Essentially Kuta is central to all things Southern Bali. It is where backpackers and surfers flock for a taste of paradise along with the best surf in the world, all underneath an almost constant summer sun year round. To be fair though Kuta might as well be some beach resort in Australia, thanks to cheap flights and the fact it’s only a few hours from Oz, everyone here is Australian. Speak to 100 people and 99 will tell you to throw another shrimp on the barbie, the other 1 is me.
I guess it’s like the Aussie Benidorm, every shop is either Billabong or Rip Curl, every bar caters for the Aussies showing the NRL and AFL 24hrs a day. The ratio is about 90:1 male, but I’m sure they don’t care since even me with kids in tow was offered a “rub and tug sir” and about 100 massages a day. Anyone interested in getting their rocks off in Kuta can expect to pay about 50,000IDR (4 quid) for a full massage for an hour, I have no idea how much extras are.
So basically wherever you are in Kuta you are never more than a few minutes from the beach, which is stunning. Seriously. It’s not the white sand I was expecting but the sea really has to be seen to be believed. A 10ft wave is small and the norm. There are loads of surfers all making the most of the awesome waves. The thing is though, when you go in the warm sea and get chinned by a wave it doesn’t seem to have that power that the waves in Phuket had. I mean yeah, a few thousand gallons of water to the mush knocks some sense into you, but it just sort of flows away – The kids are having the time of their lives in it.
I suppose the best way to describe Kuta would be this: Imagine if whilst sat in the pub one night, a load of guys all designed their perfect holiday getaway; From the beach to amenities to location and even the landscaping of coconut and pineapple trees, right down to the climate and turquoise sea. It would look just like Kuta. It really is a young guys paradise and was it not at the other side of the planet it would be the Benidorm for the UK.
The problem with Kuta is the Balinese people. I was led to believe that the Balinese were quiet, honest, religious people who gave offerings of biscuits and cigs daily to their god. The latter is the only true part I’ve seen so far. The Balinese in Kuta are lying, cheating con artists. They really are rip off merchants of the highest order and the constant efforts to extort money from us got very boring very quickly. Everything is overpriced by about 300% and I’m starting to wonder if the Balinese in Kuta are actually immigrants from Delhi. Don’t believe a word spoken by any local and when you get a price sit down for it. They really are a pain in the arse, but then I suppose what can you expect from a bunch of people whereby shops, and I’m talking proper legit shops operate only to sell fake DVD’s, watches, clothes and whatever else you can think of that is dodgy. And it’s not hush hush, I bought the kids toy story 3 off a shelf in a DVD shop. It is expensive by SE Asian standards and expect prices to raise from the original upon purchase. For instance I bought Abi some little Billabong shorts as genuine as Tony Blair for 20,000IDR (£1.50ish) I handed over 50,000 and he was like “thanks” suddenly he hadn’t said 20,000 and there was no refunds. I got my money back but that is what to expect. Or the guy who tried selling me a kite, just before I handed over the cash I realised it didn’t come with string and shock, it was extra. Every restaurant adds 15% service charge to the bill in addition to government tax which seems to be between 10% and 20% it really is that scandalous. In Phuket I hired a boogie board for $2USD which is 18,000IDR today I was quoted 100,000IDR for one and he wouldn’t budge. The funny thing is a few hours later there it was still sat there. They would rather not have the business than give you a fair price. It is almost like a town run by some sort of cartel, such is the blatant dishonesty and hassle.
Our time in Kuta has been spent doing very little other than a bit of shopping and the remainder on the beach swimming in the sea and getting crispy toasted by the scorching hot sun. Oh and drinking the local speciality – Bintang 🙂
Kuta is the sort of place that is difficult to like because of the people and the hassle of just existing here, but once you go beyond that and see Kuta for what it really is, it’s impossible not to love.
Tomorrow (Saturday) we head up into the jungle/mountains to Ubud for a bit of cultural recognition and with the hope/intention of seeing a Komodo dragon…From a distance of course!
I would just like to extend our thanks and gratitude to a good friend of mine Terri. Terri came to Bali last year with a different agenda to ours and whilst she may sit and get off her trolley on Tesco’s finest Lambrini each weekend at home. She travelled to Bali with her husband Pete for some alone/recuperation time. Having looked through about 3 million of her photo’s and whilst listening as I wondered how much commission she was getting from the Bali tourism office, Bali struck a chord. The reality is the reason we are in Bali is because of Terri and how amazing she made the place sound; Even whilst here I have emailed her for info of what to do and where to go and I have a huge list of things to do including invaluable advice. Pretty much everything we do/go in Bali is a direct result of her information and advice. So a huge Thanks to Terri Tinsley for convincing me this was the place to be in SE Asia and a miniature shout out to Pete for putting up with our drunken late night chats 🙂