Information before you go
The south Bali beaches are also known as the Bukit Peninsula and the most popular beaches on this tip of Bali are Uluwatu Beach, Dreamland Bali Beach (also known as New Kuta Beach) and Jimbaran beach but you'll soon find out that there are a lot more.
These beaches are located in an area that is not as green as the northern part of the island. The landscape is very arid so you will not see any rice fields here.
Nevertheless, the beaches in the Bukit area are amazing and worth exploring. You'll find here the best places to surf or just to relax and admire the view from the cliffs.
At the east side of the peninsula the beaches have soft white sand, while the west the coast is dominated by cliffs. Some of these beaches are not so easy to travel to but you know what they say 'hard to find is hard to leave' which could be the new tourism slogan for this part of the island.
You can easily spend a day beach hopping in this area. Rent a motorbike and choose which beaches you wish to see. You can start at Nusa Dua Beach ( but don't stay at their boring 5-star resorts), then drive to the cliffs of Uluwatu beach. Go for a swim and have somelunch here and continue to chill at Pandang Padang beach or Bingin beach. In the evening go for a mixed grilled seafood platter at Jimbaran beach and admire the sunset.
View on Balangan Beach
Since the Kuta area has become so crowded, a large number of developers have set their eyes on the Bukit beaches. The last couple of years some beaches have remained untouched while others have changed dramatically in a short period of time. So don't be shocked when you return and discover that your little piece of paradise has vanished.
The Southern most beaches in Bali are clockwise:
Nusa Dua beach is what you expect of a tropical beach: beautiful clean sand, trees that provide plenty of shade, an emerald blue sea and sunny skies.
Along this tropical beach there are many 4 and 5 star beach resorts from well known international hotel chains. With the long string of sun loungers and restaurants dotting the beach it might look as if the beach is made for hotels guests only. This is not the case. When you are not staying in Nusa Dua you are still allowed to go to the beach since it is a public beach.
Nusa Dua Beach
And this beach is definitely worth the visit. The first thing I noticed when I was on the beach was the soft sand and the sound of the ocean.
It was so quiet. No sounds of crazy traffic anywhere.
And on top of that, there are no people offering things to sell. Unlike at Kuta Beach, hawkers are not allowed to enter these beaches. This lack of traffic and hawkers is definitely unique in Bali. However this has all been planned...
Enough space on the white beaches of Nusa Dua
Since mass tourims has found its way to the island of Bali in the 70's it has has led to many negative impacts on the Balinese culture. Therefore the Indonesian Government with the help of the World Bank came up with plans to creating a secluded tourist fort which is mainly focused on package tourists who have more to spend. The Balinese who used to life here had to leave the area and were never fully compensated but since President Suharto had the backing of the military he could easily create Nusa Dua Beach. Most of the 5-star resorts such as the Hyatt, the Westin, the Sheraton Laguna etc are still owned or partially owned by the Suharto family.
So this is the real reason why you will not find independent stalls, shops, restaurants or other businesses in the vicinity of the beach contrary to the other beaches on Bali.
The location for this tourism project was carefully selected as well. Nusa Dua was sparsely populated, had good weather and most importantly a beautiful stretch of beach.
A man made dam in sea ensures that the waves break further off shore which make the sea ideal for swimming. Unlike Sanur there’s no seaweed so it feels comfortable when you wade into the water.
water sport activities at Nusa Dua and Tanjung Benoa Beach
Besides just going for a relaxing swim, you can also do other water sports at Nusa Dua Beach such as diving, water-skiing, jet-skiing and parasailing.
You can easily arrange these activities on Tanjung Benoa Beach (just north of Nusa Dua) too where you’will find many diving operators. At this harbor village there are even operators who offer one hour cruises in a glass bottomed boat and they even offer deepsea fishing trips.
If you want to go further off shore there are several boat operators which offer trips to Nusa Lembongan, an island just 30 minutes from Nusa Dua. This island is ideal for snorkeling and diving
The beach in front of the Nikko Bali Resort south of Nusa Dua
Surfers can find waves too in Nusa Dua. The best surfing is on the reef in front of Club Med. This is also known as ‘Sri Lanka’ and has a right hand break. The other breaks can be reached by boat just south of the Hilton.
