North Bali is the remote, quiet side of the island with black sand beaches and traditional fishing villages little changed by tourism. It is, however, very different to the South of the island, and the dry, stark scenery here contradicts many people's image of a lush and tropical Bali. Before committing to a stay here be sure you understand this very different face of the island.
The mountain runs close to the sea along most of North Bali, leaving only a narrow strip of flat land for agriculture, and narrow beaches, before rising steeply. The mountain also casts a rain shadow over this narrow shelf of land, leaving it stark, brown dry for much of the year. The entire atmosphere here is very different to that of the lush green on the other side of the mountain. The villages here also appear to be poorer.
The beaches are home to numerous fishing communities that retain their traditional outrigger boats, but struggle to make a living from a barren ocean. Those who can turn to tourism.
There are two concentrations of beachfront accommodations on this shore, at Lovina, close to the ancient port and trading centre of Singharaja, and Pemuteran Beach, far in the West. Because the beach destinations are scattered widely, we have cut the coast into several enlarged maps to give greater detail.
Lovina has many budget accommodations plus a few 3-star beachfront hotels, while Pemuteran is a newer resort area, with fewer establishments, but more comfortable, up-market beach resorts up to 4-star status. Pemuteran is also a diving centre, and a more remote, relaxing beach getaway for many. For couples wanting to get far away this might provide a romantic beach hideaway.