travel bite: Legian, Kuta and Below, Bali

HMMM what can I say… Of my stay in Legian – just north of Kuta – I deemed only four things worthy of photographing; and two of these were food. (If good food hadn’t been found it would have been disastrous.)

the view as I step out from my hotel in Legian

petrol being sold on the roadside in Legian in empty Absolut vodka bottles

In essence just don`t go here unless you need to stop over on your way to or from the airport. The beaches of Legian and Kuta are bearable, though hugely disappointing if you have visions of bright white beaches and azure seas in Bali. Add to this a club 18 to 30 vibe mixed with aging pot-bellied surfers, shopkeepers constantly nagging for your custom, and being offered a taxi service after every two steps you take, and I truly failed to understand why anyone would want to stay here for a prolonged period of time.

best and cheapest place to eat in Legian: Warung Yogya. Nasi Campur - rice with steamed vegetables, chicken, tempe, tofu, fried shallots, spicy sambal, boiled egg and curry

Warung Yogya is known for its Gado Gado - a large pile of steamed veggies (spinach, green beans, bean sprouts), cucumber, crispy shallots, boiled egg, tempe, tofu and prawn crackers, served with a soup sized bowl of peanut sauce to eat it with

To the south of this area though there are some great places to explore. Best of all was Bingin, a series of huts and haphazardly built homes running down along the cliff face towards a small beach with boisterous waves that draw to them dedicated surfers. Jimbaran was also interesting, although despite sporting a wide beach it’s very much a fishing village on which the sand is dotted with debris. So if it`s large sweeping expanses of sand that you are looking for head to Nusa Dua, a great beach for sunbathing on, with mild waves for beginner surfers. The beachfront does however lack character, with hotel complexes – albeit nice looking ones – lining its edge.

Bingin, Bali

Bingin's beach is only a narrow strip when the tide is high but you can still soak up the atmosphere sitting at an overhanging wooden bar with the waves crashing at your feet

clamber up step ladders to your beach hut accommodation upon the steep incline down to Bingin's beach

Padang Padang beach, Bali - not quite as expected from peoples' glowing reports

makeshift warungs and stalls line the small beach of Padang Padang

local fishing boats add the only bit of character to Nusa Dua's beach

the small shrine outside a fish restaurant that I ate at on Jimbaran beach

Jimbaran beach: dotted with fishing boats and debris

My advice would be to stay in Legian for no longer than a day or two, perhaps using it as a base from which to explore the areas below by motorbike or car; or escape to Bingin for some solitude and atmospheric views, allowing you to feel at one with the sea.


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