This post is part of the Slow Bali article series.
Looking back, I think that when I was in Bali, I was looking for the perfect beach, not necessarily the white-sands-and-palm-tree-lined kind, but simply one which not only made me go oooohhh and aaaaaah, but would also make me feel like I was in a magical, special place. Bingin, in the Bukit peninsula, didn’t do it for me. Backed by a line of depressing-looking, dark ,Bungalow-like constructions, with locals hanging around on steps waiting for travellers to eat at their stall or stay at their guesthouse, it just gave me a bad, lingering feeling which I couldn’t shake away, though the view of the beach from atop the cliffs hugging it was pretty special.
I went nowhere near Kuta beach, because despite the fact that this particular sand strip is considered one of the most beautiful in the South, I just couldn’t get past the image of streets clogged with traffic, a beach full of persistent and annoying sellers, and a hoard of drunk backpackers hanging around acting as if Kuta were Bali. Added to that, every time I mentioned Kuta to the locals they’d visibly cringe, which is not a good sign, not at all.
So I tried Sanur beach, and this is what I found..
So what do I think about Sanur and Sanur beach? I found the Sanur beach promenade to be incredibly pretty with its many pavilions and the colourful local boats anchored close to the shore. But while the beach was certainly pretty to look at and the water was inviting, it was difficult to appreciate it. Taking a ‘leisurely’ walk along the promenade meant that every minute you’d be greeted with ‘massssaaagggeeee???’ or ‘come see my shop’, and unless you put your ipod on (or have nerves of steel, which I still don’t) and imagine that what local sellers are saying is ‘welcome to our island. Have a nice day’, instead of ‘I want your money and maybe a bit of your arm’, you’ll find yourself, like me, often so frustrated by the whole thing that you’ll spend most of your time hanging around the pool of your hotel…
…and that’s exactly what every foreigner is Sanur seemed to be doing. Very few people were trying to swim. In fact, few seemed to care about the ocean right at their feet. While most of the time the sheer number of sellers fighting for your attention when you just want to look at the view is close to unbearable, Boyfriend and I did brave the walk of torture every afternoon to make our way to our favourite warung on the beach, where for an hour or so we could finally just enjoy the view.
So for all these reasons, Sanur was not the perfect beach, and the closest I got to finding once was here….
Seminyak Beach…a long, smooth strip with sand so fine it sank like a stepped-on cushion under the pressure of my feet. Constantly drenched with water from the pounding waves, the sand seemed to merge with the sea, and reflect the glorious blue sky on the day I visited. With thankfully few sellers to bother you, Seminyak beach is however somewhat full of itself, with toned, speedoed and bare chested expats jogging and strolling along it.
I found it sad how Seminyak beach is pretty much only a beach to look at. With no sun loungers for rent to speak of, nor a beach side restaurant (as far as I know), the only place to enjoy the beach and grab a bite is in one of the ultra expensive resorts lining the coast. In such a gorgeous place, most people seemed to be hidden behind the walls of their resorts. But that is exactly what left me with a near-empty, squeaky clean beach to fall in love with.
Wow, there’s so much blue in these pictures it’s making my mind go all fuzzy!
Have you found your perfect beach yet?
-Text and Photography by Denise Pulis @ www.theartofslowtravel.com