There’s nothing worse than heading out for a relaxing day at the beach with visions of Robinson Crusoe and Blue Lagoon in mind, only to find that the stretch of sand you arrive at is teeming with screaming kids, rowdy frat boys lobbing footballs across the sand, and well-oiled tourists occupying every lounger in sight. Kuta Beach and Sanur Beach may be packed with throngs of tourists, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find secluded and tranquil beaches in other parts of Bali. At the risk of exposing our favourite hidden spots to the masses, we give you the five best little-visited beaches in Bali.
1. Pandawa Beach
With a nickname like ‘The Secret Beach’, you know that the spot has to be good. This gorgeous white sand beach is tucked away in the south Bukit in Kutuh Village between Tanjung Beach and Uluwatu Temple. As you drive down the small paved road to the beach, you pass through the towering walls of yellow limestone cliffs, which open up onto deserted sands and sparkling blue waters. There is a small cafe here where you can grab some snacks and cold drinks, and just a few beach chairs and umbrellas that are almost always empty.
2. Balian Beach
Surfers in the know head to Balian Beach for its consistent left-hand breaks, but for those who are willing to make the trip to the west coast, this is also an ideal spot to chill out on the black sand beach without being bothered by touts or tourists. There are a few small cafes along the sands, and the Balian River that empties into the sea is revered by locals for its curative properties. To get here, head to the village of Lalang Linggah and follow the signs to the beach.
3. Lipah Bay
Amed has long been a relaxing getaway in eastern Bali for honeymooners and scuba divers. However, head past the strip of hotels, warungs and dive shops in central Amed, wind your way up the hills that overlook the black sand coastline and the looming volcanic peak of Mount Agung, and you will eventually reach Lipah, a small cove sheltered by rugged cliffs. This is the ideal spot to do some snorkeling in the clear, calm waters and relax in peace on the soft black sand.
4. Crystal Bay
Although the island of Nusa Penida to the southeast of Bali is technically considered a part of Bali, it has managed to escape the rampant development that the main island has seen in recent years. For those who venture off the beaten track, Nusa Penida offers a wealth of beautiful beaches blissfully free of crowds. Crystal Bay is one of the better white swathes of sand, with aquamarine waters and excellent visibility for snorkeling. Word has it the Chedi will be opening here in 2015, so get there now before the tourists pour in.
5. Yeh Gangga Beach
Located just 15 minutes from the famous Tanah Lot temple, Yeh Gangga Beach is a long stretch of sparkly black sand that is backed by emerald green rice paddies and slopes gently into the Indian Ocean. The currents here can be quite strong, so swimming is not really an option, but the solitude is soul soothing, and the sunsets over the ocean will take your breath away.