In the heavy heat of the mid-afternoon, East Bali was beginning to blur. As our driver Ketut zoomed past temple after temple, warung after warung, the only indication that there was anything more to this small village than some nondescript buildings and wandering dogs was a small handwritten sign nailed to a post. “WHITE SAND BEACH,” it read.
Ketut made a quick right at the sign. Driving a few miles on a narrow road, we arrived at a toll booth, where we forked over a Rp 5.000 entrance/parking fee, and then continued on to a heavily rutted dirt path. After a serious off-roading experience coupled with some minor whiplash, our driver parked his trusty SUV right at the edge of the forest and sand.
“OK, Perasi beach here,” he said.
A warm humid breeze whipped across our faces as we left the comforts of our air conditioned car. The beach was every bit as idyllic as the travel websites had described. A string of beachside warungs, each equipped with its own lounge chairs and umbrellas, stretched across the sand. Where the warungs ended, a set of boats lay docked in the sand. Tall rocky cliffs anchored each end of the short beach, guarding the clandestine cove from its neighboring coasts.
Perasi’s beach, known as Pasir Putih or Virgin Beach, is an angel among demons, its pristine white sand a stark contrast from the coarse black sand found everywhere else in Eastern Bali (a byproduct of the gurgling and very-much active volcanoes nearby). For a moment, Robby and I had wanted to forgo this beach, since we had already booked two days at a beach resort in the tourist hotspot of Seminyak. Fortunately, a recommendation from Ketut and a warning from our Kubu Carik host, Claudia — “The Koreans have discovered it!” — changed our minds.
We parked our sweaty butts at a quiet warung at the very end of the beach. A simple lunch of fried noodles and a few drinks gave us free use of the lounge chairs, but it wasn’t long before the bullying Bali sun forced us into the ocean. The water was warm, with lolling waves and a gentle surf. We were the only ones around at that particular moment, but our solitude was soon broken by the laughter of a few local families and children enjoying an after-work and after-school swim. The ocean was so comfortable that even as the late afternoon rainclouds began to sprinkle, we decided to stay and swim in the rain.
We had not yet seen Seminyak, but after our stay there we were ever so appreciative of Perasi. No peddlers hawking souvenirs, sarongs and tattoos. No drunken Aussies on school break. Just a few like-minded tourists who also reveled in the seclusion.
It was only several years ago that this beach had just one warung and a diligent lady who took it upon herself to keep the sand immaculately clean. Since its recent discovery by tourists, the number of warungs has increased. It won’t be long before the hawks zone in — Claudia mentioned that some Koreans had snatched up prime real estate in the area for condo/resort development. I hope that her prediction is wrong, but we did spot a sprawling house on the south end of the beach. A sign outside read “Private property – do not enter.”
I would have been happy to keep Perasi as “our little secret” were it not for that last bit of knowledge. So for those who can, visit now. Sadly, it may not be as postcard perfect by decade’s end.
Read about it on Trazzler!
Add this to your wishlist: Swimming in Seclusion at Pasir Putih in Perasi, Bali