Despite the noise, bustle, traffic jams, and smog,
Bali's capital, with its 400,000 inhabitants does
have some interesting tourist options. One of the
most popular is the central market--Bali's largest.
Activity in and around this three-storey building
peaks well before dawn, so go early to see
It is well worth taking a stroll around Denpasar
if you decide to venture into the capital. Anyone
who hasn't seen an Asian city will be a little
shocked at the smoke and dust, and the general
living and shopping conditions that will be
observed, but none-the-less it is an experience
that will be remembered long after the suntan has
Denpasar was rebuilt after the Puputan massacre of
1906, when the royal family committed suicide
rather than surrender to the invading Dutch army.
Today, the public Puputan Square in the centre of
town commemorates the tragedy of that event.
Cross Jln. Surapati from Puputan Square to see the
Bali Museum and Art Centre, which houses many
artefacts of Bali's ethnic history. Destroyed by
an earthquake in 1917 when Mt. Batur erupted, the
museum was rebuilt during the 1920's, and its
collections were once more protected from the
ravages of nature and souvenir hunters. Dress
respectfully to enter the museum (long pants or
modest dresses must be worn).
The Denpasar tourist office is within a short walk
of the square and the museum, as is Pura Jaganatha.
Afternoon prayer times at this temple are very
busy, and so long as visitors are dressed modestly,
they will be welcomed.
Another significant Art Centre is located further
east, just off Jln. Sanur (an extension of Jl.
Gajahmada) toward Sanur.
The central market, Pasar Badung trades in the
morning (starts very early, but is still operating
during the mid-morning). It is located in Jln.
Sulawesi, only about 200 meters from Suci bus
station. Anyone who takes a bus to Denpasar could
catch a local bemo to Suci, although those who
arrive at Tegal bus station (the one that services
the south of the island) will find themselves
quite easily able to walk the 600 or 700 meters to
If you arrive by car, ask to stop along Jalan
Gajahmada (the main road), near to the river. This
will place you very close to the centre of
things--the major shopping area and its department
stores, the market, the banks, Asian movie houses
The markets are fascinating with spices, meat,
dried fish, traditionally woven cloth, gold and
silver craftwares all traded from stalls within
the shaddows of the modern department stores,
banks, restaurants and apartment buildings. Always
bargain for goods in the markets.
Most shopping complexes, supermarkets and
department stores have fixed prices, and shopping
hours are usually between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
with shorter hours on Sundays.
Accommodations and restaurants are available in
all ranges, including a very good night market (malam
pasar), so those wishing to experience life in a
large Asian city could easily spend a couple of
days here. Truly a different Bali experience!
Denpasar also has some larger hotels but most of
the islands resort style hotels are located
Protestant churches are located in Jalan Surapati
and Jalan Kresna (Pentacostal), and a Catholic
church is located in Jalan Kepundung. A Mosque is
located in Jalan Hasanudin.
The city is the central transportation hub of the
island, so most tourists only enter Denpasar to
change busses at one of the many bus stations
whilst en-route to somewhere else. View our
Denpasar public bus terminal information,
distances and travel times between various centres
The capital city of Bali, Denpasar has many
community temples called "Pura". One is the Museum
called Pura jagatnatha which is dedicated to the
Supreme God, Sang Hyang Widi Wasa. The statue of a
turtle and two dragons (prevalent in all temples)
signify the foundation of the world.
The Museum offers a fine variety of prehistoric
and modern art, whereas its architectural design
resembles that of a palace. The government
supervised "Sanggraha Kriya Asta" has a wide
variety of handicraft and works of art. The "Werdi
Budaya" presents a yearly art festival between
June and July, with performances, exhibitions, art
contest and so on.
Sanur beach has long been a popular recreation
site for people from Denpasar. The palm-lined
beach curves from the Bali Beach Hotel toward the
south, facing the Indian Ocean towards the east.
