Pemuteran is a small fishing village on the northern coast of West Bali. This is a small laid-back village which has become increasingly popular with visitors in recent years. There are a number of waterfront resorts and its proximity to Lovina and West Bali National Park together with the extreme natural beauty of the area, has fueled quite rapid growth in tourism infrastructure in the area. Pemuteran Beach is home to the largest artificial Biorock reef project in the world and there is a real spirit of marine conservation effort in this area. Visitors usually arive in Pemuteran on the north coast road from Lovina or Singaraja or from the west at Gilimanuk. A direct ride to Pemuteran from tourist centers in the south will take about 3 hours depending on traffic on the coast roads. This is a great place to walk or get around by bicycle. Your hotel will be able to help if you decide you need to rent a motorbike.
Pemuteran village successful in boosting tourism :
Prior to the 1990s, Pemuteran was one of Bali’s poorest villages but not anymore. Not only have the villagers successfully made their village more attractive but also more prosperous thanks to tourism.Pemuteran, in Gerokgak sub district, Buleleng regency, is increasing in popularity with tourists fond of meditating and diving. The village has both a strong spiritual attraction and amazing marine wealth. While diving addicts have formed an intimate attachment with the coral reefs and beautiful fish, others can watch turtles swim freely in the sea. Pemuteran is really a haven for peace lovers. There are neither discotheques nor other noisy places. If you are tired of your routine, you can relax here. This tourist village is just three hours from Denpasar. There are several routes that will bring you here. It is recommended that you take the Denpasar-Bedugul-Pemuteran route as along this road, particularly when you arrive in Bedugul, the scenery is really beautiful. As soon as you enter the village, you will see temples with an architectural design quite different from other temples in Bali.
Then your eyes feast on the hills and later a number of bungalows and star-rated hotels come into view. Some of these establishments overlook the sea. Pemuteran was virtually unknown among tourists until 1989. It was then a dry and barren place. Trees were felled to feed cattle and to be used as firewood. Apart from fishing, the locals earned their living planting corn. Understandably, virtually nobody was interested in this village.It remained Bali’s poorest and barren village until Agung Prana, a tour operator, and now the Association of Indonesian Travel Agencies Bali chapter deputy chairman, received divine inspiration in the late 1980s to tap the hidden tourism potential of the village. An ardent practitioner of meditation in large temples in Bali, Agung said that one day he felt as if a very strong spiritual power had taken him to bathe in the sea off Pemuteran. “”It was when I was doing so that it occurred to me that Pemuteran could be developed. Many people could not believe that I really wanted to develop the potential of this area,”” he reminisced.
It was when he was in the sea that Agung thought this area would be very beautiful with a little work. Dolphins cavorting in the sea every morning, and the rich variety of fish species and coral reefs would be a great asset for the development of marine tourism, he thought. He was also sure that this hilly area would be good for adventure-loving tourists. In addition, he thought, Pemuteran would also be the right place for meditation practitioners as a magic aura emanated from its many temples. Also, the village’s natural hot-water spring could be developed into an attractive bathing place for tourists. As he was very keen on tapping the tourism potential of this village, Agung sold his automobile in 1990 and purchased a plot of land at Rp 25,000 per 100 square meters. Today the price of land in the village is Rp 10 million per 100 square meters. “”The land in this village back then was very cheap. Many people even refused a free plot of land in Pemuteran,”” he added. Teaming up with a German, Agung had a jasmine-rated 12-room hotel built.
It was the first hotel in the area and before it became operational he provided the villagers with a crash course in tourism and English. He wanted to recruit only Pemuteran villagers for his hotel. He believed it was the villagers that had to benefit from tourism in this area. “”I want to see them have a better life after Pemuteran was been turned into a tourist area,”” he said. Besides this, Agung, also managing director of Nagasari Tours and Travel, also carried out an environmental awareness campaign for the villagers. It was the right thing to do because Pemuteran could attract tourists only with well-looked-after and peaceful natural and marine environments. The campaign was conducted through traditional art performances like arja and wayang wong (stage shows with themes from shadow puppet stories) with which Balinese are very close. Thanks to this campaign, local people no longer fell trees at will. They no longer use explosives when fishing, unlike elsewhere across the country. The campaign has made them understand that an explosion will damage the coral reefs, the habitat of fish and other marine biota. Agung has encouraged the entire village to contribute ideas for the development of tourism which may improve the welfare of the home-base society.
