Friday, September 27, 2013

Lang Tengah

Visited Sept 2013

Lang Tengah is a small hilly rainforested island in north west peninsula Malaysia between the Perhentians (20km) and Redang islands (13km). The mainland access pier is at Merang (28km) and the nearest regional capital is Kuala Terrenganu (a bit over 30km from Merang - KT airport abt.25km).

The beaches are found along the southern and western coasts. When I visited there were 4 resorts, D'Coconut, Lang Sari aka Lang Resort, Sari Pacifica and Summer Bay. Lang Sari is one of those traditional Malaysian package resorts that run like a summer camp, the others mid-range places although Summer Bay looked like it still had a less expensive package wing.


Long beach
This 600m long beach is arguably the nicest on the island - its sand seemed even whiter and water clearer than the others which aren't bad. Note the unique blue coral patch off the southern end - a big-blue tinted bommy which somehow actually stains the water blue - and I am told the nearby sand gets a blue tint at night. I snorkelled the area but was too lazy to walk over from D'Coconut to check the night sand. You can see the access track from the southern beaches bottom right of shot - 3 minutes flat stroll from the inner middle of Lang Sari's most southern accommodation blocks.

This is the southern section of the beach adjacent the blue coral - seems pretty white at the time of shot

3 piers detract from appearance but this is still a pretty nice place to spend time.

Summer Bay towards the north end of Long Beach seemed to have the most guests of the resorts - mostly Malaysian and Chinese package tourists. This place had a pretty good store with reasonable prices for an island retail outlet.

Sari Pacifica is near the southern end. It had similar accommodation prices to D'Coconut and if room and resort facilities were the same as Sari Pacifica Redang where we stayed after Lang Tengah, it may have been the better option. Not that D'Coconut was poor it: could have just been a bit better for the money. However guest comments on the user sites suggest maybe SP Lang Tengah is a bit short of the mark.

Lang Sari Beach
This beach including the recurved western end is not much shorter than Long Beach. Note the rocks separating the two at far left don't seem impressive but I found it was not possible to pass by there at a fairly low tide level. No matter, that track you can see near the "north" symbol is a quick way to change beaches. The pass-through to D'Coconut's west beach at far right is a mere 20m path behind the seaside rocks.

The above shot is taken from those far right rocks. The beach looks pretty sweet but in fact is a step down from Long Beach - in the section you can see, high tide takes a lot of the beach and the sand is coarser. The best section is around the corner far end towards the rocks - fellow D'Coconut guests seemed to be enjoying the snorkelling there.

For some reason I didn't take any good snaps of Lang Sari/Lang Island  resort, so I had to raid Google's panoramia for this one from bteung, The resort is one of those places which specialises in package tours for domestic tourists - I stayed a few years back at a similar joint on Redang, Bay Resort, which proved quite good value although the atmosphere was holiday camp.
Looks good here but the place was a virtual ghost town when we passed by. Apparently it has changed hands - the people there seemed to be doing a major refit although the place appeared open for business. Judging from scathing user reports it needs this. I think the current name is Lang Sari.

D'Coconut Beaches
D'Coconut guests get to choose between 2 beaches. The longer, D'Coconut West is way smaller than Long or Lang Sari beaches at just over 100m. A 300m rainforest path over a low saddle joins them.

West beach is the better of the two  D'Coconuts. I thought it wasn't quite as white and fine grained as most of Long Beach but people who like small intimate beaches may prefer it.

West beach from the opposite end. That's the beach bar near right - the West Wing's restaurant is behind it. Some guest reviews complain of insufficient sun lounges at busy times but with only 3 guests staying this side during my visit that was not a problem. Water very clear here but coral pretty ordinary; quite a few fish to check out. That's Lang Sari beach far background.

East beach is smaller, has slightly coarser sand and more broken coral underfoot at low tide levels....

....but it aint exactly unattractive as you approach from the mainland. That's the East Wing restaurant and reception at left. Snorkelling is much the same as at East Beach; scrappy coral ok fish. I also snorkelled the several hundred meters between the 2 beaches - ditto. The most interesting area is probably around those rocks at left - some clinging coral patches and plenty of fish.

Turtle Bay and Batu Kuking
A short distance east of D'Cononut east are the final two south coast beaches - Turtle and Batu Kuking. There is no beach at Batu Bulan.

TURTLE BAY - This romantic beach is a tiny patch of sand accessed by heading up the steep jungle track alongside the "pier" at D'C East beach and turning right after about 30m. Total time, 3 minutes. The perfect place for solitude. Tide marks indicated not too much sand may be left at the top of the tide. I'm sure turtles can be spotted here, but the next beach east is the site of the turtle conservation project.

A bigger beach gives the turtle people more chance to study hatchings, protect hatchlings. Pretty deserted here because.....

....the conservation people, many of them western volunteers, work during the night and catch their zzzzzs during the day in this camp behind the beach.

Information board is interesting. This image may click expand.

I guess this is to stop hatchlings taking off before they can be counted, mesured etc.

BEACH COMPARISONS WITH NEARBY ISLANDS - Lang Tengah's beaches are pretty nice, better on average than the Perhentians. But I reckon Kapas has an overall higher standard. And providing lots of people don't put you off, the main beach at Redang is probably the single best in the region.

Feeding the fish on D'Cooconut's around island snorkeling trip.

OFF THE BEACH - from what I saw the best off the beach snorkelling was at the southern end of Long Beach around the blue coral area. However this is about 70m off the sand and may be a stretch for many - no matter, the snorkeling boat trips include this place on their itinerary. I also found a very nice coral bommie (big round lump of hard coral) about the same distance off the beach in the swimming enclosure between Sari Pacifica and Summer Bay resorts, the area in the shot below.
These people are only about 30m off the beach - no matter, scatter some bread from the breakfast buffet and there's an instant crowd of colourful fish.

As mentioned up page I wasn't impressed with the coral off D'Coconut although the fish were okay - and people seemed to be enjoying the snorkeling at the far western end of Lang Sari beach (where the sand is nicest too). I was too lazy to check off Turtle Bay and Batu Kuking.

Guests get fitted out for D'Coconut's snorkeling trip.

For the relatively small shoulder season crowd D'Coconut used its medium sized run-about, unlike Summer Bay's larger cruiser (see below). Chinese tour group seemed to enjoy themselves immensely and once again their interest seemed to be more on the fish than the coral. This seems fair enough - with flotation vests they can't get real close to a lot of the coral (although the water is amazingly clear and a lot the blue coral off Long Beach south is not deep) whereas a bit of bread will bring dozens of fish to the surface.

Having suffered too-long snorkeling trip in many parts of SE Asia, I found D'Coco's refreshing in that it took a total of under 2 hours with only 2 stops, Batu Bulan east and the blue coral area of Long Beach - 40 minutes each which gave plenty of time to check the scene.Another plus: we did a circumnavigation of the island which gave this happy camper a better idea of the scale of the location he was visiting. Conclusion - pretty compact island and you can see all the places worth visiting on foot.

The first stop was in the bay at Batu Bulan. I'd spied these nice bommies on an earlier trek across here but the snorkeling guys anchored a good 200m south-east where obviously the snorkeling must be better. It wasn't bad at all, quite a lot of plate coral and fish in incredibly clear water. Those bommies above were maybe 15-20m across. 

Second mate grabbing for the mooring at the second stop: the blue coral area Long Beach west. Blue coral pretty good, ditto fish - crew said snorkeling around rocks far background was okay, would maybe see some small reef sharks. Well maybe - but not when I went across: some fish and scattered coral but not as good as in area of boat.

Summer Bay resort's cruiser on a snorkeling trip. This baby parked adjacent to western end of D'Coconut west beach where passengers spent a good 30 minutes in the water. But when I swam out to this spot, the coral was very ordinary. Dudes must have been feeding the fish.

COMPARISON WITH NEARBY ISLANDS: Lang Tengah's snorkeling by SE Asian standards is pretty good. But not quite as good as the Perhentians and Kapas. And not as good as in the National Park area of Redang.


THE BEACH WALK - as seen above, someone starting at one of the Long Beach resorts can make their way to Batu Kuking via the beaches, the short track between Sari Pacifica and the western wing of  Lang Sari, the 300m walk across the low saddle between D'Coconut west and east and then the 5 minute not-too-steep jungle path across to Batu Kuking.
Arrow on rock just past tiny pier east end of D'Coconut east shows entrance to jungle track.

