Popular Kuta is Bali’s most (in)famous destination. Streetside and beachside, Kuta is a cacophony of brash over-developed commercialism. Cheek-by-jowl stalls and incessant hawkers peddle all manner of tourist tat, and along with the traffic-clogged streets there’s cheap food, cheap booze and all night partying side-by-side an arc of golden sand with barrelling surf and gobsmacking sunsets.

More on Kuta

Browse hotels in Kuta on Agoda

Provided by Travelfish partner Agoda.

Bali’s first (and only) stop for many travellers, Kuta ticks all the boxes for folks wanting an undemanding and relatively cheap holiday by the beach while enjoying a bit of nightlife. For others, a barge pole away is way too close—Kuta is not everyone’s cup of Bintang. Whichever way you swing, Kuta is far from dull. Travellers may well look down their noses, eschewing Kuta for being “un-Balinese”, yet step into any back lane and the culture is alive and healthy. You’ll see offering-filled shrines, temples and may even encounter some genuine Balinese hospitality.

Catch a wave. : Sally Arnold.
Catch a wave. Photo: Sally Arnold

Before tourism, Kuta was one of Bali’s poorest villages, home to farmers and fishermen and in its early history known as a slave market. The 19th century saw Danish entrepreneur Mads Lange grow Kuta’s reputation as an international trading port. Kuta’s first hotel was opened in the 1930s by American surfers Bob and Louise Koke. Their story is recounted in Louise’s book Our Hotel in Bali, although some (likely inaccurate) accounts dispute that there may have been an earlier hotel run by Glasgow-born Muriel Walker, known as K’tut Tantri, later nicknamed “Surabaya Sue” and accused of collaborating with the Japanese during World War II. Her book Revolt in Paradise mentions the hotel. It’s possible K’tut Tantri and the Kokes were partners and had a fallout; Bali’s first ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 1,600 words.)

Log in to Travelfish

Please sign in to read the rest of this page. The full text is around 1,600 words.

Log in now
Become a Travelfish member

Choose from a free two-day pass right through to a lifetime membership.

Find out more

29 other destinations in Bali

Learn more about Pemuteran

Some great diving

Learn more about Medewi

Don’t go, it’s awful!

Learn more about Balian

Good swell, swell vibes

Learn more about Sidemen

Ubud without the hordes

Learn more about Sanur

Sleepy Sanur

Learn more about Amed

Bay after bay after bay

Learn more about Bukit

Beaches and more beaches

Learn more about Ubud

Eat Pray Traffic

Learn more about Munduk

Mountain getaway

Learn more about Nusa Lembongan
Nusa Lembongan

Surf and snorkelling

Learn more about Bali Overview
Bali Overview

An introduction

Learn more about Padang Bai
Padang Bai

Welcome to Bali!

Learn more about Candi Dasa
Candi Dasa

Old school beach resorts

Learn more about Amlapura

Explore rice fields and water palaces

Learn more about Tulamben

Dive a wreck

Learn more about Lovina

Black sand beach town

Learn more about Seminyak

Big sunglasses, good bars

Learn more about Jimbaran

Great beach BBQ

Learn more about Canggu

Villas and ricefields

Learn more about Gunung Batur
Gunung Batur

A popular climb

Learn more about Nusa Penida
Nusa Penida

Go now

Learn more about Nusa Ceningan
Nusa Ceningan

We love