Kuta: The Worst Place In Bali

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Don’t let these pretty pictures fool you — Kuta may be the most vile place on Earth.

If you’ve researched Bali tourism, you may have heard that – but for me, I found that guidebooks mostly glossed over this fact. However, many travel bloggers wrote eloquently about this, none of them better than Wandering Earl.

Kuta is Bali’s primary resort town and it’s particularly popular with Australians. But don’t come here expecting culture, temples and quiet beaches. Kuta is a mess, a lost paradise, a great opportunity twisted into a burned-out shell.

It’s the bumper stickers and t-shirts sold on every block that read “UP THE BUM NO BABYS” and “WHAT PART OF DEEP THROAT DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND?

It’s the fact that come nightfall, the streets are filled with vomiting holidaymakers who wouldn’t think twice about pouring beer on nearby onlookers.

It’s the trash-filled beach, making swimming in Kuta akin to wading through a watery landfill.

If it weren’t for the spiritual offerings placed on the ground in front of each business, the streets of Kuta might as well be part of Cancun or the sleazier areas of Las Vegas.


Now, I have no problem with a debaucherous weekend in Vegas or Cancun. God knows I’ve done my share of them. So why did Kuta bother me so much?

The Balinese people.

The Balinese people are among the kindest and friendliest people that I’ve met in Southeast Asia. They’re inquisitive, helpful and incredibly polite. They’re gentle. They’re intensely family-oriented. Their spiritual beliefs shape their lives, and many aspects of their lifestyle haven’t changed in centuries.

So to see the home of such wonderful people turned into a disgusting tourist mess really saddened me. I do know that this environment brings in jobs and revenue to many Balinese people, but it upsets me nonetheless. Why here? Why Bali?

Who knows?

I honestly believe that Kuta is past the point of no return. As long as they continue catering toward these kinds of tourists (and as long as Kuta remains right next to the airport), I genuinely believe that nothing is going to change.

So if I knew that Kuta was this bad, why did I even go in the first place? Surfing.

Kuta is an ideal place for a beginner to learn to surf. If you’ve never surfed before, take advantage of learning in a safe and easy place like Kuta. I loved my surf lesson on a quiet beach and though I’ve taken surf lessons in South Africa, Mexico, and El Salvador since, I’ve never done as well as I did in Bali! You can book surfing lessons for beginners here.


READ MORE: How to Protect Your Belongings on the Beach


I stayed in the Kuta region for four days. During that time, I learned to surf in the nicer, cleaner beach of northern Legian. I enjoyed cocktails in ritzy Seminyak with Theodora of Escape Artistes. I made more Indonesian girlfriends that I ever imagined and hit the clubs with them.

These were all great experiences – and they are proof that if you look beyond the obvious vile aspects of Kuta, you can still enjoy yourself here.

If you want to make the most of your time in Kuta, I suggest staying at an excellent Kuta hotel — the Anvaya Beach Resorts Bali is droolworthy — and spend your days doing cool excursions like doing a sunrise trek at Mount Batur, sailing to a private island for the day, or going on a street food tour. Not sure where to stay? Check out the best deals on Kuta hotels here.

Where to Go Instead of Kuta

Kuta may be the most popular destination in Bali, but here are three excellent alternative destinations a world away from Kuta’s trashy atmosphere:

Seminyak

There are three towns connected along Bali’s southern beachfront — Seminyak, Legian, and Kuta — but the difference between them is like night and day. Seminyak is the best and most beautiful of the three. Here you’ll find upmarket resorts, charming guesthouses, and the best restaurants and nightlife in southern Bali.

Best things to do in Seminyak: Take a Balinese cooking class with a market visit, go on a mountain biking tour, or visit a luxury spa for the afternoon. Check out more activities in Seminyak here.

Best hotel bets in Seminyak: For luxury, you can’t beat the Double Six Luxury Hotel with its pool overlooking the beach, top-notch spa, and butler service. For midrange, the Ping Hotel has beautiful rooms, a pool, and a rooftop terrace. For budget travelers, M Hostel is a clean and well-located hostel with both dorms and private rooms. Check out the best deals on Seminyak hotels here.

Ubud

Ubud is the Bali of Eat, Pray, Love. Riding bicycles around rice paddies, seeing traditional dance performances, wandering through the monkey forest, doing more yoga than you ever thought possible. Ubud is inland, so you won’t have beach access, but it’s the best place on the island to dive into Bali’s cultural offerings.

Best things to do in Ubud: Explore temples and rice terraces, go whitewater rafting on the Ayung River, learn how to make traditional Balinese herbal remedies (just like Wayan in Eat, Pray, Love!). Check out more activities in Ubud here.

Best hotel bets in Ubud: For luxury, Maya Ubud Resort and Spa is an environmentally sustainable retreat set among Bali’s rice terraces; don’t miss their afternoon tea! For midrange, the Green Tree Hotel and Restaurant has great value for money rooms, an indoor pool, and gorgeous views. For budget travelers, Ojek’s Homestay is a traditional Balinese home with both private rooms and dorms as well as traditional meals. Check out the best deals on Ubud hotels here.

Nusa Dua

If you’re looking for beaches but want a calmer environment with no “UP THE BUM NO BABYS” shirts in sight, consider heading to Nusa Dua instead. This southern getaway is a great choice for a peaceful getaway where the only thing on the menu is relaxation. (Image: Glen Scarborough.)

