I have never swam in Kuta Beach, because I don't find it that clean. Since it is a huge public beach, there are a lot of people here, and sometimes, the litter find themselves on the shoreline. The water isn't as clear as well. The Philippines has way better looking beaches.
Kuta is a seaside town, and a very vibrant one for that matter. It has several shopping areas, such as the Kuta Square, a strip of international brands and local stores as well. The Matahari Department Store is also located here.
Several hotels line up the beach road fronting Kuta Beach. Here, one can find the first Hard Rock Hotel in Asia. Since Kuta is a busy and congested area, most of the hotels here are not ultra luxurious. There is a wide range of accommodations to choose from, from cheap beach inns to high-end mega resorts, to family oriented hotels.
For backpackers and budget travellers, the Poppies Lanes offer several lodging options, all from P500 to P1,500. Most are decent, but some are rundown. A lot of young travellers stay here, so expect a rowdy crowd.
My choice for backpackers is the Suka Beach Inn (picture below). It is located on an alley off Poppies Lane 2, just ask for directions (there's a Family Mart on the corner of the long alley). Suka Beach Inn is almost always full, so make sure you call them first (don't have the number though, just search in the Internet).
Bali has been the target of terrorism, and Kuta was ground zero. This monument now stands as a grim reminder to the massacre of innocent lives of tourists and locals after the 2002 bombing. Now, Kuta and Bali in general remains safe, and feels safe. In fact, the monument has now become a popular photo opp spot for visitors. I guess nothing can stop the vibe that one gets from this soulful island.
Kuta is the center of night life in Bali. Several bars and clubs line up the streets, especially near the bombing monument. People from all over the world liven up the night and dance till they drop with a bottle of Bintang in their hands.
The Discovery Mall is a relatively new mall in southern Kuta, next to the more exclusive hotels and resorts.
One should visit Discovery Mall during sunset, where you can lounge in one of their chill out beach front bars. Or, you can just sit on the steps facing the beach and enjoy the burst of colors at sun down.
Bali is a surfer's paradise, especially towards Legian Beach. The waves can swell up to great heights on windy days. There are several surf schools and instructors as well on the beach that offer around P500 for basic surfing lessons.
All in all, Kuta is often the picture one has of Bali. A lively beach atmosphere in tropical Asia, mixed with sophisticated delights and cheap thrills. Kuta Beach may not be at par with our beaches here in the Philippines, but the over-all vibe that it exudes exceeds all expectations. It's hard not to fall in love with Kuta, and have the time of your life under the sun.
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