Information before you go
Bali Kuta Beach and its nearby beaches are located in the south of the island, just where it becomes narrow. The majority of the travelers spend the largest part of their holidays on the island here.
Which theoretically is not surprising considering these beaches are perfect for sunbathing, swimming and surfing. So what else do you need? Unfortunately like its villages, these beaches are suffering from the irresponsible tourist development and hence piles of garbage along the coast is a common scene.
View of the most famous beach in Bali
This problem isn't only from the large crowds visiting these beaches but at certain times of the year the current of the sea brings massive amount to garbage and dumps it right on the beach. Often it is so much that bulldozers need to sweep it up.
Hotels and other organizations like Coca Cola and Quicksilver organize cleaning projects throughout the year in order to keep the beaches spick and span. But if you are unlucky these beaches might not be as attractive as you thought it would be.
We are not saying that you should avoid these beaches at all cost. Generally they are still perfect holiday beaches and we love to go their for a stroll along the long sandy beach while watching the famous Kuta sunsets or to go swimming and surfing.
If you plan to go swimming too you should be careful though and look out for the flags on the beach. If they are red, don't go in. The strong current can be very dangerous. Swim between the yellow-red flags only. Fortunately there are also lifeguards on watch here.
The beaches in the south of Bali are listed here clockwise:
Sanur beach is definitely one of those beaches that fit into the list of beautiful beaches on the island.
It’s also the friendliest beach for travelers with disabilities because there’s a walk path that runs for miles on end along the beach. It’s ideal for renting a bike or to do some jogging even though it looks like there’s no end in sight...
The beach with Gunung Agung in the back
If you’re an early riser you can see the sun come up behind the island of Nusa Penida, which is located just 30 minutes by speed boat from the Hang Tuah harbor in the northern part of the beach.
You can see all the way to Padang Bai and the majestic Gunung Agung Mountain, which the Balinese believe is the place where the gods live.
It’s pretty funny to know that the beach is not what it seems to be. When you walk along the beach of Sanur you will only see beautifully sand. But don’t believe what your eyes see...
In reality the beach is volcanic black just like the other beaches along this coast.
The boats are ready to take you on a trip…
The ex-president of Indonesia, Sukarno changed the color of the beach and brought in truckloads of white sand to cover the black volcanic sand.
You can see it yourself. Just walk all the way to the Hang Tuah harbor and continue walking for 10 minutes along the boulevard and you will see the original color of the beach at the fishermen village...
Nevertheless, this nice beach is what makes Sanur a popular holiday destination for travelers from all over the world.
The reef is about 1km from shore, so at the beach the water is very calm. Surfers can rent a boat to the reef instead of paddling all the way. The best season to surf is in the rainy season, between January and March when the winds come from land.
Enjoy having food and drinks right on Sanur beach
Swimmers can enjoy some swimming closer to shore. However, there are areas where there is a lot of seaweed, which makes walking in the water very uncomfortable. Luckily the numerous up-scale resorts along the beach have found a solution...
They’ have cut away strips of seaweed so you can go for a swim or wade in the water with ease.
On the beach you will also find a lot of colorful boats (called jukung) and the boatmen would love to sail you around the lagoon or all the way to the reef or Serangan turtle island, south of Sanur.
Local Warungs are luckily still found along the beach...
Other water activities at Sanur beach are snorkeling and diving at Lebongan and Nusa Penida, para-sailing, sea kayaking, jet-skiing and fishing.
Sanur beach also has lots of good restaurant, souvenir shops that sell everything and massage ladies who are willing to show you their massage techniques.
Over the years Kuta and Tuban seemed to have emerged into one big village. Hotels claim they are located at Kuta but in reality they are in Tuban.
You can easily walk from Tuban to Kuta beach
Tuban beach is similar to Kuta beach except for one important detail: the crowd. There aren't many people here resulting in a very quiet large stretch of beach with here and there a fishing boat. It feels a bit strange considering the beach just 500m further away is packed plus there are a couple of huge resorts located at Tuban beach. Nevertheless this beach feels abandoned.
We won't be surprised that this will change over the years. But if you prefer a beach more to yourself you should definitely consider this one. It is located nearby the airport, so an ideal beach to hang around before your flight leaves.
