Commonly known as ‘Australia’s Magaluf’, Kuta never really appealed to me in comparison to other places in Bali. I envisioned horrible music, swarms of promotors trying to force you onto their boozy boat parties, large groups of lads walking around sticking their chests out and speaking about girls like they’re something you’d buy at the butchers. Luckily I have been pleasantly surprised and it hasn’t been that bad, but it’s still not the best place in the world.
Kuta is a claustrophobic town, with artistic walls decorated in graffiti, heckling locals wanting you to get in their taxis or look in their shops, no pavements, and a constant flow of mopeds whizzing around so close to you that your feet almost get smushed. There are reggae bars, shisha bars, Indonesian restaurants, lots of swimming pools and clubs.
Being right by the airport, this is the most sensible place to spend our last few days chilling on the beach or by the pool before jetting off to Australia. Having only two nights left with Jess, we booked into a small apartment so that we could have a pool and our own space. The complex is called Aroma Apartments. The beds are comfortable, air con works a dream and the rooms have a small kitchen and bathroom. The only issue is that the wifi does not work in the slightest. You have to go right out by the reception to use it, and even then it’s pretty much non-existent.
Since Jess spent her first few days here, she had a few good places to recommend- one of them being Sky Gardens. We couldn’t not have one last night out together before separating again. Before heading out we decided to take a few photos on our porch and a group of about ten guys from Jakarta came running over to take a few photos with us. A few of them even climbed over the rails to get closer hahaha. They kept swapping over and taking it in turns until they had a whole photo shoots’ worth of photos!
Sky Gardens was amazing. Not just because EVERY NIGHT they have a deal between 5PM-9PM giving you unlimited drinks for only 115,000RUPIAH (less than a tenner), but you get unlimited buffet as well! They have Mexican night one night, then Indonesian and on a Sunday they do a carvery so we’re going back! To my surprise the food was actually really good as well; I expected with a deal like that, that it would be like bin food.
I didn’t get any photos of the food because I was too excited. But we piled our plates up and got two drinks each and made a start on our night. With its multiple floors and rooms, Sky Gardens is the one of the biggest venues I have ever been in. There’s a dining room and different dance rooms playing different genres of music (they actually had drum and bass which made me ridiculously happy), and luxury toilets with a dressing table-like layout at every sink.
As things got boozier, me being me, at one point missed a step coming out of the toilets and fell right down but (me being me again) naturally held my drink up in the air. So even though I was completely twisted up on the floor, I still managed to save my drink!
The whole night consisted of the usual Jenny, Becca, Jess antics. Chatting sh*t to random people, making new friends, taking videos of each other dancing with a lady boy on the stands and running away from persistent irritating guys after they’d insisted on buying us drink after drink without us asking. When it was past nine and the drinks offer was over, me and Jess went to get a Smirnoff (not touching local stuff again). It was 120,000 for one, or 1,600,000 for a bottle. We pointed to the offer, gave each other the eyes and a nod, looked at the offer again, then gave each other the eyes and nod again. The kind of eyes that are like ‘hmm should we?’ waiting for the other person to suggest it so that we didn’t feel as guilty. It was only then that it clicked that the bottle was over 1,000,000 more than the single drink. We’d both read it as 160,000 so luckily we didn’t go there!
This time round the night ended in no chundering, just a greasy McDonalds which we walked twenty minutes out of our way for and ate in about two mouthfuls. Nothing beats junk food when you’re drunk. Even better that the next day, none of us felt hungover! We went to get breakfast at a place called The Smiling Frog, which I highly recommend. It’s cheap, fast service and delicious.