Green ball beach is not really a beach, but a place where only the crazy ones dare to surf and only during low tide you might see something of a beach.
This beach is the most southern beach of the Bukit area. It is pretty easy to find, just take the road to Uluwatu and follow the signs to the Bali Cliff Resort at the Ungasan junction.
Then turn left just before you enter the gates of the resort. Keep on going till you end up at the Pura Mas Suka temple where you'll find plenty parking space.
Tough to get there but Green Ball Beach is awesome
The place is probably deserted, except for a couple of women who try to sell Bali sarongs and offer you massages. We politely declined when one woman started showing us her massage techniques. At the end she stopped and she said that we would probably want one when we returned from the beach.
And after visiting Green Ball beach, I can understand why she thought that might happen.
Like most of the beaches in the south, Green Ball is located in a bay. To get there you have to descend steep stairs. We met a couple who were on their way up. They were panting and sweating heavily, so we knew what was waiting for us.
Nonetheless getting there is worth it. Once down, it's a terrific sight to see so many different ocean colors and those waves crashing into the cliffs.
If you want to go surfing, you need to paddle for a while because the waves start to swell pretty far from the shore or you can join a surfing tour which has boats that will take you beyond the reef.
There is no beach to lie on so if you are not surfing, you can sit comfortably on the cement wall at the end of the stairs.
Depending on the time of day there might be a patch of sand
Once you've climbed up the stairs, buy a cold drink and sit down to watch, for one more time, the stunning view or to get a massage from the lady who will probably be waiting for you.
This beach is one of the most difficult to find and to reach. However with some extra effort and determination you will be rewarded.
If you arrive at the right time of day...
Nyang Nyang beach is located just a couple of kilometers west from the Uluwatu temple. To get there just follow the sign to Pecatu and from there drive on. After several minutes keep your eyes peeled because here comes the difficult part.
Spectacular view on Nyang Nyang Beach
All of the sudden you will see (when coming from the north) a sign with 'Nyang Nyang Beach Villa Bali'. The sign takes you along a nice pathway and finally to a hotel where the security awaits you.
The staff will explain that you are allowed to go to the beach after purchasing a drink at the hotel. Well...we didn't expect that!
If you want to have a drink and enjoy the magnificent view on the emerald blue ocean here go ahead. But if you just want to go to the beach or want to surf then you should not follow this sign.
Instead, keep on driving a little bit further and after about 10m you will see a wooden blue painted sign pointing towards a dirt road. Don't hesitate, this is the right way.
The view at Nyang Nyang Beach is worth the trip
At first we kept on thinking about turning back, but our persistence was soon rewarded when we finally arrived at a little parking area. From there we walked towards the cliff and took in the breathtaking view of the Indian Ocean.
Way down, after descending many steps you will finally arrive at Nyang Nyang beach. It is worth going down, but remember that you will have to do a hell of a job of climbing up at the end of the day.
Besides the gorgeous view, Nyang Nyang beach is great for surfing. The best time to go is between March till September early in the day as low tide will soon set in and the waves will be difficult to reach.
Uluwatu Beach (also known as Pantai Suluban/Suluban Beach) has without question the most astonishing ocean colors I have seen on the entire island of Bali.
These beaches have the best views
The emerald green and blue shades make you want to jump in immediately. Depending on the time of day and year it is possible to swim. Just off the small strip of beach there is a crystal clear pool of water. Once in you will feel like you are in paradise....
But when we were there in April Uluwatu beach was mostly suitable for surfers who could avoid the sharp rocks and head to the high waves which can reach up to 8m high.
Uluwatu Beach is not only for surfing
Uluwatu is the epic center of Surfing Mecca on Bali and is the most popular beach among advanced surfers. It’s reachable on your way to Uluwatu’s famous temple, the Pura Luhur Uluwatu. There’s a side road that leads you to a very small car park and some shops with t-shirts and other souvenirs.
