What To Do in Kuta, Bali
Kuta has a REALLY bad reputation. It’s known as the drunk touristy area of Bali. When people talk about what to do in Kuta, Bali all you hear them say is “get drunk and party”. The way you hear people describe it makes it sound like hell on earth and somewhere you’d be best of avoiding like the plague.
It is no way near as bad as people say. And there are more things to do in Kuta other than just partying.
Although the partying is fun ?.
Yes there is a main street where there are a lot of bars and drunk people wandering between them acting stupidly but it’s mainly only one street. As soon as you turn off into any of the other streets around it’s instantly quieter.
When I read about Bali before going there it said that the three main party streets in Kuta are Jalan Legian, Poppies 1 and Poppies 2.
That’s not strictly true.
The main really busy street I mentioned above is Jalan Legian. This street is literally just packed with bar after bar that all seem to be having a competition as to who can play their music the loudest to entice you in. Walking along that main stretch of road is an assault on your ears to say the least but that said it’s fun for a night out when you fancy one.
Poppies 1 and 2 are nothing like Jalan Legian.
Poppies 1 is mostly clothes stalls and restaurants and is actually a quiet street. I stayed on that road for two months and didn’t really ever witness someone being a drunken idiot on it. If you want to be near the parties, but not in the middle of them, Poppies 1 is a really good street to stay on.
Poppies 2 is a bit livelier than poppies 1 as it has more bars as well as restaurants. It’s still relatively quiet though. When a friend and I first went there, having been told it was one of the places where all the parties are, we were really confused. All of the bars along Poppies 2 only have a couple of people in and are very calm.
There is only one bar on Poppies 2 which is actually busy. And that place is packed. You walk into it and go “Oh, that’s where everyone is!” (see Alley Cats below).
Kuta is one of the closest places to the airport and beaches, restaurants and bars are all within walking distance to most accommodation. If you’ve just arrived in Bali and especially if you don’t want to ride a scooter, or haven’t learnt yet, Kuta is a great place to base yourself for a couple of days first to get your bearings and at least be able to get to everything you may need easily by foot. A lot of Bali is very spread out and there aren’t many areas where you can walk between everything.
Kuta beach is busy and not the most relaxing of places to be. Much better to go up to nearby Seminyak where it’s a lot quieter if you just want to relax on the beach. There are more comfy seat options up in Seminyak too with deck chairs and beanbags to choose from whereas in Kuta the only real option is sitting on the sand.
The beach is lined with lots of stands renting out surf boards, selling drinks and friendly staff who will happily sit and have a chat with you for hours and give you advice on where to go and what to do in Bali.
Surfing at Kuta Beach
The waves at Kuta are perfect for learning to surf as they’re the smaller there than in the neighbouring Seminyak and the sea bed is sand so no reef to potentially cut yourself on when falling. Kuta is however the busiest place to surf.
Surf lessons should cost you 400,000 Rupiah (approx. £20/ $30 USD/$40 AUD) for 2 hours and surf board rental is 50,000 Rupiah for a half day (a lot of places now try to charge this just for an hour so you may struggle to still get it for half a day at this price).
Cheap Food in Kuta
I love Warung Indonesia. It’s right in the center of Kuta (between Poppies 1 and Poppies 2) but it is still cheap and the food it great. They have a menu you can order from with an extensive collection of local food and some western options. But they also have a huge counter with an array of foods you can chose from to mix into one meal. This dish is called Nasi Campur (literal translation is “Rice Mix). You’ll be given a bowl of rice and then can chose which of the options you’d like from the counter to add to your rice; from curry, to roast chicken, to fish and tofu. I don’t eat meat so my meals are slightly cheaper, but for a big bowl with about 5 or 6 items it only costs 20,000 Rupiah (approx. £1/$1.50 USD/$2 AUD). With meat it usually costs my friends about 30,000 Rupiah and the beers there are almost the exact same price as from the supermarket.
This is also a great restaurant to go to if you’ve just gotten to Bali and don’t know anyone yet as it’s usual to share tables there as it gets so busy and I’ve met many a lovely person having lunch or dinner there.
Bamboo Corner is similar to Warung Indonesia except it doesn’t have the counter to select food from as well as the menu. The menu in Bamboo Corner still has a lot of Indonesian options but they also have more variety of other types of food as well as a great selection of fish and meat dishes that are really cheap for what they are.
Again the beer there is roughly the same price as from a supermarket. The original Bamboo Corner restaurant on Poppies 1 gets really busy and is frequently full at peak times in the evening (it’s fine to ask to share tables there too if it is packed) but there is also now a second version of Bamboo Corner now just round the corner on the same road as Warung Indonesia, between Poppies 1 and Poppies 2.
Where to go out in Kuta
Alley Cats is the bar I mentioned above which is the only busy one on Poppies 2. It’s rammed every night from about 9pm till midnight. They sell double doubles there (which you’ll see signs for at the other bars on that road too) for 20,000 Rupiah (approx. £1/$1.50 USD/$2 AUD). Double Doubles are a red bull and vodka mix.
Be careful when drinking mixed drinks in Bali though. There are a lot of instances of fake booze being used and people getting seriously ill as a result. I have never heard of Alley Cats doing it but have heard about other bars in the area having been shut down for it (and then allowed to re-open) after people have become seriously ill or even died in some instances as a result of the fake alcohol.
Eikon is my favourite place if going for a proper night out in Kuta. It can look weirdly empty when you first get there as the bar goes back really far so frequently you can’t see how packed it is from the strret. It tends to go from empty to really busy each night in a matter of seconds around midnight (about the time Alley Cats kicks out). If you like chart music and a good dance, it’s a great place to go. They also do a booze pass from 9pm to midnight every night for 100,000 Rupiah (£5, $7.50 USD, $10 AUD) which gets you all you can drink beer and certain spirits and mixers (the same warning as the above would apply on the spirits and mixers though).
