Bali's Tanjung Benoa beach sits north of the Nusa Dua enclave of resorts - sort of a more affordable neighborhood within tee-off range of the famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective) gated property that houses some of the most exclusive names in the resort business.
Tanjung Benoa is nowhere near as antiseptic as Nusa Dua, but it's nowhere near as rowdy nor as downmarket as Kuta, either. The area vibe is more mature and family-friendly - surfers tend to steer clear of Tanjung Benoa's sedate waves, leaving the waters clear for kayaks, jetskis, parasailers, and banana boats. The Grand Mirage sits in front of a particularly active section of the beach; the resort offers its own selection of watersports activities to take advantage of the location.
Transportation to Tanjung Benoa, Bali
Tanjung Benoa is close to the airport, about a twenty-minute drive away in minimal traffic but up to an hour away in heavy traffic conditions. Check if your hotel provides airport transfers (The Grand Mirage Resort provides airport pickup free for all-inclusive guests, and charges US$30 one-way for room-and-breakfast guests).
In any case, taxis are extremely easy to come by in this part of southern Bali. Jalan Legian in Kuta is about a 30-45 minute drive away from Jalan Pratama.
- For more on riding a cab in Bali, read: How to Ride a Taxi in Bali, Indonesia.
Getting Your Bearings on Tanjung Benoa
Jalan Pratama, the main road servicing the resorts and hotels lining Tanjung Benoa beach, runs vertically from south to north, if you're coming from the airport. The road is lined with an ample selection of restaurants, spas, moneychangers, and clothes shops on the west side of the street and a number of resorts on the east, ranging from the classy Conrad Bali (compare rates) to more affordable options like the Matahari Terbit (compare rates).
The northern tip of Jalan Pratama leads to a fishing village, transitioning from Tanjung Benoa's tourist stretch into the backstreets populated by the locals. The streets west of Jalan Pratama make up a thriving Balinese community, with a temple at the northern tip and a bustling port down the west coast of the peninsula.
Hotels & Resorts on Tanjung Benoa
Tanjung Benoa's hotels and resorts are positioned mainly on the eastern side of the peninsula, where the beach catches the rising sun. The tame currents on Tanjung Benoa beach create a perfect resort setting for the establishments sprouting up along the coastline; many of them offer watersports and other activities perfectly suited for the waves.
There's a resort for almost every need on Tanjung Benoa - here's a small selection:
Family friendly resort: check into the Grand Mirage Resort (compare rates|buy direct), a sprawling four-storey, 310-room beachfront resort with a kids' club, massive swimming pool, and access to both motorized and non-motorized watersports. Their all-inclusive stays provide almost unlimited access to the resort's amenities, for about 80% more than the usual price. For more on the place, read our Review of the Grand Mirage Resort, Tanjung Benoa, Bali.
Luxury accommodations: check into the Conrad Bali (compare rates|buy direct), a luxury beachfront resort with 353 guestrooms offering panoramic views of the ocean. Located within 6.8 acres of tropical gardens and lagoons, the Conrad has cascading waterfalls and a beachfront wedding chapel set out on an ocean jetty.
Budget option: the Ombak Putih Bungalows (compare rates) offers five apartments, breakfast included. The pool is great for cooling-off in, while Tanjung Benoa beach is a five minute walk away. The management will pay for transport to and from the airport if you're staying for at least seven days.
- For a more exhaustive list of accommodations on the peninsula, read our article: Hotels & Resorts in Tanjung Benoa, Bali.
Bars & Restaurants in Tanjung Benoa
Jalan Pratama is lined with restaurants of all sizes and budgets. The bigger hotels have their own dining establishments, some of which are notable enough to attract outsider attention.
For a fine Balinese dining experience, go to Bumbu Bali (Jalan Pratama across from Kind Villa Bintang Resort - Google Maps; Phone: +62 361 774 502; http://www.balifoods.com). Bumbu Bali's spicy local cuisine was recognized by the Miele Guide as one of its five best Indonesian restaurants in their 2009-2010 edition. You can't go wrong with the Bumbu Bali's rijsttafel.
For a more contemporary bar and party experience, go to Sakala (Jalan Pratama 88, Tanjung Benoa - Google Maps; phone: +62 361 774 499; www.sakalabali.com), a pleasantly modern place on Tanjung Benoa for drinks and seafood.
Try Surya Café (Jalan Segara Lor 21, Tanjung Benoa - Google Maps; phone: +62 361 772 016; suryacafebali.blogspot.com) for a fresh seafood experience on the cheap. Located at the northern tip of the Tanjung Benoa peninsula, Surya Café serves fresh-cooked fare with a great view of the harborfront and neighboring Serangan Island.
- Read our list of Bars & Restaurants in Tanjung Benoa, Bali for a more exhaustive dining and drinking list.
Money Changers on Tanjung Benoa
Jalan Pratama is lined with money changers; not all of them are worthy of your trust, though. For more on changing currency in Bali (and avoiding cheats), read: Money and Money Changers in Bali.
Not to worry, a number of truly honest money changers actually do business on Jalan Pratama. From your guide's personal experience, PT Central Kuta (www.centralkutabali.com) deserves its fine reputation: they traded IDR 9,145 to the US dollar when the actual exchange rate was something like IDR 9,150, and the hotels were changing for IDR 8,900.
Other authorized money changers on Jalan Pratama:
- PT Jania Sedana Graha
Jalan Pratama 89; phone: +62 361 773 975
- PT Trus Valasindo
Jalan Pratama 93; phone: +62 361 775 493, +62 361 773 580
- PT Indonesia Partha Sari Valuta
Jalan Pratama 99; phone: +62 361 776 326
Tourist Attractions on Tanjung Benoa
Tanjung Benoa is best known for its watersports. If you're not staying in a resort on Tanjung Benoa, you can hire one of these watersports providers to test the waters for yourself:
- Wibisana Marine Adventures
Jalan Pratama, Margi Pemuunan, Tanjung Benoa
Phone: +62 361 778713, +62 361 785444, www.wibisana.com
- Bali Jet Set Dive and Marine Sports
Jl. Pratama 89 Tanjung Benoa
Phone: +62 361 772 518, www.jetsetmarine.com
Beyond the beach, Tanjung Benoa is not particularly known for its tourist attractions, but there's a fair bit of local color on the peninsula that's worth seeing. At the northern end of the peninsula, you can find two temples, located within walking distance from each other:
- Pura Taman Beji is within sight of the sea, a temple that used to be the property of a local royal family. You won't be allowed to enter if you're not dressed properly, but the statuary outside is worth seeing. (Google Maps)
- Klenteng Caow Eng Bio is Tanjung Benoa's oldest Chinese temple, and is at its most interesting during Chinese New Year and the Waisak holidays. (Google Maps)
A Turtle Island tour takes visitors to a turtle sanctuary on the western shores of the peninsula. The turtle sanctuary can be reached via a glass-bottom boat that offers views of the corals under the sea. The sanctuary itself shelters a number of endangered sea turtles, from eggs to fully mature turtles in large holding tanks.
Shopping in Tanjung Benoa
Tanjung Benoa is not particularly famous for its shopping scene - while the street has a fair number of art markets and clothes shops, the shopping at Jalan Legian offers far more variety and value. Do try walking down the western side of the street and explore their selection of art, jewelry, and clothes (both genuine and fake).
The nearest shopping mall to Tanjung Benoa is the Bali Collection in Nusa Dua, which is part of our list of shopping malls in South Bali. For shopping opportunities close by, check out our article on shopping in South Bali; or read our summary of the Bali shopping scene.