FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Dance, Dine and Unwind in Bali After Hours

by Johnny Motley

Aug 10, 2023

PHOTO: © PETER GALLEGHAN | DREAMSTIME.COM

August 2023

Bali, the Indonesian tropical paradise, has long been known as “The Isle of the Gods” — a fitting epithet, as the island is blessed with regal temples, majestic mountains and spectacular beaches. Dazzling scenery aside, one of the gods in question surely must be Varuni, the Hindu deity of wine and revelry. While Bali evokes yoga retreats, luxury spas and cozy beachside bungalows, the island is equally celebrated for pulsing clubs, glamorous beach parties and roaring nightlife.

Receiving untold thousands of tourists annually, Bali’s Denpasar International Airport — the most advanced in Indonesia — receives direct flights from most major cities in Southeast Asia and Australia. At nearly 2,300 square miles, Bali is a large island, home to several sizeable towns, each boasting a distinct personality and after-hours diversions.

In Kuta, the closest town to Denpasar Airport, hard-hitting clubs keep the party rocking each night until sunrise … or even later. The crowd in Kuta tends to skew younger, mostly 20-somethings brimming with spring- break energy. For packed dance floors, strobe lights and seismic speakers, head to Sky Garden, a four-story super club. Sky Garden frequently attracts big-name international DJs, and each floor boasts a distinct aesthetic and sound. Paddy’s Pub, another multistory nightclub, churns out house music and pours of Bintang beer until the wee hours. If you need a break from dancing, Paddy’s has quieter sections for lounging with a hookah or beverage.

North of Kuta lies the gorgeous beach town of Seminyak, the Malibu of Bali. Seminyak has its share of thumping nightclubs, but the town is better known for glitzy beach parties. Seminyak attracts a more refined clientele than Kuta does, and prices are noticeably higher. Go to Potato Head Beach Club, a glittering beachside resort, to sip cocktails by the pool and rub shoulders with the rich, famous and beautiful. Entry into some pool parties requires a reservation and cover charge. After dark, La Favela, a famous Seminyak nightclub, keeps the dance floors hot and the libations flowing. The top floor of La Favela treats patrons to exquisite views of the ocean and island. Bali’s LGBTQIA+ nightlife scene is small, with Seminyak its current center, but growing.

© LCCHEW | DREAMSTIME.COM

In the center of Bali, about an hour by car from the coast, discover Ubud, a mountain enclave renowned for yogis, Balinese theater and Hindu holy sites. While Ubud’s ethos is more subdued, the town offers no shortage of evening fun. Laughing Buddha Bar, a popular haunt among travelers and locals alike, serves up live music, cold beer and delicious bites. Ubud proves a fantastic place to watch traditional Balinese dance, a venerated tradition with all the beauty and subtlety of French ballet. You can watch Balinese dance most nights at Uluwatu Theater, with tickets about $7 and performances lasting around an hour. Ubud boasts plenty of fabulous dining options, too. The chefs at Restaurant Locavore use traditional Balinese ingredients to craft Michelin-quality plates. Try the seven-course tasting menu for an unforgettable dinner.

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