Information before you go
The West Bali sightseeing route from the south to the north of the island is not the most popular. The majority of travelers reach the northern part of the island via Lake Bratan or via Lake Batur.
Nevertheless the following route we took was a wonderful surprise for us and we highly recommend it as an alternative route to travel between Kuta and Lovina.
It takes you through the country side, along amazing rice terraces and pass villages that you won't find in the south of Bali anymore.
The route starts in Kuta and continues to Tanah lot, Tabanan, Antosari, Pupuan, Seririt, Banjar and ends in Lovina, the northern tourist spot.
Things can get crazy on the road...
There are some things that you should keep in mind though when taking this route. First of all the best day and time to start this route is early Sunday morning. On top of that, bring enough snacks with you so you have the possibility to skip lunch.
These two things might sound strange, but from experience it is useful to keep them in mind.
The thing is, the traffic between Tanah Lot and Antosari can be crazy as it is part of an important highway that connects Gilimanuk with the southern part of Bali. Gilimanuk is the port for ferries coming from Java so you can imagine the many trucks loaded with all kinds of goods...
You don't want to be driving behind this one
If you are on a motor bike and you leave Sunday, when there is hardly any traffic, the chances are you are able to avoid inhaling toxic emissions from dodgy looking trucks. Otherwise you will arrive at your final destination all covered with a black layer.
And trust me, it might look funny on your fellow traveler until you see yourself in the mirror.
As for the additional snacks, along this route you probably won't find a nice place to eat. And if you do, it might be too early or too late to have lunch.
I might not sound very optimistic but if you keep these two points in mind you will be in for a fantastic day.
Scenery on the way to Tanah Lot
So leave early in the morning from Kuta. From here drive towards Seminyak and Kerobokan where you continue following the signs to Tabanan. Eventually, after a while you will also see the tourist signs showing you the way to Tanah Lot.
The road to Tanah Lot temple characterizes this day trip: rice fields as far as the eye can see.
You don't need to turn left to go to the temple. If you feel like driving on just keep on following the signs to Tabanan. But if you have never seen the most photographed temple in Asia then you should stop to pay it a visit.
Tanah Lot, one of the most important sea temples
It is always a beautiful sight to see the temple Tanah Lot set against the waves of the ocean. You can only reach the temple complex at low tide..
Visitors are not allowed to climb up and enter the temple but still it's worth a quick look and of course to take a picture :-)
From Tanah Lot's peaceful and quiet road you drive back to the big highway to turn left towards Antosari. There is not much to see on this part except for the crazy traffic and unattractive villages with many shops.
Drive carefully here as this is the dangerous part of the journey...
Fortunately soon enough you are able to turn right towards the north and we continue the journey through the landscape where rice fields dominate.
Wow what a view!
If you pass the many rice fields you will soon discover that the stages of the seedlings in each rice field aren't always identical. It is possible that you see a green rice field while ten minutes later the seedlings have just been planted and the terraces are covered with water.
Every time I see these rice terraces I always have to remind myself that this is not a natural phenomenon but that the Balinese have been creating this magnificent landscape by hand for generations and not with modern machinery.
After visiting Bali many times, I still can't get enough of the stunning rice field sceneries.
From here on all you need to do is enjoy the landscape. Just stick to the main road and you won't get lost. The first turn is at Seririt, the village on the north coast.
Once the main road ends in a junction you are in Seririt. Turn right here towards Banjar.
As soon as you spot the signs 'Air Panas Banjar' or Hot Water Springs turn right. You will pass a village before you turn left again and gradually you go up the hill to the hot water springs.
The late afternoon is a perfect time of the day to soak in hot water. All the aches from sitting the entire day on a motor bike will disappear like snow before the sun.
You might not speak the same language, but a smile is universal
Now is time for the final stretch of the route. Lovina is a collective name of 4 fishing-villages. So along the main road you will see many resorts and restaurants.
The nicest village to stroll around is Kalibukbuk. Here you can even have dinner with view on the ocean. Ideal when the sun is about to set...
Our favorite place to sit at this time of day is at Sea breeze Restaurant. I think we are not the only ones, because all tables can be occupied if you are just a bit too late.
At this point all you now need to do now is take in the fresh ocean air and reflect on the wonderful journey of the day...
Fishing before it gets too dark
Driving in Bali is quite tricky as traffic rules are non existent. But it is a great way to explore the island by yourself and stop whenever you want. Just take extra care.Read more
One of our favorite places to visit in Bali are the Jatiluwih rice fields. The view of the fields are one to remember. Along the way there are great stops too.Read more
This route will take you from the cultural village Ubud pass ancient nearby sites followed by a visit to Mount Batur from there descending to the lush landscapes near Agung.Read more
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.
hi and congratulations on the blog it s brilliant and helpful....we are going to Bali in September with my family (including 2 little girls) so we need to have nice spaceous rooms garden and pool access rooms preferably in Semikyak but not too far from it all...I hope you can recommend a great place thats not full of Australian crowds as we like meeting people from other countries.
Hi, I have been travelling for years and I want to say that this website is the best I have EVER come across. It is easy to navigate, it is really descriptive, gives all the info that you could ever want and is accompanied by the best photos and advice. GREAT.