Nowadays it’s lined with 5 star resorts, luxury villas and lavish seafood restaurants. Development began in the early 1980s and has shown no signs of slowing down.
There are three main streets in Jimbaran: Jalan Uluwatu, which runs parallel to the beachfront; Jalan Uluwatu II, which connects the area to the Ngurah Rai highway; and Jalan Four Seasons, which begins at the most popular sunset spot and continues uphill. There are also countless narrow side streets, which, by Bali standards, mean that there is just enough room for one small scooter to squeeze through.
Jimbaran’s main attraction is its gorgeous lagoon. The water is clean and safe, the waves are gentle, the sand is soft and golden, and the sunsets are stunning. In fact, the sunsets are so stunning that flocks of tourists arrive in Greyhound buses every afternoon and flood the beach. Many tourists remain in Jimbaran into the evening and eat at one of the coastal seafood restaurants, famous for their coconut husk grills.
Every evening the fragrant veil of smoke covers the bay as diners settle in. The paste that the local cooks use to marinade the seafood contains garlic, ginger and coconut, and this, over time, has become Jimbaran’s signature scent. Many restaurants outside of the area, including high-end establishments, cook fish this way and brand it as ‘Jimbaran style’.
The local fish market, once the only happening place in Jimbaran, still takes centre stage. Although it is a popular spot for tourists, it is still frequented by locals and offers a very authentic experience. Fishermen display their catch at stalls from dawn until late in the afternoon.
Customers select their seafood of choice from the abundant range, which is then gutted and cleaned on the spot. The seafood is then either packed in a bag full of ice, ready to take on the Bali heat, or customers can pay a small fee to have their catch cooked on one of the grills in the market. The result is always delicious.
Jimbaran is the unlikely home to a Norwegian University, Gateway College, attended by about 500 students studying courses in athletics, philosophy, culture, economics and journalism. The school, located in Kedonganan, doesn’t seem to disrupt the area’s serenity. Jimbaran’s closest nightclub and barhopping area is in Kuta, located about 20 minutes car ride away, and so students and tourists have the option to travel here for their kicks. Jimbaran is the perfect spot for tourists who want a relaxed vibe without traveling too far for it.