The marketing for this supposedly idyllic destination lulls most people into a blanket delusion that Bali means long stretches of sand, water, temples and untouched serenity.
Not that these elements are absent from Bali’s landscape, but the lesser-known, vibrant, and coarse side of Bali is rarely depicted in travel articles; the kind of place you’d visit with mates for a stag/hen do or a spontaneous trip with friends.
We give you a peek into the ongoing party in Bali – the Bali that stays up into the wee small hours of the morning – adrenaline, dancing and eating galore.
Here are five things you need to do in Bali that are both exhilarating and rejuvenating:
1. Water Sports in Tanjung Benoa
This is no ordinary water sports destination. The blues in the water shift from cerulean to sapphire to sea green as you float up in a parachute. Give fly fishing a go where you’re lifted in the air on a floater attached to a speed boat. It’s surreal.
After the tiring activities, kick back and relax at one of the many beach-side lounges and restaurants and have a bottle of Bintang [a great local brew].
An important pointer: Try multiple water sports outlets here for 3-activity packages and don’t forget to negotiate. You taxi driver or cabbie is probably only taking you to one where he gets a piece of the pie.
How to get there: Your safest bet is to call an Uber cab, since the cabbies here aren’t the most sincere when putting that meter on [it will cost you more].
How much: AED 120-300 per person
2. Bar-Hopping in Kuta
Start at the Hard Rock Hotel in Kuta and make your way on foot towards the Sky Garden Club. Several dodgy-looking alleyways and dark corners later, you’ll arrive at a street lined with bars and clubs. This is an area that’s lively even at 4am.
How to get there: on foot
Recommended for mixing with locals: Sky Garden Bar & Club [happening on most nights].
How much: A night out will cost you any where between AED 75 – AED 200 [depending upon consumption].
3. Pampering in Seminayak
Just as Kuta is all that’s wild about Bali, Seminayak is all about pampering. Shopping for labels, upscale lounges and bars [quite Dubai-like in its ambience] and the best of all, massage parlors.
Massage parlors that will send their masseuses/ masseurs to your hotel. So, pick up the phone, order a lavish dessert or drink, and prop your feet up for a relaxed coma-inducing foot massage.
Recommended for a wild party night: La Favella
How much for massages: Anywhere between AED 30 – AED 250 depending on duration.
4. Street Shopping
An authentic street shopping experience – haggling for prices, loud salespeople chasing you down the street, the most absurd items on sale for souvenirs, can be found in both Kuta and Seminayak.
Sarongs, slippers, beer holders, beaded necklaces, custom-made rings, ostentatious hats, dresses, beach shorts – You’ll find everything a stone throw away from the Hard Rock hotel in Kuta.
Recommended: Do this on foot and stop at the many road-side cafes for a chilled smoothie or a Bintang.
How much: Don’t buy clothing items for over 300,000 Rupaiya – each item can be bought at the 100,000 to 250,000 mark if you bargain right [if not, there’s another store 2 minutes away].
5. The Hard Rock Experience
This is a one-off suggestion, and it isn’t a promoted one. The Hard Rock Hotel in Kuta is a traveler’s delight. They have surfing lessons right outside – all you have to do is make a booking. Reasonably priced, they have a stunning pool with slides, a pool bar, a volleyball pitch and a kids play area.
The Hard Rock ‘Centre Stage’ area is a great place to visit if you’re not staying at the hotel. Every night, the band brings the house down with themed nights.
A note: First, make a decision about what kind of experience you’re looking for – loud, quiet, party-like, relaxing. Then, do some research online since Bali is home to some innovative hotels – in the midst of a forest – Sharma Springs Bamboo House, in the midst of water, Safari and camping hotels.
Hard Rock, in this respect, is suited for families, large groups of friends and couples looking for party and adventure.
So, which Bali are you going to?