Bali has a relatively rich gay scene, although it's decidedly less commercial than you'll find in countries like Thailand or Cambodia. The presence of any scene at all is probably due in large part to its status as an international tourist destination, and no doubt helped along by the fact that Bali is predominantly Hindu rather than Moslem like most of the rest of Indonesia. Like the tourist scene in general, the gay scene is centered in South Bali around Seminyak.
There's lots of 'eye candy' around for those that just like to look at the male form. Whether it's surfer dudes at Legian or locals performing the Kecak Dance, Bali has plenty to see!
When you get hungry, no matter what time of day, a really good option is La Lucciola, located right on the beach in Seminyak. This gay-owned open-air restaurant has some of the best food in the Kuta area. The food is a sort of international Italian. It's a bit expensive, but in Bali "expensive" means that you just might spend more than $20 per person for a meal. The restaurant has no discernible signs; so if you're on foot, look for the Pura Petitenget temple. La Lucciola is right next to the temple. In fact, the best way to find the gay beach is to find La Lucciola, then turn right and walk up the beach about five minutes. The place is now very popular for sunset dinners, so reservations are recommended.
After dinner, for drinks and music, most people seem to head over to Jalan Dhyana Pura (also known as Gado Gado Street) which has a large number of clubs and bars, although they seem to come and go with alarming regularity. The club scene starts late - after 2:00 am apparently.
Outside of the Kuta area there isn't much in the way of exclusive gay places elsewhere on Bali. Around Ubud, the island's cultural center, you will find some gay-friendly bars, and of course, you won't want to miss a chance to visit the gallery of Symon, a Bali-based artist who paints huge colorful canvases depicting local young men in all their lithe splendor.
While singles can have a very good time on Bali, the island's real attraction, I think, is for couples. There are an amazing number of places where you can "get away from it all" and really connect, or re-connect, as the case may be. You don't necessarily need to look for a gay-only or gay-friendly place. While homosexuality is something of a taboo subject throughout Asia, in Indonesia, as elsewhere, people are very adept at overlooking the obvious. You'll find a welcome reception just about anywhere you go. My own fondest memory of Bali, ever, is the few days I spent at the Komaneka Tanggayuka with my boyfriend. It was the perfect place at the perfect time in our relationship.
Gay Bali Resources
- Bali Gay Travel Info
- "Simple and brief gay Bali information. What to do in Bali for gay visitors, from gay bars to gay driver, from gay boys to gay massage."
- Bali Friendly
- A list of gay friendly businesses, developed by the Bali Friendly accommodations group listed below.
Gay Travel Services
- Bali Gay
- Well established tour operator based in Bali. Arranges hotels and well as trips to other parts of Indonesia.
Gay-Friendly Bali Accommodations
- Unseen Bali
- There are a number of gay-friendly, and even some gay-only, hotels, guest houses and other accommodations on Bali. For a complete list of these, as well as other activities you may want to participate in, check out Unseen Bali. This site can also handle all your reservations at many of the places listed.
- Bali Friendly
- Another Bali-based agency handling gay and gay-friendly accommodations all around Bali. Seems to have some surprisingly good deals on some places.
- Rooms in bali
- Gay owned on-line hotel booking service. Doesn't identify which place are gay-owned or gay-friendly, but that hardly matters in Bali.
- Umah Watu Villas
- Two villa accommodation in Seminyak, on a narrow secluded lane that puts it within walking distance to the gay beach and night life. Has a pool and many other nice features. Check Bali Friendly (above) for rates which are often better than through the hotel site.
Bali's Gay Nightlife
Most of the gay clubs and restaurants are clustered along Dhyana Pura Street in the Legian / Seminyak area. The clubs seem to come and go, so see some of the resources above for current information.