It's comforting to note that despite the 2005 bombings, which tragically
killed 23 people, European arrivals to this holiday island have only declined by
10 per cent since the atrocity. Those figures, and the fact that only Australia,
New Zealand and South Korea issued travel warnings against travel to Bali after
the attacks (far fewer countries than after the devastating bombings in Kuta in 2002),
are a tribute to the resilience and charm of the Balinese people.|
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
commonest and most pleasant sights on Seminyak.|
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.
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 (no
relation to the London-based institution, by the way) and Q Bar, Bali's first
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.
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
stylish Legian hotel. 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 April 2015
OutUK's hotel partners Bookings
also have a large range of hotels bookable online at special discount prices. Return flights
via Bangkok are available through eBookers
Robin Newbold is now based in London. His debut gay novel
is now available.
THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK
Double Six, Jalan Pantai, Seminyak, 731-226
Ku de Ta, Seminyak Beach, 736-969 (Website)
Kudos Bar & Lounge, Jalan Dhyana Pura, Seminyak, 738-697
The Legian, Seminyak Beach, Jalan Laksmana, 730-623 (Website)
Q Bar, Jalan Dhyana Pura, Seminyak
(For calling outside of Indonesia, dial 62 361 first)