Bali’s long-held position in the top ranks of most holiday-goers’ planners is well deserved: it doesn’t break the bank, the tropical weather needs little more than flip flops and sunscreen, the food is both distinct and delicious, the culture is vibrant, friendly and open, and no one ever complained about a sunset on the beach. And on an island where everything is soaked in sun and pleasure, we fight through the malaise of sloth to sort out the better beaches for catching rays, dips and drinks on the Island of the Gods so that you don’t have to. So kick back, get your towels ready, and come along with us through a few of the top beaches in Bali’s Bukit Peninsula.
But it isn’t just the fact that there is killer surf here that brings Uluwatu in among the best of the best, it also features one of Bali’s holiest temples, a hip beach club called Finn’s that runs a tram service down the cliff face, and strands of velvety white sand that sit hemmed between the gnarly surf and equally impressive cliff faces.
Surf’s up at perhaps the most recognisable of Bali’s southern shores. A magnet for surfers from around the world, Uluwatu has carved itself out a reputation as one of the best surf spots on the planet, and features a range of breaks that accommodate everyone from intermediate surfers up to only the heaviest of riders. But it isn’t just the fact that there is killer surf here that brings Uluwatu in among the best of the best, it also feature one of Bali’s holiest temples, a hip beach club called Finn’s that runs a tram service down the cliff face, and strands of velvety white sand that sit hemmed between the gnarly surf and equally impressive cliff faces.Typically populated with surfers and a younger crowd, this beach makes a great hangout for all who want to watch watermen from around the world get thrashed over sundowners, but can be equally as fun for families with children during the afternoons as there is a bevy of cheap food options and plenty of beach space.
Tucked away on the southernmost point of the island, Pandawa is definitely increasing in the tourist trade, but it’s still early enough that it hasn’t been totally overrun like some of the other beaches that make up the strip that runs through Kuta, Legian and Seminyak. A great place for families looking for some fun in the sun, this beach has got clean white sand, gentle waves and low to moderate current that both make swimming and castle-building equally easy. With kayaks and sun loungers for rent, and a number of food and drink stalls and warungs (small local restaurants) available, Pandawa is a great place to spend the day with family away from the crowds of some of Bali’s busier beaches. Located between and behind a number of smaller cliffs, rocks, and hills, this beach also offers visitors a feeling of seclusion and a natural beauty that some of the other store-lined strands don’t.
For those looking for a posher beach experience than sandals and sun, check out Nusa Dua, which brings together a host of high-end resorts that cater to any travellers’ needs. Two long and beautiful white sand strips of beach here are separated by a public park that is home to Pura Bias Tugel, a small Hindu temple that overlooks the water, and the blue water laps gently giving everyone the opportunity to swim here. If ocean swimming isn’t your persuasion, however, one can happily find time at any of the pools at the numerous beach- and day-clubs that line this five-star beach row, or even learning how to kite surf at Swimmer’s Beach. With a typically more affluent crowd, this beach can be great for families, couples, or those travelling on their own, but don’t forget your wallet at home, because a day out here will be one of the more expensive on the island.
Perhaps the best beach on the island to catch a sunset, Balangan brings with it a lesser-developed feel to it much like Pandawa to the south. With caramel sand and the iconic blue water that is present at just about each shoreline of Bali’s renowned coast, Balangan has something to offer for everybody with surf on the western edge of the beach, wonderful clean sand throughout, and light swimming on the eastern end. Balangan too, like Pandawa to the south, has avoided much of the industrialisation that a number of other Balinese beaches have undergone, leaving accommodation and meals simple and modest. Simple guesthouse accommodations for those looking to nest here at Balangan are the norm, and with food and drinks that come much in the way of local warung outposts that hawk local fares for a few bucks per dish, the absence of the larger developments has left Balangan as the perfect chill-out for a sundowner in peace. Good for surfers, families, couples and solo travellers, Balangan is a great quiet escape with easy access that will have you chilling out away from the hum.
The list of Bali’s beaches is unending, and with new spots discovered each and every year, we’re sure that the list has every possibility of expanding or shrinking over time. But as for now, if you’re looking to find peace at some of the best beaches in Bali’s Bukit Peninsula, this list isn’t a bad place to start. Other beaches of note that may be worth checking out include Dreamland, Impossible, Padang Padang, Pandawa and Geger beaches, and whether you find your favourite haunt here or elsewhere, be sure to kick back, relax, and enjoy the sun on an island where it doesn’t get much better.
(Featured image: Tucked between Balangan and Uluwatu, Dreamland Beach offers visitors a hip hangout not far from the surf.)