You have just landed in Bali and have decided to stop a few days in Denpasar to recover from the long and exhausting travel. You just want to distract, relax and have fun. There are good news for you because the Kuta area is where the equipped beaches and the island’s nightlife are concentrated. For many groups of young surfers the holiday begins and ends here, because there is everything they need: beaches, wind and waves, clubs, music. The most demanding ones, however, soon will move to Ubud and will appreciate more the center of the island, less chaotic and with more relaxed rhythms. But now you are wondering how to fill these few days of relaxation and what to see in the southern part of the island. Below we show you an itinerary to do in a day using a private vehicle, approaching one of the many drivers you will meet on the streets of Kuta or if you prefer you can rely on taxis, easily available in this area.
Reachable by sea, you will be led by your driver to a pier where there is a nautical excursion center, so in addition to visiting the shelter of the turtles you could organize many other activities that have the theme of water, such as the parasailing or the diving. Be careful because the employees will try to sell you at the weight of gold the visit to the shelter of the turtles: the initial price they proposed us was 80 dollars each! We came out for just over 10 euros, including the glass bottom boat that we strongly suggest you to avoid (activities of a mediocrity unique, hasty and badly done). A few minutes by boat and you will moor on a beach, you do not have to pay the entrance because it is already included in the transfer ticket. You will be welcomed by someone who will guide you inside the shelter. The first stop is at the tanks where there are turtles divided by size, from giants to baby, with the possibility of taking pictures with the specimens. Then it’s time for reptiles, for taking picture with the python and the iguana and finally you reach the cages with different species of birds and mammals, including the civet, the little animal becomed famous due to coffee, the only one you can not touch, given its aggressiveness. All this is divided into a few tens of square meters; the center is not very large, so the visit will not take long. At the end of the tour, as a contribution for the sustenance of the shelter, you will be asked to buy the souvenir photo with the giant turtles that was taken at the beginning of the tour, but it is not mandatory. Apart from being able to approach and caress many different species, the center has not impressed us, gave us the idea of a place where animals are exploited, a shelter born for helping the turtles but in addition you find a multitude of other animals that they were only put there to take pictures with tourists.
Here you will find the Bali-chic life, namely luxury hotels, golf courses and elegant restaurants. It is the best place for those who want to stay in the southern part of Bali and relax away from the chaos of Kuta and the capital of Denpasar. The name, which in Indonesian literally means “two lands“, indicates the promontory that gives life to two large bays; the beaches you will find here are among the most beautiful on the island, characterized by white and fine sand, ideal for those who love a flat shoreline. Walking on the promontory, do not miss the Waterblow, the spray of water that gushes from the rocks when the waves of the sea are channeled.
The dream of surfers, this beach gives great emotions to lovers of sports with the table! The waves are quite accentuated and the water immediately becomes deep, it is not really the most suitable place for those who want to have a relaxing swim or for families with children. To access the beach you need to leave the car in a large pay parking nearby, at a cost of 15,000 IDR, about 1 EUR, and an indecorous bus shuttle, completely broken, will transfer you from parking to the beach every 10 minutes. The beach is equipped with restaurants, bars and shops for water sports equipment rentals. Allow yourself an hour of relaxation and a pleasant lunch break here.
Padang Padang Beach
A quieter beach, protected from the winds, here you can swim in total tranquility and find shelter from the sun among the large rocks that come out of the sand. This beach will be particularly appreciated by those who love taking artistic photos. Tourists must pay an entry fee of 10,000 IDR (less than 1 EUR).
Pura Luhur Uluwatu
It is one of the 6 main Balinese Hindu temples and owes its fame to its spectacular position. It stands on the top of a cliff overlooking the sea, where the waves crash without interruption, in fact its name derives from the Balinese “ulu”, which means top, and “watu”, which means rock. The temple is dedicated to the cult of Shiva Rudra, the Hindu deity responsible for everything related to life in the universe, and it is thought to protect Bali from the evil spirits coming from the sea. The best and most spectacular time to visit this temple is certainly at sunset, so make sure you do not miss the appointment! Many people will have had the same idea, so reach the temple in advance for parking the car. Wear sarong (the mandatory garment in temples) distributed at the entrance and take the path overhanging the sea, until you reach the lookout in the west direction, the best place to enjoy the colors of the sunset. Be very careful because the temple is inhabited by a thick colony of spiteful monkeys, ready to steal your sunglasses (from which they seem to be particularly attracted) or other small objects: hide everything you have of value in well-closed bags. In the evening the temple hosts traditional outdoor Kecak dance performances, with the sunset in the background, the appointment is every day from 6.00 pm to 7.00 pm. The entrance ticket to the temple costs 30,000 IDR (less than 2 EUR), the one for the show costs 100,000 IDR (about 6 EUR). Consider an hour for the visit of the temple, not so much for the sanctuaries that are modest and not accessible to tourists, as for the walk along the cliff, with numerous points to stop and admire the sea, plus an hour for the show, if you want to assist (otherwise go away from the temple while everyone is focused to watch the show can be a good strategy to avoid bottling in congested traffic of the high season).
Dinner at Jimbaran
The day ends in Jimbaran, a town famous for its fish restaurants on the beach, where you can eat candlelit with your feet in the sand. Live fish can be chosen directly by you from the tanks, it will be weighed and the price will therefore depend on what and how much you will eat. On average, a dinner for 2 people will cost you over 1,000,000 IDR (about 60 EUR). Our personal opinion is that although the fish is very fresh, it is not of excellent quality; moreover it is sprinkled with a sauce composed of oil, herbs and aromas, in which the garlic prevails, that tends to cover every other flavor, even the crab has been previously opened and completely flooded with this aromatised oil, to the detriment of the taste of simplicity.
The tour proposed by us ranges through different types of activities with the feature that can all be done in one day. For the sake of completeness we have also included the steps that we would not have done, but in this way we hope to help you with our considerations, so that you can be more aware of what to expect. If you have more days to spend in this part of the island, focus more on the temples (worth a visit the Tanah Lot Temple, on the coast, about 20 km north of Kuta) and the sea, because you could spend a half day or even the whole day in each beach we showed you. In addition to the aforementioned, the south of Bali is a succession of hidden beaches and gorges, have fun discovering the most remote and less traveled beaches by tourists, or go to the most famous Kuta Beach and Pandawa Beach and have fun!
See you soon