Bali beaches rank among the very best beaches in the world. Picture soft white and gold sands meeting clear waters that range in color from turquoise to cobalt blue. It is a breathtaking mix that basically defines the notion of paradise, and it’s all set against the stunning backdrop of Bali’s interior. The inland areas are characterized by steep mountain slopes and lush vegetation. Yes, the Bali beaches almost seem too good to be real. They are real, however, and you’re welcome to enjoy them to your heart’s content.
Kuta Beach Image: O En (flickr)
One of the best beaches in Bali, Kuta Beach is long and boasts soft, golden sand. Lining the sand are restaurants, shops, clubs, luxury resorts and other tourist-friendly fixtures. The water here isn’t the safest for swimming, due in part to the consistent waves that cater more to surfers than people who are just looking to splash around a little. Surfing lessons can be arranged at Kuta Beach, and all kinds of beach equipment rentals are available, including sun loungers. The Kuta accommodations are numerous and varied, offering something for a wide range of tastes and budgets. Bali tourism pretty much started in Kuta. You can find this busy travel hub and holiday town on the west coast of southern Bali. It is just north of the Ngurah Rai International Airport and to the near southwest of Bali’s largest city of Denpasar.
Pantai Pasir Putih
Bali Beaches - Pantai Pasir Putih Image: ultimatekldevil (flickr)
Pantai Pasir Putih (White Sand Beach) is a heavenly delight that beach enthusiasts are sure to savor. Long a secret among the Bali beaches, you can find this serene haven on the eastern side of the island just past the seaside town of Candidasa. Once you arrive at Pantai Pasir Putih, you will be greeted by a perfect crescent beach with soft, white-beige sand and clear azure water. Two high promontories protect White Sand Beach on each end, and the breezes here are usually gentle. Waves can be strong. A dozen or so warungs (small local cafes) cater to the tourists who manage to make it to Pantai Pasir Putih, serving up cold beer and prawns, among other things. The limited beach rentals basically come in the form of sun loungers and umbrellas. No hotels on the beach, though there are some in the general area. Candidasa is a good place to start a search for regional accommodations.
Bali Beach - Balangan Beach Image: Nate Robert (flickr)
Worthy of inclusion on the list of best Bali beaches is this fantastic find at the base of cliffs on the Bukit Peninsula. Palm trees add to the overall allure of the Balangan Beach scenery, and visitors won’t want for convenient drinks and snacks, as local cafes line the shore. You’ll often see surfers at Balangan Beach, not to mention people watching the surfers while swinging gently in hammocks. Book some lessons if you wish at the resident Balangan Wave Surf School. Worthy of note is the quality of the Balangan Beach sand for building sandcastles. Good places to stay nearby include the RIMBA Jambaran Resort and the AYANA Resort and Spa, which are affiliated with one another and offer an impressive array of amenities.
Nusa Dua Beach
Nusa Dua Beach in Bali Image: Adhi Rachdian (flickr)
One of the most renowned Bali beaches, Nusa Dua Beach is found on the east coast of the Bukit Peninsula in southernmost Bali. Here, the setting is quite exclusive and divine. An offshore reef protects the long stretch of clean white sand, resulting in calm waters. Fronting the boardwalk are five-star hotels and resorts that complement their idyllic locations with immaculate service. Sunning and swimming are popular activities at Nusa Dua, and there are plenty of dinghies and kayaks available for some fun out on the water. It is worth mentioning that in addition to being calm, the water here is very clear and warm. This is a relaxing beach destination that provides a good alternative to the busier Kuta Beach. Examples of quality places to stay in the Nusa Dua area include such five star resorts as Nusa Dua Beach Hotel and Spa and the St. Regis Bali.
Sanur Beach Image: mckaysavage (flickr)
A white-sand beach with volcano views, Sanur Beach is similar in ways to Nusa Dua Beach. Sheltering the shoreline here is an offshore reef, and there is no lack of comfortable accommodations to select from. Among the accommodations of choice is the Grand Bali Beach Hotel. It arguably fronts the very best stretch of Sanur Beach. There are pleasant elements of old-world charm at Sanur Beach, thanks in part to the traditional fishing boats, and the local beach cafes provide delightful places to hang out while you enjoy some food and beverages. The kid-friendly swimming at Sanur Beach makes this a great fit for families who are looking to enjoy the Bali beaches, and often lending to the pleasant atmosphere are passing sailboats and kite surfers. Swimming is best at high tide, when the beach gets narrower and is almost nonexistent in some spots. At low tide, the beach is wider and the sea more shallow, with rocks and coral to pick over if you are wading out to sea. Sanur is on the east coast of southern Bali near Denpasar and Kuta. The airport is a 30-minute drive away.
Seminyak Beach Image: tboothhk (flickr)
Just north of Kuta and the suburban beach area of Legian is the Seminyak area. This is both a tourist and residential area, and it figures among Bali's most popular places to hang out during the day or at night. The main feature in Seminyak is the beach. Seminyak Beach is as deep and sandy as the beach in nearby Kuta, though it’s often less crowded, providing plenty of spots to chill out and get away from the noise. World-class hotels line the sand, and while there is an exclusive edge to Seminyak, the accommodations, restaurants, shops, and clubs offer options to fit an array of budgets and styles. Umbrellas and sun loungers can be rented for a reasonable fee on the beach, and there are plenty of options for activities other than lounging. The water can get turbulent here, and often times, the conditions are good for surfing.
Gili Islands Image: sutrebor (flickr), CC BY-SA 2.0
The Gili Islands – Gili Meno, Gili Air and Gili Trawangan – aren’t technically part of Bali. In fact, they are located just off the northwest coast of the island of Lombok, which puts them approximately 20 miles east of Bali’s easternmost point. So why would we mention the Gili Islands when discussing the best Bali beaches? Well, they are mighty alluring and are just a short boat ride from Bali. These Gili Islands come in the form of small desert islands that are ringed by some spectacular beaches. Near visions of paradise, these beaches beckon with their soft white sands, coconut palms and turquoise waters. So idyllic are the Gili Islands and their beaches that visitors are encouraged to plan three-day escapes at the minimum. Even though tourism is beginning to increase here and there is a growing number of hotels among the three islands, the development is splendidly tasteful and serenity isn’t hard to find. Just be prepared for some inner conflict when it comes time to leave.
Top image: edwardotis (flickr)