The New Treasure Island Cultural Park in Bali offers a hands-on, Cliff's Notes version of the Bali's culture.
The park is simply a series of open-air roofed platforms constructed around a grassy plaza. The open area is shaded by numerous trees. Several aspects of Balinese culture are featured in the park, which you can participate in for yourself!
The staff are all clad in traditional Balinese outfits. Most are specialists in a certain category of Balinese culture, and are stationed in one place where visitors can come to them to observe and learn.
Lessons and Activities
Visitors are encouraged to walk from station to station, taking on any of the following activities:
Balinese Food Cooking Lessons (90 minutes, $34). You'll see a chef creating a dessert with rice flour dough, rolling it into a pit and pouring palm sugar in the middle, closing it up and putting the lot in boiling water. Afterwards, you get to do the same thing. There's no TV chef banter, but the routine is simple enough to repeat and imitate without much instruction. Bonus - you get to eat your creation afterward.
Balinese Offering Lessons (60 minutes, $27). Balinese offerings, or canang sari, are offerings made to the gods. You see these everywhere in Bali - little, palm-sized square coconut-leaf baskets laden with flowers or foodstuffs, placed on sidewalks or temples. The lessons teach you how to put the canang (the square basket) together, and how to arrange the flowers on top.
Batik Lessons (60 minutes, $27). Batik is the Indonesian art of creating patterns in cloth by painting lines of paraffin wax in fabric, dyeing the lot, and removing the wax. Participants get hands-on with the batik-making process, applying piping-hot wax onto patterns penciled into the fabric. You can pick a pattern you like, or you can make your own.
Lontar Handicraft Lessons (60 minutes, $27). If you're handy with your fingers, try your luck making handicrafts using lontar palm leaves and traditional Balinese ingenuity. The art may be traditional, but not the results (unless you'd like to believe that making cellphone caddies is a traditional Balinese craft!).
Balinese Gamelan Lesson (60 minutes, $25). You can try your hand at traditional Balinese musical instruments, but it's harder than it looks.
Balinese Dance Lessons (60 minutes, $25). Learn how to dance the Balinese way - New Treasure Island's dancing instructors will show you how, accompanied by a gamelan band. At the very least, you'll get some very interesting pictures out of the experience.
Balinese Dress Service (45 minutes, $21). Play dress-up with traditional Balinese clothing. Attendants will suit you up in clothing appropriate to your gender (cross-dressing has not been attempted as far as we know). Get your picture taken wearing sarongs and Balinese headdresses.
Reflexology and Massage (45 minutes, $20). Get a mini-spa treatment right in the open, as the park's experts get to work massaging your feet.
It's best to look at these as "activities", not "lessons" in the more conventional sense, as the instructors' English is hardly professorial. You'll learn more by example and imitation than from actual instruction. But the whole point is to do something, get involved, get your hands dirty, whether with hot wax (batik lessons) or with rice flour (cooking lessons).
The New Treasure Island is open for day trips and group visits. The park can also be reserved for wedding parties.
Jl. Bypass Ngurah Rai No. 80
Tohpati (Sanur) Bali
Phone: +62 361 464157
Operating hours: 9:30am-10:00pm