Get away from the chaotic bustle of Denpasar and the garish tourist resort strips, and Bali’s natural beauty isn’t hard to find. But some of its most spectacular geological wonders will take a little more effort to uncover. Some of them in fact, are rarely visited at all.
To experience the untouched splendour of the Island of the Gods at its finest, hook up with an experienced local guide, or arrange your own transport. Venture off the well-worn tourist trail and uncover some of these extraordinary sights!
1. Atuh Beach, Nusa Penida
Nusa Penida is home to some of Bali’s most beautiful, secluded beaches including Atuh Beach on the island’s east coast. Looking out from the gorgeous, white sand crescent beach, you’ll see the dramatic surf-worn cliffs of Juntil Cape to the left, and on the right, the rock island of Labuan Ampuak with its striking, craggy peaks.
Getting there: First, make your way to Sanur Beach. From Sanur there are a number of boats journeying several times a day to Nusa Penida. Expect to pay anywhere from IDR 40,000 to 350,000 depending on the boat. You can also reach Nusa Penida by public ferry from the wharf at Padang Bai. A passenger ticket is IDR 31,000 each way. Alternatively, hire a scooter and brave the rough roads to Atuh Beach in the island’s south-east, or strike up a deal with a local driver.
2. The Real Treasure of Suluban Beach
Everyone knows Suluban Beach to be a surfers’ paradise, but Suluban Cave might just be the real treasure here. Looking almost like a movie set from the Pirates of the Caribbean series with its otherworldly glamour, Suluban Cave oozes both mystery and mystic.
Located directly under Uluwatu, the cave actually leads up to the beach near Uluwatu Temple, another incredible sea temple you should definitely visit too!
Getting There: Located at the Bukit Peninsula, Suluban Beach is connected to Kuta and Denpasar through Jimbaran by the busy Jalan Bypass Nusa Dua and this is the only route in, approximately 34 km from Denpasar.
3. Nothing like a Secret Getaway at the Angel’s Billabong
The Angel’s Billabong is one of Nusa Penida’s secret getaways in the form of a marvelous natural infinity pool. With its emerald hues and crystalline waters, the Angel’s Billabong is the epitome of stunning. And apparently, the green floors of this particular infinity pool are so comfortable to walk on (not slippery), it actually feels carpeted.Imagine that! We sure wish we were lounging around at Angel’s Billabong this very moment.
Address: Banjar Sumpang, Desa Bunga Mekar, Nusa Penida
Getting There: It’s not too far from Pasih Uwug (the broken sea). A half-kilometre walk from Manta Point to a nearby reef, climb down one of the sides of the edgy coral walls to swim in this surreal pool.
4. Sekumpul Waterfall
This hidden gem in the north of Bali is well worth the several hour drive from the main resorts, and the challenging walk from Sekumpul village down hundreds of steps and a river crossing. ‘Sekumpul’ actually means ‘group’, and during the rainy season, you’ll be greeted by a chain of up to seven falls. All equally impressive, scattered across the high cliffs and cascading down amid emerald green highland forests.
After the long trek to get here, the chance to bathe beneath the falls will be a relaxing experience that can only be had here – one that soothes mind, body and soul.
Getting There: Sekumpul is about a three hour, or 92km drive from the Kuta area. The long drive is best undertaken by a rental car with driver who can escort you to this not so easy to find hidden gem.
5. Soak in a ‘Jacuzzi’ on the Tegal Wangi Beach
Another wonder of nature that should not be missed – make your way to Tegal Wangi Beach. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by this gorgeous escape. Ever wanted to soak in your private tub with an amazing view of the ocean? Tegal Wangi Beach gives you exactly that.
With little holes on the shore filled with seawater fresh from the ocean – you can be sure to have a comfortable soak in your beachy ‘jacuzzi’. A romantic place to have a lovely date at; make sure to take lots of photos to commemorate the time spent with your loved one.
Address: Jalan Pura Tegalwangi, Badung, Jimbaran
Getting There: Walk down the hill from Pura Tegalwangi
6. Bukit Teletubbies on Nusa Penida
In the lush green interior of Nusa Penida, a cluster of unusually shaped, conical hills have been curiously bestowed (we’re not sure by who exactly) with the name Bukit ‘Teletubbies’.
Confused? The name is a reference to the rounded green hills that were home to the fuzzy aliens from the children’s television program. The best time to visit Bukit Teletubbies is during or just after the rainy season when the hills are a vivid green and most resemble the cutesy world of our gobbledegook speaking space critters.
Getting There: Reach Nusa Penida on your own via boat services from Sanur or Padang Bai. Once on the island, you can hire a motorcycle to take you to the Bukit Teletubbies. Ask for directions to the closest village, Julingan, in the far south of the island.
7. Catch the Magnificent Waterblow at Nusa Dua
Envision majestic Indian Ocean waves crashing against rock cliffs – have you ever seen a waterblow in person? Visit the hidden rock cliff in Nusa Dua to witness one of nature’s prettiest sights.
This natural phenomenon happens when waves hit the narrow space within the rock cliff where pressure builds, and water then blows up! And remember; be careful to keep a distance to avoid getting wet.
Address: Nusa Dua Beach, Semenanjung Nusa Dua, Badung, Bali 80517
Getting There: Located near Hotel Grand Hyatt, find the wide grass field, then follow the path to the waterblow entrance.
8. Picnic with a Twist (or a Slant)
There’s nothing better than a picnic at the secret paradise known as Bukit Asah Bugbug, Karangasem. This slanted hillside overlooks the ocean, giving you the perfect setting for a picnic with an interesting twist (or a slant)!
Yet another great romantic spot for lovers, this picnic spot is perfect for catching the sunrise – and panoramic views of the Indian Ocean, its coral reefs and small islands.
Address: Bukit Asah Sengkidu, Maggis, Kab. Karangasem 80811, Indonesia
Getting There: Walk down the hill from Pura Tegalwangi.
9. Mount Batur’s Volcanic Landscape, viewed from Pinggan village
Mount Batur (1,717m) is the most visited volcano in Bali, but most visitors usually join the tourist hordes at Kintamani village for views of the majestic fire-breather. For a view of Batur that’s arguably more spectacular, we suggest you head to the more isolated village of Pinggan. Here you can experience the fierce splendour of the active volcano in a more solitary, meditative setting.
Getting There: Most Mount Batur tours don’t stop at Pinggan village (which is why it makes it so gloriously uncrowded), so you’re best getting there on your own steam. Ubud is the nearest major tourist hub and Pinggan is about 45km, or an hour’s drive away.
10. Visit the Broken Sea – Pasih Uwug
Pasih Uwug, also known as the broken sea, is one unique attraction in Nusa Penida that happens to be a cool geological phenomenon. Why is it known as the broken sea? On first sight, you’ll see a natural arch created by the rock cliffs. The arch – or the hole in the rock cliff as some would say – actually used to be a cave!
The floor of the cave had collapsed, creating the arch we see today. The hole in the cliff has also allowed ocean waters to flow through – creating a gorgeous natural pool on the other side to marvel at, and even swim in!
Address: Jalan Batu Nunggul, Nusa Penida