Denpasar is the bustling commercial heart of Bali. JI. Gajah Mada is the main street, running east-west. It changes names to JI. Dr. Wahidin to the west and JI. Surapati to the east. The center of commercial activity is on JI. Diponegoro and JI. Teuku Umar. Prices in US dollars. AC = Air conditioning. Telephone code is 0361.
The airport taxi co-op counter is outside customs, near "left luggage". The set fare is Rp35,000 to Denpasar. Buy a ticket at the counter for the sedan taxis. To take a bemo, walk out to the main road as far as the impressive white charioteer statue on the corner (about 1.5 km). From there, flag down a blue bemo van-it will take you down to "bemo corner" in Kuta for Rp1.500, where you can get another bemo to Denpasar. Metered taxis operate outside the airport-make sure they start the argometer before you take off.
Traffic is heavy and streets are often jammed during peak season. The four-wheeled bemos serve the inner city, while the four-wheeled versions serve the suburban terminals. Fare for a terminal to terminal journey is Rp 1,000. Bemos can also be chartered for jaunts around town, but it's easier and more economical to take the Praja (orange, phone 289090), Pan Wirthi (green, Phone 723366) or Bali Taxi (blue Phone 701111), Kowinu Taxi (Brown 773030) metered taxis. Fare at flag fall is Rp3,000; minimum fare for ordering by phone is Rp6,000. Taxi-motorcycles (ojek) are available. You can hire a dokar (horse cart) for about Rp.10,000 per km. However, the best way to get around Denpasar is on foot. The city is relatively small and you'll want to look in the shops anyway. For tourist services see Travel Advisory.
Eating out in Denpasar
Denpasar is a great place for all styles of Indonesian and Chinese food. Prices are very reasonable. Many good restaurants are found on JI. Teuku Umar, JI. Sumatra and on JI. Veteran, near the Satria bird market. Also check out the night markets and food centers.
Ayam Baker Taliwang JI. Teuku Umar. Spicy hot Sasak (Lombok) style cuisine. Specialties: plecingkangkung(swamp spinach) and grilled chicken.
Bundo Kanduang JI. Diponegoro 112 A, near Kerta Wjaya Shopping Center. Best Padang food in town: open 24 hrs.
Rumah Makan Sumatra is another Padang option, JI. Teuku Umar 88X.
Hong-Kong Restaurant JI. Gajah Mada 99. The local favorite for Chinese food. Or, try Rasa Sayang on JI. Teuku Umar, a popular place for great Chinese fare, including seafood.
Kak Man JI. Teuku Umar. Authentic Balinese food in a Bali kitch setting.
Gula Lunak, JI. Teuku Umar 120, for Balinese food in a nice atmosphere and outdoor seating option.
Balinese chicken is a specialty at Warung Satria, Jl. Kedondong 11A, Phone 235993, and JI. Tunjung Sari 65. They open at 9am and 10am respectively.
Or, try the suckling pig at Warung Nasi Gemah Ripah, JI. Supratman 118.
Ikan Bakar Rica on JI. Teuku Umar is known for its seafood and Manadonese menu.
Mie Ayam Jakarta JI. Veteran. Famous for its Chinese mie (noodles) and bakwan (meatball) soups.
Prambanan Restaurant JI. Hayam Wuruk 30XX, next to the RRI radio station. Great Javanese food in a beautiful wooden building.
Soto Ayam Suroboyo JI. Veteran, near Satria bird market. Specializes in soto (chicken soup) and other East Javanese dishes, such as ayam kampung goreng and ayam kampung bakar (free range fried and grilled chicken). And go to Warung Sate Muslim on JI. Thamrin for the best sate in town.
There are three good restaurants on Jalan Sumatra (near the Corsica newsstand). Betty, at no. 56, serves Indonesian favorites such as mie goreng and frogs legs for a couple of dollars.
Mie 88, at no. 88, has delicious Chinese meat balls and the Depot Kikel at no. 40-42, has good Javanese soto soup.
Night Markets and Food Centers
For an authentic local experience check out one of Denpasar's night markets (pasar malam), where you sit out under the stars and eat at small food stalls. Open from sunset to 10 pm. The biggest is at Kereneng terminal, another is outside the Kumbasari shopping center. The food is mostly Javanese and Balinese.
For the whole range of local food in a cleaner, if less exotic, environment try the food centers, located in the city's supermarkets (see below).
Shopping in Denpasar : Denpasar is where Balinese villagers come for all their day-to-day necessities. Most shops close at 1 pm, re-open 6 pm-10 pm.
Markets and Supermarket
Pasar Badung is Bali's biggest traditional market. Located on the eastern bank of the Badung river, it is in the heart of the city. The first floor has fresh produce, flower offerings and spice vendors. The third floor has textiles, dance costumes and traditional accessories. At Denpasar's supermarkets and department stores prices are fixed and cheap, and quality is high. The main ones are: Tiara Dewata, Ramayana at Bali Mall, Matahari, Libi, Siwa, Kerta Wijaya, Atfa, Dharma, and New Dewata Ayu.
For a good one-stop-shop, visit the Indonesian Export Gallery on the 3rd floor of Bali Mall Ramayana on JI. Diponegoro for paintings, handicrafts, home furnishings, batik and souvenirs.
