North bali

The further north you drive from Ubud, the less touristy it becomes. Of course, there are still tourists in northern Bali. But here everything feels much more pristine. There are fewer buildings, nature is in the foreground. We also pass some agricultural land and for the first time I see a few industrial-looking buildings. The north is a big contrast to the bustling south of Bali.

If it's your first time in Bali, I would rather explore the south, Ubud and the islands for “the Bali everyone talks about”. But if you've already seen it all anyway or have plenty of time, then you shouldn't leave North Bali out! Especially not if you want to see a different side of Bali. North Bali is certainly not like it was 50 years ago, before tourism boomed in Bali. But here you can imagine what the beginnings looked like.

When Helena and I sat in a traditional warung, it felt like we were sitting in an Indonesian family's living room for dinner. We were both fascinated by how authentic it was. There was an older couple sitting at the table next to us, with whom we struck up a conversation - after all, we were practically sitting next to each other. They told us that they had been traveling to Bali for many years and that they simply felt most at home here in the north, away from the mass tourism. Given the authentic atmosphere, I can well understand that!


What to see

  1. Banyumala Twin Waterfall
  2. Sekumpul Waterfall
  3. Golden Valley Waterfall
  4. Gitgit Waterfall
  5. Dolphin Tour Lovina
  6. Pura Ulun Danu Bratan
  7. Lovina Beach
  8. Danau Buyan & Tamblingan Lakes
  9. Air Panas Banjar hot spring

Where to eat

I had probably the most authentic meal in the whole of Bali at Warung Bali 9. The restaurant is very small and intimate, so it felt like we were sitting in the living room of an Indonesian family - who were also good cooks! In fact, the family was cooking in their private kitchen on the second floor of the house.

On the other hand, I had probably the most delicious meal in the whole of Bali in the restaurant of our eco-hotel Gumi Ayu. In keeping with their sustainable philosophy, they mainly offer dishes made from local produce. This in turn comes from the best farmers just around the corner and you can taste it here!

For a delicious coffee and a good breakfast, I can also recommend Coffeenosky Coffee & Eatery. The real highlight here, however, is the view of the green fields from the terrace.

Where to eat

We spent our first night in the north of Bali at the Gumi Ayu Eco-Hotel, a sustainable accommodation in the middle of the jungle. The rooms are located in huts in the forest, which offer a beautifully furnished bedroom, a large bathroom with a bathtub overlooking the jungle and a lovely terrace. We even had a hammock where we could relax surrounded by nature. Helena and I loved falling asleep surrounded by the sounds of nature. We heard a waterfall, which we reached the next day from the hotel in just 5 minutes on foot. It doesn't get any more natural than that!

When we headed towards Lovina, we stayed at the Sunari Beach Resort. The hotel was clean and well-kept and from the pool you could see the beach, which was right next to the hotel. I just wasn't so blown away that I would say I have to go here again. Which is not to say that I wouldn't stay there again. I just liked other things better.

What to see & discover:

The many waterfalls

Not only in Ubud you will find many waterfalls, there are also some in the north of Bali! And these are much less frequented than the waterfalls in and around Ubud. We were able to reach the Golden Valley waterfall on foot from our hotel and were completely alone there. We were able to get into the refreshing water there without any problems and watch the waterfall in peace and quiet.

However, I found the Banyumala Twin Waterfall even more beautiful. Although the twin waterfall was more crowded, it was comparatively less busy. We were even among ourselves again at the rear of the two waterfalls. But even at the front waterfall, which is even more impressive and therefore more popular, we were able to take our waterfall photos undisturbed. So I didn't have to retouch people out of my picture! I also liked the forest path to the waterfalls, the green nature with its colorful flowers was beautiful!

There are many more waterfalls in the north of Bali. The Sekumpul waterfall, for example, is very popular. But a visit to the Gitgit waterfall is also worthwhile!

Dolphin Tour

One reason I wanted to go to the north of Bali was the dolphins! After hearing that you can swim with dolphins in the wild here, I was thrilled. That's why I went to Lovina, from where boat tours to the dolphins start every morning at sunrise from various providers.

I had already read that the many boats that set off on the tour at the same time might make the experience a little inauthentic, but I wasn't dissuaded. I just wanted to see dolphins so much. But I hadn't expected what happened next... As soon as the dolphins were spotted, all the boats raced there at the same time. Our planned dolphin sighting was more like a chase. Horrible! And swimming with the dolphins wasn't really swimming either. Instead, we were given diving goggles and snorkels, jumped into the water and held on to a line on the boat. The boat then took us to the dolphins so that we could see them diving underwater. However, by the time we finally saw a pod of dolphins, some time had passed and we were actually already tired of it...

The only positive thing I can take from the tour is our provider, Dolphin Tour Lovina. While the other boats literally chased the dolphins, he usually just drove on very slowly and didn't rush the dolphins. This was not only more pleasant for the animals, but also clever, as the dolphins came to our boat sooner.

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan

A highlight on our tour to the north was the Ulan Dana Bratan temple. The water temple is located at an altitude of 1200m in the mountains on the Bratan volcanic lake. The water of the lake is considered sacred, but for me it was one thing above all: beautiful. The panorama of the glistening water, with the mountains in the background and the beautiful temple complex in the middle was impressive.

Lovina Beach

Lovina is the most important tourist resort in the north of Bali. Although Lovina is not huge, there are still a few restaurants and warungs. However, Lovina is famous for its black, volcanic sand beach. I thought it was very cool to see a completely black sand beach for once. However, Lovina seemed a bit run-down and deserted to me.

What else to see:

In the north of Bali, you can experience beautiful, untouched nature. One highlight is the twin lakes Danau Buyan and Danau Tamblingan. The two lakes were once one large lake until a landslide split them in two in 1818. There are numerous hiking opportunities in the region around the lakes. Here you can enjoy the beautiful view of the two lakes, which are lovingly framed by the jungle. Otherwise, if you're lazy, there are several viewpoints along the roads around the lakes where you can stop.

The Air Panas Banjar hot spring is also surrounded by jungle. You can bathe in the warm, sulphurous water in the adjacent swimming pool. The facility is beautifully integrated into the natural surroundings, making it the perfect place to relax!

I have put together a list of all the places on Google Maps.

You can find the list here.