THE BATU BULAN WALK - walk inland in the obvious semi-clearing towards the far end of Batu Kuking beach and look for the track pointers.
The track goes for about 10 minutes thru some pretty good rainforest. Moderate slopes with lots of tree roots etc - good footwear is not a bad idea. On reaching the bay you will be on a high rock platform with a view across to Redang..... the view down into the bay shown 6 pix up page. Climbing down for a swim/snorkel would take some effort but would not be impossible.

TREKKING COMPARISONS WITH NEARBY ISLANDS. The Perhentians have the longest and most interesting treks, Redang, Kapas and Lang Tengah are roughly equal.

Finding a place to stay on Lang Tengah was a bit of a challenge. With Lady Tezza along I was looking for a place a step up from budget. Maybe just as well - Lang Sari is the only place approaching budget (on its package deals) but at the time of booking was declining the same; at least on popular booking sites. Its own booking site was off-putting with statements like FOR MALAYSIAN NATIONALS ONLY. And reviews on the user sites weren't exactly positive.
So okay, I had a look at alternatives and they were are priced way upmarket from flashpacker. Way upmarket from most places. Thing is, the highest I've ever paid in SE Asia is $us75 and that got me a gorgeous resort in Bali - and here's these 3 joints on Lang Tengah not of the same standard but wanting $us135 or more! Tell 'em they're dreaming! Well I usually do, but I did want to check the island out so I selected the only one that had mainly positive user reviews at the time - D'Coconut.
I'll sum up my feeling on this joint: Nice place but overpriced.

As already mentioned, D'Coconut  is split over 2 regions – the West Wing is about 4 min/300m walk over a low saddle (steepness will only worry the VERY unfit) from the East Wing. Each has its own beach, pool & restaurant – there is not much difference except the East Wing had wifi (patchy reception) in its restaurant, a better breakfast & inferior pool & beach. 

Part of the connecting pathway. Lighting at night okay - bags carried across for you if staying at West Wing.

East Wing pool, restaurant/reception (left) and most recently constructed accommodation unit.

Food in the restaurants was  expensive compared to only slightly downmarket places we had just stayed at in the Perhentians. Like them the place seemed to be suffering from end of season wind-down even though early/mid Sept is a long way from season close at the end of Oct– many things on the menu were not available. The inclusive buffet was similarly limited –we had no fruit over 3 days – but it was possible to fill up on pretty tasty food.

The West Wing pool from the second restaurant. Beach is just out of shot to left.

Our Executive Deluxe room above the West Wing restaurant had nice pool & beach/sea views from its balcony. It was very clean, spacious, had quiet aircon, a comfy king bed plus a single and a divan. There was a jug but no tv. Lights were satisfactory and there was plenty of storage. No bottled water was supplied. The spacious bathroom had good hot water & a tub.

 Another problem of visiting when there are few guests is that we came out in the hotel’s small outboard boat rather than its bigger cruiser– the sea breeze had kicked in on this day making the 45 minute trip bumpy & wet. Not to mention cramped. Here sea conditions are more benign because we are in the lee of the island. Cost Sept 2013 rm55 per person one way.

Hotel fauna and flora pretty interesting

Overall, D'Coconut is a pretty nice place, but not to the standard of the 3.5 stars being claimed on our booking site. It can't justify its pricing$us135 for a nice but essentially lower-midrange room, expensive food with limited choice and an uncomfortable transfer is not balanced by the gorgeous location and exceptionally nice and efficient staff. The price was towards 3 times that paid at Perhentian resorts only slightly downmarket.

Certainly, if you are looking for exclusivity and don't mind paying for it. The nice beaches, clear water and good coral on a tiny island with only a few resorts a fair distance from the coast give you the idea of being somewhere pretty special. 

Our trip away from the island was way more comfortable. We wanted to jump the short distance over to Redang island - the resort rang this Mingstar boat at left which was fast and much drier than the resort's smaller boat at right. From what I can gather this outfit does a daily run to Redang from Merang around or a bit after 1100 and doesn't mind diverting to Lang Tengah to pick up island-hoppers. This suggests they will also deliver guests to Lang Tengah resorts who miss earlier boats..


If you see mistakes or have additional information, please post it below. But if you have questions please ask it on THE FORUM. I don't have time to check individual island pages very often - but I try to monitor THE FORUM most days when I'm not travelling.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Geger Beach, Nusa Dua and Tanjung Benoa.

