Bali is one of the world’s most popular travel destinations, with hundreds of thousands of tourists flooding the island every year. Unsurprisingly, many areas in Bali (especially in the south) have become crowded as a result. It may seem that finding an ‘authentic’ travel experience in Bali is impossible, but you couldn’t be further from the truth!
The fact is, much of Bali remains unexplored by most visitors to the island. The majority of travellers beeline for the beaches of Seminyak and the temples around Ubud, but there’s so much more to see in Bali!
Once you get out of the southern regions of the island, you’ll find that the crowds thin and the atmosphere relaxes. There are dozens of hidden gems in these lesser-explored areas – but how can you find them?
Read on for things to see in Bali off the beaten track, for a unique travel experience that’s yours and yours alone!
Immerse yourself in greenery at the Jatiluwih Rice Terraces
Where? Jatiluwih (Tabanan regency)
The Jatiluwih Rice Terraces are a thoroughly underappreciated example of Bali’s incredible natural beauty. Despite being among the largest in Bali, these spectacular green lands are far less frequently visited than the insanely popular Tegalalang Rice Terraces. Fortunately for you, this means you can enjoy ultimate serenity during your visit!
So if the Jatiluwih Terraces are so sensational, what keeps people away? Like most of the best travel destinations, they’re kind of a pain in the ass to get to.
Located in the middle of the island, Jatiluwih is only accessible by taxi, car, or motorbike. Prepare for a long drive, as it takes a while to reach from most places in Bali! Once you get there, however, you can lose yourself wandering along the many paths and soaking in the serenity of the lush greenery.
Be blown away by the Nusa Dua Water Blow
Where? Nusa Dua
Travel to the very tip of the Nusa Dua peninsula to check out Water Blow; a naturally formed blow hole in the rock. This narrow rock formation channels the incoming waves into a huge cascade that crashes and bursts upwards with incredible force.
Watch the blowhole erupt and experience the awesome power of nature with a day trip to this lesser-visited beauty spot in Bali!
Seek out the abandoned Boeing 737s
Where? Kuta & Bukit Peninsula
Bali is hiding a weird secret; dotted around the islands are several abandoned aircraft, the coolest of which are the Boeing 737s. These are located in Kuta and on the Bukit Peninsula (not far from Uluwatu) and are an edgy destination for a day spent off the beaten path.
The best way to reach either aircraft is by motorbike or taxi. Rusted and dilapidated, the craft lie abandoned in fields and make for a quirky day trip in Bali (not to mention some awesome holiday snaps).
But where did the aircraft come from?
No one knows exactly how the aircraft came to be here, but there are a few theories. The strongest of these is that the owner bought the jets with the intention of converting them into tourist-friendly restaurants… but ran out of money before the project was complete.
Check out Pura Paluang (the car temple)
Where? Nusa Penida
This truly unique temple in Nusa Penida is definitely worth a look-in if you’re visiting the island. Situated on the southwestern coast, this kooky little temple feature shrines in the shape of (you guessed it) cars! With a VW Beetle and a jeep carved from stone, Pura Paluang is one-of-a-kind and a popular side-trip for visitors to Kelingking Beach.
So what’s the story behind the temple?
The truth is, no-one seems sure. The locals have no idea but claim that the temple was constructed long before cars came to Bali!
See the skulls of Trunyan Cemetary
Where? Trunyan Village (Kintamani regency)
For a truly unique cultural experience in Bali, check out the cemetery in Trunyan Village. Located on the shores of Lake Batur, the incredible scenery around the village is reason enough to visit. The unusual culture and traditions of the villagers, however, is what makes this place an absolute must-see!
The people in Trunyan have customs not practiced anywhere else in Bali, the most notable of which is their traditional funeral ritual. Rather than performing a burial or cremation, the people of Trunyan simply cover the dead with bamboo cages and cloth before leaving them to decompose. The nearby ancient Banyan tree is thought to emit a pleasant scent, masking the smell of the bodies.
Once the decomposition process is complete, the skull of the deceased is placed on the stone steps of a special altar.
This eerie yet fascinating shrine is only reachable by traditional boat. Interested travellers should be prepared to part with 750,000 IDR (around $50 USD) to cross the lake, but it’s worth every penny. The incredible views from the boat make for an unmissable experience in the heart of Bali’s natural beauty, and the cemetery is unforgettably interesting!
Marvel at the giant banyan tree
Where? Gesing Village (north Bali)
Go check out Bali’s biggest banyan in Gesing Village for an awe-inspiring (yet tranquil) day in nature. Banyan trees are considered sacred in Balinese culture and this particular specimen is especially revered for its incredible size. Standing 85 m high and with a diameter of 70 m, this colossal banyan is believed by locals to possess a spirit that gives the tree special powers.
The tree can be found near Pura Subak and Pura Pecalang and is thought to be over 700 years old!
The interlocking vines and branches of this magnificent tree have a unique beauty and the interlocking roots form a hollow space that you can actually walk through. Located in the north of Bali, Gesing Village is easily reachable by motorbike from Munduk Village. This secluded area is well off the beaten track in Bali, so you’re likely to have the place to yourself!
Admire the Tamblingan and Buyan Twin Lakes
Where? Bedugul (central Bali)
Biking between Bedugul and Munduk Village is an adventure in itself with winding, mountain roads and breathtaking views along the way.
Despite having some of the most spectacular scenery in Bali, this part of the island is rarely visited by tourists. Of course, this makes it even more special and a must-see if you happen to be in central Bali.
The highlight of this drive is undoubtedly the Twin Lakes. These huge and perfectly smooth bodies of water occupy the caldera of the now extinct Bedugal volcano and are overlooked by viewpoints high above. Make a day of it and stop off at the many spectacular waterfalls in the surrounding area!
Chill at Balian Beach
Where? Balian (Tabanan regency)
After all that exploring, it’s time for a relaxed day at the beach. But don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you have to rejoin the crowds of Kuta!
For a quieter and more chilled out day beachside, check out Balian Beach in the Tabanan regency of Bali. The peaceful, coastal village of Balian is home to an absolutely stunning black sand beach that rarely gets busy, even during Bali’s high season. Located on the eastern coast of Bali, this secluded paradise is just an hours drive north of Kuta.
Balian beach is especially famous for its multiple surf breaks and tranquil atmosphere. Come here to read, relax, practice yoga, meditate, or catch some waves, for an idyllic day at one of Bali’s most incredible undiscovered beaches!