In southern Bali, kites fly overhead much of the year. In the dry season, specifically June through August, the winds often blow from east to west in most of Indonesia. Balinese adults and children enjoy flying kites in vacant rice paddies and other open spaces during this period.
The Bali Kite Festival is an annual international kite festival held in Padang Galak, a coastal area north of Sanur Beach. Giant traditional kites are flown competitively by teams from the villages of Denpasar as well as teams from abroad. The event began as a seasonal festival intended to thank the Hindu Gods for providing abundant crops and harvests. The festival has since grown to become one of the most unique events on Bali’s calendar. The festival attracts many tourists and international kite fliers, along with many local spectators.
Teams may consist of 10 or more members, each with its own gamelan (traditional orchestra) ensemble, flag bearers and kite flyers. A competition for kreasi baru (new creations) kites is also held, which may include detailed three-dimensional figures representing Hindu Gods or sponsorship kites.
Bebean (fish-shaped), janggan (bird-shaped) and pecukan (leaf-shaped) are traditional types of kites flown during this festival. The bebean is the largest kite, and looks like a wide-mouthed, split-tailed fish. The janggan kite has a broad flowing cloth tail that can reach more than 100 meters in length. The pecukan kite requires the most skill to fly, as it can be unstable. Each type of traditional kite has its own competition, with heats of 10 teams vying for the best launch and longest flight. Prizes are also awarded to the most distinct and creative kites. If you love kites and love the outdoors, the Bali Kite Festival is perfect for you.
Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, the Bali government may postpone or cancel the Bali Kite Festival this year. Please check ahead of time with your hotel.