Legian beach, Bali, Indonesia. Photo by D. Kushch
Legian’s massive stretch of firm, brown sand is backed by shady trees and a wide range of hotels, bars and restaurants, big and small. It’s superb for walking, watching, relaxing, paddling and (usually) surfing but not ideal for swimming due to rough waters and strong currents.
Generally south Bali is where the best beaches are, including the huge stretches of Kuta and Legian and the newer, classy resorts on the Bukit Peninsula, though note that beach condition and quality depends on the season. During the dry season from April October beaches are at their best, clean and comfortable, but during the wet season west facing beaches become carpeted with debris and seaweed. First class hotels and even some villages groom their beaches regularly.
For guaranteed quieter waters Mengiat/Geger beach in Nusa Dua and Sanur Beach both have offshore reefs that break up waves.
North Bali’s beaches are mostly black volcanic sand, cool and very quiet.
East Bali’s beaches are small, calm and lack sunset excitement but tend to have fine sand and sometimes great snorkeling or diving.
West Bali is little developed and offers few beach destinations so this is the place for adventurers to find their own little paradise, time willing.
Bali’s best beaches
Map of Bali’s best beaches
– for low-cost convenience, sun, sand and wild nightlife, Kuta.
– for low-cost convenience, sun, sand and quiet nights, Legian (photo above).
– for upmarket family/romantic beach holidays with easy trips into/around Bali proper, Jimbaran.
– for upmarket romantic beach holidays on pristine, manicured sand try Mengiat and Geger beaches (topless sunbathing permitted) in Nusa Dua. These are accessible to the public via Segara Village or Geger Village and have parking, lifeguards, loungers, parasols and beach cafés.
– for get-away-from-it-all serious surfers, Uluwatu on the Bukit Peninsula.
– for scuba divers and quiet, low-cost snorkeling vacations, Padang Bai.
– for get-away-from-all Bali hype and development, head for the more relaxed beaches, surf and nature of neighbouring Lembongan (fast boat takes 30 minutes from Sanur), Lombok or the Gili Islands by boat from Sanur!