Makepung, The Traditional Buffalo Race in Bali

Makepung (Balinese), literally means ‘chasing around’  or Kejar-kejaran in Bahasa Indonesi. It is a tradition of buffalo racing which has been passed through generations in Bali’s society, specifically in Jembrana regency and it similar to Karapan Sapi or Bull racing in Madura, East Java. It started of as race between farmers during their spare time when they were plowing the field in the harvest season. At that time, they compete to race for goals using a cart tied up to the bull which controlled by a jockey.

Today, the Makepung has become one of the most interesting and viewed attraction for local tourist as well as foreign. It also become an annual agenda in Bali, thus professionally managed.

Nowadays, Makepung participants are not limited to farmers only. The employees and businessman are welcomed to participate or merely being the spectates  In big races such as the Governor’s Cup, the amount of participants could extend up to 300 pairs of bull and even more. The atmosphere gets to be livelier with the jegog player (a Balinese musical instrument made from bamboo) doing what they do best.

The regencies that held this annual occasion is in Negara and in Kaliasem village, Lovina. This tradition is inspired by Karapan Sapi (in Bali known as sapi gerumbugan) from Madura, when the settlers brought it to both Kaliasem and Negara.

During the Indonesian Independence Day, on August 17th, is the time to see the most elaborate races. As in Negara, a driver guides teams of buffalo, which are decked out in colorful regalia, sporting a large bell. Sometimes tourists get a chance to drive and this is a great experience for your vacation.

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