Kuta was the first stop on our Bali trip. It was also the closest stop to the airport! After 24 hours in transit, we didn’t want to travel much further, so we didn’t. We spent our first few days in Kuta just recovering from the flight, swimming and getting our bearings!
What you need to know about Kuta
Kuta is probably the most “touristy” part of Bali. Perhaps because it is close to the airport, great swimming beaches and big malls. Kuta was definitely the most ‘modern’ and built up of the areas that we visited. This is where you can get your Hard Rock Cafe Bali t-shirt, and see many of the bigger, well-known hotels and restaurants. It’s a great starting point for a Balinese adventure, and you can easily get hold of anything forgotten at home here.
What to do first!
Get a local sim card. Perhaps we South Africans are just used to paying outlandish fees for data, but a sim card with 8 gig of data on it only cost me about R110. And that was the jacked up tourist price. You can get a sim card at the airport, but if you are a little patient you can get it for half that price. Once you have a sim card you can easily book a Grab taxi to go to and fro. Kuta isn’t very big, so a great many places of interest are walking distance if you want to walk off some of the jet lag!
Shopping in Kuta
There are some markets around Kuta, so if you aren’t heading up to Ubud later in your trip, you can get some shopping done here. Even if you are heading up to Ubud, things like Kopi Luwak and wooden carved boxes are cheaper in the malls than in the little shops en route.
In Legian street there are a lot of little shops, if you are up for a good, old fashioned haggle. If the starting price is 150 000 Rupiah you can usually get it down to around 50 000 Rupiah. As a general rule of thumb. If you buy more than one item, you also have a better chance of getting a bargain than if you are only buying one thing. Don’t pay more than 20 000 Rupiah for a plain, printed sarong unless you are feeling charitable. You will kick yourself for it later. While I’m mentioning sarongs, if a sarong is required to enter a temple if will be provided for free at the entrance. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you have to buy one on your way in if your knees are showing.
If you aren’t up for all the bargaining, the stores often sell the same products as the markets, all though you pay more than what you would have if you spent 15 minutes arguing about it. While in store, look out for frangipani products. They aren’t as readily available as in the markets. I absolutely love frangipani, so I recommend getting yourself some bath salts, or essential oil while you are in Bali. It is not that easily available back home.
If Kuta is your first stop, try and resist buying all you want here, as you will be carrying everything along with you on the rest of your trip, and you will be back here on your way home again as it is only a few kilometres from the airport.
Big points of interest
Waterbom. Waterbom. And have I mentioned Waterbom. Honestly, we wouldn’t have made it work to go to Waterbom if one of our friends didn’t have her heart set on it. I am so glad that she did, because it is an incredible experience. Get there early, stay the whole day, and book online before the time. It works out cheaper if you choose the deal that includes pizza and a drink. If you book online you get to skip the queues, and feeling very VIP while doing so. Keep you eyes peeled for a little mini-post on Waterbom in the near future!
Of course the beach. Always the beach. I love the beach. You can pay to have a lounge chair and umbrella when it’s hot, or you just want to be really comfortable. Due to the heat, beer, water and soft drinks are all, always, readily available. And they are cold. You can bring your own, but after the first hour it is going to be hot if you didn’t travel with a cooler bag. There are a lot of people plying their trade along the beach for tourists. So you can have your hair plaited, get a henna tattoo, have a massage and do some shopping without leaving your lounger. If you don’t want something, be friendly but firm about it. They will remember you, and they will be back.
Get a massage. You are on holiday, the oils are great and the prices are excellent. Who doesn’t want to smell like a frangipani flower while having soft feet. I’m not the kind of girl that has my nails done, but by sheer chance I’ve had two “manicures” in Bali when disaster struck. I wouldn’t recommend it.
A little further away
One of my personal favourites is the Rock Bar Bali at Ayana Resort and Spa. We stayed at Ayana during our honeymoon (so expensive, but amazing), which meant that we could go to Rock Bar without paying an entrance fee. On the second go around we stayed at the Rimba Hotel, which is also on Ayana’s grounds, and more affordable (while still being completely amazing). Which means that we could, once again, go to Rock Bar. Rock Bar Bali is awesome. The setting, the vibe, the views, the cocktails. All of it. It is going to be expensive, so budget for this one. CLICK HERE for more info about it!
Uluwatu Temple isn’t far away either. The temple, set upon a cliff with the waves breaking down below is beautiful. Leave you sunglasses in your bag though, and hold on to your camera as the monkeys get quite handsy there. You can walk from peak to peak if you have the time, and feel up to it. Even if you don’t, you will be climbing a few stairs to see everything, so where comfortable shoes, and bring along the sunscreen.
Let me know if you have a favourite spot around Kuta. Or if you have any other questions about spending a few days here.
If you liked this post CLICK HERE to see why we think Bali is an amazing travel destination! Want some other travel inspiration? CLICK HERE to see why Paris is always a good idea. If you like the photos, check out our instagram panel on the right, and click to follow!