You’re no longer a surf bum with a backpack and a board. You’re done with soulless resorts and hotels. You want your muscles to be surfed out, true, and your body pampered, but you want your mind expanded as you marvel over the unique arts and culture of this island archipelago.
The Tugu Hotel Bali at Canggu is for you. Founded by a Javanese medical doctor with a passion for Indonesia’s history and art, the hotel is small and exclusive, with only a handful of suites. The villas and public spaces are designed as a boutique museum to showcase the country’s art and antiquities. The country’s rich heritage and romantic legends come to life for you, from the antiques in your villa to the service once reserved only for royalty.
But you’re a surfer. And it’s right there. Just look outside your villa’s window to check the swell, which for centuries has been ceaselessly caressing this coast. Canggu gets busy with surfers, true, but you have the luxury of picking your time. A quiet dawn patrol, perhaps, or a late afternoon sunset session among one of the area’s many breaks. When the swell gets solid, keep an eye on the outer reefs.
And of course, the hotel is centrally located for a day excursion’s to Bali’s other famous breaks, from Keramas to Uluwatu to Balian. The hotel’s concierge staff can efficiently organize everything for you, from surf lessons to surfboard rentals to advising you on temple festivals being held on the way to your day’s surf spot. They can do it all, short of actually summoning up the swell, but Bali is famous for being ultra-consistent anyway.
The hotel’s five suites are miniature luxury museums, each unique and custom-designed. When you aren’t surfing, enjoy some of the hotel’s other activities, from yoga to cooking classes that teach you the secrets of native cuisine. Learn the arts of Balinese floral arrangements, or hop aboard an antique horse cart to cruise along the beach and through the village. Enjoy the Tugu’s renowned cuisine that offers authentic local dishes in stunning settings. Dining isn’t just a meal but a full cultural experience.
You’ve surfed the hard way in the past. It was an adventure. At the Tugu, it still is an adventure but with style and class.
Each of the rooms at the Tugu hotel narrates the dreamiest accounts, legends and folkores of the beautiful Indonesia one room at a time. The overall design of the rooms is magnificent, dazzling, and super dramatic infused together with an immense collection of antiques all over Asia to capture the vivacious spirit and passion for the art, spirit, and romance of Indonesia.
Each of the room is painstakingly designed and crafted by the owner with perfect attention to detail renovated to provide the ideal mix of color, texture, and atmosphere.
This suite is located on the upper floors of this charismatic Javanese building and possesses super rich and dramatic colors, with a timber interior and a classic four-posted carved bed with luxurious bathrooms personally hand-crafted by local artisans for the perfect touch. The suites are equipped with its very own private spa area with a one of a kind sunken bathtub and a daybed that has been arranged perfectly next to the bath. Also, with its charming wood paneled windows, these suites offer you sensational views to the beautiful rice paddy fields as well as the ocean right in front of you.
Surrounded by a vibrant and lush tropical garden and tucked behind an antique wooden door, the Dedari Suites are extraordinary for their eternal and timeless setting. The Suites are equipped with a large canopy bed and an outdoor tropical plunge pool, your very own private spa area with a distinctive sunken bath in a semi open air bathroom as well as a comfortable daybed. The candles with the incenses give you a great atmosphere and the perfect excuse to relax in your suite all hours of the day.
Located upstairs and surrounded by lush and vibrant tropical gardens, the 2 bedroom kampong suite reflects the Javanese art décor from the early 20th century. This suite dwells in the upper floor of one whole large villa and has its very own private spa area with a sunken bathtub, antique flooring and a balcony. The master bedroom is equipped with a four-post wooden hand carved King size bed whereas the second bedroom is equipped with two twin-sized beds.
Walter Spies Pavilion
Paying tribute to the legendary German poet and artists Walter Spies, a leading German artiste and composer who has made Indonesia his home, this room will transport you back to the early 20th century Java. This suite is equipped with a large four posted bed, a gorgeous private plunge pool with an outdoor dining pavilion and is enclosed by a vibrant tropical garden with a secret and one of the most unique outdoor sunken bathtub you will ever see.
Puri Le Mayeur
This spacious single story villa perched over a lotus pond with views to the sea pays tribute to the eternal love between Belgian artist Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur and his wife and muse, Ni Polok. This super luxurious suite has a private plunge pool, an open air dining area, and a gorgeous oversized hand-beaten copper tub as well as a verandah to witness the majestic setting of the sun behind the beautiful rolling and breaking waves.