Sanur offers many good hotels, restaurants, shops
and other tourist facilities. It is only a short
distance from Denpasar. Public transportation to
and from the city are easily available until well
into the night. Offshore reefs protect the beach
against the waves to make it popular for wind
surfing, boating and other water sports. Map
Once a lonely village on the road from Denpasar
toward the Bukit Peninsula, Kuta is now a thriving
tourist resort, popular mainly among the young. It
is a beach for surfing although currents make it
less suitable for swimming. Coast guards, however,
are on constant duty during the day. Kuta faces
toward the west offering beautiful sunsets.
Accommodation ranges from international hotels to
home stays. The village abounds with restaurants,
shops, discotheques and other tourist facilities.
It is easier to find regular performances of
Balinese music and dance in Kuta, staged specially
for tourists, than anywhere else in Bali. Some
performances are staged nightly. The village is
ideal for meeting and mixing with other people,
locals as well as visitors from abroad.
Just south of Cangu, and to
the north of Seminyak, this is another area being
developed by resort companies to attract visitors
from the overflowing Kuta / Legian strip. Like
Cangu, it's a bit too far from the nightlife scene
but would suit those who wish to spend some quiet
days relaxing by the pool or on the beach.
Dua tourist resort is part of the Bukit Peninsula
in southern Bali. Some of the most beautiful and
luxurious hotels are found here. The resort is
known for its clean white beaches and clear waters.
The surf is gentle along the northern side of the
peninsula, bigger along the south. The most
convenient form of transportation to and from Nusa
Dua is by taxi.
A small fishing village
located within a beautiful sandy bay on the
southern Bukit peninsula. The few accommodations
here range from basic losmen to world class luxury
The pristine white sand beach is protected by a
reef and has few waves, making it ideal for
families with young children. A significant part
of the beach is lined with restaurants offering
the day's catch at reasonable prices--fresh from
the fishing fleet of nearby Kedonganan. Many
day-trippers choose to make this the final stop of
their journey in order to enjoy Bali's best
seafood assortment while lapping up another
spectacular sunset. The "must do" is to get to
Jimbaran Bay is to pick a seaside restaurant (some
bargaining is allowed) and watch the sunset while
your seafood is being BBQ'ed.
Driving northeast from Denpasar, stone figures on
the roadside mark the village of Batubulan.
Divinities and demons are carved from sandstone
for ornaments of houses and temples. Workshops can
be visited to watch artists at work.
old and famous center of the arts, it is now known
for its dancing, wood panel carving and paintings.
Northeast of Denpasar, the village of Celuk is
noted for its silver and gold works of jewelry in
village of woodcarvers, many of Bali's old masters
still live here. Art galleries exhibit some of
their best works. Visitors can wander through the
Balinese style houses to view the carved wooden
pillars and the artists at work or instructing
apprentices who work in groups.
of Balinese painting, Ubud's Museum "Puri Lukisan"
has a permanent collection of modern works of
Balinese art dating from the turn of the century.
There are also several art galleries and homes of
famous artists here, including that of Dutch-born
Hans Snel and the American Antonio Blanco. The "young
artist" style now popular in Balinese painting was
introduced by the Dutch painter Arie Smith. In the
past, other foreign painters inspired Balinese
artists to adopt western techniques but
traditional Balinese paintings are still made and
sold. Another museum called "Neka Museum" has a
wide collection of paintings both by Indonesian as
well as foreign artists who used to live in Bali.
Ubud has several small hotels. Located on a higher
altitude with a pleasant climate.
Accommodation in Ubud generally offers better
value than Kuta, Nusa Dua and Sanur although the
standards are typically lower than the
international hotels of the south- with some very
notable exceptions. Ubudís many comfortable and
relaxed homestays and losmen will however, provide
the feel of Bali culture that no high-rise hotel
can ever hope to fulfil. Of course, those who wish
to explore the countryside from a luxurious base
will find several options, amongst them some of
the island's newest and best hotels.
