Bali's Best Beaches
"Which are the Best Beaches in Bali?" is a question we are often asked. The answer depends on what your expectations are, so here’s a quick ‘at a glance’ look at our opinion on the Best Beaches in Bali.
Kuta - Legian
Kuta Beach is probably Bali’s most famous beach destination – Bali’s busiest beach area and a great place for sunset.
If partying, bargain clothes shopping, learning to ‘boogie-board’, hanging out with the local surf boys and making friends with Bruce and Sheila is your thing, then you’re going to love Kuta! Party on, but we’ll give it short shrift.
We still love the place though – there are some super luxury Boutique Hotels right on the beach such as The Samaya Seminyak and The Oberoi Bali and several other excellent pool villa resorts in Seminyak’s back streets.
Royal Courtyard Pool Villa & Beachfront at the Samaya Seminyak
Seminyak has dozens of great places to eat including some of the finest restaurants in Bali. There are plenty of great boutique shops and some high-quality spas as well as a couple of excellent beach clubs.
The beach at Seminyak is a surf beach – it feels wilder up here, and some parts of the beach can be flagged off for swimming.
It’s one of the best places in Bali for sunsets though and Seminyak remains one of our favourite beach destinations in Bali.
Heading further up the coast from Seminyak on the way to the sea temple of Tanah Lot you come to Canggu, another destination which has changed somewhat over the past 3 or 4 years.
When we first visited Canggu there was little more than rice paddies, traditional Balinese villages and long stretches of surf beach.
Nowadays it’s all a bit more ‘happening’ with a surf-shack vibe and some of Bali’s most rated restaurants, best coffee, hippest artists, fastest Wi-Fi and coolest boutiques. Conde Nast designated Canggu as ‘Brooklyn-on-Sea’ and we know what they mean.
Nowhere is this cool, hipster vibe embodied more than in the stark austerity and contemporary minimalism of The Slow, an arty hotel in the heart of Canggu, 300 metres from the beach.
Combine a stay at COMO Echo Beach and COMO Uma Ubud
The north of Bali has become increasingly popular for those looking for more traditional and low-key hotels and a tranquil Bali, far removed from the hip and happening Seminyak and Canggu.
It’s all black-sand and volcanic up here though so be prepared for something different.
There are some lovely resorts up on the north coast of Bali stretching either side of the small resort town of Lovina.
Matahari Beach Resort remains one of our favourites. For a relaxing escape with beautiful gardens, excellent dining and traditionally furnished rooms – Matahari Beach Resort is hard to beat. There is also excellent snorkelling within easy walking distance.
The Beach & Gardens at Matahari Beach Resort & Spa
Another great choice in the north is The Menjangan, a beachside eco-resort in a unique location in Bali with a landscape which is more reminiscent of parts of southern Africa. The beach here isn’t anything to speak of but the water is very clear and trips to see wild dolphins are popular.
Heading down the East Coast of Bali, in the shadow of Mount Agung, the beaches tend to be pebbly, with isolated resorts such as the Spa Village Tembok, (a delightful spa-based retreat) and the Siddhartha Ocean Front Resort which is a real gem of a boutique hotel and perfect for divers.
The East Coast of Bali is a very traditional part of the island and great for exploring.
Further down the coast heading back west towards the southern resort areas, Manggis and Candi Dasa are low-key beach areas with just a couple of decent hotels, including the Alila Manggis which is a great boutique hotel in Bali to escape the crowds.
Sanur is a popular resort area in Bali with a beach front promenade, a village-like atmosphere, a plethora of low and mid-range hotels and the beautiful Bali Pavilions, one of our favourite Boutique Hotels in Bali.
Traditional Balinese style at Sanur
Sanur is a great choice to experience more of local Balinese life as despite the tourist facilities which are everywhere, local life still goes on, with little temples hidden away around almost every corner, offerings on the kerbsides in the mornings and traditional ceremonies being carried out on a regular basis.
The beach at Sanur is unspectacular but it’s a great place to see the traditional Balinese fishing boats.
How do we rave about Nusa Dua when it’s the opposite of what we do? Big, bland, corporate, gated, sterile and not even facing the sunsets!
Apart from those we’d happily give Nusa Dua a miss although if there’s a hotel in Nusa Dua you especially love, let us know - we won’t hold it against you.
Once you get right down into the southern tip of Bali, the land rises on to a plateau and reaches the sea in some quite dramatic cliffs which can come as quite a surprise.
Uluwatu is known primarily as the number one surf destination in Bali, one of the best in Asia.
There are a number of luxury resorts in Uluwatu including the Alila, the Banyan Tree, the Edge and the Anantara. The beaches here tend to be isolated coves and usually private to a greater or lesser extent.
There is no central resort area here and the hotels tend to be isolated. If isolation, luxury, privacy and views are on your list, then a luxury hotel in Uluwatu may be your best option.
And finally – Jimbaran, a long stretch of white sand with a lagoon style sea, just south of the airport (but barely disturbed by noise).
Jimbaran is one of our favourite beaches in Bali – with a local style, still a working fishing village and famous for its beach barbeque restaurants at sunset on the sand.
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