If you’re heading to Indonesia and looking for an authentic, laid back atmosphere surrounded by like-minded people, head straight to Balian Beach, Bali.
My visit here was a bit of a spur of the moment decision, with not much planning involved. But Balian Beach is now of those places I look back on with such fond memories and happy vibes.
Here’s my guide to exploring Balian Beach in Bali, what you need to know and more!
Psst… Planning your trip to Bali? Check out my other posts!
- 9 Best Beaches in Uluwatu, Bali
- The Perfect 3 Day Ubud Itinerary
- The Best Flores, Indonesia, Itinerary: A Guide To Backpacking Flores
Why you should visit Balian Beach, Bali
Bali is on every traveler’s bucket list. And rightly so. The island is surrounded by stunning beaches with great waves.
Unfortunately (or rather, fortunately), Balian Beach is overshadowed by the more popular destinations on the Island.
It doesn’t have the beach clubs of Seminyak, it doesn’t have the shopping as Kuta, and it’s not a diving mecca like the Gili Islands.
But, this small, charming village has a few things that those other areas don’t.
It’s not crowded, there’s no traffic, and there’s no loud music around every corner.
If you’ve been to Bali, you’ll understand the desperation of those seasoned travelers who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the tourist hotspots south of the island.
And I’m one of those people who enjoys a quiet, mellow vibe. If you are too, I suggest you pop over to Balian Beach for at least 2 days before heading back to the chaos of it all!
Munduk is another destination in Bali that’s off the tourist track. It’s inland and toward the north of the island. Check it out here!
Where is Balian Beach and how to get there?
Balian Beach is a hidden gem in southwest Tabanan, Bali. It’s about 60km west of Kuta and Ubud.
The 1.5-hour drive can take over 2.5 hours thanks to the notorious traffic on the island.
You can either get a taxi or ride a scooter to Balian Beach. I did the latter, but be careful as the road is extremely busy, and is dominated by trucks going back and forth between Java and Bali.
Speaking of Java why not include Red Island in your road trip through Bali. That’s what I did, and it was incredible!
Why I love Balian beach and the best things to do
1) The beach isn’t crowded
Arriving at Balian I was surprised to find only a handful of people on the beach.
There were a few kids building sandcastles, a couple having a photoshoot and me, in the water with one or two other surfers.
I didn’t know that this kind of remoteness existed on any beach in Bali!
2) Balian Beach Surf
Balian Beach, like most of Bali’s coastline, has great waves for all levels of surfers.
There are both left and right breaks and you can go for a lesson or rent a board from one of the few surf camps nearby.
3) Find your inner zen
What would Bali be without yoga?
This is the perfect place to come relax and find your inner zen! The best place to do yoga is with Nicky at Nicky Yoga Shala.
4) You won’t get haggled by vendors
I love Bali, but there are lots of places that I don’t enjoy on the island. Like Kuta. and Seminyak. There are vendors left, right and center, all haggling you to buy memorabilia, or whatever it is they’re selling.
Whilst I’m all for supporting the locals, which I do, I hate being nagged. And after the 10th person comes to sell something to me after I’ve said “no” a thousand times, I do get slightly irritated!
But this didn’t happen in Balian Beach.
We lay on the beach for hours without being disturbed, and when we wanted to inquire about renting boards or buying local crafts, the vendors were so friendly which made me want to purchase something even more!
5) Go for a long walk
After crossing the river mouth, you can take a long walk along the black sand beach.
There are no restaurants or beach bars lining the shore and it’s a great chance to reflect on what an incredible place Indonesia is.
6) The sunset at Balian Beach
The sunsets here are some of the best I’ve seen. And the reason being that there are not hundreds of people all vying for a photo.
You can sit on the beach, with unspoiled views of the horizon ahead whilst sipping on an ice-cold Bintang!
Balian or Medewi Beach?
Balian Beach is situated near the village of Medewi which attracts a similar crowd looking for seclusion and isolation (and great waves).
Both are beautiful beaches lined with black sandy shores. But from what I’ve heard, Balian has a better beach to relax on as Medewi Beach is rockier.
However, Medewi is the more popular destination of the two thanks to its long left break that attracts scores of surfers. There is also more information online about Medewi and to be honest, this is one of the reasons I chose Balian Beach instead of Medewi.
I liked that I didn’t have any expectations and that it was either going to be a hit or a miss. And luckily it was a hit!
If both Balian and Medewi Beach are too chilled for your liking, and you’re looking for a beach with a livelier crowd, check out Echo Beach in Canggu. It has a vibrant atmosphere, great surf and you’re guaranteed to meet lots of other travelers at one of the many beach bars in the area.
Balian Beach Restaurants
Balian doesn’t have the wide variety of food options as other parts of the island but you’re still able to feast on both Western and Indonesian food.
- Deki’s Warung: On the hill, overlooking the beach is Deki’s Warung. The view is hard to beat and the food is also delicious.
- Balian Beach Cafe: This is where we ate most of our meals. It’s right on the beach, cheap and super relaxed. Definitely pop over her for an afternoon beer.
- Tekor Bali: This spot is slightly more expensive than the two restaurants above, and it’s a better option for dinner, but the food is incredible.
- Night Market: On the main road, you’ll find a daily night market serving fresh local street food. If you’re traveling on a budget, I suggest you eat here every night as it’s so cheap!
Balian Beach Accommodation
I stayed at Surya Homestay in Balian Beach and I cannot speak more highly of this place. It’s close to the beach and the hosts are incredibly friendly. For only $18 per night for a double room, you’ll also receive an amazing breakfast and it also includes Wi-Fi.
Here are a few other options that may better suit your budget:
- Budget: Pondok Balian is another great place to stay in Balian Beach if you’re traveling on a budget. It’s slightly further away from the beach but the jungle setting is incredible, and they even have a pool.
- Mid-Range: Istana Balian is perfectly located and the rooms come with spectacular views. The restaurant serves delicious food and overall it provides great value for money.
- Luxury: Balian Prana Lodge is nestled in the countryside with unspoiled ocean views. If you’re looking to relax and unwind, this is the perfect place for you!
Balian Beach – The final destination of my Bali road trip
I spent 2 months in Indonesia. My first stop was Sumba Island (yes, you probably have never heard of it (and not many people have) so check out this post to find out more), then Flores and I made my way overland back to Bali.
If you have time, I highly recommend you do the same. Bali has so much more to offer beyond the beach clubs of the south.
Practical Information About Balian Beach
- What to expect: A black sand beach with a few surfers and a relaxed atmosphere. Not much of a party scene or activities for children, but it’s a great place to relax.
- Distance from Bali Airport: 2.5-3.5 hours drive.
- Time needed: 2 Days.
- What to bring: a pack of playing cards and lots of sunscreen.
Looking for more Indonesia travel information? Check out my other posts!
- Komodo Diving Liveaboard: A Guide For Diving Komodo
- Exploring 17 Islands Marine Park in Riung, Flores
- A Complete Guide To Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking
- 10 Of the Best Things To Do in Gili Trawangan
- Epic Travel Guide On How To Explore Sumba Island in Indonesia