Bali, Indonesia – Kuta

Kuta is the tourist centre for Bali and unfortunately is essentially the Malaga for Australians.  This means it’s chock full of bogans and other fun people. 

Thankfully, it is still full of friendly locals and lots of things to see.

Anyway, we dragged ourselves out of our giant bed at about 8am (still jet-lagged) and downstairs for a lovely breakfast with a whole bunch of buffet options, as well as eggs however you liked (this made Jo happy, until she got tired of eggs) as well as the standard Indonesian additions of noodles, rice and other things we’d consider at least lunch, if not dinner.  Also, chicken sausage which is something you never really see in the UK.

We had a look around the hotel to check out the rooftop pool, which was actually pretty nice, though it was a little shallow, but then again, it is on the roof!

Within 50m of walking out of the hotel, we got collared by a local guy with a scratchcard which I then ‘Won’, which turned out to be a basic timeshare presentation scam.  I knew it was a bit dodgy but I thought, what the hell at least it’ll be interesting!  Anyway, we got driven out to a nice hotel, won some t-shirts and managed to dodge the hours presentation thanks to a friendly scouser, saw a bit of Nusa Dua and ended up back where we started nearly 2 hours later.

All in all, a bit daft, but we did get some free t-shirts!  Anyhoo, we trundled down to the beach which is beautiful, and not too busy considering the number of people in the area.  At the top of the beach there are endless plastic chairs and small tables backed by guys with coolboxes who are keen to sell you drinks. 

We sat down at one with the name JoJo on it (appropriately) and I had the first bottle of Bintang beer in 17 years (god that makes me sound old) and we just settled in.

Bintang on Kuta Beach

We did have a paddle, but the waves were a bit harsh and a nasty rip so we didn’t spend much time in the sea that day.  We did see a couple of older ladies taking selfies in the surf, until they got knocked over by a wave and they had trouble getting back up again – they were laughing the whole time though.

After this, we wandered up Poppies 1 (the name of the road, there is a Poppies 2) which is rather narrow and had lunch at the restaurant the entire road is named after – the food was really nice actually.

We then went back to the hotel, still being a little jet-lagged and hung around by the pool, playing catch like 12 year olds.

After a shower, we headed out along the main party road of Kuta and immediately felt rather old, so headed down Poppies 2 to a restaurant called Nebula where we had Nasi Campur and Pad Thai, both of which were lovely.


Jo and I both love a good water-park, and knowing there was one within walking distance was an irresistible temptation.

After a decent breakfast, we headed down the road to Waterbom which was about 15 mins from our hotel.  It’s not cheap on the scheme of Bali in general, but then it’s mainly aimed at tourists.  It worked out about 25 quid each to get in, and you put in another 25 quid as a post of money for you to spend on drinks and stuff when you’re in there, that way you don’t need cash.  You do need to spend a quid or so of it on a locker though, so getting there early to get one is a good idea.

Overall, it was great fun, lots of slides of various types, ring ones, double ones, mat ones and also some kind of scary ones.

After our first ride I clocked an entrance that had no queue so thought we’d give it a go.  Turns out there was a reason for it as it’s quite a scary ride – basically it’s almost vertical, you climb into basically a capsule with a plastic floor, cross your arms, arch your back and the attendant gives you a countdown from 3, at 1 the floor drops out from underneath your feet and you plummet to your death drop down the slide, very quickly.

I’d kind of expected these rides as I’d researched the place, but Jo had no idea so just followed me – I was waving madly from the bottom to say ‘look I’m alive!’, and to her credit she did go through with it, though she did scrape her back up a bit on the way down!

Anyway, we went on pretty much everything else, as well as another of the capsule rides that was even higher, though Jo bottled it (understandably given her scraped back).  We even had some nice food.  All in all, it’s a great day if you don’t fancy the beach in Kuta.

We went out for dinner in, weirdly, an Italian restaurant, which turned out to be rather overpriced!

The next couple of days we spent just chilling around the pool, going down to the beach, looking into surf lessons for when we came back to Kuta as we both fancied it – generally chilling out as you are supposed to do on holiday.

Also, Jo got rather sunburnt despite lots of suncream, I hid under a towel.

Belangan Beach

We’d decided that we wanted to get out and about a bit today including some beaches and some culture.

As such, we hired a driver from outside our hotel called Made.

Indonesian naming is odd, it’s based on the order in which you are born and there are only 4 main options, are Wayan, Made, Nyoman and Ketut (1, 2, 3, 4 respectively) so you get a lot of people with the same name!

Anyway, we arranged to hire him for the day and asked him to take us to Belangan beach, a nice quiet out of the way place down on the west side of Nusa Dua.

It was a bit of a drive to get to down some narrow roads but well worth it.

Belangan Beach
Belangan Relaxation

You can rent a couple of sun-loungers for the equivalent of a few quid and just relax.  There are a couple of little food places that are realistically no more than shacks, but the food was OK.  The toilet facilities leave a little to be desired though…

Lunch – the worlds thinnest burger and we gained a dog

The surf was pretty big with a nasty current which would push you up the beach and onto some rocks, we saw at least one guy having to be rescued.

Big surf at Belangan Beach

Ulu Watu

After we’d had our fill of the beach, we headed off to Ulu Watu which is a famous clifftop temple complex nearby.  It’s definitely worth a visit, even if it’s just for the views.  There are also some amusing monkeys who you’ll need to protect your property from.. 

Ulu Watu Temple
Ulu Watu clifftop view

Ulu Watu is also famous for it’s Kecak dance, which is a really weird almost hypnotic chant, used to tell the story of Rama and Sita.  If you want to see it, you need to get there by 5pm at the latest, and if you have a driver, ask him to get your tickets as it’s all a bit manic. 

Kecak Fire Dance – Rama and Sita

If you can be first into the amphitheatre (perched on the clifftop as well) you can get good seats because they really pack the people in.  Once the performance is over, make a dash for the car park as everyone will be clogging up the small roads out.

After a bit of a drive back, we ended up having dinner at a place called Gabah Restaurant and Bar which was really excellent.  They also have a really massive shared dish which, when delivered to your table, come with a band and a big gong before you can eat it – get it if you have little to no shame.

We grabbed an early night as in the morning we were headed to Ubud!

Jason Gilbert Written by:

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