Bingin Beach – approximately 20 kilometres south of Ngurah Rai International Airport (which at the moment can take up to 2 hours travel time via car due to road works and heavy traffic congestion).
Check out Bali Retreats for amazing villas and boutique accommodation to stay in. I stayed at Jabeki which had 2 x 1 bedroom villas which shared a stunningly crystal blue pool…I timed it perfectly and for the most part had Jabeki alone so no-one else was in the pool – yay! It is currently off season (January) in Bali due to the wet season so rates are very low for what you pay for – $130 AUD per night with breakfast included.
Bali Retreats seem to manage most of the villas around Bingin and I noticed quite a few of the accommodations were along the same road as Jabeki – there are plenty of accommodation options along the cliffs too however as a tip you must be prepared to walk up and down as cars can only drive so far.
I stayed in the Sea View Bungalow – downstairs there is a lounge area and direct access to the pool and sunbeds, upstairs is a king size canopied bed with a deck overlooking the ocean and paddock. There is a seperate, outdoor bathroom to the rear of the bungalow – everywhere is lush, green plants and frangipani trees…
Made and Ketut are the caretakers and were onsite the whole time and cook and housekeep. As mentioned breakfast is included and the banana pancakes were the bomb. Lunch and dinner can be provided if requested. Made also organised a scooter and can assist with a driver or taxi. The only catch – there are no kitchen, fridge, tea, coffee facilities within the actual villa – only purified water is provided – Made and Ketut will need to make a cuppa for you (which is no biggie).
I loved waking every day to ocean glimpses and the cows in the adjacent paddock. The cows had wind chimes around their necks so it was like listening to meditation music as they munched away happily.
The ocean is a mere 2 minute walk through a gate and the cow paddock…the views are stunning! Dreamland Beach to the north and further on Kuta and Seminyak (I could see the glow of their lights at night) plus Mt Batur can be seen on a clear day. Padang Padang is to the west and the surf break the Impossibles sits out front.
Getting down to the beach is fun and a workout…it was a matter of walking down random, narrow alley ways, mossy steep steps and past decorated temples and warungs (small family owned restaurant).
The beach itself…as I mentioned in previous Bali posts…it is a Bali beach – expect glass, plastic, thongs, timber, stray dogs and more. However there is a still beauty about it and swimming on low tide can still be enjoyable. Along Bingin Beach itself is reef. There are numerous large, volcanic rocks and caves to explore and scramble through and around depending on tide times – the beach is still a cool place to wander. Warungs, guesthouses and “ding doctors” (surfboard technicians) line the foreshore and haphazardly cling to the cliffs – I love the craziness of it all.
January is wet season. Basically October to April is classed as the wet monsoon and May to September is the dry season. The wet means cheaper accommodation prices, less people around and possible wet and windy weather. It poured rain the first day I arrived, however I still went out and explored. The following days were sunny and mild temperature wise, followed by some cloud, it either rained for a bit or it got extremely hot and humid – some days were bloody windy – a couple of nights there were awesome tropical storms – I couldn’t pick what each day would do weather wise, but it didn’t worry me. I remember when I was in Bali June/July 2016 (so dry season) and it was stinking hot and it rained like crazy – who knows!
There are a few options for drop in yoga around Bingin and Uluwatu – I practiced at The Temple Lodge which also provides a spa, accommodation and restaurant. It is well worth visiting this place for lunch or a juice – the rainforest jungle and timber doorways that lead to a jaw dropping view of the Impossibles is incredible.
Christina, who hails from Italy, holds daily yoga sessions at 8am lasting a sweaty 90 minutes for 120,000 R ($12 AUD) – mats, cushions and blocks are provided. I did a couple of cool inversions and learnt some new poses. It is a really calm space – shiny concrete floors and lushness.
The Temple Lodge is left off Jl. Pantai Bingin Road and around a couple of back alleyways – via scooter I followed the random signs!
The Cashew Tree also hold yoga classes on a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 8am – I didn’t get a chance to attend. I also noticed signs for classes at Mu, which is next to The Temple Lodge, however I didn’t have time to visit.
Because I totes hanged ten while over in Bali…my travel companion did however. I’m advised the prime time to surf the Bukit Coast is dry season. As previously mentioned the Impossibles were out the front of Jabeki…a nice 10 minute slog down hill. The Impossibles break over a small reef (booties are required!) but onshore winds ruined any great opportunity for the surf to fire up, however many locals and visitors definitely jumped in for any possible swell.
Further around to the south is the Padang Padang break and then the Uluwatu breaks. It is definitely a must to have a fresh juice at Single Fin and watch the guys (and some chicks) ride Ulu – it is absolutely stunning up there looking over the ocean on a sunny day.
I forgot how amazing the food and cafe/restaurant vibe is in Bali and I was so excited by the scene around Ulu – the choices are endless and variety incredible – I ate vegan/vegetarian without any issues at all – I actually felt healthier eating in Bali then what I do here in Brisbane. My recommendations:
The only way to get around without having to use a driver or hail taxis and to be honest I didn’t really see many taxis around including Blue Birds. I didn’t use GoJek (ride sharing app – like Uber but you are picked up on the back of a scooter) so not sure if it works well around Ulu or not.
Made organised the scooter and it was delivered to Jabeki for the bargain price of 70,000 R ($7 AUD) per day. The scooter was dodgy AF and had had a hard life but had a board rack and went hard.
For me, the most fun I have is cruising on a bike…turning down unmarked alley ways and seeing how far I can get before having to turn around or even better coming out onto a cliff overlooking the ocean. It is also the thrill of swerving around dogs and roosters and chickens!
To fill the tank, petrol is generally 10,000 R ($1 AUD) – I put 20,000 R worth in over 5 days – look for the road side stands…petrol is so classy these days, I mean when it comes in an old white wine bottle or even more fancier, a whisky bottle – recycling glass at it’s best – love it!
I booked a driver with a vehicle through Chilled Bali Drivers – look them up on Facebook or Instagram. Intan has done an amazing job setting up her own business in a such a male dominated industry. Their vehicles are well maintained and my driver, Peter, was safe, played fairly decent music and knew his way around – even taking some really beautiful back roads through rice paddies.
Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave)
Tegalalang Rice Terrace
So until next time Bali…