Denpasar is with a population of 800,000 the largest city on Bali and also the capital. Denpasar can be very busy and hectic but most people get used to it very quickly. Denpasar has a rich history in which the Netherlands played big part. In 1906 the Dutch conquered Denpasar. The statue Taman Puputan is a referencce to that period where many Balinese committed suicide so they wouldn’t be captured and exiled. Thanks to rich history of Denpasar it is possible to visit many cultural, historical and religious sights as palaces, temples and museums. Besides the many sights there are many shops and shoppingcenters which makes it ideal for a shopping daytrip.
Sights and Tourist Attractions
Lapangan Puputan Margarana
Location : 0.6 mi from City Center - 10 minutes walk | Category : History
Lapangan Puputan Margarana is also known as Puputan Square or Puputan Park. On this beautiful square / park is a large pond with a statue named Alun-Alun Puputan. This statue is to commemorate what happened on the 20th of September 1906. On that day hunderds of Balinese citizens gathered on Lapangan Puputan Margarana in white robes and committed suicide (Puputan) to make sure they weren’t captured and exiled. Those who didn’t commit suicide were captured or killed by the Dutch.
Bajra Sandhi Monument
Location : 3 mi from City Center - 5 minute drive | Price : Rp 10,000 | Category : Culture and history
The Bajra Sandhi Monument in Denpasar is also known as “The monument of the struggle of the Balinese people”. This large monument is located in a park in memory of the struggle of the Balinese people. In 1987 the construction commenced and the Bajra Sandhi monument was finalised and opened by president Sukarno on the 14th of June 2013. At this building rather chauvenistic art is displayed.
Museum Negeri Propinsi
Location : 500 yd from City Center - 10 minutes walk | Price : Rp 5,000 | Category : Culture and history
The Negeri Propinsi Museum in Denpasar has been founded in 1910 by the Dutch to preserve the cultural heritage of Bali. After an earthquake the museum has been rebuild in 1917. The Negeri Propinsi Museum consists of 4 buildings. In these buildings a lot of objects with reference to the history and culture of Bali are exhibited. A few examples are dance outfits, traditional calendars and religous artefacts.
Palace of Satria and the Royal Temples
Location : 0.6 mi from City Center - 10 minutes walk | Category : Culture and History
The Palace of Satria and the Royal Temples in Denpasar are rebuild in 1930. The palace is build in a style named Pendopo. Inside the palace is a collection of daggers which were used during the Puputan in Denpasar in 1906. The temples at the palace are often used for traditional dance shows. Also every 210 days (1 year according to Balinese calender) a special ceremonial dance is performed at the Royal Temples.
Location : 1 mi from City Center - 20 minutes walk | Category : Culture and history
The Pemecutan Palace has been build in the 16th century and was destroyed by the Dutch in 1906 at the same time the royal family committed suicide. Since then the palace has been rebuild and fully restored. At the Pemecutan Palace traditional, culutral and historical Balinese objects as traditional musical instruments are shown. Nowadays a part of the hotel is converted in to a hotel in traditional Balinese style.
Pura Agung Jagatnata
Location : 550yd from City Center - 5 minutes walk | Category : Nature
The Pura Agung Jagatnata temple in the center of Denpasar has been build in 1953. This temple is to honor the god Sanghyang Widi Wasa. Twice a month, once at full moon and once at new moon, a ceremonial show is performed with shadow dolls (Wayang Kulit). These ceremonies are very popular and crowded. The Pura Agung Jagatnata temple itself is beautifully decorated.
Location : 1.5mi from City Center - 20 minutes walk | Category : Culture and history
The Pura Maospahit is the oldest temple on Bali and has been build in the 14th century. It’s a typical temple from the Majapahit era which can be recognized by the dark red bricks. In the beginning of the 20th century a large part of temple was destroyed by an earthquake in Denpasar. Thankfully not all was destroyed. For example the statues of the guards in the hallway are still in a perfect condition. It’s not a crowded temple therefore you have all the time and space to walk around and really take your time.
