Most visits to Klungkung focus on either the market or the historical attractions, which include the Kertha Gosa (royal halls of justice) and Puri Agung Semarapura (the remains of the royal palace). While you don’t need a guide to explore Klungkung, many travelers find it helps to have a local put the history in context and sort good buys from tourist tat at the market. Klungkung tours typically continue on to elsewhere in east Bali, particularly Goa Lawah and the Tirta Gangga Water Palace.
Things to Know Before You Go
Klungkung is of interest to history buffs and fans of art and textiles.
Don’t buy mass-produced sarongs from the persistent sellers in the parking lot by the market. Go into the market and take a look around to find the good stuff.
Lovers of Balinese art will appreciate the wayang-style paintings found in the Kertha Gosa pavilion and produced in the nearby village of Kamasan.
How to Get There
Klungkung is located slightly inland from Bali’s east coast, roughly halfway between Sanur and Amlapura and around a 2-hour drive from Ngurah Rai International Airport. The best way to visit is on a tour, with a private driver, or by driving, though diehard public transport fans can ride buses or minibuses from Batubulan (outside Denpasar), Padangbai, or Gianyar.
When to Get There
Mornings are the best time for visiting Klungkung Market (Semarapura Market) and shopping for textiles. The market opens early, as does the Kertha Gosa, another Klungkung must-see. A morning visit also allows you to continue on to the sights of Karangasem and east Bali; the market will be winding down when you return.
The Kingdom of Klungkung
From the late 17th century until 1908, when the court fell to the Dutch colonial forces in a mass suicide known as apuputan, the kingdom of Klungkung was the highest kingdom in Bali. The Kertha Gosa was the highest court on the island, sending prisoners to Nusa Penida island, offshore from Klungkung.
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