Bali is known as the ultimate beach destination and it’s no wonder that visiting the island is on many people’s bucket list. So it’s a shame that once they finally do reach this paradise, many people stay cooped up in the southern tip of the island. Sure, there’s plenty to discover in South Bali, but it really pays off to branch out. Check out our picks for exploring the island beyond Kuta and Seminyak.
If you’re looking to breath some fresh mountain air far away from the crowds, head on up to the north-eastern district of Kintamani. Here, you can treat yourself to a sunrise hike up the majestic Mount Batur. Once you reach the top, you’ll be treated to amazing views overlooking Lake Batur. Kintamani is a good place to catch your breath away from the clamour of Kuta as it really doesn’t have any nightlife to speak of, so if you’re looking to party, don’t plan on staying here for more than a night or two. Kintamani is a two hour drive from Kuta and you can easily arrange private transport or catch a bus with Perama. You can find their office right on Legian in the heart of Kuta (Jl. Legian No. 39).
The district of Karangasem in East Bali is the perfect place for two things: chilling out and diving. Stay in the fishing village of Amed where you’ll find plenty of guesthouses to choose from along side laid-back restaurants serving fresh seafood and plenty of cold beer. For the best diving, head on over to Tulamben and check out the famous USS Liberty Shipwreck buried beneath the waves. Karangasem offers a nice peek at the “real” Bali as the local lifestyle still remains pretty tranquil compared to southern Bali. Spending part of your holiday in East Bali is also a good idea if you’re looking to give back as Garangasem is one of the most underdeveloped areas in Bali. By supporting local businesses you can really help make a difference. Amed is about a 2,5 hour drive from Kuta.
The scenic ride from Kuta to Buleleng alone would be enough to make the very northernmost re-gions of Bali worth visiting. The drive up takes you through misty mountainside roads which offer fantastic views overlooking the jungle and if you’re lucky, you’ll pass by monkeys snacking on ba-nanas on the side of the road. If you’re feeling outdoorsy, you can take a detour and head for a mountainside trek around Lake Buyan, an area known for its scenic hiking routes and waterfalls. If you prefer beachside digs to a mountainside cabin, Lovina on the north coast is your best bet for accommodation. Lovina has a relaxed, beachy vibe about it and though you shouldn’t count on any outrageously wild nights out while you’re in town, there are some laid-back bars and restaurants around. The construction plans for the North Bali Airport are moving forward, so get here before the crowds descend. The drive from Kuta to Lovina takes about three hours.