Denpasar, The Capital City Of The Island-Province of Bali

Although it may not be as popular as the vibrant tourist’s compound of Kuta and Legian or the thrilling waves of the island’s south coast among tourists, Denpasar, the capital city of the Island-Province of Bali holds its own charm as a place where modernity and Balinese distinct culture blend flawlessly as a whole. The city also acts as the major hub that connects the many tourists destinations within Bali Island. Denpasar is also the site where the Bali Arts Festival is held annually.

Designated as Bali’s capital city since 1958, replacing the former capital of Singaraja in the north, the city of Denpasar has since then grown rapidly in population and economy. Around its major square are the office of the Governor, the Bali Museum, and Bali’s first hotel, the Bali Hotel, where Hollywood filmstars Charlie Chaplin and Barbara Hutton once stayed. Also around here are major banks. While other government offices can be found at Renon.

Denpasar, the capital city of Bali
Denpasar, the capital city of Bali (Source : water-sports-bali.com)

The Puputan Square itsef is a historic landmark in Bali’s heroic history. In 1906, when Dutch forces landed on Sanur and moved to the city, the King of Badung, his Queen, children and the entire court wearing all white clothing and armed only with the keris, fiercely confronted the oncoming bullets. The royal house was entirely wiped out, except for one young prince, whose descendent was later installed as the Cokorda or King of Pemecutan.

As historic reminder of this phenomenal stance, the huge Bajra Sandhi Monument was erected at the Puputan Margarana Square, right in the heart of the city. The monument is most significant for its commemoration of the various puputans (suicidal fight to the death) of the Balinese in the struggle against Dutch colonialism: in 1908 the Raja of Klungkung together with his court also prefered death rather than surrender and shame. Inside the monument, visitors will find dioramas and other valuable collections depicting the history of the Balinese struggle against colonialism.

The provincial administration’s seat of Bali, Denpasar is bristling with temples, palaces, and at the eastern part is the popular lay back beach of Sanur. Although is a center for government and businesses, the city does not cramped itself with lines of tall buildings or modern architectures. Instead, many of the government offices, banks, businesses offices, shopping malls, and others retain the distinct personality of Balinese culture.

Denpasar is by far the largest city in Bali but still manages to retain a small town ambience despite heavy traffic congestion on its roads. The city is generally made up of tightly knit villages complete with historic Hindu temples surrounded by communal family compounds. It offers the most accessible way to see real, uncompromising Balinese life. Denpasar is also Bali’s best spot for shopping and features everything from lively street markets, vast department stores and more than its fair share of trendy boutiques. Expect the cheapest prices in Bali for almost everything as most stores cater to locals.

The capital city offers the best way to explore the island complete insight through the Bali Provincial Museum (Museum Negeri Provinsi Bali) or simply known as Bali Museum. As Bali’s flagship museum, it offers an informative introduction to almost all things in Bali through a vast array of cultural and historic artifacts from across the island. It is housed in four traditional pavilions set around a walled compound, right in the heart of town. Weaponry, utensils, precious jewelry, Balinese textiles, religious artifacts, traditional costumes and masks, and several artworks are among some of the collection displayed in the museum.

The Bajra Sandhi Monument, Denpasar
The Bajra Sandhi Monument, Denpasar (Source : wikimedia.org)

Located in the eastern suburbs, the Taman Werdhi Budaya or Bali Art’s Center is Bali’s foremost cultural centre. It comprises a large exhibition space, art museum, concert hall and amphitheatre and an adjoining school for the performing arts. There are permanent displays of Balinese art covering all styles made famous in nearby Ubud, woodcarvings and traditional costumes. Visitors can experience dance and music performances in two open-air amphitheaters with modern lighting. Dances are also regularly staged for the public, including works integrating modern Balinese choreography. The unique Kecak performance staged every night at 6.30 pm to 7.30 pm.

As any place in Bali, Denpasar is also decorated with many Hindu Temples. Among some of the renowned temples in Denpasar are the Pura Agung Jagatnata (adjacent to the Bali Museum), Pura Maospahit, and Puri Pemecutan.

