Tabanan

Tabanan has a 30-kilometre-long coastline, which presents isolated coves and rocky outcrops and is famous for its surf beaches, including Medewi and Balian, offering the longest point breaks in Bali. (The drawbacks if you’re not a surfer are the sometimes-three-metre-high waves and the undertows). The beaches are sloping and lovely to walk along; covered with black sand which is regarded for its curative, therapeutic properties and especially helpful for arthritis.

The Regency is known as Bali’s ‘rice bowl’ – the most agriculturally productive region on the island, with rice fields stretching from the coast to as high as 700 metres above sea level, where the terraces are reminiscent of amphitheatres. Besides rice, there are crops of coconuts, coffee, cacao, spices and tropical fruits. This area is also home to Mount Batukau (2276m), the higher slopes of which are alpine, with mountain streams, ferns, wildflowers, creepers and orchids, as well as the rare, black, leaf-eating monkey, the kijang (small forest deer), large butterflies and moths, flying lizards, the landak (porcupine) and the lubak (mongoose). It is also a bird watchers’ paradise, habitat of the Bali black eagle.

There are no western-style shops or bars in this area, and restaurants serving international cuisine are few and far between, mainly adjoined to the region’s limited number of small and remote hotels.