Tourism in Bali jumped 22.5% year-on-year to reach over 1.41 million people in December of 2018. With so many things to see and do, it’s no surprise that the Indonesian hotspot continues to heat up. While not all of those millions of tourists arrive in Bali in order to enjoy a road trip through the wonderful countryside and sleepy beach towns, it’s one of the country’s best-kept tourist secrets that you too can enjoy. However, you’ll want to be armed with a few tips beforehand to ensure you know exactly where to go and what to do.
Renting a car to explore Bali can open up a world of opportunities, but you’ll want to ensure you’ve got all the legal stuff in order beforehand. Lonely Planet notes that, when choosing your vehicle, it’s recommended to check out heavy-duty trucks or to at least rent a vehicle with 4WD capabilities. These options will allow you to really explore the back roads of Bali. You’ll also need an international driver’s license, but if you don’t have time to get one, you can get a temporary Balinese license from the local police station in Denpasar within a day. Because of that fact that drivers in Bali drive on the left side of the road, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the local driving rules before heading out on your trip.
If escaping the roves of tourists in Bali is your goal, then you’re in luck, as there are numerous routes to take on your journey to peace. However, there’s one route that is particularly stunning. For this road trip, you’ll start in Ubud and head off to explore nearly the entire west side of the island. From Ubud, it will take you about three hours to reach Munduk where you’ll pass through Balinese rural scenes of rice fields and jungle ravines on the way. Here, you’ll have the chance to stop near Lake Bratan where you can visit the Ulun Danu Bratan Temple. If you enjoy hiking, be sure to hit up the Melanting Waterfalls. Whenever you’re ready to move on, you can head about 65 km down the coastline towards Banyuwedang. This city is close to Menjangan Island, which is known as the best snorkeling spot in Bali, so be sure to plan for enough time to enjoy the local activities. If you’d rather hike, you can park your car and head to the West Bali National Park. To round out the trip before heading back to Bali, you’ll drive almost 100km further up the coastline to the tiny surf town of Balian Beach.
While it’s important to plan your road trip in Bali just enough to prevent any major surprises, what you’ll want to plan for the most is the ability to be spontaneous. There are so many wonderful hidden gems all around Bali, and exploring them by car or scooter is one of the best ways to truly experience Balinese culture. Factor in some time to add an extra day or two in an especially beautiful spot and try not to worry about staying on schedule.