Saturday, 2 February 2019

INDONESIA: Denpasar, Balinese Say Tourism Should Be For Bali Instead Of Bali For Tourism

Denpasar is the largest city and capital of the island of Bali, Indonesia. It is located in South Bali.

Denpasar is the capital of Bali and the main gateway to the island. The city is also a hub for other cities in the Lesser Sunda Islands.

Denpasar is a bustling, multi-cultural city and although it can seem a little intimidating the first time you visit, just do not believe those travel guides which say it has nothing to offer.

Denpasar is bristling with temples, palaces and museums and its occupants are outstandingly friendly. You can see many of the main sights comfortably on foot.

This is also a notable shopping city with options to please even the most jaded of world shoppers. Denpasar is the seat of government in Bali and is therefore home to the provincial governor's office as well as the administration of the Regency of Badung.

With the rapid growth of the tourism industry in Bali, Denpasar has encouraged and promoted business activities and ventures, contributing to it having the highest growth rate in Bali Province.

The population of Denpasar was 897,300 in 2017, up from 788,445 at the 2010 Census. The surrounding metropolitan area has roughly 2 million residents.

In 1958 Denpasar became the seat of government for the Province of Bali. It remained the administrative centre of both Badung Regency and the City of Denpasar.

Both Denpasar and Badung Regency have experienced rapid physical, economic, social and cultural growth. Denpasar has become not only the seat of government, but also the centre of commerce, education, industry, and tourism.

Average population growth of 4.05% per annum, accompanied by rapid development, led to a variety of urban problems. It was resolved that meeting the needs and demands of the burgeoning urban community would best be addressed by giving Denpasar administrative independence from Badung Regency.

Agreement was reached to raise the status of Denpasar to that of an autonomous city, and on 15 January 1992, Act No. 1 of 1992 officially established the City of Denpasar. It was inaugurated by the minister of home affairs on 27 February 1992.

On 16 November 2009, in a further administrative realignment, Regulation Number 67 shifted the capital of Badung Regency from Denpasar to Mangupura.

Denpasar is located at a height of 0–75 mdpl. While the total area of 127.78 km² or 2.18% of the total area of Bali Province. From the use of land, 2,768 hectares of land are paddy, 10,001 hectares are dry land, while the remaining land area is 9 hectares.

Badung River divides Denpasar, after which the river empties into the Gulf of Benoa.

Denpasar, located just south of the equator, has a tropical wet and dry climate, with hot and humid weather year-round. Due to this there is little temperature change throughout the year, with temperatures averaging about 28 degrees Celsius.

The year is divided into two seasons: wet and dry. The wet season lasts roughly from November to April, while the dry season lasts from May to October. The temperatures are not extreme, but combined with the oppressive humidity and copious precipitation, the heat can be very uncomfortable at times.

The city's population was counted as 788,445 in 2010, up from 533,252 in the previous decade. The provincial website lists the December 2017 population at 897,300.

Denpasar's population grew about 4% per year in the period from 2000 to 2010, Denpasar grew much faster from 2005 to 2010 than in the previous five years. The lingering effects of the 2002 Bali bombings had a major depressive effect on tourism, jobs, and immigration from other islands.

However, if current trends continue, Denpasar is expected to easily surpass a million residents by the next census. There are about 4.57% more men than women in Denpasar. The 2015 intercensal survey (SUPAS) reported a population of 879,098 people for the city.

Approximately 65.95% of the population are Hindus (BPS 2017), while Islam is the largest minority religion (24.32%), followed by Christianity (7.34%), Buddhism (2.35%), and Confucianism (0.03%).

Denpasar is divided into four districts (kecamatan), listed below with their 2010 Census populations:

- Denpasar Selatan (South Denpasar) 244,851

- Denpasar Timur (East Denpasar) 138,404

- Denpasar Barat (West Denpasar) 229,435

- Denpasar Utara (North Denpasar) 175,899

The development of tourism and structural changes in the economy have had a strong impact on Denpasar. Trade, hotels, and restaurants dominate the city's gross regional domestic product.

Also boosting the economy of Denpasar is the production of craft items such as souvenir carvings and sculpture. The craft industry, however, is experiencing pressure due to the impact of the global financial crises and competition from other Asian developing countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, India, Malaysia and China.

