At least for these past ten years, West Bali has not really changed. The coastlines are still quiet and deserted, the paddy fields are still rich and vast, the peaks of the mountains are still unspoiled, and the long roads are still bending here and there, ready to shake your belly.
Unlike any other regions in Bali, it’s still mysterious like the dark side of the moon and the myths of the alien’s moonbase. It’s true that one or two tourist attractions of West Bali have since long been famous, such as Pura Tanah Lot. But the rest of them remain unknown and relatively overlooked by travelers. The reason is obscure, though, since it’s not like you have to get there by a challenger—a scooter will do.
As one of the hushest region on the island, West Bali has many awesome places that will help you seek inner peace. It’s time to make amends as we present to you the wonders of West Bali you must ‘go-to.’
The Spiritual Vibe
The Balinese are professors when it comes to building spiritual places. They build Pura in lovely places—on mountains, by lakes or the ocean. There are two most renowned Pura in this region, namely Pura Tanah Lot and Pura Luhur Batukaru.
Everyone who has visited it would agree that Pura Tanah Lot is one of the best sunset spots in Bali. It is only 45 minutes away from downtown Denpasar.
Pura Luhur Batukaru of Tabanan has been existing for almost a millennium (since the 11th century) and was built long before Columbus landed on the coast of San Salvador (obviously long before Columbus himself was made). It is the perfect place to seek for your inner peace since it is situated at the foot of Mt. Batukaru and was built to worship the God Almighty.
The Beaches: To Surf or Not to Surf
Visiting most of the beaches of West Bali, you don’t have to bring your surfboards (unless you want to because few beaches can actually be surfed). A small picnic ransom, a book, and a pashmina to spread on the sands will do. You can also bring your yoga mattress here and inhale some fresh air. As these beaches are located on the western coast, they are visited every day by a permanent guest: sunset!
Located in the small village of Sudimara in Tabanan Regency, Yeh Gangga beach is famous for its unique, naturally pierced-cliff like that of Capri Island. Long before surfers started riding their longboards on its wave, Yeh Gangga has gained popularity as a horse riding destination.
When you’ve been fed up with the southern beach, try surfing on Balian Beach. (It is nothing to do with the Knight of Balian.) But this spot is not for the weak-hearted as sharks are often spotted wandering around the area. The best time to surf the wave of Balian Beach is in the afternoon when the sun has slanted down.
Some say Medewi Beach in Pekutatan District, Jembrana Regency, looks like Kuta… before the ‘70s. Every time the wind whistles, coconut trees sway elegantly on a long, dark-sanded beach like the Mexican Wave in a soccer stadium. The wave splashes thankfully on the sands after being dragged by the gale from open water. The solemn, tropical ambiance is the main reason for the visitors coming to the beach. Besides, the long, left-hand wave which rolls all year long makes this place a surfer’s haven. The tranquility of this place helps you take a break from the rapid pace of the world. Grab some cans of beer, sit on the beach, and wait for the sun to settle down.
Seeing the plank “Secret Beach” near Gilimanuk Harbor in Jembrana Regency you might think that you have to go through a thick forest and jump a colossal waterfall before reaching the destination, like that of The Beach. It turns out the secret beach is not so discreet. In reality, Secret Beach is so built up that there is an open square with a statue of Krishna in the middle and wooden platforms all the way to the ocean from which you can jump to the saltwater.
Greeting the Good Earth
Blahmantung waterfall is hidden behind a thick forest and a high complex of cliffs in Pupuan District, Tabanan. In order to get there, you must walk, since there is still no elevator or lorry which can bring people from the parking lot the exact position of the waterfall. It is not as famous as Git-git and thus is not so crowded.
In this region, there are two things that are pierced: a cliff (which have been told above) and a tree. Exploring West Bali makes me wonder whether God is trying to send a message to mankind that he is an artist, a piercer to be exact. The lower trunk of Bunut Bolong in remote Tabanan is naturally pierced, becoming a tunnel on which vehicles can go through as if a giant handyman pierced it for fun. Not so many tourists come here so you’ll get a chance to be the first to post the photo among your circle.
What is more chilling than learning about the life cycle of a cute butterfly? (Perhaps drinking beer.) In Taman Kupu-Kupu Tabanan there are 15 kinds of butterflies together with several types of insects. You’re going to get some philosophy here—metamorphosis and stuff.
For those whose countries of origins are in the Occident, paddy fields might seem exotic. That is why the rice field of Tegallalang is so famous that it is always full of people taking photos. West Bali also has this kind of attraction, located in Jatiluwih Village. This one can be an alternative if you don’t want to be distracted by the presence of careless tourists who do not realize that they are breaking the solemn silence of the rice fields.
Not Really Need for Speed
Around July to November, the people of Jembrana will focus on seven Makepung Buffalo Race Circuits scattered around the regency to witness whose buffaloes are the fastest among other buffaloes.
As an agricultural society, most of the people of Jembrana are farmers. Instead of nurturing Jembrana kid’s dreams to be a professional racer, this race encourages them to keep their buffaloes fit all the time since they are going to use the animal on many occasions. But what makes this race unique is that it not solely appreciates the fast, there is also a place on the podium for the most elegantly decorated buffalo. Wonderful enough?
Text by: Fuji Adriza