The Serene Pemuteran Beach and its Phenomenal Underwater Temple
Located at the northwestern of Bali island in the sub district of Gerokgak, in the Buleleng Regency, it will take you only 20 minutes driving from Lovina Beach, just at the outskirts of West Bali National Park. The coastal area of Pemuteran is also the jumping off point to a diving adventure around the Menjangan Island .
With its gleaming black volcanic sandy beaches and enchanting sceneries of green hills at background, Pemuteran is a perfect illustration of Balinese philosophy on energy “Nyegara Gunung” (The fusion of energy between the mountains and the sea). You might find very little (if not to say none) entertainment in the evenings, seemingly the hotels and cottages emphasize more on tranquility so their guests can solemnly meditate or just fully retreat from the city’s rat race.
While peace and tranquility are found on the shores, wonders await below the surface. The Pemuteran area has such large areas of shallow reefs and with just a short boat ride away, you might find seahorses, unique Crabs, Frogfishes, and other sea creatures already decorate the sea floor.
The most fascinating feature of Pemuteran’s underwater splendors is the existence of an enchanting underwater temple garden which enchantingly combines nature’s beauty with amazing work of art. The site attracted worldwide attention in 2010, when a mystifying photo of divers entering an underwater temple gate taken by British Underwater Photographer, Paul M Turley, spread on Twitter and internet with an alleged discovery of ancient temple ruins on the seabed of Pemuteran.
“Apparently someone took my photo, posted it on Twitter and claimed an archeological discovery off the coast of Bali. This went global, thanks to the internet and thus an urban legend was born”-Paul M Turley ( http://www.searovers.net)
In fact, the site was built on purpose in 2005 as part of the “Reef Gardener” community project which is also incorporated in The Pemuteran Karang Lestari Coral Conservation project. This amazing structure is a somewhat engineering feat with over ten large stone statues resting on stone plinths and a 4 meter high Balinese distinct candi bentar gateway (that appeared on the controversial photo). The “garden” is covered in gorgonian fans and must be seen to be believed. Found at a depth of 29 meters it also incorporates a cleaning station with schooling baitfish. In 2006, a second stage to these Temple Gardens was constructed at a depth of 15 meters to allow less experienced divers to be able to dive the location.
Recognized as the world’s largest coral reef restoration project, and winner of national prizes for community-based environmental management and many international awards for ecotourism, this project uses the Biorock method to increase coral growth rates, increasing reef fish density by providing fish with a suitable habitat.
The underwater Temple Garden maybe exceptional, but there are also a lot of other dive sites you could enjoy around Pemuteran area , among these are: The Temple Wall, Canyon Wreck, Kuburan Kapal (Ships Graveyard), Chris’s garden, Rock garden, Close Encounters (east slope/west slope), Gede’s Reef, Deep Reef, Napoleon Reef, and Pulaki Reef.
The best way to get to Pemuteran is to organize a car from wherever you are on the Bali island. A direct ride to Pemuteran from tourist centers in the south ( Kuta -Sanur- Nusa Dua ) will take about four hours depending on traffic on the coastal roads. From the equally amazing Beach of Lovina in Singaraja, the trip will only take about 20 minutes.
To get around in the area, the serene village makes it a perfect place to stroll around or take a nice bicycle ride. However, most of the hotels can provide motorbikes for rent, if you ever need one.