With a mesmerizing natural landscape, ancient religious structures and multiple cultural activities, the list of things to do and places to go on the world-famous island of Bali is almost endless. Most of us know of the usual places beaches like Dreamland or Kuta Beach, but another more beautiful yet less heard of beach exists, by the name of Pandawa.
Often referred to as the Secret Beach, Pandawa is located in the village of Kutuh in Southern Bali. Concealed behind high cliffs and overgrown shrubbery, Pandawa beach had long remained secluded from the crowds of tourists, due to the less-than-easy path that had to be taken to access it. Over the last few years, seeing the potential held in the beach’s majestic and pristine beauty, the Badung Regency Administration opened about 1.5 kilometers of access roads.
This beautiful road to a hidden paradise is indeed one of a kind, cut between rugged limestone cliffs that rise on either side. As you near Pandawa, you will be greeted by five statues carved into the cliffs beside you: Yudhistira, Bima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sadewa. These are the Panca Pandawa, five brothers who are characters in the shadow puppet theater, from which the beach takes its name. With towering cliffs on either side of the drive, not much else can be seen along the coastal road, until it finally opens out to the beach itself.
And when it does, its spellbinding beauty is unquestionable. Seemingly endless stretches of pure white sand span from one end to another. The clear blue water heaves with the swell of the ocean in hypnotic rolling waves, until the sea meets the sky. The magnificent cliffs that once served as the walls that hid the secret beach now stand guard, keeping watch over all who enter.
As with any other beach, prepare to get wet. Take a swim and enjoy the other available water sports such as canoeing and paragliding. Don’t feel like going in the water? Simply sit on the beach beneath the trees or at one of the beach stalls and enjoy a fresh coconut with a snack of roasted corn
Parts of Pandawa Beach are also used as farming ground for seaweed cultivation. Take a stroll and observe the various seaweed farms which have been part of the Pandawa community since the 1980s. The farming on this beach collaborates with countries such as Denmark and the United States.
Aside from the usual beach activities, Pandawa Beach is also the site for the Hindu “Melasti” ceremony practiced by the Balinese community. Melasti is held each year around March, in conjunction with Nyepi, the Hindu Balinese New year. The ceremony takes place three days before Nyepi and represents the cleansing and purification of mind and soul. This is a rather spectacular parade and worthy experience, should you be visiting Bali at the right time of year.
There are no coast guards on duty in this area, so be careful when swimming or canoeing as the condition of the sea can be unpredictable.
Pandawa Beach is about 1 hour from Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport. If you are starting from Kuta area, head towards the Garuda Kencana Wisnu Cultural Park, then take a left turn towards Nusa Dua or Bali Cliff. Keep an eye out for the sign reaching “Pandawa Beach.” When you reach a crossroad, take a left turn which will lead you along the coastal cliff road to Pandawa.