Bali is a huge surfing mecca. The island has some of the best surf places in Asia and in the world. Many professionals come to Bali just to catch world class waves. 

However, since it has a strong surfing culture, good conditions for beginners and warm water, Bali is also a good place for the ones who want to learn. The areas close to the waves breath surf all day and you will find plenty of surfing schools to choose from. 

The surf season runs from May to October, which coincides with the dry season. There are many different waves on the island, from the gentle ones in Kuta, perfect for beginners, to the big ones in Uluwatu, for the experts. Here is a guide to help you choose the spot that fits your skills. Make your choice!

  1. Kuta

Kuta is without a doubt one of the most popular spots on the island with many surf spots. If this is your first time on a board, Kuta beach is the right place for you. Although the 8 km beach of Kuta offers spots suitable for all surfers, this is mostly a beginners spot. There are countless rental shops and surf schools along the entire coastline. 

As far as the wave goes, it’s usually a calm beach break that’s softened by sandbars. It usually holds up well with a swell of around 6 feet and often forms nice lefties and righties in a long bay. When the swell gets bigger, you can find high walls, even very strong A-frames and a few barrels, so always check the wave forecast before paddling out for your learning session.

  1. Canggu

It didn’t take long for Canggu to go from rustic rice fields to a mecca for digital nomads. Other than the cool cafes and Instagrammable smoothie bowls, one thing that keeps Canggu attracting people is the waves. 

With consistent waves forming gentle peaks that are suitable for beginners, many surf schools along the coastline, and fewer people than in Kuta, Canggu is a good option for beginners. The favorite beginner spot is Batu Bolong, whereas intermediate to advanced surfers can’t miss Echo Beach. The gentle winds of the early morning always make the best surf conditions in Canggu. 

After an unforgettable surf session, you can always end the day in one of the beach clubs to enjoy a legendary sunset while sipping coconut water. Canggu turns into a party town when the sun goes down!

  1. Medewi

About 2 hours north of Canggu there is a precious wave suitable for surfers of all levels. Medewi’s left hand wave is little known and not a lot of people make it there – maybe due to the distance from the most popular areas or the bad traffic on the way to get there. The reality is that if you make it there, you will find a pebbly beach with black sand, surrounded by palm trees, amazing waves and little infrastructure. Maybe just like how Kuta was a few decades ago. 

The swells hitting the coastline are tempered by a river mouth and sandbars, which help shape the waves into clean, glassy shoulders that roll beautifully to the left.  If the wave connects with the inner section, you will be greeted with a more than 30 seconds ride. Other than that, the water is warm, the locals are welcoming, and there’s always a good crowd (not too crowded) of people surfing – so you never run the risk of being alone.

  1. Balangan

Driving down the coastline on the west side of the island, you will find Balangan Beach in the Bukit Peninsula. It’s a white sand beach with beautiful views from the top of the cliff on the north side. The beach is about 200 meters long from end to end and it’s not too crowded. 

Balangan is one of the best surf spots in Bali. With the right swell, it’s possible to ride some barrels at low and medium tide. But keep in mind that the shallow coral reef won’t give you a gift in case of a fall… The waves breaking to the left have several sections, allowing the crowd not to be located in the same spot.

At high tide, there are less hollow waves that are particularly appreciated by beginners or intermediate surfers looking to improve their skills. There are many surf schools along the beach where you can rent a board or hire a lesson, and some bars/restaurants with balconies facing the beach. It was a great place to watch people surfing, take pictures and enjoy the sunset. 

  1. Dreamland

Dreamland sits on an unique setting: surrounded by a beautiful rock wall leading to a white sand beach. Despite being a place for amazing photos and a destination for people looking for sunbathing,  Dreamland is also one of the best surf spots in Bali. 

Located in the Bukit Peninsula, just south of Balangan, this turquoise water surf spot is ideal for all those who want to improve their surfing skills. The wave is consistent and it breaks to the left and right on a sand and coral bottom. It’s not as challenging as places further down the Bukit Peninsula, meaning there are often plenty of intermediate surfers to be found paddling.

  1. Bingin

The beautiful Bingin Beach is located below the cliffs of the Bukit Peninsula, only a few minutes driving from Dreamland. It is a beach that is starting to be more explored by tourists and surfers but still manages to maintain its natural beauty.

