Travelogue: Up Close and Personal in Kuta with Ogoh Ogoh on Silent Day Eve

Balinese Adventure Part 38

L Hotel Seminyak in Bali, Indonesia, arranges for a Butler to accompany Michael Taylor to Kuta so that he can observe Ogoh Ogoh on Silent Day Eve. He finds something a bit like a cross between Christmas and Halloween.

One of the first things a newcomer does to establish his credibility in Bali is develop an outspoken disdain for the city of Kuta, which Lonely Planet describes as ‘loud, frenetic, and brash’.

If artists and writers head for Ubud, the well-healed head for Jimbaran, Nusa Dua, or Seminyak.

Kuta – with its raucous nightclubs and cheap hotels – is the centre of mass market tourism in Bali, a place to be avoided like the plague by ‘those in the know’.

So it comes as a bit of a surprise when driver after driver tell me that Kuta – with its ‘cheap cafes, surf shops, incessant motorbikes and an unaccountable number of T-shirt vendors’ – is the best spot in Bali to view ogoh ogoh on Silent Day Eve.

L Hotel Seminyak Bali – the final stop on my 30 day Balinese adventure – arranges for a butler to accompany me to Kuta to observe ogoh ogoh, the larger than life renditions of fearsome creatures from Balinese folklore that are to be carried through the streets in a bid to scare off evil spirts in the New Year.

Cross Between Christmas and Halloween

As we prowl the streets of this fascinating part of Bali, I can’t help but think that the negative things I’ve heard and read about Kuta are a bit exaggerated. Sure, there are shops selling T-shirts and souvenirs.

These shops exist for a reason. People do buy that stuff. I, for example, stop at one of them to buy Oakland Raiders caps to give staff at the hotel in thanks for their hospitality when I check out.

We stop to admire the ogoh ogoh. We take lots of pictures. And we dine at an inexpensive warung as we wait for the procession of ogoh ogoh to begin.

Where

L Hotel Seminyak, Jalan Raya Petitenget Ho. 8L, Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia. Telepphone: +62 361 894 7898. 

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