The Amazing Architecture and Stonework of Bali

In every town across Bali we saw stonework of the most exquisite quality. Towns were filled with shops carving and selling statues, pillars and more all with intricate Buddha heads, animals, flowers, nature scenes and more.

The pieces are occasionally sold to tourists but usually are bought by locals for use in homes, temples, parks or any other area under construction or renovation.

Our favorite places to see these carvings in place were the houses in Bali: many of which we stumbled upon during a walk through Ubud. According to Inyoman, a new couchsurfing friend, traditional Balinese home architecture is designed to mimic that of both Hindu and even more ancient temples in the region.

 

The inside of a typical local housing complex in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
The inside of a typical local housing complex in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

A Home With no “House”

There is no house in the traditional sense of the word. Rather, a series of rooms each standing as an individual structure surrounding a central courtyard.

One of these rooms, the first one built, is only partially walled and open to all who pass by. It is used for sitting and, when needed, placing the casket of recently deceased family members for viewings and mourning.

Another staple of all traditional homes in Bali is a temple, which is usually in the back of the property. These range in size and grandeur depending on the budget but are always in place before the family or families move in.

Understandably, it costs a lot of money to build a traditional Balinese home. This means that while it is the preferred way to live on the island and very common in touristy areas, it is not how the majority exist. Once we left Ubud and headed to the mountains, we saw that there are still tons of normal houses, shanty shacks and poverty: a fact which Bali tries hard to keep off the tourist trail.

 

The inside of a typical local housing complex in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
The inside of a typical local housing complex in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia