Kuta Bali hit list: we say YES!

For fear of being mistaken as an Elizabeth Gilbert wannabe, author of Eat Prey Love (Groan, Sigh, Moan), we’ve opted to avoid the trendy jungle town of Ubud in Bali, where we’ve been told naval gazing woman armed with laptops and a vision to write crowd the free Wi-Fi cafes.

We cast our eyes away from personal enlightenment and focus on the tacky town of Kuta, where a materialistic but just as ‘real’ self-indulgence reigns.

Kuta is as demanding as a noisy, attention seeking two year old, prone to tantrums and partial to getting what it wants. Here, tourists are pandered to by what appear to be greedy, grasping local people selling their wares or their bodies for a dollar. Everyone wants a piece of you – at a cheap price, of course.

As the sellers snatch and the big spenders squabble over 50cents (‘it’s the principle!’), we wonder if western visitors inspired the local avarice in the first place. It’s like watching Tolkien’s rapacious character Gollum in the Lord of the Rings try to outwit a mirror version of himself. But instead of fretting over the reason or rhyme of the matter, we’ve decided to join in the fun and say yes to everything for a day and see where it takes us…


Words can’t describe the weirdness…


I Love Bali bag, check. Bintang tank top, check. Wooden penis bottle opener, check-mate. Now done at the garage style shops we swim upstream to the air-conditioned variety. The credit card, in a new fake Louis Vuitton wallet, trembles: shoes, dresses, tops…yikes, enough’s enough!


We say, umm…But Ashleigh says yes. “Is that a real tattoo?” we ask. “I’m 18 years old you know,” he says. “It’s nice,” we assure him.

Ashleigh's Kuta tattoo


Honestly, we’ve lost count of how many and where…Sometimes it feels like someone is jabbing at you with a wooden spoon, punching you in the butt and trying to steal your fingers from you. But sometimes you get one of those special massages (not that kind) and you’re carried off into la la land. Unstuck suggestion: take the risk, say yes, yes, yes to a pedicure, facial, body scrub and massage.


We watch a bunch of Europeans hire surfboards and try not to kill each other with them in the waves. It’s very funny. But we wish they’d stay at this beach instead of heading south and clogging the lineups around the Bukit peninsula – where our Kiwi mates are getting these waves…

Saul at Bingin, Bali

Israel at Bingin, Bali


European surfers take note: the lineup is not a bar, nor a ticket to hit on girls. Being distracted by bikinis only makes it easier for us to snake you. Ciao!


About Keri Algar

Keri has an insatiable appetite for travel, discovery and surf. You may find her among the happy isles, smiles and empty barrels of Melanesia, or swinging her hips at a Spanish fiesta, underwater in Mexico, on top of the Argentine alps, or at home in New Zealand with her nose in a book. She is delighted by difference - both people and places, and is inspired by those who follow their own path through life with passion and courage.


  1. jai says:

    Kuta can be a really interesting place :)
    We were there last night, celebrating. would have been great if you could have joined in too :)

  2. David Byrne says:

    Great content! It’s nice to read “Real” insights into a destination. Happy travels!


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