Last visited May 2014.

Safe swimming area adjacent the Ayodya Resort far end of Nusa Dua south beach. This turns into Geger Beach past the corner mid distance. The strip of sand far distance is a separate beach below the very expensive Nikko Bali resort on the Bukit plateau..
Actually the Nusa Dua south-Geger area is pretty safe swimming-wise being protected from bigger waves by a fringing reef you may better see if you click-expand image. Nevertheless there was a bit of a tidal side drag out near that boat when I went for a swim, so the hotel is maybe not wasting its money employing this guy. Poor dude seemed pretty bored - eager for a chat. Fancy standing there all day with nothing to do but scope out Russian bikini babes.

In 2013 saw a Trip Adviser article on the world's unforgettable beaches which mentioned south Bali's Geger so I figured I better go check it out the next visit. When I learned Geger was actually an extension of Nusa Dua's southern beach I realized I could also revisit Nusa Dua for the first time in years. Well I saw plenty of Geger Beach that trip but I can't say I was too conscientious covering Nusa Dua, spending most time there walking the southern beach or shopping/eating at the Bali Collection mall. So when I returned to Bali in May 2014 I made a  point of staying at Nusa Dua's northern extension, Tanjung Benoa and checking both areas fairly comprehensively. However I did not get the chance to recheck the Geger Beach area so that information is now a year old.

Google Earth image shows Bukit Badung which is the southern most 5%  of Bali. The tilted limestone Bukit plateau covers the western 2/3 of this - Nusa Dua and Tanjung Benoa are the eastern seaside areas of the remaining lowland area.

The Nusa Dua strip is about 10km south-east of the airport. Traffic used to be horrendous along the way and it the trip took a good 30 minutes+ most times of the day. But note those mid-bay lines going thru the distance scale near the 5km mark - that's a new Bali Mandara by-pass starting adjacent the airport which when opened recently greatly eased access. Another branch goes north to meet the main road north-east to Sanur and beyond, which cuts out a section of even busier main road. This is a toll road - at 10000idr (less than a dollar) it is very good value. I reckon our 2014 trip from Sanur to Tanjung Benoa was cut from an hour to about 20 minutes by using this.

It's kinda hard denoting the border between Nusa Dua and the Tanjung Benoa area but the general consensus it that it's around the start of the peninsula where I have drawn in the white line.
In 2013 stayed at the Swiss Belhotel Segara bottom left (the closest affordable-to-me joint to Geger) which classes itself as a Nusa Dua hotel - however it is actually on the lower slopes of the eastern Bukit limestone plateau over 2km from Geger Beach but fortunately with a free hourly shuttle. There is also another free hourly shuttle to the Bali Collection mall just above the center of image.
In 2014 I stayed at Bali Club Mirage on the Tanjung Beno peninsula just out of image - see later information and shots.


Beach corner where Nusa Dua South turns into Geger. Background is the Nikko with part of its beach below - telephoto used makes this appear half the distance of reality.

The Mulia's (lower left) beachfront wings take up most of the southern half of Geger. A bunch of budget restaurants is located where the public access road hits the beach just south of my Geger Bch place marker. Immediately north of this marker can be seen the St Regis.  That cleared zone around the distance scale line belongs to the Bali Golf and Country Club which extends across the road - they seem to be redeveloping the beach side section although I would not be surprised to find the part nearest the beach sold off to a hotel developer. The Novotel Nusa Dua is located on inland side of that construction zone just above the 0 of the distance scale but has a nice little beach club section almost adjacent the tip of the blue "north" symbol. 
North of the distance scale line the beach becomes Nusa Dua South. The first hotel is the Ayodya. The cleared zone is the Anarterra under reconstruction. The star fish resort north of this is the Grand Hyatt.

The resort section of the Mulia dominates the southern half of Geger but the St Regis starts not far past halfway and is pretty unobtrusive from the beachfront (if you click-expand you may just be able to see the rooftops further from the beach). St Regis' new construction is closer the far corner of the beach and could be more visually intrusive on completion. This is the chance for you subsequent trip reporters to become stars.  

Near Geger's halfway point a public access lane arrives from the main road, This is where Swiss-Belhotel Segara's free hourly shuttle drops people. The area has a half adozen inexpensive restaurants, many of which rent these sunlbounges and water sports equipment, although I got the impression that the lounges were free for restaurant users. Area quite popular.

