While the Bukit peninsula`s ‘neck’ is defined by large chains of luxurious holiday resorts, grand hotels and fine beachfront restaurants (Jimbaran Bay in the west and in Nusa Dua in the east), the further south one drives the more rugged and untamed the landscapes become, with breathtaking views around every corner. Padang Padang, Dreamland, Bingin, Balangan, Nyang Nyang and Uluwatu beaches are well-known amongst surfers looking for a challenge.
NUSA DUA & BENOA
Nusa Dua is a big Bali Tourism Development Corporation area. ‘Two Islands’ as the locals translate it, this artificially created paradise of Bali where you really do not need to worry about anything. Opulence, security and indulgence is what characterises Nusa Dua. The enclave of hotels is defined by luxury at its best; massage and spa, fine dining, wedding functions and other high-class services.
Further south, Mengiat, Sawangan and Geger Beaches attract with their soft sands and in the north Benoa earned its fame for being the gateway to idyllic isles of Nusa Penida, Lembongan and Ceningan.
Hire a scooter and drive down the coast, passing the scenic Gunung Payung and Pandawa beaches until you arrive at the outlying Green Bowl Beach. There are limestone cliffs and wild beaches with fantastic surfing conditions. The Green Bowl Beach is only accessible via climbing down 328 steep steps and you will have to go back up the same way.
Formerly a tiny fishing village, Jimbaran has grown into a popular resort town dotted with world class beach resorts and hotels. Especially, on the ridges of high ground above Jimbaran Bay where the so-called “Beverly Hills of Bali” was born. Delightfully calm ambience, peaceful beaches, white stretches, safe swimming, private villas, spas and seaside restaurants filled with tourists who relish the magnificent sunsets and fresh grilled seafood is what to encounter in Jimbaran Bay.
Although increasingly visited by the Western tourists Jimbaran is still fairly traditional location with lots of temples and sacred sites. It is an ideal spot for beginner surfers and those who look for seclusion and relax with a bit of sophistication.
Stop by at Tegal Wangi, with its high cliffs, verdant slopes, crystal-clear turquoise waters and white sand decoration, surely will impress anyone. Ayana Beach Resort is one of the most spectacular ones in the area.
World-class surf, stunning beaches, jaw-dropping scenery and funky vibes – this is Uluwatu “The Surfers Paradise”. Driving a scooter from Jimbaran Bay to Uluwatu is the best way to explore the coastline; Balangan Beach, Dreamland Beach, Padang Padang Beach, Bingin Beach and Uluwatu are mostly visited by surfer`s, looking for a good wave.
Apart from laid-back warungs, friendly cafes, stylish pool lounges with great views and beach lifestyle, Uluwatu is also famous for the outstanding cliff temple of Uluwatu, monkeys and traditional ‘Kecak’ dance performances.
The southernmost beaches are popular with experienced surfers and photographers for their breathtaking scenery: Nyang Nyang Beach, Nunggalan Beach, Green Bowl Beach (to access the beach, you have to walk down 330 steep stairs and climb back up – it is worth the effort, though!)
DID YOU KNOW?
Padang Padang Beach has gained huge popularity after Julia Roberts took the famous love story scene when filming the blockbuster Eat Pray Love in 2009.
NUSA PENIDA, NUSA LEMBONGAN & NUSA CENINGAN
Bali`s offshore islands of Penida, Lembongan and Ceningan rather resemble the neighbouring Lombok – quite arid, less visited, largely untouched and wild. Easy access from Nusa Dua makes it a wonderful weekend escape for those who feel overwhelmed by the busy lanes of Bali. The islands are ideal for surfing, swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving and relaxing.
The largest island, Nusa Penida, features secluded white sand beaches in the north and spectacular limestone coastal cliffs with karst formations, caves and offshore pinnacles in the south, while the centre is covered with rugged hilltops.
Nusa Lembongan seems just like a tiny little dot on a map, yet it is an idyllic island and a tropical paradise. Almost no traffic, pristine beaches and marvellous scenery – these are to be found on Nusa Lembongan. The isle is a great holiday destination for those looking for “dolce far niente” and a perfect place to put up your feet, have a cocktail at the hotel`s pool and chill.
The smallest and least trodden, Nusa Ceningan is a destination for an adventurous traveller. Connected to Nusa Lembongan via a suspension bridge, the island can be reached both, on foot or by scooter/bicycle.
If you have a couple of extra days don`t skip the idyllic Gili Islands – no roads, no traffic and no worries!
WHEN TO TRAVEL
The best time to visit Bali is between May-October, in the dry season. The peak season is June-September, the prices go up and hotels often fully booked.
HOW TO GET THERE
Fly to Denpasar.
Use the reliable Bluebird Taxi services at the airport to bring you to your hotel (unless pre-arranged).
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