Every night of the week, visitors and local residents hit Bali’s many pubs, clubs, and beach clubs bars. Low-key spots, with affordable drinks let you unwind and make new friends, while upscale bars and pubs attract you with delicious cocktails, imported beers, fantastic food, and world-class musical entertainment. Not keen on dressing up for the night and want to stay in your shorts and t-shirt? No worries. Bali will have a spot where you’re welcome. Want to get dressed up in your fancy gear and step out to be seen? Then you’ll feel right at home here in Bali. The island offers a wide range of nightlife experiences for visitors of all type.
NEW: List of Events & Parties on Bali
Bali has long been a center for clubbing and going out at night. Nearly half a century ago, the island was a popular stop for hippies and surfers, and its relaxed and tolerant culture has allowed a thriving party scene to grow over the decades. Its relative proximity to Australia, Japan, Singapore and the continous stream of visitors from those countries turned Bali into a world-class destination for nightlife.
Bali has no enforced opening and closing times for clubs and discos allowing them to stay open till late, with the music sometimes still playing at sunrise. Although the real parties and action happens after midnight, going out might start early, with happy hours available in many restaurants, bars, and clubs, and sunset drinks are a daily pastime, whether in a luxurious beachside lounge in Seminyak or on a bench by the waves in Kuta.
Bali's South - Kuta or Seminyak?
Bali nightlife is diverse, yet certain types of crowds, venues, and music are found more in specific areas.
Kuta tends to pull in a younger, wilder crowd with megaclubs, ultra-cheap drinks, and a musical focus on reggae, top 40, R&B, and mainstream dance music, while Seminyak typically attracts a hipper, more refined group of clubbers. Here, also most expatriates hang out. The focus is on beautiful venues with top of the line sound systems and international DJs playing house, techno, dubstep, and other cutting edge sounds. Drinks are of a higher quality, often made by the most skilled bartenders with imported ingredients. Make no mistake though, Seminyak’s clubs can get as wild as they come.
New hot spots often pop up and then shut down as soon as they get popular. Some of Bali’s clubs are rowdy and wild, some are hip and contemporary, and other more elegant and sophisticated. These can all be sampled in one night by simply grabbing a taxi and club-hopping.
Some mega clubs have made things easier for those who don’t want to travel by offering restaurants, bars, and multiple dance floors with different music styles, all under one roof.
Live music is available in Kuta, Sanur, and Denpasar, and tends to draw also a local crowd. Cover bands are common, as is karaoke, and the scene is more about drinking and meeting someone new than all-night dancing. When all of the clubs and bars shut down, clubbers can keep going at a number of afterhours spots or at one of the late-night restaurants or street food centers that cater to the night owl. Alternatively they may prepare for bed.
Bali's crime rate is low considering that around 4 million foreign tourists hit the island every year from abroad and 8mio more come from the surrounding Indonesian islands. Bali is not Brasil, Mexico, or L.A. - But crime does indeed exist. There is theft, murder and rape like in any other country in the world. These crimes are committed by Balinese, Javanese, Australians,...from people from all over the world. And law enforcement is not what one would like to see and expect when one is in trouble. Money rules, and money talks everywhere, where alcohol, drugs and prostitution create this crazy mixture that attracts a certain crowd (mainly in Kuta).
Most crimes happen in the Kuta area where very very drunk youngsters who have lost the grip on things can become easy targets. Stay away from drugs and excessive drinking. Bali is a peaceful place, but going "down that road" in Bali increases the chances drastically to end up mugged, hurt or in deep trouble. And suddenly Bali can show a side that is far off paradise.
Girls going out alone are generally safe, but it's always good to be alert and to set clear boundaries when guys (of any nationality) with a few Bintang beers too much feel encouraged by reading the signs the wrong way, in certain situations. Although this happens rarely, in some cases also Indonesian youngsters got pushy around Kuta area very late at night after they run into single women who were obviously drunk. Stay with friends as you would in any other big city when you have a glass or two too much.
Bali Beach Boys:
The Bali Beach boys that hang out mostly at Kuta Beach and Legian Beach are never too shy to approach foreign women - age and looks don't matter to them, they look for the willingness for interaction. If they start to bug you, give them a clear feedback that you are not interested. And if you are neither in the mood to talk to a stranger or to accept his all so kind offer to help you put sun-lotion on your body, tell them clearly so. Also here, setting clear boundaries is important.
They would never dare asking an Indonesian women, let alone touch one. It's not appropriate in their culture.
Some of the Bali beach boys who start holiday affairs with tourists have actually not just one girlfriend, but many.. Some foreign ladies come to Bali regularly and enjoy a good time as a couple, and pay the bills. Some beach boys are married and have children, while the wives do know about the business that brings in some extra cash. It's between adults what happens between adults, but many foreign women - young and old - had to realize that nothing is at it seems and that true love between a Balinese Surf Guide and a lady from abroad is not easy to find in that kind of holiday setting.
