A collection of short stories, essays, blog-posts and photographs from Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

The Old Bali Blog (2016-2018) « Street Justice: Thief Beaten by Mob in Legian, Kuta

There was a lot of hot debate recently on Facebook's notorious Ubud Community after a thief was caught red-handed in Legian near Kuta, Bali, and severely beaten. Cue smartphone pictures and YouTube videos. Unusually, the police arrived in time to save his life.

When a person decides to be a criminal in Indonesia they go all-out, Bonnie-and-Clyde style. They know the consequences of being caught by the police, know the shocking prisons here - and they know what happens if they get caught by the public.

So they go no-holds-barred. Machetes, and heavy violence - see the story of the British woman who was murdered in her villa in Junjungan, Ubud.

Criminals in Indonesia have no fear - and are often feeding a crystal meth habit that makes them highly unstable. There have been too many stories of visitors in Kuta, Legian and Seminyak being ripped off their scooters for a smartphone or handbag.

It's spreading slowly to Ubud.

The criminal most often escapes, and the victim is left bleeding on the road. It's not just a sly pick-pocketing, or a quick purse-snatch on the street that leaves a victim shaken - it's torn skin and broken bones, and the occasional death. Few incidents make it to the papers.

Thieves in Indonesia know the consequences when they get caught by a mob. And it isn't just locals who get beaten - there was the story of the Russian tourist who stole a woodcarving from a souvenir stall in Tanah Lot, was chased on his motorbike until he fell off, and was heavily beaten by angry shopkeepers until the police turned up.

The Balinese are some of the most patient and accepting people in the world.

But thieves really anger them. It makes their island look bad. Thieves also hurt Bali's major source of income - tourism - and so for the Balinese it's a double-barrelled thing. And when they catch a thief, they beat him, often to death. That thief is upsetting their livelihoods, and their pride.

And that doesn't work here.

You may disagree with street justice - it is always brutal in Asia - but it must put off a few who are still in two minds about chasing a life of crime.


Bag-snatch in Legian, from Caron Hawkridge on Facebook's Ubud Community

"I would like to share what happened to my husband and aunty last Sunday night on 12th April.

My husband was giving my 69-year-old aunty a lift to her hotel after we had been out for a friend's birthday party. As they entered Jalan Melasti in Legian, another motorbike approached very quickly and pulled at my aunty to get her bag. During the struggle my husband and aunty were thrown from the scooter.

My husband lay unconscious on the road. Thankfully a lot of locals helped my husband and aunty, and managed to get them to hospital. My aunty's injuries are severe facial lacerations and a fractured shoulder.

My husband has a fractured skull with bleeding on the brain, a fractured shoulder, a fractured collarbone, three fractured ribs and severe cuts and bruising.

My husband was medevacked to Perth Hospital's Trauma Unit a few days later. We are finally back in Melbourne, with lots of healing to do.

I really feel this needs to be shared as it is becoming a real problem in the south of Bali, and lives are being lost."


More Bali Blog Posts

» Not So Fast: Bali-to-Lombok Fast Boat Ferry Explodes Killing Tourists »


All The Old Bali Blog Posts ~ 2016-2018



2020 ~ Bali in the time of Covid-19


Street art in South Bali of a Balinese boy going hungry during the Covid-19 pandemic

'Covid-19 vs. Hunger' (August 2020).

Street art by the urban artist 'Wild Drawing' of a Balinese boy going hungry due to unemployment and the collapse of the tourist industry following the catastrophic effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on Bali's economy.

Street Art by © 2020 Wild Drawing.
Photograph by © 2020 Ubud High.


Poster shaming Western tourists and foreigners for not wearing face-masks in Ubud, Canggu, Seminyak, Kuta and Sanur in Bali, Indonesia

Public poster outside Ubud Market shaming Western tourists and foreigners for not wearing face-masks and disobeying Indonesia's Covid-19 health protocols. Masks have been mandated in Indonesia since March 2020. Foreigners' adoption of masks is embarrassingly weak on the resort island.

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia on Feb 13, 2021.
Photograph by © 2021 Ubud High.


© 2021 John Storey. All Rights Reserved.


The Last Pic

Portrait of the Day

Portraits from Bali by Ubud High
Old Balinese woman, Trunyan village, Kintamani, Bali

Bali, Indonesia.
Portrait by © Ubud High.


The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

© 2021 John Storey. All rights reserved.


Urban art of a young Balinese girl using a smartphone by the street artist Wild Drawing of Bali, Indonesia

Search Ubud High

Popular search terms ~
ganesha bali / covid / scorpions / scooter rental / bali street art graffiti / trance / hornets / arma art gallery ubud / nyepi / traditional balinese paintings / rainy season / snakes / 2022 bali spirit festival / dengue fever / ecstatic dance


Bali's Street Art

Street art, graffiti and murals for the masses – the most public of Bali's urban art scene hidden in plain sight on the walls of Canggu, Ubud, Seminyak and Kuta.

