Ah, Bali. Island of dreams, honeymoon destination, relaxation capital of the world. We went there in search of a place better than Worthing, but did we find it?
1. Is the weather better than Brighton?
Bali is really near the equator and so the sun is strong. Deceptively, it was also pretty windy (we were there in windy season so fair enough) and it didn’t feel as scorchio as it actually was, which I found out to my cost after grilling myself on gas mark 9 for an hour on both sides and coming out looking like this.
The weather is cheeky in Bali. It makes you think it’s alright, but actually it’s making crackling out of your back – 3 points
2. Proximity and quality of the seaside (a pier must be present for full points here)
It eluded us in Malaysia, it hid from us in Singapore but we finally found the seaside in Bali, and it was well close to where we were staying too which was a result.
Less of a result was that it was a bit crappy. In Worthing you find a nice bit of beach near a shop or a bar and not too far from some loos and you sit down. That’s that. If you fancy a change of scenery you move. It’s all good. In Bali they have a different system – the whole beach is owned by different cafes and restaurants and you can sit on their bit if you buy your lunch from them. It’s an OK system as you get a sunlounger and they rake the beach (to get rid of the crappy bits), but it does make for a more expensive experience than we were hoping for as you have to buy tourist-priced food rather than take a picnic or whatever.
And there wasn’t a pier.
Bali you have an ok beach but you make me pay to sit on it and I don’t think I like that very much – 3 points
3. Local delicacies and quality of food
Funny old place for food Bali. There are loads of restaurants, but the weird thing is they all sell the same stuff. They all do Nasi Goreng, hamburgers and chicken schnitzel (for the Deutsch crowd I guess). The only exception was Italians, but they all do the same stuff as each other too so your choice is Italian or Other. It makes you feel like the restaurants think tourists have no ambition to eat anything interesting or different, which I think really lacks respect for your customers.
As for the quality, it varied a bit. Erin got food poisoning from one place which loses marks, but we did get an awesome (but expensive for us) dinner at a place in Ubud.
You nearly killed my woman and you bored me with your lacklustre, creatively-challenged menus. Pull your finger out (but please please wash it before preparing food) – 2 points
4. Friendliness and attractiveness of the locals
On The Travelling Mallorys Top Tips page I wrote
Despite what the Lonely Planet would have you believe, not everyone is out to scam you. Have some faith in the human race.
which I still stand by, but you have to have your wits about you in Bali. People do try and gip you. Haggling is cool, I can dig that, but we met people – lovely wide-eyed want-to-travel young people – who had changed money and been given 10,000 notes instead of 100,000 notes; we got a hotel taxi that made us change into another car after 10 minutes; you buy a cup of tea in a cafe and when the bill comes it’s 33% more than on the menu so you point it out and they say “OK I give it to you for 75” like they’re doing you a favour, not like you just caught the fecker out.
You made me temporarily lose my faith in the human race Bali and I won’t forgive you for that – 0 points
5. Availability and quality of real ale
Shockingly, they had some. Shockingly my wife had it, not me. Shockingly it was organically made in Bali, and shockingly it was delicious.
I would definitely recommend Storm beer if you like your ale, but a small bottle was the same price as a big Bintang and I’m a tight-arse first, ale-lover second!
Credit where it’s due. This was a good ale, an organic one and it was one of a range – 10 points
Bali cannot hold a candle to Worthing. A beach you pay to sit on outside a restaurant that gives you food poisoning and then tries to bump up the bill. Screw that and screw Bali and it’s lowly 18 points
Do you love Bali and want to tell me to shut my cakehole? This is your chance.