Pemuteran is a remote corner of North Bali, known for offering some of the best diving and snorkelling on the island. Hugging the island’s northern coastline and flanking the West Bali National Park, Pemuteran is the ideal destination for intrepid travellers looking to discover Bali’s natural beauty, both on land and underwater.
Hidden off on Bali’s northwest coastline, Pemuteran is one of Bali’s most underrated sleeper hits. The remote area is by no means a tourist hotspot but it has become a favourite among divers and snorkelers and those looking to escape the touristic buzz of South Bali. Most travellers come here specifically for the diving and the area is dotted with tour operators offering guided trips around the area and over to the neighbouring Menjangan Island.
Pemuteran offers a decent selection of resorts and restaurants, but the area’s real charm comes from experiencing the real Bali – both the natural beauty and the rich cultural heritage. Development in Pemuteran has been moderate, allowing the area to maintain the feel of a local Balinese village. Pemuteran is framed by a pretty bay with calm waters safe for swimming. The village also works as a good home base for exploring the nearby West Bali National Park.
Planning Your Trip to Pemuteran
Pemuteran mainly attracts divers and other outdoor enthusiasts, with the best conditions for diving falling roughly between September – November. Our Pemuteran travel guide aims to give you the essential information, list the most popular things to do in Pemuteran, provide more information on locations you want to visit, and finish with some inspiration from our travel writers. For more information on events and festivals taking place throughout the year, check out our comprehensive Bali guide.
Bali is pleasant all year round! May through September has the best weather (drier, less humid) and is the best time for many activities including diving and surfing. November though March is rainy season – though rainfall is never excessive so you can do most activities except volcano treks.
The temperature ranges from 24 degrees to 31 degrees all year round.
Rainfall ranges from 0cm to 140cm during the wet season.
Things to See & Do in Pemuteran
Pemuteran is a destination for outdoor enthusiasts, whether that means heading out for a scuba diving adventure or venturing out to explore West Bali National Park. Hidden off the tourist trail, the area also allows travellers to soak up the feel of the real Bali.
Tours & Activities
Snorkelling and diving are the name of the game in Pemuteran. The area is known for offering some of the most vibrant marine life in Bali and also boasts some of the first local coral conservation projects. Though there is still a way to go for the previously destroyed coral to truly heal, the man-made structures make for a scenic snorkelling adventure. Many people heading to Pemuteran are actually looking to visit its famous neighbour: Menjangan Island. Nestled right off the Bali’s north-western coast, the island is known for offering some of the best diving sites in Bali.
The beauty of North Bali is not limited to its underwater wonders alone. Though the West Bali National Park is framed by beaches and clear blue waters, the lush green forests and stunning mountain range are also worth exploring. Home to over 100 species of wildlife, the most well-known resident of the park is the near-extinct Bali starling which is endemic to this region. To make the most of the experience, it’s best to hire a trusted local guide for the day.
Since much of your time in Pemuteran will likely be spent out and about in the great outdoors, you might find your muscles starting to ache (or perhaps you’ve just caught a nasty sunburn!) Luckily, there are some great local spas in the area offering Balinese massages and other soothing treatments at a fraction of the price you would pay in other parts of Bali.
Eating & Drinking in Pemuteran
Pemuteran’s dining scene caters to international travellers while still maintaining its local Balinese roots. Though the setting feels remote, pricing in beachfront venues is definitely tailored for foreign visitors rather than locals.
The beach is lined with resorts offering relaxed seaside dining with (near) Western pricing. Most venues offer a mix of local favourites and classic Western dishes. For more affordable and more authentically local dining, you’ll find a string of warungs and cafes lining the main road. For more information on local food, check out out comprehensive Bali guide.
Though the area does attract its share of intrepid travellers, Pemuteran still has the feel of a quiet Balinese town. As a result, there is basically no nightlife in Pemuteran. If you’re looking to break up your serene routine, it’s best to make the one-hour drive to Lovina where you’ll find more restaurants and live bands playing several nights a week.
