Not so off-the-beaten-path, but far from the commercial beaches of Seminyak, Sanur, Nusa Dua, Jimabran, about 2 hours drive from Ubud (Read: Rustic green. Winging it in Ubud with Airbnb. 50/50) is the black sand beach of Amed. Still, clear blue waters make it great for snorkelling, free diving and standup paddle-boating.
The sand is distinctly dark, almost hard gravel-like from a distance but soft to touch and a great exfoliate! The beaches in/around Amed are quiet, lazy and serene, with green hills chopped spirally with step paddy completing the dramatic background.
We left Ubud at 12 and got to Amed around 3 (with a quick pit stop in Candi Dasa); the drive, although long, is visually glorious, lush and rustic. It was partly cloudy with white fluffy clouds hanging low gently overlapping the green hills. Lunch was fresh watermelon juice, fish satay and chap chaye, a mixed vegetable stew served with steamed rice. (Read: Paradise! Home to the Manta Ray & Mola Mola. Nusa Lembongan & Penida. A photo journey).