The best eco-friendly Bali vacations for romantic and adventurous travelers can be found in the northern part of the island on the slopes of mount Batukaru, Mount Lesong, Mount Batur and Mount Agung.
This area can still be considered one of the purest areas in Bali where life is uncomplicated but nonetheless very interesting. Here the Balinese attend their rice fields, cocoa and coffee plantations amid numerous waterfalls, scenic volcanic lakes and ancient temples.
This is the ideal place to do some hiking, climbing, visiting sleepy villages, bird watching or just do nothing but marvel at the beauty around you from one of your secluded Bali hideaways.
The area around Mount Batukaru (2276 m-high) is famous for the stunning Jatiluwih rice fields (750m-high) and the mystical Pura Luhur Batukaru which is one of Bali's six major temples surrounded by thick mountain forest located near the village of Wongayagede.
Not that many people spend their Bali vacations here making it the ideal place to experience this part of the island the way it has been for decades.
This is the most humid area in Bali so it's best to be active early in the morning when the clouds haven't formed around the peak of Batukaru and you still have time to make some magnificent pictures.
Furthermore after one of the amazing hikes you can rest your muscles at the hot springs at Yeh Panas Hot Spring Resort or the one at Belulang village. Perfect little getaways in the Batukaru area are the award winning Sarinbuana Eco Lodge Bali, the Bali Mountain Retreat and the Bali Eco Stay (Rice Water Bungalows).
The area around Mount Lesong (1865 m-high) is home to the most spectacular lakes of Bali, Lake Tamblingan and Lake Buyan which have numerous hiking trails, temples, waterfalls and timeless romantic villages.
The Dutch colonial power build their rest houses here in 1903 and enjoyed the cool climate while escaping the heat in Singaraja. These rest houses can be found in our favorite village, Munduk, the perfect base from where to explore its natural beauty.
It is tiny and before you know it you've driven through the village. The old Dutch colonial buildings have now been transformed into guesthouses and besides these you can find other gems of hotels such as the Puri Lumbung Cottages and the Munduk Modig Plantation both with views to kill for.
Mount Batur (with walls of 1267m to 2153 m-high) is Bali's second most sacred mountain and is home to the famous Lake Batur that sits in one of the worlds largest calderas with 11km by 13.5 km. Risen out of the crater with a height of 686m and hard to miss is a smaller volcano that goes by the same name.
The villages on the rim of the Batur crater, Penelokan and Kintamani are frequently visited by hordes of bus tourists who eat at the 'eat-as-much-as-you-can-buffets', oeh and ahhh at the view and leave after 1.5 hours. Naturally pushy hawkers and scam artists try to trick these tourists with their products and services.
But for those who really want to experience all that this area has to offer it is best to stay at the guesthouses in one of the villages or for a more luxurious stay at the Ayu Villa Bali on the edge of Batur Lake from where you can do some excellent hiking, enjoy the view and relax at the hot springs at Toyabungkah.
Mount Agung (3142m-high) is Bali's most sacred mountain with on its slopes the Mother temple of Besakih. The best place to explore this area is from the panoramic Sidemen village with its rice fields and adventurous Unda river which is ideal for rafting.
Sidemen and its neighboring village of Iseh have attracted artists and painters throughout the years. Bali's most famous foreign artist, Walter Spies (1896-1942) used to live in Iseh from where he painted 'Iseh im Morgenlicht 1938'.
His house, the Walter Spies house can be rented and you will not be the first one since Mick Jagger and David Bowie have stayed here before. It's easy to see why they loved this Bali accomodation so much.
Another unqiue option is Villa Patal Bali, located in the valley of Sidemen. From here you can take in the magnificent views during your whole stay there...
Besides rafting the Sidemen area is perfect for hiking, learn how to make the ikat textiles, watch holy Balinese dances, meet local Balinese healers or just relax at the other hotels such as the Surya Shanti Villas, the Nirarta Meditation Centre or the Sacred Mountain Sanctuary Resort. Once you discovered this area you will be spending most of your Bali vacations here....