Ahh Bali, the legendary island in Indonesia, known for low prices, picturesque beaches, mystical temples, and (did I forget to mention?) absolutely world class waves. Bali is not the undiscovered surfing destination it once was. The proximity to surfing hubs like Australia and the ever increasing internationalization of travel has ensured that everyone and their mother who has dreamed of surf travel has thought of Bali. But fear not! Despite the influx of tourists the amount of high quality waves and accommodations ensures that your surf trip here will be one to remember. The sheer variety of top tier waves on this small island is incredible. Everything from A frame beachbreaks, mellow longboarding waves, and kegging reef breaks can all be found in a relatively small area, and the high level of consistency means Bali is a year round destination. This is a list of the best surf spots on the island (in no particular order), although the ones left off are probably still better than your local set up!
One could begin and end the list here. Uluwatu was one of the first waves to be discovered on Bali in the 70’s by surfers flying over the Bukit Peninsula. The backdrop of cliffs and natural beauty is surpassed only by the incredible quality and consistency of this break. To access you’ll have to paddle out through a cave which adds to the almost magical atmosphere that is created by the sheer cliffs and ancient temple perched atop them. There are five main peaks long this reef, all working best on different tides and swell size. See our Uluwatu Spot Guide for more details.
Tired post session? Waves a bit big? Check out a couple bars on the cliffs with perfect views and atmosphere ranging from don’t say a word unless it’s about the wave peeling right now to party and make sure it is on the Instagram reel. Something for everyone.
Due to the amazing nature of the wave as well as the high level of tourism surrounding it, there are plenty of places to stay right on the cliffs overlooking the surf. For a very chill and yoga centric atmosphere, check out Uluwatu Villas, just don’t expect to find TV’s in your rooms! For a five star resort experience you’ll want to book at The Edge. From check in to check out you will feel like an absolute royal, and the bar here is well known for good nightlife. If you would like something in the middle of the two, Uluwatu Cottages is an excellent choice. All of these options are within walking distance of the legendary reef.
Bingin used to be a “secret beach” that offered up a reprieve from sunbathers and crowds. Those days are a little ways behind us, but the beautiful beach and perfect reef remain. Make sure you are ready to scamper down a few hundred precarious stairs to the beach (and keep some energy for the walk back up!) as well as ready for some perfect barrels and whackable walls. The left handed reef tends to be a bit shorter than other spots in the area, but is absolutely flawless when on. There will always be a competitive crew on it, but a long wait is worth it for some time in the green room. See our Bingin Spot Guide for more details.
Not so many bars and hangouts nearby Bingin, but there are plenty of restaurants to grab a good meal post surf that will scratch your itch.
There is a wide range of spots to stay here. The most luxurious pads are towards the top of the cliffs, but with fewer frills you can get a spot partway down the cliffs. Mick’s Place is an institution here, offering accommodations for all, rentals of scooters and all other modes of transportation, and a guarded parking lot.
Keramas is the exception to the rule in the land of perfect lefts. But only an exception to the direction, as it scores very highly on the dream wave meter. Keramas is located on the other side of the Bukit Peninsula than the famous left hand reefs and offers up a heavy right handed barrel into performance wall. The world tour visited here and it has been described the most high performance wave in the world. The long black sand beach would be worth visiting even if the surf wasn’t so divine and the rice paddies lend themselves to a more rustic Balinese atmosphere, although this is changing due to the volume of tourists and money pouring in. The consistency and right breaking nature of the wave makes it a must surf for everyone, but especially regular footers. See our Keramas Spot Guide for more details.
This is definitely a quieter area than the Uluwatu scene, much more focused on the surf than the nightlife options. That being said there are plenty of restaurants that are both quality and quirky (one is in a plane, yes, a plane), and where there are hordes of traveling surfers there’s bound to be a party or two happening.
Accommodations have sprung up since the construction of a road to the spot. There is a wide range from affordable to top tier luxury. Kommune Resort is a wonderful option for families and those who prioritize eco friendly living while being walking distance to the surf, not to mention they offer night surfing at Keramas using their floodlights pointed right at the peak. For a more bare bones experience, check out Keramas Surf Resort, close to the beach with few frills, but a great traveling surfer atmosphere.
Kuta Beach was the beginning of surf tourism in Bali. This sandy beach is well known for being a starting point for many an Indonesian adventure and has a huge tourism industry. Take breaks from sunbathing and enjoy the classic beachbreak peaks. This spot is the only one on this list suitable for beginner surfers just learning the basics, but if there is some size it can get classic and great for advanced level surfers. That being said, you will still find high quality surfers in the lineup everyday either rinsing off a hangover or prepping for some heavier breaks. The nightlife here is excellent. Backpackers, surfers, and people from all walks of life will be out late almost every night of the week. See our Kuta Beach Surf Guide for more details.
This is the center of nightlife in Bali. There is something happening every night and most times during the day. The biggest mall on the island is also located walking distance from the beach, and plenty of smaller shops line the avenues. There are plenty of restaurants for all price levels, take a day or two to explore and find your favorite!
Accommodations here range from on the beach to walking distance. There is everything upon everything here. You can go dirt cheap up to spending your life savings, and everything is close to the beach. There are too many to list here, take a short walk around and you will understand the difficulty picking and choosing!
Padang Padang is one of the best lefts in the world, not just Bali. This reef has been likened to Pipeline in Hawaii when on, and will be packed with pros fresh off the plane thanks to forecasting. The wave is a shallow, dredging, powerful left hand barrel that can serve up the tube or beating of your life. Padang Padang is the site of an annual Rip Curl contest. There is a small beach with some beautiful rock formations that will have some warungs to grab a bite to eat if you need to fuel up in between sessions. Inside of the reef is a great place to take a dip with friends on higher tides, and even your beginner surfer friends can catch the lazy rights on the other side of the reef from the main event. Because this spot is on the Bukit Peninsula like a couple others on the list, there will be plenty of amenities and tourists there with you. See our Padang Padang Spot Guide for more information.
There are a few bars but the nightlife scene is a bit quieter than at Ulu or Kuta. That being said, head to the beach on Saturday nights for rave like beach parties. There are definitely a number of restaurants right up the stairs to the beach to get your calorie fix for all price levels.
Accommodations, like many spots on this list, range from affordable and on the cliffs overlooking the beach to luxury and on the cliffs overlooking the beach. Take your pick. One great option (and one of the first resorts on the Bukit Peninsula) is Padang Padang Surf Camp. This is a great option both for single surfers and groups, as you can sleep in community bungalows or private rooms. They offer lessons for all levels and you are withing walking distance of Padang Padang, Impossibles, and Bingin.
All in all Bali has to be on everyone’s surf travel bucket list. The high quality waves for all levels, friendly locals, tropical climate, and high variety in accommodation and food make Bali one of the premier destinations on the planet. Plan your next trip here!