Denpasar, the capital city of the Indonesian province of Bali, is located in the southern part of the island. A noisy and polluted city, it is nonetheless home to a few attractions that are well worth a visit: the various pavilions of the Negeri Propinsi Bali ethnographical museum (tel. 0361-222680) feature antiques as well as everyday objects relating to Balinese culture; Jalan Sulawesi is a lively commercial street lined with merchants selling their jewellery and fabrics; the Pasar Burung bird market is filled with various species of birds and fish; finally, the Bali Arts Festival (www.baliartsfestival.com) takes place from mid-June to mid-July and celebrates traditional Balinese music, dance and handicrafts.
Pura Luhur Uluwatu
Perched on the edge of cliffs on the southern extremity of the Bukit Peninsula, this small temple is one of the island's most sacred sites. Featuring classic Balinese architecture, it is made of grey coral blocks and overlooks the sea from an altitude of 200m.
The town of Ubud is the cultural hub of Bali. Handicraft boutiques, art galleries, museums and numerous traditional dance shows all add to the charm of this city located north of Denpasar. The Museum Puri Lukisan (www.mpl-ubud.com) boasts some magnificent examples of 20th-century Balinese art, and its facilities include an attractive garden. You can also visit the Pura Taman Saraswati temple, which was built in 1950 to honour the goddess of learning, wisdom and the arts, or immerse yourself in Balinese daily life by heading to the city's public market, Pasar Ubud.
The ancient monument of Gunung Kawi is located in the heart of the village of Tampaksiring, in a verdant valley just north of Ubud. Visitors will find ten shrines carved out of the surrounding rock that are said to contain the remains of an 11th-century royal Balinese family.
Accompanied by a guide, visitors here get to admire the sunrise and enjoy one of Bali's most spectacular views after having scaled the 1,717m of Mount Batur, located on the eastern coast of the island near the villages of Kintamani and Penelokan. The mountain's several-kilometres-wide crater contains the island's most active volcano as well as a superb lake, Danau Batur, which was created by the collapse of one of the crater's side walls.