Apache Reggae Bar
Although Apache Reggae Bar is in the heart of Kuta and it’s very busy it feels really different to everywhere else as it’s a reggae bar so a lot more chilled and isn’t filled with as many drunken idiots. The live band is great and there’s still lots of dancing there but a large amount of seating areas to relax if you don’t fancy dancing all night.
Sky Garden is probably the most famous club in Kuta, if not the whole of Bali. It’s right smack bang in the middle of the busiest street in Kuta, Jalan Legian, and is four stories high. It costs 100,000 Rupiah to get in but that will get you two beers, or one cocktail of your choosing (the beers are 50,000 Rupiah each anyway and cocktails 100,000 Rupiah a go once you’re inside so they’re just essentially forcing you to buy at last a drink or two). The first floor in Sky Garden is where the main DJs play and it is like what you’d expect from any big club. The focus is on dancing, no being able to sit or talk to anyone. On the top floor there is a roof top garden bar that has more of a mix of dancing and seating areas so if you’re not into the super club thing head to the top floor. The top floor is also where every night from 5pm-9pm there is an all you can eat and drink BBQ for 100,000 Rupiah. I haven’t been to the BBQ but I know a lot of people who have who say it’s great value for money however it’s a bit odd as they blare out electro and dance music at that time which is not the most usual music to accompany a BBQ. If you don’t go for the BBQ, from 9pm to 3am you can buy a booze pass instead for 150,000 Rupiah that will get you the usual free entry drink(s), but also all you can drink from 9pm to 11pm and entry to the VIP lounge. If you want more info on the promos there check out this page on their website where they detail all their offers, including their ladies nights.
Again be careful drinking anything other than beer.
Engine Room is similar to Eikon but larger. It’s pretty much opposite Sky Garden and has two rooms playing different music downstairs with another one upstairs. It’s one of the clubs that’s open the latest along that road doesn’t charge anything to enter so worth popping in to check out.
Where to stay in Kuta, Bali
There are hostels around but if you’re staying more than a week or so you can negotiate a room in a hotel for less than you’d pay in a hostel as most of the hotels are very much open to negotiation (best to do it in person). It’s very common in Bali for showers not to have hot water therefore if that is something that bothers you be sure to ask before renting a room whether there is hot water or not.
I stayed at Ayu Beach Inn for my first two months in Bali. I negotiated the price per month there and could have stayed in a couple of other places in that area for the same amount but the owner is so lovely it swung it for me when deciding on which one to go with and I’m extremely glad it did. The hotel is great, with a pool, free breakfast, patios or balconies with each of the rooms and the owner and staff are all really friendly and treated me like family. The rooms aren’t the newest so some look a little worse for wear but it’s great for the price it is. There are also lots of other people staying there long-term too.
How Long to Spent in Kuta, Bali
There are technically no sights to see in Kuta apart from the Ground Zero Bali Bombing Memorial Wall which you can walk to in the center of town so how long to spend there will just depend on how long you want to sit on the beach, surf and or party.
How Long to Get From Kuta to Seminyak
It’s only about 20 minutes from Kuta to Seminyak by taxi or 15 minutes by scooter. If you get a taxi between the two make sure they put the meter on. The journey should only cost you about 30,000 Rupiah (approx. £1.50/$2.25 USD/$3 AUD) but taxis will quote anything about to 150,000 -200,000 Rupiah (approx. £7.50/$11 USD/ $15 AUD – £10/$15 USD/$20AUD) Rupiah as a flat fee for the ride.
How Long to Get From Kuta to Ubud
From any accommodation you stay in you’ll be able to book a bus to Ubud which takes a couple of hours however when booking the bus be aware, if you want to come back the same day you won’t be able to come back by bus again. I’ve watched hotels and hostels tell people time and time again they think there’s a later bus in the afternoon you can get back from Ubud to Kuta or Seminyak. It’s a lie, there isn’t . They just want you to book the bus through them and it doesn’t effect them if you then can’t get a bus back later and have to pay more for a taxi. If you want to spend a couple of days in Ubud a bus there and back will be your cheapest option since you can get a bus in the morning back from Ubud, it’s just there are no afternoon options meaning taking the bus both ways in one day is not possible.
A taxi one way back from Ubud costs about 200,000 Rupiah (£10/$15 USD/$20 AUD). But it will also have cost you 80,000 Rupiah (£4/$6 USD/$8 AUD) each person for the bus to Ubud which means if there’s few of you it would be cheaper to not only get a taxi there and back but actually hire one for a half-day or full-day and make it a lot easier for you to get around and see everything whilst in Ubud. A taxi for half-a-day costs 400,000 Rupiah (£20/ $30 USD/$40 AUD) or 600,000 Rupiah (£30/ $45 USD/ £60 AUD) for a whole day. Even though the center of Ubud is small to get around to all the things you might want to see whilst there, like the rice fields, it will really help to have a car to get you between places unless you want to hire scooters once you arrive. The distances between attractions in Ubud are not walkable.
How Long to Get From Kuta to Uluwatu and the Bukit Area
As I mention above I’d suggest you head to Seminyak from Kuta however if you’d like to take a day trip to Uluwatu and the Bukit Area it’s perfectly feasible. It only takes about 30 to 40 minutes to get there. The cheapest way to do so would be to drive down by scooter or hire a taxi for the day (don’t hire one just to take you down there to one place and then have to find other taxis in between different locations as it will cost you A LOT more). A taxi for the day will cost you 600,000 Rupiah (approx. £30/ $45 USD/ £60 AUD) or you can hire a scooter for 50,000 Rupiah (approx. £2.50/ $3.75 USD/ $5 AUD) a day.