Nature lovers, serenity seekers, golfers and explorers of ‘the real’ Bali, will love Tabanan. In this Indonesian regency, founded in the 14th century and covering almost 850sqm of south-west Bali, stretching from the sparkling black sands and craggy cliffs of the coast, to the soaring heights of Bali’s tropical hinterland, there is much to explore. Balinese Hindu culture remains strong in this peaceful part of the island, where small villages are bound by customs and colourful religious rituals. Early mornings see fishermen heading out to sea in their colourful wooden jukung (fishing boats), while farmers in bamboo hats plough their rice fields. Tabanan is also the setting for some of Bali’s most beautiful temples, and home to a world-renowned golf course.
Tabanan is known as Bali’s rice bowl, and you don’t need to look far to find picturesque rice fields, whether sloping gently down to the sea or clinging to steep terraces as the land rises sharply toward the majestic volcanoes of central Bali. The famed rice fields of Jatiluwih are a protected UNESCO world heritage site located in Bali’s lush foothills. Sign up for a tour and explore this scenic region by bicycle, foot or land cruiser.
If you are seeking a soothing vista of emerald green, check into Kaba Kaba Estate which is gloriously located close to the coast, amidst a seemingly endless sea of rice fields. This palatial eight-bedroomed villa is a treasure trove of antiques and makes a truly luxurious hideaway.
Nearby, two other luxury Tabanan villas are close enough to visit Canggu and Seminyak for a meal or shopping spree, yet rural enough for that away-from-it-all experience: the delightfully peaceful six-bedroomed Maya Retreat is set amidst enchanting gardens on the banks of the Penet river and makes a magical holiday base. While five-bedroomed Arsana Estate has sleek modern buildings sprawled over two beautiful hectares of terraced hillside and boasts a home theatre and games room.
One of Bali’s best-known and most-photographed attractions is Tanah Lot, a mystical sea temple that clings to a craggy island just metres from the shore. Sunsets here are magnificent, but often rather crowded. Staying in a nearby villa means you can wander down for an equally stunning sunrise and avoid the crowds. Just up the road from the temple, the Greg Norman designed Nirwana Bali Golf Course is considered the best 18-hole course in Indonesia.