Looking for all the unmissable things to do in North Bali? Good stuff, because we have got you covered! After spending some time exploring the North of Bali, we can share what we got up to, and we consider to be the highlights. We also include where to stay, how to get around, and all of our top tips, so you can spend less time planning and more time enjoying what this underrated part of the island has to offer.
When it comes to popular destinations in Bali, the same few come up time and time again. Uluwatu for its surf & beaches, Ubud for its architecture & culture, and Canggu for its laidback vibes & good food. But after visiting the North of Bali, we were left wondering why it’s often left off of the hotlist.
We found so many cool things to do in the North of Bali. From chasing waterfalls and climbing volcanoes, to cruising along some of the most picturesque landscapes on the island, everything about the North screams adventure. Not only that, but it’s far less crowded than the South of Bali. Which on our opinion, makes exploring a far more enjoyable experience.
As I say, you won’t be short of things to do in North Bali. We regard it to be one of the best places to visit on the island. And with the help of our North Bali travel guide, we guarantee you’ll have a fantastic time.
18 Unmissable Things to do in North Bali
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Where to Stay in North Bali
While the North of Bali isn’t as popular as the South, there’s still a fair bit of tourist infrastructure in place. It’s certainly more built-up than the likes of Amed in Eastern Bali, so regardless of your budget, you won’t struggle for a place to stay. I will make some suggestions further down; however, there are a couple of areas that you might want to consider. Here’s a short description to help give you an idea of where you might want to be:
Lovina: Lovina is the main tourist town in the North of Bali, famous for black sand beaches and dolphin spotting. You’ll find many types of hotels in Lovina, ranging from budget hostels to high-end resorts.
Check rates and availability for accommodation in Lovina here.
Munduk: If you consider yourself more of a jungle lover than the beach, Munduk is an ideal choice in Northern Bali. Set around 45-minutes South of Lovina, the area is lush, green, and quiet, boasting some of Bali’s most beautiful hotels.
Check rates and availability for accommodation in Munduk here.
Seririt: Further West of Lovina is Seriret – A beachside town that rarely sees any tourists. There are just a few beautiful resorts in these parts, so it’s perfect for those seeking to escape the crowds. While at the same time, being close to all the top things to do in North Bali.
Check rates and availability for accommodation in Seriret here.
We spent a week in the North and split our time between two hotels. The first few days, we stayed at Mayo Resort, located in Seririt. A beautiful 3* beach resort with a pool, restaurant, and one of the best sunset views in Bali.
Check rates and availability for Mayo Resort here.
The rest of the time we stayed in Hotel Suma in Lovina – An excellent budget hotel with a pool and located just minutes from the beach. We would recommend both, but if they aren’t quite what you are looking for, you can click the links to see other hotels in the area.
Check rates and availability for Hotel Suma here.
How Long to Stay in North Bali
We stayed in North Bali for almost a week. It isn’t necessary to be there that long, but we extended our visa at the Singaraja office, which meant we had to stay locally. You could probably cover most of the highlights over 2-3 days. But if you wanted to take your time, 4-5 days would be perfect.
Things to do in North Bali
Captivating waterfalls, volcanic beaches, and stunning religious sites make up the best things to do in North Bali. Here are 18 ideas to help you plan your trip.
Waterfalls in North Bali
With some of the best waterfalls in Bali located in the North, it makes sense to kick things off with a list of our favourites. If you think you’ll skip the waterfalls, you can scroll down to number 7 on the list and pick up from there.
1. Sekumpul Waterfall
When you search for anything to do with waterfalls in Bali, Sekumpul tends to top the list every time. Many describe this waterfall as the most impressive in Bali, and there’s no doubt that the momentous triple falls are a sight to behold. Set in the Northern jungle region of Bali, it feels like a scene straight out of Avatar. Water cascades from an almighty 80-metres into the lagoon below, while dense green vines cling to the cliff face – nature at it’s finest.
