Bali Safari and Marine Park
Kids love Bali Safari and Marine Park and their parents are happy they love someplace. This big-ticket animal theme park is filled with critters whose species never set foot in Bali until their cage door opened. Displays are large and naturalistic. A huge menu of extra-cost options includes camel and elephant rides. The park is north of Lebih Beach; free shuttles run to tourist centres across south Bali.
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Across from Pura Jagatnatha, this classic urban park commemorates the heroic but suicidal stand of the rajahs of Badung against the invading Dutch in 1906. A monument depicts a Balinese family in heroic pose, brandishing the weapons that were so ineffective against the Dutch guns. The woman also has jewels in her left hand, as the women of the Badung court reputedly flung their jewellery at the Dutch soldiers to taunt them. The park is popular with locals at lunchtime and with families near sunset.
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Museum Negeri Propinsi Bali
Think of this as the British Museum or the Smithsonian of Balinese culture. It's all here although, unlike those world-class institutions, you have to work at sorting it out.This museum was originally established in 1910 by a Dutch resident who was concerned by the export of culturally significant artefacts from the island. Destroyed in a 1917 earthquake, it was rebuilt in the 1920s, but used mainly for storage until 1932. At that time, German artist Walter Spies and some Dutch officials revived the idea of collecting and preserving Balinese antiquities and cultural objects, and creating an ethnographic museum. Today the museum is well organised and most displays are labelled in English. You can climb one of the towers inside the grounds for a better view of the whole complex.The museum comprises several buildings and pavilions, including many examples of Balinese architecture. The main building, to the back as you enter, has a collection of prehistoric pieces downstairs, including stone sarcophagi and stone and bronze implements. Upstairs are examples of traditional artefacts, including items still in everyday use. Look for the intricate wood-and-cane carrying cases for transporting fighting cocks, and tiny carrying cases for fighting crickets.The northern pavilion, in the style of a Tabanan palace, houses dance costumes and masks, including a sinister Rangda(widow-witch), a healthy-looking Barong (mythical lion-dog creature) and a towering Barong Landung (tall Barong) figure. The central pavilion, with its spacious veranda, is like the palace pavilions of the Karangasem kingdom (based in Amlapura), where rajahs held audiences. The exhibits are related to Balinese religion, and include ceremonial objects, calendars and priests' clothing.The southern pavilion (Gedung Buleleng) has a varied collection of textiles, including endek (a Balinese method of weaving with pre-dyed threads), double ikat, songket (silver- and gold-threaded cloth, hand-woven using a floating weft technique) and prada (the application of gold leaf or gold or silver thread in traditional Balinese clothes).Museum staff often play music on a bamboo gamelan to magical effect; visit in the afternoon when it's uncrowded. Ignore 'guides' who offer little except a chance to part with US$5 or US$10.
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Taman Wedhi Budaya
This arts centre is a sprawling complex in the eastern part of Denpasar. Established in 1973 as an academy and showplace for Balinese culture, its lavish architecture houses an art gallery with an interesting collection, but few performances or much else most of the year.From mid-June to mid-July, however, the centre comes alive for the Bali Arts Festival, with dances, music and craft displays from all over Bali. You may need to book tickets at the centre for more popular events.
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The real sight here is of course the beach. That fabulous stretch of sand that starts in Kuta and runs north right past Seminyak can be the focus for a great day of exploring. Start where Jl Pantai Kuta meets the shore and head north. As your mood demands, frolic in and out of the surf while taking breaks on the sand.
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