North Bali

by Nick  

Overview:
The north coast of Bali is one of the quietest parts of the island. Most tourist never make it up there and those that do are simply on their way from Amed to Lovina. What is up on the north coast and why should you go there? According to some people the resort of Lovina, (which is actually a conglomeration of the villages of Pemaron, Tukad Mungga, Anturan, Kalibukbuk, Kaliasem, Temukus and Banyualit) got its name after the last king of Buleleng, Pandji Tisna (1908-1978), named his holiday home ‘Lovina’ back in 1958. Some say the name means ‘the love in the heart of people’, others say it means ‘Love Indonesia’.

Maps of North Bali:
Bali
North Bali

North Bali History:
Mexican artist and writer Miguel Covarrubias and his wife Rose first came to Bali in 1930. His book Island Of Bali tells about their arrival by ship in Buleleng (Singaraja) on the north coast. They had been filled with images of waving palms, women carrying baskets of fruit in their heads and picturesque rice terraces. Their ship had sailed from New York, through the Panama canal, across the Pacific Ocean and down through the South China Sea. In 1930 Bali was still under Dutch control and Singaraja, the capital of Buleleng was already a trading port complete with Javanese, Arabs, Chinese and Europeans. Back then the southern area of Bali was not very populated and Covarrubias refers to the area as the malarial coasts of Kuta, Sanur, Benoa and Ketewel.

The main tourist center back then (everything being relative, of course) was Denpasar and getting there meant driving through the highlands from Singaraja. He describes Singaraja as having neat Dutch bungalows, gasoline stations, dingy shops where people are unkempt. He complains that the beautiful Balinese people of the steamship pamphlets are nowhere to be seen.

Singaraja has remnants of the era, with a strong Muslim influence, although the town itself is not a major port anymore.

North Bali why would you go there?

Getting to North Bali:
Lovina will take you about 3.5 hours to get to from Kuta, and you have a choice of routes. Route #1 is via Mengwi, then driving straight north, to the west of Ubud and up to Bedugal. This route will give you a chance to check out the lake and stop just before it for some corn on the cob, sold from the roadside market, by ladies carrying them in baskets on their heads.

After Bedugal you pass the Botanical Gardens, in Candikuning and the famous waterfall at Gitgit. You can head straight north to Singaraja, then west about 6kms to Lovina.

Route #2 is same as the first, except you can take the Munduk road, after passing through Candikuning, at Yehketipat. This route gets you off of the main road and takes you around the back of Lake Buyan and Lake Tamblingan, dropping down towards the north coast through Tunduk and Munduk, finally reaching the coastal road at Seririt. Lovina is 10 kms to the east.

Route #3 is via Tabanan, Antosari, Pupuan Seririt, Lovina. This route will take you on a winding course through lovely rice terraces, spending less time on busy straight roads than the first 2 routes. You’ll be looking at 5 hours to Lovina most likely.
Getting to Lovina Bali

Perama bus will get you from Kuta to Lovina for 70,000rp.

Accommodation in Lovina:
The coastal strip known as Lovina offers a good selection of accommodation. Unofficially Kalibukbuk might be considered the center of town, with a high density of places to stay, warungs and bars. The dolphin statue located next to the beach.
Central Lovina – where to stay
Lovina – Kalibukbuk – Nirwana Seaside
Hotel Banyualit Quality Resort in Lovina Bali

NE Bali Coast:
There are 3 main ways to get to the NE coast of Bali (assuming you don’t have a helicopter). These are:

•From Singaraja / Kubutambahan to the west along the main coastal road.
•From Tulamben from the south along the coastal road.

•From Kintamani in the highlands via the road to Bondalem.

The NE coast is drier than the Kuta area and the main raod is close to the shore. There is not a lot is the way of creature comforts, but peace and quiet, a more traditional atmosphere and relaxation are guaranteed.

Getting to NE Bali:
From Kuta, Singaraja is 3 hours. Add on another 1 hour – 1 hour 30 minutes to access points of the NE coast. Singaraja has a petrol station (probably more than 1 now) and is a good place to stop of and refill. From Candi Dasa you will follow the road to Tirtaganga, staying on the left route when you get to Culik. The NE coast will take you about 1 hour – 1 hour 30 minutes to access. Coming from Amed, you head to Culik and turn right, the journey somewhere around 1 hour, depending on where in the Amed area you are coming from. From Kintamani it will take you around 40 minutes, via the steep mountain road to Bondalem. Getting to Kintamani from Kuta will take 2.5 -3 hours depending on what route you take.