There are a couple of ways in which you can view the waterfall. You can either admire at a birds-eye view from the viewing deck up above. Or, if you are feeling adventurous, you can opt for the arduous hike down to the bottom of the falls. We go into the pros and cons of both options in our Sekumpul Waterfall guide; however, either way, if you plan to chase waterfalls in North Bali, Sekumpul should be at the top of your list.
Click the link for our complete guide to Sekumpul Waterfall including entrance fees and how to get there.
2. Fiji Waterfall
Just minutes away from Sekumpul Waterfall lay the majestic Fiji Falls. Set in the same lush jungle environment, it’s equally as impressive. Yet, despite its beauty, is often overlooked in favour of other more popular waterfalls in North Bali.
To access the Fiji Waterfall, you have to pass through Sekumpul Falls first. You can just about spot it from the same viewing deck I mentioned above, or you can hike down to the bottom of the valley and reach it that way. Depending on the time of year, there are usually 3-4 smaller waterfalls in addition to Sekumpul & Fiji.
Our only complaint about the above two waterfalls is the steep entrance fees. It’s not so bad if you just visit the viewpoint at 20,000 IDR/pax; however, a recent regulation (ahem, scam), insists that a guide must accompany visitors who want to trek to the bottom of the waterfalls. The result: A steep fee of 200,000 IDR/pax and unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be any way around it. Read our guide for Fiji waterfall for more information.
Click the link for our complete guide to Fiji Waterfall including entrance fees and how to get there.
3. Gitgit Waterfall
At a tremendous height of 35-metre, Gitgit is one of the tallest and most powerful waterfalls in Bali. Thanks to its accessible location, it’s also one of the most popular amongst tourists and locals alike.
Set in a real jungle paradise environment, Gitgit has all the feels of an off-the-beaten-path adventure. When, in fact, it’s located an easy 15-minute walk from the main road. It’s an adventure without too much risk involved, which is what most people want. Especially if you’re travelling with little ones or don’t fancy the long hikes that come with most waterfalls in North Bali, Gitgit is a perfect choice.
Just because it’s touristic, that’s not to say you shouldn’t visit. Gitgit is the ideal spot to take a dip, chill out, and admire nature. However, we would encourage you to visit early should you want to avoid the crowds. The entrance fee for Gitgit is 20,000 IDR/pax.
Click the link for our complete guide to Gitgit Waterfall including entrance fees and how to get there.
4. Aling Aling Waterfall
If you’re seeking a real adventure in North Bali, you absolutely cannot miss Aling Aling Waterfall. Famed for its impressive collection of waterfalls and daredevil cliff jumping opportunities, this is one of our favourite things to do in North Bali.
What many don’t realise is that Aling Aling itself is considered sacred amongst locals, so no swimming or jumping is allowed. However, there are countless natural pools, water slides, and cliff jumps at other points along the trail. With so much to see and do at Aling Aling, it would be easy to kill an entire day here and not get bored.
It’s important to mention that if you want to take part in cliff jumping at Aling Aling and all the other adventurous stuff, you will need to pay for a guide. Unlike Sekumpul & Fiji Waterfalls, it’s an absolute necessity here for your own safety.
Click the link for our complete guide to Aling Aling Waterfall including entrance fees and how to get there.
5. Munduk Waterfall
One of the lesser-known waterfalls in North Bali and not ideal for swimming; however, if you’re in the area, it’s worth stopping by all the same. Located in the mountainous region of Munduk, you can expect an impressive waterfall amid lush jungle conditions. And as a result of its unpopularity, it’s highly likely you’ll have the place all to yourself.
It’s an easy trek to reach the falls, and as I say, you can’t swim, so you won’t need much time here at all. Enjoy the leisurely pace and serene conditions before making your way to Banyumala Waterfall, which is next on our list.
6. Banyumala Waterfall
Making quite a name for itself on the North Bali Waterfall route, Banyumala is an impressive set of falls in the mountainous region of Munduk. Equally impressive as the likes of Sekumpul, Fiji, and Gitgit waterfalls, this hidden gem is quickly becoming one of the top things to do in North Bali.
