Attending the Kecak Fire Dance at Uluwatu Temple was one of the most memorable experiences from my recent trip to Bali. The performance is called a ‘Kecak dance’ because of the sounds of the chant that the performance is grounded upon. This performance is based on a traditional Balinese ritual that is comes from the famous Hindu story of the Ramayana.
Kecak fire dance at Uluwatu. Photo Credit: Ronda Wright
More scenes from the fire dance. Photo Credit: Ronda Wright
The almost hypnotic, trance-like rhythm coming from the bare-chested Indonesian men was not at all what I was expecting. Yet, by the end of the night, I could not get the chant out of my head (cakcakcak – cakcak)!
The “chorus” sits on the ground in a circle while a story unfolds for the audience. There are a lot of twists and turns in the story, but essentially it is the story of a woman who is stolen from her husband (a prince) by a demon. The story follows the challenges and tasks the young prince and his brother must overcome to rescue her. The story builds to a climactic moment where the monkey king escapes death and sets the castle on fire just as the sun has set over Uluwatu and the sky turns dark. It was amazing timing!
Watch the Kecak Fire Dance below:
The nightly performance at Uluwatu is extremely popular. There were buses, shuttles, cars, and motorbikes pulling up to the temple to bring guests to the show from all around the island. The anticipation for the start of the show got so much attention that the beautiful cliffside temple of Uluwatu almost became less significant. But do not be fooled – it is worth getting to the temple early to allow for time to walk the long, narrow paths along the cliffside and watch the ocean waves wash onto the shores below.
The cliffside at Uluwatu Temple - best place to watch the sunset! Photo Credit: Ronda Wright
The Kecak Fire Dance should be on your list of must-dos when visiting Bali if you would like a unique, authentic view into Balinese culture.
Hey, I'm Ronda Wright 👋🏽
I'm the founder of The Wright Getaway. I love all things travel and helping other people experience the world.
Let's chat about your upcoming travel plans!