Beaches on Bali’s Bukit Peninsula including Uluwatu stand out from the usual tropical beaches which we became accustomed to while on our trip through southeast Asia.
The reason is that instead of being lined with coconut trees and have calm waters, the beaches in South Bali are predominantly surrounded by cliffs and are ideal for surfing.
Therefore, due to very shallow rock parts and big waves most beaches on the southern Bali peninsula aren’t good for swimming.
But undeterred by these conditions and not being a fan of sunbathing, we went out on a hunt to find the best beaches in Uluwatu and the Bukit which are perfect for a dip and a lazy afternoon.
Here we have listed Uluwatu and Bukit* beaches which are the best for swimming.
*Bukit Peninsula is the whole area in the most southern tip of Bali. Uluwatu is a place on Bukit Peninsula.
Beside relaxing by the beach, there are other things to do in Uluwatu and the Bukit Peninsula.
Check this guide for things to do in south Bali other than surfing.
Timbis beach is our number one beach and the best beach in southern Bali for swimming.
A barrier reef is quite some distance from the shoreline which creates ideal swimming conditions.
This white sand beach has cool crystal clear water and is surrounded by high cliffs which offer shade in the mornings and are a popular spot for paragliding. Book a paragliding session at Timbis Beach with pilot here.
Surprisingly this beautiful beach is still undisturbed and there is a chance of being here with only a few others.
There are no stalls and therefore you may opt to either bring water with you or buy from Pandawa beach which is a 10/15 minutes walk away.
We visited this beach at around noon and on that day and time, the water depth was just perfect for a swim.
The sea bed is sandy and therefore save for swimming but if coming here with kids keep a watchful eye as underwater currents are quite strong.
Timbis beach can only be accessed through either Pandawa or Gunung Payung beach.
The easier access is from Pandawa beach where you can drive to the beach unlike Gunung Payung where you have to walk down a hill to get to the beach.
Since access is only possible through nearby beaches, Timbis should only be visited during low tide therefore it is important to check the tide schedule before your visit.
Getting out of Timbis during high tide can be dangerous due to huge rocks on either side of this beach.
Planning on visiting the best beaches in southern Bali but need to organise transport?
Join this day tour that includes a visit to 3 beaches in the south, a visit to Uluwatu temple where you watch the famous Kecak dance plus you’ll end the day with a sea food dinner.
Check the affordable price of this day tour to southern Bali here.
Melasti beach is surrounded by towering cliffs yet is easily accessible through a road cut through the cliffs.
Parts of the beach are perfect for swimming where the ocean and deep waters are cut off by a long reef which creates a natural pool along the shoreline.
The picturesque pool is fed by cool and clear ocean water and on our late afternoon visit the sea depth was just right for a refreshing dip.
A couple of small bars are on this sandy beach and within a 5 minute walk are local eateries.
Although not facing directly the sunset, Melasti still offers stunning views of the sun setting behind the cliffs. And due to its scenic landscape Melasti beach is popular for pre-wedding photo shoots.
It is also possible to rent a canoe here.
Thomas beach is located in Pecatu which is a popular surfer’s area in Uluwatu. Even though this beach is close to a prime location it is still very much undisturbed.
A bumpy ride down a non asphalted road and a flight of steep steps lead to the bay.
On the day of our visit, the waters were a beautiful turquoise and were calm enough for swimming but not very clear.
Some parts of the sandy shore and the sea bed have rock plates so care must be exercised.
A few warungs are found on the beach who also rent out deck chairs and umbrellas.
Trees line the beach but unfortunately it seems that the shop owners cut the leaves off and therefore not leaving much shade.
Green Bowl Beach
Green Bowl is the smallest beach on this list, and for this reason it tends to be the most crowded . A flight of around 300 stairs leads to the small beach.
On our early afternoon visit, the sea was not the calmest but still good for a swim.
Green Bowl is surrounded by cliffs and afternoons are shady.
A cave inside the cliffs is used as a temple. Pushy vendors in the parking area demand a parking fee.
But what made this our least favourite beach are the vendors on the beach who come every 5 minutes to sell you things.
Nusa Dua Beach
Nusa Dua beach is also located on Bali Bukit peninsula and to the east of Uluwatu.
The beach has calm waters which is shallow but not the clearest. Nusa Dua offers some of the best holiday retreats on the peninsula and its shore are covered with sunbeds, beach bars and restaurants.
Nunggalan is another beach worth considering while in Uluwatu. This beach is last on this list because we didn’t really swim here.
To reach the beach you will need to trek down the cliffs which will take around 45 minutes.
Nunggalan is the least visited beach on this list.
We came here after doing 2 other activities therefore we were exhausted once we did the trek down. Unfortunately once we got down we ended up in the part of the beach which isn’t good for swimming.
Once we made our way back up we stopped at a small warung which overlooks the bay.
From here we noticed that if we had gone in the other direction, the sea seemed decent for swimming.
The good part of this bay for swimming is to the right once you’ve got down the cliff.
Entrance Fees for Beaches in Uluwatu & Bukit Peninsula
Pandawa, Gunung Payung and Melasti beach have an entrance fee.
The fee for Pandawa is 15k IDR, Gunung Payung 8k IDR and Melasti 6k IDR ($0.45 to $1).
Make sure to check this guide for Bali Best Traveling Tips before heading there.
And if you want to know whether Bali is expensive or cheap, read the guide linked here.
Beach Tide in Uluwatu and Bukit Peninsula
Beaches are affected by tides and swimming may not be an option in some cases.
Mostly due to waves crossing the barrier reef during high tide or shallow water in low tide.
We have visited the beaches listed here early to late afternoon and at that time they were good for swimming.
But since tide patterns vary on a daily basis tide schedules should always be checked and as always be cautious.
Other Bali beaches best for swimming are in Pemuteran (located in north west Bali) and Amed (located in east Bali).
Map of South Bali Beaches Best for Swimming
Click on the map for live directions to Timbis beach.
After Uluwatu we traveled to Ubud in central Bali.
This post is a perfect guide to Ubud and includes so many things to do in and around this town.
Where to Stay in Uluwatu
Villas in Bali and Uluwatu are nothing short of amazing and some are also affordable. Here are our personal villa recommendations in Uluwatu.
Teges Asri-Bingin Beach Double 3 by Bukit Vista
Check rest of accommodations in Bali and filter by ‘neighbourhood’ for options in Uluwatu.
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