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Kuta is the best known tourist resort area on the island of Bali in Indonesia.
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Points of Interest in Kuta
Surfing, shopping & partying are the three main events in Kuta, and interesting attractions are very thin on the ground. The beach is of course very scenic here, if nearly always crowded.
- Bali Bomb Memorial. This is a memorial to the 202 victims who lost their lives when bombs were detonated on 12 October 2002. It can be found 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.
- Beach offerings. In the mornings you regularly see Balinese people throwing offerings into the sea, especially when Nyepi is approaching. The best spot is the temple right next to the beach about 200-250m to the north of the Hard Rock Hotel.
- Hard Rock Hotel is something of a tourist attraction and is definitely worth a look and the odd photo.
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 you 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.
The area of south Kuta closest to the airport is more correctly known as Tuban, but this name is rarely used.
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.
Tourism Information Offices
- JI Bakungsari, Tel: +62 361 751660 ext 145
- Ground Floor, Century Plaza Building, JI Benesari No7, Tel: +62 361 754090
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.
- Bali learn to surf. Is Bali's first professional surf school and they have an office at the Hard Rock Hotel, as well as a beach presence. Offers equipment in good condition and premises for a surfing introduction in calm water at the swimming-pool of the Hard Rock Hotel. An introductory lesson costs US$45, lasts 2.5 hours and students are offered hotel transfers and fresh water. A 3-day course costs US$120, and five day courses include a "surfari" to other surfing spots for US$200.
- Some of the surf dudes in the shops also offer private lessons. They are considerably cheaper than the surf schools but just as good. Many of the dudes have been working for the schools or do it on the side. You cant find them on the web so you should look around. One good one is the "Sion Surf Shop" on Poppies I, around 400 m from the beach.
- There are several surf shops on Poppies II which all seem to be much of a muchness. Friendly local surfer dudes will happily chat wth you about the waves, offer to fix a ding, rent you a board and sell you just about anything surf-related.
- Be careful when you rent on a beach, some boards are in such a poor condition that you are very lucky if you don't break it. And that is what some guys who operate the rental business are looking for. If you break it, then they may demand that you pay for it. So choose only the boards that appear to be in good condition, otherwise you may get ripped off.
- It is also possible to rent equipment from locals on the beach for between Rp 20,000-80,000 per half day, however prices asked are often closer to Rp 40,000-100,000 for one hour. If you rent from the same guys for a few consecutive days you will almost certainly get a better price. The equipment quality is lower than of the formal outlets. The surfers on the beach can also give you some basic lessons, and look after your stuff while you are in the water. If this is your first experience of surfing it is safer to use a surf school or private lessons before heading out on your own.
- If you want to rent for a few days, rather use rentasurfboard.com, . Their price is Rp 100,000/day, the boards are usually in very good condition and the local guy who handles the business is really a good guy.
- Bali Wave Hunter, ☎ +62 811 389507, e-mail: email@example.com. Surfing charters and tours from Bali to Nusa Lembongan, Lombok & Sumbawa with a professional photograper. Visiting world class reef breaks, like Desert Point, Scar Reef, YoYo's and Super Sucks. Uses an 80 ft Indonesian jukung outrigger with 6 cylinder diesel engine, full size beds, shower and toilet, tv, video/DVD player and stereo , PlayStation 2 and wake boarding facilities. 240v power with international plugs, fully equipped kitchen with fridge/freezer, safety equipment, first aid kit, VHF/UHF radio. Smaller boat also available.
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. A well known spa is Villa de Daun on Jalan Legian. Many hotels have their own in-house spas or partner with a local operator. Reborn and Cozy are two excellent spas on the outskirts of Kuta, on Sunset Road just before the roundabout. The price is around rp120k for 2-hours, but have "happy hour" specials.
Carla Spa, Poppies ||. very good full body oil massage for not too much money, ask for Alfa. Opposite side of Artawan, same side as "The Steps", a bit further towards JL Legian rp50000/1hour.
Beware of the women offering massages on the beach. They are seasoned at ripping off tourists: be sure you have agreed to a price and a duration, or you'll find yourself with a 10 minute massage.
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 6:45PM. 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.
