NEWSFLASH! Bali is not only Kuta, Legian, Seminyak and the southern coast. Once you get out of these dense and touristy areas, there are places just waiting for adventurous souls to discover – some of them really off the beaten tracks. Anyone who takes the time and effort to seek out these hidden gems will often enjoy the whole site to themselves. Some are well kept, pristine and unspoiled, others are remotely located.
Our list of secluded spots in Bali has some ‘secret’ beaches and less explored rural areas. You’ll certainly find your own piece of heaven if you look beyond Bali’s tourist capitals. Take a boat ride and escape the Bali mainland to the islands of Nusa Lembongan, Ceningan or the larger Penida, or venture the island’s central highlands to find scenic treats and be close with nature. Coincidentally, these are also popular places for backpackers in Bali, offering cheaper living costs than in the popular southern beach resorts. Whatever your budget, here are some of our favourite places in Bali to escape the crowds.
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Nusa Lembongan and CeninganOffshore, Southeast Bali
These three islands just 45 minutes by fast boat-ride southeast of the Bali mainland offer a great castaway experience. The most famous is Lembongan, where you can experience some good diving, snorkelling and surfing. The main south-western coast is where most of the hotels are, so you will want to explore the south and western side where beautiful beaches and cliffs make for a relaxing retreat. Ceningan is a smaller island, connected to Lembongan via a bridge. Here, seascapes dotted with traditional fishing boats and seaweed farms, as well as mangrove forests and turtle nesting beaches abound.
- How to get there: motorboats, fast boats, ferries and charters depart for Lembongan from the coast of Sanur, Padang Bai and Benoa Harbour. We also have tours available that provide you with a glimpse of these favourite ‘castaway islands’.
Nusa PenidaOffshore, Southeast Bali
The 200sqm Nusa Penida offers the real ‘unbeaten path’ experience, as it features very limited tourism infrastructure but promises an exotic scene of natural beauty and cultural allure through its barren landscapes and mystical temples. One of the temples is Goa Giri Putri, also known as the Karangsari cave temple, filled with limestone stalactites and stalagmites and meditational spaces. Nusa Penida is also the bird sanctuary for the endangered and endemic Bali Starling, initiated and overseen by the Friends of the National Park Foundation (FNPF). Successfully bred, the birds now have become part of the lives of the local Penida villagers. Read More...
- How to get there: most ferries and charters to Nusa Penida depart from Padang Bai Harbour in East Bali.
Amed and TulambenKarangasem, East Bali
The topography of the easternmost region of Bali might be bland and barren for many, however below the waves of this quiet coastal area are underwater sites cherished by divers the world over. The main dive sites in east Bali include Amed and Tulamben, now a bit developed to be considered ‘off the beaten tracks’, however the village outskirts offer beautiful coastal scenes with quiet beaches and hilly bays lined with traditional jukung fishing boats parked in neat rows. Wake up early for the enchanting sunrises as the fishermen set out with their boats and fill the shimmering waters with their colourful sails. A horizon filled with hundreds of these ‘butterflies’ are a sight to behold, and no other place features a dramatic scene like. Read More...
- How to get there: Both destinations are in the remote coastal area of East Bali, an approximate hour’s drive north from the main Candidasa area. We have diving tours available to help you discover the island’s underwater beauty.
Tenganan PegringsinganKarangasem, East Bali
The three main ‘Bali Aga’ (old Balinese) villages are located in isolated areas; one of them is Tenganan Pegringsingan. Tenganan is just several kilometres north of Candidasa, and is home to the rare geringsing double ikat weave cloth, produced only in this village and from which the village gets its name. Also a major highlight here is the 'Perang Pandan' or 'Mekare-kare', which coincides with a temple anniversary around June or July, when village boys coming of age battle in friendly fights using thorny pandan leaves as weapons.
- How to get there: start off at the Candidasa main area. Tenganan village is only a short drive up a hill. We have exciting excursions that include the village in their itineraries, such as a four-day tour, as well as an east coast discovery option.
