For the last 20 years Denpasar has had an incredible large growth, and has taken over for Singaraja as the capital of Bali. The city used to be the capital of Badung, but became in 1992 together with Sanur, Benoa harbor and Pulau Seringan a separate district. The name means something like "close to the market", and the town's main market, Pasar Badung, is the largest on Bali. It must be said that it's not easy to like Denpasar with its crowded streets, pollution, noise and a lot of ugly architecture. The city has more than any other on Bali similarities with the huge, crowded cities on Java. Immigrants from many nations has settled here, like Chinese, Arabs and Indians and people from all over Indonesia that has been attracted to this busy place.
Denpasar is not an easy city to drive a car, the traffic jams can be large, the signs confusing (like the rest of Bali) and a lot of the streets are one way only, beside that a parking place can be hard to find. Denpasar is hard to miss if you explore the island, it seems that all roads are leading through this city. You can as well spend some time here, if you look there are also some good qualities about this city. Shopping is large in Denpasar, here is the best assortment of shops and shopping centers on Bali, and also traditional markets like Pasar Badung, Pasar Kumbasari and Pasar Burung, the bird market. It is said that an Indonesian man must have three things before his life can be looked on as successful; a wife, a house and a bird in a cage.
The city can of course offer a large collection of temples, like the Hindu temple Pura Jagatnatha, built in 1953. This is used every day by people from the neighboring village, so it is often closed for tourists. Another temple is Puri Pemecutan, built in 1907 to replace the original palace that was destroyed by Dutch artillery. The king and his family committed collective suicide, puputan, in order to avoid the humiliation it was to be captured by the Dutch. Pura Maospahit is located in a narrow street in the middle of the city, this is one of the oldest temple on Bali, built in the 14th century. Denpasar is also home to Bali Art Center (Taman Budaya), this is a school and exhibition center for Balinese art and culture. The area is nice and quiet, and every night there is a Kecak dance performance here. This is also the center for Bali art festival, lasting one month from the middle of June to the middle of July. Bali Museum is also worth a visit, it's made of several buildings and pavilions. Both the art center and the museum is open daily except for Monday.
Denpasar has many hotels, mostly used by Indonesians, the tourists prefer to stay other places.