Top 8 Best Bali Beaches 2024
With its fine beaches, pounding surf, emerald-green rice terraces and exceptionally artistic culture, the small volcanic island of Bali – the only Hindu society in Southeast Asia – has long been Indonesia’s premier tourist destination.
As a result, it has become very much a mainstream destination and suffers the predictable problems of congestion and commercialization. However, Bali’s original charm is still much in evidence, its stunning Hindu temples and spectacular festivals set off by the gorgeously lush landscape of the interior.
Top Beaches in Bali
1. For soft white sand and clear blue sea, visit Geger Beach and Mengiat Beach. These are public beaches accessed at the Geger village or Yasa Segara village beach cafes. Beach chairs can be hired from the cafes where you can also purchase food and drinks and there is a car park. Geger is one of only a few beaches that permit topless sunbathing.
2. The barbecue restaurants at Jimbaran provide access to the beach here. To really enjoy the white sand and waves it is best to stay at one of the beachfront resorts, although the Four Seasons, located at the beaches at the south end, has a rough and rocky beach. The best beach is to be found closer to the cafes on the beach. The beach at the Intercontinental Hotel is scrupulously clean and is groomed daily. Beach chairs are also available for guests of the hotel. The Puri Bali is fronted by a very good beach, which is cleaned daily and has a beach cafe. Comfortable chairs are also provided by the hotel.
Kedonganan beach from the airport boundary to the Keraton Hotel is the main fishing village, with the local fish market and some fresh fish restaurants. From Kedonganan to the north lies Kelan Beach with a few restaurants located here. A stroll on the beach past the fish market takes you into Kelan.
3. Bali Hyatt is popular with its white sand beach and was the resort area on Bali that was developed first. The old time flavour and local feeling make this a favourite for many visitors.
4. Kerobokan/ Kuta / Batu Belig /Seminyak/ Legian are all about nightlife, beaches and sunsets. A lot of the restaurants and resorts here have lounges on the beach side so that the view and scenery can be enjoyed.
5. Echo beach is a surf beach not suitable for swimming or relaxing as the sand is a blackish colour and there are a few rocks. However, the seawall is a great place to sit and watch the surfers in action.
Amed and Jemeluk
From Culik, 10km beyond Tirtagangga, the junction of the road around the far east and the Amlapura-Singaraja road, it’s 3km to the picturesque, sleepy fishing village of Amed, with a one-kilometre-long black-sand beach and hills rising up behind.About 2km beyond the village, Congkang 3 Brothers has simple bungalows and across the road there is a beach-side restaurant. A few hundred metres further round the coast, Bamboo Bali is a good budget choice, although it’s a short walk to the beach.
Less than 1km further on, the village of Jemeluk is the diving focus of the area: a sloping terrace of coral leads to a wall dropping to a depth of more than 40m and there are plenty of fish. Eco-Dive, attached to Dharma Samadi restaurant and bungalows, arranges local dives and snorkelling. One kilometre further around the coast, Amed Beach Cottages is situated by the beach with various standards of smart bungalows, and a pool. Mega Dive Centre is here, offering introductory dives, dives for certified divers and PADI courses. Just beyond this, the Kusumajaya Indah has attractive bungalows in a lovely garden that slopes down to the rocky beach.
The next bay along cradles the small village of Bunutan, a peaceful and rural spot just behind the local beach. On the climb up out of the village look out for the tiny Warni’s Warung on the cliff side of the road, the perfect spot for a sunset drink. The views to the northwest are stunning and they have a couple of simple bungalows.
Lipah beach, although still very peaceful, is the most developed beach. Wawa Wewe and Tiying Petung stand side by side and are great, relaxed places offering occasional live music, a range of Western and Indonesian dishes and simple accommodation. There is another headland and several kilometres between here and the bay at Selang, almost 12km from Culik, where Good Karma is currently the easternmost accommodation. It is right on the black-and-white-sand beach, and it offers good snorkelling. There are various standards of accommodation and deep, relaxing verandahs set in a gorgeous garden – an oasis in the midst of a parched landscape.
At the eastern end of Amuk Bay, Candi Dasa is a centre for snorkelling and diving, and a pleasant base from which to explore the east of Bali, including the nearby traditional village of Tenganan .
