Padang-Padang Beach is a famous surf point in Bali with great waves – the best waves occur during dry season – and a white sandy stretch 100 meters from the north to the south. I have to admit that although I wish it was, the above image is not mine. I found it here. It does however give a nice indication of what this beautiful beach looks like from a little further away. We stopped here on our way to Uluwatu Temple. This beach is accessible down a few flights of steps and through a limestone crevice beside a bridge. Across the road, before the bridge, there is a parking lot. We had hired a private driver so he parked there, and we all walked down to the beach together. Among the island’s most favourite big surf spots, Padang Padang’s white sand beach offers a great view, and a small sandy area for sunbathing and soaking up the sun. This beautiful beach is located at Jalan Labuhan Sait, Pecatu village, just north of the famous Uluwatu temple. One of the scenes from the movie Eat Pray Love was filmed on this beach – the scene where Julia Roberts is at the beach, swimming in the water. So if you’re looking at this beach and thinking, “that place looks familiar”, that is probably why!
The entrance to beach is unique. You will need to take a short flight of steep winding and quite slippery steps. Once through this narrow passage it feels is as if the beach is inside a cave. It’s a public (ie. free) beach, smaller than New Kuta Beach and the sea is calm, so many Balinese families like to come here to swim here. The beach view was great – blue water against rocks and greenery.
Our driver was absolutely crazy about Elijah – which seems to be norm in Bali – so he held him a lot the beach. Balinese people, like the Chinese, LOVE little children! Even the men will drop what they are doing to interact with Eli. The beach wasn’t too crowded, but it was full and it was clear that this is probably a very popular spot. The humidity on the beach was so much higher than which we had experienced while in Ubud. In fact, looking around we were quite happy with our choice to spend the majority of our Bali vacation in Ubud. Besides the fact that we are traveling as a family, we just prefer the rustic, laid-back feel of Ubud so much more than the “party-vibe” that many coastal cities give off.
We walked both ways on the beach… exploring from one side to the other. First, to the left, we found a shaded area with lots of trees and what looked like a cave. Out towards the right-hand side of the beach were some large rocks jutting out of the water . The sand was soft and the water was refreshing, but we weren’t there to swim. It was nice looking around and admiring the surrounding cliffs and the perfect crystal clear waters.
Out on a rock, not too far from the beach, a few locals were fishing. I’m sure that they had an even better view of the beach than we had from the beach. We tried to take a couple of family selfies – which are quite a challenging task with a heavy DSLR and a bashful toddler – but thankfully, our driver stepped in a took a nice family picture for us!
When we had done enough exploring we made your way back up the steep stairs to the main road. Our driver held Elijah’s hand and led him all the way up the stairs – he was such a sweet guy! While the three of us dusted off some of the sand that we were covered in, our driver ran off to get the car.
Padang-padang Beach is definitely worth a visit, even if you just stop here to check it out, like we did. I’m not sure what the crowds will be like during the dry season, but we visited during the rain season and it was still quite full. During the dry season there are sure to be a number of surfers at this beach as this is the prime time for amazing waves at this location.