I grab my bag off security check and rush to the door; the humidity hits me in the face like a wet blanket, the sweet smell of burning incense and smoke fire fills the air with sounds of traffic and honking horns in the distance. I take a deep breath and smile, I’m ‘home’ (My 2nd home) Haters can hate all they want, but I love the shit out of Bali.
A short 3 hour flight and ridiculously cheap prices (I haven’t paid more than $200 return in years) makes Bali the perfect mini break and has ensured visits are a frequent occurrence. If I’m not looking forward to a trip there, Im planning a trip there or I am actually there. It is the bearded man’s and my quintessential happy place no matter where we stay or who we’re with, Bali never fails to steal my heart. And for good reason, its where we went on our first holiday as a couple, its where we said ‘I Do’ and like a pair of bogans we return every year for our anniversary. If I could financially make it viable I would be FIFO out of Denpasar not Perth – true story
And no Im not looking through slightly rose tinted eyewear, the country is definitely not without its faults – It can be dirty, its busy, there are scams everywhere, beaches that are beautiful in October are covered in washed up rubbish in December, the Australians outnumber the Balinese at times and some tourists seem to think acting like a-holes and trashing the place is completely acceptable (don’t even get me started about school leavers in Bali)
Add on a turbulent year with accusations of spying, executions of nationals and volcanic ash, many an Aussie is calling to ‘boycott Bali’ I’m not here to tell anyone otherwise, if that’s the way you feel it’s one less person to block my sunset view. But for me (not to sound like an overly dramatic teenager) the thought of never touching down at Ngurah Rai again is utterly inconceivable – writing off the whole Island based on what you see in the news/ see in Kuta is like judging in the whole of America on a bad experience in Times Square.
Head slightly north and you have trendy (almost western) Seminyak and the black sparkly beaches of Canngu.
Head south to Uluwatu/ Bingin and you will feel like its 1970 with surfers, beachside warungs and wooden huts overlooking some of the best breaks Indonesia has to offer.
Head inland to Ubud or Kintamanti and you’ll be surrounded by art, culture, architecture, inconceivably green rice paddy fields, jungles, waterfalls and more yoga studios and vegan juice bars than you can poke a stick at.
Head to the northern tip or farther East and you could possibly be the only westerner.
The real stars of Bali are the people, welcoming, friendly, and always smiling. Some of the best days I’ve had over there have not been sitting by a pool or shopping, it’s been getting to know the people that call Bali home.
Even if the only interactions you have with locals is pulling up a plastic chair at one of the sunset beach bars at it will be worth it to get a glimpse into their lives. As that sun dips lower and lower, the sand that had been taken up by tourists sunning will be replaced by families splashing in the shore, kids playing soccer, school groups on excursions and household poochies wrestling in the sand. The place is magic.
Give it a shot before you blacklist it.
Our next trip is booked already 62 days and counting…