Pemuteran is a seaside village, with most of the accommodation options nestled along the shoreline, offering prime access to the area’s famous snorkelling and diving. Most restaurants are also focused around this area, so you’ll have easy access to all the necessary facilities. Pemuteran is pierced by a highway connecting Gilimanuk harbour to the city of Singaraja – if you’re staying inland of this busy road frequented by trucks, you will need a car to reach the beach and cluster of restaurants.
Pemuteran & Surrounds
Pemuteran is located on the north coast of Bali, far removed from the trodden tourist trail. The seaside village is neighboured by the relaxed resort town of Lovina, followed by the busy regional capital, Singaraja. Driving down south from the north coast, the area is neighboured by two verdant regencies; Tabanan and Gianar, the latter of which is home to Ubud, the spiritual and cultural hub of Bali. Finally, though located a good three hours from Pemuteran, we simply must mention Amed which is another popular destination for divers visiting Bali, located on the island’s remote east coast.
While the area is more focused on homestays and resorts, Ministry of Villas does have a handful of villas within a short drive from Pemuteran. As the area is remote and remains off most travellers’ radar, prices tend to be significantly lower than other parts of Bali.
Villas in North Bali range from around USD $130 per night for a two-bedroom villa to over USD $1,000 per night for a five-bedroom luxury villa. All of our villas come with professionally trained staff. Many villas offer personalised services including: butlers, chefs, nannies, 24-hour security personnel, drivers and other services you won’t find in a hotel.
Bali’s only airport, Ngurah Rai International, is located in Tuban in South Bali about 130 kilometres from Pemuteran, making this one of the most remote areas on the island. The busy airport serves over 20 million passengers a year (most of them staying in southern parts of the island) and is well connected to international destinations. Direct flights to Bali are offered from Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Dubai and beyond. Airlines offering direct flights to Bali include Qantas, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Air Asia, Jetstar and more. There are currently some early plans to build a second airport in North Bali which would give a huge boost to tourism in and around Pemuteran.
You can also arrive in Bali by boat. The closest harbour is in Gilimanuk (about 50 minutes from Pemuteran) with ferry connections to the neighbouring island of Java. You can also reach Bali from Lombok which also has its own international airport, though the boats from Lombok arrive in Amed, Padangbai, Sanur, Serangan and Benoa which are all located a good 3-4 hours from Pemuteran.
Nationalities from over 160 countries are eligible for visa free entry into Indonesia. This means your passport will be stamped on arrival at the airport, allowing you to stay in the country for 30 days. For stays longer than 30 days, you will need to obtain a visa which will require further arrangements. Please note your passport must be valid for six months after your date of arrival in Indonesia.
There is no public transport to get you from the airport to your accommodation, so the only option is to use a private driver or a taxi. Ministry of Villas can arrange a chauffeur to greet you upon arrival and escort you to your villa. To avoid queuing at the immigration counter, we can also arrange a VIP airport service for guests. This service includes lounge access, allowing you to relax while waiting for your luggage.
Alternatively, there is a taxi stand located next to the information desk at the international arrival’s hall, after you exit the small duty free shop. This desk offers fixed price and metered fares across the island. The listed fares are updated frequently, making it very challenging to find reliable, up to date pricing before arriving. Besides the official taxi stand, there are countless independent taxi drivers floating around the arrivals hall, offering rides at varying rates. We recommend arranging your arrival transfers before landing in Bali, especially when heading to remote destinations like Pemuteran.
There are a few options for getting around Pemuteran, so we’ve ranked them according to our recommendations for first-time travellers.
To really explore the area, it’s best to hire a private car and driver. Ministry of Villas can arrange a private car and chauffeur for you. This little luxury is remarkably affordable and we can also help you arrange an itinerary, instructing your driver in advance.
Hiring a scooter can be a great way to explore the area. Though the traffic in North Bali is nothing compared to the congested streets of South Bali, you should only hop on a scooter if you have a valid international licence and previous experience driving. And of course, always wear a helmet! Scooter rentals usually start at around IDR 50,000 (USD $4) per day.
