Bali’s Bukit is Surfer Bliss - This American Girl



Surfer’s don’t care about resorts

cold showers do the trick.




They don’t need fancy restaurants

fried rice and Bintang will suffice.




Techno clubs and drugs don’t woo them

they’d rather rise for the surf.


padang padang


Reggae and relaxation suits them fine

to ride well they have to hang loose.


uluwatu surfing


They conquer fear and boundaries often

focused only on the direction of the wave




so go where the surfers go

if rugged gems are what you crave.




In my two years of following wave riders

all across the world




nowhere quite embodied their lifestyle

as much as Bali’s hilly South Coast.




Where the road dips and rises wildly

the fearless ride recklessly




cows graze in grass on the sidelines

simplicity still outnumbers luxury.




Golden sand beaches nestle

at the base of craggy cliffs




surfers walk down stone carved steps

absorbed by the waves in the distance.




Balangan is long and gorgeous

with just a string of local warungs




barrels break over a reef bed

thrilling, and lots of fun.




Hippy yogis chill

on Bingin’s striking white sand




surfers ride the short and crowded wave

or paddle to Impossible for a long left hand.


padang padang


Vacationers clutter Padang Padang

thanks to Eat Pray Love


padang padang


but early morning surf sessions

can be quietly observed from the road above.




Experts only at Uluwatu

when it’s big and low tide




paddle out from inside the cave

or sit back and watch the pros ride.




Immersed in surfer heaven

wooed instantly




by the dramatic cliffs

and glowing sea




“I want to live here!”

I professed effortlessly.




But after struggling to communicate in Vietnam

wandering the street markets in Thailand

and staying in rugged villages in Cambodia




now, in my easy paved existence in Indo

I wondered where did all the Balinese go?




I saw them in fleeting moments

on a procession leading up the hill

or playing by the ocean on a rainy day




but never eating on the roadside

or owning the wailing waves


uluwatu temple


in fact even the sacred temple

appeared to be a tourist trap.




Feeling like a vacationer instead of a traveler

passing my lazy days




the more I opened my eyes

the more questions I raised.




I witnessed luxury resorts

popping up on this once rugged coast




I met partying tourists from Kuta

and found stores selling designer clothes.




And after a month in Lombok

a world less discovered where I befriended locals




being back in Bali I wondered

what future does this place hold?




So book it to the Bukit

before there’s too much change




go now to the Bukit

while the surfers still rein.



The Best of Bali’s Bukit Peninsula


The Temple Lodge


$10 for a yoga class, $5 for breakfast

Built up on the cliff overlooking Bingin, The Temple Lodge is yogi  heaven. Elegant rooms surround the infinity pool with expansive ocean views and guests can enjoy onsite yoga and massage and organic healthy food. If you can budget it, I highly recommend staying here, otherwise stop in for a Hatha yoga class in the morning followed by raw muesli and homemade yogurt.


Merta Sari Balangan Bungalows


250,000 rupiah ($20) for a bungalow for 2

These bungalows may be the most luxurious I stayed in anywhere in Bali. The big bed had soft white linens, an elegant wrap around mosquito net, and they even sprinkled yellow orchids on the bed. The bathroom had a huge hot water shower with excellent water pressure. I could hardly believe how nice the place was for the price. The grounds are small and intimate with a swimming pool, though it was still under construction when I was there. A big breakfast of fruit salad, tea, juice, and a choice of pancake or eggs and toast is included in the price.


The Mango Tree Cafe

Padang Padang

$3-7 for breakfast and lunch

This darling cafe on the main street in Padang Padang has a wide variety of  international dishes from huevos rancheros to healthy quinoa salad. Check out the bakery country for freshly baked goodies.


Buddha Soul

Padang Padang

$5-10 for breakfast and lunch

Get your fill of green juice, organic salads, and other healthy goodies at Buddha Soul in Padang Padang. It’s an idea spot to sit for a few hours checking in at the online “office” while nibbling on some fruit and muesli and taking a shot of wheatgrass.


Single Fin


$7-10 for Western dishes, $7 for cocktails

If you make it to Uluwatu, you will most certainly find yourself sipping on a beer while watching the surfers from one of the many oceanview decks at Single Fin. This bar always has good music, great vibes, and you can’t beat the view. The Bukit shuts down early most nights, surfer’s need their beauty sleep before rising with sun after all, but Single Fin is the one exception. On Sunday nights they host the biggest party on the peninsula, and possibly the most fun party in all of Bali, with live Reggae music starting at sunset and DJs playing all night long. Don’t miss it.


Uluwatu Temple


20,000 rupiah per person

It may be overrun with tourists and monkeys intending to steal your stuff, but the Uluwatu temple’s dramatic views are worth a visit. Apparently on full moon days at sunset many locals come dressed in traditional attire.


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