Best things to do in Nusa Dua: See the Devdan contemporary dance and acrobatics show, visit Ulawatu Temple at sunset, learn how to scuba dive. Check out more activities in Nusa Dua here.

Best hotel bets in Nusa Dua: For luxury, the award-winning St. Regis Resort Bali might be the best luxury resort in all of Indonesia, due in part to its spectacular grounds, insane views and butler service. For midrange, Bali Tropic Resort and Spa has a traditional Balinese atmosphere and rooms that can fit all sizes of families. For budget travelers, The Studio One at Nusa Dua provides simple, clean rooms in a central location. Check out the best deals on Nusa Dua hotels here.

Want even more Bali? Consider a tour.

Bali is the kind of destination that lends itself well to a group tour, even if you’re not a tour kind of person.

G Adventures is one tour company I’ve traveled with before and highly recommend. They do small group tours and they get to lots of off-the-beaten-path type destinations that you couldn’t find on their own. Their 8-day Best of Bali tour visits mostly offbeat spots; their 14-day Classic Bali and Lombok tour is divided between Bali and the next-door island of Lombok. They have 19 different trips that cover Bali!


READ NEXT: Adventurous Kate Gets Shipwrecked in Indonesia


Essential Info: My best advice for avoiding the worst of Kuta is to stay in nearby Seminyak instead. Seminyak is ritzy and beautiful, yet not too far from Kuta and the airport. Find the best hotel deals in Seminyak here.

Even better? Book a tour of Bali that goes all over the island. G Adventures has several Bali tours that stridently avoid Kuta and instead take you to the most beautiful places on the island.

No matter where you go in Bali, be sure to book travel insurance. Travel insurance saved me when I was shipwrecked in Indonesia and lost all my possessions, and it could save you too, whether you get injured and need to go to the hospital or if you get robbed and need help getting money. I use and recommend World Nomads for trips to Bali.

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128 thoughts on “Kuta: The Worst Place In Bali”

  1. I remember being taken to Kuta on my tour of Bali. They took us to an enormous mall and we walked on the dirty beach. I did find a decent restaurant nearby though. I was much happier in other parts of Bali. The nicest beaches I saw were in Nusa Dua. But, since I like mountains and trees and such, my favorite place was Tegalalang.

    1. Regardless of all the trash written re: Bali…Kuta. Kuta is like home to me…the people make up for all the stuff that appears ugly…I love the Balinese people.

  2. the only time I can enjoy Kuta beach is in the morning, really early morning, like around 7 AM, where only a few people jogging or simply sitting on the sand..

    1. Hi,

      I am planning to visit Bali to say my “I do’s” and was wondering which region is the best to stay in?

      I love beaches but also safari and marine parks, etc.

      Thanks!

      1. The whole place is a toxic cesspit. From Kuta kilometres north past pererenan the beaches are beyond help. Mountains of garbage, mostly plastics. It has to be seen to believed. I would not surf or swim there if you paid me. They have drains running into the ocean every few hundred metres. Storm water, sewage and run off from the rice paddies, full of toxins. It stinks. The ocean is brown. The tourists are lowest common denominator. Sitting there drinking cheap and nasty cocktails and that crappiest of watery beer, Bintang, watching the sunset and glued to their iPhones as they check their social media status. How anyone can sit there and enjoy the sunset while surrounded by filth is beyond me. Bali is a sad sad shadow of its former self. The way the animals are treated is heart wrenching. Depressed mangy emaciated dogs everywhere abused and neglected. But then if you can stay in a resort, have a massage and enjoy your bad cocktails, ignore the impoverished people and animals and mountains of trash and pollution everywhere then you’re al good. I wish I was exaggerating but sadly it’s just how it is and I don’t wish to exploit such a situation.

        1. “Spot on”.
          The “tourism people” see tourists as an easy meal, & they treat you that way.
          Pushy & sleazy salespeople @ every kiosks selling the same damn products as the next & massage parlors every block.
          AND THEY WON’T TAKE NO for an answer, they keep after you, like you owe it to them to buy something, then, they “don’t have change” so try to have you buy more useless crap!
          If that’s not bad enough, then they pick pocket you in front of the clubs​ & security nor anyone else “sees anything”.
          They are all “in on the take” watching & covering each others tracks!!
          To spend the majority of every day defending my wallet is not my idea of fun. (Even if you can get past the mounds of trash everywhere, in water & washing up on beach & piled/ strewn on every lot!).

          Such a shame.
          When we got to Bali, We loved it. Met some nice guys from Somalia on the beach, drank beer, sang songs, Went to Ubud & had a great peaceful time.
          Rental car broke up near the lake on the volcano & had 20 people stop to make sure we were ok.
          In Kuta, the only reason they would stop is to sell you something or get some $ fo helping you! Sad, sad.
          But spend a day/ night or 3 in Kuta & really regretting it.
          I’m sure not everyone in Kuta is bad, just the amount of people trying to get into your pocket is overwhelming!!
          & The good people have to compete with the slime to provide value as opposite to just scam you!

