I cringe when I hear travelers say, “Bali sucks.”
It seems people either love Bali or hate Bali. Believe me, I know. I’ve loved it. I’ve hated it. But in the end there is something undeniably majestic about the Island of the Gods.
In 2011, three friends and I embarked on what we called our GBMA – Great Balinese Motorbike Adventure. We traveled counterclockwise from Seminyak on the west coast all the way around to Lovina on the north coast and several places in between.
There were accidents, ailments, arguments and most importantly plenty of adventure. It was one of the best trips of my life, most of which I equate to the island itself. Overall, I’ve spent about three months on the island.
I love it. I would love to return again in my lifetime.
If you’re planning a trip – and you are not, as one blogger put it, “…in hippy pants acting all 3rd world enlightened while you go into overpriced, air-conditioned cafes to sip an equally pretentious beverage….” then you’re better off starting with places to avoid.
Go to Kuta if you’re looking for a party. If not, stay away. Full stop. Kuta is the Mecca of drunken Australian tourists in Bintang tank tops. It’s their Ibiza, their Cancun.
Sanur is good for one thing: boat transport to Nusa Lembongan, Lombok and the Gilis. Don’t stick around. You won’t find anything worthwhile. Alternatively, you can transport from Padang Bai. The village isn’t much to look at, but Pantai Kecil or Little Beach is a gorgeous hideaway to while away a day or two between islands. You can also book your diving here. Between July to October, you may be fortunate enough to see the largest bony fish in the ocean, the Mola Mola (aka Sunfish). BRAG ALERT! I saw two. It was incredible, the highlight of my diving pursuit.
3. Nusa Dua
If you’re looking for an all-inclusive resort, which would feel like any other round the world, go to Nusa Dua. However, you might as well save on flights and book the same exact trip to Mexico, Jamaica, Greece or whatever is closest to your homeland.
Since the Eat, Pray, Love phenomenon, Ubud has been inundated with tourists who buy into so-called all natural healing treatments, organic restaurants and shops that cry Namaste in an attempt to find themselves. Or maybe they’re just huge Julia Roberts fans. However, these little trading posts are by no means affordable because tourists such as these will actually pay $200, no questions asked, for a piece of shit 5 x 10 inch painting from a no name, talentless roadside Indonesian fraud who calls him or herself an artist. They’ll go home and tell their friends they bought it from some skilled artisan whilst on their exotic travels and their friends will ‘ooohhh’ and ‘aaahhh’ holding cosmopolitan martinis in their chubby, manicured hands. Meanwhile, real artists with true talent across the world are being marginalized by these imprudent globetrotters. Eat, Pray, Vomit.
There’s so much more to Bali that these touristic hotspots. You just have to dig a little deeper. More to come on ‘Where to go in Bali.’