Best known for its sunsets and seafood barbecues, Jimbaran offers a great option for families with young kids looking for calmer waters than what you’ll find in much of South Bali.
The beach is on the far (southern) side of Bali’s international airport and while the area is very built up, the bulk is residential and small businesses, along with a few rather grand hotels. It lacks the chaotic messy vibe of Kuta/Legian or Seminyak but all the creature comforts are within easy walking distance of the beach.
While Jimbaran is a surf beach, the break is small and most of the time a long way offshore, giving toddlers and young children plenty of shallow, relatively calm waters to run amok in. You’ll still need to keep an eye on them, but Seminyak or Kuta this is not.
Out of the water, the beach is also home to the Jimbaran fish markets — you’ll often see dozens of jukungs — traditional outrigger fishing boats — anchored offshore, but in the early morning they run up onto the beach to deposit the morning’s catch. And while we’ve been told the catch continues to dwindle, if you are in the area a visit to the market is well worth it — you’ll be fighting off chefs and buyers from some of Bali’s top restaurants as this is where many of them do their shopping.
At the other end of the day, the beach is enveloped in plumes of smoke as mountains of coconut husks are set alight for the nightly seafood barbecues. Yes, you’ll pay more for seafood here than you may elsewhere, but the setting is extremely comfortable and, when the sunset really turns it on, particularly photogenic. There are three clusters of restaurants beachside and while all the food is good, we particularly like Cafe Made Bagus in the last cluster near the Four Seasons at the southern end of the beach.
Many visit here just on a day trip from other beaches but there is plenty of accommodation available around Jimbaran should you want to stay in the area, while if you’re looking for a more fancypants sunset cocktail, Rock Bar at the Ayana, is well worth considering.
One great new restaurant that we are particular fans of is Cuca, serving dishes made from genuinely local produce. The cocktails in particular are superb.
One final word, Jimbaran isn’t one of Bali’s shadiest beaches, particular as you wait for sunset, so pack sunscreen — lots of it.
By Stuart McDonald.
Last updated on 21st March, 2017.
The Travelfish newsletter is sent out every Monday and is jammed full of free advice for travel in Southeast Asia. You can see past issues here.