Denpasar

Loud and sprawling, Denpasar is a difficult city to love. However, looking beneath the chaotic gloss of Bali's capital will reveal a crucible of Balinese culture. Temples and palaces line the streets, while the Bali Museum offers a fascinating insight into the island’s history via dance, ritual, textile and more. Of even grander standing is the Bajra Sandhi monument in Puputan Park: a sufficiently striking symbol of the Balinese struggle against the Dutch colonists.

The name Denpasar means just one thing to most travelers: Bali’s largest airport. But the capital of the island is much more than just terminals and runways. It’s a buzzing, throbbing mass of urban energy, steeped in local traditions and speckled with enthralling Hindu sites. Take the amazing temple at Pura Agung Jagatnatha and its grand two-spire gateway. Or, look to the Taman Budaya, where you can learn all about classic Balinese building styles. The town is also home to the royal palaces of Bali and the main Bali Museum.

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