Paddy fields of Bali


You need an international driving licence to drive in Bali, if not you can get a  a temporary Bali licence for £15 which is also a nice souvenir!. This requirement isignored for motorbikes, but not for cars.

Also check that your car has comprehensive insurance and how much the excess is. The signs that say ‘full insurance’ don’t always mean that!

The Lovina to Gilimanuk route really isn’t worth it so it’s a good idea to cut across the centre of Bali. The road from Gilimanuk to Kuta is manic and extremely dangerous as it it the main trucking road to the ferry terminal - best avoided


Apparently you need a return air ticket to enter Bali, although you can enter by land without problems. We were forced to pay off the immigration officer to allow us in! Whether this is official or just another scam who knows.

Bali is a wonderful laid back place and was very cheap when we were there, It is the main stopping off point for those on their way to the Gilli Islands. It is well worth renting a car and driving around the island, there is some spectacular scenery. You do need a Bali driving licence for a car, although anyone will rent you a bike without one. It cost a few dollars for a licence and it makes a good souvenir!

 There is some good diving in Bali as well.

Kuta is where most people start if arriving by plane (Denpasar), otherwise it’s the ferry terminals of Padang Bai (east to the Gili islands), or Gilimanuk (west to Java).

The many colourful boats that fill most of the beaches (except Kuta). Called Bunkas The out riggers are to combat the surf

Kuta is a fun place with lots of watering holes and excellent restaurants, but it can be crowded and there is a lot of hassle from the street sellers. It is often filled with Australians carrying surf boards three times the size of themselves!!

Driving around the island is well worth the effort as the scenery is just amazing. Driving along the coast, Padangbai is a small village and easy enough to spend day or so here, it is also where the ferries leave for the Gilli islands and further to Flores & Komodo.

There is a water Palace at Amlapura and is worth visiting and there are some excellent places to stay.

Lovina is the next large place were most of the diving happens. Driving across the island from Lovina to Lalang-Lingga is preferable to taking the more dangerous Gilmanauk route.


Tulamben is famous for the wreck of the US Liberty, a few meters from the shore. A lot of people travel from Kuta and the surrounds to dive here which means that around 10 -11 o’clock the dive site is mobbed with divers, snorkellers, and ‘try-a-dive’ candidates! If you want a good dive then stay in the area and dive early before the rabble arrive! It is a interesting dive and worth the effort. Other than this there’s not much great diving around Kuta. The main diving place on Bali is Lovina beach.

Leaving Bali & from the Gillis  you can get a local boat to Flores stopping on the way at the islands of Komodo & Richa  home of the Komodo Dragons

The area above is where you eat & where you sleep! This is not 5 star travel but great fun. The trip takes 3 days

The black volcanic sand that forms some of the beaches of Bali

Just one of the many paddy fields all over Bali

The area around Lalang-Linggan is major surfing area, but when the season doesn’t favour surf it is empty!

Ubud had a reputation of being laid back and easy going, but it appears to have gone very upmarket these days!

Bali is now having it’s upmarket areas around Samur and Jimbaran and for some people Bali is their only stop but it is only a short way to the Gilli Islands which lie between Bali & Lombok. There are 3 of them, Gilli Air, Gilli Trawangan & Gilli Memo. Here the diving is spectacular almost guaranteed to see turtles & sharks on every dive! Even without that it is great  place to stay. A big ferry takes you to from Bali to Lombok, then overland to the Gilli ferries where the choice is the local ones that carry more livestock than people or the tourist speed boats! Take your pick! However, we did have to help bail the boat out half way across! (Yes it was the local ferry!).From Kuta there are all in packages available.

Moving on from the the Gillis you can get to  Komodo Island & Richa. The islands of Komodo Dragon fame, then on to Flores with spectacular diving and fierce currents!

UPDATE NOTE 2012. Unfortunately I am told Bali is no longer cheap and hard booze all but impossible to find. I guess the ‘We only want 2 week 5 star tourists’ idiots & religious ‘ban the booze’ fanatics have the upper hand in Indonesia now. VERY SAD!

Sunset on Kuta beach

Poppies Gang 1 & II Great backpacker hangout

Up in the lakes & mountains of Bali










The sreets of Poppies Gang T Shirt shops of Kuta Gardens of Amalapura Lalang Linggan beach Mountains of Gunung Agung

Welcome to Bali. Yes it’s a part of Indonesia but very different. Not Muslim, nor Christian. Kuta is full of small narrow streets while in the countryside it is paddy fields, empty beaches of black volcanic sand and the small local boats called ‘Bunkas’. Regrettable, like Phuket it also has far more 5 star hotels  than is good for it!

Left to right

The mountain of Gunung Agung

Wonderful garden in Amlapur

Empty beach at Lalang-Lingan

Many, many T shirt shops Kuta

Narrow streets of Poppies Gang