Ever since I saw “Eat, Pray, Love” I was inspired. Propelled to follow in the footsteps of the glorious Julia Roberts to go to the tropical island; the idyll that is on most travellers’ bucket list. I would one day go on my travels to Bali.
After having been in Asia for two months it was a refreshing change landing in Bali. I had mainly been in Malaysia and other parts of Indonesia – Sumatra and Java. Yes, it is part of Indonesnia. A place which has over the years become increasingly more homophobic. Luckily enough Bali has a unique Hindu heritage and is a popular gay haven in Asia. Thankfully members of the LGBT community are free to express themselves as they wish. They certainly don’t feel the same constraints as other stricter Islamic countries in Asia.
Bars, boys and queens
I couldn’t quite believe my luck that when I was on my travels to Bali and I stumbled upon an infamous gem; a little strip of gays bars all lined up together in Seminyak. The road in Seminyak is called “Jalan Camplung Tanduyk Arcade” and it consists of Bali Joes, Mixwell and F Bar. If you want great lady boy performances, hilarious drag queens and sexy gogo dancers then head to Bali Joes. This crowded joint is always full of tourists and boys alike who come here for the greatest show. It gets so busy that crowds eventually merge into one and spill out into the street, which is what I loved about it. My favourite bar though had to be F Bar. The most underrated bar on the list! F Bar has some top dj’s playing dance, house and EDM music until the early hours of the morning.
The beaches in Bali are phenomenal. The good thing is that there are so many to choose from that you won’t be disappointed. My top tip is to try and make sure you head south to Uluwatu Beach. Here you will find more relaxed, remote and deserted beaches that are covered in pure white sand. My favourite beach was Padang Padang Beach which was well worth the visit. While visiting Uluwatu make sure you stop by Dreamland beach and Bingin Beach. These are great spots to spend a day swimming and bathing in your carefree thoughts.
Planning to spend more than 2 weeks in Bali? Then you should make arrangements to visit some of the Gili Islands which are located in Lombok. I strongly urge you to head towards Gili T and go in search of that classic Instagram photo; pure joy of a swing on the beach.
Daytrips- three of the best
Seven days are not enough to explore all of Bali’s magic charms. I was lucky enough to have thirty. There are so many great excursions to do and places to see it’s hard to rank. But I’ll give it a go… here is my guide to the top 3.
1. Nusa Penida – boat trip to heaven
This was by far the best day trip I took in Bali. Nusa Penida is a boat ride away and is very easy to get to. To make things easier I booked through a company called @penidabalivibes-guide. They arranged the boat, car and tour guide to take us around the island. Nusa Penida is known mostly for Kelingking Beach, Angel’s Billabong and Broken Beach. Kelingking Beach is relatively new, only “discovered” in 2003 by a few tourist divers who reached the beach by boat. Nowadays, Kelingking Beach is probably the most Instagrammed spot on Nusa Penida; I’m sure you can see why from this photo. Due to the time of the year I was there, I only managed a day trip. However there is many options to spend more time on this island and get away from the bustle of places like Seminyak and Kuta.
2. Sink a cocktail or two at the potato club
If you plan to go to Bali you can’t not go to the infamous Potato Head Beach Club. The beach club is a giant amphitheatre built from brushed concrete and reclaimed wood. It hosts numerous day beds, an infinity pool, a swim up bar and three restaurants. I was lucky enough to go when one half of the popular duo from horse meat disco was performing. The party definitely attracted the gay crowd. I suddenly saw every guy I had been speaking to on Grindr, all getting down dancing to the disco beats. To sum up – the cocktails are fab, the food is exquisite and the party goes on all night.
3. Mount batur – the holiday highpoint
If you are looking to do more than just eat and drink in Bali then there is nothing like a good hike up Mount Batur. There is a plethora of gorgeous scenery and panoramic views. Your tour provider will pick you up from your hotel or villa and provides you with an English tour guide. The guides know every detail of the active volcano. For seasoned walkers they will find the walk up to the summit of 1717m relatively easy. However, those not used to walking will need to be prepared for the early morning start. Watch out, on your way up you can be distracted by the many monkeys that you see. Don’t forget to hide your food as they will come for you.
good things come to those that climb
Once you reach the top of Mount Batur your guide will prepare you a meal. This isn’t any normal kitchen, your mountain chef will use active volcano’s steam to finish off the eggs! When I reached the summit I was a little disappointed as the clouds had hidden the gorgeous sunrise. With a little patience the shroud soon lifted. I was able to take in the views and walk along the crater of this magnificent volcano. It was well worth the early start. Eat, pray, love…my travels to Bali.
David James D’Souza is our brand spanking new travel writer. Well travelled and charming…we are so excited to have him on board. David’s travels to Bali is just the start of the adventure. Best Gay Life would like to welcome David to the team!