The first area in Bali that has been developed by the tourism industry and transformed to a place that receives millions of visitors from all over the world the entire year; a fisherman village, first discovered by surfers – especially Australians, then loved by everyone.
Kuta is the most touristic area of Bali Island, it definitely has to be beautiful to gain this title fairly, given the fact that Bali is just a compilation of awesome places and landscapes. This gorgeous place is the definition of beach, suntan, bathing suits, party, beer, and many more characteristics that make this place one of those you must visit at least once in your life; maybe for you once is enough, maybe you will leave Kuta already wanting to get back.
Where is it?
Kuta district is located in the southern area of Bali Island, Indonesia and it is composed of many sub-districts. Placed just in front of the Indian Ocean, the astonishing bay of Kuta is, without any doubts, the most attractive thing in the area.
A 5km long bay with the finest white sand has been attracting more and more visitors every year; it is far from being a place only visited by Australian surfers, activities in Kuta are numerous and varied so you can literally find something interesting for each type of traveler.
How to get there?
Getting there is easier than you think, as you can choose from many ways of transportation. Bali’s airport is just 15 minutes away from Kuta; also, many ferries and fast boat companies operate this route from many different locations near the island.
It is possible to get there by road if you are already on the island, minivans and taxis can easily take you there for really good prices. Public transportation is also available, keep in mind that this option will require more time for traveling.
Once you’re there, several options are available; from renting a car, which is not recommended given the fact that the traffic in Kuta is just unbearable, even locals admit they drive like crazy people. On the other hand, taxis are a very good option; most of them offer cheap rates, yet be sure to ask them to turn on the meter!
Taxis are highly recommended on the way back to your hotel, as night walking cannot be safe for tourists, a little bit of precaution is always acute. Also, motorbikes are one of the most common ways of transportation in here; you can rent them as long you have valid personal proof documentation.
No matter which one you pick, even pedestrians should be really careful in the streets.
Where to stay?
Kuta’s life is developed around the beach, main streets are located really close to it and it is where all the magic happens.
Accommodations come in any size and shape in here, a huge range of luxury resorts for big budgets, mid-range hotels that are very comfortable, and little hostels especially built for adventurous souls like backpackers and surfers.
For those who come led by the surfer inside them; surf camps are spread around the zone, where all the commodities are fairly offered and private surfing lessons are the main activity, yet not the only one. These camps count with rooms, restaurants, bars, swimming pools, and even spas, staying there may be a good option too.
Do your research and book as early as possible, as the area can get very crowded during vacations and holidays, and you definitely don’t want to get there without having a place to spend the night.
How is shopping in Kuta?
The district has a well-developed commercial area, where both locals and chains offer wide options of stores. There are two main choices: several commercial centers with a marked western influence are established in the area, once you get in there you will forget that you are in Bali for a while; however, they are really good for shopping.
Some of the most important malls in the area are Bali Mall Galleria, Carrefour Plaza, Discovery Shopping Mall, and Supernova. On the other hand, right on the main streets of Kuta, there are independent stores; from fancy boutiques to local stores where you can find from souvenirs to sunscreen.
Along the bay, there are also some small stores to buy last minute things, often related to the beach such as snorkeling and surfing equipment. What we can ensure you is that Kuta has everything you need to spend a really good time.
What about the food?
Once again, and as a consequence of the tourism industry influence in the entire island; nowadays you can find restaurant chains that bring both western and eastern menus.
Moreover, five-star dining is renown in the area; higher prices can bring you luxury meals prepared by famous chefs.
A broad variety of restaurants in the mid-range are available too. Actually, food is considerably cheap in the zone; what you do not want to miss is to try local gastronomy. Keep in mind that locals flavors are a very important part of a place’s culture.
Bali is well known for its large sea life which is also present in the food; places like Kuta are perfect spots to delight yourself with fresh fish and seafood that come straight from the sea to the restaurant, this freshness combined with the exotic flavors of Indonesian spices make a unique combination you should not leave without tasting.
How can we talk about Kuta without honoring its majestic beach? This narrow sand bay is famous worldwide. A flawless mix of sheer blue water and powdery golden sand; tons of visitors come every day to spend the daytime under the nodded palm trees, building sandcastles, diving into the warm water and –of course- surfing in the daring waves.
Several activities can be done in this awe-inspiring beach, it is all up to your desires; if you’re seeking peace, staring at the sunset right on the beach is just breathtaking, or you may walk around the bay through the footpaths. However, many sports are available in here too, from soccer and volleyball to surfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving into the crystal blue waters.
Kuta Beach area is a very good one to socialize with tourists from everywhere. In the bay, bars merge to offer visitors different cocktails and Bintang –the locally manufactured beer.
Kuta was mainly recognized as a spot for practicing surfing, and this sport is still considered one of the main reasons why travelers pick this beach as their destination. During high tide, waves are flawless to skilled surfers that perform their tricks delighting the viewers on the beach.
In case you are really interested in surfing, professional surf schools and camps are dotted around the area where instructors are ready to give you surfing lessons; both beginners and skilled surfers are accepted in this type of schools.
If you’re not so much into surfing, yet you would like to give it a try; there are several local shops renting all the equipment you may need right on the beach. Masks, boards, and scuba diving tools are there too. Observing the richness of the Balinese sea life among the coral reef is certainly something wonderful to do.
Windsurf and paddle boarding can be easily found along this bay as well.
More fun in the water
Nowadays, a couple of waterparks are established in the area; they combine pools, waterslides, and restaurants. This plan fits for the whole family, tickets are affordable, and fun is guaranteed.
