Thursday, June 5, 2014

MEDEWI


VISITED MAY 2014



Medewi (say Me-de-wi : each "e" as in deck) has for some time been a surfing spot on the mid-western coast of Bali. The uncrowded coastline, clear sea-water, peaceful villages, attractive hinterland and relaxed nature of the area has seen it also become a destination for midrange travelers wanting to escape the bustle of south Bali.


Medewi is approx. 80km by road from Kuta, but the west coast highway is choked with large trucks heading for the Java ferry at Gilimanuk plus local traffic which can be horrendous in the first 30km, and is slowed by road and bridge works - so you are looking for maybe a 3 hour+ trip. Probably quicker at night - but those ferries run 24/7. Add 20 mins from the airport.


Our resort, PURI DAJUMA (lower right), was at Pekutatan beach  just under 2km or 35 minutes walk south-west from the Medewi point break surfing area. The resort runs a free shuttle for people not keen on the hoof. The walk from the resort up to Pekutatan village was 1km - 20min.




The main Medewi surfing area is a left hand point break. Despite a fairly small swell and slight onshore wind conditions, riders seemed to be having a good time. It was uncrowded.
These shots click-expand for detail.


There was a second inferior beach break several hundred meters north for dudes wishing to go right.


Locals had set up a beach cafe overlooking the point break. The beer was cheap which is all surfers ask. There were two smallish resorts with touristy restaurants adjacent - several other places to stay nearby including a surf camp.


 This lane connects the point break area with Medewi village up on the main highway. It's only about 300m long. Lane had a few places to stay, a surfboard repair joint, some small shops.


 Medewi village is fairly small with fewer services than Pekutatan less than 3km south.



PURI DAJUMA BEACH ECO RESORT AND SPA
Situated above a rock platform between 2 beaches, Puri Dajuma at $US110 for their least expensive accommodation in shoulder season May 2014, is several steps up from our usual Bali digs. But being our first place this holiday (excluding our usual Bukungsari budget refuge in Kuta after a late pm flight arrival) I felt like staying somewhere a bit special. With very good user reviews on the various sites, this joint suggested that. Note that this place was formerly known as "Puri Dajuma Beach Cottages".


Puri Dajuma had their cottages in a nice garden setting on the slope down to the shoreline. That's our Deluxe semi-detached digs above. It was spacious, clean, quiet, fully equipped and had a funky inside/outside bathroom. 


The pool looked out over the rock platform and was a nice place to spend time. Because the number of cottages are limited it and other areas were never crowded.

User reviews give the sea view restaurant raves, except a few punters think the food overpriced. It was certainly up 100% or more on budget Bali restaurants, but not appreciably higher than some other midrange places we stayed at later in the trip, and still a bargain by western standards. I thought the quality was real good but Lady Tezza was less sure, getting violently sick on our second night there. Restaurant service was excellent as in other parts of the resort.

Even without The Lady's ill fortune, I was a bit disappointed in this place. Sure it has above average rooms and facilities, but I think it is overpriced - I've stayed in several places in Bali near this standard and sometimes better positioned, at considerably lower prices. Note the free wifi was iffy and when it was working could only be picked up in reception. Tours and onward transfers were very expensive. So was the spa - a lovely place but deserted whenever I checked. The place has "Eco Resort" in its title - um, seems to be more a marketing thing: gas hot water instead of solar panels and they ignored their own request to put towels and bed linen out for replacement only when wanted - they changed them each day irrespective.


The rock platform in front of the resort was fully exposed at lower tide levels. That is a 150% scale concrete boat for show only. If you click-expand you will better see the high tide mark on the beach and the lady relaxing in the beachside hammock - there are several and they are nice places to spend time approaching sunset.


The rock shelf begins to flood with the rising tide, a popular time for locals to fish off the edge of the platform.

NORTH BEACH

North of the rock platform is a pretty nice beach. Has a bunch of fishing boats close to the resort. Note sand is not exactly black - more brown-grey. Water very clear. Some okay waves came thru just after these pix and I had a nice little body surf. Fellow guest using free body board from the resort was having a tough time - only late-takeoff experts can paddle onto a wave without fins on a body board. Novices should stand beside board in the white water and launch themselves and board onto a broken wave as it passes. Can be surprisingly good fun.
The lower shot is about 10 minutes down the beach which continues most of the way to Medewi point - only the last 200m is rock platform which may be a bit difficult to walk when the tide is full. The opening pic shows much of this behind-camera beach area north to Medewi point. 
Several streams cross the beach - these were no problem in dry season May but could be a bit difficult to ford in wet season.

SOUTH BEACH
On the other side of the resort is this shorter beach. Real popular with local kids for soccer before and after school. At the far point begins a low rock platform which runs maybe 400m south. Past there begins a long beach - I walked about 3km of it but as far as I can see on Google Earth it continues at least another 7km. Stream crossing once again may be a problem in wet season. There is a handful of midrange places behind the section I walked including Kelapa Retreat and Medewi Beach Cottages. The latter is a fair distance from Medewi itself.


PEKUTATAN VILLAGE
Being cheapskates we went looking for some budget tourist restaurants but didn't have any luck both around the resort and in Pekutatan. The village is one km up the lane and there were plenty of fried chicken stands to service passing trucks etc - but we couldn't find a proper restaurant. Most unusual.
Otherwise the village had a pretty comprehensive set of services and shops including a bank and ATM.

SUM UP
Medewi seems just the ticket for surfers wanting a good wave away from the crowds. Although it may get busier in peak season it is just too far time-wise from the Kuta area to attract hoards of daytripping waxheads (I did speak to one young Aussie and his girl in Medewi village looking for the beach, who had travelled all the way up from Kuta on a hire-moped. I hope they didn't do that terrible trip just to scope the scene, but were surfers. There are plenty of hire boards available. Not every surfer-dude can say they've surfed Medewi. As a retired waxhead I can - although not on a surf-board).
For midrange travellers it seems a very scenic, relaxed location. There is actually a host of things to inspect in the area including some good rice fields, rubber plantations, scenic rainforest and mountain regions etc. It's kinda nice just walking the lanes behind the beach. Medewi's position is ideal for people wanting to move on to Java or Bali's best snorkeling area of Menjangan Island in the far left of the north coast. Or like us the central mountain area around Munduk and Lake Bratan - a very picturesque mountain road takes off towards these places (and Lovina on the north coast) in Pekutatan village.
Puri Dajuma? Well I reckon it's not a good idea to rely on one person's sum up - read as many user reviews as possible to get a consensus. For sure, I haven't seen too many places rated as "8.5 - Fantastic" on Agoda or "90%" on Trip Advisor.




IF YOU SEE MISTAKES OR HAVE EXTRA INFORMATION, PLEASE POST IT BELOW. BUT IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS PLEASE POST THEM IN THE FORUM WHICH I CHECK MOST DAYS WHEN NOT TRAVELLING - WHEREAS I SELDOM REVISIT INDIVIDUAL LOCATION PAGES.


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