It takes commitment to visit Pemuteran, a fishing village on Bali’s northwest coast.
The four-hour drive from South Bali is a grueling one, through windy, mountainous tracks barely wide enough for an old Mini Cooper, let alone the huge trucks that career wildly around every second corner. And if you have kids with you, they’ll get car sick.
But if days lazing around on (mostly) empty beaches, seeing stress-melting views, and getting in hours of quality snorkeling are your thing, then it’s definitely worth the journey.
Life in Pemuteran is played out on the beach, a curved bay of volcanic sand backed by pretty, purple-hued mountains.
The shore is studded with rainbow-colored jukung (traditional fishing boats), and local kids come out to splash in the shallows come sunset.
The sea is calm and free of strong currents and waves, which affect most other parts of the island. The bay has the largest area of shallow coral reefs in Bali. Pemuteran community declared that the reefs are protected no-fishing zones, for eco-tourism use only. The Biorock project is the largest reef restoration in the world and won a special United Nations Award in 2012.
It’s a world away from South Bali.
The tourists are relatively few, and most opt for the laidback bungalow-style resorts that spill out onto the sand.
Taman Sari is the most popular option with its gorgeous tropical gardens and shady expanse of beach.
You’ll be thankful for that tree cover come lunchtime — the sun’s rays can be hot enough to give you head spins at this time of year.
A cooling paddle in the (mostly) glass-pane-clear water is the best way to simmer down. Or, you can hire a snorkel from one of the beach shacks and check out the bio rock project, which is apparently the largest community-driven reef restoration initiative in the world.
You’ll probably notice that Pemuteran is home to some pretty eco-minded residents. Well, it would be truly clear if it weren’t for the dreaded plastic pollution — if you live elsewhere on the island, you know the sight.
How to get there?
Pemuteran is located in the North West part of Bali, approximately 3,5 hours drive from the Airport in Denpasar. This route is one of the most interesting and scenic tours in Bali. Lovina is 45 minutes and it is about 20 minutes drive to Bali Barat National Park and Menjangan island diving site. The ferry to Java at Gilimanuk is 30 minutes.