Back in the May half-term, we were away in Bali for a family holiday. I was really surprised to see that there are so many things for families out in Bali, rather than just for gap year students. We spent the first week down in Nusa Dua, which is a much more relaxed beach area of the island, famous for its water-sports as it is right by the sea. But there is only so much lounging around the beach and the pool that you can do, so we did a few excursions and trips out.
One of the things that we did for an afternoon, was to go to the Garuda Wisnu Kenyan Cultural Park, which was about a half an hour drive away from our hotel on Nusa Dua beach. The cultural park is a sixty hectare space, that is a great way to experience and learn about the Indonesian cultural heritage. There are big plans for it for a moment, and when we were there, you could see the building works. So in around six months, it is going to be a pretty monumental place to visit, with a large Garuda Wisnu Kencana Statue being built.
What is Garuda Wisnu Kencana?
Garuda Wisnu Kencana is the symbol of God Vishnu riding the great Garuda as his trusted companion. So it was really fascinating to learn about the Hindu faith, as the majority of the island are Hindu. The statue at the park is designed to be one of the world’s largest and highest monumental statue in the world. Total height of the statue is 120m, consists of 24 segments and formed with 754 modules made of copper and brass coated patina acid. It was nearly down when we were there and it was pretty epic to see!
What Else Is There?
- Wisnu Plaza is currently on the highest ground in park’s area. You can see various traditional Balinese art are performed with the majestic statue of Vishnu as the background. This area is the part of the park that you have to wear the traditional clothing, and if you are a woman on your period, you can’t enter the park area due to local custom. So just something to bear in mind.
- There is a statue of the Garuda Bird, which is a bird from the Hindu mythology, described as having a body of half-man and half-bird. This personal ride of God Vishnu symbolizes loyalty, trustworthy, and sacrifice. Garuda is also a symbol of freedom from every shackle and deprivation of human rights.
- Garuda Cinema is part of the park too, which is great for kids. You get to go into a nice air-conditioned cinema to watch an animation all about Garuda and the story behind it. The film is half an hour long, subtitled in English, and was really good for us to watch too, to learn more about a culture that I hadn’t a clue about.
- Lotus Pond is one of the main venue in the Cultural Park. Lotus Pond is the largest outdoor area with good access and has been well known as holding a number of prestigious events. When there aren’t any events on, you can just wander around and take in the views.
If you are planning on going Bali, close to the Nusa Dua area, then I would recommend a day out at the cultural park. It was fascinating to learn about the culture and the Hindu religion of the country. There is a small fee to go to the park, but it is pretty minimal.