If you are in the north of Bali take a trip along to the sacred Air Panas Banjar or Banjar Holy Hot Springs for a relaxing few hours in the sulphurous waters. Just a short 10km drive from the centre of Lovina along the coast to the west then it is a left turn and up into the hills. You drive away from the main road and pass through small villages before seeing the sign on the left-hand side of the road for the hot springs.
Parking and Entrance to Air Panas Banjar
Just before the entrance, on either side of the road, there is ample parking for cars and minibuses. Parking for scooters is a bit further down the road on the left-hand side. There is a small charge for parking your scooter or bike.
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The ticket booth is to the right of the entrance. The ticket price to get into Air Panas Banjar is 20,000 IDR for adults and 10,000 IDR for children (correct at July 2019).
Once you have your ticket and your vehicle is parked you continue down the road leading to the Banjar Hot Springs. You do have to run the gauntlet of the shopkeepers on either side of the road offering t-shirts, dresses, gifts and souvenirs. If you are not interested, a polite “no thank you” or “tidak, terima kasih” normally is enough, but if you do want to have a look, some haggling is expected!
The Air Panas Hot Springs
Air Panas (pronounced ar panas) literally means “water hot”. The pools were built around the hot springs source and developed over the centuries. Further enhancements were made by the Japanese during their occupation of Bali during the Second World War.
There are three separate public pools at Air Panas Banjar; the top pool, main swimming pool and the pool shower. There is also a private pool with a massage area.
The Top Pool
The shallowest of the three pools is the top pool. At only 1 metre deep it is perfect for younger children (supervised of course) and you can relax under the warm sulphurous water pouring out of the mouths of the eight stone-carved naga (mythical dragon-like creatures) or sit on the low steps.
The Main Pool
At the shallow end of the pool, there is a set of stairs on either side so you can get in, be careful as they can be slippy. At this end, it is 1 metre deep, shallow enough for an adult to stand up. The floor then slopes away gently to about 2 metres deep and the pool itself is large enough to swim or float in. The pool is fed by the water from the upper pool which flows through five more carved nagas. The translucent green sulphurous water is a pleasantly warm temperature of 38 degrees Celcius.
The Pool Shower
To the side of the main pool is the third and smallest pool which has 3 spouts about 4m high. These are great for a strong, but invigorating natural water massage and easing aching muscles. The water comes up about waist deep. It is best not to put your head under these for too long as the constant pummeling might give you a headache.
The Private Pool
The private pool is to the south over a red wooden bridge. You can relax here, have a jacuzzi or a traditional massage or body scrub.
There are several changing rooms where you change into your bikini/trunks or swimming costume. There are also lockers to store your belongings while you take a dip. The lockers are around 3,000 IDR to rent for the duration of your time at Air Panas Banjar.
Due to the rather eggy smell of the water, you can find it lingering on your body and clothes. It is best to have a shower before you get changed.
If you don’t have much stuff or don’t want to use a locker, there are benches around the main pool, but try to keep an eye on it.
Eating and Drinking
If you are feeling peckish, there is a restaurant that overlooks the pools. It serves a range of Western and Balinese dishes, as well as drinks and coffee. There are several areas where you can sit, in the dappled shade of the tropical trees to eat.
The Benefits of a Hot Spring
So, why should you go to a hot spring? The benefits are numerous:
- the heat from the water in the hot springs helps to soothe aching muscles
- the minerals in the hot spring water are beneficial for your skin and you will feel your skin softer
- the minerals may also be good for skin complaints like eczema
- you relax; I always feel the stresses and strains of life just float away when I am at Air Panas Banjar. The warmth of the water, the peacefulness of the surroundings are all conducive to a relaxing visit.
5 Top Tips for Air Panas Banjar
- If you can, visit Air Panas, in the morning. Later in the day, it can get busy with local people and tourist, particularly on weekends and national holidays.
- Make sure you tie your hair up if you have blonde or chemically treated hair. The sulphur in the water can give it a slightly green tinge! I speak from experience!
- The same goes for a white or light-coloured bikini, swimsuit or even a t-shirt. My white bikini never recovered from its dunking in the pool.
- Don’t dismiss going to Air Panas, just because it is raining, You can keep warm under the water, you will be wet anyway!
- If you want to continue your relaxing day, the Brahma Vihara Arama Buddhist monastery and temple is close by. For more things to do near Lovina, read 10 Things to do in North Bali.
How to find Air Panas Banjar
From Lovina head west on Jalan Singaraja-Gilimanuk. Turn left at Jalan Raja Ida Made Rai and continue up the road to Banjar. The turning for Air Panas Banjar is well sign-posted on the left.
Address: Air Panas Banjar, Jalan Banjar, Banjar, Kabupaten Buleleng, Bali 80517, Indonesia
Opening Times: 8.30am – 5.30pm daily
Official Website: Banjar Hot Spring