Our final stop with Travis and Jen in Indonesia would bring us to Bingin Beach in Bali.
Bingin is one of the many beaches located on the Bukit peninsula—an area known for some of the nicest and most pristine beaches in Bali and one of the most famous surf-spots in the world—Uluwatu. We had booked seven nights at the Temple Lodge.
The Temple Lodge is nestled atop white cliffs with sparkling sea views up and down the coast. The lodge offers just seven rooms; each unique in style and setup. Due to the the low number of rooms we did have a slight hiccup when booking. Only one room at the time, the “Spice Suite,” was available for seven consecutive nights. The only other way to make it work was to book three different rooms for the seven nights. Meaning one couple would need to move three times. Peter and I being the nomads of the group happily volunteered ourselves for this task. We are use to packing up and moving around at a frequent pace. In turn this ended up being pretty fun because it gave us the opportunity to fully experience the different rooms and the staff made moving days seamless.
The Temple Lodge was one of my favorite spots we stayed in all our travels. There is a serene like energy that is palpable that permeates the air and seeps into the guests and staff. Everyone is laid back and on a slower pace. I loved the concept of boutique rooms each having a distinct style. The food served was a variety of healthy and delicious selections with natural ingredients and emphasis on organics. The pool overlooking the sea was an idyllic spot for over-the-top sunsets and world class wave spotting.
One of my favorite parts of Temple Lodge was the morning yoga. We were informed that there was 8 AM yoga every morning. I had made a decision to sit the first morning out wanting to catch up on my sleep from the travel day and rapid speed we had been moving. The first room we stayed in, the Papaya Suite, was located right next to the yoga studio. The first morning we were awoken by the class that was a mere three feet from our front door. After that I thought how can I skip this? I get to literally roll out of bed and walk 10 seconds to yoga. How can you beat that for a yoga lover? After that morning I didn’t miss one class. It was such a glorious way to wake up. Great classes with zero commute. Or rather an under one minute walk. Afterwords I would meet up with the crew and enjoy a healthy breakfast overlooking the shimmering sea that was just being touched by the morning light. Sounds pretty perfect right?
Since Peter and I had been to Bali a few times and had done a good amount of research on things to do in the area we mapped out what we felt was a pretty good plan for our last week together. From the reactions of Travis and Jen they seemed to agree. The following are some highlights from our days there and for anyone traveling to the area some great ways to fill your itinerary.
Renting scooters is a must to get from place to place and beach to beach. From the map below you can see where we were at in Bingin put us in the middle of a number of paradise beaches.
On our first full day we took a scooter ride over to Balangan Beach. Balangan is a strip of soft sand nestled in by rocky cliffs with sea views that sparkle off the suns rays. When one envisions what paradise in the form of a beach looks like, I assume this is what comes to mind.
The boys enjoyed some exhilarating surf while Jen and I lounged around in beach chairs. While in deep relaxation mode I noticed a stir behind me which turned out to be a sunset yoga class that was about to commence. I figured why not and dropped in. The instructor led us through some nice movements and breathing until the sun was swallowed by the ocean. In true karmic Bali fashion the cost of the class was whatever I felt was right.
Just as I finished up my yoga class the boys finished their surf session and it was off to our next adventure.
We grabbed the scooters and made our way over to Jimbaran Bay. This area is known in my mind as Seafood Heaven. Its a stretch of restaurants along the beach all serving up a myriad of seafood. The bay is where fishermen bring in their catches to be distributed all throughout Bali, so in terms of freshness you can’t beat Jimbaran Bay. We selected the famous Menega Cafe to feast on the freshest of seafood, drink some Bintang’s, and regale on the successful trip thus far.
Travis and I, in keeping up with the celebratory theme, spotted our lobsters in the lobster tank and had it as our main dish. The connotation of fun associated with lobster is never lost on me.
So there we were: eating, smiling, laughing, having wonderful conversations when suddenly the sky began to light up. A fireworks showed began to sparkle the dark sky. Peter and I, feeling pretty good about the day we planned, took credit for the fireworks explaining, “we pulled out all the stops tonight.”
