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Top 10 things to do in Northern Bali

If you are planning a trip to Bali (Indonesia), I highly recommend visiting northern Bali. I have been to this area of ​​the island twice now and I like it more each time. If we compare it with the south of Bali or Ubud, where there are a lot of people, traffic, heat and noise, the north is an oasis of peace. It is characterized by being a less touristy, quieter place with cooler temperatures.

The most well-known villages in this region include Munduk, Lovina, and Bedugul. My preferred plan in these places is to visit waterfalls because there are so many of them; large ones, small ones, more well-known, and less frequented ones. Additionally, you will have the chance to see one of Bali's most popular and frequently photographed locations.

In my opinion, visiting this area of Bali is essential, so I encourage you to include it in your itinerary when you start planning your trip to Bali. To make your trip to the north as easy as possible, I recommend you keep reading to find out what to see in the north of Bali, how to get there and where to stay.

Table of contents

How to get to Northern Bali

The simplest way to visit the north is to rent a motorbike and go for free. I usually rent a scooter at our guesthouse, which costs around $40 per month. From both Canggu and Ubud, it takes around 1 hour and 20 minutes.

You can also get there by taxi or Grab (like Uber). Grab price from Canggu to Bedugul is around IDR 360k by car and IDR 120k by motorbike.

If you prefer using public transportation, there are buses to Bedugul from Kuta, Sanur and Ubud. I have read that it departs from Kuta at 10 a.m., from Sanur at 10:30 a.m., and from Ubud at 11 a.m., but I recommend you confirm once you are in Bali. The price is about 75k IDR.

Another option is to book a car with a private driver for a full day. This will allow you to plan your itinerary of the locations you want to see. You can have the driver pick you up from your hotel, and have them drop you off at each location.

The price of a private driver in Bali is usually around IDR 600k–800k for a day (8–10 hours). It is the most expensive alternative but also the most comfortable.

It is also possible to book a tour, in which case you will not have to worry about the transfer:

Things to do in Northern Bali

The north of Bali hides several of the most spectacular places to visit in Bali. Below, I’ll show you which are the essential places to visit in this area of ​​Bali.

1. Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, one of the best things to do in Northern Bali

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan

The Pura Ulun Danu Beratan is one of the most visited temples in Bali. It is located on Lake Bratan, in the town of Bedugul. This temple was built in 1633 and is used for ceremonies to Dewi Danu, goddess of water, rivers and lakes.

There are a number of temples and sanctuaries in the area. The 11-level, tiered sanctuary is the most well-known of them all. Depending on how much rain has fallen and the lake’s water level, the sanctuary may or may not always be totally encircled by water.

There’s an entrance fee of IDR 50k for adults and IDR 25k for children. It is open to visitors from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. It is possible to rent little boats for half an hour for 75k IDR. I recommend visiting Pura Ulun Danu Bratan first thing in the morning or around sunset.

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2. Bali Twin Lakes

things to do in northern bali
Things to do in Northern Bali

The Twin Lakes, which consist of the enormous lakes Tamblingan and Buyan, are located to the north of Bali. They are close to one another, surrounded by an abundance of vegetation. I recall being really startled to see this environment on my first trip to the north because I did not expect to see it in Bali.

There are numerous locations around the lakes where you enjoy the breathtaking scenery, particularly at sunrise and sunset. Between the lakes, hiking is another option. Look for “Bali Twin Lake Hiking Point” on the map to find the trailhead.

This is an excellent location to snap pictures in the nests and swings because there are lots of photogenic locations around the lakes. We visited one called Wanagiri Hidden Hill the previous year. The entrance fee is 100k IDR per person. If you tell them you’re just interested in having your photos taken in half the attractions, you can bargain for a lower price.

3. Sekumpul Waterfall, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Bali

things to do in northern bali
Sekumpul Waterfall

The Sekumpul waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Bali and a must see in Northern Bali. Getting there is hard work since you have to go down a lot of stairs (and then back up again), but it is well worth it. From the parking lot to the waterfall, it takes about 20 minutes to get there. In addition to visiting Sekumpul waterfall, you will also visit the Fiji waterfall, located nearby.

In addition to visiting the two waterfalls, I recommend you go to the Fiji rice fields. To get there, you just have to mark “Fiji Swing” on the map. The views of the rice fields are beautiful.

The business they have created around Sekumpul is a drawback. It used to be free to visit, but now you have to hire a guide to descend to the waterfalls, which I don’t think is necessary. Depending on the tour you select, the price to visit the waterfall varies:

– Viewpoint Entry: 20.000 IDR.
– Short Hike: 125.000 IDR.
– Long Hike: 200.000 IDR

Booking this private tour of Sekumpul Waterfall may be worthwhile if you decide to visit the waterfall. The Ulun Danu Bratan Temple is also included in the 10-hour tour. The price includes the guide, entrance fees, and hotel pickup and transfers.

4. Buddist Monastery Brahma Vihara Arama

things to do in northern bali
Brahma Vihara Arama

The Brahma Vihara Arama Buddhist temple was one of the surprises we encountered on our second trip to the north. Truth be told, I had not heard much about this location, and we chose to go there precisely because of it. With numerous meditation chambers, gardens, Balinese gateways, pagodas, and other features, it is Bali’s biggest Buddhist temple.

The complex’s main temple, which is used for meditation and preaching, is constructed in the style of the Borobudur temple. The Panca Bala Stupa, one of the five stupas on top of the temple, symbolizes the five fundamental forces needed to reach nirvana and inner freedom. These forces include faith, fortitude, focus, attentiveness, and wisdom.

Avalokitesvara Pagoda, which was constructed in 2014 as a place of adoration for the deities of love, was another religious structure that caught my attention. The original pagoda, which was destroyed by an earthquake on July 16, 1976, was reconstructed as this pagoda. The pagoda’s design combines elements of Tibetan, Balinese, and Chinese architecture.

I can’t recall the exact entrance fee, but it wasn’t more than 30k IDR and it included a sarong rental.

5. Water activities in Lovina, Bali

lovina, bali
Lovina, Bali

The town of Lovina is among the most well-known locations on Bali’s north-central coast. Visiting Lovina is where people go most often to observe dolphins. We were quite eager to go, but after reading that there are too many boats, we opted against it. You can head to Lovina if you’re interested in seeing dolphins. After you return, let me know how it went.

Apart from going to the beach and seeing dolphins, Lovina offers a ton of additional water sports. We discovered a place called Krisna Water Sports that provided several different sports, including renting kayaks, jet skis, tubing, and parasailing.

6. Gitgit Waterfall, one of the main waterfalls in Northern Bali

things to do in northern bali
Source: jafsegal / CC BY 2.0

One of the most popular waterfalls in the north, besides Sekumpul, is Gitgit. I’ve been around the area a few times, but I had never heard of this waterfall. Last year, we weren’t able to visit many places because it kept raining while we were there. We had planned to return to this waterfall on this second visit, but we were feeling a little worn out and decided not to. We left it for our third trip to northern Bali because it’s usually a good idea to leave a place or two unexplored.

That being said, if you are considering a trip to northern Bali, I strongly advise you to include Gitgit on your itinerary. The walk to the waterfall takes about 15 minutes once you’ve left the motorcycle in the parking lot. You can bathe in the waterfall in addition to admiring its beauty.

7. Snap a photo in front of Handara Gate

 Northern Bali
Handara Gate, Bali

Handara Gate is the entrance to a resort and golf club, not a place of natural or cultural significance. However, this location has recently become quite popular among tourists due to its beauty. It has gotten to the point where numerous people are posing in front of the door. They have been charging an entrance fee of (30k IDR) to take pictures for some time.

I think it’s a lovely place. You can pull over to the side of the road and take a quick glance at it, but I don’t think there’s any reason to pay to go take pictures, especially given the large crowds and long lines. I’ll admit that I’ve done it a few times, but because creating content is part of my job, if it applies to you or you’re eager to get that picture, go ahead. If not, stopping by and taking a quick glance at the gate without having to pay is enough.