For adventurous people the route to Kintamani via Sangeh, Petang, Catur is the best. This route is not heavily trafficked and in some parts it feels like a complete adventure, trying to get your car up the steep backcountry inclines an around crater sized potholes. This route will get you to the Batur crater rim, the turn off for the NE coast just 3km further to the NW. The steep mountain road from Dausa to Bondalem is a lovely ride. The 13km pass through various climatic zones and you will see fruits of all kinds lining the route, including rambutan, durian, coconut, avocado, jackfruit. Small villages are to be found at points along the route as well, as well as just off of it. There does not appear to be any foreign influence in this area and for a person who likes being away from the crowds, this would be a great place to build a house.

Accommodation in NE Bali:

Air Sanih:
Some of the older places may not be of a high standard. The best place in town is Cilik’s Beach Garden. Here are are options.

Cilik’s Beach Garden
(0362)26561
This place is the choice spot in Air Saneh. Accommodation is a choice of 1 lumbung style cottage, 1 villa, both with hot water and many other amenities. The property sits in 1 hectare of land overlooking the ocean. Prices are not cheap and you might want to call ahead to make sure of your booking.

Cleopatra
0812/3622232

Newish bungalows with cold water / fan rooms. Located 1.5km west of Air Saneh the fresh water springs. Large garden and situated on the mountain side of the road. Cheap prices.

Puri Rahayu
(0362)26565
Located 200m east of the fresh water springs in Air Saneh, on the mountain side of the road. Bungalows come in AC rooms at 100,000rp per night and fan rooms at 40,000rp per night, all with cold water.

Hotel Puri Sanih
Located on the beach side of the road close to the springs. Rooms are all cold water / fan.
Cheap prices.

Hotel Tara
(0362)26575

Located on the beach side of the road, 600m east of the springs. AC rooms are 125,000rp per night, fan rooms 70,000rp per night.

Royal Bali Arsanih
(0362)26560
Located 2km east of the springs. Complete with fan and AC bungalows, hot water and restaurant. Good ocean view. Slightly expensive.

Bondalem

Bali Mandala Resorts & Bungalows
Locating the resort can be a bit ricky as it sits back behong small lanes. Ask a local for directions once at Bondalem. Medium price range, good bungalows with hot water. Restaurant serving local and western food. Snorkeling close by.

(0362)28508

Tejakula / Tembok

Tejakula is 3km south of Bondalem, its about here that the local traffic starts to get less frequent. The area of the NE coast south of here is very quiet. Accommodation is sparce, but high quality.

Bali Beach Villas
(0362) 26561
Two beach bungalows, somewhat pricey, hot water, AC, on the beach.

Approximately 8km south of Tejakula is Tembok.

Alam Anda
(0812/4656485) is located on the beach . Bungalows with hot water, or guest house style without. Among the highlights are diving and cooking courses and a massage house.

Jepun Bali Resort
(08133/8526692
Jepun Bali Resort is a high end place located 4km SE of Tembok. Featuring hot water, AC, swimming pool, spa.

Poincianna
My favourite place on the NE coast. A newly built set of bungalows, owned and operated by Nyoman. AC, hot water, pool, restaurant, on the beach. Great place to stay.

Tulamben is 22km to the south.

Shopping:

The nearest supermarket is in Singaraja. Small locals shops can be found in the small villages along the main coastal road, but don’t expect too much.

Things of interest:

Art Zoo
The fellow who created Symon’s Art Zoo in Ubud, has another place on the NE coast. Located on the coast 11km east of Air Saneh.

Ponjok Batu

This coastal headland affords great views and is a good palce to get out and stretch the legs. The temple was supposedly built by Javanese priest Nirartha in the 6th Century. Close to the temple is a small restaurant, the Puri Bagus Ponjok Batu. Located 12km east of Air Saneh.

