Kuta is a surfing paradise and the most famous tourist places in Bali. It is famous with its spectacular white sandy beach. Kuta is situated 11 km southern part of Denpasar town and it can be easily reached by public transportation from Tegal Bus Station about 15 minutes. Kuta is the fastest growing tourist place in Bali and it is the heaven for foreign tourists.
Overview of Kuta
With a long broad Indian Ocean beach-front, Kuta was originally discovered by tourists as a surfing paradise. It has long been a popular stop on the classic backpacking route in South East Asia. Back in the 1980s they used to talk about the three Ks: Katmandu in Nepal, Khao San Road in Bangkok and Kuta. Today Kuta still attracts some hardcore backpackers as well as families and tourists from all over the world, and is most notably a playground for young visitors from Australia.
Due to the ever increasing popularity of Bali, Kuta is continually developing, and is not short of unsightly, poorly planned buildings. It can come across at times to be chaotic, overcrowded and congested. However, amongst all the mayhem this place somehow works, and hundreds of thousands of visitors enjoy their time in Kuta every year.
Infrastructure has come a long way in Kuta, although it is still insufficient for the amount of visitors who stay in the area. Some side alleys still have significant potholes and road rules still don’t mean very much. Most roads are constantly busy with motor scooters, metered taxis and private cars. Instead of using signals, locals and the seasoned travellers honk their motor vehicles to signal overtaking or squeezing into a tight spot near you. Oftentimes cars fold in their side mirrors when negotiating narrow single lanes with parked vehicles. Now you can access free wifi in local convenience stores, restaurants, cafes and hotels. There are half a dozen prepaid mobile phone sim cards available everywhere with competitive top up plans. Touts will persistently try to get to buy something from them, whether you’re walking on the streets or seated in a restaurant.
The five km long sandy stretch of Kuta is arguably the best beach front in Bali. The beach is safe, partially clean, well-maintained, although the beach vendors remain annoying pushing massages, hair braiding, cigarettes and surf boards. The long wide stretch of sand is often full of sunbathers and although most of the serious surfers have moved on to newer pastures, there are still plenty of surf dudes around at most times of the year, and especially so during peak season. As you move north along the beach to first Legian and then Seminyak and Petitenget it becomes progressively quieter and less frenetic.
Once the sun goes down, Kuta is the rough and ready party zone of Bali, even after the tragic events of 2002. Even the most hardened of party animal will find something to please them on Jalan Legian at night.
Ngurah Rai International Airport, also known as Denpasar International Airport (DPS), is in fact directly south of Kuta, about 15 minutes away by taxi. More information about the airport is in the main Bali article.
The prepaid fare from the airport to Kuta is Rp 50,000. If you don’t have too much luggage, you can save some money by walking 200 metres out of the airport area, and take a metred taxi from a company that does not pay service fees to the airport authority and is therefore not allowed to enter the airport to pick up customers. For example, a metered taxi from Bali Taksi (+62 361 701111) will run to about Rp 20,000 for the same trip. Before putting yourself through all that though you might wish to ask yourself whether it is worth it to save just $3. You can also catch a bemo from outside the airport to Kuta for Rp 5,000-10,000.
Kuta is reached by the main Jalan Ngurah Rai bypass from points north (Denpasar, Sanur and Ubud), and south (Jimbaran, Nusa Dua and Uluwatu. If you are coming in from Seminyak be sure to take the Jalan Sunset bypass and not the congested beach route along Jalan Raya Seminyak and Jalan Legian.
Kuta is connected by bus routes from all areas of Bali. There are various scheduled shuttle services including Perama . Perama shuttle buses to Kuta leave from Sanur, Ubud, Candidasa, Padang Bai and Lovina.
As elsewhere in Bali, bemos are rarer and far less important in Kuta than they used to be. This reflects both the increased number of Balinese who are wealthy enough to afford their own transport, and the huge upscaling of the very nature of tourism in Bali in the past 10 years. Bemo Corner, in the heart of Kuta at the junction of Jalan Legian and Jalan Raya Kuta, used to be an institution on the backpacker circuit. These days it is almost irrelevant, but the little blue buses are still there albeit in greatly reduced numbers, and they will still try to charge you five times the real rate.
Kuta is served with some regularity from Denpasar’s Tegal bemo terminal.
Benoa Harbor — not to be confused with Tanjung Benoa — is around 20 min northeast of Kuta, and speedboats and cruises from the Gili Islands, Lombok and Nusa Lembongan arrive here. Most companies operating from Benoa offer free pick-up and drop-off in and around Kuta.
Kuta stretches along the beachfront all the way from the airport to Legian, and small lanes lead from the beaches into the densely populated accommodation zone. To avoid traffic-related frustrations, the best option is a combination of walking in small lanes and using metred taxis or a rented motorbike for longer excursions.
Traffic jams are a constant hassle here and especially so when it is raining. It is often best to park your car before you reach downtown Kuta, and walk in. The area downtown is only about one and a half kilometres in length and half a kilometre wide but when stuck in traffic you might easily spend 30 minutes or more to travel these short distances.
