Information before you go
The North Bali sight seeing route takes you along the crater rim and into the mountains that surround the three lakes located in the north of the island. If you rent a motor bike make sure to bring a jacket because once you reach the misty mountains it can get pretty chilly. Recommended places of interests to stop along the way are Mengwi Temple, Ulun Danu Temple, Banjar Hotsprings and Git Git water fall
Nonetheless these cold moments are definitely worth it, because the views are just stunning.
There are two different starting points for this option, all ending at the black sand beach of Lovina...
Route 1: travel one-way from Ubud to Candidasa by waking up early and drive to Mengwi, Pacung, Bedugul, Lake Bratan, Lake Buyan, Lake Tamblingan, Munduk, Mayong, Seririt ending in Lovina.
Route 2: travel one-way from Ubud to Lovina passing Mengwi, Pacung, Bedugul, Lake Bratan, Gigit, Singaraja
Route 3: do a round trip from Lovina to Seririt, Mayong, Lake Tamblingan, Lake Buyan, Gigit, Singaraja back to Lovina
On our way from Ubud to Lake Bratan
Starting point Ubud or Lovina
For this tour we will take Ubud as starting point. But if you plan to take the "Option 3" start from Lovina and head westwards and follow the villages described earlier above.
To make sure you arrive in Lovina before sunset wake up together with the rest of the Balinese who head for the market and leave when the air feels pleasantly fresh.
To get to Mengwi from Ubud, drive past the Arma Museum and take the first right. I'm being a bit specific here because there are no signs to give you any directions. From here on continue following the signs to Sangeh until you see the first signs with 'Taman Ayun' on it.
Mengwi Temple or Taman Ayun
Taman Ayun is one of Bali's most beautiful temple and is located in Mengwi, which in the past was a very prosperous and powerful kingdom.
The thing that makes this temple special is that the temple ground is surrounded by water. To reach it you need to cross a small bridge. On top of that there is a huge garden with a lot of lotus ponds making the temple complex even more colorful.
The Balinese celebrating Kuningan in Taman Ayun
When you have left Ubud early in the morning, then you are in luck. The best time to visit this temple is in the morning before dozens of tourist buses arrive.
After 20 minutes or so in Taman Ayun temple it's time to drive further and continue the route towards the mountains.
Typical scenes along the way
This part of the route is pretty clear cut; just straight on with continuous views on the mountain tops. It can get busy on the road, but don't forget to look around and to take in the wonderful scenery around you.
Keep on driving to Pacung. Here you will notice that there are a lot of big restaurants, often offering Buffet Lunch. We don't recommend the buffet lunches because not many tourist busses stop here meaning that the food served will not be the freshest.
Alot of vegetables are grown in this part of Bali
If you feel like stopping for a drink though then it is a good option. Most restaurants have the best views over the valley. You should drive a bit on though.
After the road turns into one with hairpin bends we always stop at one of the first restaurants on the right called Saras.
Here we always go for our usual when we drive to the north part of Bali: hot lemon tea here and banana pancakes. This place has a wonderful view and when the sun is shining, it is a nice place to warm up before driving further into the mountains.
Good snack when you are driving in the cold and rain
After driving up the mountains the road slowly takes you down to the village of Bedugul. You will know you have arrived in this village as soon as you find yourself at a big fruit market located right at the road.
Bedugul has other things to do besides strolling around the market. They have a Botanic garden and hikers can stay here to prepare for their climb up Mount Catur, the non-active volcano which casts a shadow over Lake Bratan.
The top of Mount Catur always seems to be covered by clouds
Lake Bratan immediately becomes visible once you leave Bedugul behind you. It is a beautiful sight when you see the misty tops of the volcano Gunung Catur towering over the lake.
At Lake Bratan you can have a quick stop at Ulun Danu Temple located on the edge of the lake. Even though you can't enter the temple, the complex is really worth the visit.
The temples unusual location on the lake has been photographed many times and it is easy to recognize in brochures and Balinese post cards.
The mystical Ulun Danu Temple Complex
If you pass the Handara Kosaido Country Club you'll go up again and before you now you'll be driving on the crater rim of Lake Buyan. The views on this lake are gorgeous and there are many possibilities to stop along the road for some holiday picture moments.
Once you take in the view you will soon be greeted by friendly (or aggressive, if you are a bit unlucky) macaque monkeys which wander along the busy road doing their business. In most occasions they are harmless and if you like you can even buy some peanuts and feed them.
