Kuta is where it all started for Bali – and the rest, as they say, is history. Today, the area is (in)famous for its hectic pace and wild nightlife. Though the area definitely lacks the charm of the “real” Bali, it does offer a fun setting for a day or a night out. With its vibrant pace and relaxed brand of entertainment, Kuta attracts young travellers and partygoers from across the globe.
Kuta is brash and in your face – it’s one of those places you’ll either love or hate. In recent decades the area has been transformed from a quiet fishing village into a 24/7 entertainment and party hub bursting at the seams with casual pubs and restaurants, pulsating night clubs, laidback souvenir shacks and some of the best shopping malls in Bali. The area attracts backpackers, partygoers and travellers after a hassle free beach getaway with its well-established beachfront resorts.
Thanks to its long sandy beach and all-inclusive resorts, Kuta is also a firm favourite with families. Another family friendly attraction is the super popular Waterbom which has been ranked the best waterpark in Asia. Though the area has lots much of its Balinese charm and the beach has become very crowded, the sunsets are still as charming as ever.
Planning Your Trip to Kuta
For decades, Kuta has been a popular destination all year round and you’ll find the streets and beaches crowded throughout the seasons. Our Kuta travel guide aims to give you the essential information, list the most popular things to do in Kuta, provide more information on locations you want to visit, and finish with some inspiration from our travel writers. For more information on events and festivals taking place throughout the year, check out our comprehensive Bali guide.
Bali is pleasant all year round! May through September has the best weather (drier, less humid) and is the best time for many activities including diving and surfing. November though March is rainy season – though rainfall is never excessive so you can do most activities except volcano treks.
The temperature ranges from 24 degrees to 31 degrees all year round.
Rainfall ranges from 0cm to 140cm during the wet season.
Things to See & Do in Kuta
Kuta is a great destination for travellers looking for easy breezy life by the beach, surrounded by laidback restaurants and seemingly endless entertainment. It’s not the best destination for travellers looking to get a feel of the “real” Bali and to experience the local culture, but spending at least some time here will help you get a complete picture of present day Bali.
Kuta is a great place for enjoying affordable spa treatments – a must on any Bali itinerary. The area is dotted with spas and salons offering massages, facials, hair treatments and more at great prices. For a more personal experience, you can also enjoy massages and other spa treatments in the privacy of your villa.
Besides revelling in the nightlife and hitting the beach, Kuta is a great destination for some shopping. The area is riddled with homely shops and shacks peddling Bintang beer singlets and other kitschy paraphernalia. You can’t walk down Kuta Beach without hawkers offering sarongs, jewellery, sunglasses and more. Browsing and bargaining for the prices can be fun, but if you’re after for something a bit more sophisticated, Kuta is also home to some of the best malls on the island. Beachwalk is a popular mall located right opposite Kuta Beach and offers international brands along with a cinema and plenty of restaurants (and air-conditioning!). Other options include Discovery Mall, Mal Bali Galeria, Lippo Mall Kuta and Park 23 Mall.
Tours & Activities
The most famous attraction in Kuta is the beach. Kuta Beach is a long stretch of sand which blends in with Tuban in the south and Legian in the north. In fact, if you’re up for it, you could walk from Kuta Beach all the way through Seminyak and up to Echo Beach in Canggu. The beach is dotted with sun beds and parasols which you can rent for the day, with beach shacks offering cold beers and coconuts. Kuta Beach is also a popular spot for surfers who are just starting out. Though the beach has grown very busy and would likely be unrecognisable to the surfers who first landed here some decades ago, the sunsets have lost none of their wow factor. You’ll find hundreds of people, locals and visitors alike, gathering for the spectacle every single night.
Besides the beach, the biggest family friendly draw in Kuta is Waterbom. This huge waterpark has been ranked as the best in Asia and deservedly draws in a full house year after year. The park is set amidst lush tropical gardens and features rides ranging from tame and mellow to downright thrilling. Waterbom is perfect for a fun day out with the family – or even for a grownup group of friends.
Eating & Drinking in Kuta
Kuta’s dining scene is relaxed, low key and fun – much like the area itself. Kuta caters to all budgets and tastes, with fast food restaurants rubbing shoulders with local warungs, Western restaurants and more upscale venues, usually located at well established resorts.
Whatever cuisine you’re craving, one thing’s for sure: you won’t go hungry while staying in Kuta. The area is riddled with restaurants, warungs and cafes serving almost every cuisine imaginable. The dining scene in Kuta is more on the casual side, though there are a few fine dining options available as well. Most restaurants serve Western classics and Indonesian staples – think pizza, burgers and nasi goreng served with ice cold Bintang beers.
Of course, one can’t talk about Kuta without mentioning the nightlife. By now, Kuta’s nightlife has become notorious, attracting serious partygoers and avid backpackers after a wild night out. There are a number of iconic venues, ranging from pulsing nightclubs to relaxed pubs strung along the main street of Jalan Raya Legian. You’ll also find plenty of bars and pubs along the smaller side streets, especially the two Poppies Lanes heading towards the beach. The drinks are cheap, the beer is ice cold and the party keeps going until the small wee hours of the night. If you’re after a relaxed night out with the family, it’s best to skip Kuta.
