5 Places to Visit in North Bali

5 Places to Visit in North Bali Blog Title Pic

We all know Bali is one of the top places for holiday makers and travellers alike with a whopping 3.76 million tourists visiting Bali in 2014. BUT…what I would like to know is; how many of those 3.76 million tourists actually explore the whole island of Bali? {Let alone another island in Indonesia!?} I’m talking about NOT just the south of the island where all the party-action is at, but perhaps the West, North and East Coasts. Seriously, there’s so much to see around this paradise island!

I know people that have been to Bali 3 or 4 times {or maybe even more times now!} that have ventured to Kintamani once and the rest of their 2 or 3 week holiday is spent in the south of Bali; from Seminyak to Kuta. Aduhhh! *I just want to say to these people: Get out of Kuta and explore the quiet side of island life!

Travellers that frequent Bali really ought to explore more of the island – Bali has so much to offer. And if travellers want to feel and experience the heart and soul of Bali then I suggest explore different parts of the island…head out further a field and really get a feel for the island.

Today I want to share with you some of the joys of the northern part of the island; 5 Places to Visit in North Bali, which I think is possibly overlooked by a lot of travellers. Perhaps some think it’s too far to travel but really it’s only a 3-4 hour drive {including some photo stops and perhaps a little shopping along the way!}, which will take you from the south to the north and provide you with the opportunity of viewing beautiful panoramic views through the heart of the island, taking in Bedugul and Lake Bratan {don’t forget to pick-up some fresh strawberries from the local market on the way through. Oh, and a stop-off at the Bedugul Bakery is always a treat!} Also travel through Lake Buyan through the hills and mountains and small villages – love that feeling of travelling through this small island, especially once you get out of the hustle and bustle of the south.

Once you get to the other side of the hills, you’ll be presented with spectacular views of the north coast of Bali, specifically the Buleleng Regency, which includes; the city of Singaraja and several other smaller villages such as; Lovina, Banjar and Seririt to name a few places in the district.

So, lets get into it!

5 PLACES TO VISIT IN NORTH BALI

1. Brahma-Vihara Arama – Buddhist Temple

Located south-west of Lovina, precisely Tegehe Hamlet, in the village of Banjar. The Brahma Vihara Arama was built in 1970 and is a popular place for Buddhist visitors from all over Asia. It is the biggest Buddhist temple in Bali, situated on land that is a majority of Hindu-Bali residents.

The temple and monastery are not a tourist attraction, as the monastery still serves as a place for praying, worshipping and meditating for the Buddhist communities in North Bali. However, there are a trickle of tourists that make it to the unique site. Visitors should wear long pants or a sarong must be worn at all times in the temple {bring your own or borrow one at the temple entrance}. As it’s not a tourist attraction, entrance is free, however donations are accepted. {And of course, it’s great to give wherever/whenever we can, particularly to the local communities!}

The Brahma Vihara Arama or Brahmavira Arama Monastery is a terraced temple complex in which each level has it’s own unique structure, all of which were very different. Each structure is adorned with exuberant Balinese woodcarvings, which showed the assimilation of Balinese culture into the architecture of the monastery. This is seen at the entrance gate, which is guarded by two fine naga {mythical dragon-like creatures} of obvious Hindu influence.

On the highest level of the complex is the greatest structure, a miniature version of Borobudur in Central Java {and you all know how much I LOVE Borobudur!} so of course, I was thrilled to see this miniature replica, especially as I didn’t even know this place existed anywhere in Bali!

As the temple is located on the hills of Tehege Village, at the top of the terraces you will be amazed with the beautiful views over the orange-tiled rooftops of houses down the hillside and right across to the ocean – on the northern coast of Bali. The temple is beautiful and serene, I could have literally spent hours here…so very peaceful.

Buddhist Temple Bali Collage

2. Air Panas Banjar – Hot Springs of Banjar

The sacred hot springs of Banjar are located in the hills of Banjar, set in the midst of lush, tropical gardens; consisting of three public pools. The sulphuric water is of volcanic origin and is warm {even hot, at times!} – at 37-38 degrees celsius. Locals consider the hot springs to be holy.

The hot spring water gushes from the mouths of eight stone carved naga {mythical, dragon-like creatures} into the oblong-shaped upper pool. From the upper pool the water overflows from the mouths of the five naga into the largest of the three pools, which is square and situated at the lower level. Adjacent to these pools is the third and smallest pool, which the water pours down via three 4-metre high sprouts. This gives you a very strong massage. {I couldn’t stay under that spout of water for too long! Ouch!}

There’s also a restaurant over-looking the pools, to grab yourself some tasty local Indonesian fare, after a swim, and also change rooms and toilets available for your convenience.

Banjar Hot Springs Collage
The two upper pools – Air Panas Banjar

3. Pertenunan Berdikari – Handwoven Cloth Factory

On one of Singaraja’s main streets {Jalan Dewi Sartika no.42} lies a little gem holding onto some ancient Buleleng culture; the Berdikari Handwoven Cloth Factory {Pertenunan Berdikari}. Since 1963 this family run business of a small factory has been keeping alive the traditional art only found in the Buleleng region; that of handwoven ‘endek‘ cloth. The endek cloth is different to any other cloth found in Bali {or elsewhere for that matter!} as it has a particular quality, uses certain motifs that are heirloom patterns that have been handed down from one generation to another, and particular colours are used too.

