Bukit Peninsula (Bali, Indonesia)

Took 1 hr. drive south from Changgu Beach to the Bukit Peninsula.  There are about a dozen or so beaches lining the Peninsula and they are real nice.  On my last visit to Bali about 10 years ago, I only visited the beaches of Kuta and Seminyak and left unimpressed with Bali’s beaches.  I wanted to dig deeper on this trip and check out the beaches on the Bukit Peninsula and boy was I thrilled I did.  The beaches are simply awesome and this is the part of Bali to visit if you are a beach lover or avid surfer.

The beaches beginning on the western side of the peninsula going counter clockwise are Jimbaran, Belangan, Dreamland, Bingin (this is where we shacked up), Padang Padang, Uluwatu, Ganung Payung Beach, Geger Beach, Nusa Dua.

The best beaches with the youngest crowd are Bingin, Padang Padang and Uluwatu.  We never visited the other beaches as they appeared more geared to package tourists.  You’ll see an endless stream of motorbikes with surfboard racks zipping from break to break trying to chase the best waves.

Bingin is where we shacked up and absolutely loved it.  The beach is down from a huge bluff where you have to scrabble along the sides of the bluff to get to the beach.  It was a maze of alleyways with tons of warungs (small Indonesian restaurants) and guesthouses lining the alleyway paths.  It sort of reminded me of Santorini, Greece in this regard.  Tons of young surfers and a super relaxed bohemian vibe.  And to top it off it is one terrific form of exercise to get up and down to the beach.

We decided to splurge and stayed in one of the higher end places simply because I had a gut feeling it was going to be a special place and it sure turned out that way.  We stayed at Mick’s Place which only has about 7 outdoor type bungalows with a small infinity pool overlooking the beach on top of the bluff with fantastic views of the Indian Ocean.  This was a real experience and we were lucky to get in as its always booked up.  I was told that many rent out the whole property for weddings.  Also a great honeymoon destination and the honeymoon suite is in fact sweet!!  We stayed in the Sunset Bungalow which has absolutely no doors or windows and is completely open air.  This place was so unique and we really enjoyed our time here.  I highly recommend a stay here if you can get in.  Go with a group of your friends and you will have the time of your life or go alone and just mingle with fellow international travelers.  Watch the sunset every night from the infinity pool on top of the bluff overlooking the beach, put on some Grateful Dead music (Wharf Rat works well) and life could not be any more relaxed.

The only way to get around to the other beaches is either taxi or scooter.  We opted to rent a scooter and I am now super comfortable riding these things and they are a lot of fun to ride as you get to see so much.  I knew I had to pull the trigger on these scooters eventually as they are the primary mode of transport throughout Southeast Asia and its beaches.  If you don’t ride these scooters, you really deprive yourself of a ton of freedom.  Don’t worry, we will always wear helmets.

We took the scooter with Barbie on the back of it to Pedang Pedang Beach and so glad we did.  It was simple to get to by scooter and the beach there was just fantastic.  The beach reminded me of the wild Hawaiian beaches in Northern Kauai, (Haena and Ke’e) with tons of travelers.

May I add how advanced all the technology is today.  On my last 6 month journey around SE Asia back in 1996, I had to carry old school paper maps for directions wherever we went.  Now, with Barbie on the back of the scooter with our iphone set on Google Maps, it was a cinch to get around.  (even though she did manage to screw up a few times but blamed it on Google).  Google Maps is just one application a iphone assists with travel. The others for reading reviews and booking accommodations/airfare as you flashpack around.  The iphone is simply an incredible travel tool with tons of useful travel apps that we utilize.  Travel sure was much more difficult back in 1996.  Technology has taken a huge amount of hassle and thinking out of the equation.

Another day we visited Finn’s Beach Club which is attached to a super luxury resort, I believe called Semara Resort.  The resort is really nice but we prefer to stay at smaller guesthouses with like minded fellow travelers and where we are able to interact with locals.  Staying at these expensive sanitized resorts cannot possibly offer you the flavor of local life and we stay far away from them as possible.

Finn’s Beach Club on the ocean was real cool.  You pay a nominal day rate to get in and you chill on bean bags at the ocean and eat food and drinks all day.  A great day out.

I am so glad we began our trip with a good stint at various Bali beaches as nothing provides us with a better way to decompress than life on the beach.

Now its off to the super popular cultural center of Ubud for a few days.  I am kinda concerned how built up this place will be after visiting it about 10 years ago.  But l need to see for myself to make judgements.

Restaurants: Kellys Warung, Cashew Tree, Mango Tree, Finn’s Beach Club, Mick’s Place.

Bingin Beach – 7  (first rate, great surfing. Super blue water and waves. Great warungs on bluff)
Padang Padang – 8  (first rate, great surfing, bohemian vibe, real fun to swim in. Super scenic)
Uluwatu (Finn’s Beach) –  8  great place to hang and real fun to swim in ocean. Super scenic)


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