Kuta, Bali: For Your Inner Springbreaker
Typically the first stop in Bali after landing in Denpasar, Kuta is, most likely, a slow traveler’w worst nightmare. It’s loud, busy, and full of beligerent tourists. However, there is definitely a huge audience for this, starting with, but not limited to, Australian stag dos, party-hungry gap year goers and even retirees. In any case, a stop in Kuta is necessary if you’re trying to arrange any kind of budget-friendly travel to another location around Bali, be by bus, taxi, or boat.
Bouncing Around Kuta, Bali
At a first glance, this location is hellish – it seems that there’s a constant stream of motorbikes, hordes of tourists crowding the tiny sidewalks, and incessant honks from fake taxis trying to sell you a ride to somewhere. Nevertheless, there are less busy corners of Kuta if you walk south off of the main beach, where a crowded sunset strip suddenly turns into an empty stretch of sand, frequented only by the occasional fisherman or a local dude taking a surfer out on the water.
Our hotel, Rabasta Resort, a 2-star, about 15 Euro per night per room, with breakfast, was located in a quieter area, about 10 min walking distance from the busy Legian street. The bathroom (shower and toilet combo in one small space) is different from what you’re probably used to – it’s more crammed and the plumbing was not the greatest. However, this is a common theme around budget accommodation on Bali and, generally, doesn’t pose a problem other than being ‘different’.
The city itself offers an overdose of resorts, theme parks, high-frequented restaurants and massage parlors, which results in a deluge of signs, billboard, and, of course, touts.
Some Kuta Highlights
The good thing is, if you’re not a party animal and are more interested in enjoying a beer or two in a place without caged go-go dancers and where you can actually have a conversation, there are also plenty of options on the further ends of Legian street. As far as food goes, we ended up really eating out just once a day, since we had breakfast at the hotel and bought random snacks during the day. For dinner we went two days in a row to a place that had an all-you-can-eat barbecue for 50.000 IDR (about 4.50 Eur), including free beer (with refills) from 5 to 6 pm. Of course we were there on time.
Coming Back Here – A Necessary Evil
All in all, the three days spent in Kuta were good – the beach is nice (although you get pestered a lot by people trying to sell you stuff), the whole area is walkable, and there are also plenty of taxis to take you around if you’re feeling lazy, and you can get some good deals on accommodation and various attractions and tours since there is so much competition. But if you expect a tranquil retreat from reality, do not stay Kuta. This place is the Panama City Beach of Bali, and, as such, there’s lots of drink ‘specials’ (cheap enough for Aussies and Brits), hundreds of girls in booty shorts, and brotastic beach dudes who occupy the party strip all night. Of course there’s nothing wrong with a Jersey Shore – style bacchanalia – I go by the principle of ‘whatever floats your boat’ (as long as you’re not hurting anyone). That being said, Flo and I concluded that we’re too old for this shit.
That being said, the sunsets in Kuta are pretty decent. If you tune out the buzz around you, you’ll be just fine.