On our third day in Bingin, Peter and I moved from the Papaya Suite…
to the Coral Cave suite.
This was the view from our balcony.
The coral cave is known for being ideal for honeymooners. Ironically we were just about to celebrate our first year of marriage.
However sometimes things are not always what they seem. As perfect as this place looked, it did come with some controversy.
Because the suite is nestled in by trees and has an open floor layout with attached balcony there is no protection from the outside elements. Namely monkeys. One of the creatures Peter and I fear most. We were warned by the staff to make sure we put our belongings in the chest located in the room to avoid monkey thievery. This included everything. Even leaving a tube of toothpaste could wind up being stolen. We were also offered sling shots to fake out any monkeys that approached. Meaning not actually load the sling shot, but pull back and release on the sling which would invariable spook the little menaces. During the day all was fairly fine with only one entry attempt by a gaggle of them. Peter was able to successfully get the beady-eyed rascals to subside with the sling-shot.
However in an irrational turn of events the nights became terror for me.
I would have an unrelenting fear that the monkeys were going to break into our room, sit on my chest, and then proceeded to scratch my eyes out and eat my face.
I would wake up screaming, “Peter they’re here! The monkeys! Get the sling shot!”
Much to Peter’s fright of waking from a deep sleep and hearing monkeys were about to pounce would shoot up in a daze. Shortly after he would realize my irrationalness and tell me in so may words to knock it off and go back to sleep. Much to his dismay this would typically occur on average 3 times a night over the the next 4 nights. You would think that knowing that our monkey enemies aren’t nocturnal would force some rational thinking. It didn’t.
Then in unrelated events Peter found himself in the shower when he looked up as saw this little friend.
For obvious reasons Peter quickly finished up his shower, dried off and found the rest of us at breakfast. ”There is a pretty good size snake in our room.” This statement was overheard by an Aussie who proceeded to ask if he could come see it. A group of us returned to the room. I was of course not thrilled. The Aussie in a nonchalant manner (as Aussie’s do) quips, “oh that’s just a little garden snake. That’s no problem.” For reasons unknown we took him at his word and felt less anxious. Peter relayed the news to the staff who actually seemed really concerned, especially consideingr the fact it was a green snake, and let us know they would get the snake out of the room when we left.
About a week later I decided to do some research and discovered that the snake who had decided to pay us a visit is named the Green Pit Viper and is described as “dangerous” “poisonous” and “venomous.” So that was two near death experiences by different species of animals.
Here’s a better close-up. Not what you want to find in your accommodations.
This shows the proximity of how close Peter was while we was in the shower.
After the snake drama, we headed out to Uluwatu for Sunday sessions at Single Fin, a bar and restaurant. Every Sunday is a huge party at Single Fin with live music, dancing, and a young crowd of fashionable surfers from all corners of the globe. I had been hearing about it ever since I had been to Bali three years prior. Despite realizing it wasn’t really our “scene” we still wanted to go and check it out.
One thing that Single Fin inarguably offers is one of the top views in Bali (view from the bar’s balcony overlooking Uluwatu surf break).
The four of us dug into the scene and ordered up a pitcher of sangria.
Understandably there were no open tables. However there were some tables that were unoccupied that had reserved signs on the table. We made nice with the server and charmed our way to the reserved table. We promised that when the party showed up we would remove ourselves. Bonus…they never showed up so we ended up with a perfect setup.
The scene was basically what we expected with things getting more and more packed as the night went on.
All in all it was a fun night and something different and rowdy to go and experience in an otherwise quiet beach town.
That following day we had one of my favorite days of the trip and what I consider one of the best itinerary days Peter and I have put together.
Our day began with a stop at a local coffee shop where we would all try Kopi Luwak, otherwise known as cat poop coffee. It is called this because the beans are made from cherries that have been digested from the Asian palm civet. The Luwak coffee has become quite trendy and a cup of it in New York will run you $30. Remember the movie The Bucket List? It’s the special coffee that Jack Nicholson’s character drinks throughout the movie. We were able to start our day with a variety of this caffeinated delectable.
