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Bali: Passport!

The Balinese tourist industry has a reputation as the most mellow on earth, overflowing with hospitality and permanently cheery. Well curse them, I say. Frankly they’ve ruined my life. After returning from a visit to the island you’ll probably be dejected after no one offers you a scented hot towel when you arrive home from work or quietly refills your water glass like a ghost so as not to disturb you (if ghosts plumped your pillow and dropped a couple of chocolates by your sun lounger).

Bali has a rich dance history and culture that extends from the hypnotic and spiritual Kecack dance at Uluwatu, where large groups of men work up into a trance like state to perform the Kecak, or Monkey dance at the Monkey temple in the clubs of Kuta to a different kind of groove thing. After heading back to my hotel, I found my neck rolling an hour later following the rhythmic swaying of the human wave on the cliffs at Uluwatu Temple.

The island also boasts phenomenal food at confusingly cheap prices. Most transactions in Indonesia require mental calculations beyond my personal abilities … my high school teacher gave me a regular pre-test “calculator pat-down.” The local currency is the rupiah and the calculations are always in the thousands. I gave a lecture in Bali six years ago and I was paid a wad of notes so thick I needed a mafia style brown envelope to take it home. A 90,000 rupiah cocktail sees you drinking a kick ass bloody mary for less than $10 but expect your bill in Bali to hit the millions. Check out one of my favorite spots Sea Circus (22 Jl Laksmana, Oberoi Road) which is celebrating its one year anniversary. The Circus-designed venue hits the right balance of themed gig with a nod to that whimsical world without being cheap.

No venue is more of a Bali institution more than Ku De Ta (Jalan Laksmana 9, Denpasar, Bali 80361). The lighting is pure understated glamor and relaxation, giving everyone a rosy glow that could only be produced by phenomenal cocktails and holiday spirit. If you can bag one of their double beds on the beach, you are liable to wake up the next morning with the fishermen thanks to a blissful martini coma.

See sunrise and surfers on Sanur Beach or pick your own here away from the majority of the tourists in Kuta, a part of the island that has succumbed to tourism like a slap in the face with all the cheap junk for sale and gangs of Australian visitors.

If you keep to off the beaten path, Bali will have you contemplating a local bar job and renting a new apartment to permanently extend your stay…

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