Bali Tour Price:  $2499 double - includes all ground transportation, lodging, classes, activities, tour guides, translators, breakfasts, and service fees. (For more information about the details of our tour, please see traveling in Bali and the preliminary itinerary.) Airfare and travel medical insurance (mandatory) are not included. A non-refundable deposit of $500 is due by May 1, 2013. Tour size is limited to 6-8 people. Sign up now to ensure your participation in this fascinating adventure!


Rituals and ceremonies are celebrated on a continual basis in Bali and tour participants often have the opportunity to attend Balinese ceremonies in a traditional village setting. There are different categories of ceremonies including rituals for the gods, the higher spirits, humans, and evil spirits. Ceremonies attended by our tour participants include Galungan (Bali New Year), Pitra Yadnya (cremation ritual), Toothfilings (a rite of passage ritual), Baby Namings, and many other village ceremonies.

Galungan procession

Baby naming ceremony

Cremation procession

Exorcism offering


One of the classes offered on our tours is traditional Topeng dancing. Topeng means "mask" and this dance is traditionally performed by one dancer who changes masks during the performance. Students have the opportunity to learn Topeng Tua ("Old Man"), and one student had the opportunity to perform the dance for the entire village which greatly impressed the locals. This class also includes a demonstration of our teacher I Wayan Suma's personal Topeng mask collection, which are kept in his family's shrine.

Topeng class

Topeng Turis

Mask demonstration

Comic mask

Topeng class


Mask making is one of many arts practiced in Bali. Our mask making class is taught by a traditional Topeng mask maker, who is also a Topeng dancer (see "Topeng Dance" section). In these photos, students learned how to make a Rangda mask, which they carved themselves and then painted over a two day period. As you can see in the photos, the masks the students created were beautiful!


Legong is an introductory dance that is traditionally taught to young boys and girls in Bali. This is one of the dances that tour participants can learn during their visit. In the past, students have spent three days learning the dance. There was also an opportunity for those who wished to wear the traditional Legong costume and perform the dance for the villagers. These photos are from one of our tours in 2005. Just for fun, Legong costumes were also rented for the other tour participants. We all had a great time!

Student performance

Legong class

Legong teacher

Legong costumes

Tour in costume


Balinese gamelan is an exciting orchestra with many instruments to master. Although this music takes some time to learn, occasionally students spend time studying Balinese music. The following photos are from our 2004 tour, which included a few musicians who were learning gamelan in the village of Abian Jero in eastern Bali. Students learned the music for the Baris dance and then had the opportunity to perform the piece with the children's village gamelan. As part of this tour, we also visited some gamelan factories, a fascinating process!

Gamelan performance

Gamelan class

Gamelan lesson

Gamelan factory

Gamelan store


A fun tour activity is learning how to make traditional Balinese offerings. In Bali, most offerings are made by women. Countless offerings are created each day and placed with prayers at family shrines, village temples, in front of businesses and many other places where blessings from the gods are desired. In this class we learn how to make simple Balinese offerings featured in the accompanying photos. After completing their offerings, participants have the opportunity to wear traditional Balinese ceremonial clothing to an offering ceremony at a local temple. Our local guides teach us the basics of the ceremony. These photos are from some Balinese offering classes and ceremonies from past tours.


A popular activity on our tour is the batik class, which teaches participants the art of traditional Indonesian textile dyeing techniques. During this class, students design and create their own batik fabric, which students may take home to show their skills to family and friends. Batik is a fun activity for all! These photos are from a batik class from a past tour.


The cuisines of Bali, though not as well known as those of its neighbors, are filled with exciting new flavors and wonderful fresh ingredients that mix ceremony, medicine, and food into one enticing mixture. You will be given a descriptive guided tour of Bali's extensive produce markets where you can try the world-renowned mangosteen fruit, the mysterious but delicious snake fruit, the vanilla-like flavoring pandanus, the savory tempeh which was invented by Indonesians, and the kencur or lesser galangal that gives Balinese food its distinctive flavor. Once you learn how to pick out and buy the best produce, you will learn how to prepare it in participatory classes creating signature dishes such as bregedel jagung (galangal corn fritters), lawar buncis (string beans with coconut), delicious tropical fruit shakes, and bubur injin (black rice coconut pudding) while learning the medicinal value and ritual significance of each ingredient. You will go home with written recipes that will allow you to easily make these delicious dishes on your own. We can readily accomodate all diets including raw, vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, or omnivores.

Nat at market

traditional Balinese lunch

Balinese birthday cake

snake fruit

Balinese fruit

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Bali Cultural Tours

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Come experience the culture of Bali with us!

BALI TOUR August 2013: Bali is renowned among travelers for its breathtaking natural splendor, rich cultural heritage, and profound spiritual mystique. But few foreigners ever penetrate beneath its beautiful surface, which conceals treasures and pleasures known only to the Balinese and a handful of international devotees. Even if you've been to Bali before, this revealing, personalized exploration led by two American experts on the island's hidden wonders will make you see this ultimate tropical paradise with new eyes. And for first-time visitors, there could be no better introduction to a destination no one ever forgets.

This cultural tour of Bali, Indonesia provides participants with a unique opportunity to study Balinese culture in a traditional atmosphere on this fifteen-day tour led by ethnobotanist Dr. Nathaniel Bletter and SNHU faculty member and anthropologist Cathy Silverman. This year’s Bali tour will take place in August 2013 and will be focused on medicinal herbs, healing techniques, traditional cooking, and Balinese culture and religion. Please join us for this unique experience of Balinese culture!

Each tour is limited to 6-8 participants. See below for pricing and other information. Our tours are small and personal, which results in a more interesting and meaningful experience for all. Another special feature of our tours is that participants help shape the experience. Each tour is geared toward participants’ individual interests, so be sure to let us know what you would like to learn about Balinese culture. We are more than happy to incorporate your personal interests into our tour!

To see a preliminary intinerary for the Bali Tour August 2013, please click here.

For info. about traveling in Bali, including tour accommodations and transportation, please click here.

Because each tour is different, the specific details of each individual tour vary. Here are some explanations and accompanying photos of what past tours have explored while in Bali:


Tour participants have attended many performances of traditional Balinese music. These photos are from a Kecak (Monkey Chant) performance in the village of Bona. Other performances we have attended include Barong and Rangda, Wayang kulit (shadow puppet plays), the childrens' gamelan at the Neka Museum, Frog Dance, Gambuh, and Baris Dance, among others.

Dancers - Kecak

Kecak Fire Dance

Sugriva - Kecak

excerpt from Balinese cremation ritual


One of the goals of our Bali cultural tours is to gain a greater understanding and appreciation for Balinese religion. As part of our study, we visit a variety of traditional Balinese healers, who are known as "balians." Traditional Balinese healing utilizes interrelated techniques including prayer, offerings, medicinal herbs, massage and more. During the tour, participants have an opportunity to receive treatment from a Balinese healer, learn about Balinese healing methods, and to explore some of the medicinal plants used in Bali.

For more information about our Bali Tours, please contact

We’re looking forward to sharing the culture of Bali with you! :)