With jitters unlike any other cup of joe we were off to the aptly named, Karma Beach. Karma Beach in Uluwatu is a must while visiting the Bukit peninsula. When you arrive on the property, the only way down is by inclinator which glides you down to paradise all the while providing stunning views.
Upon reaching the bottom you are greeted by staff that set you up nicely at a spot on the beach. From there you are able to choose from a variety of food and drinks. A mix of electronic music is played by the Dj while the vibe remains chill. Everyones stress meter goes to zero. Karma is a great place to be.
While there we managed to get a two for one photo bomb picture.
I love to recreate photo moments from previous trips so on our way out I jumped in the hotel pool which I had also had done on a trip 3 years prior.
After our day spent at Karma we hustled over to Anaya Resort for sundowners.
Anaya is popular for it’s seafront Rock Bar where visitors go to catch the sunset. The problem is that typically there is a line, unless somehow they decide to give you VIP treatment and cut you to the front. The trick though is that the large grass area above Rock Bar offers the same view with a hotel bar nearby and plenty of space to lounge and stretch out. We grabbed a table on the grass, ordered up some sundowners, and toasted to another A plus Bali day.
The following day came with yet another packed itinerary that would bring us to the city of Seminyak in Bali.
We hired a driver who would take us to our first stop, Sandari Spa, an oasis we had visited on a previous trip which we all agreed was LEGIT. We each indulged in over 2 hour treatments ranging from massages, scrubs, and microdermabrasion. We all walked out of there with lowered pulses and slight comas.
We were shaken back to reality at our next stop, Potato Head Beach Club. This popular establishment is for day drinking, music listening, and for chillaxing. Travis and Jen loved it. Especially Travis who loved the Ibiza vibe to Potato Head. We started off in the bar area where we ordered up some speciality drinks and tasty food. Travis was in food heaven with the enormous pulled pork sandwich.
After enjoying our spread we were upgraded to a day bed where we enjoyed the rest of the day till sunset.
To close out our night we walked over to the W Hotel where we sat on the patio and ordered up some mango sheesha from a futuristic looking hookah.
Our last couple days we took a more leisurely pace. Peter and I made one last move at Temple Lodge to the Driftwood Suite. This one had a large tree growing in the middle of it, an entirely outdoor bathroom, and bonus…no need to fear of getting into a fisticuffs with monkeys. I finally slept well.
We enjoyed some of the nearby beaches and restaurants. Cashew Tree turned out to be our favorite spots for lunch and dinner with an extensive list of fresh juices and healthy food options including a pumpkin curry. YUM! Peter and I also dropped in at Mango Tree one day for lunch when we took a break from our scooter adventure.
We watched the surfers at Padang Padang and were especially entertained by a guy surfing with his dog on his board. Fun fact about Padang Padang: it’s where the scene from Eat Pray Love when Julie Roberts is swimming was filmed. Oh an if you are in the market for a sarong of any color and style this is the place to come for it.
For entertainment purposes we purchased tickets to the Kecak Dance performed at the Uluwatu tempe. The show consists of about 50 men wearing only a loin cloth who sit in a circle chanting ke-cak while a story is performed within the circle by actors. Being the big sucker I am for performance art—I of course loved it.
For our last night of an eventful and fun-filled couple of weeks we decided to watch the sunset from one of the best spots on the Bukit Peninsula—our hotel. We enjoyed sundowners with gratitude and toasted to a wonderful time spent together.
Afterwords we walked down to the beach and enjoyed dinner at Bingin Bagus where we picked out fresh fish and ate by candle light right next to the sea with toes in the sand. It was a perfect setting send off.
In the morning we said our good-byes and sent out friends on their way back to the states while Peter and I continued our adventure in Indonesia. We would be celebrating our one year anniversary in a couple days and we were thrilled to have Bali as our backdrop.
A huge thanks to Travis and Jen for taking their vacation time and choosing to spend it with us. I am grateful and humbled by your gift of friendship. We love you both and hoped you enjoyed your time as much as we did. Much love dear friends. Oh and Travis as always, “word to your mother.”