It’s pretty clear that tourists are soon going to start looking elsewhere for characterful, good value beaches and sights as word is getting out – Bali is still cheap but it’s lost its tranquil ethnic allure. The magnificent culture is shrouded with carbon monoxide and diesel particles. Ironically this means tourists are better off going from place to place in taxis, making the situation worse. A vicious cycle…
Where to go in Bali?
Choosing your piece of Bali space (we’d like to say paradise but traffic overload prevents that):
• Surfers? Head for Bukit west coast, especially Bingin beach for great atmosphere and all-age surfing. Budget accommodation and terrific beach dining but lots of steps! Regular sandy section too for non-surfers.
• Party people on a budget who can tolerate vehicles en masse? Head for Kuta beach.
• Party people with a generous budget? Head for Seminyak or Legian beaches.
• Family beach people on a budget? Head for Sanur beach resorts or possibly Bukit’s Geger beach.
• Family beach people on a generous budget? Head for Bukit’s manicured Nusa Dua (probably the smartest, cleanest, least trafficked region of Bali!) and get 5* Bali culture built-in.
• Bali culture seekers? Head for Ubud, in spite of traffic. There are some terrific temples and rural panoramas around.
• Adventurers? Head way north, west or to another island.
Note that beach condition 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 but many don’t.
For quieter waters Mengiat/Geger beach in Nusa Dua and Sanur Beach both have offshore reefs that break up waves to a small degree.
North Bali’s beaches are mostly black volcanic sand, cool and very quiet.
East Bali’s beaches – such as Sanur – are calmer, with clearish blue waters (with luck), fine sand and sometimes great snorkeling or diving but lack sunset excitement.
Northwest Bali is little developed and offers few beach destinations so this is the place for adventurers to find their own little paradise, time willing.