- Paradiso Bowling Centre, Jl Kartika Plaza No8X, ☎ +62 361 758880, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 6PM-11PM daily. An 18 lane bowling centre. Large number of pool and snooker tables as well. Rp 27,000 per game.
- Waterbom Park, Jl Kartika Plaza (opposite Discovery Shopping Mall), ☎ +62 361 755676. 9AM-6PM daily. 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$31, under-12s US$19, good value 2 and 3 day passes available.
- Mega Dive Bali, Jl Elang No 5, Tuban, ☎ +623 361 754165. A PADI 5 Star Gold Palm Resort. Arranges daily diving trips to Nusa Penida, Tulamben, Padang Bai and Amed.
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.
Beach-stall food is delicious, filling and very cheap. These are dotted along Kuta and Legian beach beneath the trees or road-side awnings.
- Aromas Cafe, Jl Legian (near the Rip Curl shop), ☎ +62 361 751003. Superb vegetarian food, some of the best in Bali. About Rp 20,000.
- Hamburger Lady, Kuta Beach (on the side of the tourist police station). As food can no longer be made at the beach, this hamburger stall owner walks around the beach with a menu and takes orders. She makes the burgers on the side of the tourist police station next to the shopping mall on the beach. About Rp 20,000.
- Kedai Nasi Uduk, Kuta Galleria, Jl Patih Jelantik, ☎ +62 361 769192. Small warung serving the Jakarta speciality Nasi Uduk (rice cooked in coconut water and various aromatic spices, served with chicken or beef and vegetables). Well prepared, authentic food. Rp 15,000-20,000.
- Kedin's Cafe, Poppies Lane I (in front of Kedin's Inn), ☎ +62 361 756771. Good, typical local Indonesian food. They occasionally show Hollywood movies in the evenings Rp10,000-20,000.
- Mie88, Jl Patih Jelantik 1 (opposite the western end of Kuta Galleria). Indonesian noodles in large portions at very good prices. Excellent budget option - spend Rp 15,000 for a delicious meal.
- Nusa Indah, Poppies Lane I (About halfway along Poppies I, opposite Masa Inn). Good, very cheap Indonesian food and cold beer. Great staff and always fun. An old school backpacker type hangout, the like of which has rapidly disappeared from Bali.
- Tree House Cafe, Poppies Lane I, ☎ +62 361 756771. A busy and crowded budget restaurant. Their specialties are Dutch snacks, such as kroket and frikandel. Rp 40,000.
- Warung Indonesia (Between Poppies I and II). Popular with locals and long-termers and is packed most nights, a good sign. Some of best food is not on the menu but laid out behind a glass display from where you can pick the food you want. Fresh fruit juices all good and cheap, from 9,00Rp. There are several other good cheap eating places along this narrow lane between Poppies I and II such as Fajar Resto next door that does a great Nasi Campur Special for just 10,000Rp. Rp1,000-5,000 per choice, eat very well for Rp10,000-25,000.
- Warung 96 (just off Poppies 1). This very popular restaurant that does great western food at low prices has been open since 1996, hence its name. The manager is very friendly.
- Blue Fin, Jl Kartika Plaza, ☎ +62 361 764100. Good quality Japanese food at reasonable prices. Tempura is especially good as is the Salmon salad.
- Havana Club Bali, Poppies I (150m down from Jl Legian). Restaurant on two floors and the upper level can be reserved for private parties. Good & tasty food.
- Made's Warung, Jl Pantai Kuta (Near the intersection with Jl Legian). This is the original Made's, the forerunner of the now very successful Seminyak restaurant. One of the very first restaurants in Kuta, now on two floors and still doing a roaring trade. The menu covers Indonesian, Balinese and western food. Try the pork ribs with green papaya.
- Mojo's Flying Burritos. Mexican restaurant serving California-style Mexican food and juices. Open kitchen where you can watch the cooks making tortillas and salsas. In recent years prices have gone up while quantity has gone down. Margaritas by the pitcher. Rp 35,000-70,000.
- Kafe Batan Waru, Jl Kartika Plaza (Right by the entrance to Discovery Shopping Mall), ☎ + 62 361 766303, e-mail: email@example.com. An institution in Ubud for many years and their foray into Kuta has been no less successful. Great regional Indonesian cuisine, inventive cocktails and top class coffee.