Afterwards it’s another 200 m down the stairs to the beach area where you will pass a string of restaurants, repair shops for dings and a lot of budget accommodations The pavement is narrow and everything is built along the cliff creating a maze of little stairs to get from one place to the other.
All kind of constructions right on the cliff
Not surprisingly there are many restaurants who have taken advantage of their location and have set up tables with front row seats with views of the ocean, creating a perfect place to watch surfers tackle these famous waves.
It is obvious that this is one of the beaches in the Bukit area where surfers meet up and hang around while waiting for the waves to roll in.
It's easy to sit here for hours... Order a pancake, sip some juice or have a nice cold beer
If you are not into surfing, you should still pass through. Uluwatu has a very laid-back atmosphere and is therefore perfect for any type of beach lover. With some excellent hotels such as Uluwatu Surf Villas and Blue Point Bay Villas you can't go wrong either.
When we saw Padang Padang beach for the first time, all that we could say was: “wow!!” From the road we could see the beautiful bay with white sand and for kilometers on end there was just the magnificent clear green-blue emerald colores of water.
A photo is worth a thousand words at Padang Padang Beach
To get to here, drive towards Uluwatu and turn right at Pecatu. Follow the road until it splits at a junction, then turn left. From here you will see signs to the beach.
Once you have passed the small temple you need to go down some stairs, where it can be very narrow. Watch your head when you enter the ‘cave’. At the end of the cave you'll be standing upright in the soft white sand.
Even though it can get busy there's a good vibe on Padang Padang Beach
Padang Padang beach is one of the beaches which has seen dramatic changes. Just a few years ago it was a quiet piece of white beach with just a couple of little food stalls where you can buy some food and drinks.
Today it can get busy and there is even parasol rental for Rp. 100.000 a day. We were pretty shocked about the changes over the years. But somehow this beach still is attractive as some come here to catch waves (the famous Balinese Pipeline) while others come to relax and to take a dip in the ocean.
Plenty of warungs to enjoy food and drinks at Padang Padang Beach
One of the best surfing spots in the world
The beach is also very popular for sunbathers and swimmers. You can spend the entire day sunbathing at Padang Padang. And if you walk a bit away from the main beach you will even find a patch of sand all for yourself.
A lot of people find shade under the parasols, but the high cliffs at the back of the beach provide enough shade. Definitely one of our favorite beaches in Bali.
Walk around these rocks and you might find your private beach
After sunset Padang Padang is still open for people who want to enjoy a barbeque on the beach and on saturdays there is even live music. Make sure you arrange a ride back or stay at a nearby accommodation such as Rapture's Surf Camp or Lullaby's as public transportation is out of the question and getting a last minute private driver from here can be pretty tricky.
Bingin beach is a very secluded beach, which means it isn't easy to get there. But hey, places that are hard to reach are usually the places you want to be.
You can reach the beach by driving towards Uluwatu. At Pecatu you have to turn left and then right at the junction. From there you will see small handwritten signs showing you the way to the beach.
There are several dirt-roads you can take that lead to the beach. At the end of one dirt road a lady told us that it would be a 15 minute walk, 5 minutes through the bushes and then 10 minutes down to the beach.
There wasn't really a path so it looked more like a hike than a walk to me.
Amazing clear water and great waves at Bingin Beach on Bali island
We decided to take another turn further north. From there the villagers are happy to point you to the right direction and show you where you can park your car or motorbike.
Don’t expect to see the beach. It takes another 10 minutes by foot to get there. A lady showed us the way between village houses, along narrow paths and home stays. It feels like walking in someone's backyard.
After climbing down the stairs we finally ended up at the beach. We were surprised that despite the heavy hike, there were a lot of restaurants and around 35 places where you can spend the night.
Bingin Beach with a view on the south
Most places cater to surfers, are not so fancy but you can't really complain: they are built on the cliff and have the best view you can get. Most rooms have balconies right on the beach overlooking the Indian Ocean. Recommended places to stay are Mick's Place, Mu Bali and The Temple Lodge.