They become increasingly aware that they must improve their lot. So they have invited marine-related businesses to operate here on the condition that part of the profit must be set aside for the village and that the workers must be recruited from among the villagers. A change has now taken place in this village. Villagers formerly only good at growing corn and fishing are now actively engaged in the tourism sector. Pemuteran can now boast diving operators employing some of the village’s young people as diving guides. These young people have joined intensive training programs carried out by the Association of Balinese Marine-Related Tour Operators. The association’s chairman, Yos Amerta, said, “They have been taught many subjects such as practical diving knowledge, how to act in an emergency and some knowledge about coral reefs and ecology”. Pemuteran is now on Bali’s list of tourist destinations. It has a one star-rated hotel and a number of jasmine-rated hotels as well as cottages. A plan has also been made to build a Marine Club, a mega-tourism project with some of the shares owned by the village.
Pemuteran village chief, Mayan Werta, admitted that tourism development involving locals has encouraged the villagers to guard their own environment, including a custom prevailing to impose fines on anyone damaging th marine and forest environment. “”The fine is small but those damaging the environment will be embarrassed because they will be tried in a banjar (village association) meeting,”” he said. Villagers voluntarily take turns keeping watch over the sea territory of Pemuteran. A custom elder, I Wayan Siram, said, “”Fishermen from neighboring villages often fish here and they use explosives. The villagers are not happy because the explosives not only kill fish and turtles; they also damage the coral reefs. If this situation is allowed to continue, there will be nothing that the sea here can sell.”” Even turtles can lay eggs peacefully in the sands of Pemuteran beach. “”We have provided a place where turtles can be bred in captivity. When they are old enough, these young turtles will be taken back to the sea, their original habitat,”” he said. Pemuteran is yet to be as famous as Ubud, Sanur or Kuta, but it is good enough to reckon with as an alternative tourist spot. It is a good example for other villages wishing to be successful in the tourism sector.
How to get to Pemuteran :
1. By car from southern part or airport around 3 hours drive
2. 30 minutes from the busiest Gilimanuk harbor
3. 1 hour drive from tourist centre Lovina
What you can see around Pemuteran :
1. Pulaki Temple or Pura Pulaki is a Hindu shrine located in the hill bank and in front of the beautiful beach in north part of Bali. It is one of the biggest Hindu temples in Bali, This temple is set on the flat land with stone hill bank as a back drop meanwhile the blue ocean is just in front of the temple.
2. West Bali National Park , The park is the last refuge of one of the most endangered birds of the world: the Bali Starling. Bali Barat is mountainous and consists of primary monsoon forest, mangrove forest, savannah and coral islands.
3. Melanting Temple , As a matter of fact there are hundreds of Melanting temples that create a network all over the island of Bali. Each traditional market in Bali has its own Melanting temple (temple of trader) from which the traders and businessmen ask for fortune. The core of this Melanting temple network is main Melanting temple that is located in Banyupoh village, Buleleng regency, around 5 km from Pemuteran.
The activities around Pemuteran :
1. Diving and Snorkeling at Menjangan Island and West Bali National Park. Here considered as a nice place to snorkel
2. Fishing with a very calm water is a suitable place for fishing
3. Hiking The hills and mountains that form the southern backdrop to Pemuteran offer many opportunities for interesting hiking. Ask at your hotel for directions and/or a guide
4. Early morning dolphin watching boat trips can be arranged through any hotel.
5. Turtle project ( Proyek Penyu ) is a turtle breeding and release program run by one of the dive operators in co-operation with local villagers. Very much worth a visit and certainly worth your support.
Diving companies around Pemuteran :
1. Reef Seen Aquatics , Pemuteran village
2. Yos Marine Adventures , Pemuteran village
3. Sea Rovers , (at Hotel Adi Assri, Pemuteran)