Last time around I loved it – but being lazy, distracted and moving to Australia I never quite posted about what a wonderful place it can be. So here we go, almost 2 years later, my second visit complete.
I have explored only 3 places in Bali thoroughly, but I fell in love. I shall start with the first however, as it epitomised everything I find wrong with south east Asia: Kuta.
It’s tacky, jam packed and they seem to offer you cocaine on every street corner (I'm not that kinda girl.) The beach is typically touristy: Step onto the sand and someone from the left will shout offers of beer, while one on the right points at surfboards. A wrinkled woman will shove a handful of homemade bracelets in your face, a sad pained-looking two year old with adorable begging eyes in tow. A massage? Offered every half an hour. Ice Cream? Just look for the man with the red eski and a hat. The rest of the beach is filled with sunbeds, overweight/saggy men in speedos or hot Australians with surfboards. Its overwhelming and disappointingly uninspiring.
Note: I have no first hand knowledge as I never quite got the Henna Tattoo I wanted from Bali, but there are reports that chemicals are often unsafe and have left travellers needing hospiltalisation and skin-grafts. You can risk it, get a gorgeous design and a lovely memory if you like. But you may end up with tailor-made skin and a grim scar. So be wary.
I did however come across an awesome hostel in Kuta – CX Ground Zero. The beds are dorms, and for 125000 rupiah a night (around $12.5 AUD) its one of the better deals in the area. And it is exactly about the area: CX is next to the memorial that Kuta is based around following the bombings of 2002 & 2005. Subsequently, it’s less than a minute’s walk to the infamous Sky Garden. (another note of warning; more than a few travellers have reported the ‘free’ cocktails that come with the all you can eat buffet as being spiked) and Poppies 2 (one of the two backpacker lanes – the other being Poppies 1 – who’d have guessed?). You can get to the beach in 10 minutes. There is a fantastic smoothie place in a hawker centre about 5 minutes up the road to the right and down an alley.