Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) is a cultural park located on the southern coast of Bali. The park is sitting on the hill so you may need to go up a bit if you want to visit this huge cultural park. The most iconic thing from this cultural park is the gigantic statue of Vishnu riding his Garuda. Garuda is a mythology creature and it looks like an eagle but bigger and stronger. Once the pieces of the statue are fully-formed, it will be the second tallest statue in the world.
The park becomes one of the most favorite spots to visit in Bali, considering there are various things you can do and watch in this cultural park. Besides you can walk around the park, there are also daily performances, conferences, and exhibitions sometimes. Also, there are a lot of spots that will make great photography in this place.
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About Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park
This cultural park is established on the 250 hectares of ground located on the hill of Ungasan, south Bali. Besides for the tourism development in Indonesia, Garuda Wisnu Kencana is dedicated to embrace and preserve the culture, art, culinary, and all aspects of spiritual of Bali Island. All four points that have been mentioned above can be blatantly seen just right after you step your foot on the complex of the park.
The Garuda is a mythical bird of Indonesia especially Hindu while Wisnu is the Indonesian name for Vishnu god. Kencana means carriage so the whole park is a resemblance of Vishnu who rides his Garuda and he protects the whole land. After over two decades of construction, the gigantic statue has finally stood out so perfectly up on the hill of Ungasan. It is touted as one of the tallest statues in the world and it shows the beautiful scenery of Bali from above the hill.
The statue was made by a Balinese sculptor named Nyoman Nuarta with his team. Nowadays, the whole statue can even be seen from Kuta, Nusa Dua, and Sanur as well. Considering the cultural park is located 160 meters above the sea level, the views shown from above must be stunning. This is why you cannot miss out to visit this cultural park.
Good to Know and What not to Miss
Talking about the highest level of the ground, Plaza Wisnu is the one in this area. Before the stature was finally finished and gathered, this is the place of Vishnu’s upper part located. Plaza Wisnu is also the place where the traditional Balinese dance is performed, which took the majestic statue as its background. Near the statue, there is a sacred fountain area named Parahyangan Somaka Giri. The fountain contains plenty of important minerals that could heal, which believed by locals as a magical fountain.
The main commercial area of this cultural park named Street Theater, which commonly is the spot to start and finish your tour. In this area, you will find a souvenir shop, reflexology center, and “Bali Art Market” store. There are also some carvings and each wall tells the story of Garuda Wisnu Kencana. Other than that, you can also watch the performance of Barong Dance every day in this spot. Once you purchase the entrance fee at the ticket booth, you are allowed to enter the theater and watch the dance.
Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park also has a big outdoor venue named the Lotus Pond, formed by massive blocks of quarried limestone. The size of this area is about 4,400sqm and it could accommodate up to 7,500 people when a big event is held. Mega runway fashion shows and music concerts are just two from all big-scale events that have been held in this outdoor venue. Before the whole statue was assembled, the head of Garuda became a phenomenal background for the event.
The most stunning part of this cultural park is located in the Indraloka Garden. This area can handle medium-scaled events such as gatherings, wedding party, and so on. The GWK Amphitheater could accommodate up to 800 people at once and it has an excellent quality of acoustic. There are various plays performed in this amphitheater and it was also the “Bali for the World” event took place in 2003 as the resurrection of the tourism industry in Bali after bombings in 2002. Kecak Dance is also performed in this place every day at 6.30 pm.
The exhibition hall of GWK is named Balairung Dewi Sri and Dewi Sri is believed as the goddess of fertility and rice in the local culture. There are several fun services you can take for free such as hair braiding, nail painting, and so on. The visitors can watch the making process of GWK statue that is packed in a feature video. Other than that, the video can be purchased at the GWK souvenir shop. Before the gigantic statue was gathered into one, the hands part can be found in Tirtha Agung area.
There is a Balinese parade every day around the park and you can watch it around 5 pm. If you want to enjoy some local foods with a panoramic view inside the park complex, you can try the Jendela Bali. This restaurant is located in the Street Theater spot. The foods offered and served here are all authentic Balinese food and you can also enjoy the daily entertainment. If you are interested in the all-you-can-eat buffet, you can head to the Berandas. All of those are located in the Street Theater.
The construction of the whole statue actually took longer than how it had been planned. The main cause is the monetary crisis happened in Indonesia years ago. Some parts of the statue are covered with gold foil and the total weight would be around 4,000 tons.
Things to Do in Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park
#1 Watch Kecak Dance
Kecak Dance is one of the most awaited performances when you are visiting Bali. If you have planned to explore the whole cultural park on a full-day trip, you definitely cannot miss out Kecak Dance in this place. Located in the amphitheater of GWK, this show will make the most of your GWK tour.
#2 Join Joged Bumbung at the Street Theater
If you come here during the holiday season, you will catch Joged Bumbung dancers on the Street Theater. The dance is part of the UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage. The dancer will pick the audience to join them on a dynamic dancing. It is a perfect move to refresh your body in this holiday.
#3 Legong Dance at Jendela Bali
Legong Dance is the most visually alluring performances you will ever see. The dance moves are pretty fast and you definitely cannot miss out this performance. Back then in ancient times, the audience of this dance was only limitedly restricted to the royal families. Nowadays, everybody can enjoy the show. This is why you must take the opportunity to watch this exotic yet beautiful show that commonly shown in the Jendela Bali.
#4 Watch Animation Film at the Garuda Cinema
If this trip is a family holiday with your kids then you must take them to the Garuda Cinema. Every day, this cinema shows the animation film about Garuda Cilik. The movie is basically a short movie with a lightweight story and interesting moral value. This is why you must bring your kids here when you are in Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park. Other than that, your kids could learn about the local culture through the film. So, what are you waiting for?
#5 Wander Around the Statue
It took almost three decades for the completion of the statue. Now, you can take a look at how great the statue is. The statue is a symbol of Vishnu riding his bird and his trusted companion, the Garuda. Taking a trip to Garuda Wisnu Kencana is something you must do when you are in Bali.
Garuda Wisnu Kencana or GWK is one of the must-visit places when you are in Bali. Considering there are a bunch of attractions and performances you must see and witness, it would take a one-day trip to explore the whole cultural park. Other than that, Sandholiday will make sure you have the best holiday experience on the island with its nice vehicle and friendly staff.