North Bali differs greatly from the popular resort areas of the south. For one, it's a lot cooler. It's also a lot less crowded. There's some beautiful scenery to be enjoyed around Bedugul and Kintamani, while the quiet coastal town of Lovina is the perfect place to spend a few relaxing days or do some diving and snorkeling.
The complex irrigation system known locally in Bali as “subak” was recognized by Unesco and added to the World Heritage list in 2012. Jatiluwih in particular is worth a visit to view the gorgeous terraced ricefields Bali is so well known for. Click to enlarge map of North Bali
The Bedugul plateau is located in the mountainous area of North Bali, at an altitude of 1,200m. This resort area is a popular weekend destination for locals who often spend a few days camping up in the cooler mounrain air.
You can enjoy a number of water activities at Lake Bratan, take a photo at Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, or visit the Eka Karya Botanic Gardens. One of the world's best golf courses is also located nearby, at Bali Handara Kosaido Country Club.
Kintamani is one of Bali's most popular tourist destinations for visitors, who come to enjoy the beautiful volcano views of Gunung Batur. The village itself is set high on the crater rim, along with dozens of restaurants where you can have a bite to eat and take in the dramatic landscape below.
There is a colourful local market that's held every three days, as well as some basic accommodation for those wishing to trek up Gunung Batur to watch the sunrise views. Lying on the western shore of Lake Batur, the village of Toya Bungkah features hot springs, scenic views and a black-sand beach. Another interesting stop is the village of Trunyan, located on the eastern shores of Lake Batur. This is one of the culturally isolated Bali Aga villages, where people practice customs found nowhere else in Bali.
Jatiiluwih, literally meaning “really beautiful”, is where you can view the picture postcard terraced rice fields Bali is so well known for. The area uses an impressive community-based water control management system and is located in the central coastal regency of Tabanan. The 18 km road winds its way through rural countryside and quaint villages, with local warungs where you can stop for lunch and take in the scenery.
Lovina is a relaxed beach resort where you can easily spend a couple of days simply unwinding and doing nothing much at all. Many visitors extend their stay to take advantage of the good snorkeling and diving to be had in the area, however the big attraction to Lovina is the viewing of wild dolphins. Boats head out early in the morning and return about two hours later.
Back in the day, Singaraja was the center of Dutch rule and visitors can still see this influence in the Colonial buildings that line the streets. There's also a quaint waterfront to stroll around. Accommodation options are fairly limited, with most people choosing to rather stay in the beach resort village of Lovina.
It's possible to include both Kintamani and the Bedugul Highlands in a day trip, starting early in the morning. The best way to do this is buy hiring a car and driver for the day (usually prices are quoted for 8 hours). If you'd also like to take in Singaraja and Lovina, we'd recommend overnighting somewhere so you don't have to race back to your hotel or villa.
If you want to head up to North Bali straight from the airport, it's best to arrange a transfer from your hotel. It's approximately a three-hour drive to Singaraja and 3.5 hours to Lovina. Airport transfer prices vary from hotel to hotel, so best to shop around. Taking a taxi from the airport is not recommended - the fare will be exorbitent!