Pandawa Beach, locally referred to as ‘Pantai Pandawa’, is a great addition to Bali’s collection of gorgeous beaches, located on Bali’s southern Bukit Peninsula. The fine, one-kilometre coastal stretch is located in the village of Kutuh, ‘Hidden’ behind large carved limestone cliffs that reveal wide views to the Indian Ocean, Pandawa Beach was once also dubbed as ‘Secret Beach’ and it was officially opened in 2012, fast-gaining popularity among local weekenders and international visitors.
Besides its impressive natural sea panorama of white sand, blue sky and surf, Pandawa Beach is also best known for its impressive terrain and manmade limestone features that serve as a one-of-a-kind welcome into this coastal area. Huge cliffs were cut through to make way for its winding and smooth asphalt roads which lead down to the beach. The sides remained as high walls, while the ocean-facing cliffs midway down the slope feature deeply carved arches installed with large statues. They each depict the hero characters from the Mahabharata epic, known as Pandawa Lima or the ‘five Pandawas’, hence the name of the beach.
There are six white stone statues draped in colourful Balinese waistcloths, namely Dewi Kunti, the mother figure from the epic, and the five heroes: Dharmawangsa (also known by the name Yudhistira), Bima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadewa. A single empty arch seems to make way for another planned character, either the heroes’ father, Pandu, or his second wife, Madri. You can have great photo opportunities here, both against the giants and to the picturesque distant horizon and the stretch of Pandawa Beach 250m down from this vantage point.
The road from here branches in two directions toward two different sections of Pandawa Beach. The eastern part comprises local stalls selling snacks and refreshments, and its parasol-shaded sun beds line the coast. This area is a little rugged due to the large rocks along the sand, most likely rubble from the prior road construction through the cliffs. The western counterpart, however, features a cleaner and longer stretch of sand, with various water sport activities and gear rentals, cafes, and stalls serving anything from grilled seafood and local cuisine to sandwiches and burgers.
The water at Pandawa Beach, as with most of Bali’s southern coastline, is an exotic combination of blue and green, as local seaweed farmers still tend to their patches along these coasts. On clear days with mild winds, it is a great place to swim, or you can hire a sea kayak, don some life vests and paddle out for fun, and even grab a surfboard to catch a wave beyond the reef breaks (swells are usually consistent with the strongest southern ocean currents moving out in unpredictable directions, so it is strictly for advanced surfers). Easily, this is one of the far-flung and exotic beaches to retreat to on your Bali holiday.