Dark Tourism - Trunyan Cemetery

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a short story

about the Skull Island in Bali

by

Dr Elmi Zulkarnain Osman

After many weeks, Farid and a group of friends finally managed to set up a date to go to an 'adventurous' and 'dark' tourist site called Trunyan Cemetery located within Trunyan Village. This village is a remote mountain village on the eastern lakeside of Mount Batur, in central Bali's Kintamani highlands. The village was inhabited by people who call themselves the "Bali Aga" or old Bali who live in ways that are vastly different from other Balinese. Trunyan dates back to at least 911 CE. Like most Balinese, the Bali Aga follow Bali's eccentric brand of Hinduism, but every village cluster, like the group of villages Trunyan heads, also has its own religious rituals and beliefs. The Bali Aga has a strange way of burial. Instead of cremating their corpses, the Bali Aga simply places them under this banyan tree. It was something that they've been planning together for quite some time, and now it was their chance to experience it. The group of guys going were Farid, Hidir, Azman, and Azmi. Farid and the others were close and love to go out and enjoy some time together like any other group of friends would do.

Farid and all of his friends kept in contact through messaging to make sure they got the date, time, and location correct before meeting up. All of them have been in contact with each other for a while but it was about time they do something fun and exciting at the same time. Everyone sent out their last bit of texts before bed and went off to sleep getting ready for the next day.

Once the morning came, everyone rushed to get to Changi Airport. The flight to Bali was a calm, soundless ride with things going right. The flight only took 2 hours and once they have safely cleared the immigration at Denpasar International Airport, a van was waiting to pick them up to transfer them a hotel. They were fortunate not to be pestered by many taxi touts waiting just outside the terminal building.

Upon reaching the hotel located at Seminyak, they rested for a while in their respective rooms and then decided to go on the "beach mode". They waited for sunset. Seminyak really knew how to sunset. This was when Seminyak Beach really came to life. Locals and visitors all flocked to the beach and the atmosphere was great. As the stars in the sky turned brighter, the music became louder and the beach started filling up with people dancing, chatting and flirting. The DJ did a great job in engaging with crowd and keeping the "dance floor" alive.

It was 9am. All them were exhausted from all the partying. They had a quick breakfast at the hotel and soon enough, Farid and all three found themselves cramped up in a cab. They were still having a joyful time with tons of laughter, Azmi would keep pointing out cool looking buildings while Hidir would point out random things to make everyone laugh.

Finally, after the long drive, the group made it to wooden jetty where the stunning Mount Batur looked on. After 40 minutes, they managed to cross the Trunyan Lake safely and reached small village in Batur. Farid suggested that they cool down for a bit and go to the 'café' nearby. It was just a block away from the boating dock so it wasn't a bad idea to do.

Farid and the group went inside and ordered something small so they wouldn't over fill themselves with food. Something like a snack would do the job. Farid paid for everyone and even tipped a young lady working there, he felt generous and wanted to treat everyone. While in the middle of a conversation, this man came up to the table and introduce himself.

"Hi welcome to Trunyan Village! You must be here for the Trunyan Cemetery huh guys? Well if so them you just met the right person! My name is Irman Sukana, and I'm the tour guide that will show you around the cemetery – for just a small fee. Would you guys like to come join me?"

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