See Ya, Bali!
You have to expect to fall in love with a few places when you travel. Instead of being on track checking a new country off the list of must-visits, there are always favorites that make you think about coming back. This post is dedicated to one of mine: BALI
Kuta Beach in Southern Bali makes no apologies for being surf central. That’s basically what everyone is here for!
Evidence everywhere from markets and stores in High Street carrying all manner of things surfing related. Even Ronald McDonald gets in on the action.
When you’re based around Kuta Beach like we were, you can do either of two things: Learn how to surf, or failing that, develop a deep respect for people who can.
There are surfing schools all across the beach for beginners. Odyssey guarantees you will learn to stand on your board and promises half-day lessons forever after until you get it right. Or until you give up!
Scenes from our own lessons below. Super baggy rashguard included in the package :p
Plenty of budget hotels in this area like Bali Matahari, which was our choice. Go for one with a pool because while Kuta beach is perfect for surfing waves, it’s a little too choppy for the relaxing dip.
Our trip was in 2007, which was pre Eat,Pray, Love days, so there were no consultations with wise old men named Ketut. We had Wayan instead, who was in charge of showing us around Bali’s cultural side.
Day trips like ours take you through big temples, traditional Balinese compounds, a local artist’s studio, and tours through typical Balinese industries like batik and woodcarving. Later we learned that renting a taxi for day trips can be arranged for a very good price. Wayan was a cool guy, but we could’ve done without the trips to places where we were expected to do the touristy thing and buy stuff. Enlisting a taxi for a day allows you to see more places of your own choice. Naturally, this requires more research on your part. Do it!
Use ONLY Bluebird taxis, by the way. Other services are notorious for trying to cheat you off of your rupiahs and some even go out of their way to look like your trusty Bluebird.
Tourists have been falling in love with Bali for ages. And nowhere is this more apparent than when you venture out for food and drink. Such a wealth of choices! I don’t kid when I tell you that I can recommend all the places where we ate during that trip, whether that was Thai, Tex-Mex or Japanese!
Kori’s for Thai
TJ’s Tex-Mex and their famous strawberry margaritas
Bluefin for Japanese
ESC for all day and all-night partying food trips
Kopi Pot for, at the time, the best desserts in Kuta
In terms of fun, I think it’s impossible not to be entertained. Once in a while I hear about new places that have opened up in Bali and I always wish I could fly back and check them out. We obviously enjoyed our nights out there.
Mbargo with its version of a (barely visible) flaming drink that my cousin later used as inspiration for the explosive Gunpowder in Rue Bourbon.
Arak Attack! The most popular cocktail in Bali is a combination of orange juice and the local drink, Arak. Served at Obsession Bar, Maccaroni Club, etc. etc. and so forth.
And some photos of us dancing with people we don’t know.
The good news is that Philippine Airlines now flies from Manila direct to Bali, giving more people access to the same Bali high. If you DO go, don’t forget to reset your watches for the 1-hour time difference. We flew from Jakarta (which, like Manila, is an hour behind) and only learned 3 days into our vacation that we’ve been late for everything we signed up for. Yes, we are still feeling sheepish and deeply sorry for apparently being late to our massage appointments and surfing lessons. Everyone was really just too nice to call us out on it!
I’m probably most sorry for having missed Double 6. Back then they had these little magazines telling you where all the parties and events were going to be. Bali’s first super-club called Double 6, which only properly picked up at 2AM, was supposedly a can’t-miss. But since our days were always so hectic, we really only had enough energy to last us around 1AM, which as it turns out was actually 2AM Bali time and early enough to have allowed us to witness some of the action.
Found out while writing this that Double 6 finally folded up in late 2011. I wasn’t meant to see that, but it hasn’t stopped me from occasionally dreaming about having a Bali do-over sometime in the near future.
Sampai jumpa, Bali! Big thanks to my old friend Ainun for translating my title for me.