Photo: Sublime light at Medewi.


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Midway along Bali’s west coast, a world away from the popular tourist digs at Kuta and Legian lays sleepy Medewi, known internationally as a surfing hotspot. But Medewi is much, much more than peeling waves (despite the fact they are some of the longest and enticing, world-class peeling waves in Bali).

This unsullied remote corner is a terrifically relaxing spot to kick back and enjoy traditional village life. Here terraced rice fields nudge the black sand beaches and pretty doe-eyed cows wander the shores as fisherman haul in their catch, young boys fly kites on the sea breeze and in the distance you can hear the sound of the warbling mosque.

Looking up the beach. Photo taken in or around Medewi, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Looking up the beach. Photo: Sally Arnold

Medewi is a Muslim enclave in this predominantly Hindu island, so you’ll feel more like you’re in Java or Lombok than Bali. And to resort to cliche, the locals, well they’re a congenial lot. We were wandering along by the beach and not only did a local farmer shout the usual hello hellos, he made a beeline over so he just shake our hand—friendly folk indeed!

It is true: Medewi is a surfer hangout, but like Balian half an hour to the southeast, it’s also a stupendously beautiful area. The beach starts with smooth boulders and pebbles that are a bit of a challenge to scramble across. After the river, the pebbles give way to a jet black volcanic sand similar to what you see in Lovina—the difference is in Medewi there are no touts trying to sell you wooden dolphins. In fact there are no touts at all.

Medewi has more than just waves. Photo taken in or around Medewi, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Medewi has more than just waves. Photo: Sally Arnold

What tourists refer to as Medewi, is actually a stretch of coastal villages from Pekutatan in the south to Yeh Sumbul in the north. Pekutatan marks the spot where a spur off the main road leads to a fabulous alternative route to Munduk in the highlands, and is also home to the rather fancy Puri Dajuma. Yeh Sumbul is a booming area where rice fields are being given over to villa and guesthouses developments as fast as you can say “this looks a bit like Canggu”—we hope it doesn’t go the same route.

Medewi is a terrific area to learn to surf, and swimming is possible in a few spots too, and once you tire of the sea and sand there’s enough to explore from sacred temples to sacred trees or just enjoy a drive into the hills.

Natural and artificial beach art. Photo taken in or around Medewi, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Natural and artificial beach art. Photo: Sally Arnold

Places to stay in Medewi dot the coast and back into the villages, spanning all budgets. If you have buckets of cash, there are some beaut high-end digs and more and more good value flashpacker to mid range accommodation appearing too. Surf camps are a popular choice with their all-inclusive surf and stay deals, and if you have come solely for the waves, this may be a good option.

Medewi is a three to four hour drive (depending on traffic) to the west of Seminyak. Regular local buses connect Medewi to Denpasar and Gilimanuk, (for Java or Bali’s north coast). The villages themselves are easily walked, but as the area is rather spread out, you’ll need transport to get around. Ojeks, taxis and motorbike hire can easily be arranged at your accommodation.

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A series of rivers divide Medewi’s villages along the main Kuta to Gilimanuk road. Coming from the south you will first encounter Pekutatan then cross bridges to Pulukan, Medewi proper, then Yeh Sumbul, with roads branching off down to the ocean and up into the hills. Medewi itself has one main road leading to the point break lined with accommodation, restaurants, and surfboard rental shops.

Really stunning in places. Photo taken in or around Medewi, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Really stunning in places. Photo: Sally Arnold

Heading north, just before the mosque, an easterly road marked by a Balinese split gate leads to Medewi village proper where you’ll find a number of homestays and surf camps. In Yeh Sumbul at the mosque, a road branches from the highway leading down to the beach where it meets a bumpy dirt track that continues in both directions along the coast to the guesthouses here.

Each village has a small assortment of local shops hugging the main road. There is a BRI ATM on the main road at Pekutatan, and another three kilometres to the west of Yeh Sumbul outside Rumah Makan Sari Asih. Decent 4G signal reaches most of Medewi, and accommodation options offer free WiFi.


What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Medewi.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda
 Read up on where to eat on Medewi.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Medewi.
 Read up on how to get to Medewi.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Medewi? Please read this.
 Browse the web securely while travelling with TunnelBear. Try with a 7–day free trial.

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