Far beyond the nightclubs and hawkers of Kuta and Legian, outside the gated villas and resorts of Seminyak and Nusa Dua, the vibrant North and East coasts of Bali hold some of the island's best kept secrets. Bali is smaller than most travellers think - you can drive around the entire coast in one long day - so it does not mean travelling to the ends of the earth to experience Bali's 'off-the-beaten-track' resorts.
Bali's newest major development is the resort of Candidasa, a once-tranquil village offering varying accommodation, from basic, to five star resorts, and some good restaurants in between.
Far from the maddening crowd of Kuta, Candidasa has some fantastic natural attractions on it's doorstep. Just south of Candidasa, you will find a hidden cove in the village Padangbai know as The Blue Lagoon - home to some fantastic snorkelling, while the Bat Cave Temple of Goa Lawah is an 11th-century temple and home to thousands of fruit bats that hang on the the rock wall caves.
The pebble-clad beach of Tulamben is also home to some spectacular dive sites. Tulamben offers the best beach-entry scuba diving in all of Bali.
Head to the charming Tulamben village and enjoy the 3 iconic sites – the shipwreck of the USAT Liberty, Paradise Reef, and Drop Off. Further east are other dive sites, such as Alamanda Reef and Batu Kelebit.
Lovina is the collective name for a string of seven villages along the black-sand northern coast; diving, snorkelling and dolphin watching are the main activities, but perhaps above all else, this is an area in which to relax and take in the slow, traditional pace of life. Lovina is also one of the finest beach resorts in north Bali, only 2.5 hours from the hustle and bustle of the south, yet a world away.
An easy trek on boardwalks, over a small gorge and cool streams will see you arrive at the 40m cascade of the beautiful Gitgit Waterfall.
The north-west tip of Bali has some of the island's best scuba dive sites. Menjangan island, in West Bali National Park, is only a 3.5 hour drive from the airport, but a whole world away from the Bali most tourists get to know.
Located in the north-west of Bali, Menjangan is the gateway to West Bali National Park, which has a range of habitats, from savannah and mangroves, to volcanic mountains and coral islands. It’s home to over 160 species of flora and fauna, including bentang and endangered Bali Myna.
The Infinity Experience
Feel the burnShutterstock
Do go chasing waterfallsWikipedia
Soak it all up
Under the seaUSAT