Against what every single travel guide tells us and even Bondi Beach Lifeguards have demonstrated in a 4-episode spinoff of Bondi Beach aptly named, Bondi Beach: Bali, we opted out of staying and altogether visiting Kuta Beach in lieu for the island’s other sandy attractions.
But this time, it’ll be a review based on the little Happy Meal’s own experience. So here they are some of the best Bali beaches you can sink your feet into.
1) Sanur Beach
Family-friendly/ Toddler friendly beach. This is the Disney or General Patronage version of all the beaches in Bali. With a massive and looooong breakwater that tempers the white water so it only barely breaks water tension as it reaches the shore.
The Happy Meal gladly strode into the water, feet and meters out, without having to worry about the water being too deep or having waves crash into her constantly. It should have taken bribery to get the little one out of the water but sunset and the cooler wind hitting her made her want to crawl out of the water and into the fluffy resort-provided towel I had.
Other than toddler-friendly beach wading, the place is basically a haven for kiteboarders and windsurfers. They mostly take to the area within the breakwater but they stay far away from the shore. Other than that, I’d only see a traditional Balinese boat that’s elaborately decorated float across the water with a family.
On top of that, you’ve got this commanding presence in the distance that, by Google-assistance, I found to be Mt. Agung. In fact Wikipedia says this about Mt. Agung, “This stratovolcano is the highest point on the island. It dominates the surrounding area, influencing the climate.”
EXTRA INFO: Relaxed with more of an all-day lounging on the beach kind of place. Small stores are available to purchase water and snacks. Kayaks and kiteboarding lessons are everywhere, just spot a sign and make your bargain. The boardwalk is also quite long and suitable for morning walks and bike rides, which we usually encounter when we go out for sunrise-watching.
2) Jimbaran Beach
Come here if you want to burn and by burn I mean, crispy and crunchy with a side of cool coleslaw – this was the hottest place where we found ourselves seeking shade in any form we could find. In our experience, Jimbaran is best visited at nighttime when the place comes alive with restaurants selling hearty albeit expensive meal sets including varying kinds of seafood enough to give the Little Mermaid a little heart attack.
TRAVEL TIP: Jimbaran Beach is a usual itinerary dinner stop for those taking the Uluwatu Sunset Tour
If you want to bypass the nighttime traffic of tourists, you can opt to take Jimbaran for lunch.
Jimbaran, as a beach is beautiful as it is a beautiful curve with mad, rushing waves hitting the shore and later on, echoing in the distance. Although I don’t see it too much as a wading beach, the water goes too deep too fast and the waves crash too strongly. If you’ve got the water treading power in you, then, by all means, go.
For the Happy Meal, she found the beach too scary. And like all beach-going Filipinos who weren’t going into the water, we ended up parking our butts and indulging in a coconut.
We found that going to Jimbaran during afternoon snack time makes for specialized service – having the restaurant all to ourselves as well as having practically no one else on the beach or on any of the other neighboring restaurants. It almost seemed abandoned – basically, a good place to visit but for me, I don’t suggest staying there since it doesn’t seem to be anything much during the day.
3) Nusa Dua Beach
I call this the “Single-Rich-Teen Beach.” It’s not much of a beach to lay a towel on and bake just because there’s just too much foot traffic, debris and equipment going on in the water and on the beach. It’s not much of a wading beach because with all the jet skis and speedboats in the water, you’re probably closer to swimming through fuel leakage or boat exhaust than water.
However, if you find yourself in search for “adventure” in the form of parasailing, jet skiing, fly fishing, banana boating or some other inflatable that’s dragged through the water, then shell out the money for it.
WATER ACTIVITY NOTE: The parasailing is jimmy-rigged in a way that the mechanism that pulls you in is not on the speedboat, rather, there is a “land team” that preps you on the beach and it’s from the beach that they tug you out and into the sky. And that’s where they maneuver you back down to the sand.
None of these activities applied to our 4 year old so we opted for the only other activity that we could do in the midst of a 4-year old and a 76-year old – we took the boat to Turtle Island, which I presumed was going to be this sanctuary where, turtles lay their eggs or something.
I didn’t know what I had signed up for and if I had, I wouldn’t have.
It wasn’t a sanctuary at all.
The face on the Happy Meal when she saw real live turtles for the first time really dug into my milestone log however, it’s the condition of the turtles and the other animals on the island that really bothered me. I will get into it deeper in another post, but for now, let’s just take the bottomline of it: DO NOT GO TO THE TURTLE ISLAND IN NUSA DUA.
As you can see, each beach brings something else to the table and after all of this, if you still claim to be a surfer kinda person, then by all means, head down south-west and marinate in the white foam of Kuta Beach. We’d tell you more but we just never got the chance to go there ourselves.
And if you ask the Happy Meal which of the best Bali beaches is her favorite, she would have to point out to the one where she went swimming with Lola — Sanur beach FTW!