Kuta is an urban district of Bali and comes with an interesting history of how it came to be a popular tourist place. It was a primitive fishing village, which transformed into a tourist mecca of Bali in the face globalization and modernization. While it is primarily known for the beaches and the raucous nightlife, Kuta has a variety of things to do, places to visit and moments to experience. Museums, parks, religious centres and a whole lot of beautiful restaurants and diner, Kuta seriously has it all.
Kuta Beach is on the west of the Bali island and also is home to some widely popular beach resorts. The beach has transformed itself from a quiet seaside of a primitive fishing village to a bustling area of shops, café and tourists. Local buses can help you reach the beach anytime you want; however, if you visit Kuta beach during the peak evening hours, between 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM. It is because of what Kuta beach is known for – it’s absolutely picturesque view of the setting sun. Since most of the cafés are situated right by the beach, you can enjoy your food while gazing at the mesmerizing sunset and perhaps snap some photos for Instagram.
Sea Turtle Conservation
Turtles are a common addition in Bali’s ecosystem; it wouldn’t be unusual if you encounter one of the little guys on the beach. Even though they are common, turtles are precious, which is why the Sea Turtle Conservation on Kuta beach was established, in order to preserve the species, help them to nurture and grow. The centre has, till date, hatched hundreds and thousands of baby sea turtles and helped them swim out in the vast blue sea. It is absolutely free to enter the centre, where you can not only learn about the turtles but also how the benefit of their existence to the environment. You can even frolic ‘slowly’ around with the turtles in the centre and indulge yourself in the fun community activities they organize.
If you start a search online about Bali, the first attraction that flashes on the screen is the alluring images of Waterbom, one of the largest water parks in Bali. It is the oldest water park in the area, where you can enjoy a plethora of rides, including the much-loved ones such as Superbowl, Boomerang, Race Track and Smashdown. It gobbles up to 38,000 square meters and there are even pretty play areas and kids’ pools planted all across the expanse, as some of the rides are not made for children. Also, there are several refreshment centres and cafés, where you can just relax after indulging in all the fun-filled activities Waterbom has to offer.
Ground Zero Monument
The Ground Zero Monument comfortably rests on the Kuta and Legian border and is a solemn tribute to the victims of the 2002 Legian bombing. Alternatively called the Bali Bombing Memorial, the place was established to showcase the resilient spirit that humans possess when the terror knocks on their door. The monument is built from sandstone, with a large marble exterior containing the information of the innocent victims. The local government has lovingly maintained the structure, and are seen conducting a memorial ceremony on October 12th every year in the victims’ honour. The event is organized by both the Indonesian and Australian governments together. It is open 24x7 and becomes a mesmerizing sight to behold in the nights, becoming a shining beacon in the dark.
After watching Riverdale, most of the people wanted to visit the Pop’s Diner, but it was all a set for the show. This wish, however, can still come true, if you are in Bali. Cosmic Diner is a retro American joint, where you can enjoy some sweet chocolate milkshakes and mouthwatering cheeseburgers in a vintage setting. Checkered floors, vinyl booth seats, the retro outfits of the staff, neon jukebox, red cushioned stools and neon blue-red theme completes the décor of the diner, making you feel as if you have stepped in the 20th century. The menu is essentially American, including burgers, pancakes, waffles, milkshakes, fries, sandwiches and not to forget, coffee – and oh, so delicious!
Vihara Dharmayana, alternatively known as ‘Leeng Gwan Kuta temple’ or ‘Kongco Bio Kuta Chinese Temple’, is one of the popular religious destinations of Bali. It is a colorful and absolutely cheerful temple, situated just at a kilometre’s distance from the main coastal region of Kuta. Vihara Dharmayana is an ancient Chinese Buddhist temple and was visited by 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso when he was on his international tour in the year 1982. The structure is an amazing blend of Kuta’s rich history and Chinese-Buddhist architecture. Local devotees – who are mostly of Chinese lineage - have dedicated their entire lives willingly to take care of this temple. They are regularly seen conducting prayers and indulging in communal activities and more importantly during the Lunar New Year.
Kuta Theatre is a series of small theatres, where you can experience the Balinese culture and history, through creative methods. The theatre regularly conducts fascinating shows, plays and dance. Local performers clad themselves in the beautiful traditional attire and perform the popular Legong Dance, which is an exotic thing to watch, especially for the tourists. Along with it, there are puppet shows, magic shows as well as fascinating light drama shows, including the locally popular Lights of Faith show. It is open all days, from 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM, where wonderful shows and performances are comfortably lined up to provide a treat to people’s creative side.
Kuta Abandoned Plane
Kuta has a plethora of attractions for the tourists to explore, even some bizarre places. An abandoned plane anywhere else would be a neglected site; in Kuta, however, it is transformed into a popular tourist destination. It is located just five minutes of at a mile’s distance from Ngurah Rai International Airport and has been in the exact same place since 2007. The plane is usually referred to as the Dunkin Donuts plane, because of its outlet right by the massive form. It is a large Boeing 737, an active one in the past, now resting comfortably in its abandoned state. The reason as to why it is in its current spot is difficult to pinpoint as the people have cooked up some substantial backstories for it. Since people like the plane so much, it hasn’t been moved from there and apparently, will continue to do so, making people happy with its existence.
