It’s easy to get disheartened when you are constantly disturbed by the din and activity of one of Bali’s overcrowded beaches.
Sometimes, all you want is to escape the crowds and get away to a truly secluded beach. On hearing of a few such beaches from a local friend, I jumped at the opportunity to explore the island’s hidden beach gems one afternoon.
1. Nyang Nyang Beach
Nyang Nyang Beach is well deserving of the title ‘hidden beach’. If you don’t actively ask people, you won’t find this beach and Google maps on your smartphone isn’t going to work either. There are no signs, no clue, no nothing.
When you finally find a turn into a dirt track heading to Uluwatu Temple, follow the path until you reach the edge of a cliff after waddling through fields.
There you can see “Nyang Nyang Beach” handwritten on the walls. But here comes the difficult part, next you have to walk down a narrow and sometimes steep flight of stairs that leads to the beach.
The sight of the beautiful water and the lonely stretch of sand is all the motivation you need to descend the 500 or so steps down to the beach.
Nyang Nyang Beach is certainly a place of solitude. On most days, you can count the number of people on the beach on one hand. If you are lucky, you may be the only living soul on the beach.
Aristotle once said that “whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god”. You may wonder which one of them you are when you walk down the sandy sliver of Nyang Nyang beach.
Bear in mind to make your way back to the top of the cliff before dark as the journey back over the steps and the field will become difficult in the dark.
2. Green Bowl Beach
I find it amazing that this beach doesn’t drag a large crowd. Perhaps we can thank the long and relatively arduous path down to the beach for keeping it off the tourist radar so far. For lovers of secluded beaches however, the walk is no doubt worth it.
Finding the place is really easy as there are signboards everywhere in Ungasan. Once you’ve conquered the hundreds of steps down to the beach you will be rewarded with a very clean, albeit rocky beach.
It’s not recommended to visit during high tide as the water reaches the stairs; a much better option is to arrive as the tide is starting to go down. As low tide moves in, the waves begin to recede like a curtain uncovering the magical sands of the beach.
Exploring the mysterious cave is optional, if you do, be careful of the bats. Although they aren’t known to attack people, it’s better to keep alert. Brave the dark to watch the beach from inside the cave and you will not be disappointed.
The gigantic bulky cliffs stand like guardians over the butter coloured sands. At low tide, you can see that the rocks are covered in green algae, the very same colour as the water.
3. Bias Tugel Beach
Located 10 minutes from Padang Bai port, this beach is worth a visit. Be prepared to walk via a fairly steep and rocky path to reach the stretch of white sandy beach with crystal clear blue water.
Besides sightseeing, most who come here are fans of snorkelling or diving. The natural life under the water is still very unspoiled, featuring dazzling coral reefs.
The beach is still clean so you can comfortably bask in the sun without the eyesore of litter cluttering your view. The blue of the water and the verdant green of the trees on the cliffs separated by the warm yellow hue of the sands is a sight to behold. The wind mixed with the smell of the ocean and the scent of the trees creates an intoxicating perfume.
However, Bias Tugel Beach is getting too popular these days. Try to come in the morning to find a solitary spot and if you do encounter a group of people, they are easily ignored.
4. Balian Beach
This sparkly black sand beach does not attract too big a crowd but you will certainly find either local fishermen busy casting their nets or surf junkies ready to ride the waves.
This is one of the best surfing spots on the island but it’s also the perfect place to “get off the grid” for a few days. The fact that the beach is not commercialized makes it even better. This beautiful rocky beach is a cool and laid back place to chill out with a warm and romantic feel.
Imagine palm trees and padi fields swaying under the salty breeze. Try not to surf or swim in the sea after spells of heavy rain or if the water seems murky though as bull sharks are common and are often found near the river mouth.
5. Semi Secret Beach
This hidden bay doesn’t have an official title but some locals refer to it as Honeymoon Beach or ‘Semi-Secret Beach’. It is found halfway between Ayana Resort and Tegalwangi Temple in Jimbaran, though finding its entrance requires an eagle’s eye.
Along the road’s many twists and turns there is an opening in the bushes which is very easy to miss. Here you’ll have to get out your car and continue on foot for 10 minutes down a dirt path, following the sounds of the sea.
Finally, you’ll reach an opening which reveals gorgeous low-lying cliffs, spotted with cactus-like plants and patches of grass, the splash of the waves spraying over the rocks. Along this cliff-top there is one larger mound, perhaps some fisherman or local surfers will be there. This mound is popular for cliff-jumping!
Only a mere 5-10 metres high, depending on the tide, many enjoy this quick thrill during their time there – it requires a swim back into the narrow beach, so only confident swimmers should take the risk. Nonethele ss, perched above the splashing waters, secluded with no one about, Semi-secret Beach is another of Bali’s little gems that you’ll likely enjoy, especially during sunset.
6. Tegal Wangi Beach
About 10 minutes’ drive from Ayana Resort and Spa, this semi hidden beach is quite famous as a destination for pre wedding photo shoots. From the top of the cliff you can see clear blue water with curling waves hitting the beach below.
Magnetically, you will feel drawn to the waters painted in blue and coral undertones and surrender any notion of escaping the pull exerted by this fantastic place. The beach has two “ocean Jacuzzis” facing directly to the ocean as if welcoming the glorious waves.
If you want to wander about aimlessly minus the crowds, come before 4pm. The absence of people will make the beach seem all the more pristine and simple. The simplicity shines through the beach, the ocean and the reef. This is nature at its simplest and most beautiful like it was always meant to be.
But, still, sunset is the main course, as the sun is well on its way towards setting, creating a stunning sight. The perfect end to the perfect day.