You’ll be hard pressed to find a livelier place to visit in Indonesia than the former fishing village of Kuta in Bali, southern Indonesia.
Renowned for its soft golden sandy beach bordering a long promenade of affordable hotels, bars and restaurants, Kuta remains one of Indonesia’s most popular tourist destinations, especially for young tourists from Australia because of its accessibility and heady mix of surf, sand and swinging night life in nearby Legian and Seminyak.
A mere mile ride to the south from the Ngura Rai Airport in Tuban, Kuta Beach extends beyond the airport into Jimbaran, Denpasar, Seseh, Kedonganan, Pesanggaran, and Ujung.
O r i g i n s
Kuta is where the modern era of tourism in Bali began. Australians love this place and have been coming here for decades – first as backpackers and now with their families. It's simply a very easy going yet lively place. It offers everything you need for a fun holiday while the prices are still low compared to similar nearby destinations.
Once a quiet fishing village, Kuta Beach has changed a lot over the past decade due to its popularity with Australian tourists, surfers and art
lovers. Even with the inevitable rise in traffic, Kuta Beach remains in the bucket list of many, usually being fully booked during the peak seasons of July-August, and the Christmas and New Year holiday season.
However, it’s a good thing the Bali Provincial Government has mandated that the preservation of the Balinese culture, natural resources and wildlife take precedence over any commercial or tourism development, limiting these to the southern part of the island.
Balinese Beach Culture
Kuta beach is on the western side of this peninsula and Sanur is on the east. To the north of the peninsula no new tourist development is permitted.
If you want to experience the heart of Bali’s busy beach culture, or see one of its most historic tourist locations, Kuta Beach is worth your time. Traffic here can be stifling and parking a real headache, so try to get dropped off or park as far away from the beach as possible and take an enjoyable walk through the busy alleys of Kuta to get here.
It’s always a good idea to come early in the morning, when most everyone is asleep, but for the total Kuta Beach experience, come at sunset, when mobs of tourists watch the sun go down with a drink, snap photos of each other, and gear up for a wild night on the town.
Shopping in Kuta
If you are looking for shopping then you may squander your time looking at the plethora of choice from local markets and upscale shopping malls. Beside the ubiquitous shops hawking all types of souvenirs, handicrafts and t-shirts, several shopping malls and international brands are within easy walking distance.
There’s great shopping along the main footpaths of Kuta’s Jalan Pantai, the main beach road, lined with apartments, malls, hotels, convenience stores, restaurants, and bars blasting music, as well as on its southern part, with the Discovery Shopping Mall right across from Waterbom Bali, one of Southeast Asia’s premier waterparks. A wide variety of local souvenirs can also be bought from vendors on and along the beach. Bargain to get the best price.
Popular pastimes here include surfing, swimming, beach games, or for the more adventurous: waterslides and vertical bungee! Or, you can while away your vacay relaxing and pampering yourself in one of its many spas. Whatever you choose to do, there is no chance of being bored in Kuta, and even those with families will find a huge amount to enjoy away from the typical nightlife venues.
Sunset at the Beach
Kuta Beach’s, small and gentle waves and soft sand bottom make this a popular place for people learning to surf, and there can be hundreds of surfers out on any given day, even if there are no waves. Add in joggers, yoga enthusiasts, and groups playing football, volleyball, and beach tennis, and you have a beach that is always alive and full of action.
Kuta Beach is famous for its sunsets. After the sunset tourists hit the town and go for shopping or visit one of the countless restaurants.
The Anvaya Beach Resort Bali
During our recent sojourn in “The Island of the Gods”, we were lucky to be billeted at the Anvaya Beach Resort, ranked among the top 1% of 256 Hotels in Kuta reviewed by Trip Advisor and given a 91% rating from Excellent to Very Good by its reviewers.
Upon our arrival after a rather long drive, the Anvaya Beach Resort staff immediately welcomed us with refreshing drinks and a short cooking demo with Chef Ketut Suwantra at the Sands Restaurant.
Sands Restaurant, ranked among the top 10% of the 981 restaurants in Kuta reviewed by TripAdvisor, serves Italian, Chinese and Southwestern Indonesian cuisine. It offers guests the option of taking their meals in the air-conditioned comfort of its interior rooms, or the sea breeze from the Indian Ocean on its outdoor decks or on the sandy beach itself.
Chef Ketut showed us how to make the Balinese delicacy Tipat cantok, made from mixed steamed vegetables (water lily, long beans and bean sprout) with rice cake mixed and peanut sauce. A few of the more adventurous souls among us even tried their hand at rolling the peanuts for the sauce, with predictably mixed results!
After a brief tour of the premises, we checked in at our Premier Room which afforded a breathtaking view of the surroundings, including the landscaped majesty of the hotel premises with its whispering palm trees and gently meandering pools.
Since we still had some free time before dinner, I took the occasion to take a short walk to explore the shops nearby. One of my sons had asked me to look for the famous Luwak Coffee and I asked around and was told I could buy it at the Discovery Shopping Mall a short 10 minutes walk from the hotel.
For our BBQ Dinner at the Sands Restaurant, our hosts personally led by Endah “Rini” Proborini, Director of Sales and Marketing, prepared a beach party for our group right at Kuta Beach.
For starters, we had Caesar Salad and Salad Bar featuring freshly picked vegetables, fruits and condiments (Gourmet LettuceMix; Cherry Tomatoes, Sliced Cucumber, Carrot Julienne, Corn Kernels, Vinaigrette, Cocktail and Balsamic Dressings).
This was followed by Cream of Pumpkin Soup (a personal favourite!) with assorted bread rolls before the main courses featuring Steam Rice, Parmesan Potato Wedges and Buttered Mix Vegetables (Hot Presentation) then the pièce de résistance consisting of deliciously grilled Beef Skewers, Cajun Marinated Prawns (Winner!), Grilled Snapper, Marinated Chicken Thighs and BBQ Sausages spiced with our choice of Tomato Sauce, Chilli Sauce, BBQ Sauce and Chilli Soya.
As if that wasn’t indulgence enough, a royal dessert followed featuring Balinese faves Lapis Legit, Pandan Chiffon Rolls, Bikang Ambon and a selection of fresh fruit.
Seems my fondest memories of my first trip to Indonesia would be those of the heavenly Balinese cuisine. No wonder they call Bali “Island of the Gods.” I hope be back here again someday.
For more information about the Anvaya Beach Resort, call +62 361 759991 or visit their website at www.theanvayabali.com Jl. Kartika Plaza | The Anvaya Bali, Tuban, Kuta Bali 80361, Indonesia
Cebu Pacific flies to (Denpasar) Bali from Manila daily with a lowest year-round base fare of P2,088.