The Bali Museum is located at Puputan Square in Denpasar. Set in traditional looking grounds, adjacent to Pura Jagatnata, a visit to the museum is a relaxing and affordable place, where you can learn about Balinese history. Split into 4 main buildings, the museum is stocked with artifacts dating back to the megalithic period. The museum dates back to 1910, when the Dutch started building it. The structure was in the puri-pura style, meaning like a palace-temple, complete with courtyards, pavilions and decorated temple gateways. Walter Spies played a part in the Bali Museum, helping put together the collection and organize the display.
The Main Building contains a stone sarcophagus (coffin) dated from 600BC-800AD. As well as ancient tools used by the early Balinese. You will see weapons used by the Balinese against the Dutch and when comparing the sharpened bamboo poles and kris’s, to the long Dutch rifles, it becomes obvious why they had no chance. The Buleleng Pavilion contains examples of Balinese fiber arts, including a loom and various cloth, including endek, songket and the famous Geringsing. The Karangasem Pavilion has among other things examples of the Balinese Wuku calendar, a complex guide for priests to figure out auspicious days for weddings, funerals and other ceremonies. The Tabanan Pavilion has items used in Balinese music and dance, including a Barong costume and 2 massive Barong Landung costumes, which look like figures out of the Rio Carnival.
Arriving at midday, I ignored the advances of would-be guides and art sellers, buying my ticket at the office inside, then working my own way through the place, there were a handful of other tourists. No staff were on duty inside the actual museum pavilions, so it was up to me to figure out what was relevant. I took many photos and enjoyed my visit.
Bali Museum Denpasar
•What is it?
A museum detailing the history of Balinese culture from megalithic times to the present.
3,000rp for adults, 1,000rp for kids, plus 1,000rp insurance for adults, 500rp
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•Getting there from Kuta:
Your best bet is to take a taxi, as Denpasar is hard to navigate. If you want to drive / ride yourself, take Jl. Imam Bonjol towards Denpasar, take Jl. Teuku Umar , going straight through the roundabout. When the road forks after a kilometer or so, go right and follow signs for Bali Museum. When you come to Puputan Square, the big grassy area to your right, circle around it and park in front of the large Balinese temple. The museum entrance is next door. Travelling time from Kuta is 20 minutes.
•When is it open?
Bali Museum is open from 8am-3pm Mon-Thurs & Sun, 8am-12.30pm Fri, Sat closed.
•How long does it take to tour the museum?
You can do it in an hour, but if you want to check out all the exhibits and read all the descriptions, it will take 2 hours.
Toilet, drinks shop, gift shop.
•Do you need a guide?
There are individuals hanging around offering their services as a guide. You’ll have to negotiate for a price. In my opinion, as long as you can read, you’ll be fine.
•Best time to go?
Mornings and early afternoons, as the staff have been known to close early, then try to charge you a fee for the ‘special service’ of opening the museum just for you.
•Tips for visitors:
Eat something before you go, as there is no restaurant on site, or any food places in the area.