Category Archives: Indonesia

A Night Out in Kuta

Unlike a lot of the tourists coming to Bali, I wasn’t interested in the nightlife, alcohol or any of the other more sinful vices that are abundantly available. In fact, I tried my best to avoid Kuta and its infamous reputation. But, I’m also a curious little cat so, with Reena by my side, I hit up Sky Garden, a multi-level dance club just to see what all the hype is about.

We arrived early enough to take part in their really cheap buffet. The food wasn’t anything spectacular and the unlimited alcohol that accompanied it was even less remarkable. But, for the price we were paying, the food was filling and cheap.

Midway through our feed, Praveen, Reena’s friend from school, joined us. He was in Bali on a family vacation and hadn’t seen Reena in years so it was great for them to catch up.

As the night wore on, we ordered more drinks and tried to talk over the pounding bass. It was difficult. We stayed on the top deck of the Sky Garden because there was a slight breeze blowing. The music got better the longer we stayed. People around us also got more tipsy, but I guess that’s how it goes. The crowd consisted of a high percentage of tourists with some locals in the mix for good measure.

As we left the club in the wee hours of the morning, we debated what to do next. If we took a taxi back to the hostel at this hour, it would cost us an arm and a leg. No taxis ran on the meter at this time of night, and we didn’t know what the right fare should cost. However, it was still several hours before the sun came up at which time the taxis turned on their meters.

As we sat on the curb eating our ice cream, drama that is inherent in Kuta erupted around us. Behind us it appeared as if a few guys were starting a fight. Other guys (maybe bouncers but it was hard to tell) strongly encouraged them to leave. Obnoxious belligerence ensued so we moved up the road away from the action.

At our new perch atop a short concrete wall, a white guy who was clearly drunk and/or stoned lay across the lap of a local guy. The local was trying to get the guy to go home, but he was clearly no match for the strength of the intoxication. Shaking his head, the local said his “friend” had too much to drink and patted his back. Circling around like vultures honing in on roadkill, two or three women of dubious reputation shared their concern for the guy. I can only hope that the local was telling the truth about being this guy’s friend and that the he woke up with all his money, credit cards and organs in place (I joke about the organs but the money and credit cards are probably a real concern).

As things around us got more and more sketchy, we decided to head home. I think we’d had enough excitement for the night. We hopped into a off-meter taxi and paid nearly double what we paid at the start of the night, but in the end it was worth it. Sky Garden and Kuta were fun but not something I had to ever do again.


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Filed under Accommodation, Indonesia, Nightlife

Happy Days at Happy Day Hostel and Guest House

After a splendid two nights surrounded by rice fields, Reena and I returned to the heart of Bali’s tourist area. We avoided Kuta and opted for a place in Seminyak called Happy Day Hostel and Guest House.

We were expecting to book into a dorm room, but the hostel staff suggested we stay in a one-bedroom apartment instead. The price per person for the apartment wasn’t too much more than the dorm room, and after seeing the place, how could we say no?

The one-bedroom apartment was huge, especially since there were only two of us. It had a full kitchen, living and dining area and patio. Located to the right of the entryway was a full bath. Best of all, the air conditioner blew cold! It felt like we were staying at an expensive vacation home and not at a hostel.

The staff at Happy Day Hostel and Guest House were really nice and very friendly. When they saw us, they asked how our day had gone or suggested things for us to do.

After Reena left, I stayed there for another week but moved into the dorms. The dorms were clean and spacious and the air conditioner ran all the time (unlike at some other hostels). I was able to do a load of laundry (by hand as they don’t have a machine) and the staff even shared their lunch with me one day. I had a nice time at Happy Day Hostel and Guest House and would stay there again.

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Filed under Accommodation, Indonesia

Dancing the Night Away at Cafe Havana

After dinner with Carolyne, Reena and I strolled around town and ended up at Cafe Havana. Reena loves to dance, especially the salsa, so we just had to go in and check the place out.

In addition to food and drinks, Cafe Havana offers live music and Latin dancing all night long. All members of their staff – from the servers to the kitchen – are trained to dance and enjoy strutting their stuff with customers. You’ll never have to worry about not having a partner because there will always be someone with whom you can dance.

Another cool thing about Cafe Havana is that they offer dance lessons every night. Don’t worry if you don’t know the difference between the salsa and the cha-cha or have two left feet like me. The staffs are happy to slow things down for you and give you some pointers.

While we were there, the live band played a variety of upbeat music. It got people out of their seats and dancing, which I guess is the entire purpose, and this created a lively and fun atmosphere. While I’d probably be too intimidated to go to a Latin dance club because I lack any type of dance experience, Cafe Havana’s relaxed and welcoming attitude made learning to dance very appealing. I’d definitely urge you to visit them if this is the kind of nightlife for which you’re looking.

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Filed under Indonesia, Nightlife