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Published: March 16th 2018
The new Kuta airport looks amazing: colorful and bright, airy but not huge, stylishly designed with unique Balinese patterns all around, and that exquisite scent of flowers in the air… We had barely landed but, after 3 months in India, Becky & I were already enjoying the Bali vibe! We'd been on the road (either cycling or backpacking) for 11 months. Becky had promised her boss she'd go back to work in April (2017)… 4 weeks left only! Time had come to take it slow & easy around Bali. We’d rent a car and drive around the island, find quiet beaches, climb a volcano, wander the rice terraces, chase dolphins, & indulge in nasi campur, babi guling & mango juices! It sounded too good to be true, so I agreed for her mother to join us!...
We stayed at Kupu Kupu 39 (which we highly recommend) because of its proximity to both the airport (a 10-minute walk) and Tuban Beach (100m), which is the continuation of Kuta beach (1km down Pantai Kuta). The lovely owners of Kupu Kupu 39 helped us book a rental car and ferry tickets to the Gili Islands.
It was Becky’s
mom and step dad’s first time abroad. We had asked them to only carry a backpack each, and they did. I can’t imagine what went through their heads when, at 3am at the airport, we told them we would walk back to our hotel through dark streets in an unknown place… But they were cool and we didn’t get lost! Becky was thrilled to see her mom again, especially after being away from China for so long (Her mom has no idea we actually cycled Europe, Tanzania and Madagascar).
I knew Bali from 2 previous trips, and this is mainly why we picked this place for her parents to visit us. I felt confident I would be a good guide for the 3 of them to enjoy their time together, without worrying about where we were heading, or staying, in other words avoiding the stress of traveling overseas for the very first time at the age of 60. Plus, come on, Bali is stunning! Although Kuta is not the most beautiful place Bali has to offer…
These last few years Kuta has spread wider, and it seems like most tourists from the West prefer
This is Bali
every morning, every day!
staying around Seminyak, and the ever-expanding Chinese tours are taking over the monumental hotels and shopping malls over Tuban and Kuta Bali. I like Kuta because of its energy, the sun, the surfing, the kites flying high above Legian beach, and the fact that you can meet people from all walks of life there. There’s always something happening in Kuta: street markets swarming with early morning customers; local women offering flowers, food and incense to the gods; young men doing sports on the beach all day long; (Chinese) women shopping for colorful dresses and seashell necklaces; local men chatting up Aussie girls getting a pedicure on the beach; Aussie surfies haggling for a cheap Bintang singlet… Pretty girls, motorbikes, flip-flops, street food, nice drinks, flower scents, and beautiful sunsets every single night!
The big downside to Kuta is that the main Beach is dirty, even disgusting in some places. I was shocked by the appalling smell on the beach of Seminyak, meters away from hordes of tourists sunbathing on their lounge chairs. Shame. We wandered around trendy Seminyak and its chic boutiques, and walked all the way back to Tuban along the beach (5-6km). I’m pretty sure
most of you will sneer at
what I’m about to say, but for the first time in a long time (11 months?), Becky and I weren’t traveling anymore, we were holidaying. And it felt good!
Kuta is extremely convenient, safe and easy, but DON’T exchange foreign currency at the dodgy stalls that claim to have the best exchange rates in town!... These guys are magicians and your money will soon vanish up these crooks’ sleeves!
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