Sunset on the beach is popular, with a drink at a sea-view cafe or beachside beer vendor. Later, the legendary nightlife action heats up. Many spend the early evening at a hipster joint in Seminyak before working their way south to oblivion.

Stylish Seminyak clubs are popular with gay and straight crowds. Kuta and Legian have a mixed crowd.

The Beat (www.beatmag.com) has listings.

Kuta

Jl Legian is lined with interchangeable bars with stools moulded to the butts of hard-drinking regulars. Expect come-ons from pimps, Viagra sellers and lots of cries of 'we got bloody cold beer, mate!'.

Legian & Double Six Beach

Most of Legian's bars are smaller and appeal to a more sedate crowd than those in Kuta. The very notable exception is the area at the end of Jl Arjuna/Jl Double Six where there are cafes and clubs. A string of beach bars runs north from here on the Seminyak beach walk.

Follow the Party

Bali’s most infamous clubs cluster in about a 300m radius of Sky Garden Lounge. The distinction between drinking and clubbing is blurry at best, with one morphing into another as the night wears on (or the morning comes up). Most bars are free to enter, and often have special drink promotions and happy hours that run at various intervals until after midnight. Savvy partygoers follow the specials from venue to venue and enjoy a massively discounted night out. Look for cut-price-drinks coupon fliers.

Bali club ambience ranges from the laid-back vibe of the surfer dives to high-concept nightclubs with long drink menus and hordes of prowling staff. Sex workers have proliferated at some Kuta clubs.

Sunset Drinks in Kuta & Legian

Bali sunsets regularly explode in stunning displays of reds, oranges and purples. Sipping a cold one while watching this free show to the beat of the surf is the top activity at 6pm. Genial local guys offer plastic chairs on the sand and cheap, cold Bintang (20,000Rp).

In Kuta, head to the car-free south end of the beach; in Legian, the best place is the strip of beach that starts north of Jl Padma and runs to the south end of Jl Pantai Arjuna.