Far out from the hoards of tourists in Ubud or crazy streets in Kuta – Pemuteran in northwest Bali is increasingly getting known for the beautiful underwater life just off the coast.
Resorts dot Pemuteran’s black sandy beach and restaurants line the beach road.
Although popularity has grown, Pemuteran still remains undisturbed and pretty much unknown to many.
Is Pemuteran Worth Visiting?
If considering visiting Pemuteran you have most likely found out that it’s quite a journey to reach.
Just to give a little insight. Pemuteran is around 3 hours from Ubud and from Kuta it will take 3 ½ hours.
This may be a lengthy journey but I wouldn’t worry too much about that.
The route leads through impressive nature. Consider this, a journey along winding roads through jungle. Traveling along the highlands over rice terraces carved in the mountains. And fresh air on mountain tops with views overlooking spectacular lakes and mountains.
I guess the lengthy journey won’t seem so long after all. Plus, if you get an early start, you’ll have the chance to visit a couple of highlights along the way. More on this further down this post where you will find a perfect itinerary for your day trip to the north of Bali.
So, the journey will be a highlight in itself.
Now that we’ve got the journey covered you’ll want to know a little more about Pemuteran.
Depending on what you’re looking for, Pemuteran will offer the right balance after visiting busier places to the likes of Ubud or Kuta.
We booked our accommodation in Pemuteran after spending 9 days among hoards of tourists in Ubud. This was just what we needed. A few days in a laid back, no stress, pretty seaside village.
Things To Do Pemuteran Bali
Contrasting black volcanic sand, just a handful of sun loungers and a few resorts dot Pemuteran bay.
Bali beaches bring to mind white sand, streams of beach bars and surfers defying the crashing waves.
While this is the case for southern Bali, the sea at Pemuteran beach is calm and the bay is undisturbed. The beach offers a glimpse at what Bali must have been like back in the days.
This is where we spent a lazy afternoon after we had snorkeled around Bio Rock (up next).
As we came up from our snorkeling adventure, we sat under the shade of a tree. The small waves slowly tumbling over were relaxing and calming.
Snorkeling Pemuteran Bio Rock
Snorkeling in Pemuteran is the most popular thing to do during your visit. And for this, Pemuteran beach offers an ideal and somewhat unique snorkeling experience.
Just off the bay, Bio Rock, a coral growth project has been set up. This is actually the largest conservation project in the world.
Being quite a wimp in open water so wasn’t sure how far out this project would be. But Bio Rock is just a few metres away, within a few minutes we were already above the project. Steel structures are placed on the ocean bed. Large and small. The larger structures seemed to be where life had flourished most.
Fish swam around through the maze of steel works and large blue starfish were scattered everywhere.
Going further out, currents of cold water came along, marine life got bigger and better. Along the deeper waters came also bigger fish. Surprisingly, the fish (about 4/5 feet) just stayed still in one place.
After around 2 hours of snorkeling in the midday sun, we decided to head back to shore. Bio Rock is huge and we could have easily spent a whole day.
Snorkelling here is a remarkable experience and one of the best things to do in Pemuteran.
Tip: Masks and snorkel are available for rent at Pemuteran beach. We paid 40k IDR (2.85 USD) for keeping these for 2 hours.
Banyuwedang Hot Springs
Spending some time at a natural hot spring seems to have become a staple for any trip to Bali.
Given the hot year round temperatures, this may not seem the best of things to do. But try it out and I guarantee this will be a great experience.
Banyuwedang hot springs are around 15 minutes by car from Pemuteran’s main strip.
We decided to come here once the sun started to go down and the day cooled off. The surprised faces of the locals eventually turned into a smile. Sometimes a little giggle by the younger teen. Being the only western faces, we were the odd ones out.
Banyuwedang is basically a large pool fed by natural hot water. Hints of sulphur can be smelt in the water. Having sulphur in a hot spring may not seem like a good thing, but in fact is what makes all the difference.
Small doses of sulphur are known to be a natural remedy for body aches and pains. And are also a natural muscle and body relaxant.
On this I surely agree. After a few minutes in the pool I felt like I had the best one hour massage. You get that feeling right, were you’re so relieved that you get a sense of drowsiness.
The entrance fee for foreigners is 20k IDR (1.40 USD) per person.
Sumberkima Hill provides an amazing viewpoint and an unexpected surprise on our first day in and around Pemuteran.
The hill was 10 minutes walk from our accommodation. Having said that, the hut complex we stayed in was a 10 minute drive from Pemuteran’s main strip. Thus you will need some transport if lodging along Pemuteran’s more touristic area.
