Singaraja is the second largest city in Bali after Denpasar. It seems surprisingly spacious with its wide avenues, grandiose monuments and pretty gardens of colonial bungalows. The population of Singaraja (over 100,000 people) is a funny mix of Balinese, Chinese and Muslims. Behind the abandoned port, you can still see the shops and narrow streets of the old shopping area. Most of the descendants of the early merchants of Singaraja still live nearby.
Scattered along the coast and stretching for several kilometers inland, the city can confuse you at first. But it will be much easier to navigate if you remember that its main transport artery, Jalan Jen Achmad Yani, rushes from west to east and eventually enters the road leading to the Lovina resort. Jalan Gajah Made is directed from north to south and leads to the region of Lake Bratan. The intersection of these two streets, where hotels, restaurants, banks, post office, telephone office and night market are concentrated, can rightfully be considered the center of Singaraja.
According to Weddinginfashion, the city’s most famous attraction is Gedong Kirtya, the world’s only library of lontar manuscripts. These are ancient texts printed on specially processed lontar palm leaves. The library contains more than 3000 texts on the topics of religion, customs, philosophy, folklore, medicine, astrology and black magic written in Balinese, Old Javanese and Indonesian.
Just behind the library is a small weaving factory, Puri Sinar Nadi Putri, attached to the old palace. You’ll hear the crackling of looms long before you see the barn where exquisite ikat woven cotton and silk garments are made. Products from the larger Berdikari concern are highly valued throughout Indonesia. At Pasar Anyar Market, a two-story labyrinth of stalls and tiny shops, you can buy everything you need for life. In the northern part of the city on the coast is the ancient port of Buleleng – a quiet place with deserted warehouses and views of the traditional fishing villages further along the coast. It is hard to imagine that this was once the most important and busiest port in Bali.
There are three bus terminals in Singaraja: Sukasada (in the south) serves Bedugul, Denpasar and southern destinations; Banyuasri (in the west) serves western destinations including Lovina and the island of Java; and Penarukan (in the east) are the eastern directions. Small bemo minibuses run around the city between stations, but you can only get to the outskirts by dokar cabs.
Restaurants and nightlife
The largest concentration of restaurants and cafes is at the intersection of Jalan Jen Achmad Yani and Jalan Gajah Made. It serves inexpensive Chinese, Indonesian and Balinese dishes. When darkness descends on the city and a pleasant coolness, the night market on Jl Durian comes into motion. Illuminated by dim electric bulbs and paraffin lanterns, shoppers stroll among mountains of fruit and vegetables, exchange gossip, or dine at bustling food stalls.
Dewi Ramona, Matahari Beach Resort & Spa, Pemuteran. German and international cuisine.
Rumah Makan Arina. Indonesian cuisine.
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