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2014 Bali Trip: Sanur & Denpasar

When I'm on holiday, I like to wake up before the sun is up. In Bali, the sky starts to light up around 6 to 6.30am.


Having experienced the heavy traffic in Kuta on the first day, on the second day, I woke up at 5am to drive to the Sanur on the east coast in time to catch the sunrise. It was a nice drive in the early morning without much traffic. The morning air was still chilly when I reach Sanur.

Jalan Segara Ayu, the road that leads to Sanur, is lined with hotels on one side. The other side has a a long wall or fence that blocks off huge beautiful houses with swimming pools.

As I was early, I got a parking space quite near the beach. When I left a few hours later, there was a line of cars parked all the way down the road.

I can't quite say I caught the sunrise. The sun rose behind the huge clouds on the horizon. When I saw the sun rays breaking through the clouds, it has already made quite a distance up.

It wasn't the most spectacular sunrise that I saw but the morning sky had a beautiful light mauve cast. There weren't many people there for the sunrise. It was peaceful. The waves here don't seem to be as high as those on the west coast beaches of Kuta.

This guy was pumping air into floats to prepare for the day.

There aren't a lot of boats along the beach, and there aren't any fishermen working while I was there.

For this sketch, I was trying the wet on wet technique with the watercolour sketch on top. While the A4 Watercolour Moleskine Album is made for watercolour use, it's not cotton paper so it can be quite difficult to control the effect. The paper doesn't absorb the water which stays on the surface for too long, and can change the direction that guides the pigment flow many times.

After the sun is up, I saw a breakfast food stall gradually getting busier. While I wanted to eat there, I was dissuaded by the queue. Instead, I drove down the road and saw some taxi drivers and policemen eating at a make-shift roadside stall. That's what I had my breakfast. I ordered what looked like Nasi Lemak but inside the packet was actually just one satay stick, rice and what I believe to be bean sprouts. I paid just 10,000 Rupiah for my breakfast which includes a small bottle of mineral water. Generally if you eat where the locals eat, food prices are very affordable. If I eat like that for all three meals a day, would spend less than $10 for food in Bali.

Just beside the busy breakfast place is the temple Pura Segara Desa Pakruman Intaran. That's the left sketch above. The right sketch shows the monument to the 1906 Puputan that's located in Taman Puputan in Denpasar. A puputan is a mass suicide, and in this case, in 1906, the Balinese were being subjugated by the Dutch, and they chose death instead. A thousand Balinese killed themselves according to history.

As Denpasar is nearby, that's where I went next. Denpasar is the city centre of Bali. It's a really crowded place at anytime of the day. Even in the early hours of the morning, there would be people making their way there to set up at the markets.

Pasar Burung

After Sanur, I drove around aimlessly and found myself at Pasar Burung, a bird market. It's filled with hundreds of bird cages. As you enter from Jalan Veteran, you'll notice temple Pura Sutriya in the background.

The place mainly sell pet birds, and bird cages. It's not uncommon to see people huddle around in groups to look at strange birds.

The sketch above is of Pasar Burung. The sketch below is by the roadside near my stay in Seminyak. Traditional Balinese architecture can be seen easily anywhere in Bali. They are just everywhere. It's quite difficult to differentiate people's houses from temples at times just by looking at the door front.

On the left is a door inside Museum Bali. The right is a door at a house I was staying.

After visiting Pasar Burung, I went searching for a lunch place and drove accidentally into the car park of Tiara Dewata. Parking is not free but cheap. 2,000 Rupiah. There was a huge supermarket there and I guessed there would be food stalls and I was right. I had lunch at the food court there. Food courts in Singapore are commonplace but in Bali it's quite rare. There's a good variety of food there and the place is clean.

That's the statue that I sketched at Taman Puputan located at Lapangan Puputan Badung, a big field in front of Museum Bali.

If you want a bit to the left of the photo above to the road junction, you'll see this huge statue at the road junction. I find huge statues at road junctions to be very cool, of which there are quite a few in Bali.

A lot of people were flying their huge kites on the field. Some kites require several people to carry, and good teamwork to get it up in the sky. Near the evening, balloon sellers would appear. There would also be kids playing football. It's a nice place to relax, to sit under the shady trees, feel the breeze, and look at people having traditional fun. While Denpasar is a busy place, this is a good spot for people to unwind. Music, a mixture of Balinese songs and pop songs, played in the background.

Museum Bali

The architecture of the Museum Bali is very beautiful and amazingly detailed. There are several buildings in Museum Bali showing mainly sculpture art. These buildings are separated by walls that all have very intricately designed doors. The gardens are very well maintained. While I was there, there was a photo shoot for a wedding. It's a great place as backdrop. And there aren't many tourists around. Admission ticket is very affordable as well.

This was also drawing inside Museum Bali, from one of their "lookout towers". There are many vendors just lined up outside of the Museum selling tibits and water.

Pasar Badung

Pasar Badung is one of the big markets in Depasar. I was there early in the morning at 6am. Even at that hour, traffic on the roads to the market was quite congested already.

I found a parking spot at an underground carpark and there were people setting up their stalls there as well. After parking their lorries, people would just lay out the vegetables that were on the trucks onto the floor.

There were more activity upstairs.

Some sellers have portable stalls that they can set up anywhere. While I was sketching there, I've seen several stalls come and go.

This is another part of the market in another building.

These are the places that I visited in Denpasar. As I said, it's quite a busy place and I would recommend going to the Pasar Badung market early in the morning to check out the activity, then head to the bird market, and then end the day at Museum Bali and the field in front to rest and watch people fly their kites. You can probably cover all the places in a day. I spent two days because I was sketching.