Though Denpasar is located smack-dab in the middle of tourist infested South Bali, most visitors shy away from the island’s bustling capital. Well, we’re here to tell you that they are missing out big time! Though it might seem chaotic at first, if you dig a little deeper, you’ll discover that Denpasar is in fact home to some of the coolest venues on the island – and definitely the best prices.
One of the best reasons to visit Denpasar are all its cool coffee shops. The cafes in Denpasar serve excellent coffee at ridiculously low prices. Expect to get a terrific latte for as little as 15k rupiah – that’s about half of what you’ll pay in ritzy Seminyak. Denpasar’s many coffee shops are also a great place for rubbing shoulders with local hipsters and getting a real feel of modern Bali. Try Al-leyway Cafe on Jalan Merdeka for great coffee and check out Pixelatte on Jalan Tukad Musi for a truly jaw dropping venue. With its industrial design and huge windows, this place is just begging to be Instagrammed.
Forget shopping in overpriced Seminyak. If you’re looking something to stuff your suitcase with, Denpasar is dotted with cool hipster stores selling clothes designed by young local talent. And this is some seriously cool stuff we’re talking about here, as many of the brands draw their inspiration from surfers and skateboarders while also adding their own unique Balinese twist into the mix. You can also pick up accessories at great prices and buy music from local artist at most stores. Curative on Jalan Merdeka is one our favourites.
When it comes to partying and letting loose, what Denpasar does best is laid-back live music in a relaxed setting. The island has a vibrant music scene and many of the best bands regularly play in Denpasar’s bars, cafes and warungs. It’s a shame that most tourist only get to hear cheesy cover bands in Kuta, as the island really does offer some genuine musical talent. Try Mangsi Coffee on Jalan Merdeka which regularly hosts great live music. This cool cafe is a popular hangout among locals and it’s a great spot for grabbing a beer and of course, a cup of their fantastic coffee.
Art and Graffiti
Even if you don’t have the patience to stop for a coffee, just driving through Denpasar will give you a glimpse into a more urban side of Bali. There’s a lot of cool art and graffiti happening here. Jalan Serma Mendra offers a particularly impressive display of graffiti. Many people think that “real” Bali equals rural rice paddies and tranquil temples, but in reality, the noisy, urban streets of Denpasar are as much part of the island’s modern identity as anything you’ll find in the scenic countryside.