If you don’t mind the relatively difficult trek to reach Banyumala Falls, your reward will be a striking double waterfall cascading down a vine infested cliff face. The falls have formed a crystalised natural pool at the bottom, ideal for cooling off after the arduous trek down.
We predict Banyumala will become increasingly popular as the next Bali season approaches; therefore, get there soon and enjoy its solitude while it lasts.
Suggested Read: Munduk Waterfalls – The Perfect Guide
North Bali Waterfall Tour
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7. Mount Batur for Sunrise
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of accomplishing something while most people are still in bed. So how about summiting a 1700 metre high active volcano for sunrise? That’s precisely what we did during our stay in North Bali, and it’s probably the highlight of our time there. It may even be the highlight of all our time in Bali.
I have to admit, getting out of bed to make our way to base camp at 2 am was less than appealing. However, the magical moment of experiencing sunrise atop an active volcano was the ultimate reward. If you are to drag yourself out of bed for only one sunrise during your time in Bali, I strongly suggest it be this one.
If you’re worried about how safe it is to trek an active volcano, you needn’t be. Here are some facts about Mount Batur that will hopefully help to put your mind at rest.
How Tall is Mount Batur?
Standing tall at the height of 1717 metre above sea level, Mount Batur is the 2nd tallest volcano on Bali island. The tallest volcano is prodigious Mount Agung at 3031 metres.
When did Mount Batur last erupt?
Mount Batur is indeed an active volcano; however, there is no need to worry about safety. The volcanic activity is monitored daily by seismologists, and there hasn’t been an eruption since the year 2000.
Is trekking Mount Batur Safe?
Taking all things into consideration, trekking Mount Batur, in our opinion, is very safe. If there were any risk of an eruption, trekking tours would be cancelled immediately as they are currently for Mount Agung.
BOOK YOUR TOUR HERE: Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking Tour
Click the link for our complete guide for Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking, including prices, how to prepare and more.
8. Dolphin Spotting
Many are surprised to learn that dolphin spotting is one of the popular things to do in North Bali – us included! When we heard about this activity, we were really excited. I mean, who doesn’t want to see these majestic & playful animals in their own habitat. They’re like the puppies of the sea.
Thankfully we did our research before we head out on a dolphin-spotting tour, and unfortunately, the feedback wasn’t great. I’m sure we are all aware that there is a fine line between ethical animal tourism and unethical; however, from what we heard, it was enough to put us off participating in the tour.
Of course, we can’t speak from personal experience, so we wouldn’t want to stop anybody from going on a dolphin-spotting tour. However, I would recommend you read this article first before you make any decisions.
9. Black Sand Beaches
If you’ve spent quite a lot of time on the island, it’s likely you’ve already encountered one of Bali’s black sand beaches. However, if not, you might be pleasantly surprised to discover the volcanic shores of North Bali. OK, so they might not be the pristine, white-sand beaches that one might expect in the tropics, but black sand beaches are picturesque in their own right.
They for one, make for unique photo opportunities, and two, did I mention the sand is volcanic? That’s pretty cool, right? The black sand is said to have originated from Mount Agung – Bali’s most notorious volcano. The volcanic shoreline stretches from Amed, all along the East Coast and up to Seriret in the North. So if you aren’t a fan of them, well, unfortunately, they will be quite hard to escape.
Lovina is the most popular black sand beach in North Bali. You’ll find various beachside bars and restaurants along this stretch as well as water sports and other activities. If you prefer somewhere a little quieter, you can head further west towards Seriret. You should also seriously consider heading to Amed in East Bali if you haven’t already.
Click the link for our complete guide to Amed in East Bali.
10. Banjar Hot Springs
There are various ‘natural’ hot springs dotted around Bali; however, most are unauthentic and incredibly touristic. We found Banjar Hot Springs to be the complete opposite, with mostly locals bathing in the cleansing waters of the holy springs.