There are some designated parking areas in the middle of Kuta (usually Rp 5,000 for an unlimited stay) including a large one on Jalan Legian near the top of Poppies II. There are also public parking bays on Jalan Pantai Kuta right beside the beach, but these can get very busy.
Finding a rental car company is easy in Kuta, especially in Poppies I and Poppies II. A small rental car starts from Rp140,000 with third party insurance. Add another Rp100,000 or so for a comprehensive cover. Check your rental contract for specifics before signing. The rental car can be driven to your accommodation for pick up.
Metred taxis are ubiquitous on the streets of Kuta and are a relatively cheap and reliable way to get around, especially at night. Avoid any taxi where the driver refuses to put the meter on. This is increasingly rare but you will still find the odd taxi driver who is stuck in a 1990s timewarp.
The largest, most reputables and most reliable taxi operators are Bluebird and Bali Taksi. You tend not find these taxis parked at night near discos and bars as other smaller companies have exclusive contracts with these businesses. However, they can be found easily by walking a little up the street. Taxi drivers usually have only limited small change, so it is best to have small notes available to avoid issues.
Those with a sense of adventure should try hopping on the back of a local scooter. They are always looking for a passenger, making negotiation easier and more successful. This type of informal transport is called an ojek and is fast and cheap.
You can choose to rent a scooter for your stay. There are literally thousands of scooters available for rent: these should cost no more than Rp 30,000 – 40,000 per day rental, and between Rp 20,000 – 25,000 per day for rental of a week or more. Insist on a helmet for the motorcycle, for both your own safety and because wearing a helmet is a legal requirement in Indonesia; you will be stopped by the police and fined for riding without a helmet. It should be understood that the streets can be chaotic and dangerous for inexperienced riders so consider carefully before renting a motorcycle. If you intend to surf, there are plently of specially modified motorbikes with surfboard hangers.
What to See
Bali is the Indonesia’s largest tourist destination, renowned for its highly developed arts and culture. It is a great place to enjoy its ambiance and beauty of a tropical paradise while forgetting life’s troubles.
Bali’s wide variety of attractions, the physical beauty of the island, and the year-round pleasant climate make Bali a place regarded by many visitors as the “Ultimate Island”.
Bali Bomb Memorial
This is a memorial to the 202 people murdered by the bombs on 12th October 2002, and is on Jl Legian opposite the corner of Poppies II. This is the former site of the old Paddy’s Bar, and opposite the former site of the Sari Club, which is still an empty space, next to the Billabong shop. Every year on the anniversary date there is a ceremony mourning those killed or wounded by the bombs. Whilst viewing the memorial, please be calm and silent out of respect. The local Balinese will often be curious to learn if you knew or were related to any of the victims.
Looking at the lush-greenery of paddy terrace at Tegallalang is actually a good therapy to relax our mind and to exercise our eyes.Surrounded by cool atmosphere due to it’s location at the hillside, paddy terrace area in Tegallalang provide a picturesque panorama and fresh air suitable for relaxing.My short break at the area make me feel so calm and peace.This is one common view and one attraction not to be missed when visiting Bali.
Famous among the tourist, Kuta Beach has become a favourite for everyone who looks for water sport.The beach stretches as far as the eyes can see.The waves are suitable for surfing,that’s one of the reason why the beach is always packed with surfers all around the world.I was lucky to stay at the hotel nearby the beach.I love to stroll along the beach watching people playing beach soccer,sunbathers in colourful swimsuit,paragliders in the air, masseurs doing their job..what more i can say.The beach is lively with different of activities.Besides Kuta, some other beaches such as Nusa Dua and Jinbaran offer a different panorama where these area preferred by people seeking for quite environment.
Arts & Crafts
Planning to bring something back home, Ubud area, Celuk and Mas village are the right places to go.Ubud is the place to look for amazing and quality painting but cheap in price.While Celuk and Mas village are home to wood carving and silver jewelery that offer variety of hand-made stuff.Watching the locals made the furniture using their own hands was a great experience.It is not an easy stuff but with the skill learned at an early age,the result is superb.
Hinduism is the most dominant religion being practice in Bali.It is no surprise to see countless of temples around the island.Either it is small or big temple,one thing for sure all of them carry the same Balinese architecture with the wall carving influenced from the ancient Hindu era.My visit to Taman Ayun Temple helped me to know about the Balinese culture and tradition even better.I’m impressed to see the multistoried roof and the surrounding of the temple which seems so peace and harmony.
Bali is renowned for its variety of cultural dances.As majority of the Bali’s population adheres to Hinduism, the balinese dances are often influenced from the Hindu epics such as Ramayana.I have the chance to watch two Balinese dances when i was in Bali.Those are the Kecak Dance and the Barong Dance.I really enjoyed the Kecak Dance performance as it was performed by a group of men sitting in circle and repeatedly chant ‘kechak cak’ where indirectly become a background music of the show.
