Nyepi – Balinese Hindu New Year

Bali Institute presents
our Premier Program

Celebrate Nyepi — Balinese Hindu New Year
Join the Founder of Bali Institute,
Marcia Jaffe on this Exclusive Trip

• March 25 – April 3, 2017 • Bali, Indonesia •

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Join us for one of the more powerfully transformative journeys of your lifetime. This special signature Bali Institute program is a unique opportunity to delve deeply into indigenous culture during one of the most important festivals in the Balinese calendar – Nyepi – The Balinese Hindu New Year devoted to self-reflection, healing, and blessings.

frogImagine an entire island closing down to engage fully in silence and stillness for a full 24 hours. It is a time of renewal, and the local people use it as a chance to purify their bodies and minds in order to enjoy prosperity over the coming year. We will meet together during this sacred time to release our own demons, purify our minds and our bodies as we too enter into the deep silence. There are no other festivals quite like it anywhere on earth.

Following the New Year festivities, we will travel to other parts of the island where you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and experience Bali in a way very few non-Balinese have the opportunity to do.

Bali Program Highlights

Join us as we explore the dynamic creativity of some of Bali’s most important artistic and religious traditions. Highlights include:

  • Celebrate Nyepi in rich cultural immersion with local Balinese people and witness the once in a lifetime ogoh ogoh festival of giant statues parading through the village streets
  • Sunrise boat ride above a gorgeously restored coral reef
  • Snorkeling at Menjangan Island
  • Delicious Balinese food, incredible scenery, culture and art
  • Speaking to a Balinese visionary Agung Prana about the future of Bali in the age of tourism

Price $1800**

A non-refundable deposit of $500 is due upon registration with the balance due February 15, 2017.

Price includes all of the above (transportation, hotels, some meals, all activities, and airport transfers if arrival and departure are on the days of the program).  Not included are optional side trips, laundry, some meals.  If you prefer your own room, single room rate for the program is $450.

**Our pricing is based on shared rooms and we will do our best to match you with a roommate.  If we are unable to do so, a single room fee may apply

To Register
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Journey to Bali
March 25 – April 3

The itinerary described below is designed to give you a sense of the day-to-day schedule and activities being offered though during the holiday some activities may be changed based on availability.

Travel Day is March 23-24, with arrival on March 25

 Location 1: Central Bali – Ubud

Ubud is a thriving village in central Bali and is considered the cultural capital of this tiny island. It is famous as an arts and crafts hub, and much of the village and nearby areas consist of artists’ workshops and galleries. Here you find remarkable architecture and other sites, historical museums, famous woodcarvers and artists, and an array of interesting cafes, local foods, and non-stop ceremonies. The word Ubud comes from the Balinese word for medicine, so it is here that people flock for healing energies, good spirits, meditation, yoga, artistry, and indigenous knowledge.

 Day 1:  March 25, Arrivals – head to Ubud (D)

Arrive into Denpasar, Bali in the early afternoon. As soon as you step out of the airport, Bali Institute staff and drivers will meet and assist you with your luggage.  It’s about a one-hour drive to Ubud, the cultural capital of Bali. Your first four nights will be at a beautiful, authentically Balinese hotel.  Enjoy your first taste of Balinese cuisine at our Welcome Dinner.  Then off for a good night’s sleep.

Day 2:  March 26, Orientation, Melasti Ceremony, Water Temple, Private Palace Dinner  (B, L, D)

After a short orientation talk about Bali’s culture, history, belief system, and travel logistics we will be participating in the Melasti Ceremony: a major Hindu component of day-two-graphicNyepi performed at a local beach area. The ceremony is done to purify the village, the world and the universe, performed with a parade procession accompanied with deities from the local village temples and shrines.

Lunch will be provided at a local Balinese restaurant.

