Klungkung

Travel Guide Lesser Sunda Islands Bali Klungkung

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Introduction

Klungkung is the smallest regency (kabupaten) of Bali, Indonesia. It has an area of 315 km2 and population of approximately 180,000 (2013). Its capital is Semarapura. Klungkung town is easily reached from Gianyar via the highway. The regency is famous for its classic Balinese paintings which mostly depict the story of epics such as Mahabharata or Ramayana. These classical style paintings come from the frescoes of the Balinese palaces, and can also be found at Klungkung Palace in the downtown area. Semarajaya Museum is also located in the area. Some 60% of the land area of Klungkung is made of the three offshore islands of Nusa Penida, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Lembongan, which together form Nusa Penida District.

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History

Klungkung is the cradle of contemporary Balinese culture. In the sixteenth century raja Batu Renggong of unified Bali enjoyed godlike status with the title Dewa Agung (Great God). His palace stood in Gelgel, now a village just three kilometres south of Semarapura. The king conquered Blambangan in East Java and colonized the neighbouring islands Lombok and Sumbawa. Having become independent of increasingly islamized Java, the Gelgel kingdom inherited the culture of the Majapahit Empire and developed it further. While Gelgel’s political power declined under his less competent son and grandson, craftsmanship and arts flourished and spread out over Bali. In 1651 a rival, I Gustu Agung Maruti, deposed raja Dalem Di Made, and destroyed the Gelgel palace. After I Gusti Agung Maruti had been defeated, Di Made’s successor decided to build his new palace more to the north, in present-day Semarapura. But the rebellion caused local raja’s to assert themselves. The successive raja’s of Klungkung still were honoured as Dewa Agung, but never more wielded worldly power outside their little kingdom. Yet the culture of Klungkung became the culture of Bali. From 1846 the Dutch strove to incorporate Bali into their colony. The first expeditionary army they sent to Klungkung in 1849 was defeated; the general leading it succumbed to his wounds. The end of Klungkung dynasty came in 1908, when the king and 200 members of his court preferred death over surrender, and committed puputan (mass suicide).

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Geography

With 315 square kilometres Klungkung is Bali’s smallest regency. Moreover, three islands take up over 60 % of the area, while only 112 square kilometres lie on Bali’s mainland. The coastline on the mainland is 20 kilometres long, with several black sand beaches. The capital Semarapura lies on Klungkung’s largest river, Tukad Yeh Unda. The islands, Nusa Penida, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Lembongan have no rivers and were scarcely inhabited until their potential as a tourist destination was discovered. In 2017 the population of Klungkung regency was 216,000 of which 48,000 lived on the islands.

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Towns

  • Semarapura – the capital of Klungkung regency. The town used to be named Klungkung like the regency. After the 1963 eruption of Mount Agung it was given the name of the palace of Klungkung's first king.

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Villages

  • Gelgel – Gelgel is a village just three kilometres south of Puputan Square in Semarapura. Here was the centre of Bali kingdom from around 1500 until 1686, where the king with title Dewa Agung reigned. Gelgel is now a centre of Tenun Songket weaving, whereby patterns are added in the cloth with additonal threads
  • Kamasan – In Kamasan village the traditional wayang style of painting is preserved, the style that was used decorating the Bale Kambang pavilion.
  • Tihingan – Wherever in Bali one enjoys the typical Balinese gong music, the instruments were almost certainly made in Tihingan village. See the craftsmen at work with time-honoured techniques.
  • Pesinggahan - Singgah is Balinese for ‘visiting’. Pesinggahan village is a popular half way stop when travelling from Denpasar to Amlapura. Here one can visit Pura Goa Lawa and have a seafood lunch at one of several warung lesehan (sitting on the floor at low tables, but they have western chairs and tables too).

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Sights and Activities

Semarapura

The important sights of Semarapura town are all located in the centre and on walking distance from each other.

