So how were the beaches in Bali? I have no idea, as I never set foot on them but I did go and see the two abandoned Boeing 737 jets in random locations on a crazy morning in May 2018.
It was my last day in Indonesia but before going to the airport to fly to Malaysia, I had arranged an Ojek motorbike taxi to pick me up early that morning and take me on a mad run to see the abandoned Boeing 737 jets. The only problem was I slept in by over an hour! Panic and no time for a shower was the order of the day!
The First Abandoned Boeing 737
The first abandoned Boeing 737, a 737-200 is located in a random old quarry near Pandawa Beach south of Kuta on the Bukit Peninsula (off Jalan Nusa Dua Selatan). As you walk up to the edge of the quarry and look down, you are greeted to the sight of the jet below you. It makes for a bizarre sight so far from the Bali airport!
My understanding is that the location and jet are some sort of failed tourism project. Possibly it was intended to be a restaurant? There is much scuttlebutt online questioning how this “mysterious jet” got into the quarry without locals noticing and what its purpose was but lets face it, the aircraft must have simply been trucked in with the wings removed and reassembled (if they couldn’t drive it into the quarry a large crane would have done the job), then the owner ran out of money or decided not to spend it on their planned business venture!
The place is locked up and apparently guarded these days, so enjoy the view from above and ponder somebody else’s folly. I have read of people being charged a small fee to take a look from this viewpoint but no one asked me to pay during my visit.
The aircraft itself was originally operated by Arkia Israeli Airlines in 1983 (registered as 4X-BAC. The airline is still in operation as Arkia). It was leased to Dan-Air in the UK during 1983/84 (registered as G-BLDE. This airline was merged into British Airways in 1992), then sold by Arkia to Mandala Airlines in 1993, who flew it until 2007 (registered as PK-RII, the number is still visible on the wings. This airline ceased operations in 2014). It was put into storage in Bali in 2008 and then ended up in this quarry!
I have seen recent photos online and it is evident that not long before my visit the 737 had been moved to a new spot within the quarry but there was no obvious evidence anything new was happening with the former passenger jet. A small amount of other aircraft parts and components are also nearby within the quarry.
The Second Abandoned Boeing 737
The second abandoned Boeing 737 on Bali, is in an open lot next to a doughnut shop in Kuta on the Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai (not far from the airport and about 8km north of the first 737). Given the urban setting and busy road, it must have also been trucked in with the wings removed and with great difficulty put into place and reassembled. This Boeing 737 is pretty much lacking official markings other than JO on the nose wheel hatch door.
It has been there since 2007, so originally it too may have also been planned to be a restaurant or even somebody’s home? I believe that most recently, it was planned to be, or was briefly a flight simulator business but that obviously failed too. Now this abandoned Boeing 737 sits forlornly atop plinths, with its engines missing and has just been left to the graffiti artists (earlier photos online show the aircraft sitting on its wheels, facing a different direction and with the engine nacelles boarded up).
You can wander around it for free (there was no fence during my visit). I have read online about locals offering to take you inside it for a fee but despite some people sitting about, that certainly didn’t happen whilst I was there.
Other Boeing 737’s on Bali
I didn’t get to see them but I have read there are other non-flying 737’s in unusual locations in Bali. The third Boeing 737, a 737-200, is sitting in a property development in Jembrana Regency, West Bali and another 737, a former Lion Air example, was reportedly moved to Keramas Village in Southern Bali in 2016. Perhaps these may actually become a restaurant or may just join the list of Bali’s abandoned 737’s!
All worked out well for me on that rushed morning, apart from a woman slightly crashing into the back of our motorbike and connecting with my arm (all good, just a bruise and I was OK)! Then I got to the airport drenched in sweat and covered in dust – a quick wash in the airport toilet and a change of t-shirt later, I discovered my flight has been delayed by a few hours anyway!