Going on a Bali holiday this year? We at Skyscanner New Zealand are obsessed with Bali, because it merges all the things we love: sick surfing spots, atmospheric cultural sites, sinfully delicious food, and hella cheap flights. But we’re even more obsessed with finding the hidden gems in Bali.
We also know that there’s a reason people rave about the nightlife on Kuta Beach, the tailors in Denpasar, the swish hotels of Seminyak, and the beautiful temples of Pura Besakih and Tanah Lot. But if you’ve never booked some cheeky flights to Bali, or you’ve been a thousand times and are looking to get to know the less touristy side of the Balinese islands a bit better, than go off the beaten track and discover places like Amed, Sideman, and the Caningan Islands!
Here are our favourite Bali hidden gems:
1. The Caningan Islands
The Caningan Islands will quite literally take you off the beaten track — let’s just say, you may want to pad your scooter seat ;-). Hidden in plain sight, the Nusa Islands are only 20km away from the South East corner of Bali, and Nusa Caningan is located between Lombongan and Penida Island. You can explore the island in a day, using the tracks that criss-cross this tiny island. This hidden Bali gem makes our list because it has great (and mostly empty) surf breaks off the island, as well as crystal clear waters perfect for snorkelling and swimming. If you head down to the southeastern tip, you’ll end up in a cove with its own private beach, which screams desert island getaway.
This is a small town based in the north of Bali, approximately 800 metres above sea level. Unlike the busy Seminyak and Kuta, Munduk is a rural village town with only a few guesthouses and B&Bs, and is where you’ll find a traditional slice of Bali. For those looking for hidden gems in Bali that will give them an insight into island life outside of the brunch cafes and bars, this is where you’ll find it. Beyond the village town itself, you can find some truly special attractions, like the Tanah Barak and Melanting waterfalls, situated just north of the town, or in the southeast there are several lakes – including Pura Ulun Danu Bratan.
3. Perasi Beach
Okay, we’re stretching a little bit with Perasi Beach, as it’s not exactly undiscovered, but this virgin beach is still a joy to visit away from the hustle and bustle of the main towns. So what makes us think we can shove it in a list of hidden gems in Bali? Well, it’s flanked by two cliffs, so you’re *literally hidden* from both the busy townships and the ocean winds.
Sideman is about a 45 minute drive from Ubud, and of all the hidden gems in Bali, the star of this place is without a doubt the soaring Mount Agung, the island’s highest mountain. Verdant rice fields, forested hills, and the rising volcano will make you feel as if you’ve stepped out of a holiday and into an adventure. Great for finding challenging hikes, and beginner trails, as well as trying out rafting down the Telega Waja River. There are also some fantastic restaurants in this area offering sweeping views, and some truly lovely places to stay. Just make sure you check Sideman out before it becomes the next big thing.
Amed is a newbie compared to Seminyak and Denpasar, and because of the island’s popularity it is getting harder and harder to find those beachy hidden gems in Bali. There are some beautiful black beaches here, and some world-class diving sites that you can explore. Added to that, this is another excellent place to stay in Bali if you want to fill your Instagram feed with Mount Agung beauty shots. Climb up Pura Lembuyang, a traditional white temple located in the hills, for some insane views of the nearby volcano Mt Ugang.
6. Menjangan Island, West Bali National Park
Home to lush rainforests, mangrove swamps and manageable mountains (ALL HAIL MANAGEABLE MOUNTAINS), this is where you can get your jungle fever on. The park’s located on an outcrop of Bali Island, and it stretches onto Menjangan Island. We think it’s weird more people don’t know about this particular Bali hidden gem, since it has beautiful waters for snorkelling, plenty of beaches to relax on, and unbelievably: deer roaming round the island (oh yeah, it’s also known as ‘Deer Island’).
Fancy zoning out completely? Pekutatan is one of the last remaining resorts where you can feel like you’re in the real Bali– no street vendors, no bars. In fact, it’s miles away from anything, but the picturesque coast will be more than enough to entice you. The rocks on the beach were carved out by lava thousands of years ago, and the feeling here is really powerful. This is your true-blue Bali hidden gem, and one of those places that’ll put you squarely between a rock and a hard place: do you #humblebrag like crazy and show off the place? Or do you keep it to yourself? Only time and a cheap flight to Bali will give you your answer…
Looking to find your own hidden gems in Bali? You can find flights, hotels, and car hire options online with Skyscanner New Zealand’s website, or with our sweet little app. Book your flights, and a stay all with a swipe of your thumb, and get researching: you’ve got Bali hidden gems to find.