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Is there a difference between a natural and artificial beach?

Published on 08 August 2018|
2 min read

The artificial beach is becoming a regular feature in tourism today, but do they live up to their natural counterparts?

by Emily Mary Chin, Carrybeans

The decision is still up in the air on whether the Tanjung Aru Eco Development (TAED) project is still underway.  If so, Kota Kinabalu’s last remaining natural beach, Tanjung Aru, may soon be reclaimed and developed into a luxury resort and artificial beach instead.

With man-made beaches becoming an ever more prominent feature in international tourism today, it begs the question: What does an artificial beach have over a natural one?

Australia

ARTIFICIAL | Streets Beach

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Streets Beach—previously Kodak Beach—first opened in 1992.  It is located within Brisbane’s South Bank Parklands, a popular picnic and lounge spot for families and tourists alike.  Parents travelling with little kids will feel at ease here as there are lifeguards on duty all year round.

Chlorinated water fills the lagoon, enough to fill five Olympic-sized swimming pools.  And the artificial beach that surrounds it requires more than 70 tonnes of white sand to be brought in every year in order to maintain its conditions.

NATURAL |  Bondi Beach

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Bondi Beach stretches out about one kilometre long, sometimes accommodating up to 40,000 visitors in a day.  Not only is Bondi a prime spot for surfing, they also sections marked off for body boarding and swimming as well.  Bondi Beach is also home to various surf lifesaving clubs, whose volunteers work to ensure that the beach is safely patrolled all year long.

Bondi Beach saw a total of 2.7 million visitors—both domestic and international combined—in the year ending December 2016.  On top of that, Bondi visitors also accounted for 39% of all visitors to New South Wales in the same year.

Maldives

ARTIFICIAL | Artificial Beach

Credit: Flickr

Maldives is home to some of the world’s most beautiful natural beaches and seascapes.  However, its capital city of Malé is conspicuously devoid of them.  Not one to beat around the bush, the Artificial Beach was constructed in response to filling that void.

Not only is it an ideal spot for a swim or evening stroll, it has also become popular for its entertainment options as well.  Visitors can enjoy a variety of water sport activities as well as carnivals and live music shows.

NATURAL | Fulhadhoo Beach

Credit: Flight Network

Two hours away from Malé, by speedboat, Fulhadhoo Beach was #22 in Flight Network’s World’s 50 Best Beaches.  The island is a prominent spot for diving and snorkelling, being home to many types of colourful fish, sea turtles and dolphins.

Scoring 9/10 for remoteness, Fulhadhoo is not your typical tourism destination, with tourists packed to the brim.  Here, you would probably see more coconut trees and fish than you would tourists.  If a peaceful retreat in nature is what you seek on your next vacation, then Fulhadhoo may be the island of your dreams!

Indonesia

ARTIFICIAL | Nusa Dua

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Nusa Dua is a Balinese tourist enclave located at the southeast side of Bukit Peninsula, focused on more upscale luxury tourism.  It houses a number of high end resorts as well as what is arguably the most popular golf course in Bali.

Nusa Dua gets a bad rep for its well-manicured and clearly artificial setup.  Visitors must first endure a security search before being allowed entry.  Once inside, you will notice how unnaturally pristine it is there, not a single leaf or grain of sand out of place.  And though this may appeal to many people, it differs greatly from the life and colour of everywere else in Bali.

NATURAL | Kuta Beach

Credit: Wikipedia

Kuta Beach is an eight-kilometre stretch of white and grey sand, surrounded by shopping, dining and entertainment havens alike.  It is an ideal place for beginner surfers as the waves are not wildly challenging and there are lessons and surfboard rentals available all across the beach.

Kuta is also well known for its vibrant nightlife, from rooftop clubs to beachside bars, with many places staying open until sunrise.

Malaysia

ARTIFICIAL | Surf Beach

Credit: Kuala Lumpur by Hotels.com

Surf Beach is located inside Petaling Jaya’s Sunway Lagoon Theme Park.  Here is where visitors can enjoy Malaysia’s first ever surf simulators, having hosted many surf competitions in its time.  Surf Beach has also hosted a bunch of concerts from international performers such as Justin Bieber, Ne-Yo, and OneRepublic.

A variety of rides and activities also surround the artificial beach, from a six-lane slide to an interactive water playground.  Surf Beach makes for a welcome alternative in a city area with no natural beaches in sight.

NATURAL | Tanjung Rhu

Credit: Magchild

Tanjung Rhu is mainly for the guests of the luxury resorts that reside there.  The resorts in the area take advantage of the natural beach to build on their own recreational activities.  Their most notable offerings being their seaside and nature-based spas.

There are also mangrove tours, ATV rides, jet ski tours, fish and eagle spotting excursions, island hopping, and more to entertain anyone fortunate enough to be a guest here.

An artificial beach in place of where a natural beach there’s none

As is the case with Malé and Petaling Jaya, where there are no nearby natural beaches, the construction of artificial ones, like Artificial Beach and Surf Beach, makes sense.  Where there is a void we can fill, we should fill it.  And this is especially true when taking into account how high the market value for water- and sea-based activities is.

Places like Tanjung Rhu, however, prove that luxury resorts can benefit from the maintenance of their surrounding natural resources.  Though a man-made beach may be more easily controlled, places like Nusa Dua prove that tourists may not necessarily favour sterile, artificial environments over unkempt, natural ones.  Fulhadhoo Beach is an example of how beautiful and irreplaceable natural beaches can be.

And with places like Bondi Beach contributing so significantly to the Australian tourism industry, the question still remains: When does it make any sense for an artificial beach to replace a natural one?

Nando’s Malaysia just recently celebrated their 20th birthday and we were fortunate enough to be a part of the festivities!  Read about our experience here.

Featured Image Credit: Pexels

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