[bingin soundtrack. sugar]
On the western side of the Bukit peninsula (just 45mins south of Bali's Denpasar airport) lies Bingin Beach. This quiet and enchanting pocket of the Bukit quickly became our favorite place on the island. Sheer cliffs that swamp lush green vegetation and coral reefs, stretch far and wide, straddling a spectacular beach - white sand, and clear turquoise water (so different from not even comparable to the beaches further north in Seminyak and Canggu). Home to one of the Bukit’s classic surf breaks (we heard it being called “one of the most beautiful waves in the world”), you scramble down a whole bunch of steep and dusty stairs to reach this paradise. Charming little Warungs and guesthouses dot the cliffs and the beach itself. You can surf. You can swim. You can paddleboard. You can do absolutely nothing at all. We loved getting up at sunrise, walking the beach while the tide was out, around to nearby Padang Padang (best before the crowds arrive).
We found our Bingin days to go mainly like this: eating a homemade Balinese breakfast at our villa (this was by far the best nasi goring we had on the trip), followed by morning yoga at The Temple Lodge (the most magical and mystical place of all) - and breakfast (if we hadn't already had it back at the villa) of their insanely good raw muesli with homemade cashew nut milk, followed by smoothies at the Cashew Tree, beach time at Bingin (or we would jump on the scooter to cruise around to our other favorite spot (near Thomas Homestay) - now this is paradise), a bit of paddleboarding or surfing for a bit, then lunch at one of the beach warungs (we love Sun Surf Stay for their nasi goring and Swamis for their hobo salad), followed by massages and facials ($17…whattt???) at Mick’s Place (followed by snacks of organic Balinese chocolate or popsicles - details below!) and a swim in their infinity pool, and then aperitivo at MU (they even do apertivo snacks like you would find in italy like mini bruschetta and roasted peanuts), and dinner most likely back at the Cashew Tree for one of their soul bowls (or maybe The Temple Lodge). You really don't need to leave a 500m square radius all day! Its all there. And its all absolutely magic.
The Cashew Tree: for breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between. This is a must (and only 100m walk from the Fraser Baye villa if you are staying there). They do amazing, healthy vegan and vegetarian meals. Its a big, spacious outdoor set up. Lots of comfy bean bags and different little seating nooks to choose from. They do a mean Acai bowl, some super wholesome soul bowls for lunch and dinner, beautiful salads, amazing smoothies and so much more. We love their frozen margaritas as well. Oh and their brown rice nasi goreng. So damn good. Thursday nights are always a fun hang too. Live music sometimes, and yoga too.
Fraser Baye: the super sweet staff here at the villa get extremely excited to prepare breakfast for you each morning. there is no obligation to eat there, but their food is so authentic and delicious and really shouldn't be missed. their nasi goring was the best one we had all trip. great fresh juices as well.
The Temple Lodge: we are totally in love with this magical place. Walking in, you feel like you’re entering the magic faraway tree or somewhere equally as mystical. Through hanging vines and gorgeous flowers, you arrive at a cute little dining area around the pool, with stunning views over the cliffs to the ocean. We had our favorite post-yoga breakfast here - a raw muesli bowl that was filled with grated apple, raw granola and topped with dragon fruit and honey - covered in homemade cashew nut milk. when we ran out of milk, we kindly requested some more. taking awhile to come out, we could hear a blender working frantically in the background, and we then realized that the cashews were actually being blended then and there to be turned into milk. Fresh to order! We almost wet our pants with excitement. such a special touch. italian-owned and run, the food here is healthy and delicious. we only wish we had have had time to try their dinner menu as well, which changes daily.
MU: we never got around to trying their dinners, but the daily set menu always looked pretty amazing. French-owned, this place is full of charm and is perfectly located on the cliffs. The views are spectacular and they do a delicious fresh juice or cocktail (we love their aperitivo snacks that come out in time for your sundowner).
Sun Surf Stay: for really, really good Balinese food. We love this place smack bang on Bingin Beach. Super friendly vibes. Cheap rooms (from $40 a night). Great food. Its simple done well - light, bright, breezy, beachy perfect.
Mick’s Place: we came here to check out their amazing day spa (on the back of a reco from Fraser Baye) and while doing so found (and fell madly in love with) a balinese brand of organic dark chocolate. so much so, we looked into importing it back to australia!!! thick, dark, and really textural (with a coconut and almond butter base, and full of almonds and some spices as well). its amazing! we would stop past Mick's each day to stock up again. you can also find it at the bali buda health food stores. try some! the other snack we discovered at mick’s were the #madpopsbali. now officially our favorite popsicle brand, they not only have a very cool website (madpopsbali.com) but they make awesomely delicious flavours like banana/dark chocolate, raspberry/dark chocolate, mango/ coconut, coffee coconut/vegan chocolate crunch, and mango/banana/dragon fruit. so good.
Bukit Cafe: owned by a friendly Australian/Brazilian couple - come here for smoothies, salads and other good stuff. Its on the main road between Bingin and Padang Padang.
swamis: another one of the beach front Warungs (“great surf, yummy eats, clean rooms”) the food here is organic, vegan, healthy, vegetarian, gluten-free, and raw!!! Try the hobo salad.
Kelly’s Warung: another beachfront warung and a bit of a surf institution. Check out the Pitaya bowls and watch the waves.
