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Ask anyone who has been to Bali and they’ll probably mention a sunrise hike to Mt. Batur as one of the most spectacular things to do on the island. And I have to agree. But what if I told you that you don’t have to trek an active volcano in the middle of the night to experience equally amazing views. Let me tell you about a secret place in Bali called Pinggan Village.
Located in the Kintamani region northeast on the island at an altitude of 1300 meters above sea level, Pinggan Village is a unique sight. Or the village itself isn’t that special but what happens almost every day during sunrise definitely is.
I first heard someone mention the mysterious Pinggan Village back in 2013 during my third trip to Bali. They described it as the most beautiful place in Bali to watch the sunrise. I was intrigued and couldn’t wait to see this phenomenon with my own eyes.
Ever since I’ve been trying to find a driver that could take me to Pinggan Village for sunrise, but I didn’t have much luck. Everyone I talked to just shook their heads and told me to go ask someone else. Which was kind of weird because the Balinese usually will move heaven and earth to make things happen. So I started to wonder if it was all just a myth.
How to get to Pinggan Village
2021 UPDATE!! Now you can book this very affordable tour that includes sunrise over Pinggan Village, Tirta Empul Water Temple, Tegallalang Rice Terraces and Ubud Monkey Forest, online ahead of time. Such great value!
After a lot of research, I finally found a couple of companies that offer sunrise tours to Pinggan Village. One of them is called See Bali Tours, and no, I’m not affiliated with them in any way. Just a happy customer!
I got a reply from Kadek Budi just hours after I messaged them with a lot of questions through their website. He came back with a detailed itinerary and the exact price for everything. He also listed all the stuff we would have to pay for ourselves like entrance fees, breakfast, lunch etc. I was impressed with how thorough the proposed itinerary was.
After a couple of emails back and forth we agreed on an itinerary and price. We paid $100 for the full-day tour which meant we had the driver form from 3.30 am to 4.00 pm.
Although I’m a big believer in exploring places on your own, I would not advise you to drive to Pinngan by yourself if it’s your first time up there. As you reach Kintamani there are very few street lights, parts of the road are quite bad and we couldn’t see any Pinggan signs, at least not in the pitch black. So the viewpoint location can be very hard to find.
We were staying in Seminyak at the time of our tour and got picked up at 3.30 am. Our driver was early as they often are in Bali, but he waited patiently for us outside until we were ready. If you’re staying in or around Ubud you can leave closer to 4.15 am.
As there were no other cars on the road the drive up went very smoothly and took about two hours. The drive back was a bit more tiresome and took about three and a half hours with a lot of time spent in standstill traffic. But that’s just how it is in Bali, the island isn’t really equipped to handle the masses of tourists.
What to expect at Pinggan Village
If you are an avid photographer like me or just need a place to shoot photos for a special occasion like a wedding, Pinggan Village is the perfect place. As the sun rises the sky turns orange/pink and the thick blanket of mist slowly dissolves revealing a quaint little village ready to start the day. It’s so stunning you won’t believe your own eyes!
After about two hours of driving, while it was still completely dark outside, our driver suddenly veered off the road. I got a bit scared at first because I didn’t understand why he stopped so abruptly. But as it turns out there’s no parking area for the viewpoint so you just have to park along the road. And it was his first time driving there so he didn’t know exactly where it was.
Related post: 17 things you should know before going to Bali!
My mum and I wanted to get out and explore straight away but our driver tried to get us to wait for sunrise in the car. Haha poor thing, he was freezing. I mean, it was about 17°C out, which is basically a summer evening in Norway. I just wore some loose cotton pants and a t-shirt. I also brought a sarong to cover my shoulders just in case it got cold, but I didn’t really need it. The locals on the other hand bundled up in jeans, down jackets and beanies.
If you want to walk through the bushes while it is still dark to claim the best spot at the viewpoint, bring a flashlight. Or even better, remember to charge your phone so you can use the light, I wasn’t that smart. There were about 10 other people already in place when we got there.
Aaand remember to bring a tripod!! I somehow managed to forget mine so half my photos turned out blurry and half turned out grainy because I had to turn the ISO up. But I guess that just means I have to go back soon!
Other things to see close to Pinggan Village
If you’re staying in southern Bali, the drive up to Pinggan can feel neverending. Especially when you have to get up so early in the morning. So why not make it into a half or full-day tour and experience some of the other amazing sights north Bali has to offer? There are a lot of incredible waterfalls and temples in northern Bali, some of which you can still have all to yourself if you get there early.
I included Sekumpul Waterfall on our day trip and we would have had time for one more stop as well because we got back to Seminyak around 2 pm. If you haven’t been to this area before you might really enjoy breakfast overlooking Mt. Batur and the crater lake. The food is basic but the views can’t be beaten, just take a look below. I would also recommend Banyumala which is my second favorite waterfall in Bali.
Or you could skip the waterfalls altogether and visit one of Bali’s most important temples Pura Ulan Danu Batur, located just 40 minutes from Pinggan. Or head east and explore the impressive Pura Lempuyang Luhur, also known as the Gateway to Heaven, another one of the most sacred temples in Bali.
Related post: The ultimate Bali bucket list: 101+ awesome things to do