- Ketupat, Jl Legian 109, ☎ +62 361 754209, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A truly superb Indonesian restaurant whuch is highly recommended for any visitor who wants to sample and understand real Indonesian food in a truly fabulous environment.
- Kuta Plaza Restaurant, Jl Bakungsari 9 (At the Jl Raya Kuta end of Jl Singosari), ☎ +62 361 751833. Very popular restaurant serving Chinese Indonesian food. It is a typical Chinese restaurant - loud, bright and brash - but the food is excellent. Seafood is chosen live from tanks in the window. If that is not your thing, there are many other options including excellent pork ribs.
- TJ's Mexican Restaurant, Poppies 1. Great Mexican food. For best value try one of their daily lunch combo specials, starter, main, desert and drink 12PM-3PM Rp75,000.
- Maccaroni Club, Jl Legian 52 (almost opposite the bomb memorial), ☎ +62 361 754662, e-mail: email@example.com. Restaurant & lounge with good Italian food and some Asian fusion. Excellent service and luscious desserts.
- Ma Joly, Jl Wana Segara, Tuban (At Kupu Kupu Barong Resort), ☎ +62 361 753780. Alfresco dining in a great beachfront location in a quiet part of south Kuta/Tuban. Sunset is magnificent from here so cocktails before dinner are a great idea. Large international menu but fish is recommended.
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!
Jalan Legian bars
Jalan Legian between Poppies Gang I & II is the main party area and things tend to get going around midnight and go until 3-4AM. The biggest venues are:
- The Bounty, Jl Legian (100 m south from Mbargo), ☎ +62 361 75 4040. Looks from the inside like a torn ship with several different areas including pool tables. The party starts everyday from 10PM but really gets going at midnight. Go here to get 'Blasters'. Rough and ready and it gets very messy.
- Eikon, Jl Legian 178, ☎ +62 361 750701. Lounge bar which frequently has a decent cover band playing R&B fare.
- The Engine Room, Jl Legian (opposite the Bounty), ☎ +62 361 75 5121. Small lounge bar and dance club. A little more sophisticated than some of the options on this street.
- Mbargo, Jl Legian (adjacent to the bomb memorial). Large air-conditioned bar on two floors. Models are on tap to serve you drinks. Hosts regular fashion shows. A favourite with teenage Australian party kids of both sexes. Security is especially tight here.
- Vi Ai Pi, Jl Legian (opposite corner of Poppies II). Lounge style bar and restaurant with nice breezy open upper level.
- 61 Legian - Sky Garden, Jl Legian (opposite corner of Poppies II). until 3AM. Big modern building in a metallic half open air architecture, with several atmospheres, each club has its own DJ. Shows all night, sexy dancers, fire shows. It seems they had some thief issues before but the security is now tight. If it's not obvious, they require an ID to prove you're an international guest to gain access to the rooftop, where cocktails are given out for free between 9PM-10PM. So basically, the place is already half full by 10PM. The open air rooftop lounge terrassy is awesome. Lots of hookers near closing hour. Rp 25,000 for Bintang before midnight, Rp 40,000 after, plus 5k for San Miguel.
- Apache Reggae Bar, Jl Legian (a little south from the corner of Poppies II). until 3AM. Live music every night, great reggae and rock cover bands in the bar right on the street, then djs. In the back there is another big reggae venue with another good cover band that plays basically Bob Marley covers non-stop from midnight. Awesome place for anyone into this kind of music.
Poppies Lane II bars
Closer to the hotels and eateries and having a more laid back sort of atmosphere, Poppies Lane II is where many of the younger crowd go to start their night off before hitting the dancefloors at the clubs on Jalan Legian. Gets busy from 9pm until midnight. The more popular places are:
- Alleycats, Poppies II (80 m west from legian st, behind twice bar). 9.30AM-midnight. The busiest pre-club bar. Go here for their "Double Doubles".
- Bagus Pub, Poppies II (20 m west from Jl Legian). 9AM-midnight. Favourite drinking den of the dedicated Aussie all day drinker. Great place to watch the world go by.
- The Steps, Poppies II (50 m west from Jl Legian). busy from 10PM-1AM. Not a bar as such, it's some steps in front of a mini market with a boom box for entertainment. A Kuta institution favoured by the surf crowd that's often busier than a lot of the real bars.