Waterbom Bali is located near the Discovery Shopping Mall, which is a practical and central location, and getting there is very easy. It is the biggest waterpark, yet not the only one. Numerous waterslides with different heights, rides, pools, and games are available.
You do not have to be a risk taker to have fun in this wonderful place; as it’s not all about sliders in here, easy-going swimming pools and flow riders are part of the park too. This amazing place is also an excellent spot to have lunch or dinner, spending the whole day there is considered a must while visiting Kuta.
For family leisure, Circus Waterpark is an incredible choice; a cheaper option in comparison to Waterbom Bali and only 10 minutes away from the airport, in the northern area of Kuta.
In Circus Park, it is all meant to be fun; slides are a big part of the park yet not the only attraction. Lazy rivers, areas for kids, fountains, mini train rides, and water cannons are some of the several features at hand to offer you and your family a pleasant time.
Extra features like towels, lockers, gazebos, spas, and reserved areas to celebrate a birthday party can be rented, all your experience in this place will be unforgettable.
In addition, the Armada Flow House gives you the chance to swim into flawless waves without depending on the tide or weather. Even if you don’t like the salty water or the sand you can still practice surfing in here.
The park opens every day and you can rent the rides per hour, all you need is to pick between body board and surfboard; instructors are always ready to help you at any moment.
If you’re not really into surfing on the beach or inflow riders; Armada flow has good dining spots where western and Asian influences get mixed really well with reasonable prices too.
Culture and history
Some visitors may say that Kuta has lost important parts of its heritage and local culture due to the massive development of the tourism industry in the area. However, some other may say that you just need to look wisely as several historical and cultural spots remain accessible in the zone.
Buddhist religion is the most practiced one in Indonesia, and Kuta is no exception; in here, an ancient Buddhist temple is found and visiting it is feasible. It is called Vihara Dharmayana Kuta and it was built in the year of 1876.
This temple has a Chinese influence in its architecture, and even though it was built a long time ago, the main structure is extremely well conserved and bright colors are spread all over the walls, as well as the incense smoke.
Once you get inside this place; you will feel like you’re thousands of miles away from Kuta; in here, everything is so peaceful, which is very different from the common noise of Kuta Beach and city center.
A couple of museums are dotted on the streets of Kuta, some of them are very exotic which makes visiting them a very interesting plan for the day. For example, there is a Museum called the Dream Museum Zone or DMZ located at Kuta sunset road; it hosts a wide variety of galleries that compiles a vast collection of art pieces, especially three-dimensional art.
Approximately 120 pieces of art are shown in the several galleries of the museum, the whole visit will take almost the whole day if you really take your time to appreciate art.
Awesome photos can be taken by posing in some of the numerous life-size murals spread in the museum.
The art pieces inside the museum are mainly created by locals and Koreans artists, they recreate scenarios from all over the world like Venice and Egypt; in the same way, they have done remakes of classy art like the Mona Lisa.
Visiting Kuta and not going to the Upside Down World is like missing a very important part of the city. It is a sort of museum that counts with only seven rooms. Moreover, all the rooms are based on common indoors spaces such as kitchen, dining room and master bedroom, yet everything is upside down.
Funny and mind-blowing pictures can be easily taken in this place, it opens during the day and the friendly staff is always happy to help you with the photos and poses.
Kuta is renowned for all the hustle and bustle you find in there; nevertheless, calm and peace are possible in this beautiful zone. You will get impressed with a lot of spas you can find on the beach. Some of them are part of the installations of hotels and resorts, some others work individually. Even local women walk around the beach offering really good quality massages, yet be aware of setting prices before it begins.
As Kuta is a very competitive area, prices are relatively cheaper and quality standards are really good; ask in a couple of places before agreeing so you can get the best price; some spas count with happy hours or special events, do not miss them!
Yoga is also an excellent way to ease your mind, hotels can offer yoga classes as a part of the activities. A few spas around have included this practice in their lists of available activities. Another possibility is to attend one of the spaces meant to practice this legendary art; Secret Garden of the Divine Mother in Kuta is –as its name explains- a very small and well-kept secret in the area, practicing Yoga there is just unbelievable.
When the sun goes down
Lots of bars and clubs are spread all over the zone to offer the most amazing nightlife on the island. This place is worldwide known as a party place.
During the day, bars on the beach offers from Bintang to classic cocktails, giving the Caribbean vibe to the bay. By night, some of them remain open; yet, the attention of tourists get focused on the main streets of Kuta where bars and pubs are open until very late serving liquor and food.
Those parties can set free the party animal soul from everyone, they are perfect for socializing with travelers from all over the world and ending nicely a good day in Kuta.
Regarding prices, nightlife also counts with a wide range of options; you can find fancy spots in beachfront cellars, or maybe sport clubs where you can grab a cold local beer, maybe you prefer going to Poppies Lanes Bars, the place where younger travelers go to start the night celebration just before hitting the dance floor in the clubs.
What we strongly suggest is to stay away from cocktails and drinks that may contain Sansak, a local alcohol beverage made from distilled rice; a little mistake in the preparation process and it can be very poisoning and you probably do not want to take the risk.
If all that has been said does not seem enough; Kuta still has more attractions to offer, from bowling centers to good quality theatre to spend a good night in the zone. Some local restaurants and bars perform shows of traditional dancers while they serve the dinner, something very special to watch while you taste all the flavors of Indonesia.
Bali is undoubtedly a magical place, and Kuta is the center of this wonder.