Negara is the main town in west Bali in the district of Jembrana. Most visitors to Bali will have little reason for visiting Negara, other than for the mecepung (buffalo) races in Perancak close by, or to drive through on the main road to the port of Gilimanuk.
Negara has a strong Muslim influence being located close to Java, with a large mosque in the center of town. Situated on flat land, Negara had wide streets, local warungs and sparce accommodation options. One block south of the main through road is Jl. Ngurah Rai, which is a handy place for a pitstop. Located there are a couple of banks with ATM machines, a petrol station and Hardy’s supermarket.
Highlights of Negara itself, other than the buffalo races include the bamboo gamelan orchestra which the area is famous for. This is called a gamelan jegog and some tourist buses heading to Java will stop for lunch which includes a short gamelan display. Directly to the north of Negara, following the large roads running out of downtown, one can very quickly access some lovely scenery. Simply head north on any route, most of which are dwcent enough for cars and you’ll escape downtown and be amongst Balinese villages and curving roads with great views of the coast.
To the south of Negara is Loloan Timur, which is a traditional Bugis community. The Muslims in Negara originate from south Sulawesi, descendents of the famous Bugis sailors, who would ply their trade in eastern Indonesia as well as dabbling in a spot of piracy, hence the Boogey Man association. The Bugis were responsible for introducing the mekepung races to Negara. Traditional Bugis style houses built on stilts remain in the area, which is only 10 minutes from Central Negara.
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Accommodation options in Negara are few, the best couple of suggestions being Hotel Wira Pada (0365)41161, located downtown on Jl. Ngurah Rai 107. The other is Hotel Ijodaging (0365)41023 located on Jl. Sudirman. The Wira Pada has some rooms with AC that will run you around 100,000rp for a single, 160,000rp for a double. You might also check out some of the other local suggestions. Negara isn’t set up for the tourist industry so luxury is not to be found here. If staying downtown in a Balinese town doesn’t appeal you might drive to Pantai Rening beach and check out the accommodation options in a quieter place. Alternatively Medewi is 20 km to the east and offers slightly more for westerners.
I’ve heard Perancak has accommodation options too but as of yet have not checked it out.