Green bowl beach - Surfer’s secret spot in Bali, Indonesia - Still a best-kept secret?

The sheer number of beaches in Bali means that if you were to visit one new beach every day, it would still take you over a month to see them all! And so, no matter where you are in Bali, you never have to travel far to find a spectacular seashore. The only vex is picking which one to visit! Whether you’re a surfer, sunbather or snorkeler, beaches here are waiting to be the setting for your next happy memory.

Ariel shot of the Green bowl beach, Bali, Indonesia.

One such secluded and off the beaten track is the ‘Green bowl beach’ located near the southern tip of Bukit Peninsula in Ungasan. Thanks to a surfer friend of mine who raved about the great time he had at that beachfront made me want to traverse through. Its a secret spot amongst surfers, if you will, due to the seclusion it offers. Though the idea of exploring a remote shore seemed like the perfect trap for a non-surfer like myself, I was willing to take the chances.

A preview from half way to the beach.

Positioned about 15 km from Kuta, the beach isn’t hard to find. Once I got there, understood instantly why the beach had remained a secret. To access the beach meant descending a few hundred steep stone stairway and climbing them back up on the way out. This beach is not for the fainthearted and if you're not extremely fit, be ready to break a sweat! The thought of workout on a vacation wasn’t seducing for the inept mass tourists. It appealed only to the adventurous weekenders and die-hard surfers favoring its uncrowded waves.

Narrow stairway to get to the beach.

The stairs down to the beach are through the tropic forest populated by notorious monkeys and traditional stone statues. Once you descend, the tranquillity and the beauty of the coastline is post-card alike. The sight of fine sand over clear turquoise water reefed in with chasm instantly blew my mind. It is true when people say, the best views are the ones you have to work for. White sand walled in by the lush green cliffs in the form of a bowl helped me grasp how the name of the beach came about. Perhaps, the peachiest feature here is the cave that provides nice shade and covers for those looking for some solitude and time to just be.

The post-card image of Green bowl beach, Bali

I was told by a few surfers who were hanging around the oceanfront that green Bowl bears one of the strongest currents on the island. A broken leash or lost board could leave one sucked out to sea. This tends to scare away beginner surfers, as does the sharp exposed reef. Subsequently, most people who voyaged there had a clear mission, incessant adventure!

For the less athletically inclined, the water is shallow and alright to wade in. The best time to go naturally is during low tide when the calm, crystal-clear waters allow for great snorkeling. During high tide, most of this small beach gets flooded, sometimes even up to the base of the cliff.

Surfer paddling to hit the waves.

There is no danger of sunburn because the high cliffs do not allow sunlight to reach the beach, which also means that the sunbathing is flat. But unless you're here for the surf, there’s not much to do in terms of the other luring beach activities or the customary beach facilities. There's a tiny restaurant at the top that sells sundries and some simple food, but the nearest restaurant or watering hole is too far to walk. 

Coral reef found at the Green bowl beach, Bali

Due to the lack of crowd-pleasing entertainment and inaccessibility, the beach shall remain secluded and free of mass tourism for a long time to come. Yes, there may be a couple of young tourist making their way to the coast but it won’t take long for them to leave once the selfie fever is done with. So, if you’re after some uninterrupted alone time, or want someplace daring to take your loved one or just appreciate the natural beauty of the world together, this beach is just for you!

Caves that provide the shade.

Travel Related Information

Location

Ungasan, South Kuta (Southernmost point of Bali)


How to get around?

Scooters are preferable but obviously, you won’t be able to take them with you down the cliffs.  There are a few speed traps on the way out to Green Bowl so be careful. A good area to ease your way into driving a scooter if you haven’t been brave enough in the busier areas of Bali


Is there parking fees?

Parking at the top of the cliffs is 5,000Rp for the day.  


Why is it called green bowl beach?

The bowl-shaped caves offer shade for beachgoers and give the beach its name


Anything to watch out for?

The only unpleasant thing about Green Bowl is all the hawkers selling bracelets, drinks and sarongs. I know they’re only trying to make a living, but when you are alone at the beach and have five people in a circle around you, it can be a bit much. But don’t let this discourage you, Green Bowl is definitely worth a visit.


Photography Credits

Shilpa Srinivas @flohwithme

Natan Domnik @natandomnik