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West Bali

Even as development from south Bali creeps ever further west (via hot spots such as Canggu), Bali's true west, which is off the busy main road from Tabanan to Gilimanuk, remains infrequently visited. It's easy to find serenity amid its wild beaches, jungle and rice fields.

On the coast, surfers hit the breaks at Balian and Medewi. Some of Bali's most sacred sites are here, from the ever-thronged Pura Tanah Lot to the lily-pad-dappled beauty of Pura Taman Ayun and on to the wonderful isolation of Pura Rambut Siwi.

The tidy town of Tabanan is at the hub of Bali's Unesco-listed subak, the system of irrigation that ensures everybody gets a fair share of the water. On narrow back roads you can cruise beside rushing streams with bamboo arching overhead and fruit piling up below.