From the visit to Singaraja, the second biggest city of Bali didn’t remain a significant memory. The center is not impressive but the streets around the market, the Pasar Anyar, deserve a walk to see the local lifestyle, being an opportunity to buy a traditional Balinese sarong made with batik technic or the ikat, where the patterns result from dyeing the yarns before weaving the fabric.
But the very small village of Bulian, that is more like a few houses gathering along a road, where people live at the slow pace of the rural life, but where everybody welcome me with a warm “hallo”, a happy smile, and with the will help me all the time… showing me where to find food on a Sunday, giving me a ride in a truck or motorbike to make the six kilometers to the main road, and pose for a photo in an special costume.
But Bulian hid also a precious place, a lovely homestay surrounded by a forest of trees and bamboos, where the room faces a beautiful garden where the water run all the time to a pool, creating the perfect soundtrack. Cats, dogs and a friendly family complete the scenery, which makes me stay here longer than I planned.
Nearby, on the busy main road that runs from east to west along the north coast of Bali, and at 6 km from Bulian, is the Pura Meduwe Karang, a lovely temple, with interesting stone carving and statues that don’t receive many visitors but worth a visit if you pass by.
Where to sleep in Singaraja:
Apparently, no one stays in the city of Singaraja, as the Lovina beach is very close by and attracts all the tourists. I was tired of the tourist trap of Batur and was looking for a less popular place than Lovina, and also didn’t what to end up in a lack of atmosphere hotel in Singaraja… what shows up in the map was Yeh Sanih, but there all the accommodation were too expensive.
So, by chance (or fate) I found a homestay about 18 km from Singaraja, away from the beach resorts, located in a small-small village called Bulian… what a paradise here, at Bulian Homestay! Really a home stay, a kind of a treat after the bad experience at Batur.
The Bulian Homestay has 4 rooms, different styles. The cheaper one (standard) has a fan and shared toilet, on an open-air bathroom (200.000 Rp but got it for 150.000 Rp without breakfast). They’re a lovely garden. Forest, trees and bamboos are all around and the music of the water coming from a fountain fills the air. The decoration shows a good taste and the place has a kind of relax atmosphere, perfect to chill away from everything.
The only inconvenient is the distance to the main road (6 km), from where you can get a bemo or bus to Singaraja. There is no public transport to Bulian, so the only option is to hitchhike from a motorbike or a truck, and give 10.000 Rp as a donation. You can hire a motorbike at Bulian Homestay, for 70.000 Rp. A car with driver and laundry are also available, but expensive.
There are also meals available at Bulian Homestay, but nearby, 500 meters down the road is possible to find some stalls along the road during the morning serving nasi campur for take-away that costs 10.000 Rp. There are also a couple of small eateries and groceries with basic stuff and some fruit and vegetables stalls.
Where to eat in Singaraja:
Warung Muslim Bu Maya… don’t need to go anywhere else. The food is delicious and with a lot of options!!! At Jalan Diponegoro, north from the Pasar Anyar.
Depending on your greediness for food, a meal cost around 15.000 Rp.
What to do in Singaraja:
- A 12 km east from Singaraja, and at 6 km from Bulian Homestay, you can find the Pura Meduwe Karang…. on the road to Singaraja, here are many temples showing interesting statues and decoration, but don’t know about his historical values. There’s not a fee to visit the temple but is expected a donation… 10.000 Rp is ok.
- Pasar Anyar… a big covered market at the center of Singaraja…. didn’t like it, as I found it too dirty and smelly and nothing really interesting to see, but apparently is more interesting around 5 a.m.
- But Singaraja, away from the tourist route is a good opportunity to buy the traditional Balinese sarongs, batik or ikat… around the market nearby the Jalan Diponegoro and Jalan A. Yani you can find a few shops… a handmade ikat sarong can cost from 100.000 Rp to 300.000 Rp, depending oo the length, the pattern and the quality of the fabric. The industrial ones, made by printing process are cheaper, around 50.000 Rp.
How to go from Batur to Singaraja:
- From Penelokan junction, nearby the market building, stops a bus to Singaraja; it arrived before 9 am, but is better to arrive earlier to the bus stand as this service is not frequent and probably just run during the mornings. It’s a nice journey trough the hills that took 1:40h to reach the Kerobokan terminal and cost 000 Rp.
- From here you need to take a bemo to Singaraja or any other destination… don’t deal with the guys inside the terminal, as there are many bemos waiting outside on the main road, leading both east and west.
- A private car can be arranged, from Batur to Singaraja or Lovina, by 300.000 Rp.