Historically, the 38-degree hot springs are centuries old; however, the newly renovated grounds allow visitors a spa-like environment. The temperature of the water combined with the sulphuric properties is said to be excellent for your skin and health in general.
If you’re looking for a therapeutic experience in North Bali, this is it. Surrounded by tropical gardens and rich Balinese nature, it’s the ideal spot to rest your weary body after a long day exploring. My only advice is that the sulphuric water can leave marks on your clothes, so you’ll want to wear something that you don’t mind getting stained.
11. Brahma Vihara Arama Monastery
One of our favourite hidden gems and a unique thing to do in North Bali, Brahma Vihara Arama Monastery is the only Buddhist monastery on the island. We stumbled upon the grounds purely by accident on our way to Banjar Hot Springs, and after spotting it on the map decided to check it out.
After opening its doors in 1970, the monastery has since served as a sacred pilgrimage site and place of enlightenment. Set in the mountains of North Bali, the complex consists of various gardens, meditation rooms, and religious statues, as well as a striking view over the surrounding landscapes.
Perhaps the most impressive feature of the monastery is the replication of Borobudur Temple. Located in Java, Indonesia, Borobudur is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest Buddhist Temple in the world. We were also surprised to find a similar design to the Instagram-Famous Bali Gateway to Heaven, only without the crowds!
Click the link for our complete guide to Brahma Vihara Arama Monastery including entrance fees and how to get there.
12. Ulun Danu Water Temple
It may be touristic as hell, but there’s no denying the sheer magnificence of the Ulun Danu Water Temple. The ‘floating’ Hindu temple, built in the middle of Tamblingan Lake is iconic to Bali thanks to Instagram, and as a result, it’s one of the first things people want to do when they visit the island.
With this in mind, particularly if you are visiting Bali during peak months, be sure to visit Ulun Danu Water Temple in the early morning. This way you’ll get to appreciate the true essence of the temple without hoards of other tourists around. Complemented by the backdrop of the misty Bedugul mountain range, the view is one of a kind.
It’s good to note that rising water levels influence the appearance of the temple. If there hasn’t been a lot of rain, the ‘floating’ effect isn’t as noticeable. But either way, the temple is well worth adding to your list of things to do in North Bali.
13. Wanagiri Hidden Hills
If you’re on Instagram, the likelihood is you’ve come across the Wanagiri Hidden Hills on a few thousand separate occasions. The infamous Bali Swing and bamboo viewing platforms are the epitomai of gimmicky; however, there’s no denying that the stunning backdrop makes for a spectacular photo.
Personally, we have a bit of a bugbear paying or queuing for photos, so we don’t tend to do it. However, we completely understand why somebody would, and it’s actually a great way of supporting the local economy. Even if it’s for the view alone, it’s worth a visit if you’re in the area. Go on, do it for the ‘gram.
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14. Immerse in Local Culture
One of the things we loved most about the North of Bali is being in the heart of traditional Balinese culture. With fewer tourists around and less big-scale developments, it somehow feels more authentic. I imagine it’s what Bali must have been like 20 or 30 years ago.
Particularly driving around the areas surrounding Munduk and Seriret, you often find yourself passing quaint local villages who rarely see tourists. We love stopping off in these parts and buying a drink or a bite to eat, as you always end up getting way more from the exchange than just a refreshment.
It’s part and parcel of the Balinese culture to be accepting and welcoming, so don’t be shy of starting a conversation. You’ll likely end up with friends for life.
15. Snorkelling & Scuba Diving
Some of the best snorkelling and scuba diving sites are in the North Bali, boasting abundant marine life and flourishing coral reef. The best dive sites are Menjangan Island which is famous for its drop-off and coral garden, and Tulamben, which is popular for wreck diving.
Set in Menjangan National Park, North West of Bali this area is rarely visited by tourists. We were hoping to get there on our last trip to Bali, but before we knew it, our 2-months were over. A diving day trip to Menjangan Island is quite a popular activity from the North of Bali, so you could do that or look into staying in the National Park for a night or 2.
