“AND THEN I REALISED, ADVENTURES ARE THE BEST WAY TO LEARN”
In 2011, I took my first overseas trip to Bali and I am still adamant that Kuta was a good choice for 19-year-old me. I was just out of high school and in my first year of university. I was young(er), naive and lacked cultural diversity – Bali opened my eyes to another world and I am so grateful for the experience.
Kuta is a very busy part of Bali as it is one of the most popular tourist areas. The famous Kuta Beach is located on the western side of the island attracting many young traveler’s and families to its shoreline.
It is one of those holiday destinations where you can choose to do as little or as much as you like, but no matter what you’re after, you’ll find the Balinese are very friendly, the activities here are endless, the accommodation is very affordable and it has a great night life for all the party goers as well as entertainment for families.
For anyone looking to travel to Bali, despite what you might hear, Kuta is a great starting point as there is so much to do close by – both indoors (for those occasional rainy days) and outdoors. If you’re looking to venture outside of the area, there is even more on offer and many private tour companies run out of Kuta, making it easy to organise your own day trip.
1. KUTA BEACH
One of the nicer looking beaches in Bali stretches 5KM offering beautiful sunsets all year round. There is a beach-side footpath available for a leisurely stroll and you’ll find many people surfing, playing beach soccer, sun-baking, and swimming. Locals offer massages and hair braiding as well – they will approach you, but just politely decline and they will move along if you’re not interested.
2. WATERBOM & CIRCUS WATER PARK
Across the road from the Discovery Shopping Mall is Waterbom. This is a great day out for families and groups of friends with plenty of water rides and water slides to keep everyone happy and a variety of eateries as well. In comparison, the Circus Water Park, located only 10 minutes north from Ngurah Rai International Airport, serves as a smaller and inexpensive alternative to Waterbom.
3. KUTA SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION SITE
For all the turtle lovers! The main purpose of this site is to protect sea turtles and boost their numbers. A joint effort with the Sea Turtle Society, they set out to involve local communities and visitors to participate in their efforts and exciting releases (usually mid-year around June and July). Drop in and check out their approximate release schedules to possibly partake in the next ‘baby turtle race’.
4. GROUND ZERO MEMORIAL
Built as a permanent site and tribute to the victims of the 2002 Legion bombing, the Ground Zero Monument sits on the border of Kuta and Legian. It takes over the site of the destroyed Paddy’s Pub that once stood famous on the main Legian road. The memorial is made of intricately carved sandstone, with a large plaque bearing the names and nationalities of the victims involved.
1. KUTA THEATER
A great place to drop by before dinner, the Kuta Theater features nightly stage performances with dazzling Balinese costume, illusions and magic tricks. There are VIP seats available for those wanting a closer view, as well as dinner packages for a one-stop evening experience – otherwise, standard tickets are $10 USD
2. DREAM MUSEUM ZONE
Dream Museum is a fun and interactive collection of galleries filled with large, immersive wall paintings that create a three-dimensional effect for photos. There’s an impressive total of 120 artworks in 14 different categories spread over three levels – you could easily spend a day here.
3. UPSIDE DOWN WORLD BALI
Upside Down World Bali consists of seven specifically designed rooms that deliberately have their decor and furniture, the wrong way up. Staff are also available to take photos to help you capture that perfect gravity-defying stunt!
4. PANDORA EXPERIENCE BALI
Escape rooms are all the rage at the moment and Pandora Experience offers 16 different scenarios to choose from! Designed for teams of 2 to 10 people, participants are put into thrilling scenarios where they have to work together and solve puzzles, discover hidden passages and ultimately escape the room in the time frame given.
DAY-TRIPS OUTSIDE KUTA
TANAH LOT TEMPLE
One of Bali’s most recognised tourist destinations, Tanah Lot temple, stands firmly on a rocky foundation just off the beachfront about an hour’s drive from Kuta. The temple is accessible on foot at low tide and is a very popular destination, especially at sunset, for photos.
One of only a few traditional Balinese villages left in Bali, Tenganan Village is only an hour and ten minutes’ drive from Kuta. The community is traditional, adhering to ancient customs and practices. They do welcome visitors and enjoy showcasing their arts, crafts and ceremonies. It is free to visit, though a donation is appreciated if you wish to have a local guide take you around and explain the history of the village. You may also have the opportunity to purchase hand made goods from locals.
One of six key temples, Uluwatu Temple is known for its incredible location, perched on top of a steep cliff 70 meters above sea level. It is one of the top places to go for magnificent sunsets, with direct views overlooking the beautiful Indian Ocean. WARNING! There are lots of cheeky little monkeys running around and they will not hesitate in taking any loose items from you including sunglasses, cameras and small bags. They are believed to guard the temple from bad influences, but for most part, they are the ones up to no good!
TANJUNG BENOA BEACH & TURTLE ISLAND
Located in Nusa Dua, Tanjung Benoa Beach offers many water sport activities including parasailing, banana boating, jet skiing, snorkeling and scuba diving. From here, it is possible to head out to Turtle Island however, visitors must travel by boat, so you will have to organise this at Tanjung Benoa Beach or with a tour operator before you arrive.
You can also organise activities such as island cruises, scuba diving, cooking classes, surf lessons, white water rafting, mountain trekking and bike tours – it all depends on what type of holiday you’re after. It’s easy to spend time wandering through the local markets, enjoying the many eateries and beach clubs; and I would definitely recommend a day of pampering!
If you’re wanting to explore more of Bali outside Kuta, check out my post on Ubud & Seminyak here!