I’m in Bali, Indonesia eating at the Kuta Playa hotel on egian beach. There’s a waterfall, attentive and choreographed staff, and a well equipped wine and spirits list. To top it off, we’re being serenaded by Frank Sinatra over the sound system. I ordered chicken tikka, spring rolls, and a pint of beer. All of this came out to just $6.50.
In Bali manual labor is cheaper than electricity so $1 will get you just about any service you’d like. If you want someone to order and serve you lunch on the beach, $1 is more than enough. You can rent a surfboard for the day for next to nothing, at $2 we overpaid. On Legian beach there are at least 50 surfboard rental stations each only a few paces apart. Just goes to show how much the tourism economy drives Bali. The currency is extremely devalued to the point that when I withdraw IDR$1,000,000 from the atm it amounts to just roughly US$100. This makes for a very satisfying experience to see all of those extra zeros when your account balance is quoted in rupiah.
Bali is inexpensive to visit, yes. Remember the cartoons where one character would be hungry and imagining the other character to be a giant sizzling piece of fried chicken? Well, in Bali, you’re that piece of fried chicken. With the language barrier, that means you will be taken advantage of at every interaction. Locals will leave with a grin after they manage to sell you a room for $120,000 when it should be $100,000. Really that’s just a difference of $2 but these add up and feeling ripped off is plain annoying.
Nearly every time I’ve mentioned to someone back home that I’m going to stop in Bali they’ve responded with a comment about living like Eat, Pray, Love. Well, apparently this reputation for Bali as a camp for spiteful women is completely correct. Not even 24 hours after arriving I met a girl from London with the travel blog: divorceetraveler.com. Can’t make that up.
Bali is also known as a surfer’s paradise which is what brings me here. Uluwatu and Padang Padang are world famous waves. Haven’t made it to these breaks yet but this is what I’m looking forward to:
Off to quick trip to the Gili Islands and Lombok…