In the afternoon, we will drive to one of the more ancient purification sites, Tampaksiring Holy Spring Temple dating from legendary times. In popular folklore, it was made by lndra when he pierced the earth to create a spring of Amerta, the elixir of immortality. Here people come and bathe, pray, meditate and give offerings to the gods. This is a ritual you don’t want to miss! By entering the fresh water of the springs, this sacred site is considered by the Balinese as a place to melt all the bad influences in the body, purifying the soul and mind.  Everyone is invited to experience the cool, fresh holy spring waters as preparation for Nyepi. 

Later, you will be taken to Peliatan Palace for a private tour of this historically important palace and then meet/have dinner with the Prince of Peliatan Palace.  Ample time is allowed for a fascinating Q/A with the Prince.  Possible dance performance follows depending on schedule.  A9R96E8

Day 3: March 27, Nyepi Eve, Early morning market, sites of  Ogoh-Ogoh & prepare for Nyepi  (B, L)

Visit the early-morning market in Ubud where local Balinese are busy purchasing foods and ritual items for Nyepi offerings and ceremonies.  Later, take a walk through Ubud to see all the Ogoh-Ogoh. These are statues built for the Ngerupuk parade, which takes place on the eve of Nyepi day (today). Ogoh-Ogoh normally take the form of mythological dream-like characters, mostly demons, made collectively by members of each small village throughout Bali.  Lunch and dinner will be on your own. There are many local cafes and restaurants within walking distance of the hotel. There is a huge amount of energy and excitement in the streets during this time. Late in the day will be a Nyepi parade and more instructions on what to do during your full 24 hours of cultural and collective silence throughout the island.      Nyepi begins at midnight on this day.

Day 4March 28, Nyepi. (B, L, D)

24 hours of meditation, contemplation and silence.  Everyone must stay within the confines of the hotel and food will be available for lunch and dinner.

Day 5: March 29, Visit ARMA Museum, travel to Pemuteran, Ulun Danu Temple  (B, L)

Morning we will visit ARMA Museum and meet with Agung Rai, the founder of ARMA and recognized historian on Balinese culture. Agung Rai is an indigenous leader and your meeting with him is usually a highlight of the trip.

On the way to Pemuteran, considered the spiritual capital of Bali, we usually stop at Bedugul, Bali’s leading traditional fruits and vegetables markets and Pura Ulun Danu, one of the top iconic temples in all of Bali.  You’ll be staying in a gorgeous private villa resort, right at the ocean. Dinner and evening on your own.

talking to studentsLocation 2: North Bali – Pemuteran

Pemuteran is a small fishing village on the northern coast of West Bali. It is located in close proximity to West Bali National Park, Menjangan Island, and Gilimanuk, the port allowing passage between Bali and Java. Pemuteran is home to the largest artificial coral reef project in the world, and the village’s model of community-based tourism and conservation has been recognized by the United Nations.

Day 6: March 30, Sunrise Boat Ride, Snorkeling, Coral Reef Restoration Project, Balinese Compound Dinner, Evening Temple Visit (B, L, D)

The day includes taking a sunrise boat ride. Learn about the United Nations-recognized itinerary-graphiccoral reef restoration programs. Snorkel above the gorgeous coral.  Time to enjoy the gorgeous private beach.  Dinner will be with a Balinese Family at their home compound.  Evening visit to the majestic Melanting Temple, considered the Temple of Prosperity.

Day 7: March 31, Menjangan Island  (B, L)

Menjangan Island is a small island off the Western coast of Bali. Menjangan translate to “deer,” as the island is home to a population of mostly male deer that can withstand the hot, harsh climate of the island. The habitat is very varied with rainforest, dry savanna, acacia scrub and lowland forest, as well as more mountain forest in the higher center. There are also several temples around the island where Balinese Hindus go to pray. The coral reefs that surround the island are home to some of the greatest biodiversity of species in the world.  Dinner on your own.

Day 8: April 1, Free Day for Massage, snorkeling and reflection (B)

Enjoy a free Day wandering around this beautiful coastal village.  Perfect day to relax, have a long massage and enjoy the surrounding beauty.

waterfrontpalm treesLocation 3: West Bali – Mengwi

Mengwi is located in the western part of Bali and is famous for its rolling green landscapes, clove and coffee plantations and spectacular rice paddies. The village of Mengwi has a long and rich history associated with its royal family, one of Bali’s main ancient kingdoms, and is nestled in shady coconut groves, surrounded by rice fields and rivers.