ACTIVITIES

Denpasar is a melting pot of different cultures from all over Indonesia. There are few places where the results of the government transmigration policy are more evident than here. For that reason it is a wonderful place to eat with restaurants specialising in different regional and ethnic Indonesian cuisines. Sometimes this can all seem a bit inaccessible and hard to find for visitors, so do not be shy to ask your driver or at your hotel. Here are some of the dining places you can try in Denpasar:

  • Atoom Bara, Jl Gajah Mada 106-108
  • Ayam Taliwang, Jl Teuku Umar
  • Bali Bakery, Jl Hayam Wuruk 181, Tanjung Bungkak
  • Kak Man, Jl Teuku Umar 135
  • Kereneng Night Market (Pasar Malam Kereneng), Jl Hayam Wuruk/Jl Kamboja

This market starts up at sunset eveyday and is open until dawn. All manner of Indonesian food served from dozens of stalls. It is rough and ready, but the food is excellent and 100% authentic.

  • Warung Nasi Bali, Jl Hayam Wuruk 69A
  • Warung Wardani, Jl Yudistira 2

Contrary to what most tourists know, you may find some of the best shopping places of Bali in Denpasar. Here are some spots you may want to try :

Badung Central Market on Jalan Gajah Mada is best visited in the early morning. The ground level is devoted to fresh foodstuffs, dried food and spices are on the second level and handicrafts can be found on the top level.

Duta Silk is a fabulous silk emporium located at Block 1, Komplex Duta Permai (next to Matahari Department store) on Jalan Dewi Sartika.

Gold stores with globally competitive jewelry prices abound in Jalan Hasanuddin and Jalan Sulawesi.

The myriad of small stores selling fabrics and local works in Jalan Gajah Mada and Jalan Thamrin will keep happy even the most jaded of world shoppers.

There are several shopping malls in Denpasar, the most notable being Ramayana on Jalan Diponegoro, Matahari Duta Plaza on Jalan Dewi Sartika and Robinsons opposite Matahari. These malls have a huge range of stores selling everything from clothing to arts and crafts as well as more everyday shops such as pharmacies.

As capital of Bali Province, there are wide ranges of accommodation selection you can find in Bali from starred hotels to modest inns, others can be observed below:

  • Adi Yasa Hotel, Jl Nakula 23
  • Genesis Hotel and Spa, Jl Bypass Ngurah Rai 888
  • Merta Sari Hotel, Jl Hasanudin 24
  • Nakula Familiar Inn, Jl Nakula 4
  • Taman Suci Hotel, Jl Imam Bonjol 4
  • Tirta Lestari Hotel, Jl Nangka 62

GET THERE

Most visitors coming to Bali will arrive at Ngurah Rai International Airport (IATA: DPS), also known as Denpasar International Airport. Despite this misleading name, the airport is actually located in Tuban between Kuta and Jimbaran, roughly 15 Km from Denpasar or about 30 minutes drive. Acting as a main entrance to Bali, the airport is the second-busiest international airport in Indonesia, after Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. Ngurah Rai International Airport connects Bali to most of Indonesian major cities and some of the major cities of the world.

Denpasar is centrally located and easily reached by car or taxi from the main tourist regions of south Bali. A trip from Kuta, Legian and Seminyak will take 20 to 30 minutes depending on traffic. Sanur is just 15 minutes to the east and Ubud about 30 minutes to the north. Tabanan is about 40 minutes to the northwest. A pre-paid taxi from the airport will cost between Rp 70,000 and Rp 100,000, depending on exactly where in Denpasar you are heading to.

The main bus terminal of Denpasar is Ubung, which is also a bemo (public minibuses transportation) terminal. Aside from connecting many cities in Bali, Ubung is also the main bus hub of Southern Bali to Java. A bus to and from Surabaya, the capital of East Java will cost about Rp 120.000 including the ferry trip between Banyuwangi and Gilimanuk, mineral water and a meal.

Although there is no train station nor any railroad tracks in Bali, you can still use train as a transportation option to Denpasar. Through the Inter-Transportation Modes Ticket (Titam/Tiket Terpadu Antar Moda) You can buy the so-called “train tickets” to and from Surabaya, including a bus (air-conditioned) to Banyuwangi, and the ferry between Gilimanuk and Ketapang, and then a train from Banyuwangi to Surabaya.

 

 

 

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