Meth-heads, free tattoos, and drunk scooting: Bali – week one

After just a week in Bali I’ve quickly figured out there are many sides to this diverse island. There’s brochure Bali, with the beach-side cafés, relaxed vibes, and rice paddies. Then there’s fuck-up Bali, a lawless subculture that has seeped into existence, much like the open sewage into the otherwise beautiful beaches.

I call it ‘fuck-up Bali’ because everything seems to be designed to get people to do just that. Bad decisions lurk around every innocent night out, just waiting until you’ve downed enough $1 beers.

For many, the fuck-ups start at a particular bar that attracts a huge number of tattooed, perfectly cooked, (in both the drunk and tanned sense) Australian Instagram models. ‘Taco Tuesday’ is the drawcard because for $10 you get a taco, a beer, and a free tattoo. Not the wet rag type, the needle type.

Since the number of free tats is limited to ten a night, there’s always a massive crowd competing to change their bodies forever. Although I’m sure some in the mosh have thought long and hard about the design they’re about to get, (which is limited to a 20 minute sitting) a number have literally Googled ideas minutes before needle hits skin. My favourites include a unicorn with an ice-cream cone for a horn, a jellyfish with a smiley-face, and a scooter key forever inked on an arm.

Which brings me to the next terrible idea waiting to happen: drunk scooter-riding. With taxis totally and utterly on island time, the long skinny roads are best suited for 150cc death-traps. If you’re safe, stay out of the rain, and are sweet with the ever-flowing pipeline of craziness that is South East Asian traffic, you might be OK. However, no one is here to be OK. We’re here to fuck up.

Well over half the people I’ve met here have fallen off. Some I haven’t met because their injuries were trip-ending. Unfortunately too many of these crashes happen completely drunk. The thought of a sober night out or walking back to where you left your scooter the next day in the blistering humidity is too great a turn-off. Instead we end up a band of brothers, scarred and bruised from a losing battle with the asphalt.

Then there are the drugs. When they sell magic mushrooms literally on the side of the road, it’s no wonder Bali gets the best of some. We had a visit from an infamous American meth-head, who was adamant someone from our hostel had stolen his iPhone charger. He paraded his tastelessly-tattooed frame in front of our movie completely uninvited, and got aggressive when someone politely told him to move. This sparked a near brawl, which wouldn’t have been his first this week.

I almost felt sorry for him as he was escorted off the property by security. But this is also the same guy that threatened to rape my friend just to teach her a lesson. He didn’t and they had lunch together the next day. Honestly I don’t understand this place.

If I manage to leave unscathed whether it be from road rash, free tatts, or meth-brawls, one might wonder if I was ever in Bali. If we travel while we’re young to make mistakes, learn from them, and become better people, consider Bali an escalator to becoming a really great person, because you’re bound to fuck-up eventually.

They leave a lot out of the brochures.

bali 1

Sunsets in Bali are easily the best time of day

bali 2

The ‘fuck-up’ crowd I’ve become apart of, at skate-bowl/bar/club – Pretty Poison

bali 5

View from our first villa – gorgeous rice-paddies are never far away

bali 7

The roads are a complete free-for-all


4 thoughts on “Meth-heads, free tattoos, and drunk scooting: Bali – week one

  1. Your showing one real extreme of Bali. There are really nice people and some really amazing experiencs to be had that don’t involve substances. If you get out of Kuta and go to Ubud or other villages the environment changes entirely.


    • Hi there, thank-you for your comment. I agree, I am showing one extreme side of Bali, the majority of my time here has been spent with people engaging in this side of Bali so I don’t know why I wouldn’t show it. I’m not saying this is the only side, I look forward to getting to the other wonderful areas of Bali and writing about them too.


  2. This isn’t really am accurate view of most of Bali. I suppose this is the first time the writer has travelled. If you go to the worst bars and look for trouble, you will find it, regardless of the country. Bali actually feels really safe and welcoming and has a lot of amazing things to see. If you somehow can’t resist drinking and driving, then just hire a driver with a car. They are really well priced.


    • Thank-you for your comment. I agree, I highly doubt everybody on the island has had consistent, similar experiences to me. Which is exactly why I’m writing about them. I look forward to seeing the many other sides of Bali, and writing about them too.

      This is not the first time I’ve been travelling, although I don’t claim to be a seasoned globetrotter I am aware bad situations can be everywhere. My point is in Bali it seems a lot easier to find it. The welcoming and safe feeling you talk about can sometimes encourage people to do things they normally wouldn’t back home.

      I’m not one to drink drive, however my friends that were, had shoestring budgets and had bad experiences with the local taxi’s and Ubers. Fending for themselves in their mind, was the best option, cheapest and least hassle. In the long run with hospital visits and crashed scooter fees, they may have been wrong!


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