Famous for its beachside grilled seafood, Bali's glistening Jimbaran Bay is a popular seaside destination just south of the airport. A wonderfully calm golden beach, Jimbaran sweeps gently from the airport south towards the Bukit.
At night, the beach comes alive with countless beachside seafood restaurants placing candlelit tables and chairs right on the sand. It's a lovely experience to eat fresh seafood with your feet in the sand while the waves of the bay lap the shoreline.
Aside from the fantastic eating opportunities of Jimbaran, the bay itself is a pleasant place for swimming and sunbathing with few of the hassles that one gets on the beach in Kuta and Legian. The ocean is usually much calmer here too meaning you don't have to fear for your life every time you go for a dip. In fact, the whole vibe in Jimbaran is far less chaotic than Kuta and Legian despite them being just over the other side of the airport, which more or less splits the two beach destinations.
Jimbaran is not a particularly popular destination when compared to some other areas in Bali and this is all the more reason for heading here for a stay yourself. The accommodation options on offer tend towards the higher end and are a little thinner on the ground. Finding suitable digs in a budget price range may pose some problems.
At the very northern end of the beach is the international airport and it's pleasant to watch the planes come in to land and take off in an endless stream from morning to night. Surprisingly, you can hardly hear the noise from the airport.
Just south of the airport is the bustling Jimbaran fish market which sells fresh fish to buyers from all around the island. It's a great place to have a browse around, particularly early in the morning.
Moving further south, the countless string of seafood restaurants commences and the beach suddenly becomes cleaner when compared to the section around the fish market. The beach is brutally exposed to the beating Balinese sun, but it's possible to rent beach furniture from some of the seafood restaurants providing for a relaxing and shady way to take in the serenity of the beach.
Jimbaran is basically made up of three north-south running roads, Jalan Pantai Kedonganan runs just back of the northern end of the bay, Jalan Raya Uluwatu runs parallel about 400 metres back off the beach and the main Ngurah Rai Bypass runs parallel again about a further 300 metres back connecting Kuta and beyond to the Bukit peninsula and Nusa Dua. These three roads are interconnected with smaller east-west running roads.
Most of Jimbaran's accommodation is towards the centre of the bay, with the southern end given over to the luxurious Bali Intercontinental Resort, and, on the southern headland, the sprawling Four Seasons Resort.
You'll find internet cafes, ATMs and convenience stores mostly on Jalan Raya Uluwatu.
By Adam Poskitt