When a surfing app is available in your phone you will definitely have a good day watching the competition. The Bukit is the place you go to surf those waves you’ve always heard about. There are surfers everywhere yet it still feels laidback and peaceful around this part of Bali. The waves can be crowded but there are plenty of them, you’ll get your share! The beaches outdo the ones in Kuta, you can snorkel the reefs or relax at Dreamlands. The accommodations cater to all budgets and there are good restaurants. If the hustle of Kuta isn’t your scene, and you won’t miss the nightclubs and shopping, catch a taxi straight out here from the airport. It’s about 40 minutes from Kuta to the Bukit and getting a van big enough for boards will cost about 70,00 -100,000 rupiah if you find a good driver. Prepare to be charged 200,000 though!
The main areas to stay out here are Dreamlands, Bingin, and Uluwatu, which all have hotels and huts overlooking the ocean. My favorite is Bingin, it’s a bit more chilled out than Uluwatu and you have 3 surfing spots within walking distance. You can stay at the top of the cliff or down on the beach. The beach accommodations are basic, some are a bit rundown but they all have perfect views of the surf and cost around 50,000 rupiah per room. If you want a little more comfort and don’t want to lug your bags down the cliff, stay up the top, it’s still pretty cheap but the surroundings are far more comfortable.
Leggie’s Bungalow (100,000 approx) offers large bungalows with private bathrooms and huge beds! There is a nice garden and relaxation area with DVD players and they are soon adding a pool.
Pondok Indah – Lynnie’s Place (150-200,000 approx) has a similar setup to its neighbor Leggies. Some of the rooms are a bit newer and the garden is primo with good hammocks!
There are a few other similar places nearby called Alamanda’s bungalow and secret garden. None of these offer ocean views. If you want the best of both worlds, views and comfort, it costs a bit more. Check out Mick’s Place or Mario’s if you feel like lounging in the infinity pools! These places all charge in dollars and can be booked at baliretreats.com.au.
Other than Bingin, there are many places to stay on the cliffs at Uluwatu, the beach at Dreamlands or the main road that runs along the peninsula.
Nearly every accommodation offers basic food, nasi-goreng, curries, toasted sandwiches, pancakes and burgers etc. If you feel like something different or healthier there are some good places in the area:
Stickie’s Sandbar is on the cliff at Bingin. They offer exotic, organic food in a chilled out spot with lots of cushions to relax on. They also have real espresso coffee and internet access.
3D’s Warung is found on the main road near the Bingin turnoff. This is where the locals eat, local food at local prices. The food is so good, large meals cost about 10,000 rupiah and beers are cheap too. This is the best option after a day of hard surfing.
Jiwa Juice is just after 3D’s on the main road. It’s an internet cafe that has a good menu with healthy options. The brownies, smoothies and croissants are the highlights here.
There is also a Mexican place, I don’t know its name but the place is cool. There are old photos and surfboards all over the walls and it’s pretty popular. Find it on the main road heading towards Padang.
It’s basically all left-handers along this coast, although some rights can be found at Uluwatu, Dreamlands beach, and inside Padang, which has a friendly right-hander on smaller days.
Uluwatu gets the most swell, attracts a crowd, but with several peaks it’s not hard to get waves. Impossibles offers long rides and has plenty of room to move, Bingin is a short wave, has a much tighter takeoff and if 15 people are out its pretty crowded. If you want to get barreled easily though, this is the place. Dreamlands is a beach-break, it usually has a soft outside peak and a fast inside shore-break. Around the corner is Balangan, a peaceful spot which can offer really nice, racy long lefts on its day. If a huge swell hits and you’re experienced enough, Padang has the best barrels in the area.
Renting a car or motorbike makes your stay so much better, you can surf wherever is best each day and you can get up early and go, no waiting to organize a ride. A small 4WD will cost around 100,000 rupiah a day, a bike 25-50,000 a day. You can organize them at most accommodations. With a car you can also find better restaurants and it’s good to pick up a gallon of water from a convenience store. The bottles can be overpriced at hotels and it means less plastic for mother earth to deal with. Internet is available at Jiwa Juice and Wartel on the main road, Stickys at Bingin, and a few accommodations are starting to get wireless. Phone calls can be made at Wartel but I recommend taking an old prepay mobile from home. Buy an Indonesian SIM card and you can text drivers for pickups, organize flights and even make international calls from anywhere. XL SIM cards cost about 35,000rupiah and calls are 2500 a minute to anywhere, even international! There are Yoga and Tai Chi classes in the area, keep an eye out for flyers at cafes like Jiwa Juice.
Andrew D L has enjoyed several trips to Bali, loves travelling to surf, and presently leads surf tours [http://www.typhoonsurftours.com] through Japan during typhoon season.
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