Most people travel to Kuta to stay as close to the beach and restaurants as possible – or, in the case of a layover, as close to the airport as possible. If this description fits you, it’s best to look for accommodation somewhere around the main streets of Jalan Pantai Kuta, Jalan Raya Legian and Jalan Kartika Plaza. These locations will have you surrounded by all the action and more often than not, the beach will only be a short walk away. If, on the other hand, you find yourself flung further off and closer to the booming highway of Sunset Road, it’s going to take some walking or a quick taxi ride before you hit the beach.
Kuta & Surrounds
Kuta is located on the busy southwest coast of Bali, just north of the airport. The buzzing area blends in seamlessly with Legian and Seminyak located right up the coast – in fact, you can walk along the beach from Kuta all the way up to trendy Canggu via Legian, Seminyak and Batubelig. Petitenget is a chic district in the greater Seminyak area, known as the home of some of the most famous beach clubs on the island. About a 30-minute drive from Kuta, Sanur is a beach resort attracting families and mature travellers with its classic Balinese charm. Driving south from Kuta, you’ll reached the refined seaside town of Jimbaran, known for its luxury resorts and toes-in-the-sand seafood restaurants.
There are not many villa options in Kuta, as the area is dominated by resorts and budget accommodation favoured by backpackers. Neighbouring areas like Legian and Seminyak offer a wider range of higher end accommodation. Legian in particular is a great option for travellers looking to stay in a villa within walking distance to Kuta.
Prices for villas in Legian and Seminyak start at around USD $150 per night for a one-bedroom villa and range to over USD $2,500 per night for a six-bedroom luxury villa. All of our villas come with professionally trained staff. Many villas offer personalised services including: butlers, chefs, nannies, 24-hour security personnel, drivers and other services you won’t find in a hotel.
Ngurah Rai International Airport is the only airport on the island and works as the first entry point for most travellers heading to Bali. The busy airport is located in Tuban just south of Kuta and serves some 20 million passengers a year. The airport is connected to multiple international destinations via direct flights, among them Sydney, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo and Dubai. Direct flights to Bali are offered by airlines including Singapore Airlines, Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Air Asia, Jetstar and more. A second airport is set to be built in North Bali, but these plans are still at their early stages.
While most travellers choose to fly in, it’s also possible to reach Bali by boat. This usually means flying into one of the international airports located on the neighbouring islands of Java or Lombok and then catching a boat or ferry to Bali. From Java, ferries arrive in Gilimanuk (about four hours from Kuta) and from Lombok, boats arrive in Benoa, Sanur, Serangan, Padang Bai and Amed (Benoa, Serangan and Sanur are all located about 20-30 minutes from Kuta).
Nationalities from over 160 countries are eligible for visa free entry into Indonesia. This means your passport will be stamped on arrival at the airport, allowing you to stay in the country for 30 days. For stays longer than 30 days, you will need to obtain a visa which will require further arrangements. Please note your passport must be valid for six months after your date of arrival in Indonesia.
There is no public transport to get you from the airport to your accommodation, so the only option is to use a private driver or a taxi. Ministry of Villas can arrange a chauffeur to greet you upon arrival and escort you to your villa. This service is included for most villas when booking more than four nights. To avoid queuing at the immigration counter, we can also arrange a VIP airport service for guests. This service includes lounge access, allowing you to relax while waiting for your luggage.
If you haven’t organised transfers beforehand, it’s also possible to get a taxi directly at the airport. There is an official taxi stand at the international arrivals hall, next to the information desk. This stand offers fixed rates and metered fares across Bali. The rates are updated frequently and the price you are quoted might differ from the listed price, especially from any pricing you might find online. Besides the official taxi stand, there are countless independent drivers offering rides at varying rates. To save yourself the hassle and having to negotiate for the price after a long flight, we strongly encourage arranging your arrival transfers before landing in Bali.
There are plenty of options for getting around Kuta, so we’ve ranked them according to our recommendations for first-time travellers.
If you’re staying in the centre of Kuta, you can usually make your way around on foot. If you’re staying on or around the main streets of Jalan Raya Legian and Jalan Pantai Kuta, you can usually reach the beach and closest shops and restaurants in a short walk. Just remember to keep an eye on the traffic, especially when crossing the street! If you’re staying further off, say closer to Sunset Road, you might need a taxi to get around.
