Padang Padang Beach, locally referred to as Pantai Labuan Sait, is one of Bali’s most famous surf spots, located on the north-western coast of the island’s Bukit Peninsula, and just a kilometre southwest of the Hidden Valley Resort Bali. This beach features an exotic setting; a simply stunning one hundred meter-long stretch of sand that is accessible down a flight of stairs through a unique hollow rock entrance. The surf has a steady set of barrels during good weather, attracting wave riders from around the world.
Part of the group of world-class surf spots that line the coast of the southern peninsula, Padang Padang Beach lies several kilometres in between Bingin and Uluwatu, among which surfers usually switch between for a different set of challenges and another thrill for the day. This beach is also a regular spot for international surfing events, the Rip Curl Cup Padang Padang being the most frequent.
Heading up along Jalan Raya Uluwatu from Jimbaran and around 30 minutes’ drive past the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park, a junction with signs that clearly bear ‘Jalan Labuan Sait’ leads you along a hilly but smooth 3.5km asphalt route. This region has developed with its rise to fame over the past decade, and is now lined with shops, surf lodges and neat western-style cafes targeted at the surfing crowd.
Beach access is down the slope across the road from a large parking area. Prior to this is a bridge that connects the two sides of the limestone cliff, offering a glimpse down to the beach from up high. Halfway down the flight of stairs is a temple that overlooks the surf, and sharing the coastal forest features with Uluwatu, you will occasionally witness playful grey long-tailed macaques playing around the stairs on the Balinese ‘gapura’ gate, and high up in the acacia trees. A fun fact: Padang Padang Beach was featured as a romantic setting in the 2010 big-screen adaptation of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’.
Once you reach the bottom of the stairs, you are greeted by a gorgeous sight: a fringed beach with fine, white sand, blue waters and a distant horizon. There are board rentals here provided by the locals if you don’t have your own but would like to try (warning: the waves here break over shallow coral and are not suitable for beginners). Although the big waves beyond the reef breaks are limited to advanced surfers, the shore is great for family fun and leisure, and there are local warungs on Padang Padang Beach serving light meals and refreshments. Sand castles, splashing, sunbathing, lying down with a good read under a parasol, or simply sitting back to enjoy the exotic views… all are welcome.