Bumba Bali: not in Bingin, but (as recommended by Fraser Baye) ask their driver Wayan to take you to Nusa Dua for a very real-deal balinese feast at Bumba Bali. Only 25mins drive, the food here is traditional and authentic. They also run unreal cooking daystaking you to the market early int he morning to buy all the ingredients. If you eat meat, be sure to try the sweet soy port and the young chicken wrapped in banana leaf.
MU: our favorite place for a sundowner. We would come here each night for our campari spritz overlooking the ocean at sunset. Its beautiful here. Great little bar snacks as well. One night we met the cutest little 3 year old girl there - bronzed, blue-eyed, and the whitest of blondes - "Poppy" was such a character, so full of wit and charm and intelligence and humor (at only 3!). A wise little thing. We were loving eavesdropping on her conversations with her dad and his friend in the pool.
The Cashew Tree (always): for their frozen margaritas (or just a healthy juice, smoothie or coconut).
Suarga: on the road out of Bingin, just before the Padang Padang bridge, is this pretty spectacular looking restaurant/hotel. Having only recently opened, it took five years to build. The bamboo structure - the largest on the island - is completely sustainable and very impressive. The bar and restaurant here is definitely on the more fancy side of things, but its worth checking out - for the structure alone, and some pretty lovely sunset views. We hear the villas are amazing as well.
El Kabron: if you like gin, this is your place. the vibes are somewhat strange, but the paella is amazing and their gin menu is mind-blowing (but not cheap). Great for sunset drinks and dinner.
Yoga: so many options. We loved our 8am morning class at The Temple Lodge (the open-air space is stunning). The same teacher then takes a 9:30am class in the open-air Shala at MU. The Cashew Tree also sometimes holds a morning class (but the teacher was away when we visited).
SUP: we rented a board from one of the Warungs on Bingin Beach. Its a fun ride if the swell isn't too big!
Massage: again, lots of options. But we absolutely loved our facial at the day spa at Mick’s Place. For only $17, its a steal!! The open-air treatment room, smack bang on the cliffs, looks out over the ocean. Its amazing.
Padang Padang Beach: always nice (if not a bit busy sometimes) for a bit of a hang time during the day. A little cove where a stream flows into the sea. Park your scooter in the carpark off to the left of the main road, and grab a piece of grilled corn on your way down to the beach. Good surfers flock here for the tubes.
And check out some of the quieter, more untouched beaches nearby: the impossibles (between Bingin and padang padang) - for its outside reef break, balangan (so pretty), and dreamland (for surfers, this is a short, sharp right break and a longer more tubular left!). ha. i probably sound like i know what i am talking about???!!!
Bali Buda: our favourite little Balinese health food store. With a few locations, there is one not too far from Bingin on the road back to Jimbaran Bay. Buda means Wednesday in Balinese, “just as good a day as any other to begin a business”. A supplier of organic food and other conscious living products, Bali Buda makes delicious wholesome bread (and cakes and pastries) each morning, plus a whole host of other insanely healthy stuff. They also stock our favourite chocolate! And plenty of kombucha and kefir drinks as well.
Innika choo (@innika): this was another favorite tip-off by the team at Fraser Baye (terima kasihhhhhh). innika’s dresses are not only beautiful (and so totally up our alley!!), but her photos are amazing as well. Her children make for the most gorgeous and unassuming models, and her shoots are always jam-packed full of color and patterns and fun. One of our new favorite instagram feeds for sure.
Fraser Baye: this is the most perfect sleeping option for a group. two lovely villas on the same leafy property, surrounding a cute pool (you can book both at the same time, or just one if you would prefer). there’s a gorgeous little poolside kitchen, which is staffed all day and acts as your own private cafe. the local girls who work there are sublimely sweet and friendly. their food is fresh and delicious. we loved their generous and healthy fruit platters each morning, their fresh juices and smoothies, and my favorite - their nasi goring (for breakfast). the villas themselves are two-story, and light, bright and spacious. the bathroom and living areas are all outdoors - we loved showering outside each morning, and jumping in the big stone bath! its amazing. it might not be bang on the cliffs, but its only a short 500m walk down from there down to the beach…and even better, its pretty much right next door to the cashew tree. a great sleeping option. we loved our time there.
If its just two of you, we would recommend any of the cliffside options: Mick's (check out their honeymoon suite), MU (likewise, ask to see their honeymoon suite, or the suite that's built into the cliff-face itself), The Temple Lodge (pure magic), Sun Surf Stay (beachfront and crazy cheap), and another favorite of ours, the all-white, all bright, hidden little beachfront spot, Sal Secret Spot. Just remember though, for the guest houses on the beach (Sun Surf Stay, Sal's etc.) you will have to carry your luggage and boards down a million and one steep dusty stairs...so keep that in mind when packing. Soft shoulder bags better than wheelie suitcases for this one, thats for sure.
And finally…if you are looking for a really really budget option, we can recommend the Bingin Inn. We ended up staying here very randomly and very last-minute when we decided to return to Bingin for an extra night, and everything else was full. We were in a cab driving past and it looked quite leafy and cute, so we stopped and asked about rooms. For $25, you get a simple, clean room. You can also rent scooters for $6 a day. And there is even a little pool. Its basic, but its friendly and its on the road to Bingin - so its close to all our favourite things.
Bingin, we love you