When you visit Bali and drive towards the North coast you will see that the landscape is dominated by the big mountain range and its black volcanic beaches. There's a main road that connects west with east Bali, parallel to the northern coast line.
The major tourist sights in North Bali are located on this main road which makes it easy to keep on driving and to explore the area in the shadow of the majestic mountain range....
Usually when travellers visit Bali's northern region they stay in Lovina to enjoy the beach and the surrounding sights. Singaraja is located east of Lovina and is the largest city in the area.
In the past Singaraja played an important role as it was the capital city of Bali during the colonial times and it was a major harbor were a lot of trade took place.
Long ago travelers and explorers would arrive by boat at Singaraja and from there travel further inland by foot or horse and carriage.
The majority of these travelers crossed the mountain range to settle in Ubud, the most inspiring place in Bali for painters and other artists.
Nowadays it's much easier to visit Bali and cross the mountains. The views are beautiful as the southern slope of the mountain is covered with picturesque rice field terraces while on the northern slope there is the magnificent view on the ocean.
There are two routes that you can take if you want to cross the mountains, both just as wonderful and worth doing when you visit Bali. One road passes Batur Mountain with amazing view on its lake and the volcanic crater landscape. Here you can also find the Bali Aga village, Trunyan where the original inhabitants of Bali live.
The other way is along Bratan Lake, where less tourist buses go to. You will pass the Pura Ulun Danu Bratan and a picture of this temple can be found in almost every Bali guide. The nearby lakes offer great opportunities to hike and to make some stunning pictures of the area.
When you visit Bali you should at least take a dip in one of the waterfalls. A great option is the Sing Sing waterfal. When we were there we were the only ones so we had the place all to ourselves.
There is a deep pool right under the waterfall, so we immediately jumped in screaming: the water is freezing but definitely worth the chills!
This sight is not far from Lovina and can easily be visited at the end of the day, when it cools down.
The ancient looking pools with water spewing dragon statues and the lush tropical garden surrounding the pools make the whole setting really nice. The 38ºC degrees water will have you immediately relaxed and lazy...
Every morning, off the coast of Lovina beach, a group of dolphins gather to hunt for fish.
This joyful spectacle is a must to see when you visit Bali. Boats can be arranged at the villages in Lovina and they leave at 6 am.
You might not want to wake up early on your holiday, but from my own experience I'm sure you’ll be awake once you're in the boat..
Every Friday at 4pm you can watch the bull races: ‘sampi gerumbungan’.
Here, the bulls who usually plough the fields are colorfully harnessed and ready to race against other bulls.
If you see them in the field munching on the grass, you will probably be surprised that the bulls can run up 80km/hr.
The bull races are organized by a local cultural group, Yayasan Budaya den Bukit Lovina. You can arrange a ticket at any tour agent in Lovina.
This former capital has played an important role throughout the history of Bali and today you can still find many architectural reminders of historical events.
The library is also worth a visit as it has old holy books. They say the Balinese are afraid to enter the library out of fear of being cursed by the spirits...
This waterfall is located south of Singaraja and is not difficult to find.
When coming or going towards the mountains you will see many signs pointing towards the right direction.
There are many entrances to the waterfall, so don’t be confused if you see another sign about 500m further.
The lagoon-like pool right under the 15m waterfall is perfect for a refreshing dip.
A smaller waterfall is located about 3km further up the hill but it can also be reached from the main road, which is easier since it's located just 0,5km from this main road.
This little fishing village is famous for its fresh (=cold) water springs. It is said that its source is at Lake Batur.
The tropical garden and the way the water flows from the swimming pools in to the ocean makes it a nice setting to relax.
The beach at Yeh Sanih is also really good and the sea is as quiet as a lake. Avoid the weekends when it gets busy. But that's the case for all the sights when you visit Bali.
of East Buleleng:
Not many travelers who visit Bali come here. However this region is known for its quiet farmer’s villages, black beaches and its beautifully decorated temples. Some of Balinese finest temples are found here.
When you visit the temples you can see the differences between the temples in the south and north of the island. The wall carvings are more complicated...
When you visit Bali and do day trip you are likely to go to Gunung Batur for the most impressive views on the island.
You can stand at the crater rim and see the beautiful mountain landscape with Lake Batur in the centre.
But the views from the inner crater road are just as amazing. Visitors can stay at the nearby villages to climb the mountain...
Ulun Danu Bratan
Even though you can't enter this temple, it's definitely worth a look during a visit to Bali.
The temples at Lake Bratan create a mystical atmosphere and the thick mist around the slopes of Gunung Catur just makes the whole picture complete.
Lake Bratan lies in a old crater of the silent volcano Gunung Catur. The lake is a major source of water for the southern part of Bali and many ceremonies take place at the Ulun Danu Bratan temple to worship the Goddess of the Water, Dewi Danu.
Her temple is on the lake with 3 meru (rooftops). The temple with 7 meru is dedicated to Shiva and the one with 11 meru to Vishnu.
Built in 1633 this temple is a mix of Hindu and Buddism, which can been seen by the big stupa just before the main entrance of the temple.
If you like, you can rent a boat and tour around the lake to see the temple from a different angle or you can admire the picturesque crater landscape around you.