Browsed by
Tag: beaches

Bali’s Best Beaches: Black Sand and Emerald Water

Bali’s Best Beaches: Black Sand and Emerald Water

It was our last day in Bali, and we still had a few things to check off the bucket list. The volcanoes and rice terraces were spectacular, no doubt. But we still hadn’t found Bali’s best beaches.

Truth be told, we hadn’t found any great beaches. The famous backpacker haven of Kuta Beach was quite the disappointment. And while the volcanic backdrop of Amed was stunning, the actual beach was nothing but rocks and stones.

amed beach bali

There was no way we could leave this island paradise without finding at least one amazing beach.

So, over a delicious breakfast of buckwheat crepes at Le Moulin in Ubud, we scoured Google one final time. We knew there was a black sand beach somewhere – a beach that was actually made of sand.

Finally, in an old TripAdvisor forum, I saw a recommendation for a place called Keramas Beach. Google maps said it was 32 minutes away. That was good enough for us!

We checked out of the charming Kamandhandi Hostel and headed south out of Ubud. Approximately half an hour later, we hit the southeast coast (north of Denpasar) and made a comical U-turn to find this “hidden beach.”

This, my friends, is why you should NOT attempt to drive in Bali!

We turned off the main road and onto a completely deserted, bumpy dirt road. We were surrounded on both sides by rice fields, one of which held the remains of an abandoned cargo plane.

keremas beach bali

keramas beach bali

Sure enough, the road dumped us out right on the coast. And, as promised in the forum, we were the only souls in sight on the stunning black sand of Keramas Beach.

keramas beach bali

keramas beach bali

keramas beach

black sand beach

I can’t say how cool it was to have the entire beach to ourselves – especially a rare black sand beach! If you want to get away from the crowds, this is definitely the beach to visit.

The afternoon was slipping away, and we still had a few more stops on our list. Reluctantly we bid goodbye to Keramas Beach and continued south, past Denpasar and Nusa Dua to the very bottom of Bali.

Our earlier internet search had yielded another hidden gem: Green Bowl Beach. Tucked away at the bottom of South Kuta, this beach is not marked and only accessible via a steep 300-step stone staircase.

green bowl beach bali

Was it worth the effort of driving all the way to the bottom of Bali to a basically unknown beach? HECK. YEAH.

green bowl beach bali

green bowl beach bali


There were a few stragglers lounging around in the late afternoon sun, but once again we almost had the place to ourselves. The water was warm and clear as glass, providing a perfect view of the colorful coral rocks.

bali beach

My only regret is that we didn’t find this gorgeous spot until about 4 pm! Bali travel tip #27: Head to Green Bowl Beach EARLY and plan to spend the day there, because you’ll never want to leave.

But alas, we did have to leave, because we still had one more stop to make. We climbed the 300 steps and got back in our trusty Honda Brio, heading west to Uluwatu. Uluwatu is ranked the #4 surf destination on earth, and it’s easy to understand when you see the ENORMOUS swells rolling in from the open ocean.

Uluwatu is ranked the #4 surf destination on earth, and it’s easy to understand when you see the ENORMOUS swells rolling in from the open ocean. We didn’t go to Uluwatu to surf, though. We went to visit the famous 11th-century Hindu temple, Pura Luhur Uluwatu.

Our goal was to watch the sunset, as this spot supposedly has the best sunsets in Bali. However, due to a sudden rainstorm and one of the worst traffic jams I’ve ever seen, it didn’t exactly work out that way. I jumped out and walked a good distance to the temple while Jeremy tried (and failed) to find a parking space in the chaos.

I got drenched and a monkey nearly stole my camera (literally) but I did manage to snag a few shots of the Uluwatu sunset.

uluwatu bali

uluwatu temple bali

uluwatu temple bali

My advice if you want to see an Uluwatu sunset? GO EARLY. The crowds were insane, even in the downpour.

After sitting in more rain and more traffic, we arrived at the lovely Mahogany Hotel in South Kuta. It was a last-minute find, and it turned out to be the nicest place we stayed all week. They even have a ban on durian, which was just fine with us!

Overall impressions of Bali? I’m very glad I went. There are definitely some beautiful sights to see.

Am I dreaming of the day I get to go back? No, I can’t honestly say that I am. I think it’s an amazing island to visit once…but there are so many other places to explore, too!

What’s the next destination on our hit list? That remains to be seen!

Spectacular Ko Phi Phi: The Jewel of the Andaman Sea

Spectacular Ko Phi Phi: The Jewel of the Andaman Sea

The brilliant sunlight warms your skin as you make your way to the bow of the ferry. You inhale a deep breath of salty sea air and sigh, gazing out at the crystal clear waters of the Andaman Sea and the tiny green islands on the horizon. You pause along the railing and take a sip of sweet, creamy Thai iced tea – probably your third one of the day – and think again how lucky you are to be here.

Today you’re on your way to Ko Phi Phi, one of the most beautiful (and easily accessible) islands on earth.

I recently had the privilege of visiting this gem of an island with my husband and a group of friends. We caught the ferry from nearby Phuket, Phi Phi’s bigger and better-known neighbor, and spent three glorious days exploring the beaches, bays, hills, and forests that make this island the ultimate tropical paradise.

Why Ko Phi Phi is So Amazing

Can you imagine snorkeling through waters as clear as glass and as warm as bathwater? Can you envision a narrow isthmus of land surrounded by spectacular twin lagoons – one a deep blue color and the other turquoise-green? Can you see the soaring green cliffs rising dramatically from the sea and stretching into the cloudless sky? Can you picture yourself climbing up one of those cliffs – which we nicknamed “The Cliff of Insanity” – on nothing but a tattered bit of netting, with sharp rocks and pounding surf below you?

We did it! And I’m eager to share our incredible story with you. recently published my first paid travel article about our amazing adventures on Ko Phi Phi. If you’re planning your own trip to beautiful southern Thailand – or if you just want to do a little armchair traveling – I encourage you to check it out!

Click here to read more about Ko Phi Phi!