Nope, we’re not talking about Ubud. Go further north and bravely go where most tourist have never gone before, beyond the overly crowded beaches and heavily westernized restaurants of Southern Bali to the real Bali blessed with volcanoes, hot springs, hidden beaches, and rural villages. And here are the top 5 things to do once you get there.
- Go Dolphin Watching in Lovina
Lovina – which is around 2.5 hour drive away from Ubud – is actually a string of small villages on the north coastline of Bali. Three species of dolphins roams free here ; the most commonly spotted spinner, spotted, and bottlenose. Getting up close and personal with these beautiful and intelligent creatures is definitely an experience worth having. Hire a traditional motor boat for around $5-10 per person and head out at dawn. There will be about a hundred other boats to accompany you, but no worries – the dolphins are used to the early morning routine and playfully gather and peek above the water despite the crowd. Enjoy the breathtaking over-the-water sunrise while you wait, and hung back when other boats begin to make way for the shore. Once there are fewer boats around and the sun warms the seawater, you can jump in and swim with the dolphins. If you go around March, you might also catch a glimpse of humpbacked whales.
- Enjoy the Hot Springs
Who would’ve thought immersing yourself in hot water in a tropical climate could be such a bliss? Visit Banjar Hot Springs and experience it yourself. The local comes here because they believe the water has holy healing powers. You might shrug off such mysticism as nonsense, but you won’t be able to deny that healthy glow you get after standing under the three intricately carved water spouts and letting the water pressure massage your head and shoulders. Come early before 9 am while the air is still cool and have the springs to yourselves. Do be respectful when you visit and try to remain moderately well covered, or you can expect a lot of stares
- Marvel at Gitgit Waterfall
This 40 meter high waterfall is probably the most popular one in Bali so do expect some crowd, especially if you visit between November and March when the rainy season allows the water to run full speed. If you have the time, make the extra effort to get to Sekumpul Falls, 2 kms further out. The walk can be a little treacherous, with steep steps and slippery stones, but a guide isn’t necessary. Just take your time and be careful. At the end of your adventurous trekking, you will be rewarded by the impressive seven tiered waterfall.
- Get an Adrenaline Rush while Canyoning
Since you’ve made it to Gitgit, why stop at taking pictures from afar when you can splash around and get the full experience? This ultimate outdoor adventure and sport use a variety of techniques that may include walking, abseiling, jumping, sliding down natural slopes and swimming in white water for aquatic canyons. And of course discover beautiful and hidden place at the heart of Balinese nature.
- Just get lost
Rent a motorbike or a car and just drive around the villages and try some of the back roads. You will be surprised at what you can see along the way. You’ll probably run into a marriage or cremation ceremony somewhere, where people will invite you to join if you are bold enough to step towards them. Try one of the warungs in the villages and eat and drink like the locals do. They might not be as fluent in English as their Southern relatives, but the warmth of their genuine hospitality makes mere language barrier irrelevant.