Taxis are an easy and affordable way to get around the island. In Kuta, you can easily hail a taxi simply walking down the street. The most trusted company is called Blue Bird which offers metered fares starting at IDR 7,000 (USD $0.5). Other operators might refuse to use a meter altogether. It takes a bit of a trained eye to spot an authentic Blue Bird taxi with copycat cars cruising the streets, but try to look out for the Blue Bird logo on the taxi heading, the taxi’s number on the rear of the car, corporate logos on the windscreen and on the side of the car and the driver’s blue uniform. You can hail a Blue Bird taxi off the street or order one through their mobile app or by calling +62 (0) 361 701 111 (a minimum charge of IDR 30,000 (USD $2) will apply). If you really need a ride and the taxi in questions doesn’t have a meter, always make sure you agree on the price before getting in.
Traffic in densely built Kuta can get congested and if you’re staying in the local area, you’re usually better off walking than riding around in a car. If, however, you want to explore other areas – say Uluwatu or Ubud – hiring a car and driver is the way to go. Ministry of Villas can arrange a private car and chauffeur for you. This little luxury is remarkably affordable and we can also help you arrange an itinerary, instructing your driver in advance.
Again, the traffic in Kuta can get very busy so for short distances, walking is often handier than driving. It’s also important to remember that you should only hire a scooter if you have previous experience of driving one as the hectic streets are not the best place to start learning. If you do decide to drive, this can be a very handy way to get around the greater area. Always remember to wear a helmet! You should also carry a valid international driver’s licence. Driving without either will result in a fine should you get pulled over by the police.
The Balinese are among the friendliest and most welcoming people on the planet. This is all the more reason to return the favour and be respectful towards the local culture. Like anywhere else in the world, common sense and basic human decency goes a long way. For more detailed information about local culture, language and safety in Bali, check out our comprehensive Bali guide.
SHOPPING & BARGAINING
Shopping in Kuta is a study in contrasts, with modern air-conditioned malls surrounded by seemingly endless stalls and markets hawking T-shirts and other souvenirs. When shopping at local stalls and markets, bargaining can be an enjoyable part of the experience… or it can be frustrating! To ensure a smooth exchange first decide what the item is worth to you, then ask the seller for their price – your first offer can be from one-third to two-thirds of that price. They are likely to respond with a counteroffer, which you can either accept or negotiate further. If you don’t like the price and you walk away there is a good chance the vendor will call out to you with a better (usually final) price. Keep in mind, if an agreement is reached, you’re committed – you should buy if your offer is accepted.
In late 2018, Bali’s governor banned single use plastic on the island, meaning shops, boutiques and supermarkets no longer give out plastic bags. When out and about, it’s best to carry a reusable bag with you.
Most restaurants and villas include a service component already so tipping is not expected, but if service is good, an additional cash tip is appreciated.
Indonesia’s country code is +62. Data speeds of 3G and faster is the norm across Bali. Local prepaid SIM cards are sold everywhere; any modern mobile phone will work. As of 2018, all prepaid SIM cards need to be registered which you can usually do with a copy of your passport directly at the shop where you purchase your SIM card. Prepaid SIM cards come loaded with pulsa (credit) or mobile data which you can later easily top up at other outlets. Most if not all minimarts and local phone shops can top off your SIM card when needed. Most villas provide broadband Internet and free Wi-Fi is common in cafes, restaurants, hotels and shopping malls.
Health & Safety
It’s important to note that compared to many places in the world, Bali is fairly safe. There have been some high-profile cases of visitors being injured or killed on Bali, but in many cases these tragedies have been inflamed by media sensationalism.
Many of Bali’s beaches are subject to heavy surf and strong currents – always swim between the yellow flags. Trained lifeguards are on duty in Kuta. Be careful when swimming over coral and never walk on it. It can be very sharp and coral cuts are easily infected. In addition, you are damaging a fragile environment. Lastly, water pollution is a problem in busy neighbourhoods. Avoid swimming near open streams flowing into the sea as they are often contaminated by run-off from built-up areas.
Violent crime is uncommon in Bali, however bag-snatching from motorbikes and petty theft does occur. Take extra care with your phone if riding pillion on a motorbike as phones regularly get snatched from unsuspecting tourists using a navigation app. Otherwise, take the same precautions you would in any urban area and secure your money before leaving an ATM (and don’t forget your card!), don’t leave valuables on a beach while swimming, and use in-villa safes to store your valuables.
Tap water in Bali is not safe to drink. Bottled water is widely available and cheap, however Ministry of Villas encourages visitors to keep a reusable water bottle to reduce plastic consumption.
Travel insurance is absolutely essential for every traveller. A typical travel insurance policy will have coverage for a traveller’s main concerns, including trip cancellations, medical emergencies, travel delays, and lost luggage. Most policies are built to be comprehensive to protect travellers from a variety of events that may cause financial loss before or during their trip. Some policies specifically exclude ‘dangerous activities’ which can include scuba diving, renting a local motorcycle and even trekking.
Worldwide travel insurance is available at World Nomads and you can buy, extend and claim online anytime – even if you’re already on the road.
Kuta offers an endless riot of shopping, dining and nightlife. Our team always has our eyes peeled for what’s new and interesting in this vibrant neighbourhood. Check out our latest Kuta blog posts written by experienced Ministry of Villas travel writers.