It’s only a short 3 hour flight from Perth to Bali, Indonesia, a land of Hindu temples, cheap food, and sweltering heat. We collect our bags from the terminal, hail a taxi to Kuta and within seconds we are submersed into the blistering heat, with traffic coming at us from all directions. Scooters pass on all sides here, with no apparent rules of the road being followed. We hop out of the cab and decide to go it on foot as the traffic becomes so congested. Since we didn’t have a chance to change at the airport we are still dressed for fall weather with long pants and running shoes on. Within minutes we are drenched with sweat, wondering how we are going to survive in this heat for the next 3 months.
We walk up and down the alleyways of Kuta where basic accommodations are found. Our taxi driver informed us that is the end of Ramadan, and therefore quite busy in town at the moment, which basically means that you might as well throw your Lonely Planet book out the window for prices. We were shocked to find that even the most basic of rooms are 3-4 times the quoted rate. That being said, it’s still cheaper that Australia, just not as cheap as we had hoped. After wandering around for over an hour trying to find something cheap, we finally give in and stay at a decent place with a pool that is beckoning. It’s all we can do after checking in to get changed into our bathers and dive straight into the pool.
The next several days are spent mostly beach and poolside as we try to stay cool during the day. Surfboards are only around $3 AU for the day to rent, which helps to make up for the pricier accommodations. The beach itself in Kuta is disappointing, years of tourism have left piles of garbage everywhere, and hawkers walk by every few minutes offering their wares, interfering with any kind of rest of and relaxation. Kuta’s only reason for existence is surf, as its one of the best beginner surf beaches in Indonesia, and it’s only a few kilometres away from the airport, making it a convenient place to start or end your trip. There is a massive club scene here with mega clubs open until dawn. If you’re looking for peace and quiet, this is not the place.
After 2 days and 3 nights here in Kuta we’ve gotten ourselves organized to get out of town. Tomorrow it’s down to the southern tip of the island, with our own set of wheels, in search of a less commercial Bali.