Where to Hear Gamelan Music in Bali

Gamelan in Bali
Gamelan in Bali | © Benjamin Hollis / Flickr
Edira Putri

Gamelan is a traditional percussive music that accompanies the life of Balinese people, an integral part of the culture. The distinctive sound knows no language boundary, meaning anyone can appreciate this form of art. Discover the best places to enjoy the unique and soothing sounds of gamelan in Bali.

1. Ubud Palace


Entrance to Ubud Palace
© Antonia / Flickr
In this majestic place, gamelan often acts as an important accompaniment to traditional dance shows. The highlight is the Barong dance, which tells the story of a lovable mythical beast called Barong. With fascinating costumes and movements, the time spent watching the show is a delight in both sight and sound. They provide a brochure with an excellent explanation about the show, written in English.

2. Cenik Wayah Children’s Gamelan and Dance Group at Ubud Water Palace

The one thing more adorable than watching a group of people banging exotic musical instruments simultaneously, is watching a group of children doing it. They may be young but their performances are mighty and all-out. These children and young adults really they know what they’re doing. Better still, tourists can enjoy the performance with the backdrop of the stunning Ubud Water Palace.

Ubud Water Palace, Jl. Kajeng No.24, Ubud, Gianyar Regency, Bali, Indonesia

3. Mekar Bhuana

In Mekar Bhuana, not only you can enjoy a live show of gamelan, but also learn and experience playing it yourself. This place is perfect for culture or music enthusiasts who are looking for more than entertainment, but also experience and education. The Mekar Bhuana has gamelan experts ready to show tourists everything they want to know about the centuries-old tradition. And if you really like it, this place also produces various traditional musical instruments you can purchase.

Mekar Bhuana, Jl. Gandapura 3, no.501X, Banjar Kesiman Kerthalangu, East Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia

Villas or Hotels

Even if your schedule is too tight to squeeze in two hours of gamelan, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a glimpse of the majestic musical attraction. Many villas provide traditional performances for their guests. If this is something you would be interested in, choose accommodation with complimentary gamelan shows, like Laghawa Beach Inn. Villa Puri Nirwana can arrange performances, usually for weddings, but these aren’t complimentary and there is an additional charge for the service.

Laghawa Beach Inn, Jl. Danau Tamblingan No.51, Sanur, Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia

Puri Nirwana Villa, Jl. Pantai Cucukan No.12, Medahan, Gianyar Regency, Bali, Indonesia


5. Restaurants

Aside from hotels, restaurants in Bali are also great placers to see performances of gamelan. For tourists who are interested in trying local cuisines, a gamelan performance can complete the authentic dining experience. You can ask restaurants for their gamelan schedule, but Tandjung Sari is among the best restaurants offering to entertain their guests with some epic gamelan and dance performances.

Tandjung Sari Restaurant, Jl. Danau Tamblingan, Sanur, Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia

Almost every corner in Ubud

Ubud is known as Bali’s art and cultural hub. The area is vibrant with art shops and shows, cultural tours, and artistic performances. It’s also the base camp of many gamelan troupes, who can be heard rehearsing regularly. Most gamelan groups are open to visitors who are interested in hearing or seeing these rehearsals. So if you’re wandering in Ubud and your ears catch some enticing percussive sounds, just literally follow the sound of the music and you’ll end up watching a wonderful gamelan performance.

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