The view over Lake Buyan
After passing a shrine right where the road bends you will eventually come to a junction. It isn't that clear, but all of the sudden you can choose to go straight or make a slight U-turn to the left.
Well at this point of the sight seeing route you can decide to go to Lovina by going downhill passing Gigit and Singaraja (Route option 2) or continue passing the two other lakes before heading for the northern coast to Lovina (Route option 1).
The quickest choice from this point is Route option 2. If it's getting late and you want to get to Lovina soon click here. Otherwise continue reading from here and discover where Route option 1 will take you.
View over Lake Buyan from the crater rim
Before you reach the point where you can see both Lake Buyan and Lake Tamblingan you will be treated with a view on the ocean on your right. A quick preview on where you will be finalizing the route at the end of the day.
Driving through green vegetation the road follows the edge of the crater giving you ample opportunity to enjoy the twin lakes and the lush forests below.
Right between the two lakes there is a nice place to stop and have a hot cup of coffee or tea. The terrace has front seat view on the lakes, so ideal to take a seat and catch your breath.
Tamblingan Lake, located right next to Buyan Lake
Not surprisingly this area attracts many travelers who love to do hikes through the beautiful mountains. Most of them stay in the cottages located downhill in Munduk.
Just continue following the road and you will eventually drive into the small mountain village of Munduk.
It can be chilly here, don't forget to bring a jumper
Besides the occasional passersby and people carrying heavy loads this part of the route is very quiet and like most mountain areas you will immediately feel better after breathing in the fresh air.
From here all you need to do is follow the signs to Lovina or Singaraja. Either turn right in Munduk or drive a bit further and eventually make a right at Mayong where you'll be treated with stunning views of rice fields. .
Both roads will pass the only Buddhist temple complex on Bali the 'Brahma Vihara-Arama' and the hot springs/'Air Panas' in Banjar. If it is late in the afternoon it is of course a relaxing option to end your tour by soaking in these hot water springs.
Heat up at the Banjar hot springs
From Banjar all you now need to do is head west towards the 4 villages that are collectively named Lovina. Kalibukbuk is the most popular among tourists and has the most hotels and restaurants. But there are many other resorts scattered along the main road as well.
If you are on time make sure you head for the beach to watch the colorful sunset of Lovina beach.
As soon as you pass the shrine located right where the road bends all you need to do is drive on. Follow the rest of the traffic because most of them are heading for Singaraja too.
I always make sure that if I travel on this road I head for Lovina instead the other way around because I just can't get enough of these views.
Downhill to Singaraja...
On this road there is nothing more to do then to go...
Make sure you stay on your half of the road and be careful at each bend. Many drivers tend to think they are in a rally or something and take the bend very widely. Just take it slow and most of all: enjoy the moment...
Along the way you will pass small isolated houses and of course you will meet many strange looking dogs. Something you will see throughout the island.
Once you are down hill you will notice that traffic has become much more busy. Make sure you follow the signs out of Bali's former capital Singaraja and to Lovina as soon as possible for the final stretch of the route.
The last country side scenes before you enter Singaraja
It's very common at this point that you will suddenly be accompanied by someone on a motorbike who can help you out with accommodation. If you need help go for it.
If you have already something in mind try to decline friendly and remain persistent. Despite being famous for its dolphin trips, nowadays Lovina is not a really busy tourist area anymore resulting in many hotel owners desperately trying to get hold of every tourist entering the area.
So you will definitely be 'greeted and assisted' a lot in Lovina.
Once in Lovina you have finalized your sightseeing route. Now all you need to do is find a quiet spot at Lovina beach, order a fresh coconut and enjoy the sunset .
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Now and then people send us inspiring emails and this generates even more enthusiasm to share all of the things we know about this lovely island in the hope that you can plan your tropical holiday properly and have as such a great time as we always have. Hope to see you there!
When I wrote the mail I never really expected a reply. I might have expected a computer generated but never a personally written one. The information you provided is invaluable, thank you so very much. I have been using your website as a bible through Bali. Through your recommendation, I will be heading to Ubud then follow the sightseeing route to the coast of Candidasa.
WOW...what an awesome website. I could only dream that there would be a website like this for all our travel destinations! You guys have done an fabulous job and now, I am sooo excited about our upcoming trip to Bali. To be honest, I wasn't quite sure Bali was the place for us considering some of the travel warnings (we are Americans). But I can tell from your experiences that the Bali people are so very kind and peaceful.
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