Past Tabanan, 1 1/2 hours west of Denpasar, on the coast is this beach known for sharks. Don't turn left at the first surfboard sign coming into town -- it leads to the beach and nowhere else. Carry on and take a left up the hill after crossing the bridge. This will bring you to the hillside offering views to assess the waves and numerous homestays and warungs. The classic Balian wave (best season: dry Apr -- Oct; best swell: south-southwest; best size: 3 -- 5 ft.; best winds: east-northeast) is a left to the north of the river mouth but the right off the other side can get good too. Just watch out coming in on this side on lower tides as the shore break can be surprisingly heavy. Crowds can be pretty thin up this way.
After a 2 1/2-hour drive from Kuta, a long way from the main Bali surf hub, look for the sign to Pantai Medewi (best season: dry Apr -- Oct; best swell: south; best size: 4 -- 6 ft.; best winds: light winds only), with its old school Bali surfing environment. Its "fatter" left waves and rippable walls are preferred by long-boarders. Barrels are rare. Bring reef-boots as the rocks are sharp, the entrance to the break is difficult, and there is an abundance of sea urchins. This is for serious surfers and not great for swimming. Go early before the winds pick up or venture up with a calm forecast in hand. Medewi is rarely crowded as few choose to make the drive. If you like surfing uncrowded waves with friendly locals and visitors, then Medewi might just be your place on the Island of the Gods.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.