“South Bali is like a mini-Australia,” said Wayan. “They drink lots and get drunk lots, we Balinese have no problem with that. Why should we?” said my toothless driver while I was on my way to spend the weekend in Bali’s party heaven, the beaches of Seminyak and Kuta. The one that everyone knows of.
As you would have read in my last post (shame on you if you haven’t), I started my Balinese holiday in Ubud, known for its incredibly healthy and chilled lifestyle. There are very few bars and even those don’t have doof-doof music. Of course, they don’t. Ubud wakes up at 3 a.m. to practice yoga and trek up to volcanic mountain tops, all alcohol-free.
I didn’t want to become a hippie with BO by the end of this week-long holiday, so I decided to take a step back from all the nature loving, raw food, cycling and 6am starts and visit friends in the party hub of the island. Guess that bikini might just make an appearance – maaaayyyybe!
Not going to lie, I was a little excited about stopping my two-wheatgrass-shots-a-day routine for the weekend and getting some alcohol in my system (sorry dad!). Wouldn’t have minded a drip of matini, or even an injection, perhaps? Okay, too far! I wouldn’t touch a syringe here, I’m not that crazy, Jeez!
On reaching Seminyak, my first word was ‘ew’! No kidding. There were too many things on its tiny streets, and I come from India, so I know what ‘too many’ means. The people, okay let’s talk about these people. There were hardly any locals to be seen, maybe you’d find them in a spa or an Indonesian restaurant. Otherwise, it was just a sea of tourists, all doing backflips in cringeworthy Bintang singlets. I curse the day those ridiculous tees went to print. Who is responsible for such awful fashion? Bali anyway doesn’t know what ‘fashion’ and ‘trends’ mean, and I don’t expect it to, but those alcohol tees, kill me now, will ya?!
Now if you are serious about going to clubs in Bali, here’s a fun fact for you – Leave your alcohol-branded t-shirts in your closet. Most ‘nice’ bars and clubs don’t allow those dreadful things through their doors. The definition of ‘nice’ is very subjective here. Unless, you call women on bar tops with laser lights sticky-taped to their body parts, grinding the air, as ‘nice’. In that case, you’d fit perfectly in – no judgements there!
We were asked to venture out to the main street in Kuta to find the “hottest places in town”. Okay, take me there, I urged!
Mind you, this is the same street where 10 years ago, the awful and sad bombings took place, targeting tourists only! Incredibly sad, mainly because people come here with the hope to have their Balinese love affair and drink alcoholic beverages that would cost them less than a cup of coffee in Australia.
I wonder how much Bintang is produced and bottled on a weekly basis here? That number would be incredible to comprehend. For those unaware and living under a rock, Bintang is the local beer here that I’m told tastes pretty “local”. Well surely those who say that haven’t drank cobra’s blood? That shit is as local as one can get.
Seminyak and Kuta were disappointing. Not just the sight of lady-boys trying to grind you from behind and Aussie bogans small-talking about cricket to every random they see, it was just like being at the Valley in Brisbane, except hotter (temperature-wise), and with escorts roaming freely outside bars in some serious heels.
Becky Wicks, an English author and a friend of mine, recently wrote a book on Bali called Balilicious, which I just finished reading. If you’re serious about visiting this island, trust me and buy this book. You will thank your lucky stars that you did because Becky talks about Bali from the eyes of a once-sceptic traveller, and how the island slowly converted her into being someone that actually cares about what goes into making Bali a tourist spot. She still parties and has numerous affairs (jealous!), but somehow makes it all sound very special. The writing is incredibly witty and you’ll learn so much more about this island, than you ever will even when you put all the travel guides of the world together. It’s a seriously good book!
In the book, Becky calls Seminyak, ‘Semin-yuk’. Amen, sister! It’s seriously YUCK! The beaches are brown, the water is not quite blue, there are too many middle-aged women screaming ‘massage miss! massageeeee’ in your face and too many children. I’m sorry, I just don’t like children peeing and pooping on the sand, right in FRONT OF ME. Shame on your parenting.
It’s so yuck and commercial that we couldn’t even find a spa here. It’s Bali – how is there no good spa on the main street here? A spa that wouldn’t give you some sort of insane disease or a masseuse that wouldn’t inject you with illegal marijuana while releasing the lactic acid from your muscles. The coconuts here don’t have meat. Don’t laugh! The coconuts are the shape of a grown man’s face and they don’t have meat, what sort of ridiculousness is that? There is no crowd in one of poshest bars in town on a Friday night; Ku De Ta, looking at you. The shops sell racist and potty-mouthed posters. Not even kidding, I have photo proof below. The beaches are filled with newly-wed couples who I will call, ‘choode-wali-aunties’ from hereon (all Indians reading this, I hope you giggle). The surfers here aren’t hot, and like I said, I live in Bondi, so I’ve seen HOT SURFERS. What’s the deal, beaches of Bali? Why do you seem so alluring when you actually have nothing good to offer?
My three night stay here became more bearable due to the fact that I was with friends, and we found happiness in throwing fresh flowers in the pool of our villa. And of course, spending one night getting spritz with ocean water at the most stunning and unique bar on this island called The Rock Bar in Ayana Resort & Spa (Google it! I promise you’ll drool).
But this isn’t what Bali is about. It’s not about sitting in the infinity pool of your luxury villa and sipping Mai Tai’s while watching the sunset (damn, that does sound amazing!). But point is, Bali has more culture to it that is yet to be discovered by all the tourists that flock here with their beach hats and sarongs. It has more love to give than via leg grinding at a sweaty club that can’t get enough of Taio Cruz’s Hangover (seriously, that song is ruining my life. May it burn in lyrical HELL).
I’ll say it again and again until the message gets across – Seminyak and Kuta isn’t what Bali is about. Go to Ubud and I promise you a 120 minute massage for $12.
How’s that Lonely Planet? Put that in your guide book, eh eh? Or hire me… muhaha!
P.S. In case you were wondering, sure you were, that bikini did come out of the suitcase. ooooh-yeah!