Set on the hillside overlooking the ocean, Puri Bagus Ponjok Batu, Jl. Raya Singaraga, Tejakula (tel. 0362/21430; www.bagus-agro.com; set menu Rp65,000 or Rp75,000; cooking classes US$40; treks US$40), is a farm of 5 hectares (12 acres) that organizes simple, tasty Indonesian set lunches served in a gazebo. Cooking classes can be arranged with 2 days notice and they also undertake treks from Sembiran up to their farm, through palm plantations and over lava rock slopes. Stopping en route you can see how coconut oil is made and arak produced.
This part of Bali is home to some of the oldest Bali Aga villages, settlements that were not influenced by the customs brought to Bali from the Javanese courts. Some of these settlements were originally ancient trading posts with India, China, and beyond as long ago as the 1st century A.D.
Les -- This small village in the hills has one of the highest waterfalls in Bali, a 30m (98-ft.) cascade with a cool bathing pool called Yeh Mampeh. Just follow the sign to Les on the road after Tejakula and dip your toes in the cool pool.
Sembiran & Julah -- From Pacung, take the steep, winding road up to Sembiran, an ancient Bali Aga village with lovely sea views. Ancient traditions -- religious, social, and architectural -- are kept alive here and most of the village temples are built with round megalithic stones. Enjoy a coffee with the locals or go to one of the small village warungs. They speak their own dialect of Balinese here, and the entry and exit signs wishing you "Welcome" and "Goodbye" are in Balinese rather than the usual Indonesian. The nearby village of Julah is one of Bali's oldest. Look out for the giant kemit tree, where corpses were laid out in ancient times. There is also a large Pura Dalem (Temple of the Dead) of black local stone at the foot of the village.
Pura Pondok Batu -- This imposing temple has recently been renovated in true north Bali style. Rebuilt entirely out of the dark, austere lava stone readily available in the north on a promontory overlooking the Bali Sea, this is one of the important temples founded by Danghyang Nirartha, the priest who came from Java in the 16th century. It is said that he performed miracles on this site.
Bebali Weaving in Pacung -- Supported by donations and with a great deal of dedication, Nyoman Sarmika of Surya Indigo, keeps the ancient tradition of bebali weaving on back strap looms alive. Using purely natural dyes, these simple but extremely beautiful cloths said to have magical properties have been used for rites of passage in Bali for generations. Visit his small shop (tel. 08/123626535) on the main road in Pacung (Tejakula, Buleleng, 20km/12 miles east of Singaraja) and chat with him about the area, too.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.