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A Handpicked Selection of Museums in Bali

Peeling back the layers of Bali’s rich culture and heritage is a treat for all who visit from near or far to explore this revered archipelago. Offering a unique mixture of museums in Bali for every kind of visitor, some highlight key historical moments, values and traditions and immortalise them in time, whilst others are more modern museums that offer unique and immersive experiences. The overall result is a museum offering that cherishes Bali’s rich cultural heritage, whilst inviting the new and modern into the mix.

Bali Museum (Bali Provincial State Museum)

For a comprehensive journey through Bali’s extensive history and culture, the Bali Museum in Denpasar is your winning ticket, inviting you to uncover its collection of artefacts, artworks, statues and historical items, which all seek to paint an authentic picture of Bali’s storied past.

Entrance to the museum immediately showcases a feat of Bali’s exceptional architecture—entering the temple area treats you to visions of intricate wood carvings, ornate stone carved gates and manicured courtyards that are warm and inviting, setting the stage for discovery to unfold. The subject matters portrayed span the Mesolithic Age to the modern day, set within three pavilions, each housing their own unique collection.

The three structures, Kahyangan, Pura and Merajan, are home to different display areas that offer visitors the opportunity to peel back the layers of Bali’s past, from ethnographic items such as traditional costumes and ceremonial objects to archaeological items such as ancient tools, pottery, statues and stone inscriptions. Additionally, you’ll find traditional paintings, textiles, masks and artistic expressions, as well as historical artefacts, photographs, maps and documents. Throughout the year, this museum in Bali plays host to a range of exhibitions and cultural events, instilling visitors with a deeper understanding of Bali’s storied cultural heritage.

Museum Pasifika

Through the wondrous medium of art, Museum Pasifika presents a treasure trove of curated artworks and paintings celebrating artists from around the world, who through their creative forms, depict places from across the Asia-Pacific region. Located in Nusa Dua, the galleries house awe-inspiring works that truly encapsulate the way in which different artists from past and present have been able to capture Asia’s people, rituals and expansive landscapes. 

Symbolically, the Museum Pasifika’s vision that began with its inauguration in 2006, was to act as a bridge between Asia and the Pacific, presenting the true diversity of art forms that exists throughout the region. Of the 11 exhibition rooms, 600 artworks of 200 artists from 25 countries who lived in the Asia Pacific are featured, including Indonesian artists, Indo-European artists, Indochinese artists, art from Oceania, as well as more widely recognised legendary artists, including Paul Gauguin, whose art was produced during his time in Tahiti. 

Offering educational classes and art classes guided by local artists, Museum Pasifika is an exceptional endeavour that seeks to bring together a kaleidoscope of the Asia-Pacific’s best artworks, crafted through differing perspectives, styles and art forms.

3D Museum Bali (Dream Museum Zone)

Placing yourself into the scene of the action has never been easier. At Dream Museum Zone, the trick photography sets allow you to fully immerse yourself in life-size paintings, landmarks and ruins. Place yourself into the beautiful scenery of Tanah Lot, wash your hands in the fountain waters of Prambanan Temple, pose in front of the Egyptian pyramids and even transport yourself into parodies of iconic paintings, including Mona Lisa and Van Gogh. If only for a bit of light-hearted novelty, you can find the Dream Museum Zone in Legian.

Neka Art Museum Bali (NAM)

Celebrating Balinese and Indonesian art, the Neka Art Museum treats visitors to a well-loved collection of artworks, showcasing the various styles and periods of Balinese art throughout the centuries. Founded in 1982 by Balinese art teacher and private art collector, Suteja Neka, the art gallery and museum is spread throughout six buildings laid out in a traditional Balinese home style. 

The most significant collection is Neka’s traditional Balinese Keris daggers. As the personal collection of Suteja Neka, the daggers originate from Neka’s family, descendants of the Balinese Pande Pan Nedeng clan of royal blacksmiths from the nineteenth century. Used at special Balinese ceremonies, the museum allows you to discover the making of the Keris dagger and the techniques of expert blacksmiths. Featuring ornate handles embedded with precious gems, as well as unique curved blades, each dagger is distinctive from the next. The collection features 27 heirloom Keris, 100 historical Keris and 200 Keris from the post-independence period.

Other distinctive offerings of the Neka Art Museum include the Balinese Painting Hall, showcasing the ‘wayang’ or ‘puppet’ style of artwork, as well as the Batuan style which depicts a dark colour palette with dense and highly detailed scenes of action. The Neka Art Museum is a colourful portrayal of both Balinese and Indonesian artists, as well as foreign artists who have called Bali home.

Samsara Living Museum Bali

Cultural experiences don’t get much more immersive than a visit to the Samsara Living Museum in Bali. Covering culinary experiences, Balinese dance, wellness and offering making, the museum presents the chance to fully immerse yourself in the Balinese way of life. The atmosphere is truly inspiring, as everyone around you plays their part in bringing to the present day the celebration of cultural values, rituals and ceremonies enjoyed by Balinese ancestors. 

Each experience on offer invites you on a journey, from preparing traditional meals presented during ritual celebrations to helping in the creation of ceremonial tools, wine, woven bamboo and other items. The overall result of the Samsara Living Museum is a realistic encounter with age-old traditions and values and an encouragement to continue to respect and conserve the beauty of Bali’s ancestral heritage.

Bali Car Museum (Kebon Vintage Cars)

A collection of the automotive kind, Kebon Vintage Cars presents a unique attraction that puts on display a range of vintage and veteran cars in mint condition. Founder, Jos Dharmawan, first started his vintage car collection out of a personal passion project that originated from childhood and remained consistent throughout his whole life, starting with his first vintage car purchase in 1996. From a personal garage set-up to the vintage car museum that is Kebon Vintage Cars today, 2019 was the year that brought Dharmawan’s collection to visitors in Bali. Showcasing a mix of 100 vintage cars from all over the world, including a 1913 Ford, American classics and city cars, as well as the Bemos tricycle introduced to Indonesia from the 1960s to the 1980s, all have restored to sparkling perfection. 

Kebon Vintage Cars diversifies Bali’s museum offering, giving visitors a look into automotive history that cannot be found anywhere else in Bali.

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