These competitor countries maximize the scale of production by utilizing industrial technology, while at Denpasar the craft industry remains focused on traditional skills and hand-made goods, limiting the quantity of production.

The real Bali was known for its mud walls and thatched gates. However, gated residential developments and shop houses now characterize urban Bali.

During the late 19th century, the built environment was being constructed based on the political situation of the city. This resulted in the residence of the ruling family becoming the center of the city.

Market squares played an important role in the Badung kingdom, and it continued to do so when the colonial powers came to exert control over Bali. Over the course of the 20th century, Denpasar faced the challenges of changing urban landscapes brought about by political changes.

The developments that were brought about by the colonial powers were regarded as eroding the indigenous culture of Bali. Although Denpasar became known as a settler city, there was still a strong attachment to the indigenous culture.

Denpasar has undergone massive unplanned development during the 21st century, due to the expansion of tourism leading to the construction of increasingly more modern facilities in the heart of the city.

Nonetheless, the market square still plays an important role, with its fa├žade representing traditional elements of the Balinese culture.

Denpasar has various attractions. The white sandy beaches are well-known all over the island. The surfing beach is Serangan Island. Sanur beach has calmer waters and is excellent for sunbathing and kitesurfing.

Ten minutes from the Ngurah Rai International Airport lies the town of Kuta, where most of the hotels, restaurants, malls, cafes, marketplaces, and spas that cater to tourists are located.

In the Denpasar area, all kinds of Balinese handicrafts are represented in local shops. These include artwork, pottery, textiles, and silver. Batik cloth is sold all over Denpasar, and batik sarongs and men's shirts are widely available.

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. Due to traffic, allow 1.5 to 2 hours to reach the airport from Ubud. Tabanan is about 40 minutes to the northwest.

A pre-paid taxi from the airport will cost between Rp 70,000 and 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 terminal. Most buses to and from Java depart from here.

To and from Surabaya, Java: expect to pay Rp 120,000 by eksekutif night bus, including the ferry trip between Banyuwangi and Gilimanuk, mineral water and a meal.

Buses arrive in the Bungurasih bus terminal in Surabaya. Depart everyday 7pm, duration 10 hours. Other bindings to and from most big cities in Java, including Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Bandung and Semarang.

The bemo centre of Bali is here. Inconveniently, bemo terminals are scattered all around town, and transfers between them can be time and money consuming. The major ones are:

- Batubulan, 6 km northeast, for points central and east: Besakih, Candidasa, Kintamani, Klungkung, Padangbai, Ubud.

- Tegal, to the west, for southern Bali: Kuta, Legian,Jimbaran, Nusa Dua, Sanur, Uluwatu.

- Ubung, to the north, for points north and west: Gilimanuk, Negara, Singaraja, Tabanan.

Always ask a local for the normal price before getting in or expect to be charged a price up to ten times what it should be.

Don't forget that a bemo departs when it wants usually when it is full enough, which can last for several hours, except in the early morning, where they are rather frequent. In any case, you won't find any bemo after 4PM.

There is no train station in Denpasar, since there are actually no trains in Bali. But a travel agency in the Ubung bus terminal has an agreement with Kereta Api, the Indonesian train company.

You can buy train tickets to and from Surabaya, including air-conditioned a bus to Banyuwangi, and the ferry between Gilimanuk and Ketapang, and then a train from Banyuwangi to Surabaya.

Price: Rp 154,000 on weekends, Rp 139,000 on weekdays in bisnis no a/c in the train, or Rp 169,000 in eksekutif. Those prices include a small commission of the travel agency. There are two services in each direction, each day:

- 10:30PM from Surabaya arrival 5:25AM in Banyuwangi, arrival approx noon in Denpasar.

- 9:15AM from Surabaya arrival 4:04PM in Banyuwangi, arrival approx 10:30PM in Denpasar.

- 4PM from Denpasar, train departing 10:25PM from Banyuwangi, arrival 5AM in Surabaya.

- 5AM from Denpasar, train departing 9AM from Banyuwangi, arrival 4PM in Surabaya.

Denpasar can be a bit steamy and the traffic pollution a worry, but the centre of this city does lend itself to getting around on foot and walking is recommended.

