Secret Bali: where to find the quieter side of the island

Where to stay

The 16 open-sided villas of Buahan, A Banyan Tree Escape, crafted like traditional balé pavilions from reclaimed ironwood, roll down a jungled valley dissected by waterfalls and terraced rice fields. The concept is rootsy – from the riverside spa drawing on homegrown herbs and local healing techniques to the Balinese coffee in pourover kits in the guest rooms. At the restaurant, all ingredients are sourced from within an hour’s drive. 

Address: Jl, Buahan Kaja, Kec. Payangan, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80572, Indonesia 
Price: Doubles from about £590 (Rs58,610)


Bali’s bread basket, a patchwork of pancake-flat fields of rice and corn, has so far escaped the relentless urbanisation of Canggu and Pererenan, 30 minutes to the east. While crowds of tourists stop by the imposing Tanah Lot temple on a rocky island off the coast, most don’t venture beyond – leaving this palm-studded hinterland delightfully quiet. In the late afternoon, local families crowd the volcanic beaches and sip fresh coconuts on the beanbags lining the grassy cliffs. 

Offerings at Tabanan marketChris Schalkx

Where to stay

Family-owned Nirjhara, flanked by an impressive multistreamed waterfall, is a hush-hush hideaway for Bali’s in-crowd. The sleek, straight-lined villas are made from local stone and reclaimed hardwood, and dotted with contemporary Indonesian art. The breezy Ambu restaurant, overlooking the pool and the bamboo-roofed yoga sala by the river, is a welcome resting spot after a guided cycling tour around the countryside. 

Address: Jl. Nirjhara, Banjar Kedungu, Belalang, Kediri, Tabanan Regency, Bali 82121, Indonesia
Price: Doubles from about £190 (Rs18,870)


Even further west, this seemingly endless stretch of black sand draws intrepid surfers with Bali’s longest left-hand wave breaking on its coast. A few surf camps and family resorts line the beach, but you’re still more likely to bump into locals trawling the sand for crabs than other travellers. Plans for a toll road from Denpasar are underway, which will cut a drive of about four hours down to 30 minutes, and undoubtedly bring in a wave of change. 

Source link