This is an ideal spot for surfers to wait for the big waves to roll in. This is one of those beaches, which are perfect for die hard surfing; the surf break comes from the left side and challenges the very best surfer but luckily there are also parts where beginners can learn how to surf.
Rooms with stunning views right on Bingin Beach
Sunbathers will be disappointed because the beach is very narrow so there's not a lot of space to work on your tan. Like most of the Bukit beaches, Bingin is a great beach located right below the cliffs and has a very laid back atmosphere. It’s also an ideal spot to relax and chat with the local people.
But to get there, prepare for a heavy work-out because once you have climbed down the stairs to the beach, you have to climb up again.
Dreamland Beach (now known as New Kuta Beach) is located south of Kuta, halfway to Uluwatu. It is an amazingly beautiful strip of beach that is located right at the cliffs.
The first time we were at Dreamland Beach there was just one small restaurant and several little shops. But things have changed rapidly and Dreamland is in our opinion kind of lost.
Dreamland Bali beach isn't the dreambeach what it used to be
This beach is turning into a major tourist destination as there is a lot of construction work going on in the area and the walkway that takes you to the beach is covered with restaurants and shops which are not charming or attractive at all. It's a shame that the Balinese government doesn't care about one of the last remaining untouched beaches left on the island.
Nevertheless the beach itself has remained the same. The sand is clean, soft and ideal for sunbathing while the water is excellent for surfing.
Most of the people rent one of the many beach chairs to enjoy some sunbathing along the beautiful sea. However if you walk further to the right, the beach becomes less crowded which is perfect if you want to loose the crowd.
Luckily you can still have the feeling of being the only one here
The water is also good for swimming, but in the late afternoon the tides can switch quickly and big waves can suddenly appear. Every time we wanted to go for a swim, the low tide would set in and a rocky shore would appear.
Just like most of the other beaches in this area there is a current that can make swimming difficult and somewhat dangerous. So check it out first before going into the water.
Surfers on the other hand appeared in large numbers to catch the waves. I could see that the waves are pretty good and excellent for intermediate surfers.
Sadly the people who used to live at Dreamland Bali had to pay a heavy price for this amazing beach setting.
Tommy Suharto, the former president's youngest son saw the beauty of the beach as well and included it in his plan of developing the area.
However the 200 Balinese families who were living here were not part of the plan and they were cleared from the land together with their temples and fruit orchards.
After Tommy’s arrest, the development plan was terminated for a couple of years. Today construction work has continued again and when you approach Dreamland beach you can see villas, condos and resorts being built everywhere. To be honest it all looks very depressing and we still wonder who on earth will stay here.
On top of that there is a massive a golf course overlooking the sea and the New Kuta Condotel pretty much dominates the landscape.
It seems that within a couple of years this whole Dreamland complex will be another tourist lure with big hotels and many shops.
Unfortunately somebody likes big concrete buildings
Nevertheless, if you are in the area you should go see Dreamland Beach. It is particularly nice to walk around early in the morning before the crowd arrives. Just head towards the Bukit area and follow the signs to Uluwatu. Halfway you will see a huge entrance of Pecatu Graha.
Drive in and follow the road till you end up at a car park. Make sure that you have arranged a ride back. It can be a hassle to arrange one from Dreamland Beach and drivers waiting at the entrance offer unreasonable rates.
Strolling along Dreamland beach early in the morning
You might have to pay Rp. 10.000 at the car park about 100m from the beach but this is not unusual in Bali.
If you are on the motor bike you can drive all the way up to the stairs leading to the beach.
There are two roads leading to Balangan beach. One is a side road just before entering the Dreamland gates. This one is well paved and leads through a couple of Balinese villages straight to the beach.
We took the road from Dreamland Beach. This newly paved road takes you along heavy construction work. Nowadays it seems that every piece of open land has to be filled with resorts and villas.
The cows and chicken don't seem to mind
Eventually this road turns into a dirt path where you'll see a wall with Balangan beach written on it. After several minutes driving through bushes where the cows are observing you and where there are a couple of thatched farmer’s huts you'll finally reach the beach.
