Singarja was once the capital of Bali, but it is now famous for its colonial style buildings, quirky monuments, and beautiful gardens. The Dutch were able to control the whole island from here, and the local harbor has traditionally been very important as an access point to Bali. It is usual for foreign visitors to just come here for a day trip, and this is easy from nearby places such as Lovina. The main tourist attractions in the town can be seen in a few hours. Singaraja is an important university town, and this adds a nice sense of energy to the place.
Transportation to Singaraja
Singaraja is located to the north of Bali, and this is the largest urban area in this part of the island. It is 78km (48 miles) from Denpasar and 15km (9 miles) from Lovina. The options for transportation to Singaraja would include:
- Singarja is easily reached from the resort town of Lovina by bemo. It is also possible to get a bemo from Banyuasri Terminal in Denpasar and the journey takes about 2 hours and costs 30,000 IDR (as of early 2013).
- A taxi from Denpasar International Airport (Ngurah Rai International Airport) should cost about 500,000 IDR (roughly US$50).
- If people are feeling energetic, they should be able to cycle to Singarja by bicycle from Lovina.
- Many visitors will arrive in Singaraja on a rented motorbike or in a hire car.
Getting Around Singaraja
The easiest way to get around Singaraja is by motorbike or rented car. It is also possible to navigate much of the town by foot. There are a number of bemo routes that pass through Singaraja, and this is a good option for getting from one side of the town to the other.
The main attractions in Singaraja would include:
- Pura Agung Jagatnatha is the most important temple in the north of Bali. Foreign tourists can enjoy the outside architecture, but they are not allowed inside the temple as this is a very sacred place.
- Gedong Kirtya is a museum and library that provides useful insights into the culture of Bali – there is an impressive collection of lontar scripts. Gedong Kirtya is located on Jalan Veteren.
- Gitgit Waterfalls can be found 10km (just over 6 miles) outside of Singaraja on the way to Bedugul. There is a bit of walking involved, but the effort is worth it to see this splendid 60 foot waterfall.
- Pura Beji tends to be missed by many tourists, but this is a shame because this pink sandstone complex in Sangsit Village is very impressive. This temple can be found 7km to the east of Singaraja.
- Air Sanih is a black sand beach that is 15km (9 miles) to the east of the town. There is a natural swimming pool here as well and a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
- Pura Maduwe Karang is 10km (6 miles) to the east of the town, and it is dedicated to Mother Earth in the hope that she will bless the crops. This is probably the most beautiful temple in the north of Bali, and it is in a particularly picturesque part of the countryside.
- The Yudha Mandalatama Independence Monument is one of the most famous landmarks in the city, and it commemorates the victory of the local people over the Dutch. This monument is located on Jalan Erlangga which is right on the waterfront.
Some of the most popular activities in Singaraja would include:
- One of the most interesting things about Singaraja is the colonial architecture, and it can be nice to walk around the town to view this.
- The beach resort of Lovina is near to Singaraja Town, and this is a fun place to visit. If people are staying in the town, they will usually be better off travelling to Lovina if they are after some nightlife.
- Learn to cook Balinese style at Warung Bambu Pemaron. This is a nice way to socialise and learn more about the local culture as well as gaining some culinary skills.
- Go on a dolphin tour in the local waters – this may be easier to arrange from Lovina.
- Meet some students. This is a university town, and it can be pleasant to spend some time chatting with these young people who are usually interested to hear what foreigners think of their country.
- There are meditation courses available at Bramavihara Arama Temple – this is located in the nearby town of Banjar.
- Go for a walk along the waterfront in Singaraja and imagine what it was like here in bygone days when this town was the capital city of Bali. There are a number of Dutch-style buildings here, but they are mostly in bad repair.
- Visit the nearby coastal villages. There are many small villages dotted along the coast on either side of Singaraja, and these can be a welcome break from the usual tourist attractions – the local people are usually very welcoming.
The most popular restaurants in Singaraja would include:
- Warung Kota is a lively place that sells cheap local food. In the evening time, this place tends to get busy with students from the nearby university.
- Warung Bambu Pemaron is one of the best places in the town for authentic Indonesian cuisine – and they also have their own in-house gallery and cookery classes (see above).
- The Tantra Restaurant at Sunnari Villas and Spa Resort offers some nice seafood, and they are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Pondok Cabe is the best option for western food in the town, and they also serve local dishes as well.
Nightlife in Singaraja
The best nightlife options are to be found in the nearby resort town of Lovina, but there are some options in Singaraja including:
- Arati Bar on Jalan Lovina serves food and drink. It can be a nice place to relax in the evenings.
- There is a small bar at Villa Selina to the east of the town.