Kertha Gosa ceiling detail

Kertha Gosa ceiling detail

© theo1006

  • Kertha Gosa & Taman Gili - The former royal palace, Puri Agung Semarapura, was built at the end of the 17th century, but largely destroyed by the Dutch who conquered Klungkung in 1908. Three buildings of the former compound, now going by the name Taman Gili, remain or have been restored. The Pemedal Agung is the gate that formerly gave access to the palace grounds. From this gate the last king went forth to face the Dutch army and committed puputan. Nowadays it is never opened and popular belief has it that woe will befall anyone who passes through it. The Bale Kambang pavilion is the most impressive building, situated in a within a pond and accessable only by a bridge built of brick. It was largely restored in the early 1940ies to be used as a meeting hall. The paintings on the ceiling in Kamasan or wayang style depict a.o. scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata stories. The smaller building in the north-west corner of the compound is the Kertha Gosa or hall of justice, the place where the highest court of Bali meted out sentences to criminals. The paintings on the ceiling of this pavilion depict the additional punishment sinners may expect in the afterlife. They were redone in 1930 in the original style by a painter from Kamasan village. A ticket to enter Taman Gili costs IDR 25,000, both for domestic and for foreign visitors. The prescribed sarung en selendang dress will be provided for free
  • Semarajaya Museum – This museum is located in the former palace grounds, west of Kertha Gosa. It is housed in the former Dutch junior high school (MULO) building, which architecturally is a blend of Bali and Dutch style. The first of three rooms contains a collection of prehistoric objects found in eastern Bali. The second room is dedicated to relics from Bali and Klungkung kingdoms, including a special Klungkung Puputan collection. In the third room one finds objects of daily life and handicraft. There are also 60 paintings by Italian artist Emilio Ambron depicting Balinese life. Hours: daily 8am- 3pm; price: USD 2.00.
  • Puri Agung – In 1929 the Dutch government allowed Dewa Agung Oka Geg to govern Klungkung as Regent. He built his palace Puri Agung to the west of Taman Gili. It can be visited for free, wearing the sarong and selendang provided. Hours: 8am to 5pm.
  • Pura Taman Sari – Taman Sari Temple deserves a visit for its meru (tiered tower) of eleven levels within a pond. There are relics from the Majapahit era and at neighbouring Penataran Agung temple the barong dance is performed for tourists. The two temples are located half a kilometre northeast of Puputan Square. Entrance is free, but it is a must to wear sarong and selendang.
Puputan Monument

Puputan Monument

© theo1006

  • Puputan Monument – This monument commemorates the mass suicide of Klungkung’s last king, Ida I Dewa Agung Gede Jambe, together with 200 of his followers, when the Dutch colonial army had surrounded his palace. The 28 metres high monument is located across the road from Kerta Gosa pavilion. Within the base is a room with dioramas of scenes from the struggle of the Balinese against Dutch colonial intervention. Opening hours are 8am till 5pm. Access is free, but one has to don traditional dress: sarung and selendang.
  • Puputan Square – or Lapangan Puputan is the place where the 1908 mass suicide of the king and his followers took place. It is now the square where people come to recreate, where official ceremonies public concerts are held. The square borders the compound of the former royal palace.
  • Art Market – The speciality of Klungkung’s art market – Pasar Seni - is the traditional woven cloth, still made by hand as it has been for centuries. There are two kinds. Kain endek Klungkung uses an ikat technique and is believed to have been developed during the reign of raja Waturenggong in the 16th century. It is preferred for daily wear, e.g. school and office uniforms. The price ranges from IDR 200k to IDR 500k per metre, depending in the intricacy of the design. Kain songket Klungkung was originalley made only within the palace compound, now the home industry can be found in the villages Sidemen and Gelgel. The motifs are made by the weft, with colourful and even gold or silver threads. Songket is more expensive than endek, and kain songket will only be worn on special festive occasions. Pasar Seni is located just east of Taman Kertha Gosa.