          1. i agree with u, they wont take no for an answer. they try ways and means to get you to become bankrupt when u go to their country. when they see you coming out of the toilet, they make sure they chase after you for the toilet fee. even going to abandoned places which dont require an entrance fee they make sure they stop you and get money out of you for the so called ticket fee which doesnt apply at an abandoned place. every single thing you want to do they will say sir you do this and do that you must pay pay pay. they chase you like as though you owe them as though your money is their money. theu have no moral ethics and values, i expect a spiritual country everyone being treated nice and with compassion, but no. they have no compassion,

        2. I stayed in Legian way back in 1991 (30 years ago) and I didn’t like nearby Kuta Beach, or much of Bali, even then. The place felt like Tijuana, Mexico, with all the girl hustlers shouting, “Plat you hair!, Plat you hair!” (braid your hair) or guys trying to sell you cheap sunglasses (If you said “no” they’d say “tomorrow?” And if you said yes to get rid of them [I never did] they’d be all over you the next day saying, “You said tomorrow!, You said tomorrow!”).

          On Kuta Beach young men would politely come up and sit next to you then sweetly ask “Do you like boys?” in an attempt to prostitute themselves; dealers tried to sell you Ecstasy outside of loud Techno Clubs.

          It wasn’t my scene.

          The one place in Kuta that I had a lot of fun (probably because I went their several times with a beautiful brand-new Swiss girlfriend whom I had met in Bali) was the Sari Club, but Muslim Terrorist blew that place to pieces a decade later killing 88 people, most of them Australian tourists.

          Even though I had a great time falling in love with a beautiful woman in Bali (I moved to Switzerland) I remember telling myself that I’m never coming back; after having visited over 100 countries before visiting Bali, I knew there were MUCH nicer places on the planet to visit.

          No doubt Bali was a paradise in the not too distant past but by the time I got their in 1991 it was too late, now that it’s 30 years later it can only be worse.

    2. I wayan urip gunawan

      I disagree, because the kuta beach is not only good in the morning, it is good in afternoon sunbathing, learning skateboard, shopping near kuta beach such as in popies 1 streat, popies 2 streat. In the afternoon the visitors always play with family on the beach to enjoy sand of kuta beach and that moment is waiting kuta beach suset. When the view of the beach kuta become is very beautiful

  3. I’m Indonesian and lived 30-min flight away from Bali, so I’ve seen how Kuta had changed over the years. Most of us don’t go there anymore. The sunset from the beach is still nice to watch but the beach is too crowded, most of the good food is in Ubud, and Seminyak//Nusa Dua are nicer to stay in and the latter has a nicer beach. If you ask Indonesians what one can find in Kuta, I think they’d just say it’s the clubs.

    1. Hi,

      I am planning to visit Bali to say my “I do’s” and was wondering which region is the best to stay in?

      I love beaches but also safari and marine parks, etc.

      Thanks!

  4. Adam @ SitDownDisco

    Once upon a time I hated Kuta and the people that stayed there. But over the years I’ve learned that it serves a purpose. I’ve never heard of anyone having beer poured over them or seen people
    vomit in the streets so I’d say that if that stuff does happen, it’s uncommon.

    I stayed in kuta and Legian for three weeks last year and Legian & Kuta are just about the same in terms of ‘class’. Similar activities go on in seminyak as kuta, such as drinking, eating and shopping. It’s just the people look more like Paris Hilton in seminyak – a mask to cover the desire for hedonism.

    1. I had beer poured on me while on the back of a motorbike — the guy was standing on the sidewalk and pretending to jack off with his beer bottle. It was one of the most blatantly disrespectful things I’ve ever experienced.

      I should add that I only saw one person vomiting in the street.

      I know this is extreme stuff, and I can’t say how often it happens right in the street — but it was low season. I can only imagine what high season is like.

    2. I agree wholeheartedly Adam. I’m currently in Kuta and hit the net to track down the best way of skipping over to Gili for a couple of days and came across this lopsided article. I’ve met some wonderful people so far ,both Balinese and tourists alike. Kuta beach is filthy? Compared to where? Not in 2015 it isn’t (I walk the length of it everyday)and clearly as far as rubbish goes the author of this article has never visited an inner city Melbourne, Australia beach which is combed by tractors everyday to remove rubbish and the used syringes left by junkies. Kuta beach is crowded? Compared to where? Clearly the author has never been to a popular beach. Do a Google image search of Bondi on a summers day or the Pipeline or Huntington beach and see what crowded really is. Vomiting in the street? Ho hum that’s Australia, England, America, the Netherlands, Germany,whatever country in the world you choose on a Saturday night and has been since alcohol was invented. While I agree that tourism does have it’s downsides I always find it ironic that it’s often tourists who complain most vocally about it. If you don’t like tourism then stop being a tourist.

      1. Hi. i just wondered where you were going next? as i fancy trying to head down to East Nusa or even as far down as Timor Leste. Also how best to travel to places cheaply with a rucksack for a month by myself, women of 52

  5. In my experience, the streets of Kuta do offer some pretty fun shopping, including a shop full of instruments handmade by the sweet owner and his brother. Last time I was in Bali, I stayed 2 weeks but spent only a couple hours in Kuta. As you said, Seminyak is so nice, but I worry that the same thing will happen there since it’s catered to foreigners and wealthy Indonesians, and it’s so close to Kuta.

    I can relate to your experience making tons of Indonesian girlfriends. I found the people so eager to chat and smile, and it’s easy to make friends with them. They’re lovely.

