Wow, since arriving in Bali things have really flown by! The first two days were spent in Kuta, a beach town in the south of the island. Kuta is known for being a party scene, full of Australians, so naturally we planned our arrival for Saturday evening!
After settling in at our hotel, Warung Coco on Poppies 2 (down a long dark alley…), we grabbed a quick dinner and then hit the club! Silliness ensued.
The next day, we had a bit of a late start, but still managed to see some sites. The Kuta beach isn’t the prettiest, in fact it reminded me of some of our east coast beaches at home – long, flat and a bit boring. We also perused the hawker stands and found some good souvenirs to bring home!
We debated renting motorbikes for the afternoon to make our way down the coast, but we (luckily) had trouble finding 3 available from the same place. We opted instead to hire a car to take us down to one of the surfer beaches and then Uluwatu (a Hindu temple) for sunset. For the 6 hour trip it cost each of us about $12 USD, so it was worth the money!
I am honestly so glad we didn’t rent motorbikes, however easy the owner of our hotel made them out to be. First, they drive on the other side of the road here, which I can get the hang of – but turning right is super awkward. Second, there are zero guidelines for traffic…people weave in and out, make u-turns in the middle of the road, pass people constantly, and ride double/triple to a lane. And that’s the cars too, not just the scooters! Third, we ended up staying until after sunset, so making out way back along the cliffs in the dark would have been a nightmare.
So yes. $12 well spent.
The surfer beach we stopped at is called Padang Padang and was a great little cove nestled between the cliffs. I felt like we were back in Ao Nang! We had to walk down a narrow and curved staircase carved between two rocks to reach the beach. the water here was so refreshing! There were tons of people out where the surf was breaking riding the waves in or SUP’ing (standup paddle boarding). I definitely was to SUP in Costa Rica! Still nervous about surfing 🙂
The main attraction of our stay in Kuta (past my new elderly friend pictured above) was seeing Uluwatu at sunset. The temple is poised at the top of a cliff, jutting out over the sea.
We hiked around the cliffs a bit to get a good view of the temple from afar and ran into more monkeys along the way. The baby one with a Mohawk was my favorite.
The sunset was spectacular from our viewpoint just at the base of the temple. There was a performance of the Balinese Kecak fire and trance dance at the nearby stage, but it was exceptionally crowded and we decided to just listen a bit before heading out.
That evening we had one of our best meals at Poppies, a garden restaurant on a nearby street. The setting was very romantic and you couldn’t even hear any of the techno music pumping from the main drag!
We all had multiple courses, and dessert! I enjoyed lumpia (spring rolls), soto ayam (chicken soup), a vegetable salad (with potato salad hidden beneath the veggies!) and banana crepes with honey for dessert. All of that delicious food cost $25 USD! I’m not getting skinnier over here 🙂
Overall, Kuta was a nice jumping point for some more interesting sites in south Bali. I’d suggest staying one or two nights maximum, before heading inland or to another island. The bars and restaurants are just so loud and its a bit of a scene. I don’t think I could have taken another night in Kuta!