The best way to explore Northern Bali is to arrange a private driver and tour guide through Bali Golden Tours, they have several sample itineraries which you can customise to include the sites you want to see. We opted for a slight variation on their Bali Dolphin Tour named for the best part of the day – the dolphins!
Being a morning person I think nothing of planning pre-sunrise wake ups on a holiday, why waste time sleeping?! Many of you (including my poor boyfriend) probably don’t agree that 3:30am is an acceptable time to get up on holiday but sunrises like this might will change your mind! Plus you can see several more amazing sites around Bali and still have the afternoon to sunbathe.
We departed with Bali Golden Tours for our whistle-stop tour of the North of Bali bright and early. As we were staying in Seminyak our journey to Lovina took around 2 hours so there’s plenty of time to catch some extra zzz’s enroute (they offer pick up from pretty much anywhere on the island so you can plan your tour into your schedule accordingly).
We arrived at Lovina beach as the day was starting to break and met our Captain who we hoped would find us some dolphins. Eagerly we climbed on board the outrigger and were soon off, sailing across the flat bay as the sky turned pink and the golden sun climbed up into the sky. Top tip: grab the seat closest to shore to sit at the front of the boat, although with only four of us onboard everyone had a great view!
Although the dolphins are the centrepiece of your morning, the sunrise itself is a sight to behold with the ethereal mist hanging over the volcanic hills set against the pink sky and golden sun. Make sure to have a quick look back towards the beach for an picture perfect moment.
We were joined by more and more outriggers as we headed out towards the opening of the bay and spotted the first pod of around 25 dolphins. They swam around near the front of our boat for a while in the soft dawn light. As the pod moved across the bay all the other outriggers followed them closely. Part of me felt it was a touch mean that over 100 boats were chasing the dolphins around the bay eager to catch a glimpse of these intelligent creatures however they were quite happy playing around in the waves.
Our Captain held back from joining the rush of boats instead searching and successfully finding a new pod of dolphins. We were the only boat around as they frolicked in the waves, jumping and spinning out of the water. It was amazing to watch, and I’m afraid my photos don’t quite do it justice as I could never quite guess where they would pop up again! The water was so clear that we could even see the dolphins swimming around below the boat. My excitement might be slightly biased as dolphins are one of my favourite animals, however everyone had massive smiles on their faces as we returned to shore following our private dolphin viewing.
Back on dry land with sand between our toes we headed to Banjar hot springs. The water here is believed to be holy and you can join the locals bathing in the warm water (don’t forget your swimwear and a towel). There are basic changing rooms and lockers located on site to use for a small fee; and also a small café if you’ve missed breakfast.
Our next stop was Gitgit waterfall, one of the most Instagrammed waterfalls in Bali. The waterfall is around 250m walk from the car park along a path flanked with tourist stalls selling various souvenirs, from wooden painted masks to beer holders and everything in between. You can pick up lovely carved dolphins here as the perfect souvenir to remember your incredible sunrise experience.
Set against the stunning backdrop of the Balinese canopy, the cascade of water provides a beautiful setting for a photo whilst the spray cools you off in the heat of the midday sun.
Our final destination as we continued back down South was Ulun Danu Beratan Temple. Make sure you have enough charge left in your camera as the temple sits on the edge of a caldera lake making it incredibly photogenic. The temple does tend to be reasonably busy with tourists however with its position near the lake you can still get that perfect shot without too many photobombers!
As this is a working temple you may be lucky enough to experience a traditional ceremony during your visit, with a full procession of colour.
As well as the main and most famous Hindu temple, the complex consists of multiple other smaller temples, including a beautiful Buddhist Stupa. The gardens are also well worth some time exploring, with stunning flower beds giving a burst of bright colours and creating an atmosphere of absolute serenity.
Before being dropped back at your hotel the inclusive tour includes a local lunch. There are two restaurant options, one being close to the temple and the other offering panoramic views of the rice fields – obviously opt for the one with the rice fields! The food offered is a local buffet which is nothing to write home about but good to stop your tummy rumbling.
We had a fantastic morning with Bali Golden Tours. Our driver was great, always helpful, willing to alter plans to suit our needs and offering to take photos of us together on multiple occasions. You could choose to explore Northern Bali on your own by arranging taxis between various locations, however the added value of your personal guide for the day and eliminating the stress of trying to find taxis in some more remote locations is more than worth the additional cost.
Find Out More…
Bali Golden Tours – http://www.baligoldentour.com