Bali is home to some of the most incredible beaches in the world, featuring everything from black, rocky shores with crystal-blue waters harboring vibrant sea creatures to stretches of coast with fine-grained white sand that provides you with a joyful, snow-like crunch under your feet.
As Bali continues to grow in popularity with both tourists and digital nomads, you’ll have to go slightly off the beaten track to experience the natural beauty of the island, and, in particular, be able to revel in the quietness of an idyllic, untouched beach.
But don’t panic! There’s no need to go scouring all four corners of the island with a map in hand and a basic grasp of Indonesian asking locals where the best beaches are (yes, I have done this!). Instead, this article has you covered. So, let’s get into it.
Located around 2 hours from Denpasar/Kuta/Canggu area and 1.5 hours from Ubud, Virgin Beach—or Pasir Putih (literal translation meaning white sand)—sits on the east coast of Bali, just waiting for you to discover it.
As you get closer to your destination, you’ll find yourself heading up a road that opens up to breathtaking views of the white sand and shimmering blue waters below.
After stopping for way too many photos on the way down to the water (of course!), you’ll finally arrive at a tourist-free, tranquil Bali beach sporadically lined with small warungs and fishing boats. With a view of Nusa Lembongan in the distance, the pearly sand between your toes, and the warm, azure-colored water inviting you in, you’re all set for an idyllic day at the beach.
Top Tip: Don’t forget to bring or hire a snorkel—there’s lots of coral and even turtles further out.
Gili Putih (translated as ‘small white island’) is a small sandbank located just off the northeast coast of Sumberkima in the Buleleng regency of Bali. At low tide, you can walk from Sumberkima bay to the sandbank, or you can take a small fishing boat when crossing by foot isn’t possible. Since it takes a little bit more effort to get to Gili Putih, you will most likely have your own little slice of paradise when you visit.
With uninterrupted panoramic views of Menjangan Island and various volcanoes in Java (including Mt. Ijen), nothing beats lying on a tiny island beach and marveling at the wondrous natural beauty around.
Top Tip: If you’re looking for a spot of luxury, give staying at Sumberkima Hill a try; it’s a boutique resort with private villas tucked into the hillside, offering breathtakingly beautiful views of Bali, Java, and Menjangan island.
Uluwatu, where majestic white cliffs meet the Indian ocean, is definitely a popular destination for both tourists and ex-pats alike. It’s not just the fancy beach clubs and surf breaks that people go for—this area is home to some of the most picture-perfect beaches in Bali.
Rather than sticking to the well-known areas and being packed onto the beach like sardines, take a 20-minute drive south to the most southern point on the island and check out Green Bowl Beach in Ungasan.
Trek down the 300+ steps to the beach and you’ll find yourself on a small, pristine area of the coast looking out at the expansive view of calm, rolling waves before you.
Top Tip: Watch out for the monkeys! Although they’re harmless and generally very people-friendly, they might just grab your water bottle or wallet, so watch your pockets on the way down.
Around 1.5 hours drive from Denpasar/Kuta/Canggu, located just past Padangbai (where you can take the ferry over to Nusa Lembongan), lies a tiny bay aptly named Blue Lagoon Beach. Surrounded by black lava rock and with an interesting mixture of both volcanic black sand and delicate white sand, the beach is a real tropical fantasy!
Whether you want to lie on the sand reading a book or you’re a proper water baby, this beach provides it all. In fact, if you are a lover of the sea, you’ll be pleased: this is one of the best beaches in Bali for snorkeling, with everything from small tropical fish and starfish to reef sharks and octopus!
Top Tip: There are small cactus plants attached to the surrounding black lava rock, so do be careful not to stand on any if you’re exploring the small cove area.
In the bustling resort area of Nusa Dua, you might not expect to find a secluded beach with little to no tourists, but Gunung Payung gives you just that. Nestled between the crowded Pandawa and Nusa Dua beach, make your way to Gunung Payung by walking down over 300 stairs from the Hindu temple at the top whilst looking at the expanse of ocean below.
This small stretch of coast offers a private beach feeling, with shimmering turquoise waters, soft chalky sand, and a small limestone cove. Perfectly sheltered from the wind and with a vista view of the ocean, the tranquility of this beach makes the trek down suddenly seem unimportant and most definitely worth it.