2.5 km north of central Ubud lays the village of Petulu. A village very much like most other villages around Ubud – if it wasn’t for the herons that is.
Every afternoon thousands of herons arrive, circling over Petulu before settling into one of the many fig trees in the village where they will spend the night. Next morning they leave again, only to return again in the afternoon.
There are several explanations on why the birds arrive a Petulu every night. A common claim is that the herons are the lost souls of the thousands of people that died during the anti-communist massacre in the mid-sixties and for whom there where held a ceremony in Petulu, shortly after the herons started arriving at Petulu and has continued do so ever since.
The villagers believe that the herons are sacred, which is enhanced by their white and yellow feathers that are holy Hindu colours, and that they bring good luck and prosperity to the village.
The easiest way to get to Petulu from Ubud is to take Jalan Raya Ubud east of out of town and take the road leading to Tegallalang. 2 km up the road, where it makes a small bend to the right, turn left Jalan Raya Petulu which will lead you through the village. After a few hundred meters you should be able to spot the first herons and as you come closer to the centre. You might be asked for a small donation as you enter the village.
The perfect time to get there is about an hour before sunset.
If you leave before it gets completely dark, consider taking a more scenic route back to Ubud, which is the north road out of Petulu. The road will take you through rice fields and a bit of forest before it connects with the road that will take you back South to Ubud.