Bali was this tropical island with empty white sand beaches, crystal clear water and tall palm trees, gently leaning over to provide some shade during the heat of the day, at least that was my expectation. But as usually the case with expectations, the reality looked a little bit different and this was certainly the case with Bali as well.
First of all, there were almost no palm trees on the entire island and my place of arrival, Kuta, was packed with tourists, making it quite difficult to actually enjoy the uninspiring local beach. Considering that Bali was dubbed the Cancun for Australians, seeing all the tourists was technically no big surprise. But what did seem rather surprising on the other hand, was the fact that Bali was actually a volcanic island with most of its shoreline appearing as ash grey or even black.
Under the Influence of the Volcanoes
There was certainly an immense beauty to the coastline of Bali, it was just quite interesting to realize how much it was influenced by the huge volcanoes further inland. In many instances, there were not only volcanoes towering in the background, but also the local beaches were not quite the empty-palm-tree-white-sand-beaches, but rather dark in color and dotted with local wooden fishing boats.
The Big Volcanoes of Bali
As it turned out, there were at least 15 volcanoes on Bali, some of them still active while two of them were ancient craters of such great dimension that the rim of these volcanoes looked like a small mountain range. These two craters, one by Munduk and the other by Toya Bungkah, were dominating the interior landscape of Bali, while the other volcanoes seemed to have rather an impact on the beaches.
The differently Colored Beaches of Bali
Volcanic Black Sand Beaches
It was actually quite amazing to experience how extremely dark a beach could be, while walking early in the morning on Balian Beach in the west of Bali. On the other hand, the natural beauty of the dark beach in Amed with its wooden fishing boats and the picture perfect cone of Volcano Gunung Agung was simply breathtaking.
Ash-Grey Sand Beaches
While the beaches in the east and west of Bali had turned out to be quite dark in color with some of them being even completely black, the ones in the northern area around Lovina were rather ash grey looking.
Yellow Sandy Beaches
Surprisingly enough, but the only light-colored sandy beaches on Bali could be found at the very southern tip if the island, stretching down to the small Bukit Peninsula. All of these beaches in Nusa Dua, Sanur, Seminyak and Kuta were actually in really close proximity and could be reached easily from each other.
Pale White Sand Beaches.
Exploring some of the volcanoes and the many differently colored beaches of Bali was definitely the perfect thing to do while visiting the island. Especially the two huge craters and the empty Balangan Beach as well as the small Blue Lagoon seemed well worth the visit. Even if there were almost no palm trees on the entire island and even if most beaches where not white, Bali was still an amazingly beautiful island to visit and in the end, it exceeded all my expectations…
Have you been to Bali? Which volcanoes and which beaches did you visit?
Find more Information about Bali here
Driving Conditions on Bali
Crater Rim drive by Munduk
Big Crater ride by Gunung Batur
Winding Coastal Road by Amed