The Jakarta Post
An aerial view of the Garuda Wisnu Kencana statue, Bali. (Shutterstock/File)
Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) is an iconic 21-story tall monument depicting Hindu deity Vishnu riding the legendary bird Garuda.
Located at the GWK Cultural Park in Badung regency, Bali, the landmark has seen an increase in popularity after President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo inaugurated it in September.
Even though the monument is the park’s highlight, there are other attractions visitors can enjoy inside the area.
Below are six things to do at GWK Cultural Park as compiled by kompas.com:
1. Watching traditional performances and films
The GWK Cultural Park management provides seven dance performances every day for visitors. The dances shown are Balinese, Keris Barong, Nusantara, Garuda Wisnu Ballet and Kecak Garuda Wisnu, with the first performance scheduled at 10 a.m. and the final one at 6:30 p.m.
Visitors can also watch a film at the Garuda Cinema. The cinema opens every day at 11 a.m., showing a 35-minute animated film titled Garuda Cilik Adventure. The film reportedly won the best animated short film category at the 2015 Indonesian Film Festival.
Visitors can watch these shows free of charge.
2. Getting around with GWK Loop
Due to its vast 60-hectare area, getting around the GWK Cultural Park can be exhausting, especially under Bali’s scorching sun.
To handle this problem, the park’s management provides a shuttle service named GWK Loop. The buses will take visitors around the large statues located at the center of the park. They also have large windows, allowing visitors to enjoy the park’s views.
GWK Loop buses are parked near the ticket sales counter. A ticket costs Rp 20,000 (US$1.38).
3. Learning history
Observant visitors might notice the abundance of historical information on building walls in the GWK Cultural Park.
The Amphitheater, for example, has reliefs depicting Garuda Wisnu’s story in front of it. The Lotus Pond also has large statues with descriptions engraved on them.
Not only that, upon entering the parking area, visitors will be greeted by the Parahyangan Somaka Giri spring. A temple guard named Semmi explains the history of the spring for visitors.
4. Daily schedule of activities
Every Monday starting at 7 p.m. the Plaza Kencana area comes to life with various activities.
"Visitors can enjoy food from a food truck accompanied by live music and a fire dance," said GWK Cultural Park marketing communications head Hhad Oktaviano Pratomo.
Other performances include a salsa dance at Reato Jendela Bali on Friday at 7 p.m., acoustic music at the Street Theater on Saturday at 3 p.m. and a full moon celebration at Plaza Wisnu at 4 p.m. every month.
Visitors can also join a yoga class every Saturday at 6 a.m.
5. Hunting ‘Istagrammable’ spots
GWK has many picturesque spots. One of them is a rock cliff located in the Lotus Pond area with interesting tall statues as a background. Kura-Kura Plaza (Turtle Plaza) also has trees and ponds great for taking pictures.
Indraloka Garden is also a great place to take pictures because visitors can order and eat food while taking pictures.
6. Souvenir shopping
Street Theater, which is the starting and end point of the GWK, is the park’s souvenir-shopping area, featuring an array of shops and restaurants.
Visitors can also shop for souvenirs at the GWK Souvenir Shop and Bali Art Market. Items may be on the expensive side, so make sure to check each price tag.
The GWK Cultural Park is open every day from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The entry fee for domestic tourists is Rp 80,000 for adults and Rp 60,000 for students and children. For foreigners, entrance costs Rp 125,000 for adults and Rp 100,000 for children. (iru/kes)