If you do decide to stay over in the National Park, there are some beautiful resorts around such as Menjangan Dynasty Resort and NusaBay Menjangan, as well as various homestays. It would also be worth checking out this article by Honeycombers to learn more about what there is to do on Menjangan.
16. Bali Coffee Plantations
Due to cooler climates in the mountainous region of North Bali, it’s the ideal conditions for growing all kinds of fresh produce. Most of the island’s fruit and vegetables are grown in these areas, as well as the delicious Balinese coffee. As a matter of fact, coffee plantations take-up an unbelievably vast amount of space in the Munduk area. And naturally, in true Balinese style, these plantations are now another income generator for the local economy.
The biggest and most-popular plantation is the Munduk Moding Coffee Plantation. Munduk pride themselves on being an organic coffee plantation, and as such, run several organised tours where visitors can learn all about their speciality coffee. If visiting a coffee plantation is on your list of things to do in North Bali, I don’t think you will be disappointed by the Munduk experience.
17. Stay at Munduk Moding Plantation
While we are on the subject of Munduk Moding Plantation, it’s worth mentioning, again, the incredible hotel resort they have here. If you’re going to treat yourself during your time in Bali, this is the place to do it. Sadly, our backpacker budget hasn’t allowed us to stretch for a stay here just yet, but it’s on the cards for next time without a doubt.
The pinnacle of the mountain top property is the infinity pool overlooking the verdant landscapes of North Bali. Rolling green hills and rice paddies stretch as far as the eye can see, and if you rise & shine early, you’re in for one of the best sunrise views in Bali. Photo credit to our good friends, Kelly & Kody @positravelty
Check rates and availability for Munduk Moding Plantation here.
18. Handara Gate
Another spot that owes thanks for it’s popularity to Instagram, Handara Gate is often mistaken for a religious site or historical point of interest. When in-fact, the picture-perfect gate is actually just the entrance to a luxury golf course in Munduk. Nowadays, entrepreneurial locals make a business from the gate alone, charging tourists 30,000 IDR for the ‘selfie’ ticket. This gets you a spot in the often hours-long queue, where groups of people scramble for the same perfect shot. It’s madness really, but again, a beautiful place to take a photo.
How to Get to North Bali
The northern coastline of Bali and even the mountainous jungles of Munduk are both pretty far from the tourist hubs of Canggu, Ubud, or Uluwatu. As a result, many of those backpacking Bali erroneously miss them off their itinerary. Either that or they only visit on a day tour, unaware of all the incredible things to do in North Bali.
Unless you are confident on a scooter, getting around in Bali can be an expensive ordeal. There is little to no public transport, and tourist buses are unheard of. Consequently, taxis, hiring drivers, or renting a car in Bali is often your only option. Unsurprisingly, local transport companies see this as an opportunity to cash in on some serious dollar. With this in mind, it pays to move around in groups to keep costs to a minimum.
On the other hand, if you can drive a scooter, this will be the cheapest and most convenient way to get around. To rent a scooter in Bali will set you back around 60,000 IDR per day. And it is usually possible to negotiate a discount if you rent for more extended periods.
Thankfully, the roads in Bali are for the most part in excellent condition and offer some scenic drives. The journey to North Bali, in particular, is incredibly picturesque as you pass through the heart of the Balinese jungle. Of course, we advise exercising caution when driving in Bali. Always wear your helmet, and carry an international license should you be pulled over by the local police.
**This offer for a Private Car or Minibus Charter on Get Your Guide is highly competitive relative to local transport companies. Click the link to read thousands of positive reviews, check the latest prices, and to make a booking.
Top Tips for Things to do in North Bali
Here are some useful tips that I hope will enhance your travel experience in North Bali.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Bali will be in the dry season, which runs from April to late September. While there is always a chance of the odd rainy day, you generally see warm and dry conditions during this time.
