Bali’s best-known tourist destination, bustling, vibrant Kuta sprawls along the island’s west coast, paralleling the broad expanse of Kuta Beach, a mecca for surfers since the early ‘70s. With a day in Kuta, you can experience the ocean, get out into the countryside, and soak up a gorgeous sunset, perhaps with a fire dance. Here’s how.
Morning: Balinese Beaches
Start the day by hitting one of Bali’s celebrated beaches. Learn the art of riding the waves on Kuta Beach itself: Modern foam surfboards are wide, stable, soft, and tailor-made for beginners. Or head down to Tanjung Benoa, Bali’s water-sports capital, to try your hand at ocean favorites from banana boats and Jet Skis to parasailing. Two signature Bali delights will be new to most. Try the Seawalker experience, where you stroll along the bottom of the sea breathing piped air through a helmet, or fly boarding, where you soar above the ocean on a jet-powered board.
Afternoon: Adrenaline Adventures
Say goodbye to the ocean and head inland for an adrenaline-filled afternoon in the rice fields, rivers, and jungles around Ubud. Take your pick between two classic Bali adventures: an ATV ride or white-water rafting. Thrill on the bumps, chill in the waterfalls, and soak up the timeless beauty as you raft the Ayung River gorge. Or race on a 4-wheel-drive vehicle through streams, bamboo forest, rice paddies, and villages. If time permits, make a stop at a coffee plantation to learn how coffee turns from a berry to a brew and taste coffee, cacao, and spices.
Night: Sunset in Bali
You’d be remiss to stay on Bali’s west coast without soaking up one of the island’s thermonuclear sunsets. The sun sinks into the ocean off Kuta Beach in a blaze of glory, but it’s worth seeking out a more spectacular location. The black lava towers of Tanah Lot Temple, a sea temple around 13 miles (21 kilometers) north of Kuta, make a classic choice. Alternatively, head farther south to clifftop Uluwatu Temple and pair the sunset with a traditional kecak performance and fire dance. Wrap up the night with Indonesian favorites such as nasi goreng (fried rice), satay, and ice-cold Bintang beer.