Tag Archives: Canggu

In Search of Beaches

5 Oct
Black Sand Beach East of Sanur

Black Sand Beach East of Sanur

Bali has a reputation as a beachgoers’ paradise. This is something less than accurate.  Many of the beaches are rocky, or black volcanic sand, which is a job getting rid of when you get home.

The white sand beaches that most love are in fact rare here and the best of these, Kuta beach, first made popular by young backpackers back in the 70s, has long been overrun by local tourists. It is now fronted by a growing skyline of mid-rises in the current “minimalist” style, reminiscent of the malls and entertainment complexes sprouting up in the capital, Jakarta, which is a primary source of visitors to this “beach town” that hasn’t been such in decades.

 

While from a distance Kuta beach still presents a magnificent stretch of sand, annoying vendors, litter, and water quality problems( read: sewage flows) mean that is best left to the local tourists who come largely not to swim or sun but to take have their pictures taken and gawk at the exposed flesh of foreign women.

 

Petitinget

Far superior is Petitinget, a couple of kilometers the North. The larger area is called Canggu, ten years ago mostly rice fields, now spotted with villas vying for the diminishing “rice field view.” Here too, development is surging, with the tony and ultra cool( or ultra pretentious )W hotel dominates this stretch of beach, and other projects are building.

 

Still, the beach is white, and the water appears clean, with a magnificent vista of surf and sea back towards Kuta and the airport. A nice extra is cluster of funky restaurants close t shore just North of W. While W reflects the latest design craze ”minimalism,” producing glassy and metal affairs that, while sometimes elegant, have no organic design elements tying them to the island on which they stand.

 

These small, locally run places, on the other had, are built with traditional materials, and are the kind of beach hangout that brought people to Bali in the first place. Our favorite is La Cantina, which despite the name, doesn’t have Mexican food, but a good menu of local favorites and some western dishes. Light lunches are around Usd 2, fresh fish grills 5-7.  Petitnget is quite dog

Petitinget Sunset

friendly and you will see many out having a run, and one or two sleeping under the tables at La Cantina.

Dog Friendly

 

 

 

In the opposite direction on the Bukit Peninsula, that holds the high end Nusa Dua development, there area a number of beaches. These, once secret to the the surfing crowd, are under increasing pressure, and some such as Dreamland, have been disfigured by mega developments that completely overshadow the natural feature that purportedly anchors them. If you want to see megalomania and conspicuous display of ill gotten gains – the development is owned by the disgraced former President’s son, Tommy Suharto – go there.  Otherwise, give it a miss.

 

Padang Padang, also on Bukit was to me by a number of my students when I taught back I Java. Should have known: Indonesians very often have entirely different ideas than westerners when they are looking for outdoor attractions In fact h more indoor the outdoor, the better,  as far as they are concerned.   We went by on a recent Sunday excursion in search of a new bit of sea shore during the holiday, and the huge parking lot, tour buses, and highway lined with cars with Jakarta plates meant, keep going. Driving back northward, we assuaged our disappointment with an excellent Thai lunch.

 

Years ago we had careened around the area off road at times in a wobbly Suzuki Jimmy, and found a nice beach, with some peasant simple restaurants, Rastafarian beach boys, and cold beer. It wasn’t a great swimming beach as there was a low reef, mostly rocks with some coral stretching out a ways, and some seaweed farming going on, but it had a great vista.

 

Balangan- North end

Remembering this we set off to find it again, fairly certain that it was Balangan Beach. This part of the peninsula is far less developed, and a side road took us into open country, and finally a decent to the sea , azure in the late afternoon sunshine.  In the intervening seven or eight years the place had acquired a parking lot. And a very gaudy sign board. Here too development seemed in the offing, but the nearly empty lot wasn’t a bad sign.

 

A  short, but careful climb down a concrete stairway in ill repair  and we were in a lovely enclosed cove.  The simple warung had grown considerably, with a solid stretch of places, some on concrete footings. The sand was clan and soft, just moist enough to cool the feet.

 

Swimming is problematical because of the shelving reef, but surfers do find there way out from the southern point of the cove. At high tide, non surfers can cool off in the many open spaces within the reef, and explore them for inter-tidal life when the water recedes.

Tidepools

 

Balangan South End

A pleasant stroll and a sunset with a new moon rising, then a cold beer at a bamboo built café. There is simple accommodation, with a predominantly surfer clientele, Count on the wave riders to find a good beach, cheap flops and eats – and cold beer!

 

New Moon at Balangan

 

 

So, is there at least one perfect beach – white sad, good swimming, not to developed, on Bali?

Yes, but we won’t tell you where it is. Those in the know call it “Hidden Beach.”

 

A little bit a drive from the main road, first on pavement through a couple of villages and past rice fields with aviw of distant mountains, then down a rutted dirt track to a crescent of sand enclosed by two bluffs.

 

Hidden Beach Kids

Hidden Beach Kids

When we first find it many years ago there was only one intermittently open drinks stand on the beach. Now some simple, locally owned restaurants can fix you up with a beach lounge and umbrella, a fried rice or fish grill, soft drinks and beer. There are a number of these stretching along the shore, but we keep going to the same one, because even after a year or two away, they recognize us. It’s that kind of place. There is no accommodation, but the restaurants will clear some floor space for you.

