After my visit to Bali, I totally saw why so many expats move there. Bali is a beautiful, cheap, and verdant tropical island worthy of everything that is written about it. If it had better Internet and ended those rolling blackouts, I would move there. Except not for Kuta beach. Kuta beach is the tourist mecca of Bali. Once you leave Kuta and then the smaller tourist areas of Ubud and the Gili Islands, there are so few tourists you might think Bali has yet to be “discovered.” Then you get back to Kuta with its big bars, overpriced clothes, food, large hotels, and pink bodies and you sadly realize, that yup, Bali has been discovered and then some.
In my opinion, Kuta Beach is not worth visiting. It’s a good place to start and end your trip as it is close to the airport but unless you really want to do some hardcore drinking, there is no reason to visit Kuta beach. Visit everywhere else in Bali! In Kuta, the water is brown and filled with things like McDonalds cups, plastic bags, trash, and god knows what else. That blue tropical water you are looking for won’t be found on Kuta. For that, head to Nusa Lembogan, Eastern Bali, or the Gili Islands. I wouldn’t recommend swimming on Kuta’s beach. I felt dirty and like I needed a shower.
Moreover, the restaurants aren’t great. You’ll find overpriced Indonesian food and mediocre western food. There aren’t really any good places to eat here. I found a good Mexican place and there is the famous Madam’s Indonesian restaurant but the best food in bali is not found in Kuta. If you want excellent food, visit Ubud or Seminyak beach. These are where the really award winning delicious restaurants are.
The shopping in Kuta is decent and slightly cheaper than elsewhere on the island. Southern Bali is the most developed and western part of the island making sense that this would be the best place to shop. I found all the places on Bali offered a lot of the same touristy clothes and knock offs. I did manage to find some name brand shops but they weren’t as cheap as I thought they would be. The best deals were in the giant department stores. I bought new sneakers for $40 USD. Overall though, I was unimpressed with the shopping in Kuta and would rather shop in Bangkok or Singapore.
So with no good beach, no good food, and mediocre shopping, what does Kuta have? Resorts, surfing, and bars. There is a plethora of resorts starting at $50 USD going all the way up to $1000 USD a night. (Bali has the most $1000 USD resorts in the world!) And if you want crazy bars, giant cups of alcohol, and huge clubs that open until dawn, Kuta beach is the place to be. Moreover, the great surfing here and really cheap lessons but if you want to learn in clean water, go somewhere else. There’s good surfing all over the country.
So if you want to enjoy Bali, skip Kuta. Go elsewhere. There’s beautiful Ubud, the Jatiluwih rice terraces, Nusa Lembogan, Lovina, Amhed…the list goes on. If you all want to do party, shop, and hang out with tanned surfers in brown water, then Kuta is the place for you.