Museums in Bali highlight the island’s rich culture and history through their interesting exhibits that cover a wide range of subjects. Many of these museums and galleries are owned by prominent artists who are passionate about preserving and fostering the island’s arts. Paintings, wooden sculptures and textiles are some of the highlights you can admire at these venues.

    Archaeological findings, including human skeletons, stone tools and blades from the Palaeolithic and pre-Hindu Bronze Ages can be found in prominent archaeological museums. Families can find lighthearted galleries to have fun for a few hours in Bali, including a variety of contemporary 'trick-eye museums' in Kuta and Denpasar.

    The Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA) is part of an art gallery and cultural centre that also provides accommodation in Ubud. There are 2 main buildings at the museum that houses exhibition halls, a theatre where performances are shown regularly, art classes, a bookshop, library, and cultural workshops. 

    Kecak dance performances usually take place on new and full moons at 7.30pm, while the Legong Telek dance is often held every Tuesday at 7.30pm. Traditional gamelan orchestras, woodcarvings, dance and history, indigenous fabrics, and traditional cuisine are among of the museum’s offerings.

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    Location: Jalan Raya Pengosekan, Ubud, Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +62 (0)361 976 659

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    Blanco Renaissance Museum houses paintings, collages and illustrated poetry by Don Antonio Blanco and his son Mario. He was known for his lithographic artworks of nude Balinese women. In the 1960s, the late Philippine-born artist built his home and studio here, on a hilltop overlooking the lush valley of Campuhan. 

    You’ll also find a gift shop, café and the Blanco’s family temple within the premise. The café has a cosy Balinese atmosphere and serves European and Asian dishes.

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    Location: Jalan Raya Campuhan, Ubud, Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +62 (0)361 975 502

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    photo by Taguelmoust (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    Dream Museum Zone (DMZ) Bali is a fun and interactive art gallery in Kuta. It has around 120 paintings spread across several differently themed galleries. Parodies of famous portraits like Mona Lisa carrying a fruit basket and Van Gogh using shaving foam are some of the museum’s highlights. 

    You can also find amusing animal-themed paintings – with the right angle, you’ll look as if you’re hosing down a zebra to wash away its stripes, milking a cow, or escaping a menacing shark attack. Dream Museum Zone’s staff are also helpful in suggesting the best pose and may even help you take photos.

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    Location: Jalan Nakula No.33X, Legian, Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +62 (0)361 849 6220

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    Le Mayeur Museum displays around 80 paintings by Brussels-born painter, Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur de Merpres (1880–1958). His artworks are categorised by mediums like hardboard, plywood, canvas and paper. 

    The main building is where you can visit his former living quarters, which have classical Balinese elements, sculpted stone walls and red terrazzo floor tiles. Carved wood dominates the furnishings, and window sills feature motifs inspired by wayang (shadow puppet) characters.

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    Location: Jalan Hang Tuah, Sanur, Bali, Indonesia

    Open: Friday from 8.30 am to 12.30 pm, Saturday–Thursday from 8.30 am to 3.30 pm

    Phone: +62 (0)361 286 201

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    Ubud's Museum Puri Lukisan has 6 buildings displaying traditional Balinese paintings and woodcarvings. It was founded in 1956 and displays around 150 painting and 62 pieces of sculptures.  Notable exhibits include a series of Balinese paintings, masterworks by I Gusti Nyoman Lempad, and a wayang (traditional shadow puppet character) painting collection. 

    The Founders Gallery showcases the museum’s history and temporary exhibitions of local artists’ work. Museum Puri Lukisan is about 150 metres west of Ubud’s community hall, Puri Saren Royal Palace, and the Ubud Art Market.

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    Location: Jalan Raya Ubud, Ubud, Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +62 (0)361 971 159

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    The Bali Provincial Public Museum has over 10,000 exhibits in separate pavilions. The pavilions’ architectural styling pays homage to Balinese heritage, with stone carvings, bas reliefs and tropical gardens dominating its exteriors. Vast collections of ethnographic displays range from classical Kamasan-style paintings hailing from the Klungkung regency to ancient statues and inscriptions. 

    You can also see weapons dating back to the Bronze Age in Bali, pre-Hindu-era ritual items and contemporary items such as wayang kulit (shadow puppets), theatrical masks, old textiles, costumes and musical instruments.

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    Location: Jalan Mayor Wisnu No.1, Dangin Puri, Denpasar, Bali 80232, Indonesia

    Open: Saturday–Thursday from 8 am to 4 pm, Fridays from 8 am to 1 pm

    Phone: +62 (0)361 222 680

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    photo by David Stanley (CC BY 2.0) modified

    Museum Gedong Kirtya displays thousands of old Balinese manuscripts inscribed on lontar (palm leaves). Founded in 1928, this manuscript museum serves as a repository of these manuscripts, many of which are the oldest written works in Bali. 

    The volumes are kept in special wooden boxes and sorted under different categories, including Vedic renditions, mantra hymns, religion, wariga (Balinese astronomy), itihasa (epic tales and poems), babad (Balinese genealogy) and tantri (folklore).

