Bali Bucket List: Get Out the South!

Explore Bali | Written By, Brian Sjarief |

While it’s still uncertain when Bali’s tourism will revert to normal, the ‘lockdown’ restrictions within the island have slightly been lifted, with residents of the island slowly but surely getting back on their feet and returning to a daily routine. And although many businesses are starting to reopen their doors to the public in this ‘new normal’ era, we’ve still got ways to go to overcome the pandemic and continuing to implement social distancing in our day-to-day is crucial in flattening the curve.

So, if you’re looking for destinations away from Bali’s more crowded tourist hubs, we suggest getting out the South to explore other areas of Bali, with social distancing and limited social interactions in mind, where the beauty of nature and culture awaits.

Amed

Explore the eastern part of Bali and discover the untouched beauty of Amed, a 14-kilometre strip of fishing villages nestled in the Karangasem Regency. A drive to Amed from Ngurah Rai International Airport will take you approximately 2 ½ hours, which might seem long, but once you’re on the bypass, the view of the verdant hills to your left and the vast seas to your right will pass the time quickly. Although Amed might be a quieter corner of Bali, where life glides at a slower pace, there’s no shortage of activities to do.

Located close to Mount Agung, Bali’s largest active volcano, you’ll find that Amed Beach and the beaches along the Amed coastline is enclosed with black volcanic sand and crystal-clear waters. If you’re on the hunt for aquatic experiences, Amed has some of the best scuba diving and snorkelling spots on the island including the USAT Liberty shipwreck. If you’re a bit of a daredevil, why not try freediving. You can find several freediving schools that offer courses to get you prepared for your adventure in the deep ocean. For activities with less adrenaline, you can go on a four-hour sea kayaking experience with Amed Canoe, go stand-up paddleboarding at Jemeluk Bay, or catch the sunset on the traditional fishing boats.

Views over Bali’s East Coast

If you want to witness one of the most stunning views in Bali, go on a hike to Mount Agung where you can catch the most heavenly view of the sunrise and its surrounding scenery. It’s best to leave in the early hours if you want to reach the summit before sunrise. If you’re not an experienced hiker, it’s recommended that you bring a guide with you.

For a cultural experience, a 20-minute drive from Amed will take you to Tirta Gangga, also known as The Water Palace, a former royal palace famous for its bathing pools and Patirthan temple. A trek to the Amed countryside will take you to some of the most gorgeous terraced rice fields on the island.

Tirta Gangga Water Gardens

Lovina

Head up to the north-western side of Bali on a 3-hour drive from the airport to reach the beautiful coastal area of Lovina Beach. A slow-paced, serene beach town, Lovina is made up of seven villages with a coastal stretch of black sand beaches and calm waters. Despite its increasing popularity with tourists, Lovina remains to be a peaceful area where you’ll find plenty of exciting outdoor activities away from the bustle of the south.

Dolphin watching at Lovina

You can’t talk about Lovina without mentioning what this quiet coastal town is best-known for – the dolphins. Dolphin sightings are a regular occurrence in Lovina as the calm waters attract these aquatic mammals. There are various dolphin-watching tour operators throughout Lovina, where visitors can go on boat trips early in the morning, just before sunrise, to witness pods of dolphins splashing in and out of the ocean. These tours usually last up to 2 hours and depending on the number of participants, prices vary between IDR 60,000 – IDR 250,000.

Driving up 10 kilometres from Lovina Beach will take you to the hills of Banjar District of Buleleng, where you’ll come across Brahmavihara-Arama, the largest Buddhist temple monastery in Bali. You’ll notice that this Buddhist temple features Hindu influences in its architecture due to the island’s predominantly Hindu culture and religion. The temple features libraries, an astonishing replica of the Borobudur temple, and several mediation rooms. You’ll be required to wear a sarong and sash during your visit, which you can borrow for free from the front office.

Go on a hike and explore the verdant hills surrounding Lovina, where you can find some of the most majestic waterfalls in Bali including Aling-Aling, Gitgit and Singsing waterfalls. After a day of exploring, head to Banjar Hot Springs located 5 kilometres southwest of Lovina for a cleansing and therapeutic experience. Enclosed within lush, tropical gardens, this hot spring complex features pools with naturally calming waters and high sulphur content.

Kintamani

A 2-hour drive to north-eastern Bali will take you to the majestic hills of Kintamani, a village located on the western edge of the larger caldera wall on the Mount Batur caldera. If you’re one for nature, Kintamani offers some of the island’s most breath-taking and scenic destinations.

Sunrise over the Batur Caldera, Kintamani

One of the most popular activities to do in Kintamani is the sunrise volcano trek to Mount Batur. Start your journey very early and reach the summit before sunrise to catch the most enchanting views on the sacred mountain. From there you’ll have an uninterrupted vista of the dazzling crescent-shaped Batur Lake adjacent to the mountain.

If you want to explore the countryside of Kintamani, go on a cycling tour or rent an ATV and go on a sightseeing trip around the villages. From the many organic farms, Luwak coffee farms, and terraced rice fields to the iconic Hindu temple – Pura Ulun Danu Batur – and Toya Bungkah Hot Spring, Kintamani offers some of the most marvellous destinations to cross off your bucket list.

Rice fields and forests merge in the Kintamani landscape
Internal August 2020 - EMagazine

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