About 200m north of the budget restaurants is the extensive St Regis sun lounge area. The building behind the palms at left is about as intrusive as the place presently gets along the beachfront - I wasn't aware of the resort as I passed by. At the far end of these sunlounges...... a small area where the Novotel Nusa Dua has its beach club area. I'm not sure how users access from the resort which is inland on the other side of the road from the St Regis, but the people on the lounges (mainly non-English speaking Russians when I wanted some info - but one cutie in the typical minimalist bikini had no problems. Bless her.) looked a pretty contented lot. Nice area. I notice Novotel's website claims this area their "Private Beach". No doubt the sun lounges are not for outsiders but the greater beach area is open to all.

Geger's fringing reef about 600m offshore protects the beach from tricky waves and also provides a few good surfing breaks (as does adjacent Nusa Dua South - although any surfer worth his/her chops should be ripping [or getting destroyed] at not too distant Uluwatu/Padang-Padang/Bingin/Balangan. Plus this area is better in the wet season when winds are off-shore and so stand the waves up and smooth the wave faces). The distant wave in shot was probably 2m plus and seemed fast enough to be entertaining.
The protected lagoon gets a fair tidal range - maybe 3m - this shot taken only an hour short of lowest tide showed plenty of water - those fishermen are maybe 200m offshore and are waist deep.
I took the face mask out into this zone - sea grass and broken coral from the reef plus patches of sandy bottom would be interesting enough for novice snorkellers. No doubt there is okay live coral out near the reef but I was too lazy to swim out there.

So is Geger Beach mainland Bali”s best as the Trip Advisor article infers? It is a fine stretch of sand protected by that offshore reef and with clear water which appears not to get too shallow at low tide. It doesn't get the hawkers which can make other Bali beaches a bit tiresome for some people. But nearly half is now dominated by the huge Mulia Resort and Spa which perhaps has taken some of its former quaintness away. I don't think it is any better than adjacent Nusa Dua south. I prefer the Bukit's not too distant Balangan (although that place gets the low tide blues) and Dreamland aka New Kuta Beach - although the surf makes them not as kid friendly.

The Mulia is huge - it took me over 10 minutes to walk by road from the budget restaurants to the top entrance gate (the resort is built on a gentle slope away from the beach) to the left of my "Mulia villas" placemark, but I bet villa owners/renters have electric golf buggy thingies or similar to zip to the beach and elsewhere. I thought the beachfront pool was pretty big (I just measure it at 80m long on Google Earth) but that central pool is appreciably larger (approx 110x60) and a close-up shows at least 8 other smaller "public" pools plus most villas seem to have a small private pool. Wow.
UPDATE - I notice another hotel, the Mantra Nusa Dua, takes up part of the top section of the area shown. It runs a free shuttle down to Geger beach.

This is west of Geger beach and is technically not a Nusa Dua beach but one of the Bukit Plateau's many strips of sand. So too arguably is Geger.

I shot this from the headland at the southern end of Geger which has a rather nice temple. Nikko's buildings are up top and you can see part of the beach below. This is about as close as I got - the security guys on the gate at Nikko whre not too encouraging to outsiders (well not to rough looking bums like me) and you can see that walking the shoreline in not an option, so.........
........I pinched this great shot by Parapeter (Panoramio)

This is no small patch of sand at almost 2km long - and others are moving in. In typical Bali fashion at least 3 other resorts seem to be under construction in this Google Earth image dated 0?/2013. If you click-expand the 06/2013 pic two above this you can see some of the construction cranes.
I'm annoyed with myself for not exploring the area more thoroughly- my Swiss Belhotel Segara is not too far out of shot and a slightly bigger area on Google Earth seems to show alternative beach access. But I had only 2 days here at the end of a multi-stop Bali trip and what I mostly wanted to do was laze by my hotel's huge pools and make use of other facilities way above my usual accommodation standard.

This joint may not be as flash as a lot of the resorts in the region but it is still a pretty nice place. Note I have added SEGARA each mention - there are a number of Swiss Belhotels in Bali including the nearby BAYVIEW who's position beachwise is not particularly good. Closer to the airport though although SEGARA is not too bad in this respect (about 12km - 80k rp 06/13).