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    Location: Jalan Veteran No.20, Singaraja, Buleleng, Bali 81117, Indonesia

    Open: Monday–Thursday from 8 am to 4 pm, Friday from 8 am to 1 pm (closed on Saturdays and Sundays)

    Phone: +62 (0)362 25 141

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    Museum Rudana in Ubud displays a mix of classical and contemporary Balinese paintings. It was established in 1995 by Balinese art collector Nyoman Rudana and his wife. In a mission to further boost Bali’s art scene, the museum regularly organises exhibitions by emerging local artists. 

    Besides admiring the artworks in its collection, you can also explore the lush gardens and private rice fields surrounding the museum. Located in Ubud, Museum Rudana is about 3 km southeast of the Ubud Monkey Forest.

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    Location: Jalan Cok Rai Pudak 44, Ubud, Peliatan, Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +62 (0)361 975 779

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    Neka Art Museum is an art gallery and museum established by Balinese art lover Wayan Suteja Neka. The museum was built in 1976 and inaugurated by the Ministry of Culture & Education in 1982. Inside are collections of paintings and sculptures displayed through 6 different buildings. 

    Check out the Balinese-style garden compound after exploring the museum’s exhibits. Neka Art Museum is located on Jalan Raya Campuhan, in the village of Kedewatan, around 2.5 km northwest of the main Ubud centre.

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    Location: Jalan Raya Campuhan, Kedewatan, Ubud, Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm, Sunday from 12 pm to 5 pm

    Phone: +62 (0)361 975 074

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    Museum Pasifika displays works from over 200 artists from 25 countries, 350 paintings, and 250 historical objects. Located in Nusa Dua’s Bali Tourism Development Corporation’s (BTDC), the museum attracts enthusiasts of Asia-Pacific antique and art items. 

    Its extensive collection is dominated by cultural and Balinese life themes. You can find the works of Balinese painter Nyoman Gunarsa and Javanese artist Raden Saleh, as well as paintings of Aloi Pilioko and Nicolai Michoutouchkine.

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    Location: Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) Complex, Block P, Nusa Dua, Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +62 (0)361 774 935

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    • History

    Upside Down World Bali has 7 specially designed rooms with décor and furniture that are deliberately the wrong way up. A must-see is the 90-degree Balinese room, which has ornate wooden carvings and antique furniture. 

    Cameras on selfie mode don’t really work here, but there are friendly staff to help take photos and guide you through the disorientating rooms. Strike whacky poses that end up as gravity-defying stunts in photos. 

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    Location: Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai No.762, Pemogan, Denpasar, Bali 80221, Indonesia

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +62 (0)361 847 3053

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    Gedong Arca Archeological Museum

    • History

    Gedong Arca Archeological Museum displays over 3,000 archaeological findings, including artefacts, stone tools, and blades from the Palaeolithic and pre-Hindu Bronze Ages. 

    One of its most prized exhibits is the full-size replica of Moon of Pejeng, one of the largest Bronze-age relics in the world. The original is kept at the Penataran Sasih Temple in Ubud. This bronze kettle drum is believed to have been made around 300 BC. The museum is about 6 km east of Ubud’s centre. Admission is free of charge. 

    Location: Jalan Raya Tampaksiring, Bedulu, Blahbatuh, Gianyar, Bali 80581, Indonesia

    Open: Monday–Friday from 7.30 am to 4 pm (closed on weekends)

    Phone: +62 (0)361 942 354

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    Museum Yadnya

    • History

    Museum Yadnya displays replicas of Balinese Hindu rituals that are categorised into specific sections. One of its most popular exhibits is of the Panca Yadnya ceremony. This ritual involves 5 spiritual dimensions: Pitra Yadnya as worship activity for ancestral spirits, Manusa Yadnya for human perfection, Rishi Yadnya for saints, and Bhuta Yadnya for all living entities. The museum was established in 1979 and is part of Mengwi Temple.

    Location: Jalan Ayodya, Mengwi, Badung, Bali 80351, Indonesia

    Open: Monday–Thursday from 8 am to 5 pm, Friday from 8 am to 12.30 pm (closed on Saturdays and Sundays)

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    Museum Nyoman Gunarsa

    • History

    Museum Nyoman Gunarsa is an art museum by one of Bali’s most prominent painters. Also called Museum Seni Lukis Klasik, it spans 3 floors, 2 of which are the main galleries displaying in-house artwork. There's a floor dedicated to masterpieces by local and international guest artists. 

    Nyoman Gunarsa Museum’s collection includes 250 paintings that were created over 15 years, traditional Balinese statues, shadow puppets, and kris daggers dating back to the 16th century.

    Location: Jalan Raya Banda No.1, Banjarangkan, Takmung, Klungkung, Bali 80716, Indonesia

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +62 (0)366 22 255

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    Museum Manusia Purba

    • History

    Museum Manusia Purba (Museum of Early Man) displays complete human skeletons from the Neolithic and Bronze Ages. The remains were found during an archaeological expedition of Dukuh Cekik in 1962. The museum was founded in the early 1990s to exhibit the remains, ancient stone sarcophagi, earthen bowls, and tools made from bronze. Museum Manusia Purba is about 700 metres southeast of Gilimanuk Port in northwest Bali.

    Location: Jalan Rajawali, Gilimanuk, Melaya, Jembrana, Bali 82252, Indonesia

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    Ari Gunadi | Compulsive Traveller

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