Bali. It really is a paradise… well, that’s what I’d heard from people whenever I spoke with them about it. As usual the truth is a little more complicated. The main tourist area of Kuta is actually a horrible mess of globalisation and unbridled capitalism. It’s swarming with thousands and thousands of package holiday visitors who fly in to the nearby airport on a daily basis. You can watch the planes land one after another as you sit on the beach drinking your Heineken or Carlsberg. The people arriving are the sort of holidaymakers that want their ‘get away’ destination to resemble their home as closely as possible, except maybe a bit cheaper and more reliably sunny. Understandably, the less affluent locals have been quick to notice and so everywhere you look there’ are western chains, shops with western clothes, restaurants with western food, and so on. Think Costa del Sol and it’s ‘English’ pubs, but even more awful.
Luckily you can rent scooters cheaply everywhere so you can escape. The real beauty of Bali emerges as soon as once you have driven a half hour away from tourist ground zero. That’s the way to visit Bali. Fill up a small rucksack with some swimming togs and other essentials, ditch your huge bag at a hotel for a week or two and explore the island on a scooter. And that’s what we did. Bali doesn’t have the huge cultural and archaeological sights that we had seen elsewhere in Asia, so we spent most of our time driving around on scenic roads up in the mountains stopping every now and then to chat to locals and sample Balinese food. Of course we had plenty of beach days thrown in for good measure as the beaches here are really great, not to mention surfing and diving, but there are going to be no crazy stories, cockroaches, or the like, in this post. Just some (hopefully) nice pictures to give you a feel of our time spent in Bali.
Most of the surfers are a joy to watch:
But there is the odd painful looking wipeout as well: