Ten minutes from the Ngurah Rai International Airport lies the town of Kuta. Kuta is where most of the hotels, restaurants, malls, cafes, marketplaces, and spas that cater to tourists are located. In the Denpasar area, all kinds of beautiful Balinese handicrafts are represented in local shops. These include artwork, pottery, textiles, and silver. Bali is a haven for shoppers everywhere.
The famous batik cloth is sold all over Denpasar. These bright sheets of cloth are as beautiful as they are cheap. Made of pure cotton with glorious patterns, Balinese batik is definitely a good buy. Sometimes batik cloth is made into wearable clothing such as a sarong or men's shirts. The jewelry district is in a town called Celuk which is 30 minutes away from Kuta. Here you will find rows and rows of silversmiths' and goldsmiths' shops selling jewellery at very low prices.
• How to get to Denpasar:
There are a couple of ways to get to Denpasar from people staying in Kuta. If you are going to Renon to visit a consulate, you would take the Bypass to Sanur, and turn off at Jl. Raya Puputan. If you want to a selection of Denpasar’s food, you would follow Jl. Imam Bonjol through to Jl. Tueku Umar. From Seminyak you might follow Jl. Raya Kerobokan around to Jl. Gatut Subroto, the busy street that crosses Denpasar in the north. Many other routes are also possible. Once inside Denpasar proper, you will have to be on your toes as the one-way traffic system can send you in directions not anticipated. Denpasar is quite large so take a map with you.
Jl. Nakula 23
Within minutes of the Bali Museum and a good option for budget tourists wanting to explore Denpasar as close quarters. The place is not in the greatest shape and all have fan & cold water bathrooms.
Jl. Veteran 3
This is the oldest hotel in Central Denpasar. Has a colonial feel because of its connection to the cruise liner trade in the 1930’s. Situated close to the museum, this mid-range place offers a pool and restaurant, all rooms having a veranda, and AC.
Nakula Familiar Inn
Jl. Nakula 4
A great budget option a few minutes walk from the Bali Museum. Located across the street from the Adi Yasa, this place offers modern rooms in a family run place. Cold water & fan.
Jl. Imam Bonjol 45
Located 50 meters south of Tegal bemo terminal, this mid-range place offers AC, TV in all rooms. Not as central located as some of the other places mentioned. Rooms are clean and decent.
Jl. Imam Bonjol, Gang VII 5
Budget guest house with 3 clean rooms. Located 300 meters SE of Tegal bemo terminal, this place is family run. Cold water & fan rooms.
• Eating Out:
Denpasar occupies a large geographic area with many small local warungs. The most famous area is Jl. Tueku Umar, which is lined with restaurants and warungs serving varieties of food from all over Indonesia.
Ramayana Shopping Mall has a large food court on the top floor serving fast food versions of Indonesian favourites.
• Walking Tour of Denpasar:
Denpasar offers a different type of scene to that found in the Kuta area. Not a tourist center, or even a party center, Denpasar is home to locals, Balinese from other parts of the island, who work in Kuta, and other Indonesians who have moved here. It offers cheap accommodation, street food, cheap locally made goods and a nightmare traffic system. There are some highlights and my LP guide book points out a route that can be done on foot.
• Denpasar bemo stops:
Tourists visiting are on a short time frame and use a variety of transport modes to get them around as quickly as possible including taxis, rented cars and motorbikes. One transport option most people don’t think of are bemos. Bemos are are the small mini vans that drive all over Bali ferrying locals from place to place at an affordable price. Denpasar has some big bemo terminals and understanding where the buses route to and from is important.
Denpasar has some great local markets, some which are open at night. Pasar Badung is open at night in part, and other markets which are known as ‘night markets’ are Kereneng Night Market, located off of Jl. Hayam Wuruk. Great place for a local night time snack. There is also a night market on Jl. Diponegoro, just north of the Ramayana mall.
