We concluded our mini tour of Bali in the South. The area that extends from the Airport through Kuta, Legian and Seminyak is a large urban sprawl hugging the coastline of one of Bali’s largest and longest beaches. Airport proximity combined with the beach has lead this area to being the tourist hotspot. Unfortunately it is the one part of Asia I had read virtually nothing good about. Being so close and well connected to Australia has essentially left this area something like a Magaluf of the southern hemisphere. It’s astoundingly different from the rest of Bali and I suppose the best thing about it is that it has at least been contained in quite a small area. Having said all that, it wasn’t all bad!
When we arrived in Kuta we didn’t have much to spend money on in the daytime, so we booked to stay at the Samsara Inn. Although a little expensive by Asian standards (£17.50 / $25 / 340,000Rp per night) it was really upmarket compared to most of our previous hotels. Nice and quiet but only moments from the action, with a swimming pool and sun loungers to boot. As icing on the cake we got free entry to the beach club of another hotel in the same chain so we chucked our stuff in our room and went for a wander to the beach club.
The walk down allowed us to get a decent idea of what was around the area: mostly counterfeit clothes and DVDs, cheap spas and fast-food restaurants. The beach club ended up being pretty busy and expensive, we nabbed some beds for a couple of hours and enjoyed a swim but there were too many annoying kids around for our tastes. On our way back we found some traditional warungs (restaurants) on the beach where we got another awesome babi guleng lunch – not quite as good as the one from Ubud but still a great dish! I think my arteries will be glad I can’t get that every lunchtime back home!
After lunch we kicked back for the afternoon (this certainly won’t be the most adventurous blog post!). Later I went off to snap some sunset shots at Kuta beach (along with 90% of the people in the area, although it was stunning) and we took a long walk up to Seminyak for dinner at Ryoshi’s.
Now, as many bad things as I have said about Kuta so far, I have to say Ryoshi’s almost makes up for it. It is a Japanese restaurant with upstairs jazz bar, and the musicians there are some of the best I’ve ever seen. The house band played with a mixture of special guests from Bali and further afar, including a young girl from Indonesia’s Got Talent who could give Alicia Keys a run for her money. As an added bonus the food and cocktails were great – it stands alone as my only recommendation for anyone staying in that area.
We spent the next few days prepping for our transition from Asia to New Zealand. This included getting haircuts, new books and some dodgy films to watch, but mainly involved searching for jumpers in a country that is around 30 degrees all year round – no easy task! There are many shopping opportunities round Kuta though, so you’re never short of options!