Gunung Payung Beach
Gunung Payung Beach, otherwise referred to locally as Pantai Gunung Payung, is one of the ‘hidden beaches’ on Bali’s southern coast, where you can find a remote and quiet setting over great seascapes. The location takes its name from a Balinese Hindu temple complex of the same name (Pura Dhang Kahyangan Gunung Payung) that is located high up on the cliff where visitors can see before heading down to the beach. Getting to Gunung Payung Beach requires an approximate half-hour drive to Kutuh village from Nusa Dua. Along the main Jalan Gunung Payung road, you’ll also encounter the landscaped greens of the 18-hole Bukit Pandawa Golf Club together with its rugged limestone terrain. Just outside the temple, catch glimpses of grey long-tailed macaques, which are more of the shyer kind compared to its notoriously cheeky counterparts at the Uluwatu cliff area.
Approaching the cliff edge after the temple, you’re immediately welcomed to soaring ocean views and sounds of the waves below. The beach is quite an effort to reach, only for the fit and determined – down a steep flight of stairs that locals claim to total around 300. The deep green patches in the clear waters are growing grounds of local seaweed farmers, and upon reaching the base, you’ll discover deep and coarse sand with calm waters great for snorkelling. The remoteness and effort required to discover the beach keeps it untouched by vendors. Therefore, it’s good to bring your own drinking water and perhaps some snacks to replenish once you get down here. The natural reef barriers also means calm and swimmable waters most of the time, but beware of spiny sea urchins that grow around these southern coasts and high tide conditions, as there are no lifeguards around. Also, midday trips are recommended when the seascape is clearer and the water warmer. The temple has its piodalan anniversary every full moon on the eighth month of the Balinese pawukon calendar (coinciding January or February on the Gregorian calendar).