Puru Luhur Uluwatu – or simply known as Uluwatu temple - sits atop a steep hillock by the sea in Southern Kuta. Housed in the temple is the formidable Balinese deity Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa or Lord Rudra. One of the spiritual pillars of Bali, Uluwatu temple has absolutely ethereal architectural features, complete with ancient artifacts and huge gateways. The temple area has an extensive Amphitheatre, enclosed by flat stone seating in the periphery. Balinese performances take place here, including the popular Kecak dance, which has dancers depicting the story of Ramayana with fire and fanfare, in their glorious costumes and traditional music and instruments. It is something you should most definitely not miss out on.
Dream Museum Zone (DMZ)
Dream Museum Zone – or DMZ – is one of the enjoyable indoor attractions in Kuta, appealing to children and adults alike. It is filled with huge walls paintings in a 3D effect, making it quite a photogenic wall. These are around 120 three-dimensional illustrations, divided into 14 different zones, including Egypt, Safari, Renaissance, Sport, Indonesia, Korean Pavilion, among others. The place is more attractive for tourists, as DMZ lets them take back with them unique and awesome images. You can pose with and around white sharks, pleasantly big temple gardens, lava-filled valleys and realistic wildlife paintings, and make your loved ones jealous by showing them these pictures.
Dewi Sri Food Centre
Dewi Sri Food Centre is one of the must-visit places in Kuta, especially if you are a foodie. Their menu is quite an adventure, with the inclusion of Indonesian, Thai and even Western cuisines, such as spicy grilled corn-on-the-cob, the special pork noodle and the delicious oyster sauce. Once in a while, this small cluster of restaurants is also seen whipping up some live band music for the visitors so as to make their experience relaxing and pleasant. The prices are more than just reasonable and the staff is polite, helpful and friendly. The dishes included in the menu will definitely have you coming back to the food centre for more!
Genuine Fake Shop
You have obviously visited shops who guarantee that their products are 100% genuine. However, have you seen a fake shop which promises authentic fake products? No? Then hop on that plane to Bali and reach Kuta to visit ‘Genuine Fake Shop’. The shop sells everything, from clothes and electronics to fake notes. The shop works on no-barter policy – you like it, you get it! The shop’s owner is a sweet person, who will chase you out of the shop if you start haggling, but will always offer you cool water and even pick-up service if you are not able to easily locate the shop. Get some knockoff stuff from here and flaunt it like ‘genuinely fake’.
Kuta Night Market
The Kuta Night Market was established in the 1980s and is, naturally, one of the oldest night markets in the entirety of Indonesia. The market is essentially local, designed in a way so as to cater to the natives’ needs. Right from inexpensive items and products to other accessories and street food, you can find anything and everything in this night market. It opens up for people around 6:00 PM and it closes at the stroke of midnight. You can get clothes, perfumes, beauty products and other accessories, at a much affordable rate. The food stalls are seen selling local dishes of kewtiau, satays, gulai, asparagus soup, kangkong, seafood items and even frog legs. The Kuta Night Market does give an authentic Balinese experience and once you are done checking out the tourist destinations, a visit here is a must.
Bali is the ultimate place to find luxurious hotels and restaurants and some of the best ones are actually located in Kuta, such as Wanaku Bali. The restaurant stands out from the local fixations, because of the inclusion of quaint little ponds, waterfalls and fresh gardens. The food is equally exquisite, with authentic Balinese dishes presented in a modern way. Some of their famous dishes are Megibung, along with Jerungga Salad, Tum Ayam, Opor Ayam and Dengdeng Wanaku. While you enjoy your meal, you can simultaneously indulge in the contemporary activities and traditional performances Wanaku Bali lovingly put forth for their guests. With the blend of delicious IndoAsian cuisine, pleasant activities of local tradition and soothing natural setting, the experience one gets at Wanaku Bali is incomparable.
Bali Beer Cycle
Beer Cycles are somewhat of a new trend, hoping to get the parties out of the immobile settings of clubs and bar. Though these did surface first in Amsterdam, beer cycles become much famous in Bali and especially in Kuta. This one here, Bali Beer Cycle, is where you get to enjoy your beer with your friends as the world goes by around you. These cycles not only have unlimited stock of beer, available to the people through beer tap but also music, WiFi, a driver and even a host. Bali Beer Cycle works on four different packages – beer package, champagne package, cider package and non-drinking package. With affordable rates, Bali Beer Cycle is one of the best ways to unwind and relax in the company of your friends.
Kuta has a really long list of tourist attractions – it honestly can’t be described how long it actually is. The place has everything for every kind of traveller and tourist, such is the versatility of Kuta. As you must have realized by now, Kuta is an eclectic blend of modern shades painted over the traditional portrait of a culturally rich Balinese village.