Denpasar is the largest city in Bali and also the capital of the island. Strangely enough, this part of the island is what most tourists avoid because, according to them, it is not an interesting place to stay. In Denpasar, it is busy and hectic. There is a lot of traffic and there are hardly any tourist attractions or facilities aimed at tourists. Because of this, not everyone can live here. But, actually, life in Denpasar has its own charms.
Here, mainly live Balinese people and a mix of other people from all over Indonesia. Because it is not touristy, prices are low. The local English level is basic, so it is recommended to learn some words Bahasa. Try to wear or carry a sarong with you because you might need one to enter holy places. The fact that the city is less westernised than the rest of the island, it is respectful to the Indonesian culture to cover shoulders and knees.
Most people in Bali live harmoniously together, regardless of what your background or religion is. Social conflict hardly exists. There is little individuality and almost everything is done at the family level. The Hindu population is a lot more relaxed and accepting, unlike the Muslim population in the rest of Indonesia. They will probably try to make you feel welcome.
On the street
The roads in Denpasar are overcrowded with a massive storm of traffic. Locals live in kampongs between all noises and exhaust fumes. A kampong is a small area with houses that is shielded by high walls. Outside it is busy, stuffy, and dusty. The city consists of a collection of winding alleys, small poorly maintained roads, unclear traffic and various penetrating smells. These remarkable smells are mainly due to the densely populated in combination with the Indonesian attitude towards waste. All open drains in the city are polluted and a lot of plastic is being burned.
Despite all the hustle and bustle outside, Denpasar offers an authentic and intriguing insight into urban Balinese life. When you stay in Bali for a longer period, you often end up in or around Denpasar automatically. This is because many companies, banks, hospitals and embassies are located here.
The city is best represented by its wide range of markets with indoor and outdoor stalls. Messy clothing racks, hot pans of oil in which snacks are fried, incense smells from all sides, small stalls where scooters can buy petrol, Toko’s and Waroengs, it’s all there!
Crime rates in Denpasar are low compared to international standards. Also, there are all kinds of doctors, hospitals, and specialists. But, be careful in traffic. The roads are busy and chaotic, and you sometimes end up on very poorly maintained roads in slums. Therefore, it is important to keep yourself focus all the time while driving. Accidents and even fatalities are still the most common among internationals who get on the road drunk, so avoid the temptation to drink and drive. For your long-term health, it is advisable to wear a mouth mask. The many exhaust fumes and burned plastic in the environment are certainly not beneficial for the respiratory system.
By walking through the busy streets of the city, you get the ultimate representation of the Balinese culture. The lack of tourists and the daily hectic street life is an attraction itself. Local food in Denpasar is great! For good food, you can go to one of the many markets in Denpasar, from cosy evening markets to large goods markets. Denpasar’s largest market, Pasar Badung market, is definitely worth checking out.