Taxis are widely available for hailing. If you have a group of people, you may want to negotiate a bemo or small van for a set rate to your destination. Remember that pricing is negotiable.

Bemo routes in Denpasar are extremely complicated. In addition to the three terminals described in the section above which operate longer distance bemos, there are three more which handle the local routes as do the long distance terminals such as Gunung Agung, Sanglah and Kereneng.

Unless you are very patient and somewhat adventurous, bemo transport within Denpasar is best left to the locals to figure out. As a rule of thumb though most routes in the city seem to come through Kereneng Terminal on Jalan Kamboja at some stage.

To go from one bemo terminal to another within the city, the fixed price is Rp 7,000 although non-Indonesians may be asked to pay much more. A taxi can work out cheaper, is certainly faster and is indescribably more comfortable.

As elsewhere in Bali, motorbikes can be rented, although it is more normal for a visitor to arrive with a bike rather than rent one here.

Rental Scooter Bali, Based on Kuta, Airport, Seminyak and Denpasar Bali Indonesia. Rent motorbike in Bali Pick & Drop from/to Bali International Airport to Kuta, Nusa dua and Denpasar - Rate starts from IDR.60.000 / 24 Hrs, also tour service to all Bali area.

Benoa Harbour is the entrance to the Denpasar by sea and is currently managed by PT Pelindo III. The port is located about 10 km from the city center, and has been operating since 1924.

Public transport in Denpasar, especially for urban transportation, is becoming ineffective and inefficient.. Public transport is not popular, and is used by only about a few of the total population.

Meanwhile, the growth of private vehicle ownership has gone up and is not comparable with the construction of new roads. Congestion in the city of Denpasar is unavoidable due to this reason.

Since August 2011, the city has operated a bus rapid transit system called Trans Sarbagita. Two main routes and some feeder lines are operated daily from 5 a.m. until 9 p.m. There is no dedicated lane for the buses: they run on main streets. In 2012 an average of 2,800 passengers per day used the service.

Two major improvements to the road system were completed in 2013. In August, the underpass at the Dewa Ruci intersection was opened. It is slightly beyond the bounds of Denpasar but was co-financed by the town because of the expected positive effects on traffic in Denpasar.

Then the four-lane Bali Mandara Toll Road was opened on 1 October, connecting Benoa Harbor, Ngurah Rai Airport, and Nusa Dua.

Denpasar has hosted numerous international and national sporting events. Denpasar was the venue for 2008 Asian Beach Games in Bali. Denpasar also held 2009 Asian Archery Championships.

In football, Denpasar is home to the football club Perseden Denpasar, which plays in the Liga Nusantara.

While arts and culture in Denpasar are largely synonymous with that of Hindu art and culture, there has also been a high level of interaction with other cultures that accompanied the arrival of visitors from all walks of life.

Traditional values inspired by Hindu religious rituals still strongly influence the city.

Traditional Balinese culture is still deeply rooted in Denpasar. It may include values, norms and behavior in society based on patrilineal kinship systems.

However, many of the customary laws have been disputed by people, especially regarding matters of gender and inheritance.

When visiting any of the temples in Denpasar, remember to bring a sarong and sash with you. These temples receive relatively few foreign visitors and are unlikely to have temple dress available for hire.

Alun-Alun Puputan - Puputan Square, Jl Gajah Mada/Jl Suprati. The huge four-faced, eight-armed Catur Mukha statue is situated here at the centre point of the city. Representing the Lord Brahma and it serves as a guardian of each cardinal point. The square is a key point of orientation for the whole city. If you get lost, find your way back here and all will be clear.

Bali Museum or Museum Negeri Propinsi Bali, Jl Mayor Wisnu at the eastern side of the Alun-Alun Puputan. Sa-Th 8AM-3:30PM, F 8AM-11AM. A much under-patronised place by visitors which offers ano 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. The grounds and architecture are quite charming, and the museum is housed in four separate pavilions.

The main pavilion has a great collection including ancient stone, bronze and wooden artifact. The southern pavilion houses many textiles, the northern pavilion concentrates on the history of Balinese performance art, and the central pavilion is devoted to Balinese Hinduism and ritual.

