The sleepy village of Petulu, 15 minutes drive north of Ubud, is peaceful all day but come evening it all changes. A scattering of thousands of white Heron, come to this village in the late afternoon where they spend the night and leave the next day at daybreak. This unique phenomenon as well as the ambiance of this traditional village makes a visit here a worthwhile experience. Here’s a guide to Petulu – Bali’s Heron Village.
White Heron or the Kokokan
Table of Contents
Petulu – Bali’s Heron Village
A Temple in Petulu
Petulu of Kokokan Village is about 1 Hour drive from Ngurah Rai International Airport. Its just like any other village in Bali except for the Herons or Kokokan who started visiting Petulu, from 1965 for no apparent reason.
The locals find the herons sacred and they believe that these birds are the lost souls of thousands of people who died in the mid sixties in an anti communist massacre. The villagers believe they bring good luck.
When to Visit
The view from the viewing gallery
The best time to visit this place is from October to March when the heron population is at its peak and hence creating a spectacular sight. In April to September too, birds are visible but not in large numbers.
The Rice Fields in Petulu
Its better to visit in the late afternoon before the birds start flying in. Early morning is also a good option when the birds start moving out of the village in search of food in the adjacent rice fields. After watching the birds settle down on their preferred trees you can even amuse youself by watching a live cock fight which has a spiritual significance here.
There is an entry fee of 20K IDR per person to enter the village.
Heron bird watching at Petulu village
The early birds looking for the best spot
As the sun starts to set more birds are seen flocking in
Very soon the tree is filled with Herons
The drive through this village does not take long and you are almost at the end of the village without spotting even one heron. There are small two level viewing platforms built where you can enjoy a cold beer while waiting for the spectacle to begin.
Waiting for the spectacle to begin
It starts with a lone bird circling the trees to find a tree of its liking and before you know it the sky is filled with around 20,000 herons fighting for the prized spots. Very soon the trees turn white with the birds perched on them. This pandemonium is seen amidst the backdrop of the mellow pink of the setting sun. After the birds settle down the village turns quiet again.
The Sleepy Village of Petulu
What is really amazing about this place is that even after 50 years these birds still choose to come here in large numbers. The village had evolved itself around these birds and create a harmony so that the birds keep returning. The birds too keep coming back as life is good here. The villagers consider themselves blessed to be their hosts for the night.
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