A Great Home Base – Staying At Jimbaran Bay
Bali was the first stop after we left Australia. We had finally caught up to our son Nick who had been our advance travel scout. We were excited to see him and to be staying at Jimbaran Bay for our week in Bali.
When visiting a new destination, it is always hard to decide where to stay. We used several blogs and websites to understand the various options in Bali. We wanted to be close to the beaches, so were staying in the south. We did not want to be in the heart of the party district, so passed on Kuta and Seminyak. While the great surfing beaches of the western peninsula by Uluwatu looked great, I was concerned about the ability to get around without our own transportation. This left us Nusa Dua and the Jimbaran Bay area. We finally decided on the less populated western side at the Intercontinental Bali on Jimbaran Bay.
It would have been great to try staying in different parts of Bali but staying just for one week I really did not want to pack and unpack more than once. We would be staying at Jimbaran Bay. We were already changing hotels 10 times on this SE Asia trip.
Intercontinental Bali on Jimbaran Bay
The Intercontinental Bali was a delightful oasis of great customer service from the moment we entered the lobby and were given ice cold wipes to cool us down to the packed breakfasts waiting for us when we checked out at an early hour on our last day. While we got out several times to explore around Bali, when we returned to the resort we fully enjoyed the resort.
Located right on the beach and having 6 pools, there is no end of ways to enjoy the water and cool down. Several of the fountains around the property included fountains that were open for guests to enjoy.
If you wanted to just lounge, you could grab a chair and relax or find one of the hammocks around the property.
The food was great and plentiful. In the morning we were delighted each day by the cappuccino art that arrived hand customized just for us.
For a little atmosphere, you could eat outside by the pool or the ocean. For one of the best Italian meals we enjoyed while in SE Asia, you should plan to visit the Bella Cucina Italian restaurant on the resort and let Edi and his staff show you the difference that attention to detail makes in great customer service.
Great Food Nearby in Jimbaran Bay
Jimbaran Bay is known for its seafood on the beach. This was on our list of “things to do”, but we didn’t know how easy it would be staying at Jimbaran Bay.
Heading to the beach of our resort, a short walk put us at a long strip of back-to-back restaurants. Each had tables out on the beach with hawkers brandishing menus to draw in the walk-by traffic. You could tell the popular restaurants by the number of full tables.
During the day, the seafood restaurants draw in people by renting out lounge chairs and umbrellas. You can eat and drink while you enjoy a great spot on the beach.
We got great advice from a blog by Huffington Post to try the Menega Cafe. For the equivalent of about $16 CAD ($12US), you can get a large seafood platter with jumbo shrimp, calamari, clams and a whole local fish. They had a great supply of seafood that was all smoked on-site – using coconut husks.
This proved to be a great bonus for us seafood lovers staying at Jimbaran Bay. We went back twice at lunch and would have eaten there for dinner had we not found it totally full when we wandered by one night.
Unfortunately, not all of the beach seafood restaurants are as good as Menega. We picked another at random one night and when only 2 of 3 dinners arrived after over an hour, this was one that would not get a return visit. Check the reviews in advance or ask a local for a recommendation. Had we checked TripAdvisor first, we would have found this restaurant was perhaps the worst on the beach!
One night we wandered along until we found the White Sands Beach House. We had been told that this restaurant was owned by a Canadian and we were curious. The menu had a good selection and we tried both house specialties (pork ribs and fish & chips). David plied the owner with questions about how someone from Edmonton had ended up on the beach in Bali (almost 20 years ago).
Staying at Jimbaran Bay, we went past the Chocolate Cafe on the main road several times before David could no longer resist a visit. Finding they had a full restaurant menu, we walked down the road for dinner one night. While the front counter was full of fresh desserts, the dinner menu also offered a good selection of options including a full page of chef’s selections. David indulged in a chocolate milk shake with his dinner, so we didn’t even try the desserts when we were done. We never did get back for just coffee and a treat.
White Sand Beaches of Jimbaran Bay
Staying at Jimbaran Bay offered one of the nicest beaches in Bali. A very long stretch of white sand headed off for miles on either side of our resort. The sand was kept clean of seaweed and litter by a morning cleaning as the cow pulled a rake over the beach.
We laughed to find the beach “red flagged” each day but we weren’t quite sure why the water would be considered not fit for swimming. The tides in Bali are semi-diurnal (twice a day) so it is easy to visit the beach at high or low tide. The swells were notionally 1 metre.
David and Nick had fun playing in the waves as they crashed on the beach. While they tried to “catch a wave” and body surf in, the waves really were not cooperating.
The resort offered surfing lessons and one day we found a large group taking lessons. They got their crash course on the sand, practicing the techniques for getting up on the board before they headed into the water.
Staying at Jimbaran Bay really did not get you a surfing beach. If you want real surfing, you would head up to the Canggu area or south towards the great beaches around Uluwatu.
Uluwatu Temple Visit
We would visit many Hindu temples while we were in Bali. Staying at Jimbaran Bay, one of the temples closest to our resort was the Pura Luhur Temple at Uluwatu. We managed to easily get an Uber to get to Uluwatu but were surprised to find no ready supply of taxis to get us back to our resort. We walked around the water’s edge looking at the great blue water and the temple high on the hill.
We had originally planned to stay to see the traditional Balinese Kecak and Fire Dance and the famous sunset view at this point. As the crowds poured in as sunset approached, our concern about getting a ride home increased. Few taxis and lots of people looking for taxis was going to be a problem. We would have to leave a full visit to Uluwatu for another trip when we had planned our transportation and timing better.
Sunsets On The Beach in Jimbaran Bay
Staying at Jimbaran Bay, one of the key attractions are the sunsets. People come just to see the sun set over the water. One night we saw hundreds of people show up to float in the surf as the sun went down.
Our resort had a special sunset outdoor patio and a sunset dinner was a key draw for the seafood restaurants on the beach. Make sure you come early if you want a spot for dinner on the beach.
Staying at Jimbaran Bay at the Intercontinental Bali provided us with a great base. There were things to do and places to eat nearby. If you don’t stay on Jimbaran Bay, make sure you come in for an evening of great seafood and a beautiful sunset.
Did you try staying at Jimbaran Bay when you were in Bali? Did you visit just for the seafood or the great sunsets? Is there another part of Bali you would strongly recommend to stay?