Street art and graffiti murals at Batu Bolong beach in Canggu near Old Man's bar and restaurant, Bali, Indonesia

➤ Bali's Graffiti Artists & Street Murals in the Wild...


The Ubud Handbook

The Ubud Handbook

THE UBUD HANDBOOK ~ Your free guide to living in Ubud and Bali in an online nutshell.

Religion Matters

The Tale of Ganesha the Globetrotter ~ Bali's Elephant-Headed Hindu God

Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed god, depicted as a spray-can- and roller-wielding street artist in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

‘First stop on Shree Ganesha's round-Asia tour was a spell in Buddhist Tibet with its strong tantric leanings – a convenient spot to re-invent himself as Vinãyaka, and then as the dancing red Nritta Ganapati – before a full-blown alter-ego revamp as the scarlet, twelve-armed Maharakta Ganapati. Now, Maharakta Ganapati was unusually fond of skullcaps filled with human flesh and blood – and this we might charitably put down to a bad trip.

After all, what happens in Tibet stays in Tibet...’

.. ➤ ..


An American Calonarang ~ Trance & Possession on Bali

Graffiti street art of a Balinese Salvador Dali sipping on a cup of kopi luwak in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

‘To cut an all-night story short, the mask was donned by a dancer who fell into a deep trance. But instead of staying in the temple, he began to run. And run. He became violent and uncontrollable. He ran for four kilometers down the road – the crowd scrambled after him. He ended up in a cemetery just past my house, and in the dead of night began to do frenzied battle with unseen foes...’

.. ➤ ..


'Nyepi' ~ Bali's Hindu New Year, and the Day of Silence ~ Melasti, Ngerupuk, Ogoh-Ogoh & Manis Nyepi

Balinese-Hindu devotees pray as sacred temple objects are bathed and cleansed during a Melasti ceremony before Nyepi on Pantai Purnama in Bali, Indonesia

‘If previous New Years' Days have seen you waking up with a crippling hangover trying to remember what you did the night before, maybe it's time you headed to Bali in March. Nyepi – the Balinese Day of Silence, and the start of the Hindu Saka New Year – is a day, a night and a day you'll never forget....’

.. ➤ ..


'Kajeng Kliwon' ~ A Very Bad-Hair Day on Bali

Film poster for Indonesian horror film 'Kajeng Kliwon: Nightmare in Bali'

‘Kajeng Kliwon is the kind of day when anything that can happen will happen. It invariably does.

You have been seriously warned...’

.. ➤ ..


Personal Stories

Diary of a Market Girl

Photo-realistic urban art by an anonymous street artist of a 1930s market scene in Bali, Indonesia

“When I had my sixth and seventh babies at the hospital – my twin girls – the doctor ordered me to have a Caesarian. And without asking me, he tied my tubes off as well.

I think he thought I'd had enough babies...”

.. ➤ ..


Food Talk

Durian ~ The King of Stink

“On the third bite,” says one hater, “it was as though I'd just eaten a diseased, parasite-infested animal with a bad case of rabies. I prayed I wouldn't be sick because I really didn't want to taste it again on the way back up...”

.. ➤ ..


Culture Bites

Cinema Paradiso ~ Bali's Seat in the History of Indonesian Cinema

1932 Virgins of Bali Thirties nudie-cutie bare-native film poster 1930s Bali, Indonesia

‘Boobs and political censorship have never been far from the Silver Screen – in Indonesia, they're its bedrock. The silent flicks of Thirties' Bali sucked hungrily on the island's bare-breasted cabinet-postcard image that encouraged so many gilded tourists – and dodgy film-stars like Charlie Chaplin – to visit its sultry, forbidden shores...’

.. ➤ ..


Getting Around ~ Bali 'Biking

Surviving Bali on a 'Bike

Motorbike accident victim being treated for a leg-injury in an Ubud clinic in Bali, Indonesia

“For me, some of the most dangerous people on the road are white people. I avoid them like the plague. You can tell the ones who are going to hurt others – the fixed grins, the hunched over the handle-bars, the wobbling around corners and shouts of indignation when they finally hit someone – because they have absolutely no idea how life and the road works around here...”

.. ➤ ..


It's Silly Season Again ~ Renting a Scooter, and Crashing it, on Bali

A monkey tourist crashes his scooter in a road accident in Bali, Indonesia

‘She tears into the traffic. She can't stop. She narrowly misses hitting a car head-on, swerves past a mum on a 'bike and slaloms across the road. Before she hits anyone – it's a miracle she doesn't – she falls in a bad-sounding heap of bent metal and smashing plastic. A group of Balinese rush to pick her up before the cops see her...’

