So we’ve all seen the photos and read the ecstatic descriptions: Bali is an island paradise, dotted with spectacular beaches and blessed with year-round swell. But in reality, things are a bit more complex. Though the island is beautiful and the beaches really are fantastic, no two beaches are alike and picking the right one really depends on what you’re looking for. We explain what all the fuss is about on some of the most famous beaches on the island.
World-famous Echo Beach is most notably marked by two things: black sand and surfers. The scene around here is very hip and happening, but the beach itself is still surprisingly void of tourists. There are several nearby restaurants that serve great barbecue and killer burgers. Echo Beach is a great choice if you’re a hardcore surfer as the waves around here are generally not beginner friendly. It’s also the perfect destination for those looking to get away from the crowds.
When in Kuta, expect tourists. A lot of tourists. They are simply everywhere: walking up and down the shoreline, lounging under rental umbrellas and gulping down beers in beachside shacks. But though crowded Kuta tends to get a bad rep these days, it’s really not all bad. The beach is easy to reach and the waves are friendly for beginners, which is why you’ll see plenty of newbie surfers in official surf school garb wobbling on their boards. The beach is also a nice place for catching the sunset – just don’t get hit by a selfie stick while you’re at it.
Sleepy Sanur is home to calm waters and huge holiday resorts. And for these two reasons, it’s also a favourite among retirees, honeymooners and families travelling with kids. The area is very calm with a soundtrack of cooing pigeons playing in the background. On the beach, you’ll find a paved walkway lined by restaurants serving seafood and overpriced french fries. If you’re looking to go low-key, a word of warning: it can be tricky to find a spot where you’re free to lounge on the white sand without renting an overpriced deckchair.
The movie adaptation of Eat Pray Love sealed the deal – Padang Padang is one of the most famous beaches in the world. If you’re not that into chick flicks, we’ll sum it up for you: at the end of the movie, Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem sail off into the sunset from this very beach. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that tourists flock here from far and wide. And with its white sands, clear blue waters and majestic rocks rising from the ocean, the beach really does deliver. Thanks to the movie, though, Padang Padang is getting more crowded by the minute. Still, it’s a good place for grabbing a beer at sunset while watching seasoned surfers heading out for the lineup.