Getting wet or wild in Bali's water wonderlands has never been so much fun. From checking out the magical marine life or surfing the breaks, here's where to get the most out of the islands aquatic regions
With its turquoise waters and different pockets of paradise playgrounds, Bali is a mecca for every kind of watersport under the sun [or ocean]. Those with a need for speed can enjoy jet skiing, banana boating, wake boarding, the jet pack, and more. Or those who prefer gliding through the water looking for your very own Nemo, can grab a snorkel and hit some of the best dive spots in the world. Whether you’re looking for fun or action in or out of the water, here is something for you!
BEST FOR: The Lot. Snorkelling, diving, fishing, surfing, SUP, swimming, family fun & all watersports.
Nusa Lembongan is a small island off the east coast of Bali, and [though developed] is reminiscent of Bali 15 years ago. It’s home to stunning crystal clear waters and boasts some of the most diverse reefs on the planet, making it one of the best places to dive and snorkel in Bali. You can even swim with manta rays here (don’t worry, they are the less fearful cousin of the stringray)! If being under the water isn’t for you, then rent a kayak or paddleboard and glide on top of the water taking in the breath-taking scenery around you. Boat trips are also a great way to explore the ocean – the Bali Hai Cruises offer day trips on Catamarans and high speed Rafts around the island. There’s even water parks to visit with slides straight into the water or the kiddies, and you could say this is Bali’s Banana Boat heaven. Don’t be afraid to do a day trip if you’re short on time.
NORTH WEST BALI: BALIAN & MEDEWI
BEST FOR: Surfing, remote tropical beauty & escaping the crowds.
Balian and Medewi are tiny Balinese villages in the north of the island. The volcanic black sand beaches of Balian and Medewi become home to many travellers who want to ride waves, and who want to experience Bali pre the 70’s (i.e. before all the tourists realised how wonderful Bali is!) If you’re looking for a laid back surfing vibe, this is the place. Eat, sleep, surf, repeat. Medewi is known for its very long left point break, peeling gently for hundreds of metres, and Balian produces some amazingly consistent waves all year round as it breaks at the river mouth.
THE BUKIT: ULUWATU, BINGIN, PADANG PADANG
BEST FOR: Surfing & swimming, at some of the most beautiful locations Bali has to offer.
If you’re a surfer, you already know about Ulu’s and its surrounding sessions. The Bukit has more stunning, white-sanded beaches than any other area on the main Bali island, such as Padang Padang, Bingin, Balangan, Uluwatu and New Kuta beach (formerly known as Dreamland Beach), . These beaches sport some of the best breaks in Bali and attract pro surfers from around the world, so if surfing is is your thing then check out the waves at any of these beautiful spots. But know your level as the waves are big, heavy, crowded and happy to hand out reef tattoos on tap.
BEST FOR: Getting wet [or staying dry] whilst choosing every water activity under the sun.
Nusa Dua, in southern Bali, is full of big and beautiful hotels [we love The Mulia, Sofitel, the St. Regis Bali and Laguna], and with that comes the resort-benefits… cue the long list of watersports to choose from! For the adrenaline junkies there is jet skiing, banana and donut boat rides, water-skiing, wake boarding, fish flying and parasailing. For those wanting to explore and discover Bali you can take a boat trip to Turtle Island, rent some snorkelling gear and check out the beautiful coral, and even take your intro to diving. If you don’t fancy getting wet take a trip on a glass bottom boat and discover the beautiful marine life that way. Whatever floats your boat (don’t pardon the pun), Bali Apollo has it covered. Or just up the road is Pandawa beach – a rising attraction in Bali. With its white sand and turquoise water it is also home to a number of watersports, including Trolling Fishing and Dolphin Tours.
EAST BALI & KERAMAS
BEST FOR: Diving and night surfing.
East Bali is also home to some incredible diving sites, from Padang Bai (which is a port), all the way up to Kubu Point with its reefs, sharks, turtles, and wrecks. Like Balian, East Bali is quiet, remote and less crowded than South Bali so it’s a haven away from the masses. For water sport enthusiasts looking for something more adventurous, we recommend heading to Telaga Waja River where you can get your adrenaline pumping by white water rafting on the rapids!
Keramas, just north of Sanur, is also home to great surf breaks, black sand beaches and something a little different – night surfing! Komune Bali [one of our fave Bali addresses] offers a world first permanent night surfing installation where you can book a night surf yourself (if you are brave enough), or sit back and watch the local Boardrider clubs put on a show you will never forget whilst you sip on a Bintang or three.
THE GILI ISLANDS
BEST FOR: Kayaking, SUP, Parasailing, snorkelling, or flying underwater like a dolphin with Subwing!
Made up of three islands, the Gili’s is a hub for water based activities. You can find almost anything here, especially on Gili Trawangan, including surfing, stand up paddle boarding , kayaking, water skiing, kite surfing, parasailing, banana boat rides and wake boarding. And for those of us dream of coming back in an afterlife as a mermaid, you must try the Subwing! Get pulled around the ocean and experience the beautiful reefs in a slightly different way to everybody else!
BEST FOR: Family beach fun, learning to surf.
The gorgeous crescent shaped bay makes Jimbaran Beach perfect for families so whittle away the hours swimming, surfing and building countless sandcastles with the little ones. And for any Dads (or Mums) wanting a break from the kids, we have just the thing for you! Take a bit of ‘me’ time and shrug off the tantrums from the day – try out the Jet Pack and new Jet Bike in Jimbaran and jump like Spiderman and reach heights of up to 30 feet with speeds of 30mph! It’s not just the kids that dream of becoming a superhero for the day!
KUTA, LEGIAN & SEMINYAK
BEST FOR: Waterpark Wonderland, surfing Kuta Reef, learning to surf and beach lazing.
Kuta Beach is renowned for being one of the best places in Bali to learn how to surf, making it a haven for surf schools. Kuta Reef is always pumping to some degree. And if you’ve watched Blue Crush, we’d be shocked if it didn’t want to make you take up surfing immediately (and bag yourself hot boyfriend at the same time). So if you’re a beginner wanting to try out surfing, Kuta is the place to do it. Voted the best place to learn to surf in Bali for 3 years running, Pro Surf School is a goodie [located at Jl. Pantai Kuta] or Surf School Bali guys make it so easy for you!
Asides from the main beach area, Kuta is also known for its waterparks. Get wet and wild at Waterbom, voted Asia’s number one water theme park. Also on the menu is the new Green Park which, aside from water rides and pools, has paintballing, a bungee trampoline and the flying fox!
After spending most of her twenties living and breathing the London life as a writer and marketeer, Amy left the hustle and bustle of the city in search of palm trees, sandy toes and salty hair. Now residing in Bali, Amy spends her time exploring the magical island and writing about everything it has to offer.