Singaraja, the capital of Bali's largest regency, Buleleng, is the second most important town on the island and has a rich cultural and social history. With more than 100,000 inhabitants at the last count, this now quiet town was the important center of regional government under the Dutch for hundreds of years. Cut off by the mountains, the north developed independently from the south. It took the Dutch years of fighting before they eventually vanquished the south and finished the main Singaraja-Denpasar road. All that remains of the colonial splendor are some tree-lined boulevards and sadly, very few of the beautiful villas.
The original kingdom of Buleleng, which reached as far as Blambangan in East Java in the 17th century, was founded by the royal family of Singaraja. The direct descendants and their families still live in the palaces today, although not quite in the same style.