An intense week of beach and sea in south east Asia starting from Phuket got me thinking of why I am in love with beach. Digging deep into my childhood memory, I remember the first beach I visited was Parangtritis in Jogja and I didn’t like it. I was crying loud begging to my mother to bring me away from the beach. It was purely because I was only a little kid who was told about that famous mystical horror legend about Nyi Roro Kidul who could kidnap me and keep me in the ocean forever; that got me so scared. So I recall that the beach sands were black; it was sunset time and the sky was close to dark. All I remember that it was really scary to be on the beach.
The next beach my parents brought me to was the famous Kuta beach in Southern Bali and that was love at the first sight. I was in love with Kuta beach for years. There was no visit in Bali without involving Kuta beach. For several times I visited Bali just to slack around in Kuta beach. Kuta beach had transformed me into beach kind of girl.
Apart of my love at the first sight, the southern part of Bali is holding numerous interesting sites to visit. As a Bali’s frequent visitor, I discover there are some places that will never get me bored to visit over and over again. So here we go, the top 10 places to visit during your stay in south part of Bali that will not get you bored.
1. Kuta Beach
Of course I put my love at the first sight on the very top of the list. There were some times Kuta beach disgusted me (for trash and too many tourists) but even in the worst time, I used to enjoy the life in Kuta area. Why? The availability of everything is unbeatable. Restaurants, shopping places, pubs, bars, clubs, souvenir shops, everything is available, shamefully I admit that even “magic mushroom” is available (of course illegally), for once I was offered marijuana, never and don’t wanna try though! Walking around looking for morning coffee, learning to surf or heading to Beachwalk for shopping or simply just laying on the beach and getting tanned, stopping at the bar for a cold beer, walking again until the sunset appears then another round of beer with the sunset. What an ideal lazy day to be followed by a nice dinner and party at night.
When in Kuta, take a moment to strolling along Legian street and stop by at monument of Bali Bomb I. The monument was built in remembrance for the victim of kamikaze tragedy that happened on 12 October 2002. Three explosions occurred that night. Two explosions at Paddy’s pub and Sari club in Legian, and the last one in US consulates in Renon only ten minutes after the first two explosions. There were more than 200 persons died and 200 others were injured.
This tragedy had ruined the image of Indonesia to the international and degraded the number of tourist in Bali significantly. Bali was in sorrow for a long time and then the same tragedy reoccurred three years after.
After several investigations, the responsible group of the bombing is related to the Islamic group. It was such a heartbreaking to knowing that people use religion as an excuse to kill another human being. The memory of the fear during this catastrophe and some more other attacks for religious excuse got me agree with Brussels to carry the theme of everyday life without any religious allegory.
2. Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park (GWK)
My second suggestion is to rent a motorbike and driving to GWK to visit the iconic statue of Garuda and Hindu’s God named Wisnu. This cultural park has been popular since its opening in 2003. The area is huge, around 240 hectare and has been housed many cultural events and concerts. GWK is home for some giant statues and limestone, makes the park become a photogenic destination.
3. Dreamland Beach
Only 8 km distance from GWK, you can continue your journey to dreamland beach. It is located still on the same coast with Kuta beach but the more quite white sandy beach will welcome you. There are also beach seats available for rent from IDR 50,000. Food sellers are available, but well, with a touristic price.
4. Pura Luhur Uluwatu
Pura Luhur Uluwatu is a temple located in south west of Bali, very very south that you can enjoy the mesmerising view of Indian Ocean. The Pura is standing on the cliff, around 97 m above sea level. When visiting the Pura, beware of the monkeys as they are quite agile to take your sunglasses away from you.
The routine cultural event held in Pura Uluwatu is Kecak Fire dance performance. The show is in the open air. It is started at 6 pm and last for 1 hour. It is recommended to arrive earlier in Uluwatu, like at 5 pm, before the show so that you can enjoy the view and catch the best seat position to watch the show.
5. Suluban Beach
Not far from Pura Luhur Uluwatu, you can reach Suluban beach. The beach is surrounded by reefs and to be really on the beach, you will need to pass through the kind of reef cave. It was interesting to visit because the beach is not so big and quite hidden makes me feel like being in my own private beach. I mean, what is better than owning a beach?
6. Nusa Dua
Nusa Dua is known for its high-level image. Fancy resorts and hotels are occupying along the coast and some areas of the beach belong to them, which means prohibited for public access. Even so, there are also the public areas where you can do the water sport activities like banana boat, kayaking, parasailing, etc. The best area for water sport in Nusa Dua is located at Tanjung Benoa.
7. Seminyak Beach
If you walk all the way north along the coast of Kuta beach, you will arrive in Seminyak beach. Walking along the coast is my preference to reach this beach from Kuta because the traffic in Kuta is usually crowded. Seminyak beach is also a busy beach like Kuta but in my opinion the wildness level of the surrounding is lesser than Kuta, which is a suitable location for me to have a beach holiday with my mother. Even better, there are many beachfront restaurants with colorful decoration for you to enjoy the sunset view.
8. Pura Tanah Lot
Pura Tanah Lot is located in West Bali and it is still a reasonable destination to visit in term of distance if you are staying in South Bali. The Pura lies on the rock and surrounded by the ocean. There is a unique myth tells that if you visit Tanah Lot with your loved one (boyfriend or girlfriend), you would break up. Well, I visited Tanah Lot one time with a boyfriend when I was 14 years old and we broke up. Not sure if it was because of the visit in Tanah Lot or simply because we were too young to remain together for a long time. Fingers crossed.
9. Sanur Beach
In case you are bored of the sunset view (which is impossible), you can always find something different like sunrise for example. The classic sunrise point is Sanur beach that is located in the east Bali. During sunrise, the beach is still quite, most probably because it is the time when the tourists are still asleep. During the day, this beach is also a busy beach with water sport activities in offer. I once did the kayaking in Sanur beach, even if it is said to be a busy beach, the ambient is still calm so that I could drive the kayak without worrying to bump others. Staying in Sanur beach is also perfect for those who want to continue their journey to Nusa Lembongan.
10. Masceti Beach
Last but not least, during the full week holiday in Bali last year with J and one friend, J decided for us to stay at Barn N Bunk Guesthouse in Masceti beach. I was in shock at first because it was the area that I had never been before and I was not confident with the location but J always succeeds to convince me to do anything for the first time. So there I was, waking up in the morning being spoiled by the calm and quite sunrise view. Even if the beach itself is not my kind of beach, it was a nice experience in the end to stay in Barn N Bunk.
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