Bali - Beach, Bintang and Bartering

Trip Start Aug 03, 2004
1
6
11
Trip End Jan 27, 2005


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Flag of Indonesia  ,
Sunday, November 21, 2004

Bali, for those of you who don't know, is part of Indonesia. We had a few niggling security concerns about going here following the terrorist bombings in Kuta (where we were staying) in 2002, and more recently in the Indonesian capital Jakarta. Reading the various government websites only added to our concerns but we decided there was more chance of being killed crossing the road than getting killed by a bomb. Life's too short to worry yourself unduly about such things.

Our flight from Perth via Singapore left at 1.55am and we landed at around midday local time after getting a bit of sleep on the plane. It was a bit of a culture shock after so long in westernised countries. This was to be our week spent adjusting to South-east Asia and we decided to make it relaxing rather than getting (relatively!) stressed trying to do too much.

We picked out what looked like a nice place in Kuta from Lonely Planet called 'AP Inn', and took a taxi from the airport. It was a decent room with an en-suite bathroom and ceiling fan and the hotel had an inviting pool. We soon settled into a routine of getting up, having breakfast, going to the beach, calling back for a shower and a siesta, then going out for a meal and a few beers. The local beer is called Bintang, it was very nice and we both developed a bit of a taste for it.

A lot of people dismiss Kuta as being touristy, overdeveloped and not representative of the rest of Bali. This may be true but it was a great place to relax for a few days. However, in order to make an effort to experience Balinese culture we chartered a minibus and driver and took a day tour to see some the sights inland. We saw a Barong dance performance, a wood carving shop (where we were talked into buying something), a couple of Hindu temples and Mount Batur - a volcanic cone and crater lake. It was a good day and a nice change from the beach, but the monsoon clouds gathered shortly after lunchtime and gave us a drenching whilst at the Gunung Kawi Temple. The persistent sarong/postcard/umberella/souvenir sellers were also a bit of a pain. We kept our cool and politely said no.

Our days sunbathing on the beach also involved plenty of hassle from hawkers trying to sell pineapples, drinks, henna tattoos, massages, rings etc, etc but we quickly found we could minimise this by moving further down the beach away from the crowds. It was noticeably hotter than Australia and when the heat on the beach became unbearable we'd have a dip in the cool clear sea. Boogie boards were hired to take advantage of the relatively big surf and great fun was had riding the waves.

The nightlife in Kuta was pretty good too with bar happy hours from 6 till 9, cheap meals and relatively cheap cocktails. Drinks were a bit more expensive in the lively clubs - our favourite was the Bounty club which was decked out like a pirate ship.

Overall, we had a great time in Bali, topped up our tans, had plenty of beer and nice meals, and began to adjust to the hustle and bustle of life in South-east Asia. Next it was onto Singapore - where East meets West.

Observations

- There are loads of motorbikes, sometimes carrying whole families
- Road rules are only vaguely obeyed
- You get lots of hassle from people trying to sell you anything and everything - t-shirts, pineapples, drinks, massages, taxi rides etc.
- Its good for cheap clothes but its hard to look for things you like when you are getting hassled by the shop owner
- Its cheap to live - Hotel room ~ GBP 7.0, Beer GBP 0.70, Main meal GBP 1.0-2.0.

Often Heard Phrases

- Hello, Hello - Where you from?
- Transport, transport?

Our Highlights

- Kuta Beach, bars and restaurants
- Boogie boarding in the surf
- Visiting the various temples
- Barong Dancing
Slideshow Report as Spam

Comments

Brian Brown on

Absolutely spot on, I too like AP Inn, and my favourite late night bar is the Bounty
It seems that Perth people have the same tastes and perceptions of life in Kuta.

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