Why west is best

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE -

Sun­set-view­ing in Bali is such a rit­ual for tourists that beach clubs and re­sorts make an enor­mous deal of the end-of-day the­atrics. The west-fac­ing coastal strip from Jim­baran, Kuta and Le­gian to Seminyak and Ker­obokan of­fers myr­iad op­tions and many are justly fa­mous, such as the Rock Bar at AYANA and its neigh­bour, Sun­dara at Four Sea­sons Jim­baran, with its fire-pit and foamy cock­tails, plus the re­li­ably rock­ing KU DE TA in Seminyak, with DJs and bean­bags.

There’s a young, cool crowd at Potato Head and Woo Bar at W Re­treat & Spa. But the traf­fic is hor­ren­dous most nights and af­ter be­ing stuck for more than an hour try­ing to reach the lat­est, and sup­pos­edly hippest, club, we give up. It makes sense, we de­cide, to stay put at Jim­baran Puri Bali where the sun­set rit­ual is ca­sual and rel­a­tively un­crowded.

This is a pub­lic beach and there’s the added at­trac­tion of be­ing with the lo­cals. Kids fly kites, cou­ples stroll hand-in-hand and the shal­lows seem to be just the spot for wed­ding pho­tog­ra­phy. Sev­eral brides we spy end up with wet hems on their floaty white frocks but there’s a great deal of laugh­ter and, in one in­stance, the toss­ing of a bou­quet high into the waves. Fur­ther along the beach, in both di­rec­tions, are clus­ters of warungs serv­ing seafood cooked over co­conut husks to din­ers at ta­bles an­chored in the sand. Head left for the best-known, be­tween In­ter­Con­ti­nen­tal Bali and Four Sea­sons Jim­baran.

The re­sort has a smart new canopied boat, named Dedari (Sea An­gel), to take guests along to the high cliffs of the Bukit Penin­sula, past fish­ing boats head­ing out for overnight trips, their masts decked with pen­nants, and close to prime surf­ing spots at Uluwatu. Then it’s back for two-for-one happy hour at Puri Bar, ad­ja­cent to Ne­layan Restau­rant, to pull up a stool or planter’s chair, or drop onto a beach bed, get­ting stuck into spicy nuts and crisps, wait­ing for the sun to plop, re­li­ably red and swift, into Jim­baran Bay.

SU­SAN KUROSAWA

Pool villa at Belmond Jim­baran Puri Bali, top; ham­mock in the grounds, above left; beach­side canopy bed, above right; spa at­ten­dant Ari, above

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