and cultural stuff which I guess made him sure of himself that I would fall in love with this performance. YEAY for Pak Dewa.

The performance starts at around 6pm SHARP regardless whether the venue if filled up or not, they wait for NOBODY as the idea is to perform during the sun setting - crucial element of the dance. Pak Dewa drove us to Uluwatu half an hour earlier as he wanted to show us the cliff (I wonder why??! Big deal right!?) Well, he parked his van, we walked up the cliff and at the same time he cautioned us to be careful with our belongings as there’s a lot of MONKEY monkeying with tourist belongings. All website or tour guide would request the tourist in their care to NOT wear sunglasses, ribbons, glaring hairclips etc which attracts monkey attention. I thought he was kidding until I saw the monkeys, not just monkey nor was it monkeys. It’s more like…hemm…. MONKEYSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS (you get the drift).

Oh! Before I completely forgot, since it’s at a sacred place, one need to wear proper attire ie skirts/pants that covers you knee, if not; they will instead furnish you with cloth for you to wrap around your waist. And every one even those with right attire will be given a piece of long yellow cloth to be tied around their waist. I believe it’s a form of respect to the temple.

Pak Dewa took a short detour to the cliff he bragged about, we walked and I saw and guess what, seeing IS believing. It’s BEAUTIFUL! OK First, one thing you need to know about me is that am a scady cat, YUP! Really! I was like standing 20 meter from the cliff, Andrea and sis happily walked to the nearest edge and I here shouting to them to come back. Don’t be fooled by my smiley-happy-brave-looking-pic. I lied very well in pics - it’s a rare skill apparently. Hehhehehee….

We then rushed to registration site, even the walk to the registration site and towards the arena was exciting and YES! Monkey is still everywhere despite the crowds were by hundreds. I guess the monkeys do love thee attention. They even posed for us okay! Move aside Bubble! Hahahahaaa…

We were on time, the show was about to start, the sharman did his opening, the chanters gathered at the side, chillexing… and then at 6pm SHARP, the show BEGINS! The troupe went in chanting rhythmatically “chakka chak chak”, moving into circle; standing then sitting, the chant was somewhat soothing and calming, and your heartbeat seems to follow the rhythm pace.

Your whole body tends to follow the dancer move, swaying to left and right. Trance? Nah….. I was still alert, aware and busy takings pics (woman are good at multitasking so they say).

As they chant and before the main cast enters, the sun begins to set. this part I need to hijack the earlier trip pics as 3 of us did not manage to take any pic of the temple - too crowded. Perfect huh!

The main cast starts coming in narrating the story… of Ramayana.

It was very thrilling and they even add humour by bringing a 3 stooges act, hahahha… that was funny. The suspense part was when the Varana came to the rescue and they include a fire element into it ie REAL FIRE. WOW! HOT!

It ended shortly after the fire scene, we rushed for dinner as we were tooooo hungwyyyy then. Had dinner at Jimbaran - a must go place. Unfortunately no pics available as it was too dark and camera ran out of battery…. Sigh.

Tomorrow - a Tubing adventure.

Credits : My-Indonesia. Wikipedia


MKL said...

Wow, the sunset photo looks so good :-) I love sunsets, hehe. You can check the one I will never forget, taken in Penang, 2007. Great post, Lily! :-)

manglish said...

do you have to be there on a specific time to catch the show?

Lily Riani said...


i will check out your post, i LOVE sunsets as well..... its god greatest gift along with nature.

Lily Riani said...


yeah, i believe it starts at 6pm, be there around 5pm, you can also walk up to the cliff temple.

Shingo T said...

Wow, there are still shamans in this time and age.

I only see them on movies. I'm a frog in the well!

Ai Shiang said...

Those men doing the dancing really look "kurus" lah hahaha!

Lily Riani said...

shingo t,

yeah man! makes it a bit drama... i thk in certain part of the world it still exist.

ehhehe.... frog in the well huh.... heheeh. arent we all.

Lily Riani said...

ai shiang,

yeah man! an embarassment to meself...ahhaha..... u should go, so near oz oledy.

Liudmila said...

Unfortunatelly there is not music... :0) I like folks dances and have wrote about them different times. Have to look for music in YouTube...

Lily Riani said...


I was looking for music too.. love it so much, perhaps i drop an email to the tour guide and ask.. hemm...

Anonymous said...

You have got to see this. Obama playing on XBox. Funniest video ever.

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