      1. Yes! And those smiles! What about your experience with the people in Vietnam? I don’t always like to generalize, but the Vietnamese who live here in the U.S. are also very warm and friendly.

  6. Kuta looks like a dump! Bleargh.

    Unfortunately though, there are plenty of other places on earth that have suffered the same fate. As a Brit, I can say that a lot of my kinsmen are responsible for turning pockets of Spain and Greece into sunnier versions of our crappier seaside towns.

    I think the mass tourism concept is fine – hell, when I go anywhere, I always want to take a day out and do everything touristy, take a photo in front of x-statue or y-building, and my mother always commands me to buy a fridge magnet, meaning a trek around the shops that sell the “I <3 this place" t-shirts.

    But it's when the drunken frat-boys with no interest in the local culture come in AND the local industry starts catering to their every whim instead of saying "piss off" and sticking their middle finger up after it becomes such a problem that the local culture is diluted into something entirely foreign….that's when the problems start.

    When I was in Turkey and stayed in Fethiye (lovely place), I took a bus 30 minutes to the neighbouring town of Oludeniz. If it wasn't for the weather you couldn't tell you were in Turkey – it was over-run with pubs serving up burgers and fries and – you guessed it – overweight, lobster red British tourists splayed out like walruses on the crappy pebble beach.

    I'm glad you enjoyed the rest of Bali that you experienced and got some positives out of your time there, though ^^

    1. Catur Anggraeni

      I’m totally disagree with you. Because, maybe when you came there was the rainy season, so the water was turbid and lots of rubbish drifting from the river. But it was being cleaned everyday by local cleaners, merchant traders who sell there and locals.
      If you come in summer Kuta Beach is really clean and the water is clear.

  7. Good article, but your headlines are too sensational. ” Bali worse than Las Vegas” hardly, Bali including its tourist population is twice the size of Las Vegas. LV has 3 of the worst crime areas in the US, Bali in comparison has negligible crime rates, but on the increase. “Kuta maybe the most vile place on Earth” hardly !
    I understand that you want to draw attention to you article, which is very good, far more realistic and a truer picture of small parts of Kuta, than Blog/Tweet headlines. But you don’t mention the vast numbers of Asian tourists who go to Kuta & Tuban, possibly in the same volumes as the louder, wilder, crazier Australians. Are they also vile too you.
    To be honest, what you see in Kuta is exactly the same as in Khao San, Bangkok, only it is not dominated by one nation. Koh Phangnan at Full Moon tops the most terrible scenes in Kuta by a long way.
    Is it the place or the antics of a few people that is vile?

    1. I’m not comparing any crime rates, Peter. Just sharing my opinion about a place that I did not like.

      For me, it was the place more than the people. And I’m saying this as a girl who got beer poured on here while riding a motorbike by a guy who was pretending to jack off with his Bintang bottle. So that says a lot.

      1. kate, your experience says a lot and obviously has a massive impact on your feelings about kuta.

        but, that experience or similar is easily witnessed in every backpacker hot spot or even most major cities in south east asia.

        in singapore now, and witnessed just similar, but that doesn’t make singapore or sihanoukville or koh tao or bangkok or … the most vile place on Earth.

        there are many good things in kuta / tuban as well as elsewhere in Bali, as i am sure you experienced.

        safe flight home, and keep the blogs and adventures coming..

          1. Not trying to troll or get into any kind of argument here, csd, but I couldn’t help responding to what you wrote:

            What a woman wears has nothing to do with how she should be treated. Kate could have been wearing an outfit that showed skin or she could have been un-showered in a baggy T and sweatpants. No matter what, disrespect is disrespect and a woman (who is also a PERSON, let me remind you) never, ever, deserves to be treated in a disrespectful manner.

            Looking to her outfit is victim blaming and perpetrates rape culture. Everyone (drunken men included) should be held responsible for their actions and be held to higher standards of behavior.

          2. Wtf do you mean by rape culture? If it is everywhere…People are too emotional to think of preventive measures. “Sexy dressing” is and has become highly influential to some women’s self confidence.
            Ladies do not want preventive advice. And let me explain why this is at the detriment of everyone, –
            For instance, a “normal” guy is more likely to “want to have sex with his wife” when she’s wearing “a short skirt” than when she is wearing “Jean trousers”.
            Funny enough, even when his wife or girlfriend or himself is not “in the mood”, a few kisses and “space for the fingers to reach the vagina” is a motivation. This is how a lot of men think, especially in the Western world (I’m from Canada), I have had that bad mentality (which has changed now), to “TRY A BIT MORE” (usually, a few more kisses, touching and BEGGING) even when she says she is not in the mood, and half of the time, “she happily gets in the mood”. The question is: “Is what women wear related to rape culture?”.
            Kind people, define rape for me. Isn’t a girl who goes clubbing, gets intoxicated and then brought to a person’s house subject to just as much responsibility? Without being entirely sure of what the stance is on what you guys/girls think of percentage of responsibility…I think I’ve been drunk before where a girl I had no intentions of sleeping with convinced me to do so. Guys AND girls are both to blame. Let me shoot facts at you.
            140,000 men are raped in the USA (just to give you the most favourable statistics to back up my premise) per year this includes inmates, intoxicated men; by women, by other men. Etc. Most of these cases are in confined areas where the subject studied their prey beforehand and came to the act. If you think women in clubbing environments are not possible victims, you are wrong. Now this is where I modify my initial opinion; clothing does not enter into “cause and effect”. Rather, a world filled with people wearing the same clothes (such as prisons) still suffers from rape “culture”. It’s a reality we need to come to accept, and try to prevent damn it! If you think what you wear will not provoke men/women to rape…get over yourselves!
            My point, in case you missed it, is, that the way a girl/lady/woman dresses may be answering the male instinct of “I might have a chance” and the fact that it HAS worked before. I think though that rape has many reasons, for certainly a lack of empathy is strongly involved, hence the reason that when alcohol is involved, there is more chance of rape.
            Perhaps I need to point out at this time that your antagonistic approaches are helping neither you nor this case of rape culture. There is no disputing that women are allowed to wear whatever they want. But if you go show off your boobs to people designed in their nature to “bite the candy”, like kids would do if you wave candy at them – I will tell you your opinion is not entirely sacrosanct. You may choose to keep taking this “happy-happy” approach when you want to just travel and have a good time, but watch out for yourselves. Take a holistic approach. It really does not matter how loudly you scream that a dog is a pig, it won’t make a dog a pig. I wish you the best in your quest to guide people into thinking showing skin doesn’t influence sexual hormones.

