8 reasons why Bali is the best surfing destination in the world

Absorb yourself in the breath-taking nature and culture of the Island of the Gods and become one with the sea. Choose from accommodation to suit a range of budgets and get ready for the surf holiday of a lifetime!

If you’re looking for a dynamic surfing destination with a large variety of breaks to suit any level of surfer and plenty of other features to enjoy, Bali offers everything from luxurious health spas to buzzing nightlife and family-friendly beaches.

Rapture Surfcamp Bali

Here are 8 reasons why Bali is one of the world’s best surfing destinations:

  1. Bali is the world’s most beautiful surfing destination

Relax on stunning white-sand beaches, wander through lush jungle and gaze over it all from atop soaring cliffs. For a surf holiday that incorporates beautiful natural and cultural sites Bali can’t be beat. In fact, some of the most sought-after surf breaks feature breath-taking scenery, such as ornate temples, picturesque country villages and calming rice fields.

Examples include Uluwatu, with its incredible beach caves below and an ornate 11th century Hindu temple above; and Green Bowl, an isolated spot, which during low tide, reveals a bowl-shaped ocean floor that causes the water to reflect the greenery of the surrounding hills.

best surfing destinations

photo by Marc van der Chijs (Flickr CC)

  1. It suits any budget

From backpackers to luxury resort patrons, Bali has something for everyone. Surfers travelling on a shoestring will most likely spend most of their budget on just getting there, while taking advantage of cheap, but comfortable accommodation that is still close to the beach. On the other end of the spectrum, Bali has an impressive selection of luxurious hotels, resorts and spas for surfers who like a bit of opulence to go with their waves.

So if you’re after a lavish getaway, a budget backpacker experience or anything in between, Bali is sure to have something to suit your tastes as well as your bank account.

Surfcamp Bali

  1. There’s so much to do there besides just surf

Even if you’re on a die-hard surf holiday in Bali, you might not want to surf 100% of the time. You’ll at least enjoy a little time away from the waves to see the sites, enjoy the nature (on land and in the sea, but off the surfboard) and maybe check out a nice restaurant or bar. Luckily, you’ve come to a place that has all of the above in spades — and so much more…

From other water sports like swimming, snorkelling, scuba, rafting and fishing to exploring the interior of the island, night clubbing, fine dining and visiting ancient temples, Bali is a tourist’s dream. Maybe you just want to kick back and relax in your comfortable accommodation, do some yoga or spoil yourself with a spa treatment. The island is your oyster!

best surfing destinations

  1. The Bali wet season

Perhaps one of Bali’s best-kept secrets is that it can be surfed practically all year round. The dry months of June to September are the busiest for surfers and tourists alike, but the Bali rainy season provides a great opportunity for surfers to take advantage of smaller crowds at breaks and cheaper rates for hotels, resorts and surf schools. Don’t confuse Bali’s wet months with the stormy monsoon season that hits much of Southeast Asia each year. Things are considerably tamer on the Island of the Gods. Added bonuses include the fact that temperatures become noticeably cooler and the vegetation becomes more lush and beautiful.

During Bali’s rainy season, the winds change and open up surf spots on the island’s east coast. The border months of the wet season — and any day with good weather — see legendary breaks like Uluwatu and Padang Padang become surfable, and with small crowds. If you’re into whitewater rafting, it’s also a great time to visit Bali and take advantage of the swelling waters of the Ayung and other rivers.

Good Bali wet season surf breaks include Keramas, Nusa Dua, Green Bowl, Serangan, Sanur and Sri Lanka.

Bali rainy season

A rainy day in Ubud. Pic: *saipal (Flickr CC)

  1. It has an established and thriving surf culture

Everyone on Bali knows about surfing and that surfers come from all over the world just to enjoy these amazing waves. Since the 1970s, when trailblazing surfers discovered the island’s world-class breaks and peaceful atmosphere, surfing has grown into an institution on Bali. This makes it a great place to meet other surfers, learn how to surf from qualified instructors and take advantage of the 60-some established surf spots already discovered and made accessible by Bali’s surfing pioneers.

best surfing destinations

photo by likeyesterday (Flickr CC)

  1. Bali is a great place to learn how to surf

Don’t be intimidated by stories of massive tubes and places only experts, pros and kamikazes dare to surf. These exist, but there are also plenty of mellow breaks and beach waves that are great for learners, intermediates and longboarders. With so many (around 60) of surf spots, a well-established international surfing community and schools staffed by qualified, expert instructors, the island of Bali is without a doubt one of the best places to learn how to surf.

Suitable beginner and/or learner waves in this capital of Asian surfing include Padang Padang Right, Balangan and Dreamland. Locals and instructors will also know when some of the more advanced breaks have mellower conditions that are fine for novice surfers.

Video thumbnail for wistia video Bali Video Guide

  1. The Bukit Peninsula

The Bukit’s natural beauty was showcased in the Julia Roberts film “Eat, Pray, Love” and it’s easy to see why this place was chosen as a setting for the Hollywood blockbuster. But besides gorgeous beaches, the peninsula is also home to an incredible cluster of world-class surf breaks.

Though known for its pro-level waves like Uluwatu and Padang Padang Left, there are also great beginner waves like Padang Padang Right’s mellow beach break.

When your not surfing, make sure not to miss some of the Bukit Peninsula’s other attractions, like the temple at Uluwatu, a spectacular cliff-top Hindu shrine dating from at least as far back as the 11th century. Be careful of the temple monkeys, however. They are known for stealing the belongings of tourists!

best places to learn how to surf

Padang Padang Right

  1. Bali has tonnes of incredible surf spots

Bali is home to at least 60 surf breaks, providing plenty of choice for everyone from beginners to experts. Since conditions are known for being consistent, there’s bound to be at least a few with great swell on any given day.

From the Pipeline-esque tubes of Padang Padang and Uluwatu’s legendary reliability for providing excellent swell, to east coast favourite Keramas and the amazing stretch that is Balangan — Bali ticks all the boxes. Check out this article for descriptions of 10 of Bali’s best surf spots.

Padang Padang Bail

About graham.land

Graham Land is a writer who grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC, where he was part of the local hardcore punk scene. Through this musical movement he became involved in grass roots interests such as anti-racist activism, animal rights and Ecology. In 2000 he relocated to Europe, earning an MA in History from Malmö University in Sweden. Graham writes on a variety of topics including the environment, politics and history.
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