Kuta, The Famous Beach
"If you have not been to Kuta, you have not been to Bali," as the saying goes.It is often confusing when one mentions the word Kuta. Just try doing a Google search, and it will return at least a hundred different hotels and restaurants. Officially speaking, Google is right. Afterall, Kuta actually represents the name of a district in Bali, covering a total area of 17.52 km2. But the heart of Kuta - where all excitements are happening, kids are building their sand castle, novices are picking up surfing - stretches only about 1 km long.
The beach line in Kuta district is segmented into three parts - Tuban Beach, Kuta Beach and Legian Beach. So the next time you head your way down to Bali, be sure of where you are going. As its name implies, Kuta Beach is 'central' beach, accessible from Jalan Raya Pantai Kuta. Over the past decades, Kuta Beach has evolved to become the central magnet of Bali. When you enter Jalan Raya Pantai Kuta, you will be greeted by the Hard Rock establishment. Due to its aggressive marketing in places such as Singapore, many first timers who come to Bali for a short 3 Days 2 Nights gateway think that Hard Rock is the best that Bali has to offer. As you go down the street (Jalan Raya Pantai Kuta), you will find Harris followed by Mercure Hotels.
Personally, I do think that these three hotels are comparable. The view from Mercure's pool is unbeatable. As you continue walking down the streets, you can find wide variety of eating choices - from Pizza Hut to Mc Donalds, from Nanxiang Restaurant offering fine chinese cuisine to Vivo Rosso offering dine and lounge experience. If you prefer something that is small on budget but great in taste, there is a food court located right at the centre of Jalan Raya Pantai Kuta. You can pick from Chinese seafood to traditional Indonesian to Western dishes. Just be prepared to be aggressively courted by the stall vendors. They will not force you to buy, just politely tell them that you want to first look around before deciding your pick.
As you continue to head down the road, few more decent hotels - Grand Istana Rama, Kuta Seaview Cottages and Kuta Bali Hotel - add to your list of accomodation choices. Choose one of these hotels (along the main street) only if you plan to spend your entire days doing nothing else but hanging out at the Kuta Beach. Otherwise, smaller (but not less descent) hotels or inns offer more budget-friendly alternatives.Hundreds of thousands of tourists visit Kuta Beach every year. Absent of any disasters or major disruptions, the beach is crowded throughout the year. This is a place where many Balinese (and even migrants from land as far away as Java and Sumatera) depends on for their living.Continued on the next page