Kuta was just a small fishing village when Australian surfers discovered it in the early 70s. News of the island’s natural beauty, great waves and friendly locals soon spread and by the 80s many travelers, particularly Australians, made Bali their annual pilgrimage.
Kuta Beach remains the most popular place to stay in Bali and the beach’s long strip of golden sand bustles with surfers, sunbathers, walkers, swimmers and hawkers. The tourist infrastructure is the best on the island and there are plenty of hotels, bars and restaurants just metres from the beach. More intimate guesthouses, bars, shops and markets populate the smaller gangs (alleys) and streets further back.
Kuta is just as lively at night and has a reputation for being Bali’s party town. Many people choose to base themselves in Kuta or its surrounds due to its facilities and easy access to other parts of the island. Its close proximity to the airport also adds to its appeal.
While this irrepressible, hedonistic and densely urbanized area is not to everyone’s taste, it does somehow still manage to maintain the relaxed and easy-going feel that is a quality unique to Bali and the Balinese people.
Kuta Beach is on Bali’s south coast and runs into Legian and Seminyak to the west and Jimbaran to the east. Bali’s international airport is 3km (1.8mi) from central Kuta.