West Bali

Bali's role in Indonesia's independence struggle is commemorated at the Margarana, northwest of Marga village. Tourists seldom visit, but every Balinese schoolchild comes here at least once, and a ceremony is held annually on 20 November. In a large compound stands a 17m-high pillar, and nearby is a museum with a few photos, homemade weapons and other artefacts from the conflict (Ngurah Rai’s quoteworthy last letter includes the line: ‘Freedom or death!’). Other than weekday-morning school groups, the site is quiet.

Behind the Margarana is a smaller compound with 1372 small stone memorials to those who gave their lives for the cause of independence – they’re headstone markers in a military cemetery, though bodies are not actually buried here. Each memorial has a symbol indicating the hero’s religion, mostly the Hindu swastika, but also Islamic crescent moons and even a few Christian crosses. Look for the memorials to 11 Japanese who stayed on after WWII and fought with the Balinese against the Dutch.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby West Bali attractions

1. Pura Taman Ayun

5.53 MILES

Don't miss one of the top temples on Bali, a serene place of enveloping calm. The huge royal water temple of Pura Taman Ayun, surrounded by a wide,…

2. Museum Manusa Yadnya

5.55 MILES

Established in 1974, this off-the-beaten path museum documents the numerous Hindu rituals involved during a Balinese person’s life, starting from six…

3. Sayan Terrace


Gaze into the Sungai Ayung Valley from the grounds of this venerable but extremely dated hotel. This was the home of composer and musicologist Colin…

4. Neka Art Museum

6.13 MILES

Offering an excellent introduction to Balinese art, the top-notch collection is displayed in a series of pavilions and halls. Don't miss the multiroom…

5. Mandala Mathika Subak


You'll find this museum within a large complex devoted to Tabanan's subak organisations. It has displays about the irrigation and cultivation of rice, and…

6. Pura Gunung Lebah

6.56 MILES

This old temple, which sits on a jutting rock at the confluence of two tributaries of Sungai Cerik (campuan means 'two rivers'), has recently benefited…

7. Antonio Blanco Museum

6.56 MILES

The home and namesake museum of Antonio Blanco (1912–99) captures this artist’s theatrical spirit. Sometimes called the 'Dali of Bali', Blanco came to…

8. Jatiluwih Rice Fields

6.83 MILES

At Jatiluwih, which means ‘truly marvellous’, you'll be rewarded with vistas of centuries-old rice terraces that exhaust your ability to describe green…