Bali’s first beach hotel opened back in the 1930s on Kuta’s epic sweep of golden sand and metronomic surf. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, Australian surfers popularized the place, and today Kuta Beach is the epicenter of Kuta, Bali’s liveliest and most touristic district. If great waves and beach boys float your boat, Kuta won’t disappoint.
Once a sleepy village, the neighborhood around Kuta Beach is now Bali’s busiest—it’s particularly popular with Australians visiting on bargain breaks. But don’t let that put you off discovering the beach: whether bodyboarding or surfing is your thing, there’s fun to be had under the lifeguards’ protective eyes.
Most tours to Kuta Beach focus on those rolling waves. Classic experiences include Kuta surfing lessons and Kuta bodyboarding classes. Kuta surf schools are used to beginners and most have outsize “foamy” boards to help build confidence. While it’s perfectly possible to arrange lessons privately from the many surf rental spots on the beach, many prefer the fixed price guarantee of booking lessons online.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Kuta Beach is busy year-round—not a spot for shrinking violets!
- Don’t get Kuta, Bali, confused with Kuta on the neighboring island of Lombok—it’s also a beachy surf town, so it’s easy to muddle the two.
- The waves on Kuta Beach are a thrill for tweens and teens but may well be too much for younger children: east coast beaches, such as Sanur’s, are milder.
How to Get There
Everyone on Bali knows Kuta Beach, or “Pantai Kuta” in Indonesian. The cheapest and easiest way to get there is to ride the Kura-Kura tourist bus, or pick up a motorcycle taxi or 4-wheeled cab. Kuta is no place to learn to ride a motorbike, although tens of thousands try: If you must, stay sober and wear a helmet.
When to Get There
Kuta Beach is popular year-round: sunsets, which fall between roughly 6pm and 7pm, can be particularly stunning, especially washed down with an ice-cold beer. Kuta in general is best avoided during “Schoolies,” a 3-week period from mid-November when Australians graduate high school and descend on Bali en masse.
Where to Surf in Bali
Bali is blessed with year-round surfing, with the east coast picking up when the west coast slows down, and vice versa. Great beaches for beginners include Double Six, Batu Belig, Kuta, and Canggu’s Batu Bolong; Uluwatu and Padang-Padang in the Bukit Peninsula can deliver spectacular swells. For less crowded breaks, consider heading north, perhaps to Keramas on the east coast or Balian on the west coast.