Visit the factory and you can watch the whole process from thread being dyed and spun, cloth being woven and then you can even buy directly from the manufacturer; this lovely local family who are doing their best to keep an ancient traditional art alive. There is a large range of goods available to purchase {and they cannot be purchased from anywhere else!} including; tablecloths, table runners, selendang {scarves}, shirts and traditional kain {or sarong}.

Hand woven Factory Singaraja

Click this link to find out more about Pertenunan Berdikari.

4. Air Terjun Sekumpul – Sekumpul Waterfalls

The north of Bali is also said to be a virgin paradise of waterfalls as only a few are known by tourists and the others remain untouched. I’ve had the low down from a good friend and now local to the Buleleng regency on the best waterfalls to visit.

A favourite and must see is the Sekumpul Waterfalls {sekumpul meaning a group} as there are six waterfalls in all, which are separated by dense, lush green forest. It is said to be Bali’s most spectacular waterfall with a height of 8 metres. And best of all; the locals, with some Western advice, have decided to focus on the natural beauty of the area – there are no lines of stalls selling sarongs, shorts or Bintang t-shirts! {Yay!}

Sekumpul Waterfalls Collage
Photo credit: www.jepun.segara.com

5. Lilin Lovina Beach Hotel

Finally, after all that cultural touring around, you’ll need a spot to totally chill out and enjoy some down time! And I have the perfect spot!

The lovely Lilin Lovina Beach Hotel is situated on Jalan Singaraja in Seririt. Watch the sunset off the north coast with an amazing cocktail menu and a delicious dinner menu that I can guarantee you will not find a similar menu to in the whole of Bali, and all to the fine tunes of live music.

Have yourself a chilled out night lazing on cushions right on the beach, watching the sun set, listening to some original funky tunes from the live band and enjoying some unique culinary delights. Oh, how I love spending a night here..it’s peaceful, enjoyable and the whole atmosphere is food for the soul.

Lilin Lovina also has private villas with plunge pools for rent that look absolutely delightful – it’s still on my list to experience staying here – as I think ending your day with those spectacular sunsets would be VERY cool! So, so peaceful. {I suspect if I stayed here…I would never want to leave! Hehehe..}

*My favourite cocktail of all time is found right here! 😉

Lilin Lovina

Click the link to find out more info about the wonderful Lilin Lovina Beach Hotel.

And that brings us to the end of my five favourite places to visit in Buleleng, North Bali. I’m sure there are other delightful places to explore up north and I’ll be sure to check out more places on my next visit. But I do hope this will encourage some travellers and holiday makers to explore the heart and soul, and the more traditional side of Bali…as I said; there is so much more to Bali than just sipping a Bintang on Kuta beach! Get out there and explore it for yourself!

 

Today I’m linking up with Wanderlust.

Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for giving me a tour of North Bali. I agree with what you mentioned in your article. For me, the fun part of traveling is the discovery of new places. If I go to a place, I will like to keep discovering new things even though I have visited multiple times.

    • indospired says

      Thanks so much and so true Ruth! I’ve visited Bali and other islands in Indonesia MANY times and yet there is always something new to visit and see. Thanks for stopping by my blog! 🙂

    • indospired says

      Thank you sooo much Malinda! That’s the nicest comment I’ve had on my blog so far! That sort of thing of people staying in Kuta and only seeing their resort or resort surroundings, definitely frustrates me! Thanks again for stopping by my blog. 😉

  2. says

    Wow! Bali is not on my short term list but surely on my long term list place to visit before I die! I wouldn’t like to go to the party places at all. But those suggestions are great! Thanks. xx cathy

    • indospired says

      You’re welcome Cathy! You know who to come to when you are ready to visit Indonesia/Bali! I’d love to help you with your itinerary! 😉

  3. says

    I had a little chuckle at your words, because it’s so true. I used to work with an old professor in London who used to go to Ibiza for holidays every year and had done for the previous twenty years. At first I thought he must have some kind of underbelly life I didn’t know about, but I was wrong. It’s just the same in Ibiza as what you’re talking about – all the party people stick to one area and don’t venture out.

    • indospired says

      Hahaha I guess there may be a few islands out there in this glorious world of ours that are like this too! I recently found that out about Ibiza, just the other day I was looking at a blog which featured photos of Ibiza, there was not one pub, restaurant, shop, people etc…it was all countryside and coast line – looked beautiful! Maybe it’s been kept a secret for a reason! 😉 Thanks for stopping by my blog Bele.

  4. says

    We honeymooned at Kuta beach, which was great, but I agree, so much better to get out and see everything! We did do a day trip to do some rapid rafting etc., and I admit, it wasn’t that far, but still I loved seeing the villagers and rice farms!

    Thanks for linking up with #wanderlust this month I hope it was as great for you, as it was for us having you!! Our next one is this Wednesday. You can sign up for a reminder here if you want: http://carbis.com.au/wanderlust/

    • indospired says

      Hi Talia thanks for stopping by my blog! Yes Kuta and surrounding neighbourhoods can be lots of fun but I do agree that getting out of the hustle and bustle and exploring the villages is so much more rewarding and such a great experience. Let’s hope my post helps you with your itinerary next time you go to Bali. 😉

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