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Denpasar Expands its City Tours: Bali

The Denpasar administration has announced plans to include more destinations in the city tour that it has been running since 1999. There are currently 10 destinations on the tour, which is managed by Denpasar’s tourism office, including the Art Center, Bali Museum, Le Mayeur Museum, Maospahit Temple, Badung-Kumbasari market and Sanur beach.

The tourism office is hoping to add the Jaganatha, Penambangan Badung and Pamecutan temples, Satrya bird market, Benoa Harbor, the Monument of the Balinese People’s Struggle and the fingerprint museum.

Denpasar Tourism Office chief Putu Budiasa said the number of people who had taken the tour reached 12,273 in August, falling from 17,225 the previous month.

He said museums and traditional markets were the most popular tourist attractions in Denpasar, adding that Kumbasari market, a handicraft center that is currently under renovation after being damaged in a recent fire, continues to draw crowds.

The sites included in the tour are easy to access: “Visitors can go there by car, motorcycle, bicycle, horse-driven cart or even by foot,” Putu said.

To support the tour program, the Denpasar administration is currently building pedestrian walkways along Jl. Gadjah Mada and around Puputan Badung Square where the Bali Museum and Jaganatha Temple are located, as well in a number of other locations. “We want Denpasar to be a pedestrian-friendly city,” he said.

The entrance fee at most of the museums is relatively cheap at Rp 2,000 (22 US cents) for adults and Rp 1,000 for children. The museums are open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday to Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Kumbasari, which offers a range of souvenirs like bracelets, bags, clothes, wall ornaments and statues, stays open until 6 p.m., while the Badung traditional market is open 24/7.

In the old days, Budiasa said, the Balinese had defended the island — known as the island of 1,000 temples — against the Dutch colonial army. A number of big wars took place in Bali, including the Jagaraga War in Buleleng in 1849 and the Puputan Klungkung War two years later. The last armed conflict — the Margarana Puputan War — started in Tabanan in 1946.

The Monument of the Balinese People’s Struggle was built to honor Bali’s war heroes. Located in front of the Bali governor’s office in Nitimandala, Renon, the monument was inaugurated on June 14, 2003. The 45-meter bowl-shaped monument was built by adopting various Balinese concepts like Tri Mandala, Tri Angga, Lingga and Yoni.

Aside from its unique structure, the monument presents 33 dioramas measuring two by three meters each, depicting the lives of Balinese people from the pre-historic period to the freedom struggle era.

The Bali Museum, which is located about one kilometer away from the monument, provides further insight into the lives of the Balinese. Next to the Bali Museum is Jagantha Temple, a Hindu place of worship that can accommodate thousands of people.
Le Mayeur Museum, named after Belgian painter Jean Le Mayeur de Merpres, is located next to the Bali Beach Hotel.

At least 15 masterpieces on hard board are displayed there aside from six pieces of work on plywood, seven on paper and 22 others on plastic bags.

Budiasa said if visitors wanted to take in the natural scenery of the area they could go to Serangan Island, Sanur Beach or the mangrove forest.

Ahead of the 2008 Tourism Visit Year, the Denpasar Tourism Office is also organizing major attractions like the Puputan Badung Carnival and the Gajah Mada Festival. “The first emphasizes the history of Denpasar and the latter trade. The Gajah Mada area has become the center of Bali’s trade activities, particularly Denpasar,” Budiasa said.

Wasti Atmodjo