The smaller village roads make for a pleasant stroll but by large, the area is not walkable. Pemuteran is pierced by the main road connecting the city of Singaraja to the Gilimanuk harbour, so do take care if crossing or walking along this highway. Street lights are often non-existent so be sure to carry a torch if you’re out and about after dark.
Due to the area’s remote coordinates, there is no official metered taxi service in Pemuteran. Ride hailing apps are also not available in the area. There are, however, plenty of local drivers offering their services (you can also ask your accommodation to arrange this for you). Always make sure you agree on the price before accepting a ride.
The Balinese are among the friendliest and most welcoming people on the planet. This is all the more reason to return the favour and be respectful towards the local culture. Like anywhere else in the world, common sense and basic human decency goes a long way. For more detailed information about local culture, language and safety in Bali, check out our comprehensive Bali guide.
SHOPPING & BARGAINING
Bargaining can be an enjoyable part of shopping in Bali… or it can be frustrating! To ensure a smooth exchange first decide what the item is worth to you, then ask the seller for their price – your first offer can be from one-third to two-thirds of that price. They are likely to respond with a counteroffer, which you can either accept or negotiate further. If you don’t like the price and you walk away there is a good chance the vendor will call out to you with a better (usually final) price. Keep in mind, if an agreement is reached, you’re committed – you should buy if your offer is accepted.
In late 2018, Bali’s governor banned single use plastic on the island, meaning shops, boutiques and supermarkets no longer give out plastic bags. When out and about, it’s best to carry a reusable bag with you.
Most restaurants and villas include a service component already so tipping is not expected, but if service is good, an additional cash tip is appreciated.
Indonesia’s country code is +62. Data speeds of 3G and faster is the norm across Bali. Local prepaid SIM cards are sold everywhere; any modern mobile phone will work. As of 2018, all prepaid SIM cards need to be registered which you can usually do with a copy of your passport directly at the shop where you purchase your SIM card. Prepaid SIM cards come loaded with pulsa (credit) or mobile data which you can later easily top up at other outlets. Most if not all minimarts and local phone shops can top off your SIM card when needed. Most villas provide broadband Internet and free Wi-Fi is common in cafes, restaurants, hotels and shopping malls.
Health & Safety
It’s important to note that compared to many places in the world, Bali is fairly safe. There have been some high-profile cases of visitors being injured or killed on Bali, but in many cases these tragedies have been inflamed by media sensationalism.
Many of Bali’s beaches are subject to heavy surf and strong currents. Be careful when swimming over coral and never walk on it. It can be very sharp and coral cuts are easily infected. In addition, you are damaging a fragile environment. Lastly, water pollution is a problem in busy neighbourhoods. Avoid swimming near open streams flowing into the sea as they are often contaminated by run-off from built-up areas.
Violent crime is uncommon in Bali, however bag-snatching from motorbikes and petty theft does occur. Take extra care with your phone if riding pillion on a motorbike as phones regularly get snatched from unsuspecting tourists using a navigation app. Otherwise, take the same precautions you would when travelling anywhere in the world and secure your money before leaving an ATM (and don’t forget your card!), don’t leave valuables on a beach while swimming, and use in-villa safes to store your valuables.
Tap water in Bali is not safe to drink. Bottled water is widely available and cheap, however Ministry of Villas encourages visitors to keep a reusable water bottle to reduce plastic consumption.
Travel insurance is absolutely essential for every traveller. A typical travel insurance policy will have coverage for a traveller’s main concerns, including trip cancellations, medical emergencies, travel delays, and lost luggage. Most policies are built to be comprehensive to protect travellers from a variety of events that may cause financial loss before or during their trip. Some policies specifically exclude ‘dangerous activities’ which can include scuba diving, renting a local motorcycle and even trekking.
Worldwide travel insurance is available at World Nomads and you can buy, extend and claim online anytime – even if you’re already on the road.
Pemuteran attracts outdoor enthusiasts and intrepid travellers looking to experience underwater wonders, stunning nature and a feel of the real Bali, away from the tourist trail. Check out our latest Pemuteran blog posts written by experienced Ministry of Villas travel writers.