Kuta is one of the most controversial cities in Bali when it comes to travelers, and there is a huge question as to whether or not it is worth the visit. Kuta definitely has a different vibe from many of the other towns in Bali. It has its good and its bad, but when most people have a limited amount of time in Bali, it’s important to consider both sides to make a decision for yourself.
The first positive thing about Kuta is its reputation for being a party city. It definitely does have more of a spring-break feel to it, and it's popular with the younger crowd. If you’re looking to spend a few days bar hopping, Kuta is the perfect spot to be. There are bars and drink specials everywhere!
Kuta is also known for their good surfing conditions. There are two groupings of waves at this beach: small waves roll in closer to the shore, and bigger waves roll out further. More experienced surfers can ride the bigger waves, while the closer waves are perfect for learners. There are official surfing schools as well as private surfing instructors all over the beach. The beaches in Bali vary quite a bit, so while you can surf at other beaches, Kuta is known for its good surfing conditions.
Another thing unique to Kuta are their turtles. The Kuta Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center sits right on the beach offering visitors a chance to see sea turtles at various ages. If you happen to find yourself in Kuta at the right time, you could even get the chance to release a baby sea turtle onto the beach!
Perhaps the biggest drawback to visiting Kuta are the local men who would cat call and make inappropriate comments while we were walking down the streets lined with shops. While relaxing on the beach, we were approached by several men asking to take pictures with us. Why? I have no idea. Many of them were polite enough to ask us and walk away when we declined, but we did catch a few men taking our pictures without our consent. It was creepy, to say the least.
Now, the first positive mentioned was Kuta’s reputation for being a party city. Depending on who you are, this can be either a good or a bad thing, so it deserves a spot on both lists. If you’re looking for a quiet or less-populated town, then Kuta is not for you. It is among the least authentic spots in Bali, as it is catering towards a different type of tourist.
With that being said, the food also suffers. Much of the food is subpar, and it is harder to find authentic Indonesian food. The worst food I had in Bali was in Kuta. That’s not to say that all the food is bad, but you should take a little bit more time researching where to eat instead of just walking into any place.
I also found that Kuta was the most expensive place I visited in Bali. Everything from the hotels to the restaurants charged more for lower quality. This is a negative, especially if Kuta is your last city, and you’re used to paying a lot less. However, expensive in Bali is still incredibly cheap by American standards.
Now it's time to answer the much-debated question: should I go to Kuta? Well, it really depends how long your vacation is and what kind of traveler you are. Kuta boasts some good beaches for surfing, as well as a fun atmosphere and the chance to see sea turtles. However, it is also a bit pricier than its neighboring towns and is a lot less authentic. Personally, I visited Bali to experience their culture. However, I don’t regret visiting Kuta at all. I got the opportunity to release a baby sea turtle, take a surfing lesson, and spend a couple days relaxing on the beach with a good drink. It’s not the best place to learn about Balinese culture or try authentic food, however it does offer some things that you can’t find anywhere else in Bali.