Our room overlooked this pool (first shot is from our balcony) - there is another of equal size on the other side of the hotel with a big shallow section for kids. Hotel pretty busy but there was never a shortage of sun lounges.

We were upgraded to a Premier Pool View room which had all you would expect of a good 3 to 4 star hotel. The bed was sinfully comfortable, the big terrace overlooked one of the pools and the area quiet. Only complaint was slow drainage from the sink and bath. Free wifi reception was good.
The restaurant served nice food at prices maybe 70% higher than budget restaurants down at Geger Beach, but still a bargain by western standards. The hotel’s inclusive buffet breakfast was fine with a good selection. Cheaper non-budget dining was available by taking the free hourly shuttle 10 minutes into Nusa Dua to the Bali Collection shopping mall which is a good area for browsing with a couple of big department stores, many specialty shops and a few minimarts.
Staff performance in all areas was outstanding. Reception seemed keen to provide late checkout if vacancies allow. The free 15 minute massage at the spa which was pretty nice. That area also has a basic gym with treadmills, a stationary bicycle and a treadmill.

Nyet Nikita! "Don't pinch the food" sign on exit from the excellent breakfast buffet. Guests seemed to be over 50% Indonesian, followed by Chinese, then Russians/other westerners about equal at maybe 10% each. Bit perplexing why nearly all of the text is monolingual.

NUSA DUA SOUTH aka Mengiat Bch.
Geger becomes Nusa Dua South beach past this point. I thought this long (1200m) beach was equally attractive - maybe more so because the resorts tended to be hiding behind beachfront palms. Maybe the Mulia hasn't got around to this yet - they were still working on beachfront ceramic landscaping in early June 2013. Updates welcomed.

From the other (northen) end.
This is shot near lowest tide but there is still plenty of water for swimming. Some fine hotels behind this beach including the Grand Hyatt, Amanterra and Ayodya. Note that a pass in the reef allows access to good surfing on the outside break. My experience of this type of wave suggests only experts should apply.

 No need for surfer dudes to bring their own boards, plenty on hire - but I saw one 40s-something western hooligan departing the beach on a skateboard with his surfboard under his arm and a bikini clad 18yo local cutie in tow. I gotta get back to surfing.


The coastline changes direction at this small bay from heading nne to nnw.

My elcheapo Olympus had difficulty stitching this panorama shot together (nothing to do with the incompetence of the operator). Nevertheless it gives a good idea of its scale - the beach is only 500m long. Not particularly attractive in this low tide shot but probably quite nice at higher levels. Anyway attractive Nusa Dua South and North beaches are each side. The Bali Collection shopping/restaurant mall is behind this bay. These panorama shots click-expand nicely.

There are some cool bars and eats joints behind the central bay including Pirates' Bay Cafe and Restaurant.

This 850m stetch of sand is equal imho to Nusa Dua south and Geger. Still protected from the reef which runs most of the way to the northern tip of Tanjung Beno. Some fine hotels behind this beach including the Melia, Laguna, Westin, Nusa Dua Beach Hotel, Nusa Indah, Sheraton Lagoon.

The beach-side coastal path starts back at the Central Bay and runs nearly 5km to 800m short of the northern most part of the Tanjung Benoa peninsula. In a few places not backed by resorts drifting sand or expanding vegetation has obscured the path. And high end resort The Conrad has allowed the same, no doubt to dissuade plebs like me from passing by their resort. Take a bow for civic inclusiveness, The Conrad. 

Many of the resorts behind the path have very attractive beachside bar/cafes.

Nusa Dua nth from the other (north) end. Sweet.

Much of the Nusa Dua resort strip is in a separate compound with security checks on the entrance roads. It's a different world in there - Bali's narrow, hectic, crowded streets are replaced by wide boulevards and pristine landscaping. Many say this is not the real Bali, but for those wanting good international class accommodation, eating and shopping at venues which often show the Balinese touch, but few of the normal hassles, this can be an agreeable location. The various attractions of outside Bali are a taxi or bus trip away, after which they can escape back to their haven of peace and quiet. 
I shot this from the free Bali Collection shuttle.

Heading north again we have a series of smaller beaches, separated by groynes, small breakwaters aimed at trapping laterally-drifting sand to slow erosion/build beaches.