However, throughout the 1980s, Candi’s offshore reef was crushed to produce lime for the building boom and the beach was left so exposed that it simply washed away. Large sea walls now protect the land, and enormous jetties protrude into the sea in the hope, largely justified, that the beach will build up against them.
The tourist developments have spread 8km west around the bay, through the villages of Senkidu, Buitan and Manggis, where the beach is still a respectable size.
To get to a decent beach from Candi itself, follow the road past Bunga Putri at the end of Forest Road up onto the headland and then down onto the black sand on the other side.
Kuta and Legian
The biggest, brashest, least traditional beach resort in Bali, the Kuta-Legian-Seminyak conurbation is just 10km southwest of Denpasar.
Packed with hundreds of hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs and shops, the six-kilometre strip plays host to several hundred thousand visitors a year and yet, for all its hustle, it remains a very good-humoured place, almost completely unsleazy.
The beach is quite possibly the most beautiful in Bali, with its gentle curve of golden sand stretching for 8km, lashed by huge breakers. These waves make Kuta a great beach for surfers, but less pleasant for swimming, with a strong undertow: always swim between the red- and yellow-striped flags.
Poppies 2 is the centre of Kuta’s surf scene, and the best place to buy boards or get them repaired; you can also rent boards on the beach. Monthly tide charts are compiled by Tubes bar on Poppies 2 and you can learn to surf at the Cheyne Horan School of Surf.
Wanasari Wisata, inside the G-Land surf shop at Jl Pantai Kuta 8b, organizes four-to-seven-day surfing tours to the mega-waves off Sumbawa, East Java, West Java, Lombok and West Timor, and Bali Surfing does surfing packages to Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa and Nusa Lembongan.
Lovina stretches along 8km of black-sand beach, the largest resort in Bali outside the Kuta-Legian-Seminyak conurbation. Beginning 6km west of Singaraja, the resort encompasses six villages: Pemaron, Anturan, Tukad Mungga, Kalibukbuk, Kaliasem and Temukus. Kalibukbuk is generally accepted as the centre of Lovina and it’s here you’ll find most tourist facilities.
Many people consider the early-morning dolphin trips from Lovina to be the highlight of their stay, but others find them grossly overrated.Boats leave at 6am and cost Rp20,000 per person for the two-hour trip; book directly with the skippers on the beach if you can. The reef off Lovina used to stretch at least 5km along the coast, but anchors and fish-bombs have caused severe damage.
One popular outing ftrom Lovina is to Bali’s only Buddhist monastery, the Brahma Vihara Ashrama , 10km southwest of Lovina, which can be combined with a visit to the hot springs at Banjar.
To get around the resort, you can pick up the frequent bemos (4am-9pm) that zip through between Singaraja and Seririt. Vehicle rental is widely available: prices start at around Rp70,000 a day.
Lovina’s tourist office (Mon-Sat 8am-8pm) is on the main road at Kalibukbuk and the police station is in the same building.
Circled by a mixture of pure white-sand beaches and mangrove swamps, the tiny island of Nusa Lembongan (4km by 3km) is sheltered by coral reefs which provide excellent snorkelling and create the perfect conditions for seaweed farming. It is also a major draw for surfers.
All the accommodation is in Jungutbatu on the west coast and southeast of this in Chelegimbai and Mushroom Bay (Tanjung Sanghyang). There is no post office on the island, and electricity is currently produced by individual generators, which close down around 10.30pm.
The Perama office serves as the tourist information service and is in Jungutbatu between Pondok Baruna and Nusa Indah bungalows; you can book tickets here to destinations on Bali, Lombok and Sumbawa. There are at least daily departures, but all destinations apart from Ubud, Kuta and Sanur require a stop-over on the way.
The surf breaks are all accessible from Jungutbatu and you can charter boats to take you to the snorkelling spots off Mushroom Bay, at Mangrove Corner and Sunfish (prices start at Rp25,000 per person). You can walk around the island in about three hours.
Ranged along the coast for well over 1km, the attractive village of Jungutbatu is a low-key place, with several losmen and a few shops. The accommodation places at the north end of the beach are grouped close together, spreading out further south.
