When the sun goes down and the stars come out, the Island of the Gods transforms. The laid-back, surf-chic vibe that once drifted through the winding streets and along the sandy beaches retreats for the day and instead makes way for something special – something I like to affectionately call the Bali buzz. Whether you find it in the neighbourhood warung across the road or in the bustle of the night market, your evenings in Bali are sure to be just as memorable as your action-packed days. Here’s how to make the most of the Bali by night and experience the Bali buzz.
As the day melts into night and the stars above begin to twinkle, that in no way means it’s time for the culture vulture within you to clock off. The kecak dance has been going strong since the 1930s, and with fire, chanting and over-enthusiastic synchronised dancing all on display, it’s no wonder this is one of Bali’s must see cultural delights. Set upon a clifftop overlooking the breadth of the aqua ocean, Uluwatu Temple plays host to this spectacle every evening. Not only can onlookers soak up the theatrical display and vibrant atmosphere, but the sun setting behind the temple serves as an added bonus.
Hit the Night Market
If you like to stay active, no matter the time of day, one of Bali’s many colourful night markets will afford a rush of excitement combined with a side order of organised chaos. Sindu Night Market is the king of all markets, with over 150 stalls set up to offer everything from local cuisine and handcrafted goods, to fragrant spices and religious offerings. Hours could be lost ambling the narrow alleys in search of edible bargains and unique Balinese textiles. The market comes alive at 18:00 and is easily reached by those staying in Sanur.
Pull up a chair at one of southern Bali’s many bustling rooftop bars and lounges, where spectacular coastal views are on tap alongside the Bintang. Whether you’re meeting friends for casual drinks, dining on pan-Asian cuisine, or looking to experience some seriously good mixology, the rooftop bars of Bali will not disappoint. Pull up a chair at Velvet & Hypnotized (VH Bali) on the third level of Kuta’s beach walk to be at the centre of the action, or for a more relaxing experience, head to La Plancha on Seminyak Beach, where bean bags, Bintang and the beach are at the heart of the experience.
Shopping in Kuta
Whilst those in search of the best hotels in Bali know that Seminyak is the place to be, and those who love to surf will be drawn to Legian, it’s Kuta that’s known as a mecca for shopping enthusiasts. For those of you who sport flip-flops and shorts daily like they’re going out of fashion, you’ll feel like a kid in a sweet shop in Kuta, with surf shop after surf shop sporting discounts on big brands and stocking the latest trends. You’ll also find a handful of malls dotted throughout the area affording everything from boutique shops to major labels, all a stone’s throw away from the beach. It’s glitzy, loud and in your face. This one’s a bit like Marmite…