          3. I loved how you explained it and I am a female. I am not against women wanting to wear anything they want but I’m sure that one of the preventive measure for any woman is *not* to wear revealing clothes as it can grab attention. It is a normal fact. It even grabs women’s attention, let alone men. What I mean is that wearing revealing clothes “can/might” provoke some feelings etc in men which is a fact. Therefore, if a woman wants to avoid these things it is better for them to wear as beautiful clothes but those that cover the body a little and this as I say again is a preventive measure and is still a choice…….Why not prevent it? ……I am a woman and I believe clothing matters. I mean everyone knows no one should disrespect a woman or anyone else but no one can stop some people but we can prevent them.

      2. Kate, I agree that Kuta is beyond saving but if you ever come to Perth Western Australia you will see in Northbridge far worse behaviour

        Drunks/Druggo’s, fights, arrests and assaults are everyday occurrences. And just as run down and shitty as Kuta.

    2. I agree with you Peter…I live here now and have been here many times…i have all around Bali, a bit of Lombok, Sumatera, Java, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore etc….my comment is this…if you don’t take the time to get know the local people (who of course all from all over Indo), then, no, Kuta is not the place for you…you have to earn their respect and you will a fabulous experience in return! ‘Fresh meat’ will always get ripped off, no matter where you are all over the globe. if you don’t like the locals-stay home in you flash villa and swim in your pool. i have fabulous friends here…from all over Indonesia and i get back what i put in (time and respect). Mum and dad always told us, ‘if you haven’t got anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all’!.

      1. Elisabeth.. You’ve been to many places in the region… could you share which ones you felt were the nicest to visit which you would go back to?

  8. I agree with Peter Dundas – your articles are becoming completely over-dramatized. When you say stuff like “Kuta may be the most vile place on Earth” you come across as quite ignorant.

    I enjoy your blog, but try not to be so melodramatic all the time.

      1. Thankyou Adv. Kate for your blogs here, I think you are definitely correct here. For someone to call you ignorant about this topic i feel is not fair at all and very ignorant on there behalf. I have travelled around the world to many place and I find Kuta to be one of the worst holiday destinations on “Earth” the whole place is completely corrupt and the clubs in Kuta just spike tourist drinks left right and centre. Thankyou for your blogs!!!

      2. this is how bloggers get people to read their pages unfortunately. I was in kuta for a week last September and i expected the worst but I’m guessing that the beach has been cleaned up since your visit. It is easy to draw comparisons to European beach resorts and i was also underwhelmed when i first arrived at kuta (first stop in Indonesia).
        However if you look hard enough there is some brilliant restaurants, shops and the artwork around the streets and back alleys is amazing.

  9. Yep, it’s hell. I think you hit the nail on the head with Cancun, because Kuta is to a certain type of young Australians as Cancun is to a certain type of young American. With the added sex tourism element. Always a bonus.

    We’re in Kuta, Lombok, right now — also learning to surf! And it’s the perfect contrast. Though part of me wonders whether this, too, will go the way of Kuta Bali in 10-20 years.

    Enjoy the Royal Wedding. And drink lots of cocktails… Need any recommendations in London, I might be your woman. And, thanks for the link.

    1. My partner and I had a stopover in Kuta for an afternoon. Way way too long!! yes Im sure the rest of Bali is nice, spiritual etc etc but Kuta was the pits!! The young guys leering over our 16 year old daughter and making rude and filthy comments the entire way along the main drag was disgusting. Spiritual??? MMMMmmmm! Made all of us feel very uncomfortable. My advice: skip Kuta completely if youre going to Bali!!!

  10. I absolutely hated Kuta – Ubud was a breath of fresh air after the boozy, commercial, tat show I experienced in the Aussie’s answer to Ibiza. I fly to South East Asia in two weeks and plans to enjoy my fair share of partying that the region has to offer.

    So I’m curious, what is it that makes Kuta so much more intolerable that other touristy party towns such as sihanoukville and Vang Vieng?

