The Bukit peninsula at the southernmost tip of Bali is home to some of the most stunning beaches on the entire island. We’ve already written at length about some of the best beaches on the west coast of the Bukit, from Dreamland down to Nyang Nyang, but the Bukit is a big place and there’s lots more sand to share.
While the northeast corner of the Bukit is given over to Bali’s luxury hotel haven (though we did find at least one good cheap hotel in Nusa Dusa), the rest of the eastern section has some truly fabulous beaches with barely a horizon pool in sight. So pack your towel, water, sunscreen and camera and get going.
Just to the immediate south of Nusa Dua lies Geger beach. It was long the “local” beach for guests staying at Nusa Dua and was home to both seaweed farmers and the pretty well-regarded Nusa Dua Beach Grill. Otherwise aside from the hilltop temple, there was little development. That’s no longer the case though with a massive development going in — even by Nusa Dua standards, it is huge — and while the restaurant remains, the beach has certainly lost its untrammelled appeal.
That’s not to say it doesn’t remain popular. There are still a swag of places to eat at on the beach, deckchairs and umbrellas and various watersports’ gear for hire. There’s also an offshore reef that gets quite surfable waves. If you’re looking for just a couple of hours off the reserve, Geger will suffice, but otherwise you’re better off to push further afield.
Before you leave, ride up to Pura Geger (follow the sign for the Bar and Grill and the temple is on your right), walk right to the cliff and you’ll be able to see south to the decidedly attractive strip of sand out from of the luxurious Nikko Bali Resort & Spa.
Geger Sawangan Beach
Keep going south from Geger and you’ll reach a dirt track going off to your right. Two tracks lead off to the right about 200 metres apart, with the latter running down right beside the Nikko. Unless you like having to ride through a bunch of monkeys, take the second trail. Either way, they end at a staircase that runs down granting public access to the beach.
We hit the beach on a bit of a rough day, with choppy seas and overcast weather with a touch of rain, but even in those circumstances it was easy to appreciate how pretty this beach must be when the weather turns it on. A broad yellow-sanded crescent juts out into the reef-protected waters and we’d imagine this would be pretty close to fabulous on the right day.
On the downside, there is very little shade. There is though a bit of a breakwater on the northern end of the beach (which a few enthusiastic locals were fishing from) but there’s otherwise nothing on the beach that we saw.
About two kilometres past the Nikko, the road splits. Veer left past (yet another) construction site and take the left through the temple grounds. There is a parking area right beside the temple and a steep staircase runs down beside the east side of the temple — that’s where you’re headed.
We couldn’t find out the name of this beach so we hereby name it Temple beach! It’s really just a continuation of the beach that starts at the Nikko and wraps round this part of the peninsula, tapering off to nothing about a kilometre to the west of the staircase.
In contrast to the section in front of the Nikko though, there is nothing here: just a couple of fishing shacks and what looked like either fish traps or small seaweed farms, the lovely spherical grains of sand you’ll see across the Bukit, a lovely body of water, and you.
Gunung Payung beach
Pura Gunung Payung sits atop the bluff behind this isolated yet beautiful beach. When looking at the temple you’ll see a road running off to your right. This runs through a small grove to a parking area where a longish set of stairs takes you down the steep but grassy escarpment.
On the way down you can enjoy the view of the offshore break and the very clear waters. Again the weather wasn’t great for this visit, but it must be stunning in the sun.
As with the previous beach, Gunung Payung was deserted with good deep sand and a few rock overhangs that would have made for a good campsite through the day.
It was here that we spied the first sailing skiffs offshore that fishermen were using to skate along the surface, presumably to collect seaweed or go fishing. The roar of the violent surf on the reef was ever-present.
Kutuh beach is really one of the oddest locations on all of Bali. While it’s best known as one of the landing locations for the paragliding tours that run along the south coast of the Bukit, it’s reached by driving down through an enormous human-made quarry-like ravine that wouldn’t look out of place in an open-cut mine in Western Australia.
Then, as you get down near the beach, there are these equally enormous niches excavated out of the cliff face that are one day to hold massive statues (when we asked for more information, we were told to imagine “the Balinese version of Romeo and Juliet”. Right then.) And all this in an area that is absolutely in the middle of nowhere.
Then you reach the beach and there’s a brand new cafe and restaurant with cold drinks and good simple food, deckchairs and umbrellas, but not a soul to be seen.
There’s fishermen sailing offshore and a pretty steady stream of Balinese heading to the temple but the whole place, while incredibly scenic (don’t miss the six-star villa up on the cliff face), feels really quite bizarre.
If you have time to visit one of all these beaches, this should be the one and, if they have fish, stay for lunch at Menengen Restaurant.
Last stop on the sandy loop, famous surf break Green Bowl is easy to find. Just follow the signs for the Bali Cliff and zoom on past to the parking lot beside Pura Batu Pageh.
The actual beach here is quite small compared to some of the above-mentioned beaches, but the surf is impressive with a very powerful channel emptying the lagoons to the east and west from here.
Yes again, not a soul to be seen, but with better weather, given this beach is fairly easy to reach, you’ll get a few people about.
Here’s a short video I found on YouTube of some surfers at Green Bowl who had better luck with the weather than me:
Lost? Here’s a map!
Here is a quick map I whipped together that roughly indicates where each beach is. Note the road after Temple beach becomes super crappy almost all the way to Greenbowl.
By Stuart McDonald
Last updated on 2nd March, 2015.