At low tide, bicycle rides or walks along the firm, moist sand are refreshing. Heading north of Kuta, you can ride for about seven kilometers. At this point either retrace your tracks or turn inland at the thatched roofs of Seminyak's Bali Oberoi and return to Kuta via Jl. Legian.
Although the new tourist accommodations springing up north of Legian in Canggu and Pererean are bringing more people to previously isolated beaches, the crowds thin the farther north you get. If you are walking or riding northwest to Tanah Lot, you have to cross several rivers and stretches of deep black lava sand where the coast is rocky and unsuitable for swimming.
Along the beach to the northwest of Kuta, on the estuary of a lazy river, is the unusual temple of Pura Petitenget. Built entirely of white coral, this traditional temple was founded by one of the first Hindu-Javanese priests, Sanghyang Nirantha, on his journey along the beach to Uluwatu.
After defeating a local bhuta, this Balinese-Hindu saint invited the people of the village of Kerobokan to build a temple here to commemorate the place where the sacred books of India, the Vedas, were first brought to Bali. Pura Petitenget shares a common forecourt with the subak temple of Pura Ulun Tanjung. This was also the spot where the first Dutchman, Captain Cornelis de Houtman, set foot on Bali in 1596.
There are hundreds of losmen, beach inns, bungalows, cottages, and hotels here. Since the main roads Jl. Pantai Kuta and Jl. Legian are all built out, new accommodations appear down the lanes to either side of these roads. Each lane is actually a little neighborhood unto itself, with its own waning, shops, hotels, and strip of beach where the neighborhood gathers at sunset.
In the high season July - September and December - January, hotels are booked solid so make reservation far in advance. There are so many places now and such intense competition that proprietors are often inclined to give a discount for stays of three or more days, so the inevitable first question is "How Many Nights?" bargain.