If this place was in Kuta or Nusa Dua it would be swamped with tourists. Take care not to visit the museum during national holidays. Apparently the museum’s security guards are in-cooperation with con-artists that offers a walk-through of the museum’s external grounds at an exhorbitant price of Rp 50,000 *per person.

The self-appointed guide does not appear to possess good historical knowledge and often mis-inform tourists. Rp 11,000.

Lapangan Puputan Margarana - Puputan Park, Jl Raya Puputan. This rather grandiose park is home to the huge Bajra Sandhi monument representing Balinese Peoples Struggle. The design of the grey stone monument symbolises the date of Indonesian independence, August 17th 1945.

There are eight entrances, 17 corners and the height is precisely 45 metres. The monument is most significant though for its commemoration of the various puputans or suicidal fight to the death of the Balinese in the struggle against the Dutch in the early 20th century.

At the northern edge of the park you will find the governor's office and other government buildings.

Palace of Satria and the Royal Temples, Jl Veteren about 300 metres north of Alun-Alun Puputan. 8AM-4PM daily. The palace and temple of the royal family of Denpasar which is beautifully kept and admirably, open to all residents of Denpasar for worship. Some wonderfully ornate carvings here, even by Balinese standards.

Pura Agung Jagatnata - Jagatnata Temple, Adjacent to the northern boundary of the Bali Museum. A state temple which was built in 1953. Dedicated to the supreme being Sanghyang Widi Wasa, this temple is open to all worshipers without any restriction as it is a government building and not a village temple.

There are large ceremonies here twice a month at full moon and dark moon. Ask at the tourist office for a detailed schedule.

Pura Maospahit - Maospahit Temple, Jl Sutomo. An ancient temple with a long and glorious history thought to originate in the 14th century. This is a temple typical of the peak of the Majapahit period being constructed largely from red brick.

Sadly, much of it was destroyed in the early 20th century earthquake but there are some original remnants including the guardian statues in the inner courtyard. This is a charming temple and one which is seldom patronised by tourists. Every chance you will have it to yourself.

Sidik Jari Museum, Jl Hayam Wuruk 175. 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.

Taman Wedhi Budaya Cultural Centre, Jl Nusa Indah,. 8AM-3:30PM daily. A museum that covers the history and essence of Balinese art. The classical schools are well represented by both paintings and sculpture and there is a large section featuring contemporary Balinese art. Gamelan orchestra performances are also held here. Rp 3,000.

Taman Budaya or Bali Art Center. Taman Budaya or Bali Art Center is the culture building complex with the best style of Balinese traditional architecture. It is featuring the good lay-out building of amphitheater to be a place/hall of show performance purpose.

It is symbolizing the twiddling of Mandara Giri mount in the milk ocean and spattering the Amerta holy water for the life of endless as according to nature of dynamic culture and stayed alive during the human being still dwell the earth planet.

This amphitheater can accommodate up to 6.000 audiences for the show of colossal both for modern and also traditional. This Taman Budaya or Cultural Park is opened in the year 1973 with the Bali Artistry Party or Pesta Kesenian Bali within one month.

On that month, there are full of entertainment amusement traditional dance, exhibition, and other cultural activities. At the opening ceremony enlivened by artistic parade started from Puputan Park and finish at the Art Center.

Its distance is about 2 Km and this parade is followed by entire regencies and towns in Bali by delivering their artistry mission. This event is often followed by other provinces in Indonesia as well as from outside country like Japan, Korea, Europe, America etc.

In this culture parade is presented in so many forms those are from the sacral until contemporary traditional. There are also type of marry and custom clothes from each area, instrument of music or gamelan, forms Sesajen offering and others.

It is very much worth finding information from the official Tourism Office about scheduled cultural events in Denpasar. These are many and varied and include, dance, puppet theatre and art exhibitions.

Otherwise, apart from the numerous sights and excellent shopping, there are not really any specific activities to recommend in Denpasar.

Pesta Kesenian Bali or Bali Art Festival. The Bali Arts Festival is a full month of daily performances, handicraft exhibitions and other related cultural and commercial activities during which literally the whole of Bali comes to the city to present its offerings of dance, music and beauty.

On display are trances from remote mountain slopes, forgotten or recently revived village dances, food and offering contests, classical palace dances, stars of Balinese stage, odd musical performances, kreasi baru or new creations from the dance schools of Denpasar, as well as contemporary choreography and dance companies from other islands and from abroad.

