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P A R T   1

Kuta Beach · Paradise · Part 1

 

I didn't have any plans for the day so stayed in to recuperate until late afternoon from all those tiring tours and nurse my aching crotch from the horseride the evening before. The weather was perfect. Set out for Kuta Beach finally.

After the previous day's sunset with Dewi the horse, I am certain this day in Kuta would be the epitome of what "paradise" means to Bali. And the saying was right spot on: "If God created Earth, he vacations in Bali". This album is one reason why one would easily fall in speechless love with this little humble island. 

 

Once a sleepy village with a quiet, beautiful sweep of beach, Kuta today has become a popular beach destination in its own right, alive with tourists from all over the world, swimming, surfing or sunbathing by the beach. Others, casually dressed in shorts, T-shirts and flip-flops stroll along its main road, shopping around or enjoying meals at its many open air restaurants. When in Kuta you know that you are in a holiday town, and people here are in a holiday mood.


Back in the 1960’s the only hotel was the Kuta Beach Hotel, but soon without much planning, Kuta developed rapidly into a haunt for surfers and backpackers, while the high end market preferred to stay at the more sedated Sanur village on the opposite side of the peninsula. With time, Kuta’s popularity grew, and shops, restaurants, discos hotels, - from the simple to the exclusive - sprang up along the main road from Kuta to Legian, catering to the ever increasing holiday crowd, that not only included international tourists but also domestic visitors from Jakarta and other big cities. 


On the beach, people enjoy parasailing, banana boat trips or swimming. Some local women offer traditional Indonesian massage on the beach, others were seen plaiting hair. 


Before sunset, crowds rush to the beach waiting to watch Kuta’s legendary sunsets. As darkness falls, Kuta’s nightlife starts to throb with loud music from bars and restaurants, while shops stay open till late at night. Kuta’s main attraction is that everyone can enjoy the town without any prescribed dress code. Just don't go around fully in the buff. Public full nudity is still against the law in Bali except in selected resorts or villas.

 

Photos taken using Sony NEX-F3. No edits except cropping. Click on the images below to expand. Disclaimer: The photos herein and all other albums associated with Bali Sojourn are by no means a documentary. They're all touristy snapshots.

 

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Bali Sojourn - Day 6
Bali Sojourn - Day 6

On the album for Day 1, I mentioned about the cabs here. Most cabs are in various shades of blue but please take the one which says Blue Bird Group. They're more reputable than the rest as they follow the meter strictly. But look at the line of traffic coming in to the beach! Glad I arrived early. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 6
Bali Sojourn - Day 6

The entrance into Kuta Beach with the traditional Balinese arch design that symbolizes two hands closing in to welcome you. Also known aptly as Sunset Beach, and once a simple, rustic and quiet fishing village, Kuta Beach has witnessed a transformation over the past years due to the rise of various accommodations, dining and shopping options. The rapid growth owes much to visitors, beachcombers and art lovers from nearby Australia. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 6
Bali Sojourn - Day 6

Peak season for Kuta Beach is commonly between July to August so avoid that if you don't have another "agenda" coming here... I heard the Japanese season is around there too. Aussie season is all year round. And no, the sex scene of Bali is a little overhyped. It's faaarrr flung from what neighboring Thailand is like. High season for Bali: Christmas through New Year's. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 6
Bali Sojourn - Day 6

Rain or shine, night or day, what hits you first about Kuta Beach is the noise of the sea. It is powerful, loud, dominating. The intensity varies with the time of day, wind, tide and weather, but it is never quiet, always present. That's perhaps due to the high walls built to separate the noise of traffic and the bustling F&B outlets just behind the trees. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 6
Bali Sojourn - Day 6

To try keep the beach clean, all beach vendors are only allowed to sell drinks, souvenirs, or provide massage services on the beach. This gives everyone more chance to do some people-watching while waiting for the main course: the sunset. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 6
Bali Sojourn - Day 6

I walked from one end of the beach to the other back to my villa. Kuta Beach starts near to the airport and ends north west towards Seminyak where I stayed. Spanning over 6km on Google Maps, it feels like each mile brings you a different perspective of the entire stretch, either from hotels, to shops, to villas, outdoor cabanas, to even the famous Ku De Ta for great drinks and magnificent views. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 6
Bali Sojourn - Day 6

Oh look! James Bond! © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 6
Bali Sojourn - Day 6

Oh oh oh, gravity... working against me... - John Mayer © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 6
Bali Sojourn - Day 6

Everything is colorful along the whole stretch of the beach. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 6
Bali Sojourn - Day 6

But what's predominant throughout was the family bonding you can see all around. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 6
Bali Sojourn - Day 6

Even a beached baby porpoise. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 6
Bali Sojourn - Day 6

This kid just bravely walked up towards the impending surf! My parents would shit their pants if I were to wander out alone. But the sea was warm, and shallow as it was still the new moon. You could've walked out for about 20m and the water is only about your chest height. Unless you're a hobbit. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 6
Bali Sojourn - Day 6

Here doggy... Good doggy. Now paddle, doggy. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 6
Bali Sojourn - Day 6

Can't tell if making sandcastle or doing sandscrub. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 6
Bali Sojourn - Day 6

Surfs can go up to a couple meters high so there's surfing schools along the stretch. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 6
Bali Sojourn - Day 6

Somehow I kept seeing girls were able to hold the board longer than the guys. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 6
Bali Sojourn - Day 6

While swimming was prohibited, nobody cared. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 6
Bali Sojourn - Day 6

Local boys, with nothing else to do and with little football fields in the island coz most lands were used as paddy fields, come to the beach to do a bit of balling about. Soccer. Football. Whatever. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 6
Bali Sojourn - Day 6

If you happen to spot some handsomely bronzed locals, they're most likely one of the few famous Kuta Cowboys, aka Bali Gigolos. Click the link below for more info on them. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 6
Bali Sojourn - Day 6

Goggie growling at an animated coconut. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 6
Bali Sojourn - Day 6

As it was close to Christmas, and on a Sunday, a group of church goers were around giving free hugs and telling people around that God is Love, Love is not Envy, etc... Christianity and Islam are but a pinch of the more dominant Hindu religion throughout the island, so seeing such scene is almost rare as you're used to witnessing the many other ceremonial local Hindu stuffs happening almost every day. © Evan Hwong Photographs

Bali Sojourn - Day 6
Bali Sojourn - Day 6

There's always something about going to the beach... I've been a beach boy myself all my life growing up near to one, and there's still never a day that I don't get sick or tired of a beach. I can only imagine how the kids here feel. Click below to be redirected to Part 2. © Evan Hwong Photographs

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