    1. I actually thought Vang Vieng was worse than Kuta. I just couldn’t believe lots of people were sitting around watching “Friends” and “Family Guy” on the TV in the countless cafes that show the shows.

      Really think Sihanoukville is awful as well. But both of these serve purposes as evidenced by the types of people that love to visit them. It’s the same as Kuta in many ways. A cheap place for people that love to drink, party and have sex to let off steam.

  11. You are spot on Kate. My wife is from Tabanan. On my first visit to Bali my wife and I stayed in Kuta on Poppies 2 for the first week. We left to go to Lembongan for a few days and while on Lembongan we called every hotel in Seminyak, Nusa Dua, and Sanur attempting to find a room to no avail. We dreaded going back to the same hotel in Kuta. Don’t get me wrong, we loved the hotel and staff and some of the other guests we met. It was just Kuta that got under our skin. I told my wife if I see another drunk sleeve tatted Aussie in a trashy Bintang tank top I would just drown myself in the pool. Anyway we stuck it out. We just took day trips on the scooter to other places to hang out. We have a home there now in Padangsambian (west side of Denpasar), closer to Seminyak and Canggu. We are moving there in January. I will be avoiding Kuta like the plague. I would also suggest staying further up the coast near Balian. It is very beautiful and unspoiled and there are great waves there for any for surfers of all skill levels.

    1. Hi Ben, we are hollidaying in April 2016 my agent suggested south Kuta ( Bali gardens beach resort) do you think we should avoid this other suggestion was east side sinus paradise plaza suit & oasis lagoon can’t remember where do they all sound doggi can you help as I have 2 kids want memorable Holliday for us.

  12. i completely agree! We came here for a wedding and we stayed in a private villa in Semarapura – absolutely breathtaking. But after the wedding, we stayed at J Boutique Hotel in Kuta and it was not so great. The rooms with no outside views felt claustrophobic, the lighting was really dim – it felt dingy.

    Kuta is super touristy and the beach is dirty. My first thought was, “Where’s the turquoise waters?!”

    The local people, yes, are very nice.

    I want to go back…to a different island in Indonesia that still has kept its beauty intact.

  13. I agree completely. I didn’t understand why you stuck around (apart from looking after me!), but now I see it’s surfing. next time, Uluwatu on your itinerary? 🙂
    unfortunately I had a morning flight home and had to go back to Kuta for one night before leaving Bali.
    first shuttle bus from Ubud to airport is 8:30 – don’t know about the other places. it takes 2 hours to get there. so, afternoon flights mean no overnight stay in Kuta. just in case this helps someone….
    the receptionist at (another) guesthouse was very rude and I asked him why were all Kuta people so miserable, he told me “big bomb”. when was that, 2002? lame excuse for all the rudeness.
    only one thing saved it: after having lost all my clothes in the shipwreck, no better place to replace a long-sleeve swimming shirt than Kuta. that is something I had been chasing in Thailand for 2 years.
    when people tell me they like Phuket (Thailand), I always say something like “oh, good, keep it all for yourselves, just don’t spoil the rest of the country for the rest of us”.
    I read in Lonely Planet that most of the Kuta Lombok beachfront had been sold to big hotel developers and is clearly headed even worse than Kuta Bali – more like Nusa Dua with its luxury resorts.

  14. We hated Kuta as well. Luckily we found ourselves a nice little place in Sanur which suited us perfectly. We didn’t quite experience all the things that you talk about but we had our own horrific experiences as well. I do have to agree with the reader above who mentioned Vang Vieng though. As far as “whored out” tourism goes, Kuta obviously wins the grand prize, but Vang Vieng will be right up there sooner than later. If I could list the two worst places I’ve visited in Southeast Asia it would be Kuta Bali and Vang Vieng, Laos hands down.

    P.S. — On another note… I’m boggled that people actually get angry when reading your blog. It’s strictly opinion and it’s basically an online journal of YOUR travels, yet these people get mad and leave nasty comments. Quite interesting to say the least…

  15. Hmmm, so, I will spend Christmas in Bali and then head over to Gili T for NYE…

    Reading the above makes me a bit worried since everything is booked (planes, and most places to stay, since it will be very high season). I found an apparently decent hostel (The Island) in Legian which seems quite ok, and not in the middle of tourist-hell. As much as I enjoy meeting new people (I’m travelling solo) and partying, I will certainly keep an eye out for the Bintang-wanking type. I thought I would mostly have to avoid ladyboys (diving trip in Thailand before travelling to Bali). Actually I’m a bit surprised, as Ausies have a good reputation in central Europe… however, thinking twice, once you remember their origin you start connecting the dots… and if they are anything like flocks of Brits in summer, well, I can picture it.

    So, to do list in Bali:
    -Avoid drunken Aussie frat boys (what about the female-tourists? I’m not really into asians, specially the paying kind…)
    -Avoid Kuta (hope day trips will help, all guidebooks tell you to avoid getting a scooter, is it that bad?)
    -Explore the rest of the island
    -Try surfing!!

    Looking at the bright side it will be freezing here while I’m there, so eating good, hitting the waves and travelling around the island doesn’t sound as bad.

    Really enjoyed the blog and all the comments. Will let you know how bad it is in high season.