Ramayana Shopping Mall is a place most westerners don’t visit. But a trip to Denpasar might take you past this past. If you head north on Jl. Tueku Umar and keep going, taking the compulsory left turn, onto Jl. Diponegoro, you will see the large orange-brick Ramayana Mall on the right hand side.
Bali Arts Festival - Taman Budaya Cultural Center
The Bali Arts Festival is an annual celebration of Balinese art and cultural traditions. The event last a month from mid-June- mid-July. Check your local Bali events calendar for the schedule. Performance events are in the morning and late afternoon / evenings, so if you go in the middle of the day there may not be dances on.
Wayang Kulit: Balinese shadow puppets at Bali Museum
Bali Museum has examples of Balinese shadow puppets, which are important to cultural and religious life in Bali. The shadow puppet plays, known as Wayang Kulit, often incorporate the story of the Ramayana. This story is about a prince named Rama, the heir to the Ayodya kingdom. Rama was very much loved by his people, and while wandering in the forest with his wife Sita, and his younger brother, Laksamana, his wife was kidnapped by King Rahwana of Alengkapura. A great battle followed, between Rahwana and Rama, who was supported by a monkey troop, led by Hanoman. The battle ended with a Rama victorious.
In another puppet play, the Calonarang, a widow named Waluneteng from the village of Girah, under King Erlannga’s rule, is thrust into conflict with Mpu Beradah, a royal priest. Mpu Beradah taught the evil Waluneteng, that practicing black magic is wrong, and this puppet play can be adapted for both public and religious performances.
Geringsing: Balinese weaving at the Bali Museum
The Geringsing cloth, is the most intricate work of cloth in Bali. It is made in the Bali Aga village of Tenganan Pegeringsingan, and considered by Balinese, to have the power to ward off evil spirits / misfortune. The Geringsing cloth is used at special ceremonies in Bali. The cloth is made of natural fibers and natural dyes, which are red and reddish-brown tones made of the root sunti, yellow made of kemiri fruit and blue, or blue-black made of taum (indigo). The design is obtained by the double tied process, that is, the threads of both the warp and the weft are patterned previous to the weaving. To do this, warp and weft threads are stretched on frames, and groups are tightly bound with fibers at certain points, before being dipped into the dye, so that the tied part remains uncolored to produce the design.
The clothes on display at the Bali Museum, show a few motifs of the Geringsing cloth, such as: Wayang Putri (shadow puppet, pepare (fruit) and cemplong (flower). Because of the intricacy of the work, to make a good quality Geringsing takes form 5-8 years. Part of the reasom for this time frame, is also that Geringsing can only be worked on, during special days according to the wuku calendar
The Bali Arts Festival is presented at the Taman Budaya Cultural Center, located on Jl. Nusa Indah in the same area as the Kereneng bemo station.
Citibank has one branch in Bali, located on Jl. Tueku Umar. This modern bank is based in the US and can handle large sums of money.
Jl. Teuku Umar 208–210
Bali museum: Denpasar - http://www.baliblog.com/travel-tips/bali-museum-denpasar.html
• Bali Museum Denpasar
The Bali Museum is located at Puputan Square in Denpasar. Set in traditional looking grounds, adjacent to Pura Jagatnata, a visit to the museum is a relaxing and affordable place, where you can learn about Balinese history. Split into 4 main buildings, the museum is stocked with artifacts dating back to the megalithic period. The museum dates back to 1910, when the Dutch started building it. The structure was in the puri-pura style, meaning like a palace-temple, complete with courtyards, pavilions and decorated temple gateways. Walter Spies played a part in the Bali Museum, helping put together the collection and organize the display.