- Twice Bar, Poppies II (80 m west from Jl Legian). 9am-late. A dark setting perfectly suited to the heavy metal bands that play here several times a week, popular with many of the local Kuta scene.
- Piggys Bar, Poppies II (80 m west from Jl Legian). 24 hr. A smaller version of Bagus Pub but with live bands and open 24 hours a day.
Kuta waterfront bars
Along the waterfront on Jalan Pantai Kuta there are some slightly more sophisticated bar and lounge options. Most are lounges that offer food and entertainment afterwards. Definitely an option to explore and not so overrun by the Australian party groups.
- Kama Sutra, Jl Pantai Kuta. Cavernous bar and club on the beachfront which is very popular with young Indonesians.
- All Stars Surf Cafe, Jl Kartika Plaza No 8X. If non-stop surf videos, huge jugs of icy beer, sumo wrestling and limbo dancing are your thing, then look no further.
- Stadium Sports Cafe, Complex Kuta Side Walk, Jl Kartika Plaza, ☎ +62 361 763100. 10AM to 1AM daily. Long stablished sports bar with two huge projection screens. Shows lots of EPL plus Australian and American sports.
- There are lots of popular surfwear/sportswear stores including Volcom, Rip Curl, Rusty, Surfer Girl Billabong and Quiksilver. These well known brands can be purchased in Kuta at prices 30-50% 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!
- Ticket to the Moon, Jl Raya Legian (right by the bomb memorial), ☎ +62 361 763579, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Just in case you left yours at home, the flagship showroom of this famous Bali brand is here in Legian. Hammocks made from parachute fabric that fold up into the smallest, lightest package imaginable.
- Balinesia Tattoo (On Poppies Lane 2). You’ll find plenty of local free parking. The studio has a relaxed atmosphere with staff both friendly and helpful. Experienced artists.
- Bali is particular renowned for its manufacturing, tailoring of leather and exotic skins. '2NDSKIN - Leather By Design', Jl Petitenget Seminyak 61, ☎ +62 361 212 0899 email@example.com,http://www.2ndskinonline.com OPEN:9AM-8PM. Tailored and prêt-à-porter men’s and women’s Jackets, handbags, travel bags, shoes, wallets, belts and a variety of fashion accessories using leather and exotic skins.
- Laundry. The are plenty of places that do laundry for about 7,000Rp/kg but their scales are often rigged. A 1.5kg bag could be charged as being 2.5kg. Take your own scales and receive some unfriendly response.
- Wina Optic. If you need a new pair of glasses or new lenses, this is a great value opticians. Transition lenses cost Rp.400,000 for a pair and can be fitted in three days. Frames from about Rp.200,000. Has two locations. One at Supernova supermarket and a smaller one on the same road but closer to Poppies 1. Probably best to go to the one at Supernova.
- Money Changer. A proper money changer with genuine great rates with no nonsense in air-conditioned office. See map link for location at end of Jalan Legion.
- Bali Mode visa office, just off Poppies Lane 1 (next to Secret Garden Inn), ☎ +62-361 765162. They can extend a 30 day tourist visa by a further 30 days for 750,000Rp. Takes about 4 working days.
- Bicycle & Surf rental (Saifudin / Dr Ding) (behind Bali Dynasty Resort), ☎ +6236193 4912. Rp30,000/day.
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, ☎ +62 361 767021. Jl Bypass Ngurah Rai, (beside the huge Simpang Siur roundabout). Galleria is home to number of well-known brand stores, a food court, Planet Hollywood and a great cinema. There is a large duty free shopping centre which is aimed primarily at Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese tourists. You buy your luxury items tax free, and they are collected upon departure at the airport.
- Carrefour Plaza, Jl Sunset (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, Jl Kartika Plaza in Tuban, across from Waterbom Park. 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.
- Supernova, Jl Raya Kuta. 10 minute walk from the top of Poppies 1, Jl Legion side, walking south east. Old and tatty but very cheap. Good for buying toiletries, power adapters (from 7,000Rp) and bits and pieces. A very good and cheap opticians is also located here called Wina Optics.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Kuta on Wikivoyage.