Next time you come to Bali why not consider seeing a bit more of the island and plan a road trip, maybe it’s a quick three day sprint or a slower paced week of travel that will fit into your Bali holiday itinerary. Of course you can hire a car and driver or be your own chauffeur and experience your own flexible adventure. Some notable locations to consider stopping at for a night or two are Candi Dasa, Amed, Lovina, Pemuteran, Medewi, Munduk and Bedugul. And before embarking on your adventure make sure to have a reliable vehicle, the proper driving permits and an up to date map.
When it comes to choosing the right vehicle for your road trip you should consider how many designated drivers there will be and if everyone is comfortable with a manual or automatic transmission, be aware on your travels you may encounter some steep gradients depending on your exact route. For a manual car expect to pay around $30 Aud per day and around $35 Aud for an automatic, or if you have the courage to make the journey on a scooter you can pick up one up for $5-$8 Aud per day. Make sure you take the optional insurance for your mode of transport and check the tires and make sure the registration is up to date.
The long arm of the law is ever present on the roads around Bali, with eagle eyed officers and sudden road blocks, ever seeking the opportunity to extract some funds from the naïve tourist. Before you leave home attain an international driving license, it’s important to remember that if you do have an accident whilst not carrying a valid license you will have issues with your insurance and the local police. If you do decide to go by scooter/motor bike, make sure to wear a helmet it will help to ensure you don’t attract unwanted attention from the police and may save your life. It’s not a bad idea to have $10 Aud in local currency in your wallet just in case you do get pulled over, make sure to tuck the rest of your cash in a secret place.
Make sure you have an up to date map of the entire island in relevant detail even if you are using a smart phone as a navigational device. Sometimes phone signal reception will be inconsistent and depending on where you go some inaccuracies may occur between actual roads and what appears on your devices display screen. Even if you don’t have a local sim card and pre-paid data you can use your phones GPS as a guide after inputting a pre selected route prior to leaving a wi-fi serviced location. If you are travelling by car it’s a good idea to enlist a navigator for each leg of the journey. Make sure they sit up the front; this will allow the other passengers to relax and act as spotters to point out landmarks, sights and scenes that may require further investigation.
Candi Dasa may be a suitable port of call for your first destination, located approximately 90 minutes drive from Sanur toward the East Coast, you can take a longer inland route encompassing parts of Gianyar and Klungkung where you will encounter beautiful rice terraces and tropical river crossings. Make sure to make a stopover at the Blue Lagoon, located at the seaside port town of Padang Bai just 30 minutes short of Candi Dasa. Maybe a spot of lunch is in order here, an array of fresh seafood eateries are on hand here. Candi Dasa offers some great snorkeling and Pantai Putih is a popular Beach to visit.
Another 90 minutes of travel further north will bring you to the volcanic seaside landscape of Amed. Famous for great snorkeling and some well known scuba dive sites, with traditional outrigger fishing boats lining the black sand beaches. Jemeluk Beach is a calm bay offering some of the best snorkeling conditions or dive at the Japanese Shipwreck in Lipah Bay.
After Amed, your next stops may be Tulamben and Singaraja as you make your way toward the popular tourist village of Lovina. Tulamben is on the way, another coastal village well known for the very popular dive site of the sunken American war ship, USAT Liberty. Lovina is famous as the place to dive with the dolphins in their natural environment. The Banjar Hot Springs are approximately 10kms to the west of Lovina, offering a therapeutic bathing experience to soothe any stiff muscles from your travels.
Pemuteran will be your next destination and is home to the West Bali National Park and a small port for tourists heading out to Menjangan Island where you will encounter an abundance of tropical marine life. There are plenty of accommodation options here from beautiful villas to affordable home-stays. You can trek through the jungle of the National Park here where you will encounter troops of the macaque monkey population.
Medewi is next on the list; on the way you will pass the port at Gilimanuk where you can catch the ferry across to the mainland of East Java and the port of Banyuwangi. If you’re into surfing then Medewi will provide you with some great waves for surfers of all levels. The beaches are a mix of black boulders and sand with no reef to cut your feet on. From here it’s only a two hour drive back to the tourist masses of Seminyak, Legian and Kuta. A Bali road trip is guaranteed to be a memorable adventure and provide you with a unique insight into Balinese culture, its people and this beautiful island.
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