Information & Facts
Most visitors on holiday in Kuta come for pure leisure and
pleasure, drawn by Bali's laid-back atmosphere and the stretch of
sandy beach, which at Kuta is somewhat dangerous for swimming
because of an extremely strong undertow. However the area is
renowned for its surfing, the several mile long beach break between
Kuta and Petitenget offering a range of waves, and there are a
number of surfing schools for beginners. Scuba diving and game
fishing excursions are also sought-after and freely available. Kuta
also offers bungy jumping on the beach, and boasts a beautifully
landscaped waterpark full of thrilling rides and slides.
Horse-riding along the beach at sunset is a popular pastime. Most
hotels and resorts in and around Kuta encompass spas, which offer
massages and beauty treatments. The larger hotels usually also
offer a variety of sports facilities which can be used by
non-residents. Day cruises to off-coast islands are also available.
Some other holiday activities offered by private operators include
paragliding, submarine tours, white-water rafting, paintball war
games and guided bird-watching expeditions.
Bahasa Indonesia is the official language, but many
dialects are spoken. English is widely understood in Jakarta and
Rupiah (IDR) is the official currency and is divided into 100
sen. Foreign currency can easily be exchanged at banks, hotels and
money changers in major tourist destinations; US dollars is the
most accepted currency. Cash often yields a better exchange rate
than travellers cheques, which are not always accepted. It is
recommended that travellers cheques also be in US dollars. Most
major credit cards are accepted at hotels, restaurants and stores
catering to the tourist trade. ATMs are available in main centres.
Small change is often unavailable so keep small denomination notes
and coins for items like bus fares, temple donations and cool
Currents and a strong undertow make Kuta's beach dangerous for
swimming. The beach can also be over-crowded, and flooded with
vendors hawking all manner of goods. The roads can be dangerous
after dark, with a number of potholes on the streets and more than
a few drunken drivers.
Whatever your choice for after-dark entertainment, you will find
it in Kuta, which is the low-end party district of Bali. Evenings
start with witnessing spectacular sunsets over cocktails, progress
through a leisurely dinner and then around midnight the partying
starts, either with a pub crawl, club rave, a rhythmic Balinese
dance show or a 'Wayang Kulit' shadow puppet performance. Cafés,
pubs and discos line the streets of Kuta, but nothing gets going
very early. Most party animals will be found dancing the night away
at the Paparazzi Lounge or Double Six, side by side on the beach at
Seminyak, where the action kicks off after 2am. The Bounty on
Legian Road is a mock galleon where dancing is the order of the
night. Peanuts at Legian rocks with its huge open-air disco and two
dance floors. There are also often special events, like beach full
moon parties, or body-painting parties, which are announced by way
of flyers handed out around town.
On holiday in Kuta, you can find anything from Japanese sushi to
Wiener schnitzel, pizza to paella, and enchiladas to espedata.
Sometimes the taste is not quite original because these
international favourites have been adapted to suit local tastes and
ingredients. If you want to play it safe stick to McDonald's or
Pizza Hut! Kedin's Cafe is the place to go to sample local
Indonesian cuisine though, and Mojo's Flying Burritos offers
California-style Mexican food and margaritas by the pitcher. Some
visitors like to brave the rather primitive little roadside
foodstalls, 'Warungs', to sample local cuisine like Bakso soup, or
pick a 'padang', which is a 24-hour diner displaying a dozen or so
different dishes in a glass box at the door where you can sample
them all for just a few US dollars. Be warned that wherever you
dine, wine (and beer) is very expensive; try locally produced
versions which are better value than the familiar imports often
enjoyed by tourists.
Kuta is swarming with shops and holiday shoppers, with clusters
of stores and stalls all selling much the same goods, waiting for
customers to barter on the prices. Accessed either from the beach
or Kuta Square is the vast, fun market area where you can buy
anything from CDs to kites, sarongs to shoes, and fake brand name
clothing. Local handcrafts, jewellery and custom-made leather goods
are good buys. Visitors are usually assailed by pushy street
hawkers selling goods like fake watches, and are expected to haggle
on prices, which are often quoted in US Dollars.
Kuta is also well supplied with department stores and shopping
centres where prices are fixed, like the new Discovery Mall on
Jalan Kartika Plaza. Around Kuta Square you can have a spending
spree at dozens of brand name stores where goods (the real thing)
are sold at amazingly low prices. Those who are keen to buy local
crafts, hand-made jewellery or traditional wood and stone carvings
will do well by taking excursions into surrounding villages where
these arts are practised, otherwise Kuta is a great place to get
beachware and scuba equipment.
Indonesia spans three time zones. GMT +7 (West, including
Java and Sumatra), GMT +8 (Central, including Bali, Sulawesi and
Lombok), GMT +9 (East, including Irian Jaya).