Why Bali’s north and south
are worth your time
The moment you land at Bali’s Denpasar airport, you’ll feel the heat and humidity, as beads of sweat form across your forehead. Don’t worry, this is normal, and it’s just a sign that the island-country wants to you choose a direction and pick a path, making your way to Bali beaches as soon as possible.
Now you just have to work out where your journey starts. Do you start south where night comes to life, or do you go north to spend your days at peace?
After the Bali flight, many travellers head to the southern tip of the island, which includes the famous party scene of Kuta. Here you’ll experience the serious hustle and bustle of street traders seriously jiving for you to buy their wares, a vast number of warungs (family owned restaurants), and a thriving nightlife.
Head out of the main Kuta Beach area and you can discover some of the quieter joys of Seminyak where 5-star pampering at a resort spa is a favourite past-time for travellers, or Legian which is a real favourite for surfers. Regardless of your stop, the Bali beaches in both locations are long, with beautiful views and waves that break well throughout the year.
For those that like a different kind of club to the ones experienced in Kuta, the Nirwana Golf Course is considered the best in all of Asia. A Greg Norman designed course, it offers stunning coastal views and is a most glorious location from which to view the famous Bali beaches and sunsets.
Not far from the course is the equally famed 15th century Tanah Lot temple, easily one of the most popular tourist attractions in the South of Bali and usually very busy. A truly stunning visual experience, get in early as the tours to take in the sunset over the temple are always in high demand. Nearby is Pejaten Village, where the local traditions of pottery and ceramic craft have been honed to a high art. It’s a lovely place to visit, chat to the local artisans and pick up a truly unique treasure to take home.
And no Bali travel experience is complete without a trip to a part of the island almost as famous as Bali itself:Nusa Dua. This picturesque sight offers everything from the most luxurious of 5-star resort experiences across the most magnificent Bali beaches, to a wide range of adrenaline pumping adventures. Highly popular for sailing, scuba and snorkeling, Nusa Dua is also a hot spot for marine sports such as jet skiing, paragliding and kitesurfing. While you can try your hand at just about anything, be sure check your travel insurance and be sure you’re covered for the activities you’re keen on.
After all the adventure and sights that the South has to offer, the North of Bali is a step back in time to a much quieter pace of life. Development to the North has occured at a far less furious pace and this provides those keen on experiencing the country more like a local are sure to enjoy what this part of the country has to offer.
The largest town in the North is Singaraja, and back in the days when the Dutch colonised this part of Indonesia, it was the major trading and administrative hub in the area. Bali beaches aren’t the highlight here, and instead you’ll want to focus your attention on the Dutch colonial influence that can be seen in the wide streets, architecture, and in some of the food fusions in the local restaurants and cafes. It is something unique to Singajara, and those planning Bali travel should consider a visit to appreciate how the colonial history of the country has been folded back into the Balinese culture.
Not far up the road and you’ll find the sweet village of Lovina. This area is famed for its volcanic black sand, which provide a truly unique beauty in contrast to the crystal clear azure waters. No doubt, this is a highlight of Bali beaches across the island.
While in Lovina, a must have Bali travel experience is an early morning rise and sail out off the coast to catch dolphin pods at play during sunrise. Possibly one of the most Instagrammable sights you’ll ever enjoy, and just one of the many activities that are plentiful in this lush part of the island. Try visiting the Pura Meduwe Karang temple and browse its beautiful gardens. Entry is by donation, but remember to bring a sarong in order to observe the cultural requirements when entering the grounds.
Finally, there’s what you can do underwater, and the reefs off these Bali beaches offer some truly spectacular sights for scuba divers and snorkelers. When you come up for a little bit of air, you’ll find a land also popular for canyoning, hiking, and treks.
To make the most of your Bali travel into the North, you might like to try a visit to the Pegasus Farm, where you can enjoy a horseback tour of the area, enjoy some fresh organic produce straight from the fields to your plate, and enjoy stories about the history of the area from the local team.
Once you’ve heard it and seen it all, you’ll never want to leave the Bali beaches.