Pemuteran: A Guide to Bali’s Authentic Sustainable Travel Destination

So, you’ve fallen in love with this seemingly charming, quaint, seaside escape called Pemuteran in Bali, Indonesia. Or at least you’re interested enough to go that you’re starting to look for information about the area. Whatever it is that brought you here, I’m glad you came and without further adieu, here are some information and tips I can share with you from my visit to Pemuteran.

Where It Is

Before we learn more about Pemuteran and what makes this area tick, I think we need to find out its exact location first.

Pemuteran is located at the north-west area of Bali. It is about

  • 26.1 kilometers (about 35 minutes) away from West Bali National Park
  • 32.5 kilometers (approximately 40 minutes) away from Gilimanuk Port at the west side of Bali
  • 48.8 kilometers (about 1 hour and 20 minutes) away from Lovina – Bali’s more popular destination up north
  • 132 kilometers (about 3.5 hours) away from Kuta – Bali’s most popular party area
  • 136.1 kilometers (about 3.5 hours) away from Denpasar Airport

In short, it is quite a long journey from areas in Bali more often frequented by travelers which makes it an off-the-beaten path destination and a little quiet gem away from the hustle and bustle of Bali’s crowd. Most travelers visit Pemuteran as a gateway to visit West Bali National Park nearby, but the village itself is also a charming place with super kind locals and beautiful marine biodiversity for anyone (even novice snorklers!) to explore. It’s definitely still incredibly authentic and a lot less saturated by tourist culture compared to a lot of the other areas in Bali and you’ll find genuine hospitality like no other here. There are no annoying vendors anywhere in the village and the people here are also quite environmentally conscious. Tourism is planned to be sustainable here which I truly salute about the area.

When to Visit

Honestly, you can visit Pemuteran any time of the year and find that your vacation won’t be ruined too much by the weather.

My family and I visited in December which is supposed to be a month of heavy rain in Indonesia and we were greeted by cloudy skies and loads of sunshine every day. There was literally no rain at all during our stay there which was insane because when we returned to Sanur, our accommodation was flooded from the rain of the previous day. Apparently, this is because Pemuteran has a lower precipitation rate compared to most areas in Bali.

However, in case nature decides to run its course in Pemuteran the way it does everywhere else in Bali, be mindful that April to October is usually the dry season while November to March is monsoon.

Getting There

Getting to Pemuteran is quite tricky since it’s located really far from most of Bali’s most popular destinations. I honestly recommend renting a car for the sake of convenience because the public transport system in Bali is quite tricky. Most trips with a rented car and a driver from the southern area of Bali would cost about Rp600.000-Rp750.000 which already includes fuel for the trip and parking. Some accommodations may provide transfer to Pemuteran from the airport or other areas in Bali at a certain rate – it’s best to check with the accommodation to make sure.

If you’re planning to fly to Pemuteran from Jakarta, I actually would recommend a flight to Banyuwangi instead of Denpasar for closer access since Gilimanuk Port from which ships from Banyuwangi come in is a lot closer to Pemuteran than Bali’s airport. Overall, the journey from Banyuwangi to Pemuteran would probably take you about 1.5 to 2 hours with a car and a ferry. However, all roads from Denpasar to Pemuteran are seriously scenic and will give you a taste of the authentic Bali – the real Bali not tampered by tourist influences and if you’re into slow traveling, I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy it.

My family and I went to Pemuteran with Pak Made Letra as our driver who picked us up from Ubud and he was a great one – navigating the mists of Munduk, safely u-turning in a road filled with trucks and buses when we got lost a bit in the journey to find our homestay, and is an overall super nice and knowledgeable guy. You can reach him at +62 8124649987.

There are several routes to and from southern Bali leading up to Pemuteran and my family took different routes for our arrival and departure.

  • Ubud to Pemuteran: our route here went through Bedugul, Ulun Danu Lake, and then uphill towards Munduk, past Tamblingan Lake, descending to Lovina and then through the Gilimanuk-Seririt Road to Pemuteran.
  • Pemuteran to Sanur: this one was seriously off the beaten path and we got to see so much of the local Balinese life through this route. We went to Singaraja and then turned towards the small road to Seririt, through the famously gorgeous Pupuan route, taking us through many villages with a view of mountains and rice fields on one side and the sea seemingly at the end of our road. We then went through Tabanan and arrived at Sunset Road.

Where to Stay

There are various options in Pemuteran for accommodation – from budget ones to ones made for luxury. The cool thing is most of them are really rated highly on hotel review sites so you’ve got plenty of options. An even cooler thing is that most of them are committed to protection of the ocean since the entire village is considered an exemplary model for the entire nation of Indonesia for eco-tourism so not only will you have plenty of comfortable options, but ethical ones too.

Personally, I recommend Biorock Homestay since that’s where we spent the entirety of our stay there and it’s seriously the best accommodation I’ve ever stayed at in Bali. The staff treated us like family, the garden and rooms are spotless, breakfast is served fresh outdoor, wi-fi was fast, no TV was there (yes, enjoy nature, folks!), its location is incredibly close to the beach and its owned by a man deeply involved in Pemuteran’s reef restoration project so you’ll learn a lot during your stay too. I’m not paid at all to say this – I just love this homestay so much!

Other options that we considered to stay in before our visit to Pemuteran were:

What to Do

Honestly, there’s not much to do in Pemuteran but relax and swim in the ocean. However, if you’re looking to still be a bit active during your stay here, here are some recommended things to do:

  • Pulaki Temple – drove past this temple a lot and apparently it’s the village’s main temple and home to a lot of monkeys! Its location is literally on a hill by the sea.
  • Pulaki Hill – the hill above the main temple
  • The Turtle Project – a turtle hatchery and conservation site on Pemuteran’s beach
  • Biorock – a breakthrough reef conservation project in Indonesia which you can witness underwater just a couple of meters from shore
  • Menjangan Island – an island just a bit off the coast of West Bali National Park, a home to deer and lots of underwater life
  • West Bali National Park – Bali’s eco reserve, home of the rare Balinese Starling and loads of local wildlife

Getting Around and Out

Pemuteran’s location near Gilimanuk Port and Bali’s lesser known areas in the north and central regions make it perfect for some off the beaten path exploring. Here’s where I think you should go from Pemuteran:

  • Banyuwangi – island-hop to the most densely populated island of Java in Indonesia from Gilimanuk Port. Banyuwangi is rising fast as one of the new stars in Indonesian tourism and is home to really cool surfing. G-Land’s waves are slowly gaining a great reputation among surfers in and outside the country. It’s also home of Baluran National Park – Java’s savanna national park which is an excellent camping and stargazing spot as well as Ijen Crater – the location of the weirdly wonderful blue fire.
  • Singaraja – this used to be one of the biggest cities in Bali during the era of kingdoms and monarchies on the island and you can still find traces of it. En route to this place from Pemuteran, you’ll pass by the vineyards of Hatten Wines, Bali’s own wine which can be fascinating for the connoisseurs. In Singaraja itself, you can visit loads of waterfalls – from the popular ones to the lesser known ones. Temples in the area are also historic and if you can find someone to explain the local history for you, you’re in for a treat. There’s also the eclectic Buddhist temple of Brahma Vihara perched on top of a hill and Museum Gedong Kartya – home of Bali’s oldest manuscripts and spell books.
  • Munduk – from one natural getaway to another, Munduk is perfect for anyone looking for peace and quiet in the mountains. There’s plenty of accommodations in the area and loads of local life to immerse yourselves in too. It’s also home to waterfalls and the twin Tamblingan and Bunyan Lakes. If you enjoy some cool mountain air and waking up to mountains on one side and sunset rays over the sea on the other, you’ll fall in love with this place quickly.

There you have it – my little guide to Pemuteran. I know that this isn’t by all means complete since there’s so much more in the village that I haven’t explored, but I hope this helps you in planning your trip to this incredible village filled with incredible people. If you have any more information to add about Pemuteran, drop by in the comments below and let me know for me to visit on my next excursion to Pemuteran!

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