Denpasar When the Sun Goes Down
When it comes to club hopping and partying the night away, Denpasar may not be the first destination that springs to mind. With that being said, the island’s capital still has places for the night crawlers to head out to as the moon rises.
No skyscrapers or anything metropolitan decorating the city, but Denpasar still plays a significant role as the island’s centre of growth and wealth. And when the sun has set, the capital bursts with colours, as reflected on its night markets and parks.
The parks especially are always busy at night time in Denpasar. The Puputan Square, for example, is crowded by families, couples, singles, young and old. The many vendors in the park selling chicken and pork satays, varieties of snacks and drinks make it easy for those seeking to have a downtime while munching on the local delicacies. And while the parents kick back and relax after a day’s work, the little ones can have fun in the designated playground area where they can find a gamut of play things such as swings, seesaws, and a number multi-play stations.
Interestingly, this only happens when it gets dark, children flock to the park with their rollerblades and skateboards. They will gather at the north part of the park, occupying a good portion of the wide sidewalk, sliding and rolling the evening away up until around 9pm.
Those looking to break a sweat also find their haven here. The Puputan Square’s jogging track is popular amongst the Denpasar health-conscious crowd who frequent it everyday starting at around 6pm up until around 9pm. Simple gym equipment is installed at southwest area of the park, attracting the local gym bros to do nightly workout sessions. Anyway, when it comes to sports, in addition to the joggers and gymnasts, chess enthusiasts also normally occupy one corner of the park (near Pura Agung Jagatnatha) to have a couple of games. The benches set with tables available here make it comfortable for these chess players to stay and play even up till midnight.
On the roundabout by the park, an intersection linking the streets of Surapati, Udayana, Veteran, and Gajah Mada, sits one the Denpasar’s most famous landmark, the Catur Muka Statue (four-faced statue). No selfie opportunity is lost here, especially at night times when the statue is made more dramatic with the colourful lights and fountains – a perfect addition to your Instagram feed.
A five-minute walk from the roundabout, on Gajah Mada Street, the river that runs under the Badung Bridge has been developed into a nightlife attraction. Benches, colourful lights, and fountains have now decorated the river banks, providing a space for those looking to lounge under the colourful lights and, of course, canopy of stars. Just next to the river is Pasar Kumbasari, a wet market that comes to life in the night, taking over business from the street’s shops that are generally closed early. But different from the shops, the market offers fresh meats, chicken, vegetables, a number of seafood products, fruits, traditional snacks, and even flowers used for offerings. It’s very vibrant and colourful here; and observing the nightly trade taking place at the market provides the visitor’s to Bali a glimpse of traditional life here on the island.
Another Denpasar night market offering a thriving night scene is Pasar Kreneng. Located less than 10-minute drive east of Kumbasari and passing the Puputan Square, Pasar Kreneng is where countless food hawkers offer all sorts of inviting local dishes. From chicken noodles to bakso meatballs and satays, and the Balinese favourite suckling pig and “halal” Javanese delicacies to traditional snacks, cakes, desserts, and fruits; you’re seriously spoilt for choice at Kreneng. For visitors, these meals-on-wheels can serve as an introduction and opportunity to unravel various local foods, served in a totally different atmosphere.
At Pasar Kreneng you can also find shoes and sandals, t-shirts and shorts, electronics, homewares, women’s accessories, and even goldfish and mini aquariums. Children too find this night spot an amusement, for there’s quite a number of toy vendors, in addition to mini carousels that they ride.