One of the things we love about Bali is that every corner of the island has its own unique vibe. Although many people base themselves in Seminyak, Sanur or Ubud, all it takes is a short (or sometimes not so short) drive to get off the beaten path and see a more authentic and unspoilt side of the island. From secluded beaches to pristine rainforests, quaint mountain villages and historic palaces, we give you our guide to escaping the crowds and exploring Bali from all angles, one area at a time.
Sleepy north Bali may be overlooked by many holidaymakers, but for those who make the trip, there are untouched beaches, calm waters, beautiful waterfalls, hot springs and exotic temples. Lovina, Singaraja and Pemuteran are the main draws here.
Lovina has everything you would expect a laid-back beach town to have, except without the crowds. You’ve got long stretches of sand, shallow waters and plenty of chilled out hotels, guesthouses, restaurants and bars. Head out in the morning to do some dolphin spotting, diving or snorkelling, soak yourself in the Banjar hot springs or make a trip to the impressive Buddhist temple that echoes the style of majestic Borobudur.
Singaraja is the old capital of Bali, and the second biggest city on the island. Here you’ll find old colonial Dutch architecture, historic Chinese shophouses, libraries, universities and authentic Indonesian and Balinese restaurants. Just outside the city there are a few important Hindu temples, including the colorful Pura Beji dedicated to the rice goddess Dewi Sri and Pura Dalem in Sangsit, which is renowned for its interesting images adorning the walls. Just 10 kilometers outside of Singaraja you will also find the village of Gitgit with its three gushing waterfalls surrounded by jungle.
Divers in the know head to Pemuteran on the northwest coast of Bali. It may be a long drive to get here from the south, but the secluded beaches, quaint fishing villages and spectacular reefs just offshore make it worth the drive. This is also a great jumping off point for trips to Menjangan Island, which boasts crystal clear waters and untouched jungles.