As Indonesia lies along the Pacific Ring of Fire, Bali is no exception to experience a series of earthquake and volcanic eruption.Two famous active volcanoes to see in Bali are Mount Agung and Mount Batur.My journey by mini bus to Kintamani, where the Mount Batur lies left an unforgettable memory as it was my first time visiting the volcanic site.The surrounding is cold and awesome with the Mountain stand still seems ready to explode.Having my lunch at the local restaurant facing the mountain was absolutely a perfect day.Later,my visit to Lake Batur that created from the eruption of the mountain just added some sugar to the trip
Once in Bali, watching the sunset and sunrise is a must.I believe that everyone who has been to Bali agreed that the sunset and sunrise at Bali offer such a magnificient view if the weather allows.The famous tourist spot to watch the sunset is at the Tanah Lot.I arrived there around 6pm and watched the sun went down and slowly disappeared in front of my eyes.The sky was orange in colour that created a romantic moment and a breathtaking panorama of the surrounding.While for sunrise, i catched it at the Jinbaran Beach nearby the hotel.I didn’t regret to wake up very early in the morning just to see the spectacular sunrise moment. (airasia)
What to Do
Kuta is a well known destination amongst surfing enthusiasts. A long sandy beach with a lack of dangerous rocks or coral, makes the area attractive for beginners.
Enjoy the Sunset
In the evenings plenty of people head down to the beach or seaside cafes to watch the wonderful sunset. Be in place by about 5:30PM, for a sunset between 6:15 and 6:45. The area in front of McDonalds and the Hard Rock Cafe can be a bit hectic with touts selling spearguns, henna tattoos and massages. Going north, the hassle drops exponentially, with the Legian/Padma Beach area being a wonderfully relaxing place to watch sunset.
Spa by the Dozen
There are Spas by the dozen, and as Kuta is the most competitive place in Bali, prices are the lowest (as is the quality of experience). Shop around and ask for package discounts. Take a look at the place first and do not allow yourself be talked into something by touts.
Waterbom Park at Jl Kartika Plaza
This is one of the biggest water theme parks in Asia and is within easy walking distance from Kuta beach. Your children will love you for spending some time here. Adults US$23, under-12s US$13, good value 2 and 3 day passes available.
Yoga is very popular and courses are always on offer.
- There are lots of popular surfwear/sportswear stores inlcuding Volcom, Rip Curl, Rusty, Surfer Girl Billabong and Quiksilver. These well known brands can be purchased in Kuta at prices 30% to 50% lower than you will pay at home. Your best bet is to wander the length of Jalan Legian between bemo corner and Jalan Melsati where you will find an almost unbelievable number of outlets.
- Kuta Square is a popular shopping area at the north end of Jl Kartika Plaza. There are a host of small shops on both sides of the street, and a big Matahari department store, with a cheap and utterly wacky collection of T-shirts on the 3rd floor.
- Be aware that if you buy things from hawkers on the beach, you will attract dozens more and they will do their best to make you feel guilty for not buying from them. Be prepared for offers at “good luck prices” or “morning/sunset prices”. The trick is to not look them in the eye and respond to their offers with a firm “no thank you”, but to always stay polite!
Large, western-style shopping malls are hardly a typical Bali shopping experience, but the best ones on the island are in the Kuta area.
- Bali Mall Galleria is on Jl Bypass Ngurah Rai right beside the huge Simpang Siur roundabout. Galleria is home to number of well known brand stores, a food court, Planet Hollywood and the best cinema in Bali (tel:+62 361 767021). There is a large duty free shopping centre here which is aimed primarily at Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese tourists. You buy your luxury items tax free which are collected upon departure at the airport.
- Carrefour Plaza is on Jl Sunset, just north west of the Simpang Siur roundabout. As well as being anchored by an enormous Carrefour supermarket on the top floor, this is home to an excellent Periplus bookshop, numerous small designer stores and the best authorised Apple Mac retailer in Bali.
- Discovery Shopping Mall (Centro) is located across from Waterbom Park on Jl Kartika Plaza in Tuban. A big western-style mall with plenty of international brand stores on the ground and sub-ground levels, including Guess, Marks and Spencers, Sogo and Top Shop. The second level is occupied fully by the Centro department store, and there are many cafes and a large electronics retailer on the 3rd level. The waterfront cafes on the ground level have excellent ocean views.
Eating in Bali
You can find any manner of international and local food here. Restaurants are usually either very cheap or in the mid-range. Exclusive restaurants are rare but there are some gems here. For true luxury dining head 15 minutes up the road to Seminyak.
Kuta is the low end party centre of Bali. It has recovered well from the bomb blasts in 2002 & 2005 and tourists still flock to the bars where alcohol is served freely and excessively. Many of the bars here have a house cocktail with a local Arak (rice spirit) base. These go by charming names like Jam Jar and Fish Bowl, pack a huge punch and make customers very ill!
Kuta has a huge range of accommodation mostly in the budget and mid-range markets. Private villas are few and far between as Kuta just lacks the space for expansive private properties. Prices are often negotiable especially outside of the peak seasons (July/August, Christmas, New Year and other obvious holidays). During peak seasons, always book ahead.(wiki)