Penglipuran VillageBangli, East Bali
This mountain village in the Bangli regency is one of Bali’s most iconic, featuring a neatly and uniformly laid-out row of traditional Balinese houses. The village is surrounded by dense bamboo forests and coffee plantations. It is one of the Bali Aga villages where the people uphold ancient traditional values and sets of strict moral codes. A visit here offers a glimpse into the well preserved traditional way of Balinese life. Each family compound features a traditional split gateway, all of uniform design. Old bricks still stand in their place, traditional kitchens are covered in soot from the billowing wood fire hearths, and the compounds are uniquely laid out, each following old Balinese spatial and architectural set of rules.
- How to get there: For convenience, Penglipuran is included on common itineraries to Besakih Temple, such as our Ubud Discovery and Active Volcano Tour or our Lovina to Ubud sightseeing transfer.
PadangbaiKarangasem, East Bali
This is one of Bali’s less-explored places in the eastern coast, mainly due to the fact that Padangbai is transit point for travellers who go on ferry crossings to the neighbouring island of Lombok. Some who spare time to explore the region are in for good treats, as the fishing village has some stretches of sand that are quite idyllic. The waters around Padangbai are good for snorkelling and diving, and several hotels and lodgings, including the Bloo Lagoon Village, serve as great bases from where to explore East Bali.
- How to get there: Padangbai is within only a 12km transfer from the main Candidasa hub. We have a diving tour option available that takes you to explore the beauty of this area.
Tirta Gangga and Taman Ujung Water PalacesKarangasem, East Bali
The majestic palaces of the Karangasem royal family include two of the island’s famous water palaces and gardens, namely Tirta Gangga and Taman Ujung. Tirta Gangga, built in 1946 during the reign of the late raja of Karangasem, Anak Agung Anglurah Ketut Karangasem (1887 - 1966), is a hillside retreat that is open to the public, covering 1.2Ha of mountain spring-fed pools, ponds and fountains amongst beautiful gardens lawns adorned with stepping stones, ornate statues and tropical gardens. Taman Ujung is located near the south-eastern coastline, and features a water complex with a combination of Balinese and European architectural features surrounded by three large ponds and elegant bridges and pathways. Mount Agung and the Indian Ocean serve as perfect backgrounds to this exotic site.
JatiluwihTabanan, West Bali
The tranquil village of Jatiluwih lies at the foot of Mount Batukaru in the Tabanan regency, and is famous for its wonderful expanses of green rice terraces. These terraces pretty much cover the whole region, and the cool highlands and breathtaking scenery makes for a soothing retreat with great photo opportunities, far away from the crowds. The landscape was once a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site candidate, well-maintained by a traditional water management cooperative known as ‘subak’, dating back to the 9th century. Nearby is an action adventure operator that provides ATV rides and off-road tours through quiet village roads and river crossings. Read More...
LovinaSingaraja, North Bali
Bali’s northern coast of Lovina Beach offers a very low-key beach scene compared to its southern counterparts, with calmer waves, black-sand shores, and overland features worth seeing. Sunrises and sunsets in Lovina are equally magical, and the former sees traditional boats setting out for dolphin watching tours, which the area is also famous for. Up in the hills nearby are tranquil vineyards growing Alphonse Lavallée grapes, and the Brahmavihara-Arama Buddhist monastery with its mini Borodbudur temple. A few kilometres from here is the Banjar Hot Springs, which offers a great spot to unwind up in the forested hills. Read More...
West Bali National ParkJembrana, West Bali
The West Bali National Park referred to locally as Taman Nasional Bali Barat, makes up most of the island’s central-western region, covering over 19,000 hectares of densely forested hills, the original habitat of the rare and endemic Bali Starling. The northern boundaries of the park includes pristine coastal areas, including Menjangan Island, a favourite snorkelling and dive site with well protected coral reef gardens, and Pemuteran, famous for its world coral restoration projects and pearl farms and mangroves. Overland are barren savannahs and forests home to over 300 different species of animals and birds, while Menjangan Island is home to the Javan rusa deer. One of the great resorts to stay at here includes The Menjangan, which lets you escape the crowds and experience Bali’s nature at its best. Read More...