It’s easy chalk up Bali as a single surfing hub. Parts of the island have been well-worn by hordes of tourists who’ve left choked rice-paddies and littered beaches in their wake.
But once the traffic eases up, the atmosphere quickly reverts to its traditional, easy flowing, and mystical energy. Whether you’re in to ride the waves, capture the amazing scenery on camera, or reconnect with nature, it’s all here in Bali.
Pemuteran Beach sits in the quiet, north-west end of Bali, far away from many beach hawkers. A fleet of colorful, traditional fishing boats the locals have used for generations sits docked on the beach.
The small coastal town of Canggu continues to rise above the Balinese waves. The town has long been Southeast Asia’s secret surfing hub away from the mayhem of the city. With its mellow bohemian atmosphere, locals and visitors alike adhere to the unspoken rules of simplicity, quiet, and meditation.
Older generations may continue to call Echo Beach ‘Pantai Batu Mejan’, after the Balinese Hindu sea temple by the cliffside. As early as dawn, surfers paddle out into the ocean and can refuse to swim back to show until sundown. Be warned—the waves are only for advanced surfers.
Green Bowl Beach
Since the demolishment of the Bali Cliff Resort, Green Bowl Beach’s visiting population has dropped. Even less choose to drive through the tiny winding roads, before descending hundreds of stone steps on foot. But despite this, Green Bowl Beach is far from an abandoned swampland.
The name comes from the algae-covered rocks revealed at low tide, transforming the beach into a hidden tropical paradise. The shortage of people has allowed much of the natural beauty to flourish. Instead, the main residents on this beach are bats. Despite their nocturnal nature, it’s easy to spot a colony of bats in any of the beachside caves. They remain deeply asleep until sunset.
Despite their nocturnal nature, it’s easy to spot a colony of bats in any of the beachside caves. They remain deeply asleep until sunset. Choose when to snap a picture with them based on your level of bravery!
Yeh Leh (Boulder Beach)
Yeh Leh beach is unknown even to many Bali residents, save for the local fishermen. Thousands of boulders are scattered about on the western end of the beach, a stark contrast to the sandy eastern end.
There are very few clues about the rocks’ origins; the more superstitious say they were placed there on purpose. The low tide reveals smooth boulders washed clean by the waves, and the sunset casts the shallow corals and exotic marine life in a warm glow. The image is truly breathtaking and moving.
“Lovina” has no translation. The name is clever word play on ‘love’ and ‘Indonesia’ by the late author and Buleleng noble, Anak Agung Panji Tisna. Don’t be like most first-time Bali travelers who leave Lovina after one night and miss out on the incredible sunrise.
Lovina’s calm ocean waves make it a natural route for dolphins. At dawn, brightly painted outrigger canoes take travellers out into the open ocean right as the dolphins break the surface. Capturing the sight on camera is nearly impossible because of the quick precision needed; it’s best to just enjoy the sight.
If a beach trip doesn’t satisfy your hunger for exploration, head for Teluk Brambun. With dry savannas, lowland forests, and a coral reef locals claim can rival the Great Barrier Reef, Telkum Brambun is filled with interesting wildlife. Just offshore is West Bali National Park, a sanctuary for monitor lizards, black monkeys, and the now near-extinct Bali Starling bird.
Balangan is another one of the more hidden Bali beaches. It’s a small and quiet coastal stretch, by the Uluwatu peninsula. On clear days with mild winds, you can paddle out for a swim. If you’re up for the challenge, catch the waves and do what all Balinese do: surf.
Ride the tide of the southern Indian Ocean currents which tend to whirl in unpredictable directions. Surfers come back, always ready to push their skills to the next level on Balangan’s waters.
Melasti Beach, Tanah Lot
The name comes from the Melasti Ceremony, a massive purification ritual requiring the Balinese Hindu to parade their sacred images to the sea. The tradition is unique to Bali, held three days before the Silent Day (or ‘Nyepi Day). It hopes to cleanse the human body (Bhunawana Alit) and the entire earth (Bhuwana Agung) from the evil spirits.
Few other places in Southeast Asia offer such incredibly moving horizons as Bali, and you should try to explore as much of the island as you can. Whether you’re in any of these Bali beaches for just the weekend or the entire summer, we guarantee that leaving will be bittersweet. Ease up on trying to capture every single moment and put the phone down; just sit on the sand or socks and watch the sun disappear into the ocean.