It may seem that in the context of Bali, Tabanan is a very large area, but we know little about it. The reason is that this region is mainly agricultural, and there are very few tourist attractions or accommodations. The primary population of Tabanan consists of local residents, specifically Balinese people. Tabanan is located in the central part of Bali, west of the main tourist area of Badung, and northwest of the primary region where tourists usually spend their time.
Public transport is not available in Tabanan. If you happen to stay in Tabanan, it's advisable to rent a scooter or a car. Calling a taxi to this area might be challenging, as it is more remote, and certain streets for access could be controlled by local taxi drivers.
Here, the atmosphere is characterized by the rural Balinese vibes and authentic charm. If you want to experience the real Bali, taking a ride through Tabanan is a good idea. As it is an agricultural area, you'll find picturesque rice fields. If you're looking for a place to admire or photograph rice terraces, exploring Tabanan is worthwhile. Notably, the famous Jatiluwih Rice Terraces, protected by UNESCO, are located in Tabanan.
In the district, there's a city named Tabanan itself, but it doesn't boast any particular landmarks.
In Tabanan, there's a decent chance of finding a simple Balinese house for a long-term stay at a low cost. However, you'll have to accept that reaching some tourist-popular places, large shopping centers, and restaurants will require traveling a considerable distance. Also, be aware that not all locations in Tabanan have cable internet, and you might need to address this issue independently or use mobile internet.
Since land in Tabanan has been historically cheaper than in neighboring Badung, many developers acquired plots near the ocean in the southern part of Tabanan, particularly in the Tanah Lot area. This is why there are many large villas with 5-7 bedrooms in this area. These villas are often rented for events and retreats.
Keep in mind that even if your hotel or villa has stunning views, you may not be able to swim in the ocean and will likely have access to a pool instead.
In Tabanan, near Pasut Beach, there's an interesting futuristic villa called Sensation that can captivate the imagination of any visitor.
It can be booked as a 2 or 3 bedroom villa from $910.
Indeed, the nature of Tabanan is the main attraction. A simple trip along the rice fields can bring a lot of pleasure. And if you consider that it's possible to ride a bike on Tabanan's beaches – motocross enthusiasts will understand the appeal.
You can book extreme bike rides with the guys from MyBaliTrips
Certainly, the biggest attraction in Tabanan is the Tanah Lot temple located on a small island. It is often featured in tourist brochures as a symbol of Bali itself. If you are drawn to the image of this temple, you can visit it at your convenience. Keep in mind that most tourists come to Tanah Lot temple for sunset views. If you prefer solitude and tranquility, it's advisable to arrive earlier in the morning.
On the approach to the temple there are many shops and stalls that sell souvenirs and food
In the northern part of Tabanan, closer to the lakes Bratan, Buyan, and Tamblingan, there are several beautiful waterfalls - Blemantung, Blahmantung, Santipala, and a Buddhist temple with a statue of reclining Buddha called Vihara Dharma Giri.
By the way, Lake Bratan is located in the Tabanan region, and together with it, there is a highly revered water temple called Ulun Danu Bratan. The temple was built in 1633 to honor the Hindu triad of gods Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, and the lake goddess, Dewi Danu. Her gilded statue was unveiled in 2017 and is located on the opposite side of the lake from the temple.
In Bedugul, a mountain town near Lake Bratan, there is a very beautiful botanical garden.
Enthusiasts of abandoned and mysterious places will surely be intrigued by the legendary abandoned Taman Rekreasi Bedugul hotel. Currently, on Google Maps, it is marked as Hotel Pondok Indah Bedugul.
In Tabanan, there is one of the Balinese butterfly parks called Bali Butterfly Park.
Shops and markets
The shops and markets in Tabanan are all local Balinese. So, prepare your cheat sheet with Indonesian words and get ready for an encounter with the Indonesian language. To some extent, a visit to a Balinese market is also an interesting cultural experience.
Restaurants in Tabanan are mainly local establishments. Near tourist sites you can find European-style establishments.
The beaches of Tabanan are shimmering, with black sands of volcanic origin. Yes, they may not be very suitable for swimming, partly due to the waves. However, they are beautiful for capturing impressive photographs. Motocross enthusiasts enjoy rides on these beaches, as the sand is well-packed, and some beaches even have direct access from the road.
Another renowned Tabanan beach that has gained fame on Instagram is Pasut. It is loved for its palm grove along the shore, and one particular palm tree at the beach stands out with its quite unusual curved shape.
In fact, the road to the pasture is quite difficult and winding. But that doesn’t stop those who like to ride bikes along the beach.
Balian Beach is famous for its waves, which are great for surfing.
In Balian, the surf is always good. There are outside peaks that are larger and more mellow, but it can be challenging on a small board. There are both left and right waves, with the right being quite decent. There's also an inside peak (left) where the wave is sharper and faster, suitable for shortboards.
Since there is a river right next to the spot, it can get very dirty after rain, so check the weather forecast. After rain, debris from villages may flow into the water, attracting sharks. Therefore, surf cautiously to avoid becoming a meal for sharks. The sharks are small and unlikely to bite off a limb, but they can cause serious scratches.
The spot works almost at any tide. On a swell of 6-7 feet, it can be too much, causing everything to break and potentially heavy washouts. There's also a right wave on the other side of the river, and in the absence of wind, it can be quite good.