Bali is an Indonesian island known for its forested volcanic mountains, iconic rice paddies, beaches
and coral reefs. The island is home to religious sites such as cliffside Uluwatu Temple. To the south,
the beachside city of Kuta has lively bars, while Seminyak, Sanur and Nusa Dua are popular resort
towns. The island is also known for its yoga and meditation retreats.|
OutUK correspondent Robin Newbold reports on the appeal and charm of this beautiful part of Asia.
We found this lush island has diversified and is appealing to a more fashionable crowd
with the numerous boutiques, art galleries, stunning restaurants and bars that have
opened over the last couple of years, particularly in the Seminyak area. It has thrived
at the expense of Kuta, since the drop-off in the Australian backpacker crowd.
A beach bum and his "woodie", one of the
and most pleasant sights on Seminyak.
Photo: Robin Newbold.
Seminyak is the area that has really
thrived at the expense of Kuta and the beautiful people are flocking here in their
droves without a backpack to be seen, for this, without a doubt, is Louis Vuitton
SEA AND BE SEEN
This being Bali, the beach is the place to be seen. On Seminyak the stretch of sand
between the Oberoi Hotel and The Legian is one of the busiest but as the dimensions
are so vast it never really seems crowded. The huge rollers often make it treacherous to
swim but there are boogie boards (small surfboards) for hire and big "woodies" if you
can handle them. If surfing is not your thing, however, just watching the procession
of tan beach boys frolicking in the waves is a sport in itself.
A popular beach hangout
by day and by night is the recently opened Ku de Ta restaurant and bar, which has gained
notoriety for itself and featured in the pages of The Times and various other style
bibles. This Australian-run venue may be cool but it couldn't be more relaxed; there
are even sun loungers for the totally laid back.
Bali's "beautiful people" enjoy a sundowner at
Ku de Ta restaurant & bar.
Photo: Robin Newbold.
And as the sun dips into the ocean,
the candles aglow and the beach boys shower off, there's no better place to enjoy Bali's
unique and magical atmosphere.
Coming from Bangkok I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Bali's gay scene but
after a couple of outstanding nights, kid in a candy store wouldn't be a bad
description. Situated in Jalan Dhyana Pura, Seminyak, Kudos Bar & Lounge
and Mixwell Gay Bar, Bali's top rated
gay bar, just across the street is the axis of this fairly small but beautifully
formed scene, though there are a smattering of other gay bars in the surrounding
area. The boys are incredibly friendly - though some of the scene is commercial
admittedly, there are plenty of genuine lads looking for fun not rupiah - and it
doesn't take long to find out where people are heading onto later and where the
Even in rainy season these venues were packed to the rafters with locals and tourists,
particularly at the weekend. Kudos reaches a climax at midnight with a terribly
amateurish cabaret show, which really sums up the very welcome lack of pretension
here. The pace tends to slow between 1-2am when the more up-for-it crowd often head
to uber club Double Six rather than going home. It's actually walking distance from
Jalan Dhyana Pura, though taxis are very cheap if you're not sure of the way. This
mixed club's open from sunset till sunrise and is the place for hardcore clubbers with
the beachfront area often crowded with celebrities and models, though not always
looking their best! For only a small entry fee there's also a swimming pool and
bungee jumping facilities if you're looking for the ultimate come down, though
the dance floor is the place to cruise those cute Balinese.
Sky Garden was once home to Club Pride, a gay club within the host 61 Legian complex, otherwise better known
after its landmark rooftop venue, Sky Garden Rooftop Lounge. The club used to welcome all colors of the
rainbow in an often-packed fourth floor partying hub but it still has many gay followers.
Bali Joe is a weekend gay bar that serves as the beacon for the LGBT community in Seminyak, Bali. Located
on Jalan Camplung Tanduk, the bar is a great spot to chill out with the friendly staff and hospitable bar crew.
Facebar, also known as F Club for short, is only several footsteps from Bali Joe. Facebar, just like many
of the best gay bars in Bali, comes to life near midnight and offers its main features of drag queens in parade
together with male dancers with ripped abs and in the sexiest costumes you could ever imagine.
In comparison Bottoms Up is a little more low-key but has a host of drag queen shows and male go-go dancers as well. Six-pack abs,
scantily clad men and an aquarium where you can see a male dancers in loads of foam. under a shower.
Situated a short cab ride away from Seminyak's nightly delights, The Legian hotel
was designed in the early 1980s by one of Indonesia's leading architects, Hendra
Hadiprana. You'll be hard pressed to find a more enticing setting, set in landscaped
tropical gardens, with each suite offering stunning views across the Indian Ocean, this
destination offers the best of Bali with all its attendant charms.
Studio Suites are spacious and comfortable, while service is friendly and
efficient without being intrusive. The Legian is also walking distance from Ku de Ta,
which is obviously an added draw if all the tranquillity gets too much and the section
of the beach the hotel occupies is very, very popular for surfing, which makes for great
The dreamy outlook from the pool of the
Photo: Robin Newbold.
Though you can get closer and join in if that's your thing, the hotel provides
boards for free and a very accommodating lifeguard even offers instruction.|
For something a little cheaper and a little gayer, though The Legian is a so-called "gay-friendly" hotel,
check out gay accommodation website www.balifriendlyhotels.com. The website's a great resource providing the ability to book online
at any number of gay guesthouses and hotels across the island while giving a useful snapshot of each.
A particular favourite is Bali Mystique, airy bungalows, a pleasant beachside location - very
close to The Legian - ensure it's always busy, as does the fact it's very
reasonably priced for what is fast becoming Bali's most fashionable little corner.
Revised October 2017.
OutUK's hotel partners Bookings
also have a large range of hotels bookable online at special discount prices.
Robin Newbold is now based in London. His debut gay novel
is now available.
THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK
Double Six, Jalan Pantai, Seminyak; Tel: +62 (0)361 731-226
Ku de Ta, Seminyak Beach; Tel: +62 (0)361 736-969 (Website)
Kudos Bar & Lounge, Jalan Dhyana Pura, Seminyak; Tel: +62 (0)361 738-697
The Legian, Seminyak Beach, Jalan Laksmana; Tel: +62 (0)361 730-623 (Website)
Mixwell Gay Bar, Jalan Camplung Tanduk, Dhyana Pura no.6, Seminyak Tel: +62 (0)361 736-846
Sky Garden 61 Legian Complex, Jalan Raya Legian; Tel: +62 361 755-423
Bali Joe, Jalan Camplung Tanduk No. 8, Seminyak Tel: +62 361 730-931
Facebar, Jalan Camplung Tanduk, Dhyana Pura no.9, Seminyak Tel: +62 (0)361 737-897
Bottoms Up, Jalan Camplung Tanduk, Dhyana Pura no.10, Seminyak Tel: +62 (0)819 1618-4480