How To Do Bali Right, With Mitch Crews

_CW03205 copyMitch Crews. All Photos: Corey Wilson

Remember when Kuta was a thing? Or, like, when surfers actually used to stay there? For any of you out of the loop, Kuta, Bali is like Vegas hopped up on bath salts but without the slot machines and with a 2nd degree sunburn. At least that nightmare’s avoidable now. Yes, a lot has changed in the Island of the Gods (Bali) in the last decade — for better and for worse — and some thing’s simply haven’t. Like the waves. (Still firing). But should you be venturing down that way this summer, skip the Tripadvisor hacks and just take a few tips from a guy that’s been going there multiple times a year for the last decade. (Like most pro surfers). Take it from here, Crewsie… –Beau Flemister

Mitch Crews:

1. Get a Scooter: Yes, everybody says how dangerous it is, but if you just wear a helmet and be safe and not stupid, having a scooter with surfboard racks on it is THE gateway to surfing where/whenever you want. Don’t be on foot or at the mercy of taxis. It’s THE first thing I do every time.

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2. The Bukit: Just spend a few days there, surf Ulu’s, Bingin, etc. It’s changed a whole lot over the last decade, but Bingin’s got some great warungs to eat at, you can party at Single Fin at Ulus on a Sunday (that’s a MUST DO). And if you want some luxury to stay out at Blue Point by Ulu’s. The sunset is bullshit.

3. Canggu: Another place that’s changed a lot, there’s actually a pretty cool and interesting scene going on around Canggu. Tons of organic foods and cafes and shit, so if you’re tired of nasi goring and eating badly on a trip, you can live a little healthier out there. And for pretty cheaply. The Shady Shack and Betelnut Café are both in Canggu, and they’re owned by this awesome lady named Gypsy. They both have great health food, one’s vegan, I believe. Plus, waves-wise there’s just always something to surf around there. It’s a great place to base, actually and meet cool people.

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4. Eastside: It’s a bit more raw-Bali. Jungle vibes and temples and all that, not to mention some sick waves. If you really wanna be a cowboy and venture past Keramas, there’s some secret waves down there that I’ve heard [cough] are pretty mental. Lotta righthanders around there…

5. Trekking: Just a little inland, north of Seminyak are some pretty amazing trails to hike on. Not really intense, crazy treks, but they lead to some pretty mental waterfalls and views.

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6. Shop in Seminyak: If you’ve got some family members you wanna get some gifts or knick-knacks for, Seminyak’s a great place to go now for shopping. Like, a whole young crew has set up some pretty trendy boutiques these days and you can get some quality stuff for half the price as home.

7. Eat in Seminyak: There’s heaps of new places with every type of food on earth around Seminyak now, but I love Barbacoa. It’s like an Argentinian meat-style joint but way cooler.

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8. Party in Seminyak: I’d recommend Mexicola and La Favela in Seminyak if you really wanna go and rip in. They’re fun as hell and great places to meet chicks.

9. Macca’s (McDonald’s): I don’t give a shit what anyone says, but Macca’s just kinda keeps me sane. Riding by Maccas on your scooter after a long sesh and you’re like, f–k it, I just need a cheeseburger!’ is the best move. I’d recommend anyone have at least one Maccas stop each trip to Bali.

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10. Nyepi: So it’s this Balinese holiday where you’re not allowed to leave your house for 24 hrs and they do this huge parade through the streets the day before. The traffic is basically deadlocked around the streets and people are out in these craaaazy costumes and then after that for 24 hrs you’re supposed to stay in your home and be totally silent so the evil spirits don’t hear or see you. You’re not supposed to do it, but me and a mate went outside into the street and the vibe was soooo wild and forbidden. Like a zombie apocalypse had happened with no one around. I’m not a spiritual guy, but we felt something eerie in the air that day.