Motorcycling used to be the best way to travel on Bali but with the increase in traffic it has lost many of its charms and become increasingly dangerous. Be careful and stick to the back roads.
Driving in Bali is not for the faint-hearted. Vehicles and creatures of every size, shape and description charge onto the road out of nowhere. The traffic is horrendous on the main highways. Drive slowly and carefully and beware of the trucks at night. Road construction sites are not marked and few cyclists have reflectors. The condition of road networks has considerably improved in recent years, however, and driving off the beaten track is one of the best ways to discover Bali. Check your fuel gauge regularly as there are few gas stations away from the main roads. Small roadside fuel shops, indicated by a "Premium" sign, sell gasoline for the bit more than the Pertamina stations.
eat until you drops
a new restaurant with an interesting water feature at its entrance. the entrance's floor is made of glass with pond underneath it. since the restaurant is in front of casa padma hotel, the view is to the swimming pool and to the street.
the staffs are friendly and there's also place upstairs where you can get better view! the steaks
after the bomb tragedy in 2002 in kuta, people make kuta karnival to show it's peaceful here in kuta and try to attract tourist.
it's usually held in october when the tragedy was, but since 2005 they change the time to july, when it's high season for tourist so more people can come.
one of the most interesting part of the festival is the parade.
IN DEFENSE OF KUTA!
"(NOT JUST DRUNK AUSSIES! NICE DRUNK AUSSIES, TOO!)"
(PHOTO: Hotel Jayakarta by day)
"Ah, Bali… you'll be staying in Ubud?"… "Bali? Well Nusa Dua is where you'll want to stay!" … "… Sanur has wonderful slightly older properties worth considering". Many opinions were given to me when my well-traveled friends and co-workers heard that Alan and I were planning an eight-day trip to Bali. Imagine their faces when I proudly, defiantly defended my lodging choice: KUTA!
If you don't know, Kuta is the "Waikiki" of Bali. Plenty of properties, plenty of restaurants, plenty of souvenir shops and Circle K's (their equivalent to our 7/11s). If one were to stay in Kuta and never leave, you'd learn about as much about the Balinese and their rich culture as someone would learn about Hawaii by being bound to Waikiki's borders.
But defend Kuta I did. First, this was my second visit to Bali, so I knew that Kuta was unofficially colonized by Australians on the prowl for cheap drinks, loud night clubs and good times. Second, I realized Ubud, Nusa Dua and even Sanur would have nicer, quiet accommodations in culturally rich settings. Third, I knew that Kuta would have "in your face" street touts - a multitude of pedestrian hawkers of many goods and services, who are only too glad to tell you about all about it from sunup to sundown unless you're a quick walker. Not only did I defend our choice, but we stayed, survived and even enjoyed our Kuta experience.
(PHOTO: Hotel Jayakarta by Night)
It should be noted even Kuta is divided into distinct neighborhoods, and extending from south to north they include: Tuban, Kuta "Proper", Legian and Seminyak. Technically, the hotel we stayed at, the Hotel Jayakarta, is located in Legian as it fronts Legian Beach, but its in an area many still refer to as Kuta.
To combat the hell-raising, elbow-hoisting Australian presence in Kuta (a presence that was sought after and welcomed on my first trip, when I was young and single many moons ago) we chose to visit Bali in June. Not unlike in the US, the Australian school breaks don't happen until July, and while there were still some Australians in Kuta, they were of the mild variation; young families and seniors, mostly. Another plus is that June is considered off-season, resulting in hotels being willing to negotiate even more than usual.
Because it is true we sacrificed "culture" for "dollars" as we stayed at a slightly cheaper property, that didn't mean we had to have a hotel that fronted an ATM, Circle K and a hair-plaiting establishment. In fact, the Hotel Jayakarta is about as beach front as it gets for Kuta-Legian. And because the property is self-enclosed and secure, front and back entrance, my last concern was effectively managed: street touts were kept on the streets and not on property.
Should you be considering a trip to Bali, here a few things you should know about accommodations before you get overwhelmed by the choices in lodging and their various locations.
Nusa Dua is lovely. It has the newest, best appointed luxury five-star properties on the Island. It has price tags to match, however, and while deals can be negotiated in Kuta, and perhaps even in Sanur and Ubud, most of the rates for Nusa Dua properties are more fixed. Most in the three digit and higher range, as well. Sanur has slightly older chain properties, and prices tend toward the high-end double-digit and higher category.
(PHOTO: Legian Beach Touts )
Ubud, the inland cultural heart of the Bali, has the most comprehensive range of properties and prices. You can find properties ranging in rates from as low as $30.00 all the way to $500 a night and higher. The world renowned Amandari, which features private swimming pools for each room, has a suite the goes for $2000.00 per night, in fact.
There are also lovely, five-star variety resorts on secluded, isolated parts around the coastal island or inland.
Kuta also has a varied price range for accommodations, anywhere from $3.00 (yes, "Losmens" - or homestays -- can be this inexpensive) to the low- to mid-hundreds per night. Traditional family run losmens, where you may not have running, let alone hot water being at the low end, to a mid-range Hard Rock Hotel, all the way to the high end spectrum featuring an Oberoi property in the low to mid triple digit figures.
The Hotel Jayakarta was cautiously found and bravely booked - sight unseen and with no testimonials by friends - via the internet. We booked for only 4 nights with the thought that we could leave immediately if we had to. If the rooms were tolerable enough, we were prepared to spend a few nights and later leave, or if things worked out (as they did) extend our stay for the entire trip. At $65.00USD for a one-bedroom apartment, (2 televisions, 2 air-con units, fully stocked with kitchen utensils, a microwave & mini-fridge, plus a pull-out couch sleepr) we felt we got a steal!
We stayed in Kuta Legian not just because it would be cheap, however. It was primarily because I recalled from my visit 11 years ago that the more upscale the area, the more secluded you were from less expensive shops and restaurants. In Kuta, we were within walking distance to the upscale clothing boutiques in Seminyak as well as the "cheap eats" type restaurants in Kuta proper. Souvenir shops that allowed aggressive bargaining were within just steps of our hotel. Small day spas that featured $6USD one-hour long massages and $10USD facials were just around the corner. Internet cafes that offered state-of-the-art webcams & desktop computers as well as good food were plentiful.
And we DID leave Kuta! We hired a driver who picked us up almost daily and took us around the island. After several days of touring Bali, Alan agreed with me that we made the right decision to stay in Kuta. Certainly our credit card bank thanks us, as do many small establishments along Jalan Legian who would never have seen us had we been confined to the higher-end resort locations.