Mekepung: buffalo races
• The races take place at Delod Berawah, on the coast south-east of Negara. See the map below for the exact location.
• Racing often starts around 8am and can continue through to mid-afternoon.
• Be aware that the buffaloes can veer off course quite suddenly – so be ready to leap out of their way.
From around May until August each year, West Bali's Sundays become a haze of dust as mekopung – buffalo chariot racing – gets into full swing. Most Sundays are practise rounds for the big event, which is held in August.
The racing take place close to the beach at Delod Berawah, south-east of Negara, and they usually start between 7am and 8am. The charioteers use koshes to spur the buffaloes on – these are whips with nails on the end – and so the hides of the buffaloes do get bloody as the day and racing progresses. If you decide you do want to go to the races, you might prefer to be there earlier in the day.
The buffaloes are highly respected
Yes, it becomes a bloody sport after the animals have run a few races, but the buffaloes are cherished by the owners and despite what you see on race day they are treated like royalty. A pair of buffaloes can cost US$5,000 – that's an investment most owners value and protect.
While you're in the area
The bright painted fishing boats at Perancak are only a 15-minute drive away. We recommend you head that way once you're done at the races.
– For more about the buffalo races please see our book, Secret Bali –