There’s a small parking area for your car or motor bike, the rest is walking on the rocky path down to the beach.
The first time we were at Balangan beach it was pretty much deserted. There were only a handful of restaurants, a few accommodations off the beach such as...and several basic ones right on the beach.
However, again things have changed here...
Once a quiet beach now you can find a dozen warungs
There is more activity on the beach. A dozen of small restaurants built on poles have emerged right on the beach. Here people can sit at the table and see the surfers ride the waves while eating some Nasi Goreng or Mie Goreng while sipping on a fruit juice.
Even though there have been some big changes this beautiful beach has kept its relaxing atmosphere and you can still stroll without stumbling over rubbish or walking into pushy hawkers or massage ladies.
Balangan Beach from the cliff, now also popular among newly weds
You can either join the crowd at the restaurants or walk towards the string of palm trees for more privacy. If you feel like a walk you can find stairs at the end of the beach which leads you pass a temple and towards the cliff.
Here you have gorgeous views of the beach and it is wonderful spot to be when the sun is about the set.
Back on the beach puddles appear at low tide. If you haven't been able to get into the water because of the high waves then this is the perfect time to head in and to cool down.
Surfing is fantastic here too
On the outer left side of Balangan Beach surfers can catch fantastic waves coming from the left side. To get to the surf area you need some rubber footwear because there are lots of rocks, which can make nasty cuts.
Besides the budget Balinese styled sea view cottages catered to the surf crowd right on the beach there are several nice small resorts at walking distance from the beach such as the amazing Milo's Home, La Joya Villa & Bungalows, Flower Bud Bungalow Balangan, Coconuts Hummingbird and Balangan Brothers Bungalow.
Enjoying one of nature's gifts
We can easily spent a couple of days on Balangan Beach. It’s a very romantic spot, a great place to grab a beach chair and relax, read a book and wait for the stunning sunset. You do have to share it with the newly weds who flock here in large numbers for their Balinese wedding photo shoot ;-)
We do hope that Balangan beach remains as it is because this is definitely one of our favorite beaches in the south Bali region.
Jimbaran beach is one of the finest beaches in the southern part of Bali, it’s wide, long (5km) and it is perfect for jogging or swimming.
The white sandy beach is located just south of the international Ngurah Rai Airport but you will not hear any of the noise.
Jimbaran bay is perfect for swimming and long walks
When you arrive early in the morning you can see the fishermen coming back with their catch in the half-moon shaped bay of Jimbaran. The women come up to the boats and help to unload the fish. Afterwards they sort and sell them at the market at the very north part of the beach.
Most of the fish ends up in the luxurious hotels of Jimbaran, Nusa Dua, Kuta, Sanur or on your plate in the evening ;-)
If you like to make a tour around the coast of the Bukit beaches or along Jimbaran reef, the fishermen will be happy to take you along on their colorful boats.
Since the reef is far out, it’s not really suitable to surf here.
At the end of the Jimbaran beach, at the southern side, you can find the Pura Ulun Siwi temple which is worth a visit. This temple was built in the 17th century by the Mengwi dynasty and is now maintained by rice farmers.
Rice farmers in Jimbaran?
Yep, the temple is built to honor Dewi Sri, the Rice Goddess and it’s the most important rice temple on Bali island.
Jimbaran beach is also home to several very good seafood restaurants where you can just sit here with your toes in the sand while enjoying one of the best seafood platters around and watch the amazing sunset.
When it gets dark the staff lights up the candles at your table and then it’s time for some more romance ;-)
Waiting for the sunset and grilled seafood
The charming thing about Jimbaran beach is that while there are some great resorts and hotels such as The Open House, Hotel Puri Bali, the Belmond Jimbaran Puri Bali, and near the University, the Udayana Eco Lodge the local Balinese continue to do their daily choires. Not everybody works in tourism, the local markets, little shops and warungs are still in operation and give this beach town a good vibe.
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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.
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