As soon as I put Indonesia on the itinerary for my trip to South East Asia I knew Bali had to be one of my stops. Unlike the Gili Islands, Bali is no secret. It’s famously known as one of the locations in Elizabeth Gilbert’s National Bestseller, Eat, Pray, Love.
Bali is one of those places that seems small on a map, but once you get there you realize it’s actually big enough to have several different subdistricts (much like the Lower East Side, or SoHo is a subdistrict of New York City) each with their own distinct personalities and vibes. Kuta is one of those subdistricts located at the southern most tip of Bali.
Kuta is not for everyone, but it is the most popular area in all of Bali. I stayed in Kuta for 2 days when we first got to Indonesia and that was plenty of time for me. If you’re looking for a serene, cultural experience Kuta is not the place I would recommend. That being said, Kuta does have a lot to offer.
If you want to meet other Westerners
A few years back AirAsia expanded their flight service to offer direct flights to Bali from 4 Australian locations (Perth, Gold Coast, Sydney and Melbourne). Because of this, for Australians, Bali is comparable to what Mexico would be to Americans (easy to get to and relatively cheap). Kuta is crawling with Australians, Europeans and Americans all year round, making it a great place for travelers who want to meet and get to know other Westerners.
If you want to stay at a plush resort
Kuta is the most expensive area in all of Bali, but it also boasts the most variety for beautiful 5-star resorts. If you’re looking to splurge for a night or two and stay somewhere truly luxurious, enjoy an picture perfect infinity pool, and sip pina coladas, Kuta is the place to do it.
If you want to surf
One of the biggest draws of tourists to Kuta is that it has some amazing surfing. Be warned, Kuta Beach is a popular place and is always busy. Nonetheless, it gets some awesome waves and is home to some great surf schools where you can paid to take surfing lessons.
If you want to shop
Because Kuta is so popular with Westerners, it has great shopping to cater to the needs and wants of the tourists that come to visit. There is, of course, a lot of surfing related shopping (Billabong, Rip curl, etc.,) because of its popularity in the area. A short walk from the main drag in Kuta will take you to some fabulous local markets boasting great shopping of local goods as well.
If you want nightlife
The nightlife in Kuta is extremely healthy. The tourists that flock to Kuta have been known to surf all day and “party” all night. If loud music and dance clubs is something you’re looking to get out of your trip, Kuta is the best place to be in all of Bali.
If I’m being honest, I’m telling you Kuta wasn’t really my thing. I found the surfing fascinating so I loved going to the beach and watching the surfers catch waves. Browsing American stores was nice after having been on the road for so long, but I was more than ready to move on to the next part of the island after two days.