Bali Holiday Guide

Reviewer: Simsi
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Kuta Beach, Bali

Denpasar is the capital city of Bali. The island is a stunning tropical paradise with spectacular temples, impressive Balinese architecture and breathtaking views. However in contrast, Denpasar is also a thriving metropolis with international banks, modern buildings and a definite cosmopolitan atmosphere. This popular tourist destination offers visitors a truly rich cultural experience.

Flights to Denpasar

The Denpasar Bali International Airport, also known as Ngurah Rai Airport, is located in southern Bali 13kms south of Denpasar and just a stone’s throw from Kuta beach. It is Indonesia’s second largest airport and sees about five million passengers each year. The airport handles both domestic and international flights.

There are a number of transportation options in Denpasar, the most popular being taxis. Public buses are also available as are shuttles and car services. Most of the major hotels will provide a courtesy shuttle to and from the airport for their guest.

Sightseeing in Bali

There is a wide selection of noteworthy attractions in Denpasar. One of the attractions that delight locals and visitors is the traditional dance performances held at the Arts Centre. Here you can catch an exciting dramatic performance and the sensational Balinese dancing.

For history buffs and art lovers, the Bali Museum at Denpasar square offers excellent exhibits of carvings and artefacts as well as a marvellous collection of Balinese paintings and sculptures.

Fun by night – eating drinking and partying

The city has a plethora of stalls, eateries, markets and restaurants that serve up authentic and tasty local cuisine. For visitors who have a yearning for their home cuisine, rest assured; you will find something in Denpasar. From Chinese to American gastronomy, there is indeed something for everyone.

The city of Kuta is just ten minutes away from Ngurah Rai airport and is where many locals and tourists go to dance the night away. There is a wide selection of clubs and bars that range from pumping dance venues to laid back jazz clubs. Some of the more upmarket hotels in Denpasar have lounges and bars.

Fun by day – shopping and activities

Bali is renowned for being a shopper’s paradise and Denpasar is no exception. Here you can find a plethora of beautiful handicrafts, pottery, textiles and silver. A shopping trip in Denpasar would not be complete without a purchase of the famous Balinese batik cloths. In a nearby town called Celup, you can find countless silver and goldsmith’s shops selling unique jewellery and trinkets at bargain prices.

One of the most interesting shopping areas is Sanggraha Kriya Hasta. Here you can find an extremely wide variety of handicrafts and works of art. Art enthusiasts should make sure that they visit the Taman Wedhi Budaya area. This is the art centre of Denpasar and also holds traditional dances every evening.

Surfers are plentiful in Denpasar as the surfing beaches are famous all over the world. People travel for miles to try their hand at the waves. Kuta beach is the most visited and is just a short distance from Denpasar.

Daytrips

Bali features a number of fascinating towns and villages, many of which make interesting daytrips. At the village of Batubulan, with its sandstone demons and divinities, tourists can watch new works in progress in the workshops. Stone figures line the road on the way into the village.

A short distance away from the capital Denpasar is the smaller town of Ubud, famed as being the centre of Balinese painting. Located at a higher altitude to the capital, the climate is pleasant and visitors can view art dating from the 19th century at Purl Lukisan and the Neka Museum.

Located in the wild of the countryside, the charming village of Penglipuran is lined with traditional Balinese houses and a collection of family temples. A child is usually on hand to show tourists around the village, whose residents practice both farming and forestry.

Must-see attractions

Bali is full of enticing attractions aside from the stunning beaches, and one not to be missed is the sacred spot of Gunung Agung in central Bali, one of four extinct volcanic complexes and the site of the important Besakih Temple.

Occupying the crater of another volcano is the magnificent Lake Bratan, which is an excellent spot to participate in water sports such as waterskiing, motor boating and other water craft activities.

Lovers of temple architecture should head to Pura Kehen, Bali’s religious heart, which is home to a great number of temples dating back as far as the 11th century. Another temple not to be missed is the Pura Besakih, which sits on the slopes of Mt Agung and is an important place of pilgrimage for the Balinese.

Bali’s highest temple, Pura Tegeh Koripan, can be reached by an energetic climb of more than 400 steps. Boasting panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, the temple dates back to the 11th century.

The Monkey Forest in Ubud is a great place to take the family. Home to hundreds of entertaining monkeys, the beautiful forest also features a richly decorated temple. Another attraction that children can enjoy is the collection of hot springs at Yeh Panas. The whole family can enjoy the mud pots, swimming pools and mineral baths here.

Best time to go

Bali’s high seasons run through July and August and the Christmas season. But the best time to visit is any time between May and January, as between February and April temperatures and humidity soar. The monsoon rains fall between October and April, but usually only in short bursts and this can be a great time to visit. Even during the hottest months, you may get a bit chilly in the mountains at night-time.

Rainy day suggestions

With such an extensive rainy season, you never know when rain will come and spoil your plans. Luckily, Bali boasts some excellent indoor attractions. The Gedong Kirtya Library in Singaraja is stuffed full of Balinese history. Lovers of local art should head for the Neba Museum in Ubud or a few of the many craftsmen’s shops in the surrounding villages of Celuk.

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