Once again my STA card didn’t allow me to take out anywhere near the amount of money I had in the account. A tip for any future travellers, it’s worth taking an STA bank card (or second bank card) with you as a backup, but otherwise, just use your usual VISA bank card. STA said that using a VISA card would cost a lot for withdrawals, whereas their cards only charge about £2. Well it’s not true, because any time I’ve used my VISA card, it’s only cost me about £2-£3 for withdrawal. After having money seem to disappear into thin air from my STA account, I e-mailed them only to find out that they ‘forgot to mention’ how large their exchange rate is. Meaning that every time I’ve taken cash out, I’ve had up to £9 extra taken out because of their exchange rate. But I’ve not had that once with my usual VISA bank card!
The beach in Kuta is a dream. It’s long and wide and the sand is soft and sludgy instead of being drowned in rocks and coral. And the waves are THE BIGGEST waves I have ever seen in my life. Kuta is surfer central for Australians; apparently a lot of them spend their summers here because of how good the waves are.
They are literally like mini tsunamis. When you jump in them they throw you around and duck you under water and the water froths. After a wave had crashed the current beneath pulls you back out. ITS SO FUN! The sea goes so far out that the waves give a rippled, layered effect. I’ve decided if I have enough money on our last day here, I’m going to do a surf lesson, just to get an idea of how it’s done, so I can practise in Australia.
At some points when we were in the sea we had to try running away whilst in stitches, because a wave so big would emerge that we didn’t think we’d stand a chance with it. As it was early evening, the water was cool and the sun was less intense and it was so therapeutic. Being in the sea is so liberating and mindful- such good medicine.
Earlier in the day we tried checking Jess into her flight, but for some reason we were having issues with it (I think it was the wifi) so we suggested just checking in at the airport. Thank god we didn’t, because eventually when we did get her checked in, we realised her flight was actually at 1.30AM that night, not in the afternoon the next day. So Jess was so, so close to missing her flight! It was relieving but really sad because it meant we had even less time together.
We went to a restaurant called The Balcony for our last meal together, where they have the best veggie burger I have ever eaten! The consistence of the burger is meat-like and really juicy, rather than being like vegetable mash. In fact all the food there is good quality and ridiculously cheap. The staff are really efficient too. You have to go up a flight of stairs to get into the restaurant, so it’s risen above the ground, hence the slogan “when the surfs down, come on up!” They have a cluttered wall covered in photos of tourists and serve you a shot of frozen margarita when you sit down.
Jess turned around to check out a ‘surfer dude’ that she saw sit down at the corner of her eye, only to realise it was an old lady with long blonde hair hahaha. Typical ditsy Jess. The other day when we were in the pool she had itchy hands and feet and I managed to convince her that it was something called ‘pool crabs’ that only target certain people to bite and make their skin itch. She didn’t question it for a second!
After seeing Jess off to the airport, a few tears and goodbyes, me and Jenny went to spent our last night at Aroma and are now sat in Captain Goose hostel, right by the beach. We haven’t spent a night here yet, but I have nothing bad to say so far, other than that the mattresses are a bit thin and spongy (but we wouldn’t expect memory foam for £6 a night). The rooms are clean and cosy, the pool is nice and has colourful bean bags plotted around it and the food and drink is so cheap. They have a separate kitchen where backpackers can make their own food also.
Today’s been pretty chilled. I finally got some laundry done (3.6kg for about £3). On the walk there I was heckled so much by the locals. “Do you have a boyfriend miss”, “come to my place,” “O-la-la”. I’m bored of using energy to be polite back now, so I just put my head down and walk on pretending I haven’t heard anything. On the way back I came across a second hand book shop; I’ve finished reading Dark Places (Gillian Flynn you never fail to make a jaw dropping twist), so I’m onto reading We Need to Talk About Kevin. Being a massive book worm, I’m trying to make the most of having all this free time so I can just read and read and read.
We would have done anything to have Jess come to Australia with us and it’s horrible to think we won’t see each other for another year. But we’ve had the best couple of weeks together and before we know it we will be reunited again! Although Kuta is definitely not somewhere I’d be ecstatic about coming back to, it’s still a nice place and there’s plenty of things to entertain us until we leave.