First, a disclaimer.
24 hours is not – I repeat NOT – enough time to spend in Bingin, a cliffside beach town on Bali’s south coast and one of the best surf breaks on the island. 24 days would be more appropriate.
But if, like me, you only have one measly day to spare in this tropical idyll, here’s how I recommend you spend it.
You’re in Bali so you kind of have to start the day with yoga, right? Right. A great option in Bingin is The Temple Lodge which, every morning for 90 minutes, offers mostly vinyasa flow classes, with a couple of core and hatha options thrown in. If you’ve stayed up late the night before, all the more reason to twist the toxins out bright and early. Namaste.
Lucky you’ve worked up an appetite, because you’ll want to order everything on the breakfast menu at The Cashew Tree. I myself started with a Konscious Kombucha (a yummy local brand with a picture on Gandhi DJing on the label) and pittaya bowl (aka dragon fruit, that tangy hot pink tropical delight that they blend up like açai and serve with granola and fruit), then moved on to a veggie breakfast bowl. Which was enough food for about three people, but I just couldn’t resist. You sit on couches in open-sided bungalows set in a tropical garden, the sunlight’s flooding in, most things on the menu are vego or vegan, fresh and local… Who can say no to goodness like that?
11.30am: PADANG PADANG BEACH
If you can get here earlier, do it: Padang Padang beach is definitely at its best in the early hours. It’s about a ten-minute taxi ride from Bingin beach, then a five-minute walk down some very steep steps sandwiched between the rocks, but once you get down there it’s absolute heaven and well worth the effort.
We spent our time exploring the little caves carved into the rocks that wrap around the cove, slipping in and out of the warm, clear water and basking in the Balinese sunshine. There are some pretty slick looking villas up on the cliffs here which I wouldn’t mind checking out next time I’m in town, and a small temple up the top of the stairs where locals monkeys like to hang out, if monkeys don’t scare you half to death like they do me.
You see that “wash feet” sign on the picture above? Well that’s there because Didi’s is RIGHT on Bingin Beach. Meaning you can sit eating your salad or baguette sandwich as you watch the surfers out front doing their thing. Once you’re done, you can have a bit of a bask on the beach below. How’s the serenity?
Save your skin and escape the heat with a $12 massage at Esthetic Day Spa at Padang Padang. Here you’ll find beautiful treatment rooms, experienced staff and a zen atmosphere, which isn’t always the case in Bali.
6pm: SUNSET DRINK
Kellys Warung is where it’s at all day long, but it’s an especially cool place to be at sunset. Grab a frosty Bintang, attempt to snatch the prime seat on the deck pictured above, and stick around for the seafood beach barbecue. With any luck there’ll be some live music and a bonfire, and you won’t leave for hours.
9pm: HOME SWEET HOME
You don’t have to feel guilty about hitting the hay early when you’re in a tropical paradise. We sure as hell didn’t, especially when we had Oasis Bungalows to return to, where three thatched-roof bungalows surround a lagoon-like pool fringed with frangipani and palm trees. You’re about a ten-minute walk down some pretty steep steps to the beach though, so if you want a more central location with beach views I’d highly recommend the bohemian hideaway that is Sal Secret Spot on the cliffside. Mick’s Place is also meant to be heaven on earth.