Bali remains one of the last bastions of quality holiday time within Asia.
Offering a magical blend of culture, fun, nature, restaurant options, weather, and reasonably good beaches, just don’t make my mistake and be careful which islands you choose if you want a beach and swimming holiday.
Nusa Lembongan: Bizarrely gnarly Bali
The issue with Bali is that many of the destination islands such as Nusa Lembongan are only suitable exclusively for scuba divers since the beaches are largely sharp coral rocks waiting to rip your feet apart. The idea of having to wear rubber shoes in order to go for a gentle swim in the ocean doesn’t make sense. Further the idea of swimming in an ocean where you are forever nervous about what you’re going to step on or how you’re going to cut your feet apart makes for an unpleasant and sometimes awkward medical holiday.
Had we known prior, we would have saved money by not having a transfer to the island of Nusa Lembongan that was so dangerous for swimmers. The better beaches in Bali are actually either side of Denpasar such as Seminyak or Kuta and on the east coast near Sanur.
But no, stupid me rented 2 beachfront villas adjacent to each other, where from description, advice and personal recommendations sounded and looked idyllic. The villa’s were. The location was. The beach was not.
As the primary reason for visiting and selecting this 5-star accommodation in this location was white sand beach, the awfully rocky, sharp coral impacted beachfront, nestled between hundreds of local fishing boats, each with their 2 mooring ropes crossed and tied off on the beach made the ocean, and laying on the beach, impossible. Indeed, it was so bad, the villa’s had a huge basket of previous guests donated rubber shoes to wear on the beach to avoid being sliced up.
We spent the majority of our time eating in neighboring Linda’s Restaurant and the fine dining Indiana Restaurant and swimming in their pools (most good beachfront restaurants have pools), and only used the Villa Pasir for sleeping in.
Sanur & Seminyak: Bali
I would say, without a shadow of a doubt, the best value for money in the most gorgeous gay friendly place we have traveled to in 20 years was at a private villa in Sanur that had 4 bedrooms, private swimming pool, an outdoor living and dining room, high security privacy fence, luxury indoor and outdoor bathrooms, fully equipped kitchen, and all of this was for the equivalent of under $25 a night.
I regret that on our first trip, I rented the Bali Emerald Villa in Sanur as only a layover spot before we transferred to private beach villas on the island of Nusa Lembongan. We all would have been much much much much happier and had a much better time staying in Sanur at this villa.
In Seminyak, I enjoyed sitting on the terrace with fresh juices at the Junction House, where going to the WC is like entering a speakeasy via a hidden bookcase door. We also had a magnificent dinner in a 5-star resort at Potato Head Beach Club in Seminyak and dreamed of what could have been.