I was surprised and a bit disappointed – No, I wasn’t supposed to. In Bali, the magic ‘island development’ spell works very well: ABRACADABRAA!!…It turned an off-beaten-path surf beach to a leisure complex with night club and golf course and a new ‘baptised’ name – TADAA!!…It closed the whole road to the beach with thickest sand in the island and left a new paved non-bumpy road ready for big tourist buses thanks to the largest luxury resort recently built – KAZAAMM!!…It threatened local warungs serving grilled fish and icy cold Bintang to rethink about their (very) small business when the new investor of this far far away beach will build a new (wait for it…) luxury resort thus the “ beach will turn into ‘“private” with a beach club unless you pay twenty five bucks to get access to the beach.
Pandawa Beach is a new name given to the seaweed farm, Kutuh Beach, located in Ungasan, Uluwatu, Bali. The name was taken from The Mahabharata story about five sons of the deceased King Pandu. Pandawa means Five. Before they placed the Pandawa characters statues inside the holed limestone hills, I kept wondering what would this place be when they carved into such strong hills. The Badung Regency government decided to make this secret beach into Bali’s new main tourist destination, inaugurated just last December 2012.
Digging the holes and carving the limestone hills – Pandawa Beach 2011
Paragliders from Timbis Village over Pandawa Beach
I spoke with Ibu Made, one of the warung owners who are still doing her previous job as seaweed farmers helping her husband, but now with the new face of the beach, she could actually earn more money from selling snacks and drinks to the tourists, among the crunchy snacks are seaweed products such as : juices, chips, and candies. We bought and tried some, and think they still need to work on the taste, and packaging to make it more attractive and appealing to the customers. Some local farmers also benefit from the new attraction site by renting kayak boats to the tourists. This new situation that has happened in Bali quite often shows us two sides of the coin – it ruined the secret beach, changed the off-beaten-path into a popular beach with much more convenient and accessible road for tourists, but it also brings business to local residents.
Fortunately, my husband, Benny, had captured some magical sky shades of Kutuh Beach aka Pandawa Beach on our visit back in 2006, when only us, the seaweed farmers wrapping up the day, and purple sunset whispering how serene and breathtaking Bali is.
Flanking limestone hills on the road to Pandawa Beach in 2006
Pandawa Beach 2006 – so serene and quite, it’s just us and the sky burst
Violet sunset over Pandawa Beach, Bali – 2006. Seaweed farmers boats taking its night break..
We could only wish there will be still untouched beautiful beaches in Bali left for us to explore and enjoy…
Touristy or non-touristy, Geo could only care about his sand castles and as his favorite parents in the world
Pandawa Beach Kutuh Village, South Kuta, Badung regency
How to get there : take Uluwatu direction, pass GWK (Garuda Wisnu Kencana) , turn left on the intersection of Nirmala Supermarket- Bali Cliff, follow the road, about 2 km ahead, notice on your right “Nusa Dua Retreat” sign (do not miss the sign!), turn right on this T-junction, then follow the sign of “Pandawa Beach” – easy breezy!
All pictures are copyrighted and courtesy from Benny Risanto – Bali based web developer and photographer, check out his works on www.risanto.com