If you are coming to Bali and staying in a villa then you are probably either in Seminyak or Canggu. IF you are in Canggu then this beach break offers heaps of fun lefts and rights for everyone. Best early in the morning with a high tide as low tide can reveal dispersed random rocks that you want to avoid. The great part about Canggu is the post surf activities. There’s heaps of restaurants, spas, bars and shops to keep you busy the whole day. A bit of a tourist trap but well worth a day trip.
The heart of tourist Bali, Seminyak breaks over a sand bottom and if you are lucky you will either get picture perfect A Frame take offs or massive close outs. It is a swell magnet best surfed in the early morning. The place can have strong currents and if you are sitting on your board you can literally see the landscape pass by. If you are staying in Seminyak, obviously you will want to try this place but there are other near by like Ku De Ta, Petitenget and Double Six which are worth a paddle.
Bali’s most famous beach, Kuta has a reputation for sand, sun and nightlife. The break is over sand so it’s for beginners really. The place is strictly for the back packers and beginners and probably best avoided unless you want to be among dozens of people all vying for the same wave.
Close to Kuta this is the next break along that gets it’s name due to it’s proximity to the airport. A fun left hander that’s quite consistent but you may have to put up with the crowds. Best at high tide this left hander can deliver some seriously good rides over the reef. Avoid low tides. The great part about Airport Reef is that you can easily suss out all the nearby breaks on a local boat that can be hired from the beach. A return trip is about Rp 50 000.
Also known as Ulu’s this place is the mecca of surfing in Bali and is really a must see surf destination. A paddle out through the cave will reveal 4 different left hand breaks depending on the tide that are world famous. The only issue with this is the crowds. You have to get there super early to avoid the tons of people trying Uluwatu out. The wave itself is a magical left that’s super fast with hollow sections that allow for barrels and long sections which is a goofey footers paradise. It is best at mid-high tide where you can easily paddle out without booties, but once low tide hits you have to walk out on the reef and then the wave is incredibly fast breaking over shallow reef bottoms.
Most of the crowds are there when this consistent left is between 3-5ft. Anything over that will see the crowds thin out as the main wall begins at Outside Corner and takes you all the way past Racetracks on your journey to one of the most insane rides you will ever have in Bali. There is a love /hate relationship with Uluwatu with most people you speak to. They will always say how good it is but the crowds made the day unpleasant.
Paddling in is always challenging as you have to aim slightly right of the entrance as the current pulls you towards to the North. Miss it and you are in for another big paddle around to start it again – not ideal after a 3 hour session.
Bingin is a gem of a wave on the Bukit ( southern part on the Island) where the hip Bali holiday makers come to escape the frenzied tourist areas. Bingin can be best described as a mellow beach vibe with cool restaurants where you can pass the day away, however, the wave is super fast with a heaving takeoff over razor reef. It’s a great left hand bullet train of a ride with a mid section that bowls into tube city. The trick here is to make the drop. Best at high tide as a fall on the low tide will result in some serious cuts. Having said all that this place can get crowded so get here before breakfast, surf for 2 hours and then go for a juice in one of the dozens of local restaurants that line the beach.
If you are on the Bukit heading to Ulu’s there is a small bay on the right called Padang- Padang. Needs a solid swell for this to work but when it does you will get barreled with epic waves. Once you make the take off the wave runs fast through the mid section, leading into a square barrel and a super fast exit. Because Padang-Padang is neatly tucked into the SE cliff area it’s gotta be a big swell at Ulu for this to go off. This place is for the experienced but when it’s small you will see all manner of surf craft having a try at the take off. Because this place is so intense when it’s big, the place gets crowded with macho locals and expats all trying to get as deep as they can in the barrel. This place gets very busy and the mood can shift as surfers all try for the best wave.
Things happen in Bali very quickly. Hotels and golf courses pop up all over the place and this gives rise to new surf spots such as Dreamland. This area was once very peaceful but like any decent surf spot in Bali has risen to become very trendy. The wave is best for beginners to intermediate as it offers both lefts and rights over a sandy bottom. I would go there at low tide where you can get a bit of a wall as high tide is really a close out dump.
This turns on when there is a solid South swell rolling in. The wave opens up over the reef which reveals very fast sections. Most of those picture postcard snaps you see are of Impossibles but the reality is take care as this wave is a gun and you are going to be launched at high speeds through most sections. You can ride this at both low and high tide with the low giving the best opportunities for barrels.
The drive to Balangan is incredible and very picturesque and at the end you will see a great left that provides fun for beginners right through to advanced when its pumping. The first sectionis at the entrance of a cave allows you about 50 m of pure carving before you hit the mid section where the rest of the pack is. Make sure you are ready to scream at them to avoid the drop ins. Balangan has seemed to miss the over development in Bali and is a great place to hang for a couple of days. There are ample food places on the beach where you can grab a good feed.