Count 'em - 17 in all over some 3km. Generally the beaches are wider and the resorts flasher in the south, but there is nothing wrong with the northern-most beach and its resort, the Grand Mirage-Thalasso - very nice. Note that some resorts share beaches - others have their own exclusive patches of sand. Once again some fine resorts along this strip including Sofitel, Bali Tropic Palace, Conrad (hiss!), Royal Santrian, Oasis, Aston, Peninzula, Villa Bintang. 
The southern most part of this area is definitely still Nusa Dua - the northern security gate is past the entrance road to Club Med which is behind the 2nd to 5th breakwaters. However plenty of resorts further north claim to be Nusa Dua ResortsClub Med  has the biggest grounds in the whole Nusa Dua/Benoa strip.

Local dudes relaxing on groyne bale near full tide. Low tide would see sand exposed out to end of groyne.

Local dudes fishing the channel off groyne bale.

A few of the groyne beaches have no resorts yet - with less incentive for a daily beach clean-up, the sand can get messy.

At lowest tide things get real shallow towards the northern end of the groyne beaches. This section off the 12th to 14th groynes saw people walking out to the reef to do some fossiking. Area is covered by 3m of water at full tide.

The final strip of sand on the peninsula runs 1200m to within a short distance of the top of the peninsula. The southern most 200m is a bit skinny - difficult to walk and keep dry near full tide. Most of the rest of the beach has plenty of sand but is not as attractive imho as those further south.

There are relatively few beach-side resorts along this long strip of sand - mainly because the main road is too close to the beach to allow big developments. Look for Bali Khama, Bali Reef, Chedi, Segara Condotel. Nevertheless the shore is crowded with water sports centers, restaurants, bars and beach clubs, quite a few of which are attached to big flash resorts like Ramada and Novotel across the main road from the beach.

Beach from northern end. Hundreds of boats here - many of them with glass-bottoms for lagoon/inner reef cruising. It seems this section of Tanjung Benoa is the water sports capital of south Bali with tourists coming from all over to cruise, jet ski, water ski, ride a banana boat or like the dude below, do a Jet Jackson.... 

This western guy was doing an aquatic JJ routine off breakwater at northern end of beach - could do back-flips, somersaults, undulations like a swimming dolphin - much to the appreciation of a big band of local watchers who cheered and applauded. Note Mount Agung peeking above clouds in background.

I walked a few blocks to the northern tip of the peninsula where the channel goes thru to Benoa harbour. That is south Sanur across the other side. There are some okay seafood restaurants lining the shore here.


I was pretty keen on staying in one of the seaside resorts but most of these are way beyond my modest budget. The best deal I could find at time of booking was this Tanjung Benoa joint, between the 15th and 16th groynes. Okay, it is not as big and flash as most others and some user reviews complained that it was showing a bit of wear and tear. But despite needing a lick of paint here and there, everything was in good working order, it was clean, our big comfy room was fully equipped, public spaces were spacious and attractive, the beach-side pool was sweet, the place was quiet at  night, the inclusive buffet breakfast a good one. Other food was pretty nice at prices above budget levels but not unreasonable by Bali standards and a bargain by western standards. Budget diners could find inexpensive meals in the water sports complex next door to the south - unfortunately this closed at 1600. There was a bunch of  tourist restaurants across the road a short distance north but these seemed no less expensive, often dearer than Club Mirage's. And noisier. A good sized supermarket was directly across the road from the hotel.
Club Bali Mirage's staff was fine. Free access to the much swisher sister resort's gym (the Grand Mirage-Thalassso directly to the north) and a free shuttle bus to the Bali Collection shopping mall were bonuses.

Pool nice place to spend time, as was.... 

....the beach. Doesn't look so hot here at dead low tide but attractive enough most other times despite being the shortest and narrowest of the groyne hotels' beaches. And if you want something bigger hike north to the adjacent sister resort Grand Bali - Thalasso's bigger beach. Their pool/beach towels are the same (Club Mirage's look hand-me-downs) and nobody hassled several of our guests who used both the beach lounges and impressive pool.
Note that at full tide the water goes right up to the sunlounges.

My favourite beach time was around sunset with a bottle of duty free rum. No grand sunsets on this east-facing coast but to the north Mt Agung usually trying to clear its cloud cover was a nice backdrop.


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