Friday, May 11, 2012

Bingin Beach, Bali

Fishermen waiting for that last catch of the day
Mention Bali and folks are thinking of partying at Bounty, surfing the mystical seas off sandy white shores, sipping wine in Seminyak, dining in the many lush resorts on cliffsides, romantic getaways in Ubud and possibly hooking up with surfers for some 'what happens in Bali stays in Bali' action.

I've been moving about on my many trips and over the last weekend i hit the surfer beach colony at Bingin Beach about 40 minutes away from the Denpasar airport. Yes, i have the surfing prowess of a pregnant camel but this was more for Project Coconut (more to be revealed soon) then to actual ride any waves.

A nice mix of folks, young kids, local fishermen and surf bunnies.
Some of the pictures here taken from cliffsides are a bit blur as i didnt have a zoom and had to blow up the pics to show you the shots that i wanted so bear with me. The wide angle shots are cool as that was taken with the Nikon D7000.

Bingin Beach is a charmer. Lets cut to the chase, it just for those who want to get away from the frantic madness of traffic and tourists in Kuta and the pretentiousness of Seminyak. You're here just to surf and take in the sun on a beach that is no frills but is magic nontheless. You're here if you just want to spend time away from people, read that book in a cosy surfer shack, eat fried noodles and chug down cold beers in a little 'warung' that over looks the startling blue Indian Ocean. 

You're here to experience the magic that is a sparkling expanse of liquid diamonds that is the ocea spread out in front of you, the same ocean that greets you in all its deep azure majesty in the mornings and transforms into a velvety blackness that crashes onto the rocky shores in the still of the night, a calming lullaby as you drift away to have a Bintang with Morpheus of the Endless.

It the mid afternoon the sea's an expanse of glittering silver. The surf is crashing onto
the hard rocks  while some hardy surfers and swimmers brave the heat
When you take your time exploring there's always something to see. You appreciate the intricasies of your surroundings - buildings, architecture, the sounds of the chirping birds that greet you at dawn, smell of the sea and that fresh cup of Bali coffee in front of you, the little trails and paths that lead away to potential mini adventures. 

Thats what i found here. I just took my time and wandered around the beach and the surrounding neighborhood of Bingin beach. I dont get that in Kuta and Seminyak. What you see there is what you get. Folks out for a good time. Folks content to entertain their own thoughts. Wandering around the lesser developed spots in any country can only leave you with a sense of discovery. 

Unless its you harshly discovering how good Thai plastic surgeries are on what you thought was a woman sitting on your lap in downtown Bangkok. (um.. this happened to a friend of mine Girlfriend of Chindi. Serious)

The Nyoman and Nyoman Cafe, the furthest cafe on the side of the surfer colony

This was a short trip so after landing around noon I just chilled out at the shack for a while then headed down to get some food at the local warung. The view from every of these little stalls is great. the one's higher up offer majestic view of the ocean, something you're not going to get in Kuta or Seminyak or Nusa Dua or Lovina. The food is decent and the servings are generous. On average it cost me about 30,000 RP (approx USD3 for a beer, and about 50,000 (just under USD6 bucks for a plate of fried rice, a small bottle of mineral water and a coke). This just gives you and idea of the prices.

Another stall further up from Nyoman (i forget to jot down the name)
The warungs are also a great place to just chill and read (BUT be careful of the monkeys who have a tendency to grab your spectacles or stuff) DONT leave shit lying around.

They are many warungs on the colony and its also a great place to meet folks and chat if you're the more socialble type. The surfers are more laid back and unassuming. Many of the local expats also hang out in Bingin to surf or just to hang out by the beach as a getaway from the main towns.

Part of Bingin beach. Walking further ahead takes you to the Klapa dining complex
A lone fishermen surveying for catch

This walk itself should be enjoyed as during the low tide in the afternoon and evening, the sea weed covered rocks gel beaitufully with the rocks and coral and white sandy beaches. Some fishermen scour the shallow waters for small fish while you pass huge boulders and rocks as the surf reaches out to you with white frothy fingers.

The public area of the Klapa beach
I then hit the beach above and made my way to the Klapa dining complex which sits on the old Wonderland piece of land. Its about a 15 minute slow walk along the beach and is a more busy touristy crowd ie loud Chinese tourists, loud local kids, fat white dude and his slim little local girlfriend in her string bikini lounging by the pool etc.

The beach is a public area but you need to pay RP100,000(approx usd10) to get into Klapa which can be redeemed for food and drinks inside. Sorta cover charge. oh btw, GO NOW - there's a San Miguel promotion that gets you about 7 beers for your RP100,000! Yes, i was one happy camper...

