Weekends are the best time to explore and see what else this island has to offer apart from your usual daily routine. The tourist sites in Bali are obviously varied with endless options, but at some point, one needs something different even though they can’t put a name to it. That nagging feeling is what led me and my ‘crush’ to discover the extraordinary hidden beach of Gunung Payung.
Being spontaneous, we set ourselves aside from touristy areas only to stumble upon this small but magnificent piece of natural attraction. Actually, Gunung Payung Beach is located next to the famous Pandawa Beach on Bali’s southern Bukit Peninsula – roughly takes around 30 minutes drive from Kuta – but not many are aware of its existence. Thank God for that! You won’t find the signpost to locate the beach. The trick is to find Pandawa Beach, but keep on driving a bit further until you find the second intersection. Turn right, and there you go.
As we drove onto a dirt track, I could see a vast golf course on my left and the blue ocean wide just hundreds of metres ahead. The parking lot was quite neat and clean with food stalls centralised in one spot. Unlike the neighbouring beach, Gunung Payung Beach doesn’t attract many crowds. It was the weekend, and I could only see less than ten vehicles parked there. From where I stood, I could feel the ocean breeze against my face, and it was a good feeling. As I edged closer to the cliff, I peered over and was awestruck by the magnificent view! Clear blue waters interspersed with curling waves lapped up onto the beach below.
“Now, here comes the difficult part,” I said to my ‘crush’. The difficult part, in this case, involved walking down narrow – sometimes steep – stairs that lead to the beach. If I needed any motivation to descend the 500 or so steps down to the beach, the sight of the beautiful waters and the lonely stretch of sand was enough for it. Gunung Payung Beach is certainly a place of solitude. Aristotle once said that “Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god”. I wonder which one of them I was as I walked down the sandy sliver of the beach.
All of a sudden, I was surrounded by cliffs and clean white sand. Not many people were there. I could count the number of people on the beach on one hand. We took a short stroll on the beach and discovered a small cave to crash into. This quiet beach was my home for a short while as I relaxed and breathed in the fresh sea air. The blue of the water and the verdant green of the trees on the cliffs separated by the warm yellow hue of the sands is a sight to behold. The winds mixed the smell of the ocean with the scent of the trees creating an intoxicating perfume that made my day. This is what I came to love about the beach. The simplicity shines through the beach, the ocean and the reef. This is nature at its simplest and most beautiful like it was always meant to be.
I hoped to stay longer for sunset, but I realised that the journey back over the steps would become difficult in the dark. On my way back up to the parking lot, I remembered a quote I read in a magazine that said: “You can be the most beautiful person in the world that everybody sees light and rainbows when they look at you, but all of that doesn’t even matter if you don’t realize it.” Referring to what the quote said, I guess Gunung Payung Beach realises its own beauty, allowing me and my ‘crush’ something to remember for the rest of the day.
By the time I reached the top of the cliff, the sun was well on its way toward setting. The sight of that empty beach in the glorious sunset was beauty personified. No words exist to evoke the beauty of that moment! It was the perfect end to a perfect day. Gunung Payung Beach is well-deserving of the magical epithet of ‘hidden beach’ in Bali.