  16. I skipped Kuta completely and stayed in Seminyak for my fill of Australian cafes, pretty beaches and yoga classes–and am now in Ubud, and more than OK with deciding not to check Kuta out! Such a shame that Bali has catered to such a low end of tourist–the Balinese people really are incredibly lovely.

  17. been traveling for 5 months … or in total more like 3 years .. and Kuta is unquestionably the worst place I have been to … get me out of here … please god save Myanmar for KFC, McDonalds and all that other s**t ….

  18. Well were do I start I’m an older male in my 50s. My wife and I went to Bali 2 years ago and are returning in June for another holiday with the entire family all young adults. We stayed in legion and traveled to kuta many times for eating and shopping. I found it exciting and fun you find drunken idiots everywhere so what. we also went up to ubud for silver and wood carvings and adventures. The tourists up there were snobby and rude like they were doing you a favour by talking to you how boring .sanur is over rated water sports what a joke semi yak same as ubud stuck up snobs who act like millionaires treat the locals like dirt and these are older people not the young ones .get out of your air conditioned taxis and walk around and have a good time

  19. Have spent 8 months travelling (now in Thailand) around India and Asia .. India is the most challenging and Kuta IS the worst place I visit … and a side point is pricing – in nearly all of Indonesia what you see i not what you pay . with their ‘++’ pricing. Even the hotel was 300,000 then it was plus 10% service charge .. and that was with rats running around the pool !! A pizza priced at 50,000 is really 60,000 etc.

    Kuta .. over developed, over run, over priced, noisy, price misleading – need to start with the small print at the bottom and work up the menu .. certainly not friendly .. save me from such a place …

    Ubud .. OK for 48 hours .. Amed .. OK but poor beaches

  20. Thank you Peter , I don’t want to repeat your blogs , but anyone who has been around , even just a little , knows every country in the world has a kuta . You can’t judge Thailand on pattaya , or , you want to see vomiting in the street , spend a few days in Dublin … I know kuta is not the cleanest place , I’ve lived here for six years now , at least I can walk my kids down the street without tripping over skanky , filthy , stinking junkies and their needles , like in sydney , new York , London , any western city….. Sorry , but I’m sick of hearing people bagging Bali , when they come here for one week and never leave kuta , legian , seminyak, etc…. Bali is a big island , open your eyes , spend 20 dollars and get out of kuta ……..

  21. I am in Kuta right now, just arrived last night, and I do agree that it does have a “spring break gone to hell” vibe to the area. In all fairness, trashy Asian and white Westerners abound, sleaze does not discriminate. But by far the worst aspect of Kuta is the Balinese themselves! I just spent a month in Thailand, and you could gather up all the toutes and hawkers in the entire kingdom, and they are not 1/10 as annoying as the ones in Kuta. You can not walk five feet (literally) without some one trying to sell you something, massage you, or transport you. Not even my worst day in Bangkok was half as bad as one afternoon in Kuta. I just pray that the rest of the island is not as bad. I am surprised that you do not mention this in your otherwise well written blog entry.

    1. I agree. I don’t get why people state how great the Balinese people are. The amount of rip offs, hustling, deceit and rudeness when not wanting to be forced to buy stuff is inane. This is nearly as bad as some parts in India but its only the beggars that do this. In kuta, it’s nearly everyone trying to rip you off. Call it culture, or call it sly it makes no difference. In terms of kuta itself, it’s pretty much the same as hot beach areas in all parts of the world. I dislike it a lot so I’m moving somewhere nicer.

        1. In Bali right now !I was standing on the sidewalk listening to Rastafari band (Bob Marley ) “I shot the Sheriff “and a local says to me , I shot the tourist! Does that sum it up!

      1. I agree, I don’t like Indonesians, who are generally rude and untrustworthy. You can tell they hate you and just want your money. Times this big 10000 if they are Muslims from Java and not Hindus from Bali

  22. I first went to Bali in 1980, it was beautiful back then so I went every year or the 5. I went again 30yrs later in 2010 & was shocked at what the place had turned into. Progress & more jobs are great for the Balinese, but at what cost? The beaches are filthy & the nightlife is dangerous with all the dealers selling their gear in the streets.The expensive shops that you’d find in the High Streets aren’t needed in Indonesia & they’re not even cheap. And, bloody shopping malls, who really needs them when you’re off to an island paradise? God knows what the Balinese really think of tha Aussie yobbos that go there just to get wasted.

  23. Hi Kate I read your blog and agree to some extent I’m in kuta at the moment staying in Poppy’s 2 it’s my first time travelling in south east Asia I find the balinese people to be the most friendliest and polite people ever, kuta is a bit of dump in terms of all the young over excited tourist but I haven’t had any bad experience so far I did travel to Lambok, ubud and Gili islands which I think Gili T to be slightly worst I found the tourist to be more vile. I unfortunately witnessed a full fest sex show in the middle of the restaurant one evening between 2 girls and a guy completely disrespectful and no regards to the guests dining!!! Apart from that the island was beautiful and I dreaded coming back to the mess of kuta with Bentag troopers and Benchongs of kuta night life however for anyone coming to bali do stay a least one night in Kuta each to their own You may actually be amused by all the drama of drunken idiot it has to offer. Having said that I met some really cool people on my flight back from Lambok and we had a great evening so, you can meet some really cool narrow minded people. I suggest you check out seminyak as it is beautiful they have really nice restaurants Potato head Being my favourite über cool and sleek nice in the day time for lunch and great for drinks and dinner in the evening with nice music slightly more expensive than most places but you get what you pay. I’m heading to Singapore nxt week but I will start a blog post of my experiences once I return to London.