8. Visit Red Coral Waterfall in Munduk (Bali)

norte de bali
Red Coral Waterfall

I wanted to recommend Red Coral Waterfall in the article since it is not a well-known waterfall and we really liked it. It is a waterfall with a single stream that falls from several meters above sea level. It is not the typical waterfall in which you can bathe, since it does not have a natural pool, but it is very pretty and there are not many people, so if you have several days, I recommend you go see it.

When we wanted to go, we looked up the waterfall on the map, but the directions on or Google Maps were not good. To get to the waterfall, mark a place called “Gumi Ayu” on the map. Once you get there, you can either park your scooter and continue on foot or continue riding down until you get to the ticket booth. The entrance costs 20K IDR. From the ticket booth to the waterfall, it is only a 5-minute walk.

9. Cliff jumping at Aling Aling Waterfall

aling aling waterfall
Aling Aling Waterfall

I suggest visiting the Aling Aling waterfall if you’re looking for a waterfall where you can bathe and cliff jump. Normally, they advise you to hire a local guide, who charges a 125K IDR fee per person, in order to jump in the waterfall.

We paid the 20K IDR entrance fee, with which they only allow you to follow the path that takes you between the waterfalls. Honestly, to bathe and to jump in any of the waterfalls, you don’t need a guide (for the slides, I would say yes), but they’ve built a small business out of offering guided visits.

There are a total of four waterfalls: Aling Aling, Kroya, Kembar, and Pucuk. Aling Aling is the largest of the four, but it is not possible to bathe in it since the waters are sacred. You can bathe and jump from small cliffs at the other waterfalls. The small hike, which is included in the 20K IDR ticket, takes around half an hour to complete.

10. Bhuana Sari Waterfalls

que ver en el norte de bali
Bhuana Sari Waterfalls

Lastly, I wanted to recommend this set of waterfalls called Bhuana Sari since they are not as well known as others and it is worth going to see them, not only for their beauty but also for being able to explore the place practically alone. You pay a total of 30K IDR, and you can access 3 waterfalls.

The Banyu Wana Amertha Waterfall is the most popular of the three. The waterfall has numerous jets and is encircled by lush foliage. It is also in a beautiful location! We counted six other people at that waterfall. After that, we were alone while we visited the other two waterfalls.

It takes around 15 minutes to get to the first waterfall from the parking lot and the ticket office. It takes twenty minutes in total to get to the final waterfall. The way back is a little more challenging because of how steep the road is. I suggest spending an hour and a half quietly touring the three waterfalls.

If you feel like visiting more waterfalls, check out the following: Banyumala Twin Waterfalls, Labuhan Kebo, and Melanting Waterfall. As I’ve already mentioned at the beginning of the post, the north is full of impressive waterfalls. It takes many days to go through them all, so choose your favorites.

Where to stay in northern Bali

If you plan to spend several days in northern Bali, knowing where to stay will be important. Here are a few recommendations:

1. Twin Lakes/Munduk, Bali

Although hotels in this part of Bali can cost a little more than usual, there are options for any kind of budget. Since it is a somewhat central location from which to explore all the sites that I describe in the post, I advise staying close to the Twin Lakes, in the Munduk area. There are numerous places to eat, and it is also reasonably peaceful.

Hotels in Munduk

2. Lovina, Bali

Lovina is yet another place to stay if you want to travel to the island’s north. Personally, I like the Munduk region better because it is a wilder part of Bali and has cooler temperatures. However, Lovina is an excellent choice if you love mild weather and being close to the ocean.

Hotels en Lovina

Map of things to do in northern Bali

On the following map, I have marked all the places that I recommend visiting in this area of ​​the island, as well as the recommended hotels, with their respective links to Booking:

Take a look at my Indonesia travel guide to finish organizing your trip.

I hope this post about the best things to do in northern Bali has been useful for you to plan your trip to Bedugul, Munduk and Lovina. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or write me an email. Until next time!

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↠ If you still need to buy flights for your trip, there is no better search engine than Skyscanner (although I always recommend booking the flight on the company’s website).

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