At Tuban beach you can still find traditional fishing boats
The first time I arrived at this famous beach was in 2002 and at that time already I had to rub my eyes a couple of times to check if I wasn’t on the Costa Blanca in Spain.
The beach is crowded with tourists from every corner of the planet, from Sweden to Japan and with vendors selling ice cream, drinks, souvenirs and massage ladies who won't take no for an answer that easily..
At the end of the day the beach in Kuta is great place to watch the sunset...
However it has not always been like this. Before the 1970’s Kuta was just another quiet and poor fishing village with just a couple of farms situated under palm trees.
Only in the past did it play a role. Around 600 years ago the Javanese General Gajah Madah invaded Bali at Kuta and built a fort (fort means kuta) to defend the area from other invaders.
Later it became an important port for the Balinese slave trade and when the Dutch colonized Bali, Kuta became the place where their ships were repaired and supplied with stocks.
Rent a surf board and learn how to surf...
In the 1930’s Muriel Pearson started the first hotel of Kuta but later sold it to a young Californian surfer and his wife, Bob and Louise Koke, who named it the Kuta Beach Hotel. This hotel still exists and today you can find more backpacker hostels and massive resorts on this beach strip.
In the 1960’s hippies and adventurers started to arrive in search for some more flower power, unlimited supply of mushrooms and the relaxed lifestyle under the palm trees at the wide and long sunny beach. From then on, this stretch of sand was put on the tourist map and until today it still continues to attract a crowd.
Not only is this beach still the place for a relaxed lifestyle but is also famous for one of the best sunsets on the entire island. It’s already a busy beach but between 5pm-6pm it gets even busier with people carrying cameras and tripods.
Surfing is the activity here and you can find numerous Balinese surf instructors who love to teach you on how to surf. The breaks are perfect for first-timers and the water is shallow, so you can jump on your board in no-time.
Behind the third wave it gets dangerous so don’t try to swim here, many tourist have drowned here due to the strong underwater currents. Check out the flags on the beach too, before entering. Don’t go in if they are red...
My first surfing lesson...
If this beach is too busy for you, you can always walk towards the beach in Seminyak. You can even take a really long walk to Canggu or Bali's famous temple Tanah lot, which is 13km from Kuta. You do have to pass several river gullies though. So be prepared to get wet feet.
Legian beach is a bit quieter (but still quite busy) than its connecting beach in Kuta. Here you find less massage ladies, ice cream vendors, hawkers, surf instructors and Javanese men and students making pictures of foreign tourists in bikini ;-)
It is still perfect to stroll along the beach, feel the sand between your toes and let the water wash it away.
Not only is the beach less crowded, but you’ll be far away from the busy traffic noise. Unlike its popular neighboring beach, the beach in Legian is connected to a walkway. So you can comfortably stroll all the way from Legian towards Seminyak.
This picture was taken in 2008. Check the next picture to see how it is now...
Rows of red umbrellas dominate Legian Beach Bali now...
You can also go surfing in Legian. It is less crowded in the water compared to Kuta, so you will probably have more waves to yourself here.
At night there is still enough to do at the beach. Along the walkway, at Double Six there are many beautifully decorated restaurants and bars that serve good food and cocktails.
It’s a nice place to sit till late in the evening while enjoying the cool evening breeze coming straight from sea.
But towards the north of Legian Beach it remains quiet...
One of our favorite restaurants in Legian is located here as well. At Tekor Bali they serve mouth-watering dishes in a great atmosphere, again with stunning view on the ocean...
Seminyak beach is located just north of Kuta and Legian. You can easily walk along these three beaches in 30 to 40 minutes. A great thing to do when the sun is just about to set.
The sunsets here are truly amazing...
Entrance to Seminyak beach Bali
The sand and water at this popular beach are similar to Kuta and Legian, but the beach itself is more quieter. Not only is there a much smaller crowd, but there are also less hawkers, a few restaurants and no noise of traffic at Seminyak beach.
All you will see are sun loungers which are rented out or specially placed for hotel guests, such as the Sofitel hotel. Other then that, the only place where you will spot a crowd is at the couple of restaurants.
