A Cremation Ceremony – Ubud, Bali

The Balinese view the cremation of a loved one as a time of celebration and go to great expense to ensure the dead have a suitable send-off.  The principle purpose of the Ngaben or Pitra Yadyna ceremony, as it is called in Bali, is to release the soul of a dead person so that it can enter the upper realm. The local people are usually willing to allow respectful foreign guests to experience this unique way of sending off the deceased to the next life.

One of the surprising things is that the person who is being cremated may have already been dead for a number of years. The deceased’s family will save until they can afford the cremation ceremony. The Ngaben is the most important event in a persons life (or death) in Bali and no expense is spared.

Ubud Cremation Ceremony

During my stay in Bali I was fortunate to meet wonderful friendly people and to gain some insight into their personal lives. I felt honoured when my guide invited me to attend a cremation ceremony in Ubud. All members of the deceased’s family, plus friends and associates attend an Ngaben. Attendees include everyone, from the very young to the very old. This amazing event afforded me the opportunity to take a multitude of photos of the interesting people of Bali.

Ngaben Ceremony Potraits – The Young

Cremation ceremonies in Bali entail carrying the deceased for considerable distances to open air crematoriums. The procession tends to be crowded but I undertook to follow it through the streets of Ubud. I am glad I did.

As the Ngaben parade wound its way up the street towards the cremation site I found an elevated spot from which to view the proceedings. These two boys and their mother were kind enough to give me an overview of the event unfolding before us.

Bali Cremation Ceremony

Ngaben Ceremony Potraits – The Captivating

All the ladies attending the cremation were dressed in colourful skirts and beautiful white tops. This young lady had a most captivating smile.

Bali Cremation Ceremony

Ngaben Ceremony Potraits – The Interesting

Men attending a Bali cremation ceremony wear their finest traditional clothing and head dress.Bali Traditional Clothing

Bali Ngaben Parade

Bali Cremation Parade

Bali Cremation Tower

The body of the deceased is placed in an ornate sculptured cow and carried through the streets on a funeral tower.

Bali Cremation Bull

Bali Sacred Cremation Cow

The sacred Ngaben cow or Lembu is made of bamboo and wood. During the official burning of the body, both the Lembu and and tower are set alight. Gas burners are used to increase the intensity of the fire to ensure the body is cremated correctly.Bali Cremation Tower

Exmouth, Western Australia – A Journey

Exmouth, Western Australia

The Resort town of Exmouth is situated almost one thousand three hundred kilometres north of Perth. It is the northern gateway to the world-heritage listed Ningaloo Marine Park which is its main tourist attraction. The Ningaloo Reef is one of the longest fringing coral reefs in the world. It totals two hundred and sixty kilometres in length from Bundegi Beach near the main township down to Red Bluff at Quobba Station in the south.

There are a number of marine parks close to Exmouth, including Bundegi Coastal Park and Jurabi Coastal Reserve. The latter is a seasonal nesting ground for green and loggerhead turtles. The turtle spotting season is from November to March but tourists are encouraged not to disturb these majestic creatures.

Whale sharks are the world’s biggest fish and they gather in large numbers along the Ningaloo Reed from April to July each year. Everyone’s bucket list should include snorkelling with whale sharks as they cruise along close to the surface devouring large quantities of plankton.

The waters surrounding Exmouth are regarded by a number of anglers as Australia’s premier fishing destination. Beach, reef, game, sport, flats and fly fishing are all possible in this area.

Carnarvon, WA – Exmouth Stopover

Carnarvon lies at the mouth of the Gascoyne River just over nine hundred kilometres north of Western Australia’s capital Perth. It is an important fruit growing area but is also recognised for its all-year round warm climate and fine seafood. Carnarvon is an excellent stop-over destination for visitors to Exmouth as it leaves less than four hundred kilometres for the final leg of the journey.

Carnarvon, Western Australia

Turquoise Bay, Exmouth

Turquoise Bay is renowned for its superb snorkelling, pristine white sand and crystal clear water. This gem of Western Australia’s north is rated by travel web site TripAdvisor as one of the top twenty beaches in the world. It is Exmouth’s premier snorkel site and the Ningaloo Reef is just a short swim from the beach.

Turquoise Bay, Exmouth

Whale Sharks – Exmouth

There are number of different whale shark tours to choose from in Exmouth. Most tours operate from mid March to mid September each year. All of these companies have access to spotter planes that locate the whale sharks and then guide the boats to where they are. Swimming with these magnificent fish rates as one of my best experiences ever!Whale Shark, Exmouth

Abundance of Termite Mounds

An interesting feature of the Exmouth region is the large number of termite mounds. They are prominent amongst the scrub and bring a rich red colour to the landscape.

Exmouth Ant Hill

Exmouth Sunset

It is not difficult to find a deserted beach to enjoy a quiet sun-downer and a magical sunset in the Cape Range National Park.

Exmouth Sunset

Yardie Creek, Exmouth

A highlight of the Cape Range National Park is the two kilometre walk above the Yardie Creek Gorge. The creek flows between the spectacular sheer cliffs and you might be lucky to spot a black-footed rock wallaby.Yardie Creek, Exmouth

Taman Ujung Water Palace, Karangasem, Bali

Ujung Water Palace

The Ujung Water Palace or Taman Sukasada Ujung is one of my favourite attractions in Bali. This beautiful sprawling complex is located in the village of Seraya in the Karangasem regency of Bali. I highly recommend visiting for the following reasons:

  1. The palace and surrounding grounds are spotlessly clean and well maintained.
  2. The gardens are lush and superbly manicured.
  3. The ponds are clean and teeming with fish.
  4. The palace is close to the foot of an imposing but picturesque Mount Agung.
  5. Furthermore, the wonderful reflections of the buildings off the water are a photographers dream.
  6. Finally, the palace is far enough away from the main tourist areas to keep away large crowds.

Ujung Water Palace

Taman Ujung Panorama

The palace buildings are built around and on three large ponds. The principle structure is set in the middle of the main pond and is accessed via two ornate pedestrian bridges. The palace is no longer inhabited but has been maintained in pristine condition.

Taman Ujung Panorama

Taman Ujung Water Palace Gardens

The sprawling manicured gardens are immaculately maintained and the walled terraces add to the ambience. The paths and steps that are set amongst the gardens take hours to explore and lead to a number of enchanting viewing spots.

Taman Ujung Water Palace Gardens

Taman Ujung Palace Landscape

Mount Agung provides a spectacular background to the Taman Ujung Palace. Sadly, there is a downside to this seemingly serene setting. The palace was almost entirely destroyed by the eruption of the mountain in 1963 and subsequently by an earthquake in 1975.Taman Ujung Palace Landscape

Gili Bale Building, Taman Ujung Palace

The main building is named Gili Bale. It has an abundance of windows with views of the pond, garden and nearby mountain. The palace buildings were designed by Dutch architect van Den Hentz and, thus, have a decidedly European feel to them. on a final note, I have been warned to beware of large crowds at weekends.

Gili Bale Building, Ujung Palace