Denpasar is located in the Island of Bali which is less than half the size of the greater metropolitan area of Sydney. There are a lot more people living in Bali than Sydney, which obviously means they are packed in tighter. Nowhere on the island is this more apparent than in the capital city of Denpasar.
There are more cars per capita in Bali than Jakarta, and Denpasar has all the traits of a big city: overcrowding, pollution, rush hours and stress in general. But like any other major city in the world, Denpasar also exudes its own unique charm. One thing that can be said in Denpasar’s favour is that for a city verging on a population of over a million people, it is relatively crime free. Tourists can wander in the parks or markets without having to worry about their safety. There are some overbearing market traders or hawkers but that can happen anywhere in world.
Denpasar is the seat of the government in Bali and is therefore home to the provincial governor’s office as well as the administration of the Regency of Bandung. If you want to pick up a free map of the city contact the Tourist Information Office, which is a great source of information for current events in the city on Jalan Surapati 6, Denpasar. +62 361 2345569. 8AM-4PM. A taxi ride into Denpasar will probably take about 30 mins from Kuta and should set you back about 70,000 Rp.
It’s roughly nine kilometers from the airport. If you have a group of people, you may want to negotiate a bemo (small van) for a set rate to your destination. Remember that pricing is negotiable. Indonesian are great people, however, they won’t think twice about overcharging you if they can, as would happen anywhere else. So if you want to go for an adventure and you decide to leave your Bali Luxury Villa read the guide below.
Things to see
Bali museum (museum Nigeria Propinsi Bali), Jl Mayor Wisny (eastern side of the Alun-Alun Puputan), Ph. +62 361 222680. Sa-Th 8AM-3.30PM, F 8AM-11AM A much under-patronized place by visitors, which offers an informative introduction to all things Balinese, both historical and modern day. Originally opened in 1910, the building was brought down in the 1917 earthquake and languished until 1932 when resident German artist Walter Spies sparked a major revival.
Lapangan Puputan Margarana (Puputan Park), Jl Raya Puputan. This rather grandiose park is home to the huge Najra Sandhi monument (literally Balinese People Struggle). The design of the grey stone monument symbolises the date of the Indonesian independence, August 17th 1945. The monument is most significant though for its commemoration of the various puputans (suicidal fight to the death) of the Balinese in the struggle against the Dutch in the early 20th century.
Sidik Jari Museum, Jl Hayam Wuruk 175, ph. +62 361 23511. 9Am – 5PM daily. A small, private fine art museum established and owned by I Gusti Ngurah Gede Pemecutan and which exhibits his own work as well as that of other artists. Also has facilities for public dance and other performances.
Badung Central Market on Jalan Gajah Mada is the best visited in the early morning. The ground level is devoted to fresh foodstuffs, dried food and spices are on the second level and handicraft can be found on the top level. This is a genuine 24 hours Asian market. Balinese people wake as early as 2 am to get their product ready in time to head down to the market, carrying baskets on their heads to spend the day peddling their wares. All the genuine sights, sounds and smells you would expect from a proper market. Visit the meat section for some real authenticity.
Jalan Hassanudin is known as Gold Street and teems with busy traders bartering over gold prices. Even if you don’t want to buy gold it is worth the experience to wander from shop to shop. There are some beautifully crafted pieces of jewellery on offer but remember, barter wisely.
The myriad of small stores selling fabrics and local works in Jalan Gajah Mada and Jalan Thamrim will keep happy even the most jaded of the world shoppers. There is a wonderful shopping street named Jalan Sulawesi where most garment producers in Bali buy their stock.
There are also several shopping malls in Denpasar, the most notable being Ramayana on Jalan Diponegoro, Matahari Buta Plaza on Jalan Dewi Sartika and Robinsons opposite to Matahari. These malls have a huge range of stores selling everything from clothing to arts and craft as well as more everyday shops such as pharmacies.
Denpasar is a melting pot of different cultures from all over India and other parts of Asia. There are lots of great restaurants and even a few half decent hotels although after a hard day shopping in Denpasar you might want to head back to your villa where you can jump in a pool and enjoy a glass of wine.