.. ➤ ..


The Other Side of the Coin ~ Just Another Motorbike Accident on Bali

Commercial street art mural of a Balinese man sitting astride his Norton motorcycle as his wife hovers with daily offerings

‘She starts sweeping and I notice that she's limping. There's a spreading bruise and an angry graze running past her knee and down her calf. She wants to carry on cleaning – I sit her down and ask her what happened.

She's shy; I press...’

.. ➤ ..


Health Matters

Let's Get Wet ~ The Rainy Season on Bali

Blue sky pokes from behind a gathering of stormy monsoon clouds over Bali, Indonesia

‘Rule number one on a monsoon day? Don't get wet.

You may not realise that getting caught in a cloudburst or shower on Bali – particularly if you're on a motorbike – is the tropical equivalent of walking naked outside during a Prague Winter after a lukewarm bath.

It'll really slow you down. The shivers, hot-and-cold flushes, a chesty cough, diarrhoea, sneezing, stomach pains, a belting headache and aching bones are all at the top of the list...’

.. ➤ ..


Scorpions, Mosquitoes, Hornets, Poisonous Caterpillars... And Other Strange Tails on Bali

‘Nowhere is free from the tax of life. We all have to pay for our slice of Bali paradise – and this often comes in the shape of our biting, stinging, crawling, flying insect-cousins.

It's the downside of environment-sharing...’

.. ➤ ..


Holidays from the Jungle

The Heads of Trunyan

‘Agricultural, and unpractised in the dark art of handling international tourists, the aristocratic farmer-people of Trunyan have acquired a damaging reputation for aggression. Their unique tourist draw – a jungle-cemetery where bodies are left in the open to disintegrate underneath a magical banyan tree – is regularly shunned by travellers on the time-sensitive tourist circuit...’

.. ➤ ..


Lombok ~ A Line in the Sand

‘Ten meters away and the young man finally looks up – an inane, animal-like grin taped across his face as his girlfriend grips his porcelain butt and grimaces towards the empty blue sky. They disengage like street dogs, utter an invective in Russian, and stare...’

.. ➤ ..


Tourism & Self-Enrichment

Eat, Pray, Self-Love

I love-heart Ubud, Canggu, Seminya, Sanur and Kuta in Bali, Indonesia

‘My concentration's shot to pieces. The spaghetti keeps falling off my fork. She's on her third large beer now. She starts to say 'facking' even more, and is speaking so loudly that people passing on the street have begun to look her way, and she's spitting bits of ciabatta bread and tomato and fish into her friend's dinner...’

.. ➤ ..


From Ubud With Love

Will you marry? in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

‘I'm staying at a cute, family-run bed-and-breakfast – a homestay – on Ubud's trendy Jalan Goutama. A young member of the homestay's family tours her compound, blessing it with incense and rice and flower-petal offerings in little hand-made palm-leaf boxes.

All is well in Bali's spiritual capital...’

.. ➤ ..


A Dutchman Goes to a Gypsy Fortune-Teller

Wooden cock bottle openers, Ubud Market, Bali

‘A Dutch boy in Holland goes to a gypsy fortune-teller who tells him that he is, in fact, Balinese. Afterwards, his uncle visits the Island of the Gods and brings him back a wooden carving of a bare-breasted lady.

Lucky for him it wasn't one of those funny-shaped wooden bottle-openers that looks like a cock...’

.. ➤ ..


The Land of Self-Healing and Snake Oil

Yoga-wear for an Ubud yogini manifesting her abundance, exploring her Divine Feminine and inserting a Jade Egg at The Womb Temple near The Yoga Barn in Bali

‘Shake out those Kundalini Awakenings with some HoopYogini™ and Bhakti Boogie® at the Yoga Barn. Celebrate The Divine Feminine with a splash of Shakti Dance. Puff up your lungs in a Sacred Breathwork Immersion Workshop®, insert a Jade Egg for luck at The Womb Temple™ and polish it off with some tantalising Manifesting And Abundance.

You know you're worth it...’

.. ➤ ..


Urban art of a young Balinese girl using a cellphone by the street artist Wild Drawing of Bali, Indonesia

Search Ubud High

Popular search terms:
ganesha bali / covid / scorpions / scooter rental / street art / trance / hornets / arma gallery / nyepi / traditional balinese paintings / rainy season / snakes / 2022 bali spirit festival / dengue fever / ecstatic dance


And finally, the weather

Today's weather forecast for Ubud, Bali, Indonesia ⇨

Fake styrofoam clouds over the main 'Cloud' stage at the 'Plastic-Free Gili Air Music Festival' near Lombok, Indonesia