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Inspiring Museum Showcases Rare Balinese Historical Practice For Tourists

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As an island, Bali is home to a wealth of art and culture.

For most tourists, a two-week vacation gives enough time for rest, relaxation, a touch of adventure, a few good parties, and a little introduction to the cultural wonders of the island.

For those looking for a deeper dive, there is a very special place to go. 

Historians preserve lontar manuscripts of Bali art and culture.jpg

Located in the heart of Karangasem Regency, the Dukuh Penaban Lontar Library Museum is determined to preserve lontar manuscripts that are hundreds of years old.

Lontar manuscripts are cultural, religious, and historical texts that are inscribed onto lontar palm. This ancient tradition is still practiced today, though many would say the skill is dying. 

Traditionally, the leaves of the lontar palm are dried, and then the script, either Balinese, Old Javanese, or even ancient Kawi or sanscrit, is etched into the brittle leaf paper. A wet coal or dark resin is then gently rubbed over the top to darken the text so that it is legible. 

@panakpisaga Nostalgia pertama kali nulis di lontar 🥺 #aksara #aksarabali #lontar #baline #balinese #process #learning #palm #palmleaf #handwriting #proudtobebalinese #fyp #xyzbca ♬ Welcome To Indonesia – Ica Maysha ft. TikTok Creators

Lontar manuscripts hold the secrets to Balinese culture, history, and politics. The scripts contain everything from historical documentation to religious teachings, mythological stories, and medicinal knowledge. 

Opened in 2017, the Dukuh Penaban Lontar Library Museum is home to one of the best preserved and largest collections of lontar in Bali.

The museum is proving to be a vital resource for Balinese people to connect and learn more about their history and heritage and for tourists to explore the incredible stories the island has to share. 

During a visit to Dukuh Penaban Lontar Library Museum, tourists can see for themselves some of the oldest lontar manuscripts in Bali, and learn more about the history of each piece and how the delicate process of preserving each manuscript works.

Tourists can even try writing on lontar for themselves. It’s not as easy as it first looks but talented artisans are on hand to guide tourists in making their own lontar script to take away with them.

Tourists can also learn a little Balinese, or Indonesia, and be introduced to the beautiful curves and flows of the Balinese language in written script.

Karangasem Regency is a part of Bali steeped in culture and history. The Dukuh Penaban Lontar Library Museum is just a short 25-minute drive from the equally inspiring Samara Living Museum.

The living museum village is one of the finest examples of perfectly preserved traditional Balinese culture on the island.

During a visit to the Samsara Living Museum, visitors can learn everything from traditional Balinese music, dance, and storytelling to food culture, make arak, and even try their hand at wood carving. 

A visit to Dukuh Penaban Lontar Library Museum and Samsara Living Museum makes for a fantastic cultural day trip from Ubud or the southern beach resorts, sitting just a 90-minute drive from the heart of Ubud. 

To add a third stop off on the day trip it is highly recommended to visit the mesmerizing Tirta Gangga.

The elegant temple complex, gardens, natural springs, and retreat is loved by locals and tourists alike.

The beautifully designed ponds, home to hundreds of golden fish, make for a gorgeous background for those all-important holiday photos. 

Young woman embracing Tirta Gangga temple, Bali, Indonesia

Tirta Gangga itself is an old royal palace, built by the last King of Karangasem.

Visitors can feed the fish, wander through the gardens, grab lunch at the little restaurant, and soak up the calm and quiet atmosphere of this deeply spiritual spot. 


In 2024 tourism leaders in Bali want to see visitors connect more with the art, culture, history, and heritage of the island.

Both the Dukuh Penaban Lontar Library Museum and the Samsara Living Museum are small, locally managed museums that have first and foremost been created to protect and preserve Balinese culture; they are two of the most relaxed and authentic places to learn about the Balinese culture on the island. 

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