The Beaches of Seminyak and Kuta in Bali, Indonesia
The Beaches of Seminyak and Kuta in Bali, Indonesia
The Australian flag is flying high on the beaches of Seminyak and Kuta in Southwestern Bali.
This is because Aussies are the number one foreign tourists coming to Bali.
From Australia, it is a relatively short and inexpensive flight to Bali, making it a perfect short gateway.
Many Australians choose to stay along the beaches of Seminyak and Kuta, where you can find the best surfing waves.
On the east side of Bali, where we stayed in Sanur, the sea is calm and there is no surf.
We still saw many Australians there too, but they tended to be older couples or families, while here in Seminyak and Kuta, we see many young Australians riding rented scooters with no shirts, no shoes, their bodies covered in Tattoos.
In Seminyak and Kuta, the Australian girls go out to dinner wearing only bras and mini skirts, as if this is not still a predominantly muslim country.
The locals do not say anything or express anything other than kindness, because Bali needs the tourists, as nearly 75% of the island’s population works in the tourist industry.
There is a vast selection of places to stay, a great variety of good restaurants and what seems to be an endless amount of beach surf shacks offering surfing lessons and surfboard rentals.
Vendors sell cold beer, coconut water and snacks right on the beach.
Across from the beach there is a bustling road that is full of restaurants, hotels of all levels of comfort and luxury, a new elegant shopping mall, and many cafes and shops.
This road is of course packed with cars and a gazillion scooters.
Many of the shops offer teeth whitening for good prices, plastic and cosmetic procedures and tattoos, which the young Australians come here to do for much less than they cost anywhere else.
We saw a young man who had just gotten his whole right leg, from toes to the crotch, tattooed in intricate designs.
He said that it cost him $1800 (Australian dollars) and that his leg is so swollen, that he could barely walk right now.
But he seemed happy with his tattoo choice, as he limped away.
I saw a few others who had gotten big tattoos, covering their arms in plastic Clingfilm or bandages.
There are stone gate entrances to the beaches made of beautiful black stone, and plenty of clean public toilets.
The city is working hard to provide a stone boardwalk, already partially completed in some places, that offers the few runners that we saw an opportunity to run easily.
Most people were not interested in running in this heat.
On our runs, we saw only a few young and fit local men running, and the odd body building foreigner running as well.
The rest of the many thousands of tourists that we saw, were laying on the beaches or drinking beer in their hotels’ pools.
I have to mention here that I am seeing a positive trend developing globally.
The majority of the younger generations seems to be less interested in harming their minds and bodies with alcohol and smoke.
I am not referring to the young Indonesian men who all seem to smoke or use vapes.
I am referring to the young Australians and Europeans that I see when traveling.
Many do not order wine, cocktails or beer with their meals like the older generation does.
Instead, they drink water, fresh juices or healthy no sugar smoothies like we do.
The older generation, always, and I do mean ALWAYS, orders alcohol, which is one of the worst things beside smoking, that you can do to your health.
We ended our run at the beach near the airport.
We could see the planes taking off and a group of young locals playing soccer on the beach.
It was sunset time, and many locals were enjoying a pretty sunset on the beach.
They sat on the soft sand, taking photos, swimming, and eating ice cream.
It would have been a very pastoral scene, if the beaches were not so littered with plastic trash everywhere.
The city is truly working hard on beautifying the beaches.
They are building a new stone boardwalk, making beautiful wooden stalls for the vendors on the beach, so the beaches will look pretty, instead of the vendors keeping their supplies in piles that are covered by tarps, yet they cannot fight the daily tide that brings single use plastic and other trash to the beaches.
When I was a child, I used to roam the beaches for hours.
After a big storm, the shore would be littered with plastic sandals, plastic tampons, plastic and glass bottles and shards of colorful glass with their edges made smooth by the salt and the waves.
I used to collect these pieces of glass, the way people collect precious stones or Jade.
My sister used to make beautiful jewelry from these colorful shards of glass.
I remember looking at some of the sandals or flowery high heel shoes that I found at the shore, thinking of the person who once owned them… wondering how they ended up in the sea….
Were they shipwrecked on a cruise?
Were their owners sunbathing on the beach and fell asleep while the tide took their shoes?
Were they at home when a Tsunami hit their coastal town, emptying their closets of all their belongings?….
In any case, the shoes are now part of the plastic trash washing up on these beautiful beaches.
All along the beaches of Kuta and Seminyak we saw the employees of hotels and restaurants, or vendors with a beachfront shop, sending men to collect the plastic trash that is washing ashore with the tide.
In some beaches like Jimbaran beach by the Four Seasons and Raffles hotels, the luxury hotels keep the beaches near them very clean by sending their employees to clean the beaches.
In Kuta we even saw a few tourists, collecting the trash in big black plastic bags.
It seems like a problem that is too big to solve, as the tide brings fresh plastic trash twice a day, but it could really be solved.
Much of the plastic trash we saw was freshly thrown.
The wrappers and the single use plastic cups that are packed with juice or water and drunk by the locals, still had brightly colored labels on them.
They had not been in the ocean for long, probably just thrown in the past few weeks.
Public education about littering really does work.
I saw this evolution in many countries that are now very clean like China, India in parts, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Israel.
They first needed to educate their citizens not to throw plastic bottles or wrappers out of their car windows, not to throw sunflower seed shells or peanut shells on the bus floors, not to throw trash on the beaches.
The towns or Seminyak and Kuta offer some of the best restaurants on the island, at prices that are very affordable.
I have heard an Australian family say that at home, they no longer go out to eat.
A dinner at their local restaurants cost about $150 for four people, while here in Bali, you can eat fabulous food for $40 for four people.
Jules and I ate a fabulous dinner in a creative Italian restaurant, of two appetizers, two homemade pastas with fabulous sauces made with high quality ingredients, for only $20.
At home, this would not even be the cost of one pasta dish and we couldn’t get this quality and taste at home, even if we tried, and believe me, we have tried.
We have eaten in so many restaurants between the Aspen and Vail valleys, but we simply cannot get fabulous food like we eat here, even paying much higher prices.
I know that it is the high employment payscale in the USA, the high cost of ingredients, the enormous cost of store rental and mandatory taxes and permits, that cause restaurants in the USA to be so pricy.
But there is no good excuse for mediocre food prepared by disinterested employees who only care to earn a paycheck and go home.
The local Indonesian food is excellent and costs even less per person.
From Seminyak with love,