Just a few kilometres southwest of Jungutbatu, the fabulous white-sand cove of Mushroom Bay has long been a favourite snorkelling spot. It’s a great place, although don’t expect peace once the day-trippers arrive from the mainland.
Padang Bai the port for Lombok (ferries run to Lembar every 2hr), nestles in a small cove with a white-sand beach lined with fishing boats.
The jetty, ferry offices and car park are all at the western end of the bay, and everything is within easy walking distance from here. Increasingly, people are choosing to stay a night or two in Padang Bai, and the village has developed into a small laid-back resort.
If you find the main beach a bit busy, the bay of Biastugal , to the west, is smaller and quieter. Follow the road past the post office and, just as it begins to climb, take the track to the left.
Alternatively, over the headland in the other direction, take the path from Pura Silayukti, to another small, white cove. Several places in Padang Bai rent out snorkelling equipment: there’s good snorkelling at Blue Lagoon, just around the headland in Amuk Bay, but it’s even better to charter a boat; ask at Celagi restaurant or your guesthouse. The dive operation, Geko Dive, is a large set-up on Jalan Silayukti with a lot of experience diving in the area and offers the full range of PADI courses (PADI Open Water from US$320 per person) and dives for experienced divers.
Bemos arrive at, and depart from, the port entrance; orange for Candi Dasa (20min) and Amlapura (40min), blue or white for Klungkung (aka Semarapura; 20min).
Pura Tanah Lot
Dramatically marooned on a craggy wave-lashed rock sitting just off the southwest coast, Pura Tanah Lot really does deserve its reputation as one of Bali’s top sights.
Fringed by frothing white surf and glistening black sand, its elegant multi-tiered shrines have become the unofficial symbol of Bali, appearing on a vast range of tourist souvenirs.
Unsurprisingly, the temple attracts huge crowds every day, particularly around sunset. Tanah Lot is said to have been founded by the wandering Hindu priest Nirartha and is one of the most holy places on Bali.
Only bona fide devotees are allowed to climb the stairway carved out of the rock face and enter the compounds; everyone else is confined to the base of the rock.
Stretching down the southeast coast just 18km northeast of Ngurah Rai Airport, Sanur is an appealing, more peaceful alternative to Kuta, with a long, fairly decent white-sand beach, plenty of attractive accommodation in all price brackets and a distinct village atmosphere.
There are plenty of restaurants and some bars, but the nightlife is pretty tame. A huge expanse of shore gets exposed at low tide and the reef lies only about 1km offshore at high tide. The currents beyond the reef are dangerously strong, which makes it almost impossible to swim here at low tide, but at other times of day swimming is fine and watersports are popular.
You’ll find Sanur’s best sand in front of the Grand Bali Beach in north Sanur, where non-guests can rent sun-loungers for a small fee.
Many of south Bali’s watersports facilities are centred in Sanur. In general, prices are higher at the hotels than at the independent places on the beachfront and along the main roads. All these places rent out canoes, windsurfers and jet skis, and most offer parasailing as well.
When to Go?
The many fabulous beaches of Bali are best in the dry season. This runs from around April to October when the beaches are good for surfing, swimming or simply relaxing. Some of the beaches are cleaned daily by the hotels, but the direction faced and the location can cause the standard of a beach to drastically change from season to season.
When it’s the dry season the lack of any wind keeps the beaches quite calm and clean on the west coast, at places such as Jimbaran, Legian, Seminyak, Cangu and Kuta. However, once the rainy season hits, the heavy rains often flow into the ocean around the beaches in run-off streams. At this time the west-facing beaches need constant cleaning as debris and litter is blown onto the beach by the onshore winds.
From Kuta to Cangu, the west-facing beach has a strong undertow and rip currents are common. This beach can have rough surf and lifeguards are located in some places. Flags mark the areas that are safe for swimming.
Sanur and Nusa Dua beaches are not so badly affected by the seasonal weather. However, winter erosion causes a very narrow strip of sand from the Nusa Dus Beach Hotel to the Melia Hotel, although the sand comes back for summer. Rough surf occasionally affects Seminyak /Legian/ Kutabeach areas, but an offshore reef keeps the heavy surf away from both Sanur and Mengiat at Nusa Dua beach areas.