Visitors to Bali who decide to skip Denpasar will be missing out on great museums, important temples, and the best shopping on the island. It’s a bit of a shame, but most tourists will decide to overlook the capital city to go directly to the beach areas. Those visitors who take the time to get to know Denpasar will usually be amazed at how much this huge urban area has to offer, and they will be glad they took the time to explore. Despite the fact that this is largest city on the island, it is still considered a bit off the beaten track because so few tourists spend time here. It is easy to visit Denpasar as part of a day trip from Sanur or Kuta.
How to Get to Denpasar
Denpasar is the capital city of Bali, and it is located in the south of the island. It is 14km (8.5 miles) from Ngurah Rai International Airport and 17.6km (11 miles) from Kuta. The options for getting there would include:
- Buses arrive in the city at Ubung from many parts of Bali and from other areas in Indonesia.
- Most towns in Bali will have a bemo service to Denpasar – there are many bemo terminus stations in the city, so it is important to check first.
- A taxi from Ngurah Rai International Airport to the city will usually cost between 80,000 and 100,000 IDR.
How to Get Around Denpasar
The options for getting around the city would include:
- There are many bemo routes that pass through the city – the network is complex, so it is best to ask advice from a local person or risk getting lost.
- Traffic can be heavy at times, but it is certainly possible to tour the city on a motorbike or in a rented car.
- There are usually plenty of taxis on the main streets in Denpasar – it is important to agree a price before setting off.
There are plenty of interesting things to see in Denpasar including:
- The Bali Museum is located in the center of town on Jalan Letkol Wisnu Dangin Puri. There is a nice selection of prehistoric items as well as many religious and cultural artifacts.
- If visitors are looking to escape the hectic atmosphere of the city, they can visit Lapangan Puputan Margarana. This park is also home to an enormous monument called Bajra Sandhi.
- Renon Square is a nice park where visitors can get to mingle with some local people. This is also a good place for walking or jogging in the mornings or evenings.
- Puru Agung Jagatnatha is the largest temple in the city, and it is considered a very sacred place by local people. It is located in the center of town – close to the Bali Museum.
- Taman Werdhi Budaya is an art center made up of four complexes; cultural library, exhibition hall, sacred garden, and amphitheater. The buildings are a great example of Balinese architecture, and there are always events going on here.
- Puru Maospahit is a red brick temple that was built during the fourteenth century. It was damaged by an earthquake in 1917 but there are still parts of the temple left standing, and it is a fascinating place to visit.
- Alun Alun Puputan is one of the most famous landmarks in Denpasar. This square is home to a large eight-armed and four-faced statue.
- The Denpasar Royal Temple can be found on Jalan Veteren – not far from Alun Alun Puputan. This building has been well preserved, and it is open to the public from 08:00 until 16:00.
- Sidik Jari Museum is privately owned, and it contains a wonderful collection of fine art. As well as the exhibition hall, visitors can also enjoy the art studio and library.
- Passar Kereneng is one of the largest markets in the city and it is a good choice for visitors looking for Balinese food or fresh fruit and vegetables. This market in the Badung area gets very busy here in the evenings, but there is a great sense of liveliness about the place.
- The Bali Orchid Garden is a beautifully landscaped area that has many tropical plants on display as well as orchids. It opens every day from 08.30 until 18:30, and there are a number of different tour packages available.
- Desa Budaya Kertalangu is a cultural village that is located on the outskirts of the city. This is a wonderful way to experience rural life, and there are some nice restaurants here as well.
Some of the most popular activities in Denpasar would include:
- The capital city has some excellent shopping options – everything from small market stalls to large department stores. It is possible to find some excellent prices for fabrics on Jalan Gajah Mada and Jalan Thamrin – there are also some excellent deals to be found when buying silk as well.
- There is usually something going on in the park at Jalan Surapati – especially in the evenings.
- There is almost always some type of cultural event taking place in Denpasar. The Bali Arts Festival lasts for a month. In 2013 the event will be taking place between June 15 and July 13.
- The nearest popular beach to Denpasar is Sanur – it is only 15.2 km (9.5 miles) away. There is a 5km sandy beach here, and the water is great for swimming.
- Visitors can get to learn the secrets of Balinese food by joining a course at Caraway Bali Cooking Class – the school is located on Jalan Penyaringan.
- Istana Anak Anak Indoor Playcentre is a good place to take kids. They have a soft play area and plenty of other activities to keep young children entertained.
Bars and Restaurants in Denpasar
There are some good restaurants in Denpasar and a number of bars such as:
- Porky’s Ribs and Bar-B-Q on Jalan Cok Agung Tresna opens from 11 to 11.
- Cafe Warung Taji specializes in Japanese and Italian food. They also provide free Wi-Fi for customers.
- Babi Guling Chandra on Jalan Teuku Umar is a typical Balinese eatery where pork dishes are abundant. The food here is very reasonably priced.
- Loving Hut is a vegan restaurant and juice bar on Jalan PB Sudirman. It is part of a chain owned by the spiritual teacher Supreme Master Ching Hai.
- Bali Bakery offers a mixed menu of local and western food with an emphasis on breads, pastries, and cakes. They have a number of branches in Bali, and they can be found in Denpasar on Jalan Hayam Wuruk and Jalan Mahendradatta.
- Akasaka Disco is actually a lounge bar on Jalan Teuku Umar. This place is very popular with the locals, and they like to come here to sing karaoke.
- TKS Bar on Jalan Danau Toba opens until 2am, and they have a happy hour every day between 17:00 and 19:00 – 20% off all alcoholic drinks. It is located on the border between Denpasar and Sanur.
- Bintang Karaoke is one of the liveliest venues in Denpasar, and it is located on Jalan Teuku Uma. This is more than just a karaoke bar, as they often have a DJ as well.