Kuta – then & now

by on 19/09/18 at 8:06 am

◄ Poppies Gang – a ‘gang’ is a narrow pathway or alleyway – and this popular gang at Kuta Beach in Bali, Indonesia, runs by Poppies Restaurant and Poppies Hotel. Despite Kuta’s massive growth Poppies Gang looks just the same as it did in the ‘70s, right down to the trader riding his bicycle laden with brooms, brushes and plastic household items.

I spent a couple of nights in Kuta Beach, Bali recently. With a bunch of friends we were on our way to the Komodo Island by boat – a blog coming up on that in the next couple of days. I did a similar – but much shorter – trip three years ago.



Our stay in Bali started somewhat dramatically. We’d just sat down for dinner – in Poppies Restaurant – on Sunday 5 August when suddenly the table started swaying back and forth and our (yet to be filled) wineglasses jiggled around. It was an earthquake and clearly a big one, the devastating quake that hit the neighbouring island of Lombok at 746pm that evening.

▲ ‘Wow’ we all said. And then looked up at the enormously heavy cast iron chandelier swinging ominously back and forth like a threatening pendulum over our table. Balinese bamboo construction held strong, we weren’t in danger.

▲ Fortunately the offerings to the gods are still laid out in the gang at the entrance to Poppies every morning.

◄ I first stayed in Poppies over 30 years ago – check my 2015 review complete with a photo of my son jumping into the Poppies swimming pool in 1988. It was still perfect then, but on that occasion I was on my own. Would it still work now I was bringing Maureen and eight friends along?

Yes, it’s as good as ever, still the same beautiful gardens, the same pretty little swimming pool, the same charming service, the same comfortable rooms and most important that same Alice through the looking glass feeling every time you step through the entranceway and leave noisy, chaotic Kuta behind as if it never existed.