Ever since the days of Walter Spies in Ubud, Western artists have discovered profound inspiration in Bali's landscape. Of course, the Balinese were doing it long before the Westerners caught on.
The Suly Resort & Spa, Jl. Cok. Rai Pudak, Br. Yangloni, Peliatan (tel. 0361/976185; www.sulyresort.com; Rp100,000 per person per hour), has joined with Bali Global Ashram Foundation to create an education platform where visitors can take classes in pottery, painting, dance, wood carving, kite making, and cooking to name a few. Classes are run by professional and well-known Balinese instructors.
The multicultural center Pondok Pekak, Jl. Monkey Forest, Ubud (tel. 0361/976194), essentially a library, is a resource center that brings locals and Westerners together. They offer a wide range of community activities for children and adults largely focused on the Sanggar (traditional music and dance organization). Programs include gamelan and dance (legong and Frog dance) lessons. There are also a selection of traditional Balinese workshops, which allow visitors to learn about fruit carving, Indonesian language, and mask carving.
The Mekar Bhuana Conservatory, Jl. Penyaringan 24, Sanur (tel. 0361/842-7030 or 08/1999191104; www.balimusic.org), runs a selection of courses on gamelan and Balinese dance.
Tjokorda Raka Swastika, Puri Saren, Ubud (tel. 0361/975753), an accomplished musician who has played with and taught many of the best orchestras in Bali, is now running courses on gamelan and any other musical instruments that form part of the gong kebyar. Pak Tjokorda Raka is an excellent teacher for all levels. Classes are held in his house on the grounds of Puri Saren, Ubud's Palace.
Italian Marcello and Michela Massoni head Gaya Ceramic and Design, Jl. Raya Sayan, Ubud (tel. 0361/7451413; www.gayafusion.com), which produces pottery for famous brands like Armani and Bulgari. They offer a selection of courses and a residency program with instructors from all over the globe.
The Sari Api Ceramic Studio, Jl. Suweta, Ubud (tel. 0361/977917 or 08/124660919), allows guests to explore their creativity using clay. Beginner's classes for both kids and adults give an introduction to throwing clay on a wheel as well as hand building. Studio space can be rented out to skilled potters.
Silversmithing & Jewelry
Studio Perak, Jl. Hanoman, Ubud (tel. 08/123651809; www.studioperak.com), employs traditional Balinese silversmithing. Husband and wife Ketut and Joanna have developed their own courses for visitors to try their hands at making Balinese styled jewelry. Try their 3-hour course and make a ring or pendant. Children from 8 years are also welcome.
Threads of Life's, Jl. Kajeng 24, Ubud (tel. 0361/972187), courses explore the history, weaving, dyeing techniques as well as the traditions of ikat and batik using handspun threads and natural dyes. The money goes to support local communities. Classes run between Rp50,000 and Rp150,000.
The best place to learn about the rich history of Batik and the techniques of the trade is with Bali's own batik artist Ketut Sujana (tel. 0361/979097 or 08/123762280). Ketut offers hands-on courses for individuals or groups. His workshop is behind his studio in Lungsiakan, on the main road opposite Fly Café outside Ubud. Ketut charges Rp50,000 an hour. Allow about 3 hours for your first course.
Several half-day and full-day cooking courses are on offer in Bali. The day typically starts with a visit to a local fresh food market to learn about all the ingredients that go into creating a Balinese dish. The chef will then explain the techniques that are used to put together your dish and once cooking is over, you are rewarded with eating your creation. Look into the following schools: Alila Manggis resort in Manggis (tel. 0363/41044; www.alilahotels.com); Bambu Bali in Nusa Dua (tel. 0361/771256; www.balifoods.com); and in Ubud, Casa Luna (tel. 0361/973282; www.casalunabali.com) and Mozaic (tel. 0361/975768; www.mozaic-bali.com). Hotels may also arrange classes on request. Hanging Gardens is one of note.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.