 

A large, Korean financed development has been proposed fro this place, but the locals have so far managed to fight it off.

 

It's hard to find - and hard to leave - HIdden Beach!

Sound good? If you want it, you will find it.

 

Bali has a reputation as  a beachgoers’ paradise.   This is something less than accurate.  The white sand beaches that most love are in fact rare here and the best of these, Kuta beach, first made popular by young  backpackers back in the 70s, has long been  overrun  by local tourists.  It is now fronted by a growing skyline of mid-rises in the current “minimalist” style, reminiscent of the malls and entertainment complexes sprouting up in the capital, Jakarta, which is a primary source of visitors to this “beach town” that hasn’t been such in decades.

While from a distance Kuta beach still presents a magnificent stretch of sand, annoying vendors, litter, and water quality problems( read: sewage flows) mean that is best left to the local tourists who come largely not to swim or sun but to take  have their pictures taken and gawk at the exposed flesh of foreign women.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2063731,00.html

Far superior is Petitinget, a couple of kilometers the North. The larger area is called Canggu, ten years ago mostly rice fields,  now spotted with villas vying for the diminishing “rice field view.”  Here too, development is surging, with the tony and ultra cool( or ultra pretentious )W hotel dominates this stretch of beach, and other projects are building.

Still, the beach is white, and the water appears clean, with a magnificent vista of surf and sea back towards Kuta and the airport.  A nice extra is cluster of funky restaurants  close t shore just North of W.  While W reflects the latest design craze ”minimalism,” producing glassy and metal affairs that, while sometimes elegant, have no organic design elements tying them to the island on which they stand,

These small, locally run places, on the other had, are built with  traditional materials, and are the kind of beach hangout that brought people to Bali in the first place.  Our favorite is La Cantina, which despite the name, doesn’t have Mexican food, but a good menu of local favorites and some western dishes.  Light lunches are around Usd 2, fresh fish grills 5-7

In the opposite direction on the Bukit Peninsula, that holds the high end Nusa Dua development, there area a number of beaches.  These, once secret to the the surfing crowd, are under increasing pressure, and some such as   Dreamland, have been disfigured by mega developments that completely overshadow the natural  feature that purportedly anchors them.  If you want to see megalomania and conspicuous display of ill gotten gains – the development is owned by the disgraced former President’s son, Tommy Suharto – go there.  Otherwise, give it a miss,

Padang Padang, also on Bukit was to me by a number of my students when I taught back I Java.  Should have known:  Indonesians very often have entirely different ideas than westerners when they are looking for outdoor attractions  In fact h more indoor the outdoor, the better,, a s far as they are concerned.   We went by on a recent Sunday excursion  in search of a new bit of sea shore during the holiday, and the huge parking blot, tour buses, and highway lined with cars with Jakarta plates meant, keep going.  Driving back northward, we assuaged our disappointment with an excellent Thai lunch.

Years ago we had careened around the area off road at times in a wobbly Suzuki Jimmy, and found a nice beach, with some peasant simple restaurants, Rastafarian beach boys, and cold beer.  It wasn’t a great swimming beach as there was a low reef, mostly rocks with some coral stretching out  a ways, and some seaweed farming going on, but it had a great vista.

Remembering this we set off to fid it again, fairly certain that it was Blambangan Beach.  This part of he peninsula is far less developed, and a side road took us into open country, and finally a decent to the see , azure in the late afternoon sunshine.  In the intervening seven or eight years the place had acquired a parking lot. And a very gaudy sign board. Here too development seemed in the offing, but th nearly empty lot wasn’t at bad sign.

A short descent down a concrete stairway in ill repair at th opposite end of the  beach where we had climbed down before, and we were in a lovely enclosed cove.  The simple warung had grown considerably, with a solid stretch of places, some on concrete footings.  The sand was clan and soft, just moist enough to cool the feet.

Swimming is problematical because of the shelving reef, but surfers do find there way out from the southern point of the cove.  At high tide, non surfers can cool off in the many open spaces within the reef, and explore them for inter-tidal life when the water recedes.

A pleasant stroll and a sunset with a new moon rising, then a cold beer at a bamboo built café.  There is simple accommodation, with a predominantly surfer clientele,  Count on the wave riders to find a good beach, cheap flops and eats  – and cold beer!

So is there at least one perfect beach – white sad, good swimming, not to developed, on Bali?

Yes, but we won’t tell you where it is.  Those in the know call it “Hidden Beach.”

A little bit a drive from the main road, first on pavement through a couple of villages and past rice fields with aviw of distant mountains, then down a rutted dirt track to a crescent of sand enclosed by two bluffs.

Whe we first find it many years ago there was only one intermittently open drinks stand on the beach.  Now some simple, locally owned restaurants can fix you up with a beach lounge and umbrella, a fried rice or fish grill, soft drinks and beer.  There are a number of these stretching along the shore, but we keep going to the same one, because even after a year or two away, they recognize us.  It’s that kind of place.  There is no accommodation, but the restaurants will clear some floor space for you.

A large, Korean financed development has been proposed fro this place, but the locals have so far managed to fight it off.

Sound good?  If you want it, you will find it,

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