The province of Bali in Indonesia is already well-known throughout the world as a beautiful holiday destination, with its perfect beaches and stunning natural scenery drawing hundreds of visitors annually. Tourism accounts for 80% of the local economy, and every effort is made to bring creature comforts to the island to cater to foreign guests. However, despite its rapid development, there are still areas in Bali that are unknown to tourists. From unspoiled waterfalls to mysterious canyons, below are some of the locals’ best-kept secret attractions in the area:
- Go Dolphin-Watching at Lovina
This laid back resort town located along the northern coast of Bali is about a 3-hour drive away from Ngurah Rai airport, and it feels just a touch more isolated than main tourist hubs Kuta or Seminyak. Volcanic sand lines the beaches in hues of grey and black, and the waters are relatively calmer in the area. It’s what draws pods of bottle-nosed dolphins to its coast; you can catch a glimpse of them if you’re willing to get up early enough for the boat that takes you to where the creatures tend to converge. Aside from bottle-nosed dolphins, you may spot other species such as the spinner dolphin, distinguishable by its darker skin.
- Take a Dip in a Natural Jacuzzi at Pantai Tegal Wangi
This scenic hidden beach is only some 40 minutes away from Kuta, and once you see it, you’ll immediately wonder why it isn’t more popular. There are plenty of things to do here. Appreciate the gorgeous panoramic view from atop the cliffs before descending down some stairs to get to the powdery white sand beach below. You can also marvel at the amazing rock formations that surround this cove before settling into one of the naturally-formed Jacuzzi-like dipping pools that can be found during low tide. Try to visit between 4 and 6 in the afternoon/early evening for the best experience. The beach is not equipped with many facilities nor staffed with a lifeguard, so come prepared. We recommend staying in a guest house close to the area such as Kawali Homestay, located in the heart of nearby Kuta.
- Explore the Hidden Canyon of Sukawati
There’s an air of mysticism that surrounds this canyon, which can only be reached by hiking through dense jungle. The spot is a sacred area for the Balinese and the trek will take roughly 3 hours; it is highly recommended to take a guide with you, as the path can be tricky and difficult to traverse in certain areas. The ravine was formed over time by the river rushing through it, and you may be able to spot faces and animal shapes on the canyon’s walls as you make your way through. This is an incredibly physically demanding activity, which tends to turn away visitors who aren’t as fit or up to the challenge. If you happen to have a taste for adventure, though, the experience is well worth the effort. Check it out by inquiring after “Hidden Canyon Beji Guwang” in the town of Sukawati in Gianyar.
- Marvel at the Kanto Lampo Waterfall
Locals consider this waterfall a blessing—it only started flowing through the area in 2015, after an intense prayer ceremony. As an attraction that didn’t used to exist, there is little information about the place in guidebooks or online; as a result, it is less crowded than some of the other waterfalls in Bali. Nevertheless, it generates a considerable amount of income for Beng, the town that it is connected to. This veritable wall of free-flowing water is a great day trip destination, especially if you’re based out of Ubud for your holiday. The waterfall is a mere half-hour’s drive away from the upland town. Tranquil and picturesque, come out early if you wish to avoid the rush.
- Discover Bali’s Past at Klungkung Palace
Klungkung, also known as Semarapura, is a town in East Bali that sees plenty of guests passing through on their way to Ubud. Stopping and staying for a few hours rewards you with a cultural experience like no other; the town is of great significance historically and culturally and is where Klungkung Palace and its Royal Courts of Justice are located. Built in the 17th century by a prince named Dewa AgungJambe I, much of the palace was destroyed by the invading Dutch forces, though the courts of justice remain. The structures are an excellent showcase of traditional Balinese architecture: stone gargoyles with angry faces stand guard at the property, and intricately engraved pillars hold up ceilings adorned with works of art portraying the rich history of Bali. The entire complex takes about an hour to explore and shouldn’t take too much out of your day, so be sure to drop by.
If you’re the kind of tourist who enjoy schoosing less-travelled roads, make sure to add these 5 spots to your Bali itinerary. While you can’t exactly expect to have these areas all to yourself during your visit, you can be sure that you won’t have to fight crowds in order to bask in the views of these historical, cultural, and natural destinations.