THE BEST BEACHES IN BALI FOR BIG-HITTING WAVES AND POWDER-SOFT SANDS

You'll want to bookmark these slices of paradise for your next trip to the Island of the Gods.

Bali is a place that screams sybaritic splendor and Edenic bliss all at once. Of the thousands of islands in the Indonesian archipelago, the best beaches in Bali are undoubtedly the most visited. Seamlessly blending calm with the spiritual and a dose of fun, Bali’s best beaches speak for itself. Together with the soft-sand beaches, the Indian Ocean's kaleidoscopic haze of blues and greens has seduced travellers from all around – from honeymooners and digital nomads to families and friends – making it all the more reason to protect it when visiting.

Although it may be tempting to hole up in your dreamy villa, the beaches of Bali have a certain allure and before you know it, you'll have spent the day lazing on the sand with fresh coconut in hand.

Which coast of Bali has the best beaches?

This depends on what you’re after. The party scenes in beach clubs lean to the south – Seminyak, Jimbaran and Canggu beaches are the buzziest corners. Surfers gravitate towards the southwest and east coasts for the big-league waves where Uluwatu and Nusa Dua boast some gnarly surf breaks. The northeastern side has glimmering black sands that are hidden gems for those craving some stillness and most resorts have their own well-manicured, private beaches with some offering day passes for non-guests.

When is the best time to go to the beach?

Early in the morning, just after sunrise, is the best time to visit the beach since it is quieter, the air is cooler, and the humidity is more bearable. The southern part of the island is the most developed, with cafés, bars, and shops lining the streets, so beaches can be packed during the daytime.

Jimbaran Beach

This golden stretch perched on the southern coast is known for two things: sunsets and seafood – and both never disappoint. The gentle waters make Jimbaran Beach ideal for rookie surfers and you’ll often see little ones play by the shore until the very last slice of daylight. For breathtaking sunset views, Sundara beach club at the Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay is only a short walk away. There you can admire the silhouettes of airplanes descending to the nearby airport (don’t worry, it’s far enough away that you can’t hear it) while watching the beach truly come to life after nightfall. The area is known for its seafood BBQ culture and the beachfront restaurants here really know how to show off. For dinner, loungers are swapped with folding tables and the sweet scent of barbecue smoke consumes the salt-tinged sea air.

Kelingking Beach

Kelingking Beach in Nusa Penida is only a 45-minute speedboat ride from the southeast side of the island. Anyone who’s done their research on Bali will be familiar with this view – it might be the most photographed beach in Bali (and for good reason). Known for its dramatic rock formations that resemble a T-Rex head, which is where it gets its nickname from, the turquoise waters and pristine white sand make it a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling. Reaching the shore is no easy trek; a stomach-flipping journey down a steep and narrow cliff. But given the stunning landscapes at the finish line, the schlep is totally worth it. Bring sturdy shoes and plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Seminyak Beach

Playing host to some of Bali’s hottest beach clubs, Seminyak Beach has long been luring partygoers with promises of buzzy drinks, sandy-toed suppers, and lively beats. The hardest choice anyone will have to make is which beach club to spend the day at (spoiler: every decision is the right one). Potato Head Beach Club is perfect for sun-drenched days sipping some yummy drinks, plus it’s home to some of the best hotels in Bali, while Ku De Ta’s infinity pool and beachfront daybeds transports you to a hedonist’s paradise. Multi-coloured loungers at La Plancha hits the spot for Spanish tapas over sunset. Tip: book in advance and request a spot by the front for panoramic ocean views.

Green Bowl Beach

Bali's best-kept secret, Green Bowl Beach in Ungasan is all about verdant hues, powder-soft sands, and unspoiled seclusion. The beach is named after its unique feature – a sprawling seaweed-covered cliff – which naturally formed an enclosed shape ideal for those seeking a quiet escape from the bustling noise of Bali's more crowded beaches. Getting there involves descending a steep flight of stairs but the effort is well worth it once you arrive. With unobstructed views of the ocean and a small shore, it’ll feel like you’re on a castaway island. The conditions are perfect for intermediate-pro surfers, and for those who prefer to relax by the shore, there are local vendors selling snacks and refreshments. Be mindful of your valuables as wild monkeys wandering in the parking lot have a reputation for nicking anything they can get their hands on.

Nusa Dua Beach

Tucked in the south, Nusa Dua’s two-mile strip of flour-soft sand and big-hitting waves is a haven for die-hard surfers. Thrill-seekers travel from all over the world to get a taste of Bali’s surf hype, and Nusa Dua’s is worthy of it. The area might also lean towards older crowds – owing largely to the golf club nearby – but families flock here too for the five-star resorts and private beaches. The Apurva Kempinski has an expansive beach where kayaks are up for grabs and tables at Bali’s first aquarium restaurant are a must-try, while next door at The Ritz-Carlton is a go-to spot for destination weddings. For an adrenaline hit, a 20-minute drive north will take you to Tanjung Benoa, where there are plenty of watersport activities. From jet skiing and wakeboarding to sea walking and parasailing, there’s something for everyone.

Padang Padang Beach

Cloaked between caves and cliffs, Padang Padang Beach in Uluwatu is only accessible down carved rock steps but the cinematic scenes are worth it. So much so that it played a supporting role in Julia Roberts’ romantic drama, Eat, Pray, Love. The glistening emerald waves are loved among pro surfers and at low tide, seaweed-covered tide pools appear. There are shacks selling fresh coconut, sarongs, homemade bracelets, and surfboard rentals and lessons for those interested in catching a wave.

Canggu Beach

Even after a wave of digital nomads and expats pitched up here, Canggu’s laid-back vibe still remains. Surrounded by slick, new villas and terraced rice paddies, this rugged beach is one of the most popular on the island – attracting surfers with the strong surf breaks and sunbathers with the long stretches of silky black sand. There is a warung (small shop) on every corner selling icy cold refreshments and snacks. But drinks and bites at oceanfront hotspots Old Man’s and The Lawn at sunset should be the way to cap off the day.

New Kuta Beach

Aptly nicknamed Dreamland Beach by the Aussies, New Kuta Beach is surrounded by limestone hillside cliffs, providing unparalleled views of silky pink-orange sunsets. Back in the day, this beach was like finding a nugget of gold; whiskey-hued sand is a dime a dozen but unspoiled landscapes are a rare breed. And though it’s not quite so crowd-free anymore, the charms of New Kuta Beach are still shining. At high tide, surfboards sprinkle the warm, azure sea and vibrant parasols line up along the shore. The area is popping up with more high-flier resorts and restaurants, like the all-villa Jumeirah Bali, making it a prime stay for a relaxing beach vacation.

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