Photo: Spectacular masks.

Setia Darma House of Masks and Puppets

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In Bali, it’s believed when masks are worn, dancers embody the spirits of the Gods and Setia Darma House of Masks and Puppets aims to preserve and showcase its extensive collection from Bali, other parts of the Indonesian archipelago and the world. This excellent private museum is one of our favourites, and arguably the best museum in Bali with the added bonus that it’s free to enter (donations welcome).

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Tucked away at the back of Mas village, six kilometres from Ubud Palace and set within a beautiful manicured tropical garden, a collection of lovingly restored, charming historic Joglo houses from Java display the treasures. If the idea of masks and puppets don’t appeal, it’s worth going to see the houses alone—we particularly love the pale yellow and green combined Joglo and Limasan house form Boma village in Central Java, with its quirky wooden pineapples hanging upside down from the ceiling.

Striking. Photo taken in or around Setia Darma House of Masks and Puppets, Ubud, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Striking. Photo: Sally Arnold

The exhibits are well presented with informative labels in English and Indonesian. Don’t be afraid to enter the darkened rooms, the well-designed sensor-tripped lighting comes to life as you cross the threshold. Every piece displayed is a masterpiece of craftsmanship to rival any international museum ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 500 words.)

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