The main street, Jl Raya and especially Monkey
Forest Road are the traditional places to look for
a low cost place to stay, but recently many new
low and medium cost places have sprung up in Jl
Hanoman and Jl Bima. Map
Peliatan is located between Ubud and Mas. It has
been known as the center of traditional music, and
dances. The fine art of local woodcarvers started
a new style of wood carving producing such things
as fruits, flowers and trees in their real shapes
dates back to the 11 Th. century and is believed
to have been built as a monastery. Carvings on the
wall show a demon's head over the entrance,
flanked by two statues. The cave contains a statue
of Ganesha. Escavations have uncovered a bathing
place with six statues of nymphs holding
The ancient bas relief
carvings on the rock wall within walking distance
of Goa Gajah, was rediscovered in 1925. Follow the
trail that runs parallel to the main road, via a
tiny village, then through the fields to be among
the small percentage of travellers who visit this
temple of Pura Tirta Empul is built around the
sacred spring at Tampaksiring. Over 1000 years old,
the temple and its two bathing places have been
used by the people for good health and prosperity
because of the spring water's curative powers.
Regular ceremonies are held for purification.
Specialties of the area are bone and ivory
carvings, and seashell ornaments.
villages of Kintamani and Penelokan give a
fantastic view of the active Mount Batur and Lake.
The caldera of Batur is impressive: 7 miles in
diameter and 60 feet deep. From Penelokan, a road
leads to Kedisan on the shores of the lake where
boats can be hired to cross over to Trunyan. This
ancient village is inhabited by people who call
themselves "Bali Aga" or original Balinese who
have maintained many of their old ways. The Puser
Jagat temple has an unusual architecture and
stands under a massive Banyan tree.
Kehen is situated in Bangli, Bali's second largest
temple. Three terraced courtyards are connected by
steps, and their balustrades are decorated with
carvings and statues. A large Banyan tree with a
tower shades the lowest and second courtyard,
while in the third courtyard several shrines for
the gods and ancestors are found.
former seat of the Javanese Hindu Kingdom in Bali
from where Balinese royalty draws its blood line,
Klungkung was the oldest kingdom on the island and
its "Raja" the most exalted. The Kerta Gosa or
Royal Court of justice built in the 18th century,
is specially known for its ceiling murals painted
in the traditional wayang style, portraying
punishment in hell and the rewards in heaven and
other aspects of moralities. The floating pavilion,
garden and lotus ponds in this walled-in complex,
located on the main intersection of town are a
reminder of the former glory of this kingdom.
km from Klungkung is Goa Lawah or bat cave. The
roof is covered with thousands of bats and its
entrance is guarded by a temple believed to be
founded by a sage nine centuries ago.
Known as the "Mother Temple of Bali", the
sanctuary of Besakih on the slopes of Mt. Agung is
the biggest and holiest of all Balinese temples.
Over a thousand years old, steps ascend through
split gates to the main courtyard where the
Trinity shrines are wrapped in cloth and decorated
with flower offerings. Around the three main
temples dedicated to the Trinity: Shiva, Brahma
and Vishnu, are 18 separate sanctuaries belonging
to different regencies and caste groups.
To the Balinese, a visit to the temples
sanctuaries is a special pilgrimage. Each has its
own anniversary celebration or "Odalan". The sight
of the temple against the background of the
mountain is impressive and during festivals,
colored banners add a touch of gaiety.
little island off Bali's west coast is known for
its beautiful coral reefs found nearby and the
wealth of tropical fish inhabiting the waters
around it. The island itself including Terima Bay,
are by themselves worth a visit because of the
beautiful sceneries they offer.
hectares of nutmeg trees in the Sangeh forest
abounds with monkeys. The forest is considered
sacred, so no wood is allowed to be chopped here.
Two temples stand in the middle of the forest and
another at the edge. As they live in this sacred
forest, the monkeys are also held sacred and are
rather tame, but it is advisable not to play with
of Bali's most important sea temples, Tanah Lot is
built a top a huge rock which is surrounded by the
sea. Built by one of the last priests to come to
Bali from Java in the 16th century, its rituals
include the paying of homage to the guardian
spirits of the sea. Poisonous sea snakes found at
the base of the rocky island are believed to guard
the temple from evil spirits and intruder.
