Having been warned by virtually everyone who has visited Bali, we needed to stay away from the centre of Kuta which was packed with many drunk Aussies on their winter holiday. Wanting to keep away from the touristic centre and see a bit more than just flocks of tourists we went for another couch-surfing experience. Staying with a couple of young, local Indonesian women in Jimbaran meant we were pointed in all the right directions to all the best beaches in the area avoiding Kuta. Luckily for us there were also a couple of friendly couch surfers in the house who had been there a few days who took us around to the nice areas each day. Kyle from Hawaii was a keen surfer who would go in search of waves most days so we would usually head out with him and Alex from France as he didn’t mind us using his board whenever we fancied it. With the South of Bali known for its beaches, for the four days we were there we spent most of our time on the beaches of Jimbaran, Padang-Padang, Balangan And Uluwatu. As well as the beaches we also got to taste the best local dishes such as Nasi Goreng and Nasi Kuning which were extremely tasty and all very cheap, just how we like it!
Having arrived in Jimbaran from Ubud mid morning, we wanted to make the most of the beach and so headed straight there after renting a motorbike and a place to leave our bags. A brief stop at the northern end of the beach at the local fish market was just out of curiosity but soon turned into a lunch fit for a king. Here we were able to buy the fish of our choice to our desired weight and then take it just outside where a local cleaned and cooked it for us on the barbecue. The 1kg snapper which had only been out the water for an hour and cooked to perfection cost us the equivalent of £3 and was plenty big enough for the two of us.
Despite the major warning to stay clear of Kuta, we had to experience it for ourselves and so made a late afternoon trip to visit the beach followed by a wonder along the strip to see what it was all about. Yes the beach was busy with tourists, locals and annoying vendors but it is a huge beach and so finding your own spot wouldn’t be hard as it wasn’t extremely overcrowded. However, No we wouldn’t have spent a whole day there as we are not fans of the major touristic hotspots with nothing but tourists, but it really wasn’t that bad as made out to be.
Kuta Beach Enjoying a beer watching the sunset
at Kuta beach
The main streets, JI Legian, Poppies Lane 1 & 2 were your typical touristic strips lined with shops, bars and restaurants which was good for a bit of souvenir shopping and a night out if that’s what your looking for.
After having visited five of the beaches in the area, we can say that the white sand beaches of either Balangan or Padang-Padang were our favorite but would be hard to make a call between the two of them as they each have their perks. Balangan was the quieter of the two beaches, however they are both coves with high fluctuating tides and so become much bigger beaches come low tide.
Balangan beach Our couchsurfer host, Vina, and the couchsurfers at Balangan beach
Padang-Padang is a much smaller, enclosed beach and so it became quite crowded at times despite their being a fair number of cheeky monkeys roaming around. These valient monkeys were more than used to humans and were not afraid of stealing any food or even facing up to a tourist when attempted to be scared off. Both beaches however were good for surfing but have a rocky bed underfoot when in the water so it really is down to personal preference.
The walk down to Padang-Padang beach
Daily offerings placed on the beach Cheeky monkey looking to see what to steal
High tide at Padang-Padang