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Modem textiles. Kampung Arab, JI. Sulawesi; or Toko Yadnya, JI. Gajah Mada. Tailored clothes at Alus, JI. Gajah Mada; or Adhie, JI. Sumatra.
Traditional textiles. Lestari on the ground floor of the Lokitasari shopping center, JI. Thamrin, sells traditional songket fabric directly from the loom. Danar Hadi, at the same shopping center, sells fashionable batiks from Java. Take a look at Surya Jaya, JI. Gajah Mada 128, for ikat. Kumbasari market, on the west bank of the river, also has a wide variety of songket and batik materials.
Handicrafts end Antiques
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Pasar Kumbasari and Pasar Badung have all sorts of Balinese crafts for reasonable prices. Satria Art Market specializes in handicrafts. Also try the craft shops on JI. Sulawesi and JI. Gajah Mada. For genuine antiques, visit Arts of Asia, behind Lokitasari shopping center, JI. Thamrin 27-37 .
Gold and Silver
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JI. Hasanuddin and JI. Sulawesi are full of gold shops. Prices are comparable to Singapore or Hong Kong; the gold is 22-24 carat. Check out the Balinese jewelry made of beaten gold on the second floor of the Kumbasari market. Mega Art shop, JI. Gajah Mada 36-38, has silver jewelry.
Balinese coffee makes a great souvenir. Toko Bhinneka Jaya, JI. Gajah Mada 80, is the biggest producer and distributor of coffee in Bali. $3 per kilo for robusta; $4 per kilo for arabica.
Banks. These banks process advances against your credit card for 5% commission. Take your passport. Bank Central Asia (MasterCard), JI. Hasanuddin 58, Phone 431012; Bank International Indonesia is the Western Union agent, Jl. Dewi Sartika (Phone 234306).
Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs). These machines are abundant and found in front of nearly every bank. Shopping centers typically have several different banks' machines. Most accept banking cards linked to international networks.
The Balinese swarm to Denpasar for cultural attractions, so be prepared to be caught in a big crowd of locals. On the eve of the Nyepi day (Balinese new year), usually in March, hundreds of ogoh-ogoh papier mach monsters are carried along the streets of the city. This extraordinary torchlit cavalcade is reminiscent of a small scale South American carnival.
Bali's annual arts festival is held from mid June to mid-July at the Art Center off J1. Hayam Wuruk. A month of dance, discussions and exhibitions. The Art Center also holds daily kecak dances at 6:30 pm. Barong performances at Kesiman at 9:30 pm.
Museum : Beautiful collections of terracotta, carvings, painting and ceremonial costumes are found at the Bali Museum (Phone 222680), on the eastern side of Puputan Square. Open Mon-Thurs 7:30 am-2 pm, Fri till 11 am, Sat until 12:30 pm. Closed Sunday.
Hospitals - Medical. Sanglah General Hospital, JI. Kesehatan Selatan 1, Sanglah, Denpasar. Switchboard / Emergency, Phone 227911/5. Kasih Ibu, JI. Teuku Umar 120 Phone 223036. Surya Husada, JI. Pulau Serangan 13 Phone 233787. These smaller hospitals are a little less daunting than the enormous general hospital and tend to provide a quicker, more personal service.
Pharmacy. Apotik Kimia Farma, JI. Diponegoro 123-125, Phone 227811.
Opticians. International Optical, J1. Gajah Mada 133, Phone 426294; Lily Kasoem, JI. Teuku Umar 74XX, Phone 238405; Optik Seis, JI. Thamrin 52, Phone 437467; Tiara Optical, JI. Mayjen Sutoyo 55 at Tiara Dewata shopping center, Phone 235733.
Postal services. The central post office is on A. Raya Puputan, Renon. Open 8 am-8 pm. Other post offices: JI. Diponegoro, near Teuku Umar crossroads; Jl. Kamboja, near Kereneng terminal; JI. Supratman.
Telecommunications (Wartel). The main telecommunications (telkom) office is at JI. Teuku Umar 6. Open 8 am-8 pm. Other telkom offices: JI. Raya Puputan in Renon and JI. Kaliasem, near Puputan square. Smaller wartels are scattered throughout the city.
Massage. Masseurs in Denpasar are more professional than those at Kuta. Sari Ayu, JI. Nusa kambangan 35XX is a traditional salon.
Movies and Nightlife. Wisata Cineplex, JI. Thamrin (Phone 423024) has 5 screens. Galeria cinema 21 , phone 0361 767021 for the most up to date movies playing. Check out their web site with movie schedules, you will love the midnight movies -playing saturday nights.. I just love to watch Midnight in this cinema - click here
There's also the Kumbasari, J1. Gajah Mada. Check the Bali Post for details. The Citra discotheque is on the top floor of the Kumbasari building. Filled with local youth.
Photo Processing. Tati Photo at JI. Sumatra and Fuji Image Plaza at J1. Thamrin are quite professional. Have your portrait taken wearing a Balinese outfit at Tati or Fuji Professional Photo, JI. Diponegoro 89 (Phone 226965), which is also the best slide processor on the island, with one-day service.
Newspapers. The Jakarta Post and Indonesian Observer are widely available English language dailies.
Language Courses. balinese language training. visit www.kecak.com for more info about course and online booking.