It’s easy to see why visitors congregate in the south, thanks to its stunning coastline lined with top-notch lodgings and entertainment options.
Sun-lovers and surfers alike flock to Bali’s southern Bukit Peninsula to make the most of white-sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, dramatic vistas, some of the best waves on the island, and its luxurious resorts. On the east coast of the Bukit lies Nusa Dua, a tourist enclave that has been developed along one of the best beaches on the island. Once a coconut plantation, Nusa Dua is marked by a tranquil stretch of white sand and offshore reefs that make the water perfect for swimming. Well-maintained facilities, spectacular views, landscaped gardens, world-class golf facilities, and a good range of children’s activities all serve to make Nusa Dua resorts popular with families and those looking for an indulgent getaway. Just north of Nusa Dua is Tanjung Benoa, a relaxed beachside neighborhood where water sports are the main draw. Windsurfing, parasailing, waterskiing, and all things aquatic are well served by operators from individual resorts. There is safe swimming in Benoa as well, so the resorts lining the sand tend to be family-friendly. Some of the best surfing in Bali can be found off the west coast of the Bukit at Uluwatu. The path to the beach is quite well hidden, and is rarely visited by those not wishing to engage some challenging waves, as the water is unsuitable for swimming and the beach is rocky. For leisure visitors, Uluwatu Temple is the village’s main draw due to its majestic position, perched atop sheer cliffs above the crashing surf. At sundown the nearby clifftop theater becomes a popular venue for watching the kecak dance, which narrates a portion of the Ramayana. On the isthmus that connects the Bukit to the rest of Bali, Jimbaran contains some of the island’s premier resorts, while its white-sand beach is also lined with dozens of great open-air seafood restaurants. They are reasonably priced, with the catch of the day being brought in straight from the sea. Be sure to start dinner early in order to witness an unforgettable sunset. The bustling villages just northwest of the Bukit are a haven for shoppers, gourmands, and night owls alike. Kuta, Legian, and Seminyak are dynamic and busy throughout the day, with a high concentration of shops, cafés, restaurants, and bars. This entertainment hub is ideal for walking, bargain hunting, and, of course, recuperating from all of the day’s activities.
Kuta is perhaps best known for its surfing, sunsets, and nightlife. Surfing here is accessible to enthusiasts of all skill levels, with equipment readily available for rent on the beach. The shops in Kuta are predominantly surf-oriented, and attract a youthful crowd. However, visitors can also find a multitude of souvenir items and handicrafts in roadside stores. Nightspots in Kuta bustle with a loyal international following, and are popular among those looking for a relaxed but festive atmosphere. Nearby, Legian is fast developing as a hotspot for its hip hotels and gourmet restaurants and cafés. The accessibility of Kuta and Legian, as well as the affordability of the resorts here, makes them a favorite among those looking for fun. Families also tend to favor this part of the island for its wide variety of activities for children and young people: paintball, horseback riding, and water sports are just some of the exciting diversions that can be enjoyed. Best of all are the breathtaking sunsets that can be seen year-round from the beach. At dusk, crowds gather at beachside cafés to take in the view before the night’s activities begin. For style-conscious visitors and locals, Seminyak is the place to see and be seen. The neighborhood has become one of the trendiest spots on the island, with a gamut of specialized boutiques, interior decor stores, and upscale bars and restaurants. Further up the coast, Canggu has emerged as a hipster-minded locale with cool cafés and vegan-friendly eateries sprouting up amid the rice paddies, not to mention the striking, bamboo-built Finn’s Beach Club for sipping cocktails while watching waveriders on the Berawa surf break out front.
The famous cliff-top temple at Uluwatu, a popular sight on the Bukit Peninsula.
Relaxing before sunset on the beach at Seminyak.
The recently opened Finn’s Beach Club in Canggu.