Air Panas Banjar

Air Panas Banjar

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These hot springs percolate amid lush tropical plants. You can relax here for a few hours and have lunch at the restaurant, or even stay the night.

Eight fierce-faced carved stone naga (mythical snakelike creatures) pour water from a natural hot spring into the first bath, which then overflows (via the mouths of five more naga), into a second, larger pool. In a third pool, water pours from 3m-high spouts to give you a pummelling massage. The water is slightly sulphurous and pleasantly steamy (about 38°C). You must wear a swimsuit and you shouldn’t use soap in the pools, but you can use an adjacent outdoor shower.

Overlooking the baths, there’s a simple cafe.

From the bemo stop on the main road to the hot springs you can take an ojek (motorcycle that takes passengers); going back is a 2.4km downhill stroll.

Sangsit

Sangsit

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A few kilometres northeast of Singaraja you can see an excellent example of the colourful architectural style of north Bali. Sangsit’s Pura Beji is a temple for the subak (village association of rice-growers), dedicated to the goddess Dewi Sri, who looks after irrigated rice fields. The over-the-top sculptured panels along the front wall set the tone with cartoonlike demons and amazing naga (mythical snakelike creatures). The inside also has a variety of sculptures covering every available space. It’s 500m off the main road towards the coast.

The Pura Dalem (Temple of the Dead) shows scenes of punishment in the afterlife, and other humorous, sometimes erotic, pictures. You’ll find it in the rice fields, about 500m northeast of Pura Beji.

Buses and bemo going east from Singaraja’s Penarukan terminal will stop at Sangsit.

Yeh Sanih

Yeh Sanih

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On the coast road to the beach and diving towns of east Bali, Yeh Sanih (also called Air Sanih) is a hassle-free seaside spot. It’s named for its fresh-water springs, Air Sanih, which are channelled into large swimming pools before flowing into the sea. The pools are particularly picturesque at sunset, when throngs of locals bathe under blooming frangipani trees – most of the time they’re alive with frolicking kids. It’s about 15km east of Singaraja.

Pura Ponjok Batu has a commanding location between the sea and the road, some 7km east of Yeh Sanih. It has some very fine limestone carvings in the central temple area. Legend holds that it was built to provide some spiritual balance for Bali, what with all the temples in the south.

Between the springs and the temple, the road is often close to the sea. It’s probably Bali’s best stretch of pure coast driving, with waves crashing onto the breakwater and great views out to sea.

Completely out of character for the area is a place run by quite a character: Art Zoo is 5.7km east of Yeh Sanih on the Singaraja road. Symon, the irrepressible American artist (who also has a gallery in Ubud), owns this gallery and studio, which are fairly bursting with a creativity at times vibrant, exotic and erotic.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/yeh-sanih

Gitgit

Gitgit

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Around about 11km south of Singaraja, a well-signposted path goes 800m west from the main road to the touristy waterfall, Air Terjun Gitgit. The path is lined with souvenir stalls and guides to nowhere. The 40m waterfalls pound away and the mists are more refreshing than any air-con.

About 2km further up the hill, there’s a multi-tiered waterfall about 600m off the western side of the main road. The path crosses a narrow bridge and follows the river up past several small sets of waterfalls, through verdant jungle.

Regular bemo and minibuses between Denpasar and Singaraja stop at Gitgit. Gitgit is also a major stop on organised tours of central and north Bali.

Pemuteran

Pemuteran

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This oasis in the far northwest corner of Bali has a number of artful resorts set on a little dogbone-shaped bay that’s alive with local life such as kids playing soccer until dark. Pemuteran is the place to come for a real beach getaway. Most people dive or snorkel the underwater wonders at nearby Pulau Menjangan while here.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/pemuteran

Singaraja

Singaraja

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With a population of more than 120,000 people, Singaraja (which means ‘Lion King’ and somehow hasn’t caused Disney to demand licensing fees) is Bali’s second-largest city and the capital of Buleleng Regency, which covers much of the north. With its tree-lined streets, surviving Dutch colonial buildings and charmingly sleepy waterfront area north of Jl Erlangga, it’s worth exploring for a couple of hours. Most people stay in nearby Lovina.

Singaraja was the centre of Dutch power in Bali and remained the administrative centre for the Lesser Sunda Islands (Bali through to Timor) until 1953. It is one of the few places in Bali where there are visible traces of the Dutch period, as well as Chinese and Muslim influences. Today, Singaraja is a major educational and cultural centre, and its two university campuses provide the city with a substantial, and sometimes vocal, student population.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/singaraja

Lovina

Lovina

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‘Relaxed’ is how people most often describe Lovina and they are correct. This low-key, low-rise beach resort is the polar opposite of Kuta. Days are slow and so are the nights. The waves are calm, the beach is thin and over-amped attractions nil.

This is where you catch up on your journal and get plenty of R&R, finish a book or simply let one day disappear into the next.

While not arid, Lovina is also not a tropical jungle. It’s sun-drenched, with patches of shade from palm trees. A highlight every afternoon at fishing villages like Anturan is watching prahu (traditional outrigger canoes) being prepared for the night’s fishing; as sunset reddens the sky, the lights of the fishing boats appear as bright dots across the horizon.

The Lovina tourist area stretches over 8km, and consists of a string of coastal villages – Kaliasem, Kalibukbuk, Anturan, Tukad Mungga – collectively known as Lovina. The main focus is Kalibukbuk, 10.5km west of Singaraja and the heart of Lovina. Daytime traffic on the main road can be loud and constant.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/bali/lovina