The Main Building contains a stone sarcophagus (coffin) dated from 600BC-800AD. As well as ancient tools used by the early Balinese. You will see weapons used by the Balinese against the Dutch and when comparing the sharpened bamboo poles and kris’s, to the long Dutch rifles, it becomes obvious why they had no chance. The Buleleng Pavilion contains examples of Balinese fiber arts, including a loom and various cloth, including endek, songket and the famous Geringsing. The Karangasem Pavilion has among other things examples of the Balinese Wuku calendar, a complex guide for priests to figure out auspicious days for weddings, funerals and other ceremonies. The Tabanan Pavilion has items used in Balinese music and dance, including a Barong costume and 2 massive Barong Landung costumes, which look like figures out of the Rio Carnival.
Arriving at midday, I ignored the advances of would-be guides and art sellers, buying my ticket at the office inside, then working my own way through the place, there were a handful of other tourists. No staff were on duty inside the actual museum pavilions, so it was up to me to figure out what was relevant. I took many photos and enjoyed my visit.
• What is it?
A museum detailing the history of Balinese culture from megalithic times to the present.
3,000rp for adults, 1,000rp for kids, plus 1,000rp insurance for adults, 500rp.
• Getting there from Kuta:
Your best bet is to take a taxi, as Denpasar is hard to navigate. If you want to drive / ride yourself, take Jl. Imam Bonjol towards Denpasar, take Jl. Teuku Umar , going straight through the roundabout. When the road forks after a kilometer or so, go right and follow signs for Bali Museum. When you come to Puputan Square, the big grassy area to your right, circle around it and park in front of the large Balinese temple. The museum entrance is next door. Travelling time from Kuta is 20 minutes.
• When is it open?
Bali Museum is open from 8am-3pm Mon-Thurs & Sun, 8am-12.30pm Fri, Sat closed.
• How long does it take to tour the museum?
You can do it in an hour, but if you want to check out all the exhibits and read all the descriptions, it will take 2 hours.
Toilet, drinks shop, gift shop.
• Do you need a guide?
There are individuals hanging around offering their services as a guide. You’ll have to negotiate for a price. In my opinion, as long as you can read, you’ll be fine.
• Best time to go?
Mornings and early afternoons, as the staff have been known to close early, then try to charge you a fee for the ’special service’ of opening the museum just for you.
• Tips for visitors:
Eat something before you go, as there is no restaurant on site, or any food places in the area.
Map of Denpasar:
• Sanglah Hospital:
Sanglah hospital is the best hospital in Bali. If you get in a serious accident you’ll end up there. Best way to get there from Kuta, is head for the Bypass to Sanur. At the junction of the Bypass and Benoa harbor, hang a left and its up that way.
ph: 62 361 244 574, 62 361 244 575
fax: 62 361244 574
Foreign Consulates in Denpasar:
Denpasar is home to several foreign consulates, mostly in the Renon area of SE Denpasar. Foreign consulates in Denpasar include the Australian, Japanese, Mexican and US.
• Australian Consulate
Jalan Hayam Wuruk No. 88B
Tanjung Bungkak, Denpasar 80324
Office hours: Monday to Friday
08.00-12.00 hours and 12.30-16.00 hours
Tel: 62-361-241 118
Fax: 62-361-241 120
• Canadian Consulate
Contact Australian Consulate
• Japanese Consulate
Consul: Mr. Noboru Nomura
Jalan Raya Puputan No. 170, Denpasar
Office hours: Monday to Friday
08.30-12.30 and 13.30-16.00 hours
Tel: 62-361-227 628
Fax: 62-361-265 066
• Mexican Consulate
Honorary Consul: Mr. I Gusti Bagus Yudhara, MBA
Puri Astina Building, Jalan Prof. Moh. Yamin No. 1A, Denpasar
Office hours: Monday to Friday
Tel: 62-361-223 266
Fax: 62-361-244 568
• New Zealand Consulate
Contact Australian Consulate
• US Consulate
Consular Agent: Mr. Joshua Finch
Jalan Hayam Wuruk 188 Denpasar
Office hours: Monday to Friday 08.00-16.30 hours
Tel: 62-361-233 605
Fax: 62-361-222 426
Emergency number: 0812-380-2540