Traveling to Bali is not just about exploring its enchanting nature or its trendy areas full of entertainment. Traveling to Bali is also about embracing its culture. As part of the culture, Kecak Dance becomes a must see performance when you are in Bali, particularly if you are a first timer. To intrigue you even more in watching Kecak Dance, here is the Bali Travel Guide to prepare you for what you might see.

General Knowledge

Kecak dance Bali, also known as the “Monkey Dance” or “Ramayana Monkey Chant,” is a traditional Balinese dance that originated in the 1930s.. This unique and captivating performance is renowned for its rhythmic chanting, dramatic storytelling, and vibrant choreography.

The Kecak dance is often performed by a large group of male dancers, typically ranging from 50 to 100 or more. What sets this dance apart is the absence of a traditional musical accompaniment. Instead, the dancers create a hypnotic and rhythmic soundscape through their synchronized chanting of the famous “chak-kecak-kecak” vocalization, which imitates the sound of monkeys.

The Storyline

Kecak Dance is based on the Hindu epic, Ramayana. The performance typically focuses on the part of the epic where Prince Rama and his loyal companion Hanuman face various challenges in their quest to rescue Princess Sita from the demon king, Ravana. The dancers use expressive movements and gestures to portray the characters and bring the narrative to life.

The dancers wear traditional Balinese costumes, which are often brightly colored and adorned with intricate details. The eye-catching visuals, combined with the powerful chanting and dynamic choreography, create an immersive and unforgettable experience for the audience.

The Kecak dance is not only a form of artistic expression but also serves as a cultural and religious representation for the Balinese people. It has gained international recognition and has become a popular attraction for tourists visiting Bali, offering a unique and mesmerizing glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the island.

Where to Watch Kecak Dance?

One of the most iconic Kecak dance performances takes place at the Uluwatu Temple in Uluwatu, South Bali, with the stunning Indian Ocean as a backdrop. The rhythmic chanting and dramatic scenes unfold as the sun sets, adding to the mystical atmosphere of the performance. Not too far from Uluwatu, you may also enjoy the performance in Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) Cultural Park. It is a large park with a massive statue of Lord Vishnu and the mythical bird Garuda. Kecak dance performances are often included in the cultural programs at GWK.

However, if you want to explore farther from the southern area for a more different scene, go to Tanah Lot in Beraban, Tabanan. Tanah Lot is another iconic temple in Bali, occasionally hosts Kecak dance performances. This temple is particularly known for its stunning sunset views. Alternatively, you can also visit Ubud, renowned as the cultural heart of Bali. While you can sightseeing the lush rice fields or terrace all around, you can find Kecak dance performances in many places. One in particular is in Pura Dalem Ubud. However, you can research more locations on the internet, adjusting to the location you are staying or visiting.

Brief Guidelines to Watch Kecak dance

While there may not be strict “rules” for watching a Kecak dance performance, it’s essential to be respectful of the cultural and artistic experience. Besides, here is a list of suggestion to maximize your experience:

  1. Arrive Early

Give yourself enough time to find a good seat and immerse yourself in the surroundings. Popular performances, especially those at iconic locations like Uluwatu Temple, can attract large crowds.

  1. Dress Appropriately

Wear modest and comfortable clothing, as you might be sitting on the ground during the performance. Additionally, some temples or cultural venues may have dress codes, so it’s a good idea to check in advance.

  1. Stay Quiet and Focused

Once the performance begins, maintain a quiet and focused demeanor. The chanting and storytelling are integral to the experience, and talking loudly can disrupt the atmosphere for fellow audience members.

  1. No Flash Photography

Flash photography can be distracting for performers and other viewers. Kecak dance is best experienced without the use of flash. Check and adhere to any specific photography rules set by the organizers.

  1. Respect the Sacred Nature

If the performance takes place in a temple or sacred site, be aware of the cultural and religious significance. Follow any guidelines provided by the venue, such as removing shoes before entering.

  1. Turn Off Mobile Devices

Silence or turn off your mobile phone to avoid disruptions. The performance is an immersive experience, and the sound of phones can be disruptive.

  1. Observe from Designated Areas

Stay within the designated viewing areas to ensure both your safety and the safety of the performers. Avoid wandering onto the performance space during the show.

  1. Applaud Appropriately

At the end of the performance, show appreciation with applause. Balinese performers often appreciate a positive and respectful response from the audience.

  1. Be Mindful of Cultural Sensitivities

Be mindful of the cultural context of the performance, and avoid any behavior that could be perceived as disrespectful. It’s an opportunity to learn and appreciate Bali’s rich cultural heritage.

By following these guidelines, you can contribute to a positive and respectful atmosphere during the Kecak dance performance and fully enjoy the cultural experience.