Hidden beaches and crouching temples in the south of Bali

With Leina, a former colleague from the EU institutions who is currently living in Bali, we decided to do a 2-day tour of the hidden beaches of Bali’s southern peninsula, known for its water temples and its secluded beaches.

Where will we sleep tonight?

We hopped on my bike and just went off in the late morning, without knowing where we would sleep that night, but it’s Bali we figured out, so it wouldn’t be too hard to find a nice place to stay overnight. So we thought! After checking out some blogs we decided to try out some of the hidden beaches of the peninsula.

To cut the long drive, we did a pit stop for lunch at the fantastic Genius Café on the southern part of the beach in Sanur. While I’m not a big fan of Sanur as far as the beach is concerned, the café has a really nice atmosphere and some delicious drinks. Oh, and did I mention the raw chocolate cakes? 😉

We then drove all the way to Green Bowl beach, a nice secluded beach with limited swimming options, but very nice caves to explore (especially if you are coming with kids) and a nice jugged coastline. Fishermen and surfers also like the place it seems! If you get there, be prepared for a steep walk up and down. And you’ll need to dig into your pocket for some change if you want to enjoy that lovely beach toilet. It will only cost you IDR 2,000 for urination but a whopping IDR 5,000 for defecation. How do they know what you’re up to (especially for girls), I keep wondering…

We had just enough time to make it before sunset to Uluwatu temple, where a beautiful sunset was waiting for us. And yes, it is busy with tourists at that time, but the view is amazing, and there was enough room for everyone to enjoy the view from the terrace. A little tip: make all the way to the left on the terrace: while you’ll miss out on the temple view, you will see an incredible sunset from there too, and the sea the colour of wine.

We left just as the road was becoming black with motorbikes and tourist buses, and headed off to a cool surfer place we had spotted on the internet, hoping that there would still be a room available. Unfortunately it was full, it was already dark and we didn’t have proper internet access anymore. Luckily a surfer who was leaving the place for another place closer to the cliffs, suggested we come along and check out if they had a room left. In the worst case he could always spare a double bed for us as he had two in his room. We followed, not quite sure where we were going and a bit anxious about not finding a room for the night.

The drive took almost 10 minutes through small roads, and we would not have been able to find our way back to the main street if we would have tried. We parked the bike thinking the hotel was close, but we had to walk another 10 minutes down dark pathways, some full of graffiti and I started feeling a bit uneasy. We then ended up descending huge stairs that led us along a cliff almost all the way down to the sea. In fact, we stopped just a few meters from it in a wooden thatched roof with two large terraces overlooking the sea. One of them was connecting to two bed rooms, and luckily, the second bedroom was still available, the other one being taken by our new surfer friend.

Relief! We had a lovely sea food dinner looking at the sea and the many boats off for night fishing, while we listening to surfer stories and adventures from around the globe. At night a storm broke out, and while Leina found it incredibly romantic and had a wonderful sleep, it took me a while to sleep because the door of our room kept opening, pushed by the wind.

The best beach in Bali – Nyang Nyang

The next morning, I woke up early and headed to the beach for a morning swim, but looking at all the surfers out there, I figured out it couldn’t be that early. On Bali, it’s easy to forget to look at the time, and more convenient to live with the sun and the tide. The tide was high but descending, so I walked from sandy creek to sandy creek until I found a nice, dry place to leave my camera and clothes and jumped into the water. Back right on time for breakfast with a stunning view of the coastline and sea. Hard to leave this place…

We managed close to noon and headed directly for Nyang Nyang, the hardest beach to reach on the peninsula. And getting to it was no joke, so much that my friend Leina had to quit after we had already gone a third of the way down. We decided I would still go and enjoy the beach, which I did. Para gliders also get to enjoy the beach but from the top of a cliff. There were only 3 other people when I arrived on the beach, a long stretch of light yellow sand, with two shipwrecks that create an odd feeling of being completely lost.

Close before 4pm I walked back the dirt path all the way up to the parking. It was scorching hot and humid and it took me twice as long to climb up as on the way down. I met up with Leina and we decided we would stop over at Genius Café in Sanur on the way back and hang around at the beach to enjoy the sunset there. What a lovely idea! You understand why when you see the pics 🙂

Sanur is great in the evening, when the local families and the fishermen hang around by the beach and have fun. 

Even if Bali isn’t my favourite spot for beaches, there are some nice ones out there. So if you are in need of sea, sand and sun, and you are not afraid of a good hike, give the southern peninsula a try: you won’t regret it!

What’s your favourite beach in Bali?

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