Kuta in South Bali is often skipped in traveler itineraries, as it is dismissed to be chaotic for the swarms of tourists scattered on its streets. On the other hand, it is also renowned to surfers for its beach fronting the Indian Ocean. It was more than that, though. Read more…
We started our first day at around three in the afternoon after much-needed rest and relaxation, Bali-style at Best Western Resort Kuta. Doing very little research, I figured we would just wander randomly around Kuta and check how much tours around Bali are.
What we did see, however, as we were walking along Kuta Center near our hotel was the Plus Priority lounge and their shuttle bus services. The nice girl inside the lounge couldn’t understand me much, but I was able to comprehend that a platinum card with unlimited shuttle rides to spots in Bali for ten days was only 25 USD per person. Doing some math, it was cheaper than getting a packaged tour or a shuttle service elsewhere. We decided to get the cards and take the night bus to Jimbaran the same day.
Back on track, we had money changed, then we headed directly to the beach. As predicted, there were throngs of tourists who were mostly Caucasians. Save for the other Philippine Airlines Rally to Bali winners we chanced upon, we were perhaps the only Filipinos there.
What I first noticed about the ocean was the high waves; no wonder it is a surfer paradise. The high waves reminded me of Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, which fronts the South China Sea.
It was only on our last day that we swam, for on our first day we opted to just walk along the beach and feel the breeze. Honestly, we found many of our Philippine beaches better.
Many of the shops near the beach are geared towards the moneyed tourists. Their padded and even their haggled down prices were sadly quite exorbitant by Filipino standards. Dan forgot to bring, of all the things, his pair of flip-flops, so we had to find him a pair.
Luckily, while we were walking along Kuta Square, we found this department store called Matahari. He was able to buy a pair for 32,000 IDR (~150 PHP) compared to the 100,000 IDR (~470 PHP) pair that we saw at the beachside store. By the way, Matahari also sells cheap souvenirs, so you might want to get them there. Their prices are fixed and tagged.
Kuta Square, where Western stores are aplenty, was where we would stroll at night aside from the malls Discovery Center and Mal Bali Galleria. Also a nightly hangout for us was Jalan Pantai Kuta for its array of coffee shops and elegant stores. High-end accommodations, such as Hard Rock Hotel Bali, can likewise be found there.
Walking along Kuta, we discovered some Hindu temples or puras that may not be as grand as the ones we’ve seen the following days but had interesting aesthetics nonetheless.
Sure, Kuta is a town transformed for tourists—its streets are saturated with hotels, spas, convenience stores, souvenir shops, and warungs (eateries). But even given this and the fact that its beach is underwhelming, making Kuta our base in Bali for four days made me fall in love with it. Its easygoing vibe, people, sights, and sounds have charmed me well.