Kuta, Kuta, Kuta (and Legian)
Kuta is a special place in many ways, always has been. It is simply the epicentre of drugs and prostitution (Although when it comes to the fancy and more expensive drugs, Seminyak is picking up fast. Hundreds of thousands of Australians come to Bali every year with one aim in mind: to party hard. Real hard. The clubs, bars, the Bali girls, the drug market and even the security guards in this area are controlled by gangs who know how to intimmidate and use violence if necessary. They are not to fool around with.
So, although it is very tempting on Bali to NOT behave like one would behave at home, it is advisable to keep some common sense running.
Note: Showing off abs while walking around without shirts might be a cool thing to do for some guys, but it's odd and not really appreciated. If you think you have a nice body everybody should see half naked, take it to the beach and not into the restaurants or shops.
Bali’s clubs and bars are a great place to meet people. An exciting mix of locals and tourists from around the world head to the discos and clubs to mix and mingle, making it easy to find a friend for the evening or something more long-term.
Visitors looking for company don't need to worry. Wherever you go in Sanur, Kerobokan, Seminyak, Legian and the Kuta area, there are many other single travelers, expats and locals who are looking to meet new people – day and night.
Sex for Money
In Bali's discos, clubs, bars and even pubs you'll meet also many young local girls, "kupu kupu malam" ("night butterflies" or working girls mostly coming from the poorer rural areas of Java) and young boys who compete with the females. All taxi drivers, security guards, street vendors will know the more "popular" karaoke bars and massage parlours in Kuta, Legian and Denpasar, along with the various "Houses of ill Repute" in narrow back lanes. These helpful people want to share their knowledge, whether you want to know or not. Anything you might be tempted to experience or consume is available. A silent but direct "massage?, young girls?, marihuana?" slips the tongue of many you might pass, while walking the streets of Kuta, Legian or Seminyak.
Travelers should keep in mind that prostitution is a big business in Bali, and that what may seem like innocent fun can sometimes turn into hassling or a demand for cash. Luckily, things are quite direct, so cautious visitors will easily be able to tell what they are getting themselves into in any situation. Note "Prostitution is illegal in Bali", however, like in many countries, everyone turns a blind eye, and prostitution is not necessarily a tourism related phenomena. Indonesian men who can afford it like to go to massage places regularly, asking for a massage with what they call: "Happy End". People don't get killed here in the red light district, Bali is not Mexico City, but some tourists wake up without their wallet or watches after their adventures, or with a transmitted disease that is difficult to get rid off and more difficult to explain once they are home.
A simple DON'T DO IT! sums it up.
Drugs are offered and available quite openly in the backstreets of Kuta, even during daytime. Marijuana, Cocaine, Heroine, Ecstasy...whatever people are ready to buy - it is available. It's dangerous to become part of that game for many reasons. And don't get fooled that it is safe to buy and consume drugs just because they are offered openly by a security guard or because you might see many actually taking them without hiding it much!
Magic Mushrooms ARE NOW ILLEGAL. The effects of this natural drug can be severe. No mushroom is like the other and some people react strongly getting strong hallucinations. The biggest problem is, that you will simply lose control over your actions and that can be a dangerous thing on Bali. Many party hungry youngsters lost their money, passports, credit cards, sanity, health and even their life on Bali, because of drug abuse. Horrible scooter accidents happen regularly, many youngsters drowned after drinking too much or taking some "mushies" before taking a little dip in the ocean in the night. The currents can be fierce and unpredictable. "Tourist drowned..." is a rather common headline in the local press.
Clean and dirty drugs
The numerous drug pills that come in fancy colors are, as most people know, very dangerous, causing a lot of damage to the body and mental system. Here on Bali, like in many other places in the world where people have an average daily income of 5 US$, one can never really know what's in the pill – it could be sugar, it could be some strange chemical. Although some party animals are ready to take that risk, drug consumption in Indonesia can really get you into trouble. Even though it seems that in some areas, clubs and environments, people are pretty relaxed about it, this can turn out sour in a split second. In Indonesia drug trafficking can come with the death penalty. - and it does like the case of the Bali 9 has shown clearly.
Drug Trafficking in Indonesia
Drug laws are fierce and officials are not afraid to make use of those laws when necessary, as the case of Schapelle Corby and the infamous Bali Nine Group has shown. The police regularly controls some high-end clubs, and not only the dodgy places. Some tourists feel safe when renting a private villa. They throw parties and consume drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy etc. BUT, at times it happens, that neighbors call the police and the officers have no hesitation to raid the place and take everybody into custody. Something really unpleasant.
If you get caught, with drugs or in bed with a 16year old girl that insisted she was 20 when you met her in a bar, there is no easy way out!