For a real unbeaten path experience, Nusa Penida is a great option as it offers the best of nature and culture but still has limited tourism activity. There are some mystical temples here such as Goa Giri Putri which is located in a limestone cave where you can meditate in absolute tranquility.
Nusa Penida is located only 30 minutes from Nusa Dua and has a large local population, with very few tourists but still many things to explore. Besides the temples, you can also check out the diving spots here to catch a glimpse of sunfish and manta rays, visit the 200-meter high cliffs with the most incredible panoramic views or rent a bike to explore the isolated beaches. The only thing about this place is there isn’t a lot of accommodation options so it’s only good for day trips, though the proximity to Bali makes it easy to do so!
On the eastern coast, you will find Padangbai which is one of Bali’s less-explored beaches but is a great spot for snorkeling and diving. This sleepy town isn’t crowded with tourists but has idyllic stretches of beaches, fishing villages and hidden spots that are worth checking out for those craving for an adventure. While you might often be the only foreigner in this coastal village, you will find amazing diving spots here or as a base to explore other diving sites east of Bali.
If you think the rice terraces in Tegalalang are breathtaking, wait till you see the ones in Jatiluwih. It is ranked as among the largest rice terraces in Bali and stretches for as far as the eye can see. This landscape is not only once a UNESCO Cultural Heritage site candidate, it is also a beautiful area to get away from the crowd and has much to explore.
After walking around the extensive rice plantations and checking the magnificent view, you can explore the countryside villages and rivers or try out an ATV ride. The cool highlands make for an amazing backdrop for photos and you don’t have to worry about being photobombed by other people!
North of Bali, you will find Lovina Beach which is known for its dolphin watching tours. This is the only place in Bali that you can catch a glimpse of these cheeky sea creatures, but is not the only thing you can do in Lovina! With beautiful black sand shores, watching the sunrise and sunset in Lovina Beach is remarkable and should be an experience not to be missed in Bali.
Further away from the beach, you can also visit the Buddhist temple as well as vineyards and the Banjar Hot Springs. Relax and soak in this local hot spring and let your stresses melt away before heading to other untapped areas nearby like Munduk or Pemuteran where you can continue with more exploring.
About 3 hours away from the airport in Bali, you will find Amed for an authentic Indonesian experience. The vibe here is a lot more laid-back than other busy areas in Bali and driving around in a motorbike to explore the town and villages is highly recommended! In fact, Amed is just like the rest of Bali with beautiful beaches, rice terraces, coastal roads, hiking trails and diving spots, except a lot less crowded.
Nearby Amed, you will find Taman Tirta Gangga, a water palace that is a must do in Bali. Though it is not as popular given its distance from the likes of Kuta and Legian, Tirta Gangga features traditional Balinese sculptures and large water basins. This palace is also well maintained and belongs to the Karangasem royal family. The tranquility of this place is unparalleled and you will even see the majestic Mount Agung in the background!
If these places are too far for you, Nusa Dua located east of Bali is also a great place to stay if you want to be away from the madding crowd. The beach here is quieter and the calmer waves are perfect for water sports. Check out Club Med Bali for an all-inclusive stay that includes premium accommodation, great hospitality and extensive offerings of activities. Some of these activities include windsurfing, archery, sunset cruise and cooking lessons, amongst others!