A view of Kuta Beach in the morning
The hustle and bustle in Kuta during the day only intensifies at night. The town’s seemingly endless number of restaurants, bars and nightclubs beckon tourists to party through the thickness of the night. What attracts me to Kuta’s nightlife scene is the strong live musical presence. Unlike the party areas in some Thai islands which are dominated by DJ-played techno music, Kuta offers you more live band performances. This is proof of the Balinese and the Indonesians’ (in general) love for music and singing.
When you come to Kuta at night, expect to see bars and clubs everywhere, blasting their own loud stereo in hopes of capturing the attention of passersby who can’t make up their mind. Expect neon lights blaring and drunken groups of men (young and old) stumbling around and having the time of their lives. Expect a crowd of folks speaking foreign languages blocking the sidewalk. If you happen to be Caucasian, expect local touts pestering you about a taxi ride using their best imitation of an Australian accent.
Make no mistake about it, when you come to Kuta, you will witness one of the most intense party scenes in South East Asia. Your eyes will be blinded by the neon lights, your ears will have to deal with loud club music, and your nose will be perturbed by the smell of garbage sitting in a dark alley. And if you come here and expect otherwise, you will be disappointed!
Even though its roots suggest that Bali was once a backpacking haven, over the years, the island has been increasingly marketed as an upscale resort destination. Travel costs including accommodation and dining at other beach districts on the island have been rapidly increasing. But what I like about Kuta is it remains somewhat defiant to this change. This rebel district continues its merry way by providing backpacker accommodation, cheap beer and affordable dining. It is in Kuta, where you can find stores offering a variety of second-hand travel books. It is the district to go to if you want to rent a motorcycle for a day for around two or three dollars after some negotiating. Kuta’s basic rooms, which are offered by homes-turned-guesthouses, make it possible for a wandering shoestring traveler to stay on the island for weeks and even months.
Because of Kuta’ bare bones and dynamic nature, it is only fitting that younger traveling souls are drawn to stay around this district. Older people or families who want to still be close to the action tend to stay in the neighboring districts of Legian or Seminyak. Kuta’s streets are narrow. As tourism grows, traffic here is becoming more and more unbearable. The best way to get around the area is by walking.