The beach is enormous. The soft grey sand slopes down from the many beach clubs and hotels that line it, and huge waves crash onto the shore. The west coast is a great spot for surfing, but it’s far too powerful for most to swim confidently here, with strong riptides and undertows. Most of the beach bars and clubs have colourful bean bags and parasols on the sand where you can relax with a cocktail facing the sunset and listening to music. Continuing on brings you onto Seminyak beach, where numerous bars turn into larger five-star resort hotels like the Anantara and Oberoi before the beach begins to narrow and quieten a little as it melts into Petitenget. You’ll find more high-end beachfront resorts and a couple of big popular beach clubs, but most of the people up this way are just enjoying a long sunset stroll on the soft volcanic sand. We reached as far as Finns Beach Club, just short of Canggu, a very bohemian part of town with quirky and photographic hotels and restaurants - ‘influencer’ heaven.
We headed back south as it was getting dark before turning left off into the bustling town. There must be thousands of restaurants serving every type of cuisine, bars open until the early hours, and shopping centres with plenty of branded shops. There are endless accommodation options and it is much busier and built-up here than it is in Sanur. Overwhelmed with choice, we turned to TripAdvisor for a recommendation and ended up at a Balinese grill with the best skewers of tender and flavourful meat and vegetables.
After dinner we negotiated our way back south to catch a taxi back to our villa in Sanur. As it was getting later into the evening the nightlife began to spark up, and as we headed down in the direction of Kuta we were approached twice to purchase substances to ‘enhance our stay’! It came as a surprise to me, considering Indonesia’s notoriously strict drug laws. One day was enough for me in Seminyak, but it’s easy to see why it is one of the most popular tourist areas to stay.
If the buzzy west coast doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, then there are still furthermore options in the east, namely Nusa Dua and Tanjung Benoa. Here you’ll find polished luxury resort hotels lining the white sand beach. There’s no ‘rough-around-the-edges’. If you have small children in tow, then this is probably going to tick a lot of your boxes. There is not much in the way of nightlife, but there’s enough to do on the beach during the day; count water sports, scuba diving and sunbathing among your options. If you like to relax by the pool, visit the spa, and enjoy a high standard of dining in your hotel, then you’ll enjoy a holiday in Nusa Dua.
But you could do this anywhere. Why travel twenty-plus hours to sit by a pool when you could do that much closer to home? If you are going to make the journey, then you must visit the real Bali; eat Sate with the locals, haggle for a bargain from a market stall, immerse yourself in the jungle, and watch the sunset from a cliff temple. You don’t get all this back home.