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March 5, 2020

Off the Tourist Trail in Bali – West Bali

Bali’s rugged west coast really is the wild wild west with rocky windswept beaches, traditional Balinese villages far from the tourist centers, jungle covered mountain slopes and protected national parks teeming with unique flora and fauna. Head west to ride ridiculous waves, play Robinson Crusoe on deserted beaches, explore forests teeming with wildlife, or head out on the sea to discover underwater playgrounds.

Few tourists come to Bali without making a trip to the iconic Tanah Lot temple, but not so many venture further along the west coast. If you do head west from Tanah Lot, you’ll eventually hit Balian Beach, an up-and-coming, yet still relatively unspoiled surf destination. The left-hand break here is consistent, the beach is rarely crowded, and you can find a few comfortable guesthouses and hotels scattered along the coast. In addition, there are chilled out cafes and beach bars where you can get good grub and grab a cold one as the sun sets over the sea. 

For surfers who really want to get off the beaten trail, Medewi is just a bit further west down the coast. The long pebbly beach here is often deserted, and intrepid surfers are likely to have the boss left-hand break all to themselves. For those who want to settle in for a while, there are simple surfer guesthouses as well as beach cottages and an eco-resort nearby.

As you make your way to the far west tip of Bali, you will pass by many intriguing traditional villages. Negara is famous for its mekepung water buffalo races that take place almost every weekend between July and October. Join the crowds to watch the mighty beasts pull chariots sporting ornately dressed villagers around the racetracks. Further inland you will find the two unique Christian Balinese villages of Palasari and Belimbingsari, which are Catholic and Protestant respectively. Stroll the streets in either town to see fascinating churches that are a mix of Balinese and Old World architecture.

For many people, the main draw to West Bali is Taman Nasional Bali Barat, otherwise known as West Bali National Park. The park encompasses 19,000 hectares of protected forests, mangroves, coral reefs and coastlines, and boasts hundreds of plant and bird species, monkeys, wild deer and pigs, pythons, iguanas and many more exotic animals. Trekkers can grab a guide and head off into the wilderness, while divers and snorkellers can catch a boat to the legendary Menjangan Island, where you will be rewarded with vibrant corals and marine life, mysterious underwater caves and stunning drop-offs.

Where to Stay


The River House

Contemporary and chic, The River House is a stylish retreat in Pererenan, Bali. This sleek 5-bedroom villa sits at the edge of a river and is surrounded by coconut trees and fertile rice fields. Bali-based architect Alexis Dornier utilised natural wood, sandstone, and glass to create sophisticated living spaces that encourage relaxation and reverence for Bali’s lush tropical environment. Despite being just outside hip and happening Canggu, The River House feels like a private oasis far from the hustle and bustle of Bali’s busy streets.



Rumah Rubah

Understated elegance would be one term to describe Rumah Rubah, a three-bedroom luxury villa in Pererenan that was built with sustainability in mind. Architect Maximilian Jenquel from Studio Jenquel and engineers from Mantra Eco Design collaborated to create a sophisticated estate that minimises energy use, carbon output, and waste. Natural materials like lava stone and teak wood combine with Japanese-influenced elements to create a zen-like atmosphere just minutes from black sand beaches, surf breaks, and the heart of Canggu.


Soori Estate

Enjoy utter luxury on Bali’s dramatic southwest coast at Soori Estate, a magnificent 10-bedroom villa designed by renowned architect Soo K. Chan. This is the largest villa on the Soori Bali property and it sits on 5,200 square metres of private tropical gardens that spill onto a black sand beach. Unique touches include bespoke designer furnishings, bubbling water features, and multiple infinity pools. Guests have access to all of the facilities and activities on offer at the resort, and your dedicated live-in butler can help organise dinners, parties and more.