Pura Tanah Lot
Location : 12,5mi from City Center - 30 minutes drive | Category : Culture and history
Pura Tanah Lot is a temple in the sea at Tabanan. Pura Tanah Lot literaly means “Land in the Sea”. Pura Tanah Lot can only be reached during lowtide. This temple is originated in the 15th century when a priest named Nirartha decided to rest on these rocks. After he rested he told the locals that he felt spiritual activity on the rock and therefore a temple had to be build to honor the Balinese sea gods. Men believes that the many poissons snakes which live at Pura Tanah Lot are there to protect the temple from evil spirits and burglars. In 1980 this temple is fully renovated by the Indonesian government. The most ideal time to visit Pura Tanah Lot is late in the afternoon because of the tide and offcourse because of the beautiful sunset.
Taman Wedhi Budaya Cultural Centre
Location : 1.5mi from City Center - 20 minutes walk | Price : Rp 3,000 | Category : Culture and history
The Taman Wedhi Budaya Cultural Centre is also known as the Bali Art Centre. The museum has been build in 1973. At the Taman Wedhi Budaya Cultural Centre traditional Balines paintings and sculptures are exhibited. Besides the collection which shows the history of Balinese art the museum also has an amfitheater. At this amfitheater music and dance performances are scheduled regular. To attend one of these shows we advise you to make reservations in advance as these shows are quite popular, especially in the months June and July.
Denpasar doesn’t offer many activities apart from visiting the sights or go shopping at for example Matahari Duta Plaza, Ramayana or the local markets or one of the many gold shops in Denpasar. What we do recommend are the cooking courses.
At the cookingcourses which are offered in Denpasar and its region you’ll learn in one or more days the intricacies of the Balinese and Indonesian kitchen. The chefs which give these courses are often very capable and will teach you all you need to know step by step. They will take you shoping at the local markets uptill and including cooking and eating your own prepared dishes. Most of the times the schools which offer cooking courses have different schedules for each day, so it is possible to take more courses without repeating the dishes already learned.
Entertainment and Nightlife
Bali has a rich culture and Denpasar is no exception. Al through Denpasar at different locations, days and times cultural shows are performed. These shows can consist from traditional music, dance and theater. When you visit Denpasar we recommend you to go to a touristagencies and ask where shows are performed and at what time.
All kinds of restaurants can be found in Denpasar including the traditional Indonesian restaurants. Restaurants are often specialised in a particular part of the Indonesian kitchen. We therefore recommend you to visit multiple restaurants, so you can taste the many flavors of Indonesian dishes. Also the stands at the local markets and shoppingmalls in Denpasar are worth a visit. At these stands it is possible to have cheap and good food.
Bars and Nightlife
Denpasar has a vibrant nightlife, but not as vibrant as Kuta or Legian. The nightmarket Pasar Malam Kereneng is recommended. It’s possible to walk around, buy souvenirs and enjoy the many food and drink stands till late at night. Because Indonesia is know for its coffee a lot of coffeebars can be found in Denpasar. Here you can try multiple flavours of high quality coffee. So this is a must for the coffee enthousiasts.
How to get there
Denpasar is easy to reach from almost every place on Bali. Most will arrive at Bali at the airport near Denpasar. A trip per taxi from the airport to Denpasar is about 10 miles and takes around 20 – 30 minutes. The costs of this trip, depending of your destination in Denpasar, will be between Rp 75,000 and Rp 100,000.
As you can imagine in a large city as Denpasar all kinds of accommodations are available. From lowbudget to the most exclusive hotels and resorts.
These accommodations in Denpasar are mainly focussed on locals and backpackers. The rooms are equiped with only the primairy needs and most of the time don’t even have airco. The prices of the lowbudget accommodations start at Rp 60,000 per night.
The middle class hotels in Denpasar are equiped with all the facilities you need as airco, fridge on the room and WiFi. These hotels are located on better and more popular locations near tourist attractions and sights in Denpasar, which makes visiting them easier. The prices for these kind of accommodations in Denpasar start at Rp 200,000 per night.
Luxurious hotels and resorts in Denpasar are mainly focussed on persons who visit Bali for business. These hotels have everything you can imagine and are located on A-rated locations, so they are easy accessible from all over Denpasar. The roomrates start at Rp 700,000 per night.