Bali's capital city often goes unexplored in favour of spending more time on the island's beaches, but it's definitely worth a look. It's home to thousands of Balinese from other parts of the island, has a rich history with some good museums, a lively events calendar and great markets. Pasar Badung is the largest market, selling food and clothing to locals, Pasar Burung is the noisy and colourful bird and small animals market and Pasar Malam Pekambingan and Pasar Kereneng are night markets.
As far as beaches go, there are several within easy reach. Kuta, Legian and Canggu are best for surfing, whereas Sanur is great for sunbathing.
Bali has a tropical monsoon climate. There are two seasons - dry (May to September/October) and wet (October/November to April). The Monsoon brings heavy showers and high humidity during the wet season. The months of June to September are the driest months and humidity is not a factor.
When to fly to Denpasar
June to September is peak season in Denpasar as most people visit Denpasar during this time. Schools are out and European tourists take their holidays during these months.
The wet season (October to March) is, in general, the low season. However, you'll find some savvy travellers, who take advantage of the cheaper accommodation rates during this time. December and January are the wettest months, meaning less visitors.
Getting around Denpasar
There are several ways of getting to Denpasar from the airport. These include buses, taxis, shuttles, courtesy shuttles (provided by hotels) and limousines. There are also several car-rental companies with desks at the airport.
The centre of Denpasar is easily covered on foot. Taxis are cheap and readily available and it's best to settle on a fare before you set off, to avoid any nasty shocks later on. Bemos are small vans with set routes that set off when they are full. It may take a while for bemos to fill up so taking a taxi may be a quicker - and more comfortable - option. Understanding the routes that bemos take may be something best left to locals too. Australians can drive in Bali as long as they bring their International Driving Licence.
Denpasar insider information
- The Bali Museum is across from the square. It has several buildings from different regencies, ancient artifacts and some of the weapons used in the Puputan.
- Other museums of note include Museum Rudana, the art museum and Museum Semarajaya, which has a good collection of weapons, ceramics, paintings, furniture and dance and ceremonial costumes.
- The Bali Arts Festival takes place in June/July each year. It's a month-long celebration of Balinese culture with performances, exhibitions and much more.