Today visitors to Bali fly in and out of Denpasar or ferry to and from the island of Java to the west or Lombok to the east. Most will be content to restrict themselves to the southern part of the island taking in the chaos of Kuta and culture of Ubud. Others will venture further south to the Ulawatu point and take in some of the islands famous surfing beaches.
To the very north lies Bali’s second largest city and its previously long standing capital. The city of Singaraja established its port in 1849 and from that moment all trade from the outlying spice islands flowed through it. It also became Bali’s gateway for it’s earliest visitors. They entered through the north and ventured south over the high mountain passes and past the three great lakes of central Bali.
Comparitively few modern day adventurers consider Singaraja a Bali must-see but if they do find themselves in the north they will make a bee-line to Lovina for a chance encounter with the local dolphin populaton.
Exploring the old harbor area of Singaraja is not everyones cup of tea but for those interested in the Dutch Indonesian experience it plays an important role. You can still see the architecture of the period in some of the business and residential buildings as well as portions of the cities infra-structure. Arched bridges of white concrete and steel slice across free-flowing canals, tree lined boulevards navigate their way through Singarajas modern day hustle and bustle, and the red roof tiles and green shutters…reminders of yester-year.
Only a few miles to the west of Singaraja lies Air Panas Banjar. After a day of exploration a short afternoon trip to enjoy this very local experience is well worth it. Emmerse yourself in the hot spring waters of the three natural pools and relax amid the foliage of Bali’s tropical jungle.
© Written and photograhed by Tim O’Callaghan, Indo Discovery Travel
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