The NE 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 NE coast and why should you go there?
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.
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.
•Places to stay:
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Located 2km east of the springs. Complete with fan and AC bungalows, hot water and restaurant. Good ocean view. Slightly expensive.
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.
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
Two beach bungalows, somewhat pricey, hot water, AC, on the beach.
Approximately 8km south of Tejakula is Tembok.
(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
Jepun Bali Resort is a high end place located 4km SE of Tembok. Featuring hot water, AC, swimming pool, spa.
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.
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:
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.
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.