When driving along the southern coast of Bali to the west, passing the famous Tanah Lot Temple, one can hope to find several interesting attractions worthy of a visit. However, do take note that there are two things to tolerate on west Bali’s south coast.
First of all, the location can be off-putting because it is quite a long drive from the southern area of Bali — it takes around an hour to reach Tanah Lot Temple from Kuta so, naturally, anything beyond that will take longer to get to.
Secondly, the beaches in this area aren’t the smooth, white sand beaches that you commonly find in the south. Most of the beaches in the west have black sand and are also quite rocky and scattered with round stones. But if you have no problem with those conditions, then the south coast of west Bali can be quite a rewarding place for you — especially if you surf.
The sea in this area is known for producing some great waves, which are perfect for surfers. Also, the beaches are much quieter than their southern counterparts, despite most of them being located within close proximity to the large main road connecting Denpasar and Gilimanuk Port.
With that being said, here are some of the spots that you can go to if you happen to be wandering off to the western part of Bali.
This is the first beach you will see after Tanah Lot Temple if you are taking the Denpasar-Gilimanuk road from the south. Upon reaching Soka beach, you will first notice a rest area with a large parking place. This is the kind of touristy spot where restaurants, motels and souvenir shops are located.
But at this particular commercial complex, you can also find a peculiar museum that showcases Bali’s famous papier-mâché effigies, known as ogoh-ogoh.
Though the museum is not well-maintained — the displays seem aged and there is not enough information available to explain most of the ogoh-ogoh — it is still worth your while, especially if you have never been on Bali during Nyepi (the Hindu Day of Silence) when ogoh-ogoh are paraded all over the island.
Less than 50 meters down the main road from the complex lies an alternative entrance to the beach. The access is a mere dirt road, but it will lead you straight to Soka beach. A few shacks and huts selling snacks and surfing needs are located in the area.
The Balian beach area is an example of a nicely developed spot. The entrance road continues straight to the beach, with plenty of lodgings and restaurants along the way.
Located around five kilometers to the west of Soka beach, Balian beach is a surfer’s paradise. Aside from its great waves, it also happens to be a low-profile getaway with no big crowds — except when they hold a surfing competition, of course.
We have warned you about the rocky coast in the west, and that is, unfortunately, also what you will find at Balian beach. The coast line is full of pebbles and stones.
The only way to enjoy playing in the water is to swim for a bit to reach the open sea — which also makes the beach an unsuitable place to play in the water with children.
To make up for this, Balian beach is adorned with pleasant villas and cottages; one of them even has a nice pool just by the beach. Thus, the options at Balian beach are to have a nice sunbath, swim in the pool, or take on the waves.
Driving further to the west for at least 20 kilometers, you will find another great patch of coast that provides ideal waves for surfers, called Medewi beach.
Medewi and Balian share similar features in many ways, but it seems like Medewi was the first one to be developed, judging by the faded structures in the area compared to the seemingly new buildings around Balian.
But, that is not to say that Medewi has lost its appeal. You will still find the beach to be filled with the right amount of happy tourists — not too few and not too many. They can be found having a drink in gazebos by the beach, or sitting on their boards in the sea, waiting for the next big break.
Rambut Siwi Temple
You will find Rambut Siwi Temple just as you are about to enter the city of Negara.
Although the area also has a long stretch of beach, the main attraction at this place is the Hindu temple that sits at the top of a cliff, towering over the sea.
Rambut Siwi Temple is connected to the beach by a long set of stairs. Once you are up there you can either explore the temple — bring a sarong and put it on before entering — or gaze upon the amazing view of vast green paddy fields, separated from the long stretch of beach by a paved path.
This area seems to be the locals’ favorite compared to the previous beaches that we have mentioned. You will see many locals late in the afternoon going for a walk, praying at the temple, or simply taking some pictures.
How to get there
Heading to these places can be quite tricky if your navigational knowledge of going west is limited to Seminyak or Canggu.
The best starting point would be the Ubung Terminal in north Denpasar. From there, you can continue along the main road to the north and follow the green road sign for directions that lead to Gilimanuk — in fact, just look for roads that lead to Gilimanuk.
You will then be driving along a hilly path, full of big trucks, a sign that you are going the right way. Reaching Soka beach is the best first step, because the rest of the places are just further down the main road to the west.
This piece was originally published at Jakarta Post Travel
Sources: Jakarta Post Travel/Raditya Margi