Singaraja, Chinese Temple
The name of Singaraja means ‘Lion King’ and this is the alias of the mighty slave king Gusti Panji Sakti who shipped Balinese slaves to Java island for opium and gold in the 17th century. During his reign trade increased and more merchants sailed into Singaraja’s harbour and that’s also one of the reasons why now the local population is mixed with Chinese, Arabs, Indians, Malay and loads of Javanese.
In the 18th century the Dutch decided to create a post here because of the good harbour and the ideal location to the Maluccu islands where they got their spices from. They named Singaraja their capital and still you can find old Dutch warehouses of tobacco and coffee.
But also remnants of Chinese traders can still be found such as the Confucian temple near the harbour or the Chinese cemetery in the west of the city.
Singaraja is also home to the biggest and most important collection of books on Bali island. They can be found in Gedong Kertya, founded by the Dutch in 1928 and here you can find around 3000 books on science, religion, culture, mythology and magic formulas. Many Balinese are afraid of entering the buildings as they believe that they will be cursed by the spirits of the sacred books.
Most travellers will pass through Singaraja on their way to Lovina beach so try to make a brief pit-stop in this historical city to soak up highlights of the past.