The mystery of Trunyan village in Bali, Indonesia
Where should I go when traveling to Bali?. Beaches, resorts, ancient monuments or majestic natural?. There simply is more to discover than you have heard about this famous tourist destination, like a village that never buries or burns the dead bodies.
When I planned to travel Bali for 4 days with my family, my friend asked: "Have you ever been to the village of Trunyan? I really want to go to this village. " Trunyan Village? It sounds weird? I have absolutely no idea of it, especially it is located in Bali.
"Is there something special about the village?" - I asked.
"The people of Truman do not bury or cremate the dead bodies, but let them decompose by themselves in bamboo cages. A collection of skulls and bones lies on the platform that is 500 meter north of the Banjar Kuban. If you are lucky, you can witness the funeral in real eyes. But that village is very isolated and very hard to get to." She said.
I do not wish to see someone's funeral in my trip to Bali, but the story of the village began to make me curious. It is a strange culture that needs to be explored, isn't it?. That urges my curiosity and eventually I determined to get there. In the whole trip, the village of Trunyan is the highlight that I have to get to. I spoke to Yoko, a young man in Bali that I just got to know. Yoko said: "It is very terrible and scary. The path is remote. Firstly, you have to take 2-hour drive to get to Lake Batur, then sail a boat to the village. There are no other means of transportation because this village is only accessible by boat."
I started thinking, somewhat discouraged. Yoko continued: "In the old days, on the way to the village of Trunyan, tourists were attacked by the robbers right in the middle of the Lake Batur, and forced to give them money, otherwise tourists would be killed and thrown into the lake".
"Should I continue to go?" - I asked Yoko seriously.
Yoko laughed: "Haha, it is okay. It only happened the past, now this place is safe. No worries! Just go for it".
"Really?, you make me scare to death". But Yoko made me want to go to this village as soon as possible
The journey began on the first morning when I went to Bali. After a short stopover in Ubud visiting terraces, I rent a car for four persons so my family can get to Batur.
Batur volcano is seen from the diner.
At noon, the driver stopped at an eatery along the way so as to we had lunch. The cool air on the mountain woke my mind up. The eatery is at the peak of the mountain, overlooking Batur volcano with the stunning towering cone shape, Lake Batur was shimmering in the clouds. Do not forget to bring your camera to make sure that you will not miss any brilliant sceneries there.
Lake Batur seen through the vaporous clouds. Far away from the other side was the Trunyan village.
The Trunyan village must be somewhere beyond the lake. The gorgeous landscape just brings me the feeling as if I am getting lost in an adventure movie or a detective comic book?. All the mysterious things about the village of Trunyan cemetery excite me a lot.
Lunch was characterized by the local taste.
After lunch, we drove along the steep path down to the lake area. Watching the lake in the mountains always bring an indescribable delight and some sense of adventure as well. The cool fresh air rushed into the car's windows, just makes me feel amazing. Lake Batur was gorgeous in the blazing sun welcomes us to the mysterious village. We started to go to Trunyan cemetery by motorboats. The price was not cheap but it worth a visit to this mysterious and remote land of Bali.
The path leads to Lake Batur.
The price for foreigners, starts from 515,000 rupees per 1 person (about 7588 USD). The price for 2 people is a little higher. My family included 4 persons and 1 the driver, 5 persons in total, the price was 635,000 rupees (around 9 USD) for 1 round-trip motorboat to the village of Trunyan. It was expensive but worth your visit. If you go in a big group, then you will save more money, anyway, this is really a must-go place you should go at least once in a lifetime.
The price list of motorboats.
Batur volcano is seen from the lake.
Motorboat accessed to a small village, where the men sit on canoe rowing through the turquoise water. You don't need to buy entrance ticket, the villagers called for donations to pay for the conservation instead. It was not expensive, only 50,000 rupees (735 USD). The villagers may be work as "tour guides", introduce something and you should then give them some money.
The Trunyanese are on the boat.
The area where tourists can go inside is the funeral site. The Truyanese do not bury the dead bodies. When someone dies, they will put the dead body inside a triangular-shaped bamboo cage. The bodies are exposed outdoor, regardless of rain, sun, wind. After many months, the body will decompose, only the bones remain.
The Trunyanese then bring the decomposed skulls to a stone platform, beneath a large canopy tree. And they do not bury or cremate the dead with the belief that people are born from dust, then go back to the dust as the most natural way.
The small way leads to the area of the dead bodies, under the tree called Menyan Taru.
The strange thing is the dead bodies don't have bad smells, the local people explain that thank to a giant Taru Manyan tree that emits scents. Taru Manyan by itself means a "nice smelling tree", the scent of this tree neutralizes the bad smell of the rotting bodies.
The bodies were placed under the triangular-shaped bamboo cage.
Especially, the bodies of married people are placed in bamboo cages; if not, the body is buried at the trunyan cemetery. The woman is not permitted to attend the funeral ceremonies that are the time people brings the bodies to the Taru Manyan tree because Trunyanese believes that the whole village will be attacked by the disaster like an earthquake, a landslide, or a volcanic eruption.
Skulls were separated and placed on the huge stone platform under the tree Menyan Taru.
The area of the bodies and skulls is only dedicated to those who were married. Those who were not married will be placed in a different place.
As I could see, I saw most tourists coming here are Indonesians. Perhaps the village of Trunyan is a less known place in Bali, Indonesia. Thank properly to that, this village has become much more mysterious.
Although I only visited Trunyan a short period of time, I felt like I just get lost in an adventure film. What I learned from the culture of the Trunyanese is priceless.
How to get there
Located at the eastern edge of Lake Batur, the village of Trunyan is only accessible by boat. It takes almost two-hour drive to Denpasar and through Bangli Regency to get to Lake Batur. From Lake Batur, it takes 45 minutes to get to the Trunyan cemetery.
Address: Jalan Raya Truyan Kintamani, Kintamani80652, Indonesia
Opening hours: 6:00 am - 5:00 pm
Trunyan Bali tour: http://bayubalitours.com/bali-exotic-tours/trunyan-village-tour/