Let us introduce to you the north of Bali, a wild, open side of Bali that hasn’t been touched (as much) by tourism and it’s the way we like. This area is naturally quieter, away from the crowd, but still boasts of many things to see and do, especially for the adventurous.
Many avid travellers are familiar with the south of Bali known for its sun-kissed beaches, ancient temples, great cultural heritage, and stunning rice fields but if you love the outdoors, you definitely want to spend your time in the north of Bali to bring out the adventurer in you.
Climb Mount Catur
When it comes to trekking, Mount Batur and Mount Agung are the most common volcanoes that every visitor to Bali will know of and perhaps attempt to climb. We suggest you climb Mount Catur, also known as Pucak Mangu to the locals. As an extinct volcano and the fourth-highest volcanic peak in Bali, Mount Catur looms over Lake Bratan, Bali’s second-largest lake.
The trek takes 3 to 4 hours and you can enjoy traversing alongside views of paddy fields serene shrines and jungle and arrive at the summit where you will be treated to a picturesque view of the three lakes of the Bratan caldera (on a clear day). You will also find the summit temple of Pura Pucak Mangu that is visited by Balinese to offer prayers.
Mount Catur will definitely be an ideal alternative to the much busier Mount Batur, but while not as difficult as Mount Agung, it does require a moderate amount of physical fitness. The best times to climb would be from April to September before the rainy season begins and the trails get muddy and slippery.
Go canyoning down Gitgit Waterfalls
One way to explore the beauty of Bali’s nature is to go canyoning, a popular activity for the adventurous which gets you jumping off cliffs, sliding down natural water slides, rappelling down 50 feet of waterfalls, and even zip-lining across gorges into a canyon.
Gitigit Waterfall is one of many waterfalls to be found and explored in Bali but is also one that offers several levels of canyoning that you can enjoy, according to your level of experience and physical condition. There are several tour operators that bring you on your canyoning adventure so be sure to speak to them and decide on one that best suits you most.
Even if you decide not to canyon down the falls, do take a leisurely hike and enjoy a cool swim in the pools at the bottom of the waterfall.
Muck (Macro) diving at Puri Jati
Mention diving in Bali and the most popular sites will be Nusa Penida’s Crystal Bay for its mola-mola (sunfish) and Manta Point for its manta rays, or the Liberty Ship Wreck. If you’re an avid diver who enjoys searching for tiny critters as much as the big majestic ones, you’ll be thrilled to know that there are many muck diving sites to satisfy your search.
In the North of Bali, you cannot miss a muck dive at Puri Jati. Here, water temperatures are usually at 27-30°C and the water is usually flat and calm. Feast your eyes on unique underwater critters like frogfish, interesting nudibranchs, and various octopus like the coconut octopus, blue ring octopus, and if you’re lucky, you may even spot the mimic octopus!
After your dive, you can clean up and chill at a shaded beachside facility catered to divers with shower facilities, a café, and even camera baths for photographers.
Volunteer with North Bali Reef Conservation
If your adventurous soul would like to engage in some meaningful activity, why not spend some time volunteering with North Bali Reef Conservation. An NGO with a volunteer programmer based on the North-east coast of Tianyar, they focus on restoring and conserving Tianyar’s coral reef, while providing an alternative, sustainable livelihood to the locals.
Your volunteering stint will be focused mainly on helping to build artificial reefs and deploying them onto an area of previously destroyed reef, beach, and reef clean up as well as marine conservation education.
For an affordable fee, you will have your accommodation and meals covered while spending your time helping and learning more about reef conservation and its importance to marine life.
A vineyard would not be something that pops up in your mind when Bali is mentioned, but the fact is you will be able to visit Bali’s original winery – Hatten Wines – founded in 1994 where their range of 10 wines produced from their vineyards in North Bali.
The adventurer in you deserves a day of chill and rest too so why not go on a tasting experience and explore a vineyard and with their guided tour through the vines, learn how they manage to grow grapes in Balinese climate and soil conditions and enjoy a Balinese wine flight of sparkling, white, red, rose, and even a fortified dessert wine.