Day 9: April 2, Travel to Mengwi, Community Discussion, Special Final Dinner and Evening Ceremony (B, L)

Settle into relaxing accommodations nestled among the rice paddies. Enjoy lunch at the rice fields with homegrown Balinese food. Swimming and wandering through village of Mengwi. Afternoon, participate in an engaging meeting with United Nations-recognized Balinese leader about community-based tourism. Enjoy a delicious dinner and special ceremony at a private temple of the Mengwi Royal Family..

Day 10: April 3, (B) Last morning in this lush remote village. Head for home

 To Register
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*More about Nyepi – Balinese Hindu New Year


Nyepi is one of the most important festivals in the Balinese calendar, and it marks the New Year according to the Hindu calendar.  It is a day devoted to self-reflection. The Balinese will not speak a word or engage in any type of entertainment for 24 hours and all shops and businesses are closed. Only hotels and emergency services are allowed to stay open. The local people take their period of silence seriously and even foreign visitors will be expected to stay in their hotels on this day.


Spirituality plays a key part of life on Bali, and the Balinese believe that they need to perform regular offerings to the gods and placate demons.  The New Year is seen as a time of renewal, and the local people use it as a chance to purify their bodies and mind. It is hoped that by doing so it will mean that they will enjoy prosperity over the coming year.  On Nyepi Eve there will be a real celebration atmosphere with parades and fireworks – probably the noisiest day of the year.  And then, all of this excitement is followed by a day of complete silence. There is no other festival quite like it anywhere else on the planet.

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The preparations for Nyepi begin months before, with each village preparing its own unique “Ogoh-Ogoh” – a giant artistic representation of a favorite “demon”.  These Ogoh-Ogoh are being built on every main village road, and at night, as members of the community work together to create these monsters, the excitement is building.  About three to four days before Nyepi, all Balinese prepare with the purification of temple objects – this is called the Melasti ceremony.

The holy symbols that are of importance to the Balinese are taken to the sea for cleansing. This event involves processions and gamelan music.

Celebrations on Nyepi Eve (aka Tawur Kesanga) tend to be very noisy gatherings for an important reason — the goal is to drive out evil spirits. With this in mind the villagers parade their Ogoh-Ogoh proudly through the streets and into the main village square.  Songs and skits are often developed by different village groups.  As they pass through a village the procession will stop at every crossroads and turn the Ogoh-Ogoh around three times – the aim is to confuse the spirits so that they will be forced to leave the island. As well as trying to frighten away demons and spirits, the local people will cook enough food to last them for the next couple of days.


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About the Program Leader

Marcia 12-4-15Marcia Jaffe brings more than 30+ years’ experience in the business, nonprofit and entrepreneurial worlds. She ran her own mid-size event management company for 15 years, producing corporate and community conferences and events for up to 400,000 people. She has created several of her own conferences including a series called FAMILY2000, events on multiculturalism in the 21st century, women’s health gatherings, and numerous others. It was Marcia’s vision while on a short vacation in Bali in 2003 that generated the Quest for Global Healing series of conferences, launching a unique concept that weaves Balinese culture with western dialogue and programs as a core structure for a global conference. With help from numerous Balinese and Indonesians, and other senior advisory team members from around the world, she held fast to her dream for the next wave of this journey, moving the conference concept into a global learning center called Bali Institute for Global Renewal located in Ubud.   Click here to learn more about Marcia.


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Bali Institute for Global Renewal is the largest provider of cultural immersion and service learning programs for universities and high schoolers based in Bali, Indonesia. Other programs include internships and practicum opportunities, faculty training programs and other services to international groups and organizations in their quest to provide inspired learning towards global citizenship. Bali Institute is located in Ubud, Bali and Sausalito, California. It is the only affiliate member of ISEP, and an educational partner with Udayana University and Ganesha University — both based in Bali.

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