Part of the outdoor dining area and infinity pool at Kelapa
If you're on an extended stay at Bingin you could hit Klapa for a couple of hours for a change of environment if you needed to. The beers were a lot cheaper during that promotion! I'll put up another post on Klapa in the near future.

Sunset from Bingin Beach
I head back to Bingin as the sun sets as the tide's moving in fast and I dont want to get cut off when the sea reclaims the sandy beach i had passed through just under 2 hours earlier. Buzzing from the beer, its a magic walk back. The blue skies and ocean are now tinged gold with the setting sun. the rocks and seaweed glistening in the the dusk and the need to sit down and enjoy the moment is only hastened by the rising tide. I head back to the shack, buzzing from the beer. The cold shower will wash off the sticky salty layer on my skin and Mick Foley's latest Countdown to Lockdown sits patiently for me in my backpack as night descends on Bingin.

The full moon over the ocean
Surfers waiting for the perfect wave at dawn
I wake up to a beautiful morning. The sea greets me as my groggy eyes adjust to the early morning sunshine that starts the day early here in Bali. I head down for a jaffle and coffee breakfast and then begin exploring the surfer colony and the surrounding neighborhood.

One of the yoga joints at Bingin. The other was the Mu Lodge.
The lead up to the Bingin cliff is made up of narrow roads that hug small patches of meadows, fields and small houses. Little side lanes take you to homes, temples, exclusive resorts and private residences owned by the wealthy.

The Doorway to Neptune's Kingdom. Or Aquaman's. or The Submariner's.

The hidden entrance to a small resort that was hidden between trees.

Some of the smaller paths leading to the a bunch of yoga retreats nearby.
The steep paths at the surfer colony and a sausage on legs
Along one of the paths i stumbled on this guy breeding cockerels for cock fighting tournaments
I just walked into one of the upper market resorts on the cliff side- I think this is the Temple Lodge's infinity pool.

An unfinished chalet on the surfer colony
Later in the evening I go pay a visit to some friends at the Hard Rock cafe in Kuta. Getting a cab back in the dark is a challenge as you've got to make sure your can driver know's exactly where Bingin Beach is and even that he might miss the little turning on the right to the beach or else he might head stright on to the adjacent Padang Padang beach. Just remember the small restaurant on the right just after the turning to the Bingin area.

This was a perfect 3 day 2 night trip. ALone time, a good book, a constant soundtrack of the ocean and birds. The expanse of night sky spottend by star light and the lamps from fishing boats. Great for those days when your gas tank for work is empty, you've just broken up with that asshole/crazy stalker ex., want to take some surfing lessons OR you just want to check out sculpted tanned surfer dudes and babes in all their bikini-ed glory (the women i mean. No Speedo wearing men here).

Anyone want to make a trip here let me know. I'll hook you up with some contacts folks. Have a great weekend ahead!


C. Andres Alderete said...

This seems like a perfect place to shut out the outside world. I like it. Big life plans, eh?

Chindiana said...

Insightful as usual Carlos. Not really big life plans, more a simpler life. Now i just got to learn quick how to catch fish with a clothes hanger and some yarn... :)

Melani said...

Dear Chindiana

Such a lovely post, I am planing a trip to Bali in October, i have abot 3,5 weeks and wanted to start off in Bingin since I'd like a calmer area. I would love to stay at a place where i can just sitt and stare at a fantastic view, with yoga possibilities... could you recommend a place? You've written there are a few yoga places. Do you know the names?

Thank you!

Chindiana said...

Hi Melani, let me check my notes there are two places near Bingin which offer yoga that i saw. Give me a day or two and i'll get back to you. you can email me your email address and i'll send you the note. I actually rarely check the comments on older posts.

Chindiana said...

Hi Melani, you can check out MU Lodge which i liked at

I walked in here and really like the layout and you'll hve a great view of the ocean as MU is located on a cliff. They offer yoga classes as well.

The Temple Lodge also offers yoga lessons. Its best to call ahead to get their schedules. You can google them for their details as i dont seem to have their details with me.

hope this helps Melani. Bali is a great place so do take your time. Dont go with any expectations. Good luck!

BTW i will be back in Bali in early October to climb a mountain there :)

Chindiana said...

Oh and i forgot Melani, the MU Lodge and the Temple Lodge are about 15-20 minutes walk from the surfer colony where i stayed. there are various paths to the colony and i believe that from both MU and the Temple lodge you can reach the beach within 10 minutes (the steps are quiet steep.

There is a lodge at the srufer colony that has yoga lessons but its nor regular. If you want comfort and quiet then i would suggest the MU Lodge as first choice then the Temple Lodge.

Sabine said...

Dear Chindiana,

could you tell me where you stayed during you visit? I would like to go to Bingin in Wednesday.

Thanks a lot!