Attractions in Denpasar (Bali's provincial capital), include several sites of historical and cultural significance, such as the Sakenan Temple on the island of Serangan, and the Jagatnatha Temple that is adjacent to town’s public museum. Denpasar offers a blend of rustic touches and urbane features that make it a unique place to visit on your Bali holiday.
In the centre of Denpasar you will find a rather bustling scene, but if you travel to its outer fringes there is a more laidback natural vibe, and comfortable areas to behold, such as the mangrove forest in southern Denpasar and the Kertalangu Cultural Village in the northeast. You can enjoy a day trip starting from the heart of the city with many of these sites a short distance apart. Here are the 10 best attractions to see in Denpasar and around town.
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This ‘island’ is actually a large pontoon, several minutes east from the shores of Serangan Island, which you are invited to swim in... with sharks. It also goes by the name Serangan Shark Island Project. The private endeavour was set out by Paul Friese, a Honolulu surfer who decided to embark on a mission to save black-tip and white-tip reef sharks, and creating a cool, one-of-a-kind tour alternative for visitors. The project is in close collaboration with the local fishermen’s group of Serangan Island, who bring in their otherwise injured accidental catches to be cared for in this safe 10x10m nursery. The pontoons currently house over a dozen pups, and several releases have been carried out in the open seas and the Gili islands of neighbouring Lombok. The sharks are well-fed and quite placid, and swimming with these species is quite safe and suited for all ages. The tour includes a visit to the turtle hatchery above. Read More...
- Location: Agus Bar & Restaurant, Jalan Tukad Punggawa, Serangan Island
- Tel: +62 (0)361 996 510 1
Turtle Conservation and Education Centre (TCEC)
Serangan Island is located in south Denpasar, connected to the mainland by a small road. Once a breeding ground for sea turtles, which were a traditional commodity among the Balinese in the distant past, now has an education and conservation site set out to breed and protect the species. The Turtle Conservation and Education Centre (TCEC) serves as a hatchery, nursery and sanctuary for sea turtles that are accidentally caught by fishermen in the near waters and around the island. This educational centre is open for the public and is great for kids who wish to see and get to know about these creatures up close. A shelter houses several pools where turtles are kept according to age and size, and species, and are supervised by a team who also provide information and are happy to show you around the pens. Next door is a small stall selling snacks and refreshments, as well as turtle-inspired shirts and merchandise.
- Opening Hours: 09:00 - 17:00
- Location: Jalan Tukad Punggawa, Serangan Island
- Tel: +62 (0)361 857 7881
Sakenan Temple referred to locally as ‘Pura Sakenan’, is one of the most important temples in South Bali. The temple is located on Serangan Island. Before the reclamations and the road that connects it to the Bali mainland was built, a unique highlight during the ‘piodalan’ temple anniversaries was the throng of pilgrims that walked over the mangrove marshes at low tide or crossing over the calm waters aboard traditional wooden boats – all in their colourful attire while bringing colourful boxes of offerings. The temple consists of two main temple complexes, each featuring old coral stones that were used in history in place of bricks. Sakenan Temple’s anniversary coincides with the day of Kuningan, a week after Galungan, a major observance in Bali. Read More...
- Location: Serangan Island, south Denpasar
The Bali Provincial Public Museum, locally known as ‘Museum Negeri Propinsi Bali’, is located right next to the mayor’s office and the Puputan Badung civic square (otherwise known as Lapangan Puputan Badung I Gusti Ngurah Made Agung). The museum is the oldest on the island and houses over 10,000 exhibits. The main structure of the museum showcases amazing Balinese architecture, and its location site, as well as the adjacent square was the historical site of the Badung War in 1906 when the Dutch invaded Denpasar. Step inside and you will find three separate pavilions named after Bali’s regencies: Tabanan, Karangasem, and Buleleng. Each houses a collection of art and ethnography, ancient inscriptions, ceramics, porcelain statues, household items, agricultural tools, weapons, ritual tools, paintings, wayang kulit (shadow puppets) and more. Read More...
