An Inside Look Into Penglipuran, the Cleanest Village in Asia

Bangli – Penglipuran is recognized as one of the cleanest villages in the world. Along with the Mawlynnong village in India and the Giethoorn flotaing village in the Netherlands, Penglipuran has its own charm to offer.

Penglipuran is one of Bali’s most sought after tourist attractions. Credit: www.unsplash.com

Penglipuran is located in Kubu, Bangli, Bali. Situated on hilly areas reaching up to 700 meters in height above the sea level, visitors will feel rejuvenated from the cool air and the forest backdrop. This 112-hectare village is inhabited by approximately 985 residents. The 76 plots in the area are equally divided to accommodate 234 families.

Residents of Penglipuran have long upheld the ideas of environmental sustainability. In 1995, the village was the recipient of the Kalpataru Award (Environmental Award) for preserving their traditional and ancestral architecture. They were also awarded for maintaining 75 hectares of bamboo forest.

The village community instills the values of keeping their living environment as clean as possible. This is not a new concept in Penglipuran – it is a result of traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation.

Residents celebrating their local festivities in Penglipurang. Credit: unsplash.com

Penglipuran’s name originates from the words Pengeling and Pura. Pengeling means “to remember”, while Pura means “ancestral land”.

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Residents of Penglipuran maintain their village by preserving their traditions and remembering their ancestors who used to live on the land.

Cleanliness is one of the traditions that are still maintained in the community. Residents implement several rules to ensure their Penglipuran stays in a polished state.

Residents and visitors are not allowed to throw their trash carelessly, bring their vehicles into village lands, or smoke anywhere they like. The village has provided trash cans made out of bamboo at several designated areas in the village.

These strict regulations are based on Penglipuran’s high respect for nature. Nobody is allowed to cut down trees in the bamboo forest. If anyone is discovered doing so, they will be punished by the village chief.

Village residents strive hard to preserve their traditions through by sharing their cultural aspiration and holding festivals. Credit: www.unsplash.com

Tourists can rent a car to Penglipuran. The village is approximately 54 km from Denpasar, or an 1 hour 30 minute drive.

Visitors will need to pay an entry fee to get into the village. The fee is Rp15.000 ($1 USD) for domestic visitors, and Rp30.000 ($2 USD) for foreigners.

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The received fees will be utilized as resources to maintain Penglipuran’s wellness, which is spent on the regency administration and the village as the management body.

Village residents attain household incomes from selling souvenirs to visitors. Some residents also offer services like selling food and beverages, becoming tour guides, and opening up homestays.

Penglipuran was closed to the public since March 2020 due to COVID-19. The village has re-opened since October 2020. Credit: www.unsplash.com

Due to the unforeseen circumstances of COVID-19, Penglipuran was closed to the public in March 2020. However, they have reopened their doors back in October.

Tourists who wish to visit Penglipuran must now adhere to the strict health protocols that have taken in place. Additionally, the village has restricted the number of visitors that can enter the area.

The village has provided basins and hand sanitizers to enforce safe health regulations. Visitors must wash their hands and wear their masks prior to entering Penglipuran.

“There will be officers going around to check whether both the residents and visitors are wearing masks,” said I Nengah Moneng, Penglipuran’s Tourism Village Manager.

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Laras is a freelance writer based in Kendal, Indonesia. Since 2017, she has written for several online publications and delved in other creative pursuits. Some of her pastimes include skateboarding, cafe-hopping, and indulging in Netflix and chill sessions.