Pemuteran promises exceptional diving and snorkelling, easy access to Menjangan Island and West Bali National Park, as well as a plethora of great accommodation (including some good budget options) and the opportunity to chill out on a quiet beach. Pemuteran is a charming little village that's spread around quiet lanes on Bali's drier north-west coast.
Thanks to Pemuteran's proximity to Menjangan Island and its own chain of offshore reefs (as well as the Bio-rock reefs currently forming), the town has evolved into a fantastic base for divers. There are dive schools and operators, as well as plenty of accommodation to suit all budgets. Although Pemuteran's main income is tourism, it remains idyllically peaceful in a way that few places farther east Bali have managed.
It's only a 30-minute drive from Pemuteran to the West Bali National Park, so Pemuteran is a good base if you want to go trekking, cycling or birding in the park. The biggest drawcard of the park has always been the snorkelling and diving at Menjangan Island, and while you can arrange this on your own (click the green West Bali National Park button for more details), all of the dive operators around Pemuteran will offer trips to Menjangan.
This northern coast is more arid than the south and the cactus-spiked lowlands give way here and there to vineyards. Yes – wine is produced here on Bali and there is a place where you can do a tour of the vineyards and wine-tasting. The town is fringed to the south by dramatic hills that look a lot like Mediterranean mountains, and sunset can be spectacular here, with a natural evening lazer-show that highlights the volcanoes of nearby Java.
The beach at Pemuteran is lovely, and this area is perfect for those who're looking for a beachy getaway. It's very relaxing, and in all the times we've visited Pemuteran, nobody has ever tried to sell us anything on the beach (this happens a fair amount in Lovina, and can be quite overwhelming). The bay here is calm and swimming, diving and SUPing are drawcards here. There is a big effort in the area to get the corals growing, so please follow the signs that show where it is safe to enter the bay. The bay is fringed with shade-giving trees that offer respite from the sun. Many of the beachfront hotels here have sun-loungers on the beach, and those not staying at the hotel can usually rent one for about Rp50,000 per day.
Pemuteran: local advice
Airport to Pemuteran: 165km
Travel by car: about 5 hours
Cost: Rp800,000 with a driver
...if you love a good roadtrip
There is a very scenic road that connects Pekutatan, near Medewi, with the north coast, and it's a wonderful way to reach Pemuteran if you're heading up here from West Bali. Click here for more details on where that road is, and what to look out for.
...if you're looking for nightlife
Pemuteran's a pretty quiet town. It does cater to tourists, and its main street is lined with various restaurants, warungs and dive operators, but this growth has been careful and there's no tacky, touristy vibe here. There is not really any nightlife to speak of, but on Sunday afternoons from 5pm Kalimasada band plays Western, Reggae and Indonesian covers at Reef Seen, a resort on the beach.
...if you want to snorkel
There is an artificially created reef just off the beach at Pemuteran, which makes for lovely snorkelling. There are various dive outlets at the beach where you can rent mask, snorkel and fins for Rp50,000 for the day.
...if you want to chill at the beach
The beach can get really hot – the sand there is grey – so if you want to spend the day at the beach you'll need some sun protection. You can rent a beachfront lounger from most beachfront resorts for about Rp50,000 for the day.