Nobody goes backpacking in Singaraja. In fact, no travellers really ever go to Singaraja. It’s a shame cos this is a great wee city. My Antarctica travel buddy Rodrigo and I headed to Bali last year and incorporated a day trip to Singaraja into our plans just out of curiosity’s sake. It was worth it. We were intrigued – this used to be the capital of the island you know! Here’s a top 6 things to see and do in Singaraja.
1. Surfer Dude Statue
As well as heading to the pier and beach you will notice the “surfer dude statue”.
Wikitravel described Singaraja as quirky and that it is. A taste of the unusual is evident here and things that seem out of place seem somehow normal in this overgrown town. This is a blatantly Indonesian city, the former capital of Bali on an island full of tourists, while towns around it are full of foreigners. Somehow Singaraja has escaped this type of tourism. It’s largely unventured by foreigners.
2. Beachside Estate
We randomly walked through this estate by the seafront. I wouldn’t call it “slums” as that’s a tad disrespectful, but it was a rundown area, where big families all live together in basic houses.
You can meet the locals, pose for photos with them, play a bit of football and marvel at how you become an instant celebrity. You’ll stand out a mile in a Northern Ireland football shirt. Teenage girls will also run shyly away from you.
3. Street Life
Wander the city’s streets and sample the raw and vibrant street life. Market stalls, petrol fumes, speeding motorbikes and a typical Indonesian city appeal which doesn’t quite fit on Bali. But here it is, it reminded me of Taiwan’s Chiayi City, the reason for which I couldn’t work out.
Yes, this is Indonesia and the locals in Singaraja seem slightly more religious than those on the rest of the island. A pretty green and white mosque sits down near the harbour and there are a few other Mosques in town (including down in the harbour side estate).
5. Blue Bemos
In Bali, it’s so touristy you are in danger of not becoming your backpacker self in terms of transport. Taxis, organised tours and pick ups become the norm and you’re not really using public transport. That all changes when you head to Singaraja…
“Blue bemos” are the transport of choice here. You can’t get around without them. Jump in, shock the locals and get your own blue minivan. We used blue bemis to get to and from Kalibukbuk too.
6. The Dutch Influence
You won’t see Windmills, Edam and Clogs here but the Dutch were once here you know. Head down to the seafront and one of the streets has some old style Dutch colonial buildings. They’ve seen better days of course, but you haven’t. This is a charming city to visit and it’s off the wall!! Jalan Erlangga is the colonial Dutch street. See if you can find what remains from Holland times…
I totally recommend going against the flow and heading to Singaraja. It was a cool travel experience. Here are some of my videos from backpacking in Singaraja, Bali, Indonesia:
In the Blue Bemo to Singaraja:
Seafront at Singaraja including Surfer Dude:
Downtown Singaraja, Bali, Indonesia:
Mosque in Beachside Estate:
Beachside Estate in Singaraja:
Jalan Gaja Mada in Singaraja: