Pererenan Beach

Pererenan Beach

Pererenan-Beach

Yet to be found by the right developer, Pererenan Beach is for you if you want your sand windswept and your waves unridden. It’s an easy 300m further on from Echo Beach across sand and rock formations (or over 1km by road). This also marks the end of any walk that followed the vast sweep of sand that begins near the airport.

Once you’ve found it, why leave? The friendly guys at Pondok Wisata Nyoman have four simple rooms (although the bathrooms have a certain colourful flair) just behind the beach. There are also a couple of good cafes here that don’t have the mobs of Echo Beach but still enjoy sweeping surf views.

Pura Tanah Lot

Pura Tanah Lot

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A popular day trip from south Bali, Pura Tanah Lot is the most visited and photographed temple in Bali, especially at sunset when crowds and traffic overwhelm the site. It has all the authenticity of a stage set – even the tower of rock that the temple sits upon is an artful reconstruction (the entire structure was crumbling). Over one-third of the rock you see is artificial.

For the Balinese, Pura Tanah Lot is one of the most important and venerated sea temples. Like Pura Luhur Ulu Watu, at the tip of the southern Bukit Peninsula, and Pura Rambut Siwi to the west, it is closely associated with the Majapahit priest Nirartha. It’s said that each of the sea temples was intended to be within sight of the next, so they formed a chain along Bali’s southwestern coast – from Pura Tanah Lot you can usually see the clifftop site of Pura Ulu Watu far to the south, and the long sweep of sea shore west to Perancak, near Negara.

But at Tanah Lot itself you may just see from one vendor to the next. To reach the temple, a walkway runs through a sideshow of souvenir shops down to the sea. To ease the task of making purchases, there is an ATM.

You can walk over to the temple itself at low tide, but non-Balinese people are not allowed to enter. One other thing: local legend has it that if you bring a partner to Tanah Lot before marriage, you will end up as split as the temple. Let that be a warning – or an inducement.

You won’t be able to miss the looming Pan Pacific Nirwana resort with its water-sucking golf course. It has been controversial since the day it was built, as many feel its greater height shows the temple disrespect.

Canggu

Canggu

Canggu

More a state of mind than a place, Canggu is the catch-all name given to the villa-filled stretch of land between Kerobokan and Echo Beach. It is getting ever-more trendy cafes, restaurants and places to stay. It includes many beaches such as Berewa and Batu Bolong (and which are referred to by some generically as ‘Canggu Beach’).

If you need time away from the sand, some of Bali’s best artists show at Sukyf Arch & Art, an attractive gallery in the middle of ever-expanding Canggu, not far from the Canggu Club.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/canggu

Kerobokan

Kerobokan

Kerobokan

Continuing seamlessly north from Seminyak, Kerobokan combines some of Bali’s best restaurants, lavish lifestyles and still more beach. Hotels are upstaged by villas, which sprout from the ground like a bad rash. At times the mix of commerce and rice fields can be jarring.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/kerobokan

North of Kerobokan

Growth is marching north and west along the coast, much of it anchored by the endless swath of beach, which, despite rampant development, remains fairly uncrowded. Kerobokan morphs into Canggu, while neighbouring Echo Beach is a big construction site. Cloistered villas lure the well-heeled who whisk past stooped rice farmers in air-con comfort. Traffic may be the ultimate commoner’s revenge: road building is a decade or two behind settlement.

Seminyak

Seminyak

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Seminyak is flash, brash, phoney and filled with bony models. It’s also the centre of life for hordes of the island’s expats, many of whom own boutiques or design clothes, surf, or seem to do nothing at all. It may be immediately north of Kuta and Legian, but in many respects Seminyak feels almost like it’s on another island.

It’s also a very dynamic place, home to dozens of restaurants and clubs and a wealth of creative shops and galleries. World-class hotels line the beach – and what a beach it is, as deep and sandy as Kuta’s but less crowded.

Seminyak seamlessly merges with Kerobokan, which is immediately north – in fact the exact border between the two is as fuzzy as most other geographic details on Bali. Note that despite the hype not every beachfront hotel here is world-class or charges world-class prices. All those restaurants and clubs combine to give travellers the greatest choice of style and budget in Bali. Sure there are exclusive boutiques, but there are also workshops where everything is wholesale. And when it all becomes too much, just head to a quiet corner of the beach and chill.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/seminyak

Kuta & Legian

Kuta & Legian

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Loud, frenetic and brash are just some of the adjectives commonly used to describe Kuta and Legian, the centre of mass tourism in Bali. Only a couple of decades ago, local hotels tacked their signs up to palm trees. Amid the wall-to-wall cacophony today, such an image seems as foreign as the thought that the area was once rice fields. Worse, parts are just plain ugly, like the unsightly strips that wend their way inland from the beach.

Although this is often the first place many visitors hit in Bali, the region is not for everyone. Kuta has narrow lanes jammed with cheap cafes, surf shops, incessant motorbikes and an uncountable number of T-shirt vendors. However, newly opened flashy shopping malls and chain hotels suggest a more mainstream future.

Kuta has Bali’s most raucous clubs, and you can still find a simple room for US$15 in dozens of hotels. Legian appeals to a slightly older crowd (wags say it’s where fans of Kuta go after they’re married). It is equally commercial and has a long row of family-friendly hotels close to the beach. Tuban differs little in feel from Kuta and Legian, but does have a higher percentage of visitors on package holidays.

As for the waves, they break on the beach that put Kuta on the map. The strand of sand stretching for kilometres from Tuban north to Kuta, Legian and beyond to Seminyak and Echo Beach is always a scene of surfing, playing, massaging, chilling, imbibing and more.

Navigating the region will drive you to a cold one even earlier than you had planned. Busy Jl Legian runs roughly parallel to the beach from Kuta north into Seminyak.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/kuta-legian

Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park

Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park

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Jl Ulu Watu goes south of Jimbaran, climbing 200m up the peninsula’s namesake hill, affording views over southern Bali.

Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park is the yet-to-be-completed, potentially huge cultural park that is meant to be home to a 66m-high statue of Garuda. This Brobdingnagian dream is supposed to be erected on top of a shopping and gallery complex, for a total height of 146m.

So far the only completed part of the statue is the large bronze head. The buildings that do exist are mostly empty. However, besides the perverse fascination with big things gone bad, there’s another good reason to visit the site: the views. From a small cafe off the parking lot there are sweeping vistas across all of south Bali. And if it’s clear enough to see the volcanoes, then GWK is a must-stop off the main Ulu Watu road.

About 2km south off GWK is a vital crossroads with a useful landmark, the Nirmala Supermarket. There are ATMs and a few cafes here.

Ungasan & Around

Ungasan & Around

Ungasan

If Ulu Watu is all about celebrating the surfer vibe, Ungasan is all about celebrating yourself. From crossroads near this otherwise nondescript village, roads radiate to the south coast where some of Bali’s most exclusive ocean-side resorts can be found. With the infinite turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean rolling hypnotically in the distance it’s hard not to think you’ve reached the end of the world, albeit a very comfortable one.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/ungasan-around

Nusa Ceningan

Nusa Ceningan

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There is a picturesque narrow suspension bridge crossing the lagoon between Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan, which makes it quite easy to explore the network of tracks on foot or by bicycle. Besides the lagoon filled with frames for seaweed farming you’ll see several small agricultural plots and a fishing village. The island is quite hilly and, if you’re up for it, you can get glimpses of great scenery while wandering or cycling around the rough tracks.

To really savour Nusa Ceningan, take an overnight tour of the island with JED, the cultural organisation that gives people an in-depth look at village and cultural life. Trips include family accommodation in a village, local meals, a fascinating tour with seaweed workers and transport to/from Bali.

There’s a surf break at Ceningan reef, but it’s very exposed and only surfable when the other breaks are too small.

Bingin

Bingin

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An ever-evolving scene, Bingin comprises several funky lodgings scattered across cliffs and on the strip of white-sand beach below. A rough 1km road turns off the paved main road (look for the thicket of accommodation signs).

An elderly resident collects 5000Rp at a T-junction (and will offer you a bootleg DVD) near parking for the trail down to the beach. The surf here is often savage but the sands are calm and the roaring breakers mesmerising.

The scenery here is simply superb, with sylvan cliffs dropping down to a row of surfer cafes and the foaming edge of the azure sea. The beach is a five-minute walk down a fairly steep path.