Surfing or sunbathing at the beach are the main activities here
There might be only two restaurant located right at Seminyak beach, but they are also the most popular in the area. First of all you have La Luciola, an italian restaurant with view on the beach.
And secondly there is Ku de Ta, a restaurant & lounge which you can't miss when strolling along the beach.
During the day a trendy crowd flock here to enjoy the sun, drinks and food accompanied with music. At night this place turns into a busy place where people from all over the island come together to enjoy a party in the evening together.
Enjoying a stroll along the beach...
But other than that, Seminyak beach Bali is pretty deserted compared with Kuta. Most people who are staying in the luxurious villas in Seminyak tend to spend their days here under the tropical sun...
Seminyak is also a good spot for some surfing. The waves are similar to those in Kuta, but again is less crowded here. The best time to go is late in the afternoon just before sunset.
For swimmers, please be careful and check out what color flag has been put out. If it is red, don't go in even if you are a good swimmer. When I was there I heard that a couple of days before someone had drowned because he unexpectedly got pulled down by a current.
So just be patient and wait till everything is clear before running in...
Canggu beach Bali is about 8 kilometers north from Kuta and is becoming more and more popular among travelers who want to spend their holiday in Bali. A couple of years ago Canggu beach was mainly popular among surfers only.
The beach is deserted if there are no waves
However over the years space in Kuta, Legian and Seminyak became limited resulting in the construction of many new private villas and accommodation in Canggu.
There are also more an more restaurants opening up, making it quite easy to stay in Canggu for a couple of days.
Canggu Beach is ideal if you find Seminyak too crowded to stay but do want to head over there every now and then during the day....
The water at Canggu is quite dangerous for swimming. You should ask around to get more information on swimming and the surf condition. There are probably some local surfers there who can tell you what you want to know.
Seseh beach is pretty much as Canggu beach was a couple of years before: deserted and underdeveloped. Hopefully it will remain as it is for a long time. The beach is really nice and the waves are definitely good for surfing.
Seseh is really easy to find. If you head towards Tanah Lot there is a clear sign at a traffic light pointing towards Seseh beach. It is still a long ride to the beach though. There is not much along the road: rice fields and a few huge villas. That’s it.
The whole beach all to yourself...
The beach is at a fishing village where you can see rows of boats. There are no restaurants or warungs at Seseh beach, so remember to bring your own food and drinks.
This is definitely the place for people who are just looking for one thing: a great place to surf. You might be the only one there, so you’ll have the waves all to yourself...
If you head more towards the south you will find a different range of beaches. Dominated by cliffs and high waves, these beaches attract a lot of surfers.Read more
Ever wanted to try out surfing? It looks difficult but after only one lesson you will soon realize that standing on a board can be done by young and old.Read more
Besides being the most visited temple in Bali it is also the most photographed. Depending on the time of day the temple can look different every time.Read more
Now and then people send us inspiring emails and this generates even more enthusiasm to share all of the things we know about this lovely island in the hope that you can plan your tropical holiday properly and have as such a great time as we always have. Hope to see you there!
When I wrote the mail I never really expected a reply. I might have expected a computer generated but never a personally written one. The information you provided is invaluable, thank you so very much. I have been using your website as a bible through Bali. Through your recommendation, I will be heading to Ubud then follow the sightseeing route to the coast of Candidasa.
WOW...what an awesome website. I could only dream that there would be a website like this for all our travel destinations! You guys have done an fabulous job and now, I am sooo excited about our upcoming trip to Bali. To be honest, I wasn't quite sure Bali was the place for us considering some of the travel warnings (we are Americans). But I can tell from your experiences that the Bali people are so very kind and peaceful.
hi and congratulations on the blog it s brilliant and helpful....we are going to Bali in September with my family (including 2 little girls) so we need to have nice spaceous rooms garden and pool access rooms preferably in Semikyak but not too far from it all...I hope you can recommend a great place thats not full of Australian crowds as we like meeting people from other countries.
Hi, I have been travelling for years and I want to say that this website is the best I have EVER come across. It is easy to navigate, it is really descriptive, gives all the info that you could ever want and is accompanied by the best photos and advice. GREAT.