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Uluwatu

Uluwatu

The surf, if you can get to it, is legendary, as are the coach queues and overpriced bintangs. And they all converge on the western most point of Bukit to get to the monkey-infested temple, the riotous kecak dance, and the bule-littered strips of sand that sit at the base of Uluwatu’s 75m cliffs. Some of the best finds in the area are actually quite disparate, however, and several require scootering through a rather sterile ghost resort, the Pecatu Indah development, so be prepared to go hard or home in this corner of Bali.   For those with the wherewithal and knowledge, however, Uluwatu, especially its northern fringes, blends the best of what Bali was with the greatest parts of the new scene (especially low key invite-only DJ brunches on isolated beaches).
Nusa Dua

Nusa Dua

While it’s fashionable to put Nusa Dua, Bali’s pristine prima donna, down, The place, in reality, does nothing less than what it says on the tin. This is an unapologetic resort district packed to fringes of its manicured gardens with five star hotels of an international standard. Coming here to see the ‘real’ Bali would be like trying to get a glimpse of the ‘real’ London by traipsing around Canary Wharf. So, while you might not be able to get a whiff of an incredible warung, catch sight of a temple procession or track down a cockfight, many will still appreciate its world-class spas, several kilometres of reef-protected sand, and its restaurants led by chefs who’ve either acquired several Michelins or are well on their way to them.
Jimbaran

Jimbaran

Synonymous with seafood BBQs and happy families, this sandy crescent connecting Bukit to the mainland might once have been a cross between Billingsgate market and Hawaii, but now simply looks a bit past its sell-by-date. Few beaches look great with an airplane landing every 10 minutes and Jimbaran, wedged directly beneath Ngurah Rai airport, is no exception. More meaningfully, however, the sheer number of Chinese tourists being dumped en masse here for three hour stints before emergency evacuation reduces a deposit of charm that was already diminished by the fact the restaurants, once small and romantic, have increased in both scale and number, reducing Jimbaran to a rather manufactured sort of happiness where little things, like the service ignoring you, start to grate more than they should.
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