Being on higher ground offered a view of the surrounding area. But not only. From here you can also see East Java and its mountainous land and if coming for sunset, the view gets even better.
As the sun starts to set, different hues in the sky unfold. A silhouette of the volcano complex around Ijen and Mount Baluran appears on the not so distant land.
This really is a place to enjoy an incredible sunset while in Pemuteran.
The view can be seen from most of the hill though we decided to hike further up. This turned out to be a bit of a challenge as on the first attempt we passed through the grass with little thorns. Eventually found a small passage and got to the highest point from there.
Another option is to grab a drink at Sumberkima Hill Retreat. The view will be just as good as from the higher up mountain. Prices may be to the higher end, but for this view that will definitely be acceptable.
From Bali to Java Island
A great addition to your Bali itinerary would be making a trip over to Java and exploring the eastern part of this amazing island. East Java is home to some of Indonesia’s iconic landmarks such as Mount Bromo, Ijen and Tumpak Sewu.
Bali and Java are really close and you can easily get there by ferry. The ferry harbour to East Java is 45 minutes from Pemuteran and the crossing time is just 30 minutes. And with ferries running every 1/2 hour, you could easily reach the island in 2 hours. This guide, East Java Best Destinations, Route & Transport, suggests a route through East Java’s highlights which in this case can be executed in reverse starting from Banyuwangi as your base for hiking Ijen.
Hindu temple Pura Melanting is another place worth considering on your trip to Pemuteran.
The beautiful temple is set atop a small hill in an isolated area. Thus, the peaceful and serene atmosphere in the colourful temple offers a sense of holiness that is usually lost in other popular sacred buildings around Bali.
Surrounding the large parking area, just outside the temple are a number of warungs. We opted to have a spicy Indonesian breakfast. Nasi campur and Bakso. A flamed mouth and a bill of under 4 USD later, we were at the entrance.
Entrance is free but they do ask for a small donation which is only acceptable. A sarong will also be provided for free.
Off the coast, further west from Pemuteran Bay, Menjangan Island is definitely the highlight of any trip to this northern laid back village.
Apart from deer that call Menjangan home, the island is uninhabited. A few shrines and temple offered to the gods are dotted around the island.
You could spend some time exploring this little piece of land. Rather than what is on land, it is what lies beneath the crystalline waters that draws much attention.
The clear water around Menjangan Island thrive with marine life. Colourful corals and fish surround the island’s waters and you may even come across sharks or turtles.
Diving and snorkeling trips can be organized from the main strip. You’ll come across quite a few options. We suggest checking out Sea Rovers. With a review score of 5/5, this is best reviewed organiser in the area.
Pemuteran Bay Festival
Each year, Pemuteran organises a festival right on the beach. The festival takes place over a few days and thus you’ll need to be here at the right time.
On our visit to Pemuteran the festival was on, between the 3rd and the 6th of October. But it seems that usually the festival is in December.
Stalls of nearby restaurants and a large stage are set up directly on the beach. This is where live performances take places.
Beside the festival’s nightlife scene, daytime activities are also organized. These include beach cleanup, morning yoga and fishing tournaments.
Other Things Worth Considering while in Pemuteran
Trekking West Bali National Park
If you’re the adventurous traveler, trekking in West Bali National Park is a good option.
The National Park’s landscape varies from rain forest, dry savanna and some dense mangroves.
Cows and deer roam the park which is also home to wild boar and rarely encountered leopard cats.
We listed this as others things to do as we didn’t actually do this activity. But is still worth considering.
Guides and a park fee are obligatory. More information can be found at the park office at Cekik or Labuan Lanang.
Budget – Eliska Sari Bungalows
Eliska Sari is a 10 minute ride from Pemuteran bay. This is one of those accommodations that are rarely within reach when on a budget.
Newly built bungalows are lined up a hill and surrounded by beautiful leafy green plants.
We stayed here for 5 nights and the owner also invited us to a temple inauguration ceremony.
Mid range – Amertha Bali Villas
Depending on your budget Amerta Villas can be considered as a mix between mid to high range.
Built around a beautiful garden and set right on the beach, Amertha is a perfect pick for those who aren’t fond of wandering too far from the ocean.
Restaurant and spa are part of this stunning beach side resort.
High End – Sumberkima Hill Retreat
Sumberkima Hill Retreat is set on higher grounds and overlooks an incredible vista of ocean and the cluster of mountains on East Java.
Whether you choose a room or opt for the beautiful pool villa, this retreat will surely be a highlight of your visit to Pemuteran.
Don’t let the distance from the beach deter you, they also have a free shuttle service.