Having said that, the best time to visit the waterfalls in North Bali is usually between March and May just as the wet season is drawing to a close. That’s because all the rainfall causes the rivers to overflow, resulting in some pretty damn ferocious waterfalls. Of course, they are still well-worth visiting in the dry season; however, this is just our personal preference.
It’s also worth mentioning that July and August are considered the high season in Bali, and consequently, prices are higher, and everything is busier. While North Bali doesn’t get as crowded as other tourist hubs in Bali, it’s still better to visit outside of this time for a more peaceful experience.
Getting Around in North Bali
Unless you are confident on a scooter, getting around the things to do in North Bali could prove a little tricky. With no public transportation, and from what we could tell no Grab or GoJek, your only option is to hire a driver.
**This offer for a Private Car or Minibus Charter on Get Your Guide is highly competitive relative to local transport companies. Click the link to read thousands of positive reviews, check the latest prices, and to make a booking.
There are a lot of fun activities to do in and around North Bali; however, with adventure always comes risk. With this in mind, you will want to have adequate travel insurance that covers you for any tricky situations.
Road accidents, in particular, are not uncommon in Bali, and while they are rarely serious, it pays to have peace of mind. Should you need health care while travelling in Bali, you will want the best money can buy. Travel Insurance could be your saving grace.
We always recommend World Nomads for travel insurance, as they are affordable, offer a variety of packages and add ons, and allow you to make amendments to your policy while travelling. Say, for example, you go scuba diving or hiking a mountain, World Nomads will amend your plan accordingly. It’s a super handy feature that we’ve used numerous times including the time we trekked to Annapurna Base Camp.
If you need further convincing, read our article on why you need travel insurance. Or get an on-the-spot quote from World Nomads using the form below.
Extending your Visa in North Bali
In our experience, the Singaraja Immigration Office in North Bali is the fastest place on the island to extend your visa. If you purchased a visa on arrival when arriving at Bali airport, you are eligible to extend for up to 30-days. For more information, check out our article on getting a visa extension in Bali.
Staying Connected in Bali
If, like us, you rely on the internet when you travel (let’s face it, who doesn’t anymore), we have the perfect solution. After coming home to too many hefty phone bills and buying countless international sim cards, we were desperate for an affordable solution. That’s when we discovered TravelWifi. TravelWifi’s portable pocket wifi allows us to quickly and securely connect when we need it the most. Click the link for more information on coverage, packages, and the latest offers.
As travellers, it should always be a top priority to travel responsibly. We already leave a substantial carbon footprint just by flying to our travel destinations, so that’s even more reason to make a positive impact when we get there. There are many small steps you can take to becoming a responsible traveller. Read our guide on eco-travel to learn more.
More on Bali
Planning a trip to Bali? Check out our other articles to help plan your trip.
- 10 Day Bali Itinerary
- Instagrammable Bali – The Best 43 Instagram Spots in Bali
- Visa Extensions in Bali
- The Best Black Sand Beaches in Bali
- Gay in Bali – LGBT+ Travel Guide
- The Best 3 Day Ubud Itinerary – How to Spend 3 Days in Ubud
- 7 Incredible Waterfalls Near Ubud
- Things to do in Amed & East Bali
- Trekking Mount Batur with Bali Sunrise Trekking
- Travel From Bali to Nusa Penida by Ferry
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- A REVIEW OF PINK BEACH IN LABUAN BAJO, INDONESIA
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- BACKPACKING FLORES – ITINERARY AND GUIDE
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Did you enjoy our 18 Unmissable Things to do in North Bali?
Let us know! That concludes 18 Unmissable Things to do in North Bali. We hope you enjoy your time in this magical Island. If you have any questions or feel we have missed anything, please reach out to us in the comment section below, through our contact us page. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram here where we share further travel advice & inspiration.
Stay adventurous and Happy travels.
Charlotte & Natalie x
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Last Updated on March 18, 2021 by Our Taste For Life