Some hints for planning Bali vacation. What to see in north Bali.
Answers to frequently asked questions from travelers about the north of Bali
1. What is the difference between the northern coast of Bali and the southern coast?
The northern part of Bali is washed by the Bali Sea - this is part of the Pacific Ocean, nevertheless, this is the sea - there are no strong waves, no dangerous currents, high tide/low tide flows not so strong comparing to the ocean side.
No facilities for surfing, but the area is great for diving and snorkeling.
The climate in north Bali is drier - the rainy season begins later and ends earlier.
Theoretically, it is possible to use public transport to get from the south to the north of the island, but it is not comfortable and will take too much time.
If you are planning to rent a car or a bike, be very careful when going downhill from the mountains, it happens that the brakes are overheated, stop working and it ends with accidents. Usually, it happens not because of undue service of car/bike, but because of non-complying with safe driving rules and lack of experience to drive long downhills (to my mind most accidents due to the brakes failure occur on Toyota Avanza).
Is it possible to use Uber, Grabber?
This service is unavailable in north Bali, it is possible to use Uber to get to the north from the south - the cost will be about $ 45, as they are not allowed to go to the airport - you will have to walk 300 meters to the parking lot with your luggage.
Its more comfortable and safer for transfers and sightseeing trips rent a car with a driver.
Yes, the rental prices for transport in north Bali are higher than in the south - due to the lack of competition and absence of public taxi services - the cost of renting a car with a driver per day is $ 60-80 depending on the route, the cost of renting a bike is about $ 7 per day.
You can also go to waterfalls by bike with local guys – they charge from $ 7 to $ 25 per trip
3. If you are in Bali for the first time and you have 2 weeks
We recommend to divide your vacation into parts and stay in different parts of the island.
All parts of Bali has distinguishing features and worth visiting. Despite the fact that Bali is just a small point on the map and the size of the island is only 80x140 km - it’s quite difficult to travel around (the south and the center have traffic jams, and the north, like a magical country from a children's fairy tale, is separated by mountains with serpentine roads).
Upon arrival, It is recommended to stay for a couple of nights in south Bali - take a walk along the ocean, visit shopping centers, visit Uluwatu Temple, enjoy seafood at restaurants in Jimbaran beach (being in the north Bali, going to that area will take 4 hours one way).
From the south, I recommend moving to the central part of the island - the areas of Gianyar / Peliatan / Tampaksiring / Tegallalang / Sayan - generically called "Ubud."
On the way, you can visit Bali Bird’s and Reptile Park or a Bali Zoo / Safari Park.
Yes, in central Bali there is no sea, no ocean, but there are beautiful landscapes overlooking the rice terraces, ancient temples, museums.
2 nights / 3 days might be enough to visit the following places: Monkey Forest, Elephant Temple (Goa Gajah), Gunung Kawi Temple, Tirta Empul Temple, Tegallalang rice terraces, craftsmen’s street (jl.Andong), Sebatu temple, art museums.
We recommend combining the transfer to the north with a visit to Batur hot springs. Hot water, cold beer in Toya Devasya hot springs and beautiful views of the volcanic lake will provide a long-lasting memory of pleasure.
4. Restaurants, shops, clubs - "no civilization"
When they say about the north Bali that "there is no civilization" there, it means the lack of a choice of restaurants, shopping centers. It's true.
Lovina town, located near the former capital of Bali - Singaraja, perhaps is the center of "civilization" in north Bali.
There are restaurants, a couple of nightclubs, grocery supermarkets, and a Krishna souvenir supermarket. Cannot be compared to south Bali districts Kuta or Seminyak. No crowds on the streets.
If you are in Lovina in evening time - I recommend visiting a Funky Place - a hostel with a restaurant where live music is played every evening, guests dance on the tables. Spice Beach Club located next door - a higher level restaurant also worth visiting.
While in Singaraja and Lovina you can find “civilized” supermarkets, by moving further to the east - you would see only traditional Balinese markets and small shops.
In most villages, traditional markets open only from 4 am till 8 am.
Those who come to north Bali come not for parties, shopping, but for having traditional Bali experience, see “pure” Bali, enjoy relaxation, beauties of virgin nature.
The “civilization” has not reached north Bali yet, therefore there are no traffic jams, no criminal cases, it’s safe to walk alone and drive in night.
5. North Bali waterfalls.
There are many. Google for "Bali Waterfalls" - and you will see that most of them are located in the northern part of Bali.
The most famous waterfalls - Git Git, Sekumpul, Aling Aling - became too touristy, but staying in the north you will get to them before the guests of the island living in the south reach there.
From Bondalem Beach Club the nearest waterfall, "Yeh Mampeh" (the second name is “Les waterfall”) is only 10 minutes away. It takes 40 min to get to the highest waterfall in Bali "Sekumpul", 45 min to Aling-Aling.
Highly recommend places that are still secluded – Jembong waterfall and Blue Lagoon Sambangan – it took me less than 1 hour to get there.
If the main "base" of your holiday is located in the south of the island and you get 2.5-3 hours to get to the above waterfalls - it is recommended to combine a visit to the waterfalls with an overnight stay in the north of the island, make a round trip.
6. What else to see on the north side of Bali.
Brahma Amara Vihara Buddhist temple, Singaraja Chinese temple, Art Zoo house gallery of paintings by American artist Simon, production of pyramidal salt
7. Diving and snorkeling.
As it is written above - there is no surfing in north Bali, but there are wonderful snorkeling and diving spots.
The following places are well known:
Tulamben (the sunken ship lies at the bottom),
Pemuteran (sculptures under water and the project for artificially growing corals), Menjangan (a reserve park on the border with Java)
Less known are places like Bondalem (coral reef about 2 km long), Tejakula, Tembok.
When going to snorkeling, put on coral slippers – in most places where there are a lot of beautiful corals there are also a lot of broken up corals - it’s not pleasant to go into the water barefoot.
No dangerous creatures underwater (more precisely, probably there are, but they are afraid of you more than you fear them so you will not meet each other).
At night, you can swim and enjoy a view of glowing plankton.
Lovers of snorkeling - do not try to swim during low tide, when the depth is 15-30 cm - you will scratch your stomachs – healing takes time. Yes, and breaking the corals also not good.
8. Dolphin watching
In the mornings you can go with local fisherman for a dolphin tour. This can be done in any place in north Bali, but from the south, most tours organized to Lovina. The advantage of Lovina is that due to competition, the prices for a boat trip are lower than in other places, the disadvantage is that dozens of boats go out to the sea at the same time - the number of tourists can exceed the number of dolphins encountered.
The price for a boat trip in Lovina starts at $ 5 and simultaneously 4-6 people can get into the boat. In other areas, its more expensive - the price for renting a boat in Bondalem is $35 with a maximum of 2 people are taken on board.
If you would like to swim with dolphins in the swimming pool you need to head to Melka Hotel – they provide this entertainment facility as well as dolphin therapy for those who need it.
9. Yoga tours, fitness tours in the north Bali
What attracts the organizers of yoga & fitness tours in north Bali:
The lack of distractions factors – night clubs, supermarkets located far away.
The proximity of "places of power". Availability of infrastructure for training.
In Bondalem Beach Club for yoga and fitness tours, there is equipment for Iyengar and antigravity yoga, the site is located directly on the beach.