June to September is peak season in Denpasar with events such as the Bali Arts Festival in mid-June adding to the high number of travellers visiting the area. Although it may be busier than usual, it is a great time to book your flights to Bali and experience a sense of the diversity and variety that the traditional Balinese culture has to offer through entertainment such as music, dance and crafts. Highlights of the festival include productions of the Ramayana and Mahabharata ballets, the parade and opening ceremony. Most visitors take their flights to Denpasar during this time. Schools are out, European tourists take their holidays during these months. The New Year is also a peak time.
The wet season (October to March) is, in general, the low season. However, you’ll find some intrepid travellers, who snap up the cheaper flights to Denpasar and discounted accommodation rates. December and January are the wettest months.
Every year in May, hundreds of pilgrims from various different villages in southern Denpasar flock to the Sakenan Temple to enjoy anniversary celebrations, which happen to coincide with the nation’s holy day of Kunigang. During this cultural celebration towns and shops may be closed and deserted.
Travellers taking flights to Denpasar will land at Ngurah Rai Airport, about 13 km away. Bali’s capital city often goes unexplored in favour of spending more time on the island’s beaches, but it’s worth a look. It’s home to thousands of Balinese from other parts of the island, has a rich history (heartbreaking at times) with some good museums, a lively events calendar and great markets.
The Badung Puputan in 1906 is one of the most stirring events in Balinese history. In the face of an advancing Dutch army, the Raja and his followers committed mass suicide rather than be captured or defeated. Today, a statue in Taman Puputan Badung Square commemorates the event. It’s a shady spot, popular with the locals who visit at the weekends.
Denpasar has some great local markets – day and night. Pasar Badung is the largest market, selling food and clothing to locals, Pasar Burung, the noisy and colourful bird and small animals market, and Pasar Malam Pekambingan and Pasar Kereneng, night markets.
As far as beaches go, there are several within easy reach. Kuta, Legian and Canggu are best for surfing, Sanur for sunbathing.