**Accommodation options are marked in yellow on map.
Best Restaurants in Pemuteran
Restaurants are concentrated all along the street that leads to Pemuteran beach. Thus chances are your accommodation will be close by.
Most restaurants offer a diverse menu of western and Indonesian food.
Given the Indonesian food was our favourite, we stuck to local cuisine.
Rare Angon Homestay ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Warung Tirta Sari ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Global Dive Lodges ⭐⭐⭐
We loved all these restaurants, stars just indicate how yummy the food is.
Restaurant options are marked in green on map.
Getting to Pemuteran from Ubud
Here we will list 2 great options of how to get the most out of your trip to Pemuteran.
The 2 options apply if you’re staying in South Bali or Ubud.
Seminyak, Kuta, Sanur, Ubud or even further down on the Bukit Peninsula, can all be combined with both these plans. The only downside is that depending on where you intend to leave, one option will be lengthier than the other.
Day Trip to the North of Bali
#1 Getting to Pemuteran Via Antosari
Journey duration is of 3 ½ hours from any mentioned location. Add extra time if leaving from Uluwatu or anywhere on the Bukit Peninsula.
This is the most scenic route option. Ask your driver to reach Pemuteran through Antosari, he’ll surely know what you mean.
Once you reach Antosari, beautiful views starts to unfold. Rice fields starts to pop out of every corner.
The highlands is where everything opens up. Charming houses built on higher ground overlook the verdant, tumbling fields.
Air is fresh and cleaner while traffic is something left for the busier parts of Bali.
This is definitely one of Bali’s hidden secrets.
#2 Day Trip to North Bali including things to do on the way
With this option you will get a chance to combine sightseeing spots along the way.
This route is not as scenic as option 1. To compensate for that you’ll get a chance to visit, a temple by a lake, never ending rice terraces and popular waterfalls.
This option is best if leaving from Ubud where travel time will be 3 hours. Travel time will increase depending on how many sights you intend visiting.
With just a short deviation off your route, you can combine any of the following.
North Bali Highlights
- Jatiluwih Rice Terraces.
If you’ve been to Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Ubud and were impressed, think again, these Jatiluwih rice fields will blow you away.
- Nungnung Waterfall
Nungnung is one of Bali’s highest and most stunning falls. The main draw here would be that although impressive, this fall doesn’t get much attention. Thus there’s a chance you be among a few other visitors. Or better yet, you’ll have the place all to yourself.
- Ulun Danu Temple
Ulun Danu isn’t the average Balinese temple. This temple is built on a lake nestled within the mountains. Pretty gardens with colourful flowers and shady trees surround this picturesque temple.
- Handara Bali Gate
Just a few minutes after Ulun Danu Temple, you will pass by Handara Bali Gate. This is one of Bali’s up and coming popular Instagram spots. So there is a chance you won’t be alone here.
- Git Git waterfalls
Around Git Git area there are a few waterfalls, so you might just want to stick to one of these. If you asked us, the best fall would be Git Git Twin Waterfall. All waterfalls are unique and what we loved most about this was the 2 falls crashing in each other from opposite directions.
Ulun Danu Temple, Handara Bali Gate and Git Git are along the way.
Jatiluwih Rice Terraces and Nung Nung Waterfall are both out of the way.
If thinking about combining all, consider that travel time increases significantly. A 3 hour journey from Ubud will be 5 ½ hours. That is just travel time and you need to top that with time spent at each attraction.
North Bali Itinerary in detail
From Ubud or Kuta to Jatiluwih Rice Terraces. Take a coffee or cold drink and stroll around the beautiful view.
From here, head to Ulun Danu Temple and later stop at Handara Bali Gate.
Next up Git Git Twin Waterfall. You will need to climb down a flight of stairs to reach the waterfall but isn’t too much of a challenge.
Then continue along the coast to Pemuteran.
Travel time for this will be around 4 ½ hours, add 1 ½ hours at each spot. That brings the time to around 10 hours.
You will have a full day of activities ahead of you and to compensate for this you will visit some of Bali’s unique highlights.
How To Do this Trip to the North of Bali
Best option to combine this trip is hire a driver for the whole day. A driver for 10 hours will cost around 45 USD. You’ll need to top up that amount to cover the cost of the journey back. This is only fair.
For best prices check online. Most companies charge 25 USD for the first 5 hours and 4 USD for each extra hour.
Pemuteran Map (+ Other North Bali Attractions)
Click on the right most button to enlarge the map, get the map legend and search the map.
Let us know your thoughts!
Is Pemuteran worth a visit? Would you consider heading to the North on your next visit to Bali? We would like to hear from you in the comments below.
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