Bali: Where Schoolies Go to Party

Cocktail sitting on a table.
The Indonesian island of Bali shown on a map.

In November every year, a new breed of Australian students graduate secondary school. The graduates, at this point, leave twelve years of education behind, and now often find it fitting to celebrate hard. As a result, an entire week after school’s end is dedicated to schoolies, a continuous party taking place in various Australian locations, as well as in notorious hotspots in neighboring countries.

Where schoolies take place in Australia, Aussie authorities, parents and civil society often keep a watchful eye on school leavers’ activities, whereas in overseas locations they largely don’t. For this reason, thousands of teenagers seeking to dodge supervision choose Bali in Indonesia for their schoolies week, a choice that also lands them in a place of exotic surroundings and inexpensive drinks. In Bali, furthermore, many party-goers experience a more lenient attitude towards drunkenness than in Australia, giving schoolies here several convenient excuses to really live it up.

Looking for cheap drinks

Looking to party, with their minds set on finding a cheap bar or an exciting dance floor, most schoolies in Bali congregate on Legian Street in Kuta as night falls. Here, there are virtually wall-to-wall clubs and pubs, with barkers eagerly inviting the young Aussies to various venues. Around the same party strip, schoolies may also be offered drugs, but with warnings about Indonesia’s harsh drug laws, few Australians touch any narcotics at all. This, though, is not to say that leavers always put safety first, with recent deaths of several Bali schoolies from methanol poisoning and motor bike accidents serving as stark reminders of how quickly celebration can turn into deep, lifelong tragedy.

One last week together

If an accident, deadly or not, were to happen, a schoolies’ best and quickest support system is usually their friends. The same friend group, typically, also spend nearly all of their vacation time together, including on the beach, in stores and on the lookout for interesting flirts. In this way, childhood friends get to have one memorable last week together before they put their old life behind them and part ways. However, as the many older toolies who crash schoolies have clearly shown, it is always possible to relive the old days by coming back another year.