Nature

Tukad Unda Dam

Tukad Unda Dam

© theo1006

  • Tukad Unda Fall – Not really a waterfall, but water flowing over the dam in Tukad Unda river in two steps. Within Semarapura town, just half a kilometre east of Puputan Square. Locals and tourists are free to play in the clean water or enjoy the green surroundings.
  • Rafting in Melangit River - Rafting in Melangit River can be booked at Bakas Levi Rafting. The starting point at Bakas village is a 15 minutes drive from the office in Semarapura. Address: Jl Bakas, Semarapura Kelod, Semarapura, Klungkung 80752, Phone: +62.611397901, Price: adult USD 50, child USD 35.
  • Bukit Belong is famous for its view over a checkerboard of rice fields, and on a clear day of Nusa Penida. Located four kilometres east of Semarapura, from the parking one has to walk 150 metres uphill. Access: IDR 5.000.
  • Pantai Kusamba - The beach of Kusamba village is a black sand beach facing Nusa Penida. Here moor the outrigger boats that are used for fishing or to transport cargo and passengers to Nusa Penida. East of the river that divides the village and the beach there is the fish market. This part, named Pantai Segara Kusamba, is also where Hindu ceremonies like cremations take place. West of the river, beyond the village, one can see traditional sea salt making, in the dry season only. Kusamba beach is also where the Dutch colonial army landed when it invaded Klungkung.

Culture

  • Museum Nyoman Gunarsa - This art museum was founded by popular Klungkung painter Nyoman Gunarsa who died in 2017. It is housed in an three story building of Balinese architecture in a lush garden. The collection comprises over 250 both classic and modern Balinese paintings, as well as wayang puppets and krises. Hours: 9am - 4pm, Sundays closed. Entrance: USD 5. Address: Jalan Raya Banda No.1- Takmung, Banjar Angkan (about 4 kilometres south-west of Semarapura centre). Phone (0366) 22256.
  • Goa Jepang – What they call ‘Japanese Cave’ actually is a system of bunkers excavated in the hillside by the Japanese to fend off a possible invasion from Australia. There are 14 interconnected rooms plus two separate ones. Located in Banjarangkan village southeast of Semarapura. Access is free.

Temples

  • Pura Goa Lawah - Goa Lawah means Bat Cave. The compound of Pura Goa Lawah is built around the entrance of a cave inhabited by thousands of bats. According to Balinese chronicles the temple was founded by a Javanese priest, Mpu Kuturan, in the year 929 Caka (1007 AD). Legend has it that the cave connects all the way with Pura Goa Raja at Besakih. The holy man Ida Bhatara Hyang Basukih would have travelled through the cave from Mount Agung when he sought purification at the sea. And a folk tale says that a fighting cock ran away into Goa Raja and was pursued by is owner all the way to Goa Lawah. Pura Goa Lawah is located in Pesinggahan village on the side of the coastal road to Amplapura facing Nusa Penida. The temple can be visited during daylight hours. Tickets are IDR 15,000 and include the rent of the obligatory sarong and selendang dress.

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Eat

Klungkung has its own variety of gado-gado, called serombotan. It is composed of various vegetables, such as sprouts, beans, spinach, kale and eggplant, to which are added roasted peanuts. One can choose between coconut sauce and peanut sauce, the latter is more spicy.

  • Pasar Senggol – Senggol Market is the place to eat out at night in Semarapura. Located just east of the Puputan Monument.
  • Pesinggahan - Several ‘lesehan’ restaurants in this village offer a typical fish menu, consisting of a bowl of fish soup, a plate of veggies, roasted peanuts, sautéed fish and fish cooked in banana leaf. One may try Rumah Makan Kumendel, Rumah Makan Pesinggahan and Warung Lesehan Sari Buana on the main road, as well as Warung Lesehan Mertha Sari in Pesinggahan centre, 500 metres from the main road.

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Sleep

  • Bali Tower Hotel - close to the main sights in Semarapura. Address: Jalan Gunung Rinjani No. 18-24, 80761 Semarapura, Klungkung.

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This is version 45. Last edited at 8:18 on Mar 3, 20 by Utrecht. 4 articles link to this page.

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