For tropical sea views and pampering spa treatments, you'd do well to focus your attention on the area's luxury beachfront resorts. These are found lining the sand from Tuban in the south, near the international airport, to Seminyak in the north. Travel a few blocks inland to find simpler accommodation, where rooms can sometimes be quite basic and budgets stretch a whole lot further.
Whether you're looking for a Balinese carving to hang on the wall, board shorts, or designer clothing at knock-down prices, Kuta is a shopper's paradise. International sports and fashion brands have set up shop alongside local stalls selling traditional batiks. If you're in the market for a special one-off garment or accessory, you'll find dozens of jewelry stores and clothing designers, all offering their customized wares in exclusive boutiques.
Many come to Kuta for its rolling surf breaks and high-energy nightlife, but the resort has plenty more to offer families, culture-lovers, and adventure seekers. You can parasail over the Java Sea or scuba dive beneath it, while the carved idols and lush courtyards of an atmospheric Hindu temple will plunge you deep into Balinese history. At the end of every day, the famous Kuta sunsets look like watercolour paintings.
Since the 1960s, Kuta has grown from a sleepy fishing village to a thriving, vibrant resort with a hyperactive nightlife. You don't have to look far beyond the party scene to find quiet corners for sunset cocktails, markets stuffed with Balinese crafts and spicy street food, ritual dances, and shadow puppet shows. And Kuta's long beaches are famous for a reason, offering something close to paradise on the Java Sea.
The sun sets early on equatorial Bali, but for partygoers, the night doesn't really get started until 10 PM or later. Sprawling Kuta is the island's centre of holiday revelry. At night, the resort telescopes into a half-mile rectangle of pubs, bars, dance clubs, and simple watering holes between Jalan Legian and the main beach road, Jalan Pantai Kuta.
Kuta is popular among lively 20-somethings, but it also offers opportunities for family-friendly fun. Mom, dad, and children can play together around the pool, or you can all stretch out on the sand, surf the waves, or cheer a baby sea turtle on its race to the ocean. Sunny, friendly Kuta a perfect place to make firm friends with other families who've come to relax in a tropical wonderland.
By some accounts, there are more temples than houses on Bali, and spiritual life defines the art and culture of this predominantly Hindu island. Hundreds of canang sari - colourful offerings of flowers and rice in handwoven trays - decorate the sidewalks of Kuta each morning in gratitude to the gods. From ceremonial masks to traditional dances, native customs and crafts cast a powerful spell while extending a warm welcome to visitors.
Learning all about Indonesian food is one of the highlights of any visit to Kuta. You can get a real Southeast Asian flavor experience by sampling satay, nasi campur, or a spicy stew at one of the many street stalls. Or try the chef's recommendations in a local restaurant. If you prefer international-style dining, there are plenty of other global cuisines on offer.
Bali's tropical climate, white sand beaches, and exotic culture attract visitors from around the world. Kuta is brimming with activity and is the largest resort on the island, close to the international airport. Central Kuta, and the surrounding neighbourhoods of Tuban, Legian, and Seminyak, all make great vacation destinations in their own right. They are also convenient jumping-off points for touring the coastline and delving deeper into Bali's lush interior.
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