It is a month long revelry that perhaps no other place in the world can put up on such a low budget as the Balinese. Not only is their traditional culture alive and well, but they have a tremendous pride in it.

It begins in the villages, where the seka or cultural groups are selected and organized at the regency level, vie with each other to perform the Arts Festival and thus display in front of a large audience the uniqueness of their village of birth and resting place of their ancestors.

The Bali Arts Festival is the Denpasar cultural event of the year, perhaps it would no be too far fetched to suggest that it is the cultural event of Indonesia. The festival is thus a unique opportunity to see local village culture both "live" and at first hand. Tourists are warmly welcomed.

When tourism took off after 1965, the Balinese insisted that it followed cultural guidelines: if tourism was to be accepted, it was to be a cultural tourism, or pariwisata budaya.

Tourism should be for Bali instead of Bali for tourism. In time, this idea become national policy, as part of a larger retvping of regional cultures for national purposes. The policy owes much to the former Director General of Culture (1968-1978) and Governor of Bali (1978-1988), Ida Bagus Mantra, an Indian-educated Balinese.

It led, on the one side, to the creation of enclave resorts such as Nusa Dua to limit the direct impact of tourism, and on the other, to a long haul cultural policy aimed at nurturing and preserving the traditional agrarian culture while adapting it to the demands of modernity, and in particular of cultural tourism.

At the village level, local music groups, dances and other cultural events were inventoried, then supported by a series of contests at the district and regency level.

The ensuing competition energized the cultural life of villages, whose young blood was already being drained to the city by the process of economic change and urbanization.

Schools of dance and art were created, in particular the Kokar conservatory and the STSI School of Dance and Music. Beside research, these schools replaced the traditional master/disciple relationship by modern methods of teaching; standardized the dance movements, produced new types of Balinese dances for tourism and modern village entertainment.

Most important, it enabled former students to return to the villages as teachers, where they diffused, beside the creed of cultural resilience and renewal, new dances and standardized versions of old ones.

Many of the performances are held at the amphitheater which can hold up to 6,000 spectators, in a temple-like stage.

Each year, the Bali Arts Festival, beside the fed classical dances of the island, such as the legong, gambuh, kecak, barong, baris, mask dances and the like, is based on the theme around which new dance choreography is produced and old village dances and activities revived.

Over the years, the whole range of classical Balinese stories - Ramayana, Mahabharata, Sutasoma, Panji - have thus been turned into colossal Sendratari Ballets.

The main challenge to the Arts Festival is obviously economic in nature. As village life is increasingly feeling the strains of monetary considerations, dancers, musicians and others cannot be expected to continue participating simply for the sake and the pleasure of it.

As costs soar, new sources of financing have to be found. The obvious answer is the private sector and in particular the tourism industry. The greater task then is to convince the hotels, travel agencies and tourist guides to be more participatory in the Arts Festival rather than to their own sponsored events.

Considering the pride the Balinese have in their culture, and the adaptability and dynamism they have always demonstrated, this little hurdle can be overcome. Trust the Balinese. They will eventually succeed to transform their tradition into a modern, Balinese culture of their own.

Sanur Vilage Festivals have become a major event in Bali Event Calendar. The main aim of the festival is to attract large number of tourist from various countries. After its huge success last year, the organizers of the event are planning to make this event even better and bigger.

These year Sanur village festival promises a lot of water sports activities and adventure. The event is inspired by Marine life which plays a vital role in daily life of Balinese. Sanur Village Festival is highlighted as major tourist attractions of Bali event calendar.

Denpasar Festival or DenFest The annual Denpasar Festival is an event that celebrates the creativity and cultural diversity of the city. It offers a variety of food stalls, art and handicrafts for sale, traditional Balinese dancing and local award ceremonies.

The festival offers a great collection of traditional Balinese food from Ayam Betutu to Babi Guling to a traditional Balinese sweet drink. We hope this event can be a memorable closing to the year. The festival near end of the year until Dec. 31.

The festival also hosts awards even for some of the local cuisine and in search of finding the city’s best.

Contrary to what you might read in many guide books, the best shopping in Bali is in Denpasar.

