If you’re looking for one of the world’s greatest beaches, you can’t go wrong in Indonesia. It’s a place made up of 17,508 islands, and there are beautiful expanses of beach with your choice of either black or white sands that stretch across the shores. Where should you start?
The two most popular islands are Bali and Jakarta, and then we’ll look at a couple other Indonesian beaches…
Beaches in Bali
1. Sanur presents as a well-developed expanse of white sandy beachfront developed over many decades for the pleasure of tourists. Because of its long-standing popularity with visitors, the residents know what visitors want and as a result it offers a comfortable familiarity year after year. Alongside the natural beauty of azure skies over turquoise waters, you’ll find colorful flora and amazing fauna, all of limned by luscious greens and manicured lawns. You have every opportunity to commune with nature and yet the conveniences of civilization are immediately at hand.
2. Dreamland. A long-time favorite located on the Bukit peninsula on Bali, the little teardrop that hangs on the southernmost tip of Bali, Dreamland has suffered a bit in recent times since the construction of the nearby New Kuta golf and resort areas. The beach itself is a satisfying expanse of white sand, but most of the action is up in the New Kuta shops and bustling markets. Even though the conveniences are gone, the surfing remains excellent, as it always has been.
3. Padang-Padang. Still on the north side of the Bukit but closer to the eastern edge, this white sandy beach is known for terrific offshore surf break. If you watched Julia Roberts learn how to Eat Pray Love in the 2010 movie, you’ll know the main character spent most of her time here, and in nearby inland Ubud.
Photo by Spamangr on Flickr
4. Legian. The Legian beachfront is located not far from Denpasar, where the airport is, on the southwest of Bali but above the Bukit. A little more cosmopolitan than many other areas, there is a wide variety of shopping and recreational opportunities for the visitor.
Beaches in Java
5. Pelabuhan Ratu. This is a place for those who want to get away from it all—and ride the surf—on the southern coast of Java. Take a bus from Jakarta to Bogor, where you can stop for a while at the amazing botanical woods, and then from Bogor it’s another short bus ride to Pelabuhan Ratu. Besides surfing and fishing in this non-touristy place, you can arrange for a hike in the mountains.
Photo by Luciana Adriyanto on Flickr
6. Pangandaran is the name of a town and a beach, another place perched on the southern coast of Java. Its beach is rated as first-class by tourists and offers wonderful fishing and surfing opportunities. Visitors in July are fascinated by the kite festival. There is also a nature preserve located on a nearby peninsula.
7. Sukamade Beach also sits on the southern coast but on the eastern side of Java, officially part of the Meru Betiri National Park. Its main fascination for tourists is the appearance on a nightly basis of turtles—green sea turtles, leatherback turtles, hawksbills, and olive ridleys. Banyuwangi, about an hour away, offers accommodations; on your way to Sukamade Beach, you can see some beautiful volcanic rock formation. People visit Sukamade Beach more for the night tours to watch the turtles or the early morning drives inland to see animals grazing on the savannah.
8. Bidadari Island. You’ll find tropical beachfront sands aplenty along Bidadari’s coast, but what is perhaps most interesting is that Bidadari is one of Indonesia’s Thousand Islands, called Kepulauan Seribu. There are really only 76 of these tiny islands—many have sunk over the years—and only some are accessible to visitors. Of the others, some are privately owned and some are utilized for military purposes. Bidadari is one of the many open to visitors, just 45 km north of Jakarta, offering snorkeling, diving, and fishing adventures for those who love the water.
9. Irian Jaya. Also known as West Papua, the place from which General MacArthur launched his attach on the Japanese in the Philippines, this province has some of the most beautiful beachfront in the world. Yet it also contains the thickest jungles and magnificent snow-capped mountain peaks. With many tourist accommodations located in the small city of Sorong, it’s off the beaten track with few visitors, yet besides its magnificent beaches it also offers access to the Raja Ampat islands, home of the world’s most bio-diverse coral islands.
10. Masceti Beach is actually on Bali, but it’s listed separately because it has become a world apart. Once a popular attraction featuring rich black sands, it has fallen off the beaten track because of the residents’ devotion to ceremonial spiritualism. Visitors are not welcome to invade the quiet religious aspects of the community, but there are accommodations in the nearby town of Medahan. The locals collect stones for artistic masonry, and this is truly a place to get away from it all.