This is Bali’s litmus test where you here crowds often say that they have been everywhere else but there is some swell here. When it’s flat over the entire Island give this place a fgo. It’s a swell magnet, but due to the walk up and down the cliff face ( last count there was over 250 stairs – if you can call them that) which keeps the big hordes of crowds away. This place can get very knarley very quickly so watch out for rogue sets that can catch you on the inside. Go at high tide as this reef is very sharp and there are strong currents that can push you around. This is for the experienced only when it’s working as waves can get over head high. I love this place as you really feel like you are on an adventure. Make sure you are paddle fit as you will get into rips that’s 100% for sure and you need to be able to paddle your way out of them. Having said that, don’t let the climb up / down and the rips deter you. This place is insane and will give you a truly memorable surf.
If you are staying any where near Canggu then no doubt you are going to visit Berawa Beach. Nothing to get too excited about unless you are a beginner and enjoy being amonst other beginners. There are a few good lefts and rights but as I said it’s not what you really want if you are looking for an adrenalin hit in Bali.
Ceningan Island is located on the eastern side of Bali just near Nusa Penida. There is hardly anyone on this island which makes for a great change in Bali. The break is a serious left hander with nice long rides and very fast faces. If the swell and currents are wrong it can get messy so be very careful as there can be few people out. This is best when the swell is a manageable and Lembongan isn’t pumping. Access is best by boat transport although for the adventurous type you can navigate the sharp ridged cliff. We have heard that some locals think there are sharks so take this as a word of warning.
If you love rights, you are going to love this place. It’s a right handers paradise ( like Nyang Nyang), with fast take offs, long walls and rides that will leave you grinning ear to ear. This is for the experienced only but when the swell and wind conditions are right you will find heaps of tourist out there.
This place is known for being super rippy so be careful. Goofey footers will be tempted with the left hander but this should not be attempted at being caught on the inside will leave you wishing your were not there. Getting dragged over the reef is no fun at all! Stick to the rights and you should be fine. A point to note. Leave some fuel in the tank as the walk back up the cliff at the end of a big surf session is not easy. But, you will enjoy a post surf massage from one of the locals when you reach the top.
On the east coast of Bali this is the new uber cool ‘go to’ surf spot in Bali. It works well on the east swell and has a fun, very racey right hander that spews you out over the reef after about 50 m of insane fun. This is the place that takes your surfing up a notch with great long walls and barrel sections. Because this place is so popular there can be a bit of agro and bad vibes out the back. Stay calm, observe the rules and wait for glassy dawn perfection.
This left is unlike anything else in Bali. Think Trestles California and you are in the right direction. An easy, fun left that will allow you to really open up and let loose. It’s a fun long ride that should be on your Bali surf list. If there is a S-SW swell you are going to get probably the longest ride of your life. Get up early for the dawn patrol and you wont be disappointed. This is not a reef break but a cobblestone / sand bottom and this is what gives this break it’s unique character.
This little gem of a break works well in the wet season. It has something for everyone; lefts and rights, with fast sections that bowl up and arc around. It is next to a massive rock jetty but this should not distract you or put you off. Best in a SE swell and when all other breaks on the other side of the island are blown ( when the winds go west) this place picks up all the surfers.
Are you an experienced surfer that wants to ride an incredibly fast right hander that races over razor sharp reef? Then Sanur is your pick. It’s on the east coast of Bali (a big tourist mecca) that will leave you gasping for air after you have surfed a 100 meter wall before kicking out over dry reef.
For Sanur to work the swell needs to have some considerable grunt and size. Once it’s overhead then the real action begins. These swells are more likely to occur in the dry season. Rainy season brings onshore winds and inconsistent waves. If you are there on smaller days the walls can be very fast that shut down quickly so be ready for a quick exit. This place does get crowded especially with locals so take care and show a bit of respect.
Located on a river mouth, this swell machine give left handers a great long ride that is famous for it’s raw power and size. Located on the east coast Balian is often bigger than west coast breaks. I would recommend always go left as rights will push you into the river out flow and this can bring on infections. Still Balian is a very worthwhile visit when in Bali – highly recommended by many local and expats tourists.
A great little spot right outside Club Med. When Nusa Dua is pumping this place rocks. Huge barrels, bit walls let you really let loose. Not overly consistent but when it’s on it can get packed. This is all reef break so you have to be confident enough to be able to handle this.