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 jewellry 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, selling mostly clothes 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.
Denpasar is a melting pot of different cultures from all over Indonesia. There are few places where the results of the government trans-migration 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.

Atoom Bara, Jl Gajah Mada 106-108. Chinese restaurant specialising in seafood. It appears unimpressive but the food is fantastic.

Ayam Goreng Nyonya Suharti, Jl Gatot Subroto 109, Ubung. Extremely famous fried chicken cooked with an old family recipe from Java. A bit out of the way but definitely worth the effort in getting there.

Ayam Taliwang, Jl Teuku Umar. A restaurant noted for the Lombok speciality of Ayam Taliwang grilled or fried young chicken. Spicy and delicious.

Bali Bakery, Jl Hayam Wuruk 181, Tanjung Bungkak. 8AM to 9.30PM. Long established bakery and bistro/cafe. Very good quality bread, pastries and cakes produced fresh every day. Large lunch and dinner menu which includes local favourites and some well chosen international dishes.

Cianjur, Jl Cok Agung Tresna, Renon. Named after a town in West Java, its dishes are influenced by Sundanese cuisine. A little out of the city centre in the suburb of Renon. The grilled and sour-sweet Ikan Gurame is especially recommended.

Kak Man, Jl Teuku Umar 135. This place is an absolute institution. Truly excellent Balinese food including bebek betutu which is smoked duck.

Kereneng Night Market or 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 Ibu Nia (Ayam Betutu), Jalan Merdeka no.1 Denpasar near intersection of TVRI tv station Renon. 10.00 am-10.00 pm. Culinary typical Gilimanuk using original village chickens with extra spicy flavor 100 percent halal from IDR 25.000.

L'amore Cafe, Jl Tukad Barito 18A. 8AM to 10.00PM. Italian and Indonesian Fusion Food. Good Quality Pasta, Specialty Coffee, Juices and Desserts. Nice ambiance to stop with fresh Ingredients and non MSG. Available also for vegetarian food, and some surprising menu to try. Excellent price and promos.

Warung Nasi Bali, Jl Hayam Wuruk 69A. Excellent local food at very good prices. Highly recommended for a real taste of Indonesia in a very authentic environment.

Warung Wardani, Jl Yudistira 2. Excellent Indonesian cuisine. Look no further than the Nasi Campur which is rice with various spicy side dishes and is what everyone comes here to eat.

Plengkung, Jl Kaliasem 16. Family run place with excellent and very cheap food and fruit juices. Local come here to eat. Main dishes from Rp 10,000.

The foodcourts on the upper levels of Denpasar's department stores all serve surprisingly good food at excellent value prices. Try Ramayana, Matahari and Tiara Dewata department stores.

Ramayana, Jalan Diponegoro, Matahari Duta Plaza. 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.

Warung Bendega, Jl. Cok Agung Tresna no. 37A-Renon Denpasar. Bendega means Fisherman in Balinese language. Excellent Balinese food including sambal matah and ikan bakar or grilled fish.

Warung Subak, Jalan Astasura No. 05 Peguyangan, Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia.

Nasi Jinggo. General term for small package of rice and some side dish, sells cheaply on the sides of the streets in Denpasar at night. It is favorite supper for locals, students and budget traveler.

Ayam Betutu Gilimanuk.

Warung Bale Timbang, Jln. Trengguli, Penatih, Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia. Traditional Balinese food in the laid back environment. Like having picnic in the middle of forest with serene feeling of ravine water flow.

Tavern 23, Jalan Moch. Yamin 16a same road as warung subak and shares building with vinoti living. 8am-10pm. Western style restaurant serving a variety of western comfort foods - pulled pork sandwiches, burgers, grilled cheese tomato soup, chicken sandwiches, as well as some local cuisine such as lumpia, nasi goreng, risole. They also have a swimming pool customers can use. 35k-60k.

There are bars and nightlife in Denpasar but these are best left alone by visitors who will feel much more at home in Seminyak, Legian and Kuta.

Bali Bakery, Jl Hayam Wuruk 181, Tanjung Bungkak. Long established bakery and bistro/cafe. Very good quality bread, pastries and cakes produced fresh every day. Large lunch and dinner menu which includes local favourites and some well chosen international dishes.

Kereneng Night Market or 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. Excellent local food at very good prices. Highly recommended for a real taste of Indonesia in a very authentic environment.