- Opening Hours: Mon – Thu 08:00 – 15:00, Fri 08:00 – 12:30
- Location: Mayor Wisnu, to the east from Puputan Square, Denpasar
- Tel: +62 (0)361 222 680
The Bajra Sandhi Monument is the centrepiece of the vast civic square known as Lapangan Niti Mandala Renon, which is right at front of the governor's office. The monument actually houses a diorama gallery on its second floor, which exhibits a glimpse into Balinese history dating back to 3,000 BC and up to the people’s struggle against the Dutch during the fight for Indonesian Independence. It also features stunning Balinese architecture in its exteriors. Surrounded by tall trees and well-kept gardens, this majestic landmark is a favourite photo location, as well as a weekend recreational site among local residents. On sunny days visitors can enjoy the cityscape of Denpasar from the Utamaning Utama Mandala section on the third floor. Read More...
- Opening Hours: everyday, 08:30 – 16:30
- Location: Niti Mandala Renon, Denpasar
Jagatnatha Temple (Pura Agung Jagatnatha)
Jagatnatha Temple is a central landmark that adjoins the Bali Provincial Museum and the city square, locally referred to as the Denpasar Puputan Square. This historical site underwent a series of renovations over time, and now features a towering central Padmasana shrine in bright white. Inside the temple walls, however, you can still see remnants of the older days such as preserved carvings and stone motifs depicting episodes from the Ramayana epic.
- Opening Hours: 07:00 – 18:00
- Location: Jalan Mayor Wisnu, Denpasar
Denpasar Arts Centre
The Denpasar Arts Centre, or Taman Werdhi Budaya, is the main site for the annual Bali Arts Festival. During the festival, usually held from July to August every year, the arts centre features week-long exhibits and live art performances in its various indoor and outdoor auditoriums and amphitheatres. The main open-air Ardhacandra amphitheatre also regularly hosts modern concerts and events. On any normal day, the complex is a great stopover on tours to the city, with its magnificent sculptures, leafy gardens and stunning Balinese architectural features. Next door is the Denpasar Institute of Arts, where you can take a peek as art students rehearse their traditional and contemporary dance routines.
- Opening Hours: Mon – Thu 08:00 – 14:00, Fri – Sun 08:00 – 12:00
- Location: Jalan Nusa Indah, East Denpasar
Desa Budaya Kertalangu Cultural Village
Desa Budaya Kertalangu, or the ‘cultural village of Kertalangu’, offers an expansive recreational site on the eastern outskirts of Denpasar, with green paddies, outdoor activity centre, spas, various restaurants, shops and a freshwater fishing arena. The ‘village’ covers 80 hectares and features pathways through tenants that occupy their own unique enclosures, from traditional wooden houses to straw huts. In the centre is a world peace monument in well manicured gardens featuring sculptures of world figures. Among the activities on offer here are horse riding, woodcarving, traditional Balinese dancing lessons and painting. A convenience store and souvenir shop is located near the entrance, offering items at attractive prices.
- Location: Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai No. 88X, Kesiman, Denpasar
Fingerprint Painting Museum
Otherwise known as ‘Museum Lukisan Sidik Jari’, this art gallery is the private collection of I Gusti Ngurah Gede Pemecutan, a member of the Denpasar royal family, and a noted Indonesian artist who is renowned for his unique painting technique – applying a variety of colourful dots and strokes on canvas with the aid of only his fingers. The gallery is located on Jalan Hayam Wuruk, east of the Denpasar main hub. Among his personal collections are oil paintings that predate 1967 when he invented the technique, while a vast gallery exhibits his newer fingerprint paintings. An adjacent open pavilion offers painting and dancing classes.
- Opening Hours: 08:00 – 16:00
- Location: Jalan Hayam Wuruk, Panjer, Denpasar
- Tel: +62 (0)361 235 115
Ngurah Rai Mangrove Forest
The island’s largest mangrove forest is located on the southern coastline of Denpasar, in the village of Suwung. Known locally as the Taman Hutan Raya Ngurah Rai Mangrove Forest, it borders the busy tourism areas of Sanur and Kuta, but is a soothing oasis where you can momentarily escape from the crowds. The forest covers 1,375ha of land with 200ha utilised for recreational facilities, complete with wooden tracks where you can enjoy leisurely walks through lush scenes filled with nature sounds. Deep within are several shelters where you can sit down and enjoy the fresh air, as well as two 25m-tall watchtowers offering views over the forest.
- Location: Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai, South Denpasar
- Tel: +62 (0)361 720 063