  24. I don’t like places like this. It depresses me that we, westerners, go to Bali, Thailand, Laos etc. and turn these beautiful places into touristy hell.
    Nevertheless, I’m going to Bali this year and I will be in Kuta. I will try to make the best of it, as you did.

  25. Northbridge in Perth is far worse than Bali. People drunk, fighting, throwing up, getting arrested every Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.

    I’ve been all over the world and drunken idiots are everywhere.

    But, yes. I agree that Kuta is beyond saving. I fear for the rest of Bali. People are now going to Lombok to recapture the feel of lost Bali.

  26. As some of the other people commenting said, Kuta is to Australia what Cancun is to the USA. I have been to Kuta 5 times (I’m an Aussie) and loved every minute of it. It is a party town, that is all. I went there knowing it was a party town and got what I was expecting. In regards to the beach, I didn’t find the beach dirty at all.

  27. Well, if you absolutely have to visit Kuta and would prefer a decent stay, I think the Sheraton Bali Kuta resort is the best place. You’d not feel that you were in this over touristy place while in the hotel!

  28. Frankthedumbaussie

    Well kuta is filled with dumb drunken lunkhead Australians who over the years have ruined a once beautiful place. They are the worst most vile tourists. Yea either you have some dumb spring break Australian. ..or some old perverts trying to go after the young balinese working girls. Oh let’s not the forget the almost prostitute like Australian women lol

  29. Frankthedumbaussie

    I remember 30 years ago as a kid this place was unique…beautiful…sigh is the fate of beautiful lands to have westerners come erect starbucks and mcdonalds at every corner then turn it into a trashy shell.of it’s former self? Oh and then there are the western women “finding themselves”…thinking they are oh so adventurous traveling to these south east asian countries…theyre “finding themselves” …i.e. just an excuse to go drink and have sex lol

  30. It’s a dump.I only did such a trip there as I wanted a fun Asian Holiday back in 2000 preparing to meet new people as part of Changing my church group over upon Return to Australia and something different from the mostly Singapore trips I had been doing to that point.Otherwise It’s not my kind of place.If I want a tropical holiday I’ll be sticking to the South Pacific on Cruises or maybe try a land and air based vacation to Noumea or the Cook Islands.

  31. Kate, thank you for writing an interesting travel blog on Kuta that attracts so much attention. I not only am fascinated by your post, I am equally interested in all the comments, the different opinions and experiences fellow travelers express here.
    I know Kuta since more than 30 years. It used to be a fishing village, then attracted surfers and back packers and developed into this holiday and party destination first especially for Australians, now for the whole world.

    Kuta is not the typical Bali. On my site I try to give a balanced view of the whole island, not just Kuta and surrounding area. Come and discover the whole of Bali: http://www.BaliHotelQuack.com/

  32. This is negative as hell ! Also it’s untrue ? There are many little temples around Kuta and traditional practises which we’ve seen everyday . Yes it’s busy and a tourist trap but every country has a place like this.I’ve been in Kuta twice and don’t drink or party but I still enjoy the busy and interesting place , playing guitar with locals , surfing and bartering at the markets !!

    It’s so sad to see such negative bloggers out there . As far as the beach goes it’s clean and absolutely nothing like a landfill hahaha that is unbelievable to claim !

    Tourists are everywhere and it’s an impossible place to save of course but isn’t every city in the same boat ?

    Accept it what it is and leave your negativity behind , it’s fun and enjoyable if your a positive and experienced traveler.

    If you hate a place so much just don’t go there an leave it alone , go up to Amed where it’s rich in culture,traditional and friendly .

    Barry .

  33. It’s cheap on paper till you have to work out the daily costs.The Price of the Airfare,Hotel,Tours,Transfers and Insurance is one thing but the cost of personal safety is the other.Sometimes the extra one pays for a domestic or other part of Asia or even a South Pacific Cruise is a better option.

  34. I have to disagree: Kuta Beach is of course catering for mass tourism. Just this is an attraction on its own. Everyone knows what to expect here. So why not enjoy this atmosphere?! Surfing, shopping, eating and partying… And I have never found the beach or the water in any means dirty. For comparison look at the shore lines of Labuan Bajo or sometimes the Gilis. Of course Kuta Beach at Bali can not be compared with the prestine and lonely beaches west (!) of Kuta Beach at Lombok. After traveling all of Indonesia I think that a trip to Kuta Beach Bali is a must.

  35. I am planning to travel to Bali with friends in Feb..
    We like to do clubbing..
    Which area should we stay at.. and what should be minimum days we should stay in bali
    Please suggest

  36. So true. The beach is vile. I don’t hate Kuta but it is not on my favourites list. Luckily i am here in low season so it is survivable. I will definitely not be returning in high season. I am going to give Ubud, Seminyak and the Gilis a try!

  37. Hey everyone, reading all the blogs kinda put me off Kuta bali um just wondering as im planning to travel to Bali with my teenage sons can anyone give me some advise as to were id take my sons shopping, scuba diving and generally site seeing thanks…

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