Bhineka Jaya Kopi Bali, Jalan Gajah Madah 80. An absolute must for coffee lovers. Indonesia produces some of the best coffee in the world and here you can order your favourite brew as well as buy the beans.

Products include coffee from Central Java, Toraja from Sulawesi, Mandailing from Sumatra and of course the very best of Bali coffee. The outlet of the famous Butterfly Globe brand.

There are many small budget hotels in Denpasar which are primarily aimed at domestic business travellers as few foreign tourists stay in the city here. These are reasonably priced and comfortable enough. Within a 500 metre walk of the Alul-Alun Puputan there are many options which will nearly always have availability.

Adi Yasa Hotel, Jl Nakula 23. Charming, authentic, family-run, budget hotel. It's no frills, has cold water, but the proprietors are very friendly and accommodating. Excellent location close to many tourist sites and very inexpensive, authentic restaurants.

Includes private bathrooms and good Internet connection in every room. Considered to be one of the oldest hotels in Denpasar and one of the best-kept secrets for the budget traveller. Room price 30% higher during high seasons. From Rp 90,000.

Nakula Familiar Inn, Jl Nakula 4,. Huge, modern rooms, Wi-Fi, each with a balcony and choice of fan or a/c. A welcoming homestay with beautiful family temple and shrines.

Extremely good value. Close to the centre of Denpasar and Badung Market, Puputan Square, Bali Museum. Best place to go if arriving from Java by bus. From Rp 130,000 single, Rp 150,000 double.

Pulau Bali Hotel, Jl. Gunung semeru No.3 DENPASAR 80119. AC, FAN, TV, Breakfast, Bathtub with hot and cold water, shower, large room, private veranda, free wi-fi ,service drink every morning and afternoon, rent car and rent motorcycle, large parking area and friendly staff. From Rp 170,000.

Tirta Lestari Hotel, Jl Nangka 62. Simple and clean hotel which may appeal to travelers on a budget. Mostly aimed at domestic travellers. Located 1 kilometre north of the city centre. From Rp 120,000.

Praja Hotel Bali - Praja Hotel in Denpasar, Jl. Mohamad Yamin IV No. 2A, Renon - Denpasar. checkin: 11.00; checkout: 14.00. Praja Hotel is a smart property located in the heart of Renon, which is an exclusive district for a number of provincial government offices and consular representatives.

The hotel has 40 tastefully-appointed rooms to anticipate the needs of business travellers as well as tour groups visiting the island of Bali. Rp 300,000 to Rp 600,000.

Inna Bali Inn - Natour Bali Hotel, Jl Veteran. A mid-market hotel owned by the government and designed principally for hosting conferences. Good city location, but quality of service and friendliness can vary a lot. Has an interesting colonial past and a few nice historical touches remain. Good restaurant. Rp 500,000 to Rp 1,200,000.

Merta Sari Hotel, Jl Hasanudin 24. Simple and clean hotel just 2 minutes walk south from the Alun-Alun Puputan.

Taman Suci Hotel, Jl Imam Bonjol 45. A 45 room hotel in a strategic city position. Popular with domestic travellers. From Rp 325,000.

Aston Denpasar Hotel and Conference Centre, Jl Gatot Subroto Barat No 283. A 3/4 star hotel from the Aston chain. Probably the best standard hotel in Denpasar but very much aimed at the conference and business travel market. from about Rp 800,000.

Genesis Hotel and Spa, Jl Bypass Ngurah Rai 888. A four star hotel & spa that offers 76 rooms which comprise of 5 suites and 71 superior rooms, including 9 sets of interconnecting rooms for families.

Well located with easy access to the main Jl Ngurah Rai bypass and on to the airport, Sanur beaches and the major department stores of Denpasar. Rates start at US$ 85.

Virtually all of Bali can be accessed easily from Denpasar.

After spending time in the crowded city, head 45 minutes north to Ubud for clean air and spiritual refreshment. The golden beaches of Sanur are just 15 minutes drive east.

If you prefer a cooler climate, take a trip to the central highlands to see the lakeside temples of Bedugul and waterfalls of Munduk.
Pemuteran in West Bali is famous for excellent diving and snorkelling.

Tourism Observer