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.