Kuta Beach, Bali, didn't love about Bali

Kuta: Our First Stop in Bali

Last summer, my friend Molly and I were talking about meeting up sometime in 2020 since we hadn’t seen each other since I moved to Korea. Molly hadn’t done much traveling and was pretty game to go anywhere.

I had one place I really wanted to cross off my list ever since I read Eat, Pray, Love before moving to Korea: Bali. (Really, I want to go to every place Liz Gilbert visited before writing her memoir, but that’s neither here nor there.)

So we began tentatively planning a trip to Bali in February. After months of talking about it, we were finally doing it when we both booked our flights back in September.

Since I have much more experience with international travel than Molly, I took it upon myself to do all of the planning, from where we were staying to how long we would spend in different parts of the island.

Our first stop would be Kuta. Located near the airport and known for its beaches and nightlife, it seemed like a great place to get started. I arrived in Bali a full day before Molly and took the opportunity to look around a bit. I stayed at Celebbest Hostel, located smack dab between the beach and the street with all the nightclubs. The people staying in the hostel were amazing, and I couldn’t wait to share the hostel life with Molly once she arrived. We would be staying a bit closer to the airport and beach, but I hoped that wouldn’t change the vibe too much.

Molly Lands in Bali!

When Molly finally arrived on Sunday morning, we spent the first day doing what anyone would do on their first day in Bali: going to the beach. It was beautiful weather, we got an umbrella, and soaked up the sun and the waves. Following the beach, we got some lunch before heading back to our hostel, Beach Hut, before we both burned to a crisp.

The first night, out hostel was pretty dead. We quickly realized that the proximity to the airport gave the hostel a high rate of turnover. All we could do was hope that it would get better over the next two nights, and it did. A bit.

Our second day involved a snorkeling excursion. I had never been snorkeling before and it’s something I wanted to do before the coral reefs are completely bleached and lacking the diversity they currently hold. It was a great experience and we got to see a lot of fish in the reefs right off the coast.

We also got to see some sea turtles and other animals as a part of this excursion, although I am curious about how ethical the “sanctuary” is. While the volunteers there claim they are protecting the sea turtles from hunters and rehabilitating the ones that were injured in the wild, I don’t know that the facilities are large enough to hold the amount of turtles they currently have. This part of our trip was spur of the moment and had I done more research, I likely would not have visited this “sanctuary.”

The rest of the day was spent walking around Kuta and hanging out at the hostel, which was more lively than the first night. We met some great people at Beach Hut, and even ended up traveling with the one girl the rest of the week.

Our Last Day in Kuta

On our last full day in Kuta we decided to go to the beach since the rest of the week would be spent surrounded by rain forest and rice terraces. Molly, Victoria, and I spent a few hours enjoying the sun and waves before deciding to get pizza for lunch. Too bad we somehow ordered a pizza that didn’t have cheese on it. How we manage that one, I don’t know. And I got some wild sunburn on my leg…but only one of my legs.

That night we all sat around in the communal space, chatting and playing Uno waiting for our grab food order to arrive. After hours of cards we made our way to the night clubs only to find them all empty except for one, and we weren’t really feeling it. Although it seemed our trip downtown was wasted, it still made for some great memories. We went to bed that night excited to head to Ubud the next day. We were especially excited because we convinced Victoria to come with us. I’ll share about the rest of our trip up to Ubud next week!

You can read about my other international travels here, here, and here!

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