Museums in Bali
If you want to dive into Bali’s cultural heritage one of Bali’s many museums is a good place to start. Being Bali’s cultural center Ubud is where you’ll find the highest concentration of museums in Bali, but towns like Nusa Dua and Sanur has quality museums as well. For a quick overview take a look at the chart at the bottom of this page.
Wander the streets of Ubud for a few minutes and chances are good that you come by least one of the towns many galleries. In addition to the many galleries Ubud is also the home of several very good art museums. Explore how painting tradition has developed in Bali at the Neka Art Museum, enjoy the painting of Walter Spies or attend one of the many cultural activities at Agung Rai museum of Art (The ARMA), browse the three floors and more than 400 paintings at Museum Rudana or walk through Museum Puri Lukisan’s impressive collections and tranquil gardens. If you try to do it all in one day, be sure to make stop in one of Ubud many cafés serving healthy and energetic fruit juices.
If you are in the Sanur area you should visit Museum Le Mayeur. This beautiful beachside villa was the home of the Belgian artist and his Balinese wife Ni Polok. The house now functions as a museum and displays around 90 of Le Mayeurs works.
The Pasifika museum in Nusa Dua is a little overlooked, which is a shame as the definitely is worth a visit. The museum has a good collection of paintings from Indonesia and the rest of the pacific region, many of them painted by foreign artists.
The Nyoman Gunarsa museum in Klungkung, as the name indicates, displays painting by one of Bali’s most well-known artist and the museums founder Nyoman Gunarsa. The museum also contains classical artwork from other Balinese artist, antiques, masks and stone carvings.
Masks and puppets, rice paddy irrigation and cultural heritage museums
Have you ever wondered how the rice farmers control the water flow in the rice fields? The Subak Museum in Tabanan has the answer. Subak is the Balinese name for the water management for paddy fields, Apart from explaining how the irrigations systems in the rice paddies works, this interesting museum also teaches you about all the process taking place in around the fields in relation to rice growing.
Just South of Ubud you find the Setia Darma House of Mask and Puppets. This well-kept museum has more than 1200 mask and 4700 puppets from all over the world within their walls. Some of the more grotesque faces are not for the faint hearted.
Spread around Bali you find a number of minor museums, which are worth a visit if you are nearby, but not worth a long drive unless you have particular interest in what they have on display. Among those are Museum Buleleng that is working on preserving North Balinese heritage, the Museum Situs Purbakala displays finding from the nearby excavations where evidence of the earliest human habitation in Bali 3000 – 4000 years ago, Museum Negeri Propinsi in Denpasar that has samples of important Balinese antiques and cultural object and Museum Semarajaya where you can watch archeological pieces and get to know the processes in making salt.