Jan 052011
Bali - Kuta nightlife-1

If you’re going to Bali, why Kuta?  People go to Kuta to

  1. Surf
  2. Get drunk.
  3. Get laid.

Rinse, lather, repeat.

Partying is far from being a primary goal of my travel, but meeting twenty and thirty-somethings from around the world was awesome.

Kuta is Bali’s nightlife capital, and it might be the equivalent for Australians of Cancun for Americans. Ahh, Kuta nightlife. It’s easy to get to (for Aussies), cheap once you’re there, and great parties with other travelers. Spring break is 24/7/365.  If GTL is the motto on the Jersey shore, then Surf-party-surf might be the equivalent here. Surf, nightlife, surf, meet travelers, surf, get faced, get laid in Bali. Welcome to Kuta. It’s not the experience I was looking for but it was fun and considering I didn’t know anybody upon arrival, it was a great transition to begin my trip.

Kuta parties at Sky Garden, 61 Legian, Bounty in Bali, Indonesia

This was just the pregame – it’s like this for 12 hours per day.

Happy hour that included unlimited vodka red bull drinks.  “Bounty” has 6 bars, a live music area with cover bands, and 2 clubs. Two doors down is 61 Legian / Sky Garden Lounge/ ESC  and it might be bigger. Another place I went to had 2 hours of free drinks with unlimited tapas.  You can see how this can be a crazy place. Kuta nightlife is crazy. Travelers come looking to surf and get laid in Bali – and they find plenty of both. The Kuta beach experience is mediocre (recommendations on where in Bali to actually go for beaches below), but if you’re looking for craziness, come to Bali, head to Kuta, and come ready to party.

While at times it seemed like most of the people visited Kuta for drinking, partying, and sex with other travelers, nightlife isn’t the only draw. Lots of travelers go there for surfing. Surfing is really huge there.

The bars in Kuta in Bali are a filled with Australians, Germans, British, Russians, and more, up for crazy parties, meeting other young people, and post-game after-hours adventures. After a crazy night of hedonism in Kuta, for many, the mornings often start with the “walk of shame” before hitting the beach for surfing and starting the cycle over.

Below are some photos from one of the nights when my new friends from Russia met up with me.  You’ll meet people from all over the world – they’re from Siberia!

Drinking in Kuta, in Bali, Indonesia - at Sky Garden, 61 Legian, & Bounty

Party photos taken from Sky Garden, 61 Legian, and Bounty, all in Kuta, Bali, Indonesia

Kuta: the most popular beach in Bali, where nobody relaxes on the beach – this is the first place I’ve ever been to that’s known for their beach where nobody actually relaxes on the beach. Everybody’s surfing, and nursing their hangover, and there’s locals hassling nearly everybody on the beach to buy something. It wasn’t the most beautiful of beaches, but that could just be my impression while it was overcast or raining each day of my trip through Bali. I made the best of it – learned to surf and got SCUBA-certified!

Nearby in Semenyak, Bali, Indonesia, there’s bars and clubs just like in Kuta, perhaps a tad classier (and more pricey but it’s relative), and nicer restaurants. If I went back I’d consider staying in Semenyak instead. I actually tried to move to a hotel in Semenyak but upon arrival they acknowledged that I had a reservation but told me that they’re full and can’t accomodate. Whaaaaaat? This happened twice so I eventually gave up and stayed in Kuta. Ahhhh!

When the hotel in Semenyak Bali said they had my reservation but no rooms, it reminded me of the Seinfeld clip when he’s renting a car (below):

Note – if you’re looking for the best beach in Bali, people said me that Dreamland is the class of Bali. And Ubud is Bali’s most chill area; I heard around two dozen reviews and every one of them was positive. One of my friends went to a yoga retreat there for the final week of her trip and loved it.

My hotel added this during my stay - imagine first noticing it at 4am as you turn the corner coming home from the bars after a few drinks

My hotel added this during my stay – imagine first noticing it at 4am as you turn the corner coming home from the bars after a few drinks

Warning – The Bali Nine – if partying for you often includes pot or other more serious drugs, you should know that Indonesia takes drugs VERY seriously, especially when it comes to drug trafficking.  Nine twenty-something Aussies (actually 18-28 years old) were caught smuggling illegal drugs (18 pounds of heroin) and were sentenced to the death penalty. The group ringleaders, Chan and Sukumaran, were sentenced to death via firing squad. Their story is ongoing and is infamous at this point – they’re known at the “Bali Nine” smuggling gang. The Australian Prime Minister asked they give clemency and was denied, and in July’11 they lost their appeal. They were sentenced to death by the Indonesian government for smuggling heroin into the country. Death by firing squad – I didn’t know countries still did that. Full story in this article here, on the Bali Nine wikipedia page, as well as in the book, One-Way Ticket : The Untold Story of the Bali 9.

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