This pristine beach-less-travelled is one of Bali’s best undiscovered coastal gems.
Golden sand, beach bars, barrels and fewer crowds. This is the Balinese beach you’ve probably never heard of – and therefore should visit immediately. Nestled halfway between its famous brother beaches Jimbaran Bay and Uluwatu, Balangan Beach is a taste of old Bali, just a short drive from the island’s bustling centre.
After an easy 50-minute transfer from Denpasar Airport, where you’ll wind through green farmland with cows and roosters roaming freely, you’ll arrive at a serene stretch of sand dotted with beach bars, traditional warungs (small Balinese eateries) and sun loungers.
Whether you’re more partial to a coconut or cocktail, Balangan has a pick for your plunge into paradise. Here’s where to uncover the hidden gems.
Perched on the clifftop a short five-minute stroll from the beach, White Palm Hotel is an eco-boutique exuding relaxation. With a 12-guest limit, the hotel is the picture of serenity.
Thatched-roof bungalows are dotted around a 16-metre chlorine-free pool, there are daily yoga classes held in the treetop shala and a perfect spot for cocktails on the rooftop terrace overlooking the ocean. An ever-evolving seasonal menu serves up local land and sea offerings by in-house Spanish Basque chef Asier Arroyo.
Traditional warung shacks line the shore, and it’s here you’ll score authentic nasi goreng or satay made from decades-old secret family recipes. Jimmy’s Brothers Warung was the first to be built in Balangan and remains popular today. Make sure you try the vegie-packed chicken curry. (While you’re there, here are six unforgettable reasons to visit Indonesia’s Spice Islands.)
Or head to new beach bar Lucky Wins. There’s an infinity pool, sunset DJ sets, western menu and lengthy cocktail list. Ladies, you get free-flow drinks on Saturday nights.
With a reef off the coast creating one of the longest left-hand breaks on the island, Balangan is a magnet for surfers. Called Pantai Balangan by the locals, the wave has been known to connect the length of the 300-metre reef in perfect conditions.
New to the sport? This warm-water break is an ideal place to learn. Rent a surfboard or take a lesson so you can take home a real postcard from paradise. Balangan Wave Surf School has packages for one, two, or three-day lessons with a local instructor including safety briefing, boards and protective surf shirts. While there are no lifeguards, it’s favoured as a calm, safe spot for swimmers.
Settle in and soak up one of the best positions on the island to see the sunset. Grab a beer and watch from the sand as surfers flow in the golden glow. Or make the short trek to the top of Balangan Cliff for the ultimate vantage point. Take your camera – this is destined to be a keeper.
At low tide, the reefs reveal the exotic moss-covered sealife that lies beneath. Resist the temptation to stay on your sun bed and wander down to the rock pools instead. If it’s safe to do so, venture around the point for an idyllic rockpool bath with a captivating clifftop backdrop.
The fun doesn’t end when the sun goes down. Make your way up the road to Cafe La Pasion where a different local band steps onto the stage to perform every evening. Have a song request in mind, because the singers will likely ask what you’d like to hear.
There’s a delicious Mexican menu to work your way through, moreish cocktails and a pool to cool off in afterwards. Because, paradise.