The best time to see Tanah Lot is in the late
afternoon when the temple is in silhouette.
mountain resort of Bedugul, 18 km north of
Denpasar, is known for its excellent golf course.
Located besides Lake Bratan, it is surrounded by
forested hills. A beautiful sight is the "Ulun
Danu" temple which seems to rise out of the lake.
The area offers good-walks. Boats are available
for hire. Water skiing, and parasailing is done as
Protected for centuries from the outside world by
its surrounding walls, the village of Tenganan has
maintained its ancient pre-Hindu customs through a
strong code of non-fraternization with outsiders.
Here unique rituals offering dances and
gladiator-like battles between youths take place.
Tenganan is famous for its "double ikat" woven
material called gringseng, which is supposed to
protect the wearer by magic powers.
Candi Dasa is a romantic and peaceful seaside
resort area with lovely ocean views located two
hours drive east of Denpasar. The local villages
and rice fields offer an insight into the Bali of
old and new and offers an enjoyable days outing
from your hotel. Candi Dasa is quiet, so for those
seeking this type of holiday and wanting to
recharge their batteries this is the place to be. Map
little further east on the coastal road is Yeh
Saneh, an idyllic spot few people know of. Only a
few meters from the splash of the surf is a cool
freshwater spring, around which has been built a
large pool and gardens for bathers and picnickers.
The Werdhi Budaya Art Center was
started in 1973 and finished in 1976: the largest
and most complete in a series of cultural centers
built throughout the archipelago by the Indonesian
Government over the last decade.
Designed by Bali's foremost
architect, Ida Bagus Tugur, (also architect for
Indonesia's new National Art Gallery) the vast
complex is, apart from its very real cultural
function, a showplace for Balinese Temple and
Palace Architecture at its most opulent. The open
stage Arda Candra with its towering candi gate and
the almost rococo main Art Museum, a sprawling
park, Balinese pavilions and follies, have become
a regular architectural attraction. Built on one
of the few remaining coconut groves in central
Denpasar, the center has quickly become a busy
forum for the performing and fine arts. With three
Art Galleries and a host of stages, the Center is
only rivaled by Jakarta's Taman Ismail Marzuki as
a venue for diverse and rapidly changing cultural
programs. Since 1975 the Center has been home to
the island's Dance Academy (ASTI), a tertiary
level Conservatorium, Dance and Drama School for
traditional Balinese Performing arts. With the
island's Art School situated next door, the
center's seminar halls and exhibition space are
devoted to the encouragement and education of
local art students.
most important institutions in Bali, temples
reflect the important role religion plays in the
life of the Balinese. A temple is a place for
communicating with the divine spirits through
offerings and prayers. On holy days, when the
deities and ancestral spirits descend from heaven
to visit earth, the temples become centers of
Temple festivals are guided by purification of the
sprinkling of holy water. Whole communities take
part in these festivals, bringing baskets of food
and flowers for offerings. While pura means temple,
a puri is the residence of the local prince, which
may function as a cultural center.
Music, dances, food, flowers, and fruits
sacrificed began as part of temple rituals to
please the gods and to placate evil spirit.
Following the caste system of Hindu and some of
its other rites and beliefs like reincarnation,
one of the greatest ceremonies are cremations,
meant to liberate the souls ready for rebirth.
Burial is only temporary to give the family time
to prepare or wait for others to arrange for a
common cremation within the community.
Bali is world famous for its spectacular surfing
beaches and golden sunsets. The reefbreaks at
Uluwatu, Padang-Padang, Kuta, Nusa Dua and Sanur
offer some of the very best waves in the world,
with long tuberides breaking over pristine coral
reefs. You're virtually guaranteed to get the best
barrels of your life! For those less experienced,
or who just want to try learning to surf in Bali,
there are many safe beachbreaks and fun
intermediate breaks scattered all around the
island (many in the south). No matter what time of
year you come, there is always good surf with
off-shore winds. Bali really is "a surfer's