Bali Aga village – Sembiran
The more remote parts of Bali are home to the Bali Aga (original Balinese who shunned the caste system imposed on the rest of the island by the advancing Javanese Hindu Majapahit empire in 1343. As well as the famous villages of Tenganan and Trunyan there are other smaller villages with a connection to the Bali Aga. One of these is Sembiran on the NE coast. Sembiran doesn’t really have anything special that I’m aware of other than its Bali Aga population. The local temples might be interesting to check out to note the differences between them and the temple you see in other parts of Bali. For one thing, some Bali Aga temples may not have a perimeter wall. Sembiran is located 3km inland from the village of Pacung.

Wellness Center & Ayurvedic massage in Bondalem
The small village of Bondalem offers a Wellness Center & Ayurvedic massage at the Bali Mandala Resorts & Bungalows.

Horse Bath – Tejakula

A white stone horse bath sits 200m south of the road in Tejakula. This is no longer used to wash horses but is a maous local relic. Tejakula itself is not that impressive but used to be an important trading port (relatively speaking) with foreign areas going back to the 1st Century AD.

Yeh Mempeh waterfall
A few kms south of Tejakula is the village of Les, home to the Yeh Mempeh waterfall. This may not the highest waterfall or the one with the best swimming (its only maybe 18 inches deep) but it is a pleasant break on a hot road trip. A little adventure hiking inland to get to it for about 45 minutes.

Getting Around North Bali:
What is up in Lovina north Bali?

Accommodation in North Bali:

Zen Resort: Ayurveda in North Bali

Things to do in North Bali:

Buffalo Races in Lovina Bali
North-Central Bali: What to do on a 3 day trip
What is up in Lovina north Bali?
A night in Lovina Bali

Restaurants in North Bali:
Here is BaliEats guide to Restaurants in Lovina

Culture:
Klenteng Ling Gwan Kiong: Singaraja, Bali
Gedong Kirtya: Lontar manuscripts in Singaraja Bali
Brahma Vihara Arama: Bali’s Buddhist monastery

Nightlife in North Bali:
Volcano Bar & Restaurant Lovina

Off the beaten path in North Bali:
Waterfalls & hotsprings in north Bali
Lovina area hike: Asah Gobleg to Selat
Pengastulan: North Bali
Air Sanih: Freshwater springs close to Singaraja
Yeh Mempeh: A waterfall on the coast of NE Bali
Sing Sing: A handy waterfall close to Lovina
Gitgit: A multi-tiered waterfall in North Bali
Waterfalls & hotsprings in north Bali
North-Central Bali: What to do on a 3 day trip
Backpacking in Bali
Pengastulan: North Bali
Monkey Here Monkey There: North Bali
Waterfalls & hotsprings in north Bali
Tejakula: Unspoilt NE Bali
Map of Lovina

Tejakula History:
The small village of Tejakula, 1 km east of Bondalem, is worth a stop for its horse bath, a white stone confection of arches and pillars 100m south of the road. The village is a sleepy backwater these days but local historians claim that the area had trading links with distant lands as far back as the 1st Century AD, when it far outstripped the later trading ports of Padang Bai and Benoa in fame and influence; numerous local finds of foreign relics support their case. During the 17th Century many Balinese people move to the area for the fertile soil, and local legend tells how a brilliant light appeared in the skies over the village, visible across the island and a far afield as China. Those who saw it believed that it signified the enormous prosperity of the area.

Tourist Traps in North Bali:
The beach areas in Lovina ofter dolphin watching tours. These early morning boats rides are more about chasing the dolphins in an armada of smokey-engined motorboats than experiencing nature.

Dangers & Annoyances in North Bali:
Some sections of the north coastal road may appear quiet. If you are driving be aware that locals including small kids may wander into the road without looking.

Packing Lists for North Bali:
North Bali does not have the nightlife or restaurant scene of the south coast. No need to bring dressy clothing, other than casual clothes. Climate on the north coast is drier than the south coast, with similar temperatures. You may need a sweater or light jacket for the trip to the north coast through the higher elevations.

Shopping in North Bali:
Hardy’s supermarket in Singaraja is the best place to stock up on supplies. It is located downtown on Jl. Ngurah Rai, with an ATM machine.

Sports Travel in North Bali:
Watersports in Lovina Bali

Golf:
Bali Handara Kosaido Country Club is located in the Bedugal area, about 1.5-2 hours from Kuta.
Par : 72 (36 out, 36 in)

Lovina watersports Bali

Munduk:
Where to stay in Munduk Bali
Munduk & Tamblingan in the highlands of Bali

Traditional Balinese script alive and well in Singaraja

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