Last updated on 29th November 2019
A very short stay in Kuta
Bali has been a stopover for me only, unfortunately. I am sure it has a lot to offer but my visit was very short. I had decided to stay in Kuta: a place near Denpassar that is very touristic, full of restaurants, hotels and hostels, bars and cafes and plenty of shops. It also has two water theme parks. For me it was convenient as it is close to the airport. I stayed here before I flew to Labuan Bajo and after my return. Each time it was only for a few days and I really did not participate in any adventures for island exploration. Instead, I did what once was the main reason for people to come to Kuta: surfing.
At Kuta beach surf instructors line up along the beach. I had the pleasure to meet Don on my first day and had another lesson for beginners. Price was 150k Rupiah; I paid the same on the next day with another surf instructor. Sadly I forgot the name. Don gave me a big blue board and we went into the water. Magically I stood on the board the very first wave I tried, and surfed to the beach. And so it went, I managed to stand up most of the time. Hence I had a lot of fun, surfing is so much better than falling and paddling. I like to believe I was great but I guess it was just the board being very big and forgiving me all my misbalancing.
The next day I had another instructor and another board, a fraction smaller than Dons blue board. And I struggled, I managed to stand up only half the time and almost always fell immediately. I could not keep my balance. Only a few times I surfed to the beach. But the guy told me it’s not only the smaller board, waves have been much better in shape and size the day before. Anyhow, still it was fun and some exercise.
Talking about exercise: I went jogging one evening. The only place where it is possible without running into cars and motorbikes is the beach. It is also nice to see the sunset while jogging. So I went jogging up and down the narrow path along the beach. But it was hard because so many people walk that path too, especially at sunset time, and some motorbikes come along. I ended up performing a zigzag around people and bikes. Maybe it is better to use the beach itself for jogging, with bare feet it would be even more exercise.
One little excursion I have undertaken because I wanted to see the Uluwatu Temple and the fire dance performance. I decided not to book an organised tour and to go my own way. I took a Grab (the Asian Uber) to the temple and back. BTW Grabs are not allowed near the temple. On the way back I had to walk a bit away from it. The reason for this is a fight between taxi and Grab in Bali: Taxi drivers have banned Grabs from certain areas like airport, bus terminals and also the Uluwatu temple. Driving into those areas is dangerous for grab drivers. They fear demolition of their cars.
Anyway, the temple is located on the top of a cliff facing the ocean. It is wonderful and the view is amazing. There is another cliff, visible in the distance, on which I have seen people standing on the edge. Next time I will go there too. The temple interesting to visit but what makes it so great is its location. It is very beautiful to watch the sunset from here. Beware of the monkeys, they are very naughty and specialized in stealing glasses from tourists.
At 6 pm every evening there is a traditional fire dancer show. It is always sold out and people squeezing into a small arena. The show lasts about an hour. Certainly, it is very interesting to see the dances of other cultures but I was disappointed. I have not seen anyone really dancing. There is an oil lamp burning in the middle of the arena and that’s where the word fire comes from. No one really does anything with fire. It´s rather a very small theatre. Most of the time about 30 men sit in a circle around the lamp chanting. That is not easy to take for a long time. Some people left the performance only a few minutes after it began. I stayed. It was surely not my cup of tea but I enjoyed the costumes and the unusuality of the performance. I remember the story was about a beautiful princess who was sent into the forest and then kidnapped and needed to be freed with the help of some magical figures. Only at the very end someone lays a circle of dry stuff and lights it up with the fire of the lamp but will immediately extinguish it due to its danger among of so many people.