Bali Beach Guide
Bali offers a choice of white- and golden-sand beaches that lie mainly on the south coast in the following beach districts:
(East coast) – Dig your toes into the soft white sand of this 1km-long palm-fringed beach that nestles between a mix of modern and Balinese-style hotels and the calm turquoise waters of the lagoon.
Sheltered by an offshore reef, the lagoon offers perfect conditions for water sports including parasailing, surfing, snorkelling, kayaking, windsurfing, sailing, jet-skiing and glass-bottom boat tours.
Just a short walk from the beach lies the tranquil Balinese village of Sanur, where you can visit a range of shops, restaurants and interesting sights including Bali’s oldest dated artefact – a stone pillar located behind Pura Belangjong on Jalan Seka Waru, on which ancient inscriptions recount military victories dating back 1000 years. Or stroll among thousands of colourful orchids at the Bali Orchid Garden, located along Jl Ngurah Rai, around 3km north of Sanur.
Upmarket Sanur is more expensive than Kuta but cheaper than Seminyak, and is located on the east coast just 15km from the airport, around 20 minutes by taxi.
Find a good choice of resorts in Sanur . . .
Nusa Dua (East coast) – Choose from a range of luxurious 5-star hotels and private villas that nestle beneath shady trees of manicured gardens in this exclusive complex.
Discover three gorgeous golden-sand beaches that lie separated by two small tree-covered peninsulas. Protected by an offshore reef, the lagoon offers calm waters perfect for swimming and snorkelling – at low tide, the water is only ankle deep on some parts of the beach.
The northern end of the beach boasts a range of water sports including parasailing, jet skiing, snorkelling and diving trips. (For more water sport activities head to Tanjung Benoa, Bali’s centre for water sports, just a 10-minute drive north of Nusa Dua.) Both the north and south beaches offer good surf conditions from December through to March when the winds are offshore.
Away from the beach, tee off from a choice of three golf courses in Nusa Dua, including the 18-hole Bali Golf and Country Club, the Nusa Dua Golf Course and the Amanusa Golf Course; or admire baby turtles prior to their release into the sea at the nearby conservation area of Pulau Penyu (Turtle Island), just a short boat ride away.
Nusa Dua’s modern village offers a range of air-conditioned restaurants, cafes, art galleries, handicraft shops and chic fashion boutiques. In the evening, enjoy traditional Balinese entertainment at the nearby Chandra Koka Amphitheatre.
Nusa Dua is a huge gated complex located on the east coast, around 13km from the airport, 20 minutes by taxi. Find a good choice of resorts in Nusa Dua . . .
Tanjung Benoa (East coast) – This scenic 5km-long golden-sand beach fronts a mix of luxury, modern and Balinese-style hotels, open-air cafes, restaurants and shops catering to water sports enthusiasts. The middle and northern section of the beach offers scuba diving, snorkelling, parasailing, jet skiing, surfing, banana boat rides and reef fishing.
Protected by an offshore reef, the lagoon offers calm waters perfect for swimming and enjoying water sports – at low tide, the water is only ankle deep on some parts of the beach, which is great for beachcombing and spotting tropical fish trapped in rock and sand pools.
Tanjung Benoa is located at the tip of the Benoa Peninsula north of Nusa Dua and is just 15km from the airport, around 30 minutes by taxi.
Kuta (West coast) – If you enjoy crashing surf, spectacular sunsets and an energetic nightlife that never seems to stop, then this is the place for you. Kuta is Bali’s busiest beach resort district. A broad sweep of golden sand sits in front of a maze of narrow streets that are crammed with hotels, bars, nightclubs, restaurants and shops selling an array of handicrafts and clothes.
The surf on Kuta is best from March to July. Bring your own board or rent from one of the shops that line the beachside streets. If you need them, lessons are available from the local surf school. Unfortunately, this is not a safe swimming beach as the current here is often too strong, with frequent rips.
Away from the beach, visit the 16th century temple of Tanah Lot, which is built on a lava rock 200m off the coast and is accessible at low tide. Come at sunset for magical views.
Kuta is located on the west coast just 4km from the airport, around 10 minutes by taxi. Find a good choice of resorts in Kuta Legian . . .
Legian (West coast) – Find a quiet alternative to bustling Kuta on this wide surf beach, which stretches north of Kuta to Seminyak. By day, rent a surf or boogie board, take a lesson at the local surf school, stroll along the paved beachfront pathway, go shopping and unwind with a cold drink while watching a magical sunset.
After dark, discover a great choice of bars, restaurants and nightclubs. Like Kuta Beach, strong undercurrents often make this beach unsafe for swimming. Legian is located on the west coast just 8km from the airport, around 13 minutes by taxi.
Seminyak (West coast) – Discover a sophisticated and quiet alternative to bustling Kuta and busy Legian. Unwind in a choice of luxurious beachside hotels and private villas. Savour soothing spas and browse trendy boutiques. Enjoy fine dining and party-on in stylish nightspots.
Up-market Seminyak is located just north of Legian and features the gently shelving Petitenget Beach.
Seminyak is located on the west coast just 10km from the airport, around 16 minutes by taxi. Find a good choice of resorts in Seminyak . . .
Jimbaran Bay (West coast) – Dig your toes into the soft white sand of this gorgeous beach that fronts a former fishing village and a choice of luxury 5-star hotels. By day, sunbathing on the soft sand, swim in the calm lagoon and savour magical sunsets over a cold drink at one of the beachside restaurants that are renowned for fresh grilled seafood.
There are no water sports on this beach, however, hotels are usually happy to provide scuba diving, snorkelling and kayaking excursions elsewhere. For surfing, head north to Kuta or south to Uluwatu, a renowned destination for advanced surfers.
While in Ulumatu, don’t miss the magnificent Pura Uluwatu (Uluwatu Temple), where you can also watch ‘kecak’ dance performances daily from 6pm to 7pm.
Jimbaran Bay is located south of Kuta on the west coast 6km from the airport, around 10 minutes by taxi. Find a good choice of resorts in Jimbaran Bay . . .
Dreamland Beach (Uluwatu, West coast) – This magnificent white-sand beach offers excellent surfing conditions for intermediate surfers with a right and left reef break, but is not a safe swimming beach. Relax with a cold drink at one of the beachside bars and enjoy the sunset.
Dreamland is located on the way to Uluwatu on the west coast of the Bukit Peninsula 17km from the airport, around 33 minutes by taxi. Find a good choice of resorts in Uluwatu . . .
Lovina (North coast) – Relax on this long stretch of black volcanic sand that embraces several villages overlooking the Java Sea. With its rural charm, Lovina is a convenient base to explore the north coast and the central mountains of Bali. Swim and snorkel in the calm reef-protected waters of the lagoon. Go scuba diving or take a dolphin-watching excursion.
Inland, hike picturesque forest trails in the West Bali National Park looking out for native wildlife, such as barking deer as white mynah birds flitter among the branches overhead. Or soothe your muscles in the 37˚C waters of Air Panas hot springs at Banjar. Here, natural volcanic spring waters pour out of carved stone mouths into a series of pools that nestle within a gorgeous tropical garden.
Lovina is located on the north coast 92km from the airport, around one hour and 45 minutes by car. Find a good choice of resorts in Lovina . . .