Museum Gedung Arca (Archaeological Museum)
At the small Museum Gedung Arca, on the outskirts of Ubud, entrance and tours are free. Guides lead visitors around the eclectic selection of Stone Age tools, Bronze Age relics, and mysterious sarcophagi.
The museum is not a common stop on Bali tours. Those with a keen interest in prehistory or archaeology can arrange a visit with a private guide, perhaps combined with stops at historic temples such as Gunung Kawi, Tirta Empul, and Yeh Pulu.
Things to Know Before You Go
Museum Gedung Arca is a must for archaeology geeks.
Be sure to tip your guide (IDR 10,000–IDR 40,000) if you use the museum’s free guide service.
This is, essentially, a local archaeology museum, so plan for a short visit.
How to Get There
Not far from the water temple of Tirta Empul and the rock-cut shrines (candi) of Gunung Kawi, the village of Pejeng sits on the Tampaksiring road, around 4 miles (6 kilometers) east of Ubud in central Bali. Most visitors use a private driver or driver/guide, as public transport is not an option. If you’re confident facing Indonesia’s spirited drivers, there is plenty of parking.
When to Get There
The Museum Gedung Arca is closed weekends, so visiting during the week is a must. The museum is never busy, but if you’d like to take advantage of the free guide service, avoid lunchtime and Balinese festival days.
The Archaeology of Bali
Indonesian archaeology is in its infancy, relatively speaking, yet researchers are unfolding rich layers of human occupation across the archipelago’s many thousands of islands. From Stone Age tools to Chinese ceramics and Bronze Age drums, Bali’s archaeology reveals a sophisticated web of trading and migration.