Bingin, which is the best alternative to escape the crowds of neighbor Padang Padang, is a challenging and powerful wave. It is formed by two breaks: the first is a primary swell reef that rolls neatly from right to left over the rocks with a tricky takeoff on a fast ride that is recommended for intermediate and experienced surfers, and a second wave swell for those who want to practice pop-ups over the reef.

If the swell size is small, the waves are gentle and accessible to everyone (longboarders, beginners, intermediates…), especially a high tide. If the swell is big and the tide is low, it’s better to leave it for experienced surfers. 

  1. Impossibles

Just a few meters south between Bingin and Padang Padang you will find Impossibles. As its name implies, the wave is so fast, it is almost impossible to get out of a barrel. Actually just experienced surfers manage to make it possible. In fact, names like these keep the crowds away. 

Depending on the swell, there are times when this break slows down a bit. However, it’s usually better to leave it for the pros. This is a fast barreling wave which you see in magazine covers around the world. If you are not a pro, just enjoy the beautiful view from the top of the cliff before going down to the beach. The view of the waves lined up on the horizon is beautiful. 

  1. Padang Padang

Driving further to the south you will find Padang Padang Beach. To get there, you need to leave the motorcycle next to the bridge and then catch your breath to go down the stairs leading to the beach. Perhaps due to its easy accessibility and beauty, this beach is more crowded than the other beaches on the Bukit Peninsula. Padang Padang is among the most photographed and filmed beaches in Bali. 

There are two spots for surfing: one that is faster and more powerful, and another one that is always full of surf schools but can be surfed both to the right and to the left. It is recommended for beginners on small days.

Although being less frequent than Uluwatu, Padang Padang can get really big. During the right swell, the wave is over 2 meters and starts to break on the left side ending up at Impossibles. These days are for pros only. Moreover, the waves break on top of sharp and shallow reef, so if you are not a pro, just enjoy the white sand and the beautiful view from the beach on big days.

  1. Uluwatu

Uluwatu is the kind of wave that puts Bali on the surf map. Actually, it is not only one of the best surf spots in Bali, but also one of the best waves in the world. This spot, located at the tip of the Bukit Peninsula, has a perfect orientation for capturing big swells. It is not uncommon to see barrels and huge hollow waves breaking on a sharp coral reef. The currents also can be very strong.

WIth that being said, this spot is therefore for experienced surfers only. But if this is not your case, just come to see some of the pros surfing this legendary spot! Other than this, there are many other things to do in Uluwatu: many caves to be explored, beautiful views from the cliff, spectacular sunset and the amazing Uluwatu Temple. 

Back to the wave, Uluwatu offers some waves that can be ridden at different spots. It all starts with Temples, one of the biggest of them all. Then there’s the twisting Bombie, a massive slab of water that sits among the tallest breaks on the island. Then there’s The Peak, and the amazing Outside Corner, which works wonderfully when there’s a strong swell to offer some steep walls for the pros. 

  1. Nyang Nyang

Nyang Nyang is located far south on the Bukit peninsula. It’s one of the rare places in the Bukit area that breaks to the right. The setting is probably how Bali was like 20 years ago. You have to ride the bike on some bumpy roads full of boulders to get to the edge of the cliff and finally go down to the beach through a scary stairway. The adventure, however, pays off once you get there. 

The break feels the full weight of the Southern Ocean swell that brings impressive waves to the region. The exposed reef break is very consistent with rideable waves pretty much all year round. However, if the swell is too big, it might not be safe to surf there. The best conditions are during the morning when the wind has not picked up yet. 

  1. Nusa Dua

Nusa Dua is located on the east coast of the Bukit Peninsula and it’s considered a more upscale part of Bali, with several luxury resorts. The luxury vibe, blue water, white sand and no rocks, provide a different surfing experience compared to other locations on the Bukit Peninsula.

The currents, however, can be a little too strong, so beginners should be careful. It has several classic peaks that break in the rainy season. Surfing in the dry season can be affected by the strong offshore wind (which picks up from land here on the other side of the peninsula), but Nusa Dua is worth the trip to try a different surf spot in Bali. 

  1. Keramas

Keramas is located on the east coast of Bali, opposite to all other breaks mentioned on this post. It is considered one of the best waves in Bali. Not surprisingly, it was recently home of several pro surf competitions with the best surfers in the world. 

The wave is right handed and recommended for intermediate to experienced surfers. Often forming strong and fast barrels, it is possible to surf them with the tide rising or falling. At low tide, however, the reef gets very shallow. In the rainy season, offshore winds favor the creation of clean and impressive barrels. Keramas also has the advantage of being relatively uncrowded.