Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Jimbaran


Last visited May 2014.


Previous visits to Jimbaran had left me underwhelmed. A nice enough beach but too much fishing junk and flotsam in several sections. However I managed to stay there a few days in May 2014 and noticed that the complete beach was pretty well groomed - probably because of the expansion of the resort and beachside seafood restaurant activities there.

Jimbaran beach is a little over 4km long just south of the airport. However the first km down to the fishing village breakwater (diamond placemarker) is not particularly atttractive and has few activities backing the beach. The fishing village backs the breakwater and south of that is a string of beachfront seafood restaurants - 2 dozen or so between the yellow lines. Sari Segara resort towards the south end of this area was my digs. There is another half dozen seafood restaurants mid beach. At about 85% south is a bunch of half a dozen less expensive beachside cafe-bars. Some flash resorts range up the hillside at the far south end with rather nice views north to the airport.
With the exception of sections immediately adjacent the airport and some mangrove areas all the narrow isthmus behind the beach is fully built up - mainly narrow lanes with local housing. 2 main roads run north-south with lots of businesses. The eastern-most, the highway which runs to Nusa Dua/Tanjung Benoa, is insanely busy with traffic.

NORTH BEACH
This is shot from the fishing breakwater looking north to the airport runway (click-expand to see aircraft) - the beach doesn't look too bad here but in fact is markedly inferior to the main beach. Close to the village in shot are a few more seafood restaurants and some flash fishermen's houses - but further north there is no development by order of the airport authority.

MAIN BEACH FROM THE NORTH END
It's just over 3km from camera to south end of beach. First few hundred meters is packed with fishing boats - gets pretty active late in the day when they are leaving for a night's fishing. As your incoming aircraft is on its dry season glide-path to the airport and you look down and see fishing boat lights half way to Java, it's mainly these dudes.



Behind the fishing boats is a bustling little fishing village. This market area is immediately back of the beach. We couldn't find any tourist-standard elcheapo restaurants here or in the rest of the village - but there are plenty of eats stalls where you put in an order and eat off your lap sitting on a plastic seat.



Immediately south of the fishing village begins a strip of over 20 seafront sea-food restaurants. These are the southern-most 8 or so. There is also an ATM area in this section. The big joint is an abandoned 80% complete tourist development across the other side of the beach road. My Sari Segara digs is the smaller peaked roof joint just to the right.


The beach is at its best adjacent seafood restaurants - nicely groomed and even at full tide plenty of sand. Note the water at Jimbaran is not pristine - the whole Seminyak-Kuta-Tuban-airport-Jimbaran strip has too much development run-off to ensure nice clear water. Didn't notice any floating plastic bags as seen at Kuta - so that's a step up. 
Wet season (Oct-March) visitors should note that this beach has prevailing winds blowing onto the shore - so plenty of flotsam etc at this time, plus bigger surf. The surf at our time of visit was very benign - ankle ticklers most of the time - check the pic.
Not too many diners in this lunch-time shot, but.....




....things pick up around sunset.


MID BEACH
About 40% down the beach you have another bunch of fishing boats. There is no fishing village behind the boats - no doubt most of the fishermen live with the other locals in the maze of lanes and alleys behind the beach.
The beach itself is still pretty good here.


Just past the fishing boats is maybe half a dozen more seafood restaurants. I figure these are set up for guests of the rather nice seafront resorts that start just south - it's about 20 minutes walk up to the northern restaurants. 
There is an okay small market area set up behind the restaurants.


Heading south from the mid-beach restaurants we have some nice resorts backing the sand. Look for Jimbaran Puri Bali and the Intercontinental. The beach is still fine to start with, but....


....narrows down from about the 70% mark.



SOUTH BEACH
Gets real skinny a little further south. Note in this later low tide shot that the high tide mark is right up against the back of the beach. If you click-expand you will notice some sandbags in the bank - no doubt to protect against wet season storm wave erosion.


At about the 85% mark begins a set of 6 or more budget priced beach cafe/bars. By budget I don't mean Kuta Poppie's Lane bottom budget levels, but way cheaper than the Jimbarin beachside seafood restaurants and considerably less than Bali midrange hotel levels. This is the closest tourist level budget food we could find to our resort - it took us about 30 minutes to walk the beach to here. A pretty pleasant walk. Cafes seemed popular - a lot of surfer-dude types late afternoon, no doubt calling in on their way back from Uluwatu, Padang Padang, Bingin reef or some other Bukit peninsula hell-hole.


Fellow diners cool down between courses.


Jimbaran beach from the southern end. Low tide shot shows plenty of sand but if you check the wet sand right to the seawall in back it becomes obvious there is no beach at highest tide. Structure behind sea wall is the FOUR SEASONS' beach club (there is a nice rim pool out of frame to left). Budget beach cafe umbrellas can be seen maybe 250m up the beach.


The FOUR SEASONS and several other high end resorts range up the hillside at the southern end of Jimbaran beach. These are very clear from way north on Kuta beach. I've always wanted to stay here - gotta do that bank job first.


SARI SEGARA RESORT
We wanted some where in Jimbaran which was inexpensive, not far from the beach and had a nice pool. At just under $us40 including buffet breakfast on Agoda, across the road from both the beach and seafood restaurants and with 2 pretty nice pools, this place seemed to fit the bill. One potential problem was some scathing reports on Trip Adviser and similar.
As you can see, this is an older Bali-style hotel. The pools were nice places to spend time and in this bigger one, swim a lap or 30. I have no idea how good the rooms are in this section (note - the top rooms would have good beach/ocean views - those in the far wing [northern] would also look up the beach) - our budget room was in a separate block some distance behind camera.


Budget it may have been but our room was spacious, clean, quiet, had a comfy bed, an ok bathroom with good hot water, an (old) tv, fridge and a jug. The aircon was effective, not too noisy, but got a life of its own in the last 6 hours, cycling on and off irrespective of the setting on the control. Free wifi didn't extend to the room, but was okay in the restaurant and pool.
Be careful of the tiles in the walkways and on stairs which get slippery after rain - don't ask how I know this.

Food was interesting. The inclusive buffet breakfast couldn't match the two prior more expensive places we stayed, but was adequate. Other meals were pretty good - prices were higher than the Bali budget level we tend to favour, but not over the top and bargain by western standards. And considerably cheaper than the beachfront seafood restaurants across the road (which are still good value compared to western counterparts). Sari Segara's meals seemed fine and the restaurant service was excellent. As it was elsewhere in the resort. 
Overall we found this a good value, comfortable hotel. The fact it is relatively close to the airport is a bonus, although aircraft noise was not an issue.

SUNSET.
Sunset is an event with travelers coming from all over south Bali to grab a bite as the golden orb sinks into the sea.


The locals seem to be attracted too..







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