Wandering the roads of east Bali is one of the island's great pleasures. Rice terraces spill down hillsides under swaying palms, wild volcanic beaches are washed by pounding surf and age-old villages soldier on with barely a trace of modernity. Watching over this region is Gunung Agung, the 3142m volcano known as the 'navel of the world' and 'Mother Mountain', which has a perfect conical shape.
You can find Bali's past amid evocative ruins in the former royal city of Semarapura. Follow the rivers coursing down the slopes on the Sideman road to find vistas and valleys where you can try to invent new words for 'green'. Down at the coast is groovy Padangbai and relaxed Candidasa.
Resorts and hidden beaches dot the seashore and cluster on the Amed coast. Just north of there, Tulamben is all about external exploration: the entire town is geared for diving.