I’ll be honest – on my first trip to Kuta I didn’t like it. I swore to never return again.
However, the surf there is great, so when I was planning this trip with my partner, Ben, I knew it was somewhere we just had to visit.
This time around, I really enjoyed Kuta… I think partially because I was expecting the worst and was constantly surprised by how fun I found it to be. I have some tips for visiting Kuta, Bali, to ensure that you make the most of this challenging, yet very interesting part of Bali.
1) Stay Somewhere With a Pool
This might sound ridiculous when you have a beautiful beach only a few minutes from where you’re staying, but sometimes you’ll want to enjoy the quiet of a pool – far away from the hustle and bustle of touts. When I stayed at Terrace Hotel in Kuta I actually spent a little more time than I’d like to admit by the pool and it was wonderful because it allowed me to relax and enjoy Kuta without feeling completely overwhelmed.
2) Expect Some Hustling
There is constant hustling in Kuta, from men on the side walk wanting to sell you Viagra or Xanax, to women shoving pamplets for massages in your face as you walk down the street. They could be a little more discrete, and unlike other parts of Bali that are more relaxed, the touts feel a bit relentless here.
As someone who works in sales myself, I understand the drive to constantly persist in making a sale. However, it can be annoying when all you want to do is walk down the sidewalk. I suggest remaining polite, acknowledging them with a ‘no thank you’ (or better yet, a firm ‘tidak’ – no in Indonesian).
Do not indulge in any ‘maybes’ or ‘later’ or ‘tomorrow’ because they will remember you and scoul you if you do not want to buy from them later. If they persist, do not acknowledge them or entertain them. Just continue walking. It might seem ‘rude’ but it’s the best way to get them to move onto the next victim.
3) Eat at Some Warungs
There are a lot of great eateries in Kuta – you’ll be spoiled for choice. I really enjoyed eating in Warungs as they tend to be excellent value and offer some interesting local cuisines. Because Kuta, and Bali in general, is such a popular tourist destination many of the menus have been designed to a standard you would expect at home. I really liked Warung Mina, on Legian St. It was cheap, delicious and the staff were ridiculously friendly.
4) Give Yourself Some Time to Relax
More than anywhere I’ve visited in Bali, I felt the need to relax in Kuta. I had massages on almost a daily occurrence, and it was the perfect contrast to the hustle and bustle outside. As a general sign, the busier the spa the better. If you turn up and they say they’re busy and you need to wait 30 mins, book it in. I had a pretty average massage experience in Kuta and wish I had just waited for the other place. Many of the massage/nail shops are open until midnight, so you have plenty of time to fit one in.
5) Bare in Mind Internet’s Probably Average at Best
As someone who works online and tries to keep her blog alive no matter where she is, I found it very frustrating when I would find somewhere that offered Internet / free WIFI but it would take 20 minutes to load a page. In my experience, Gloria Jeans cafes offer the best WIFI in Kuta, and there are a few of them scattered about. Although the coffee is somewhat pricey by local standards, it can be worth it if you need to send a few emails or update your blog. Your hotel might have decent WIFI, but just in case…
Have you ever been to Kuta before? What are your tips for visiting Kuta, Bali? I’d love to hear them!