Explore the Pemuteran area
• There are a few small bales (shelters) on top of the hill, as but the temple is open only to worshippers.
• There are no refreshments so if it is hot or you tend to stay for a while take water.
• It's not advisable during the midday heat since there is no shade or water on the arid, rocky hillside.
The views from Bukit Kursi (Chair Hill) are wonderful, particularly in the early morning when the sun creeps up over the eastern hills and you can see the volcanoes of Java rising above the dawn mist. A walk up here is a lovely little jaunt (about an hour return trip from the main road) that every visitor to Pemuteran ought to do at least once during a stay in the village. The concrete steps leading to the temple are well-maintained, so flip-flops are fine but if you intend to walk up to the flagpole (just north of the temple) you might want to wear more stable shoes.
Where to find it
Bukit Kursi is an easy walk from most places in Pemuteran. Just beyond the big archway that signals the eastern boundary of Pemuteran (just 1km from the village centre) you turn south onto Jalan Pura Pemuteran. The road comes to an end at Pemuteran temple and the concrete steps to the summit begin behind the temple. Even if you go at a gentle stroll and enjoy the views it will take you less than 20 minutes to walk up to the Bukit Kursi temple.
Hatten Wines tasting & vineyard tour
• The visitor centre is open from 10am until 4.30pm every day except Sundays and Balinese holidays.
• The visitor centre is on Jalan Raya Seririt-Gilimanuk, Desa Sanggalangit. The location marker on the map below isn't entirely accurate – the visitor centre is a little further south, close to the main Seririt – Gilimanuk road. Look out for tall flags on the beach side of the road – that's the entrance to the little road that'll take you to the visitor centre.
Wine tasting & vineyard visit
Yes – vineyards in Bali. Really. On the north coast of the island, the climate is dry enough to support the farming of grapes and it's here that Hatten Wines works with local farmers who, since 1994, have been involved in viniculture*. Hatten Wines, which has been recognised by Asian Wine Review as Winery of the Year 2017, hosts wine tasting at their visitor centre in a village called Sanggalangit, and visitors can take a walk through the vineyard, too.
The award-winning wines that Hatten Wines produces are not made in north Bali – this is where the grapes are grown; production of the wine is in Sanur. All wines are produced with all grapes grown in Bali.
Know in advance
This isn't Stellenbosch, Margaret River or Bordeaux – but there is a small visitor centre (situated at the base of a pylon, but you can easily crop out of your photos) and a few umbrellas under which you can sit and enjoy a wine tasting. Bottles of wine are also for sale here, at a similar price to what you'd pay in one of the supermarkets (around Rp180,000 a bottle).
It's a proudly Balinese operation
Hatten Wines works with 250 Balinese families (across all aspects of production) and as you drive along the north coast you'll see pockets of vineyards – 35 hectares in total. The visitor centre is situated among the main vineyards in Sanggalangit. The vines here are evergreen, producing three crops of grapes each year.
* DID YOU KNOW
The word "viticulture" refers to the science, study and production of grapes, while "viniculture" refers to the same thing, but for grapes specifically for wine.
• Bali Salt is on Jalan Kresna, which is easy to miss. Look for the yellow Easy Divers sign, and look for the small road next to that. Bali Salt is about 20m down this road, on the left.
• The Bali Salt shop is open daily, 8am to 7pm. If you arrive and it is closed, the owner might be at his house, adjacent to the shop.
• The Bali Salt factory, which is further down the same road as the shop and is also on the lefthand side, is closed on Sundays.
Bali Salt sells the quirkiest (and most delicious) artisan salt we've ever come across: pyramid-shaped pieces of salt. "It just happens this way, naturally," says the owner of the store, whose "factory" is a few hundred metres down the road from the shop. It's well worth stopping here when you pass through Pemuteran – the bags of flavoured salt make for delicious and unusual souvenirs.
There is a range of salt for sale at the shop – from black salt (which contains charcoal) to turmeric salt, rosella salt and, our favourite, smoked salt. The salt is packaged in sealed bags of various sizes – excellent for gifts to take home.
Ask at the shop if you can take a look at the factory, which is where the magic happens. The salt is bought from the nearby Madurese community that makes salt from seawater; at this factory, the salt is rinsed and dissolved in freshwater (taken from a well on the property) and the water is then evaporated in the greenhouse. The salt is flavoured here – our favourite, the smoked salt, is smoked over coconut husks – and sorted and graded. It's an interesting place to visit.
Brahma Vihara Arama
• The temple is open daily from 9am to 6pm.
• Donations for admission are gratefully accepted.
• Modest clothing is compulsory – sarongs and sashes can be borrowed from the office.
Brahma Vihara Arama
Brahma Vihara Arama Buddhist temple is sometimes described as Bali’s miniature Borobudur…but in place of the Javanese giant’s 72 stupas you’ll find just five here. It’s not about the scale of this temple, however. This is one of the most idyllically serene places of worship on the island.
The temple’s name apparently means "a place for self-cultivation". Lotus gardens line the outside of the temple like a spiritual moat, and under the sculpted black stone of the Panca Bala Stupa you’ll find a white stone meditation hall – eerily silent and decorated with murals portraying the life of Prince Siddhartha.
The large patio is a wonderfully tranquil spot in which to meditate, or simply ponder in peace. This area is packed with worshippers on the sixth full moon of each year (which is in May) for the ceremony to commemorate Vesak, Buddha’s birthday. The temple runs several multi-day meditation retreats throughout the year (and many are held in English). Retreats are usually on a donation basis.
In July 1976 most of the temple was obliterated in an earthquake that claimed 573 lives. Six years later the Dalai Lama’s visit put Brahma Vihara Arama firmly on the spiritual map and you’re likely to see monks (often from Tibet, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Singapore) following the ritual route of silent walking meditation.
Where to find the temple
Strictly speaking, this temple falls outside of the boundary we earmarked for "West Bali" on this website – but it's such a special place to visit that we've decided to ignore our own rules. This Buddhist temple is about an hour's drive east of Pemuteran, close to Bali's former capital, Singaraja. Brahma Vihara Arama is in Banjar Tegeha, Buleleng – about a 20-minute drive southwest of Lovina. It is worth a stop if you are driving to West Bali via Munduk, or if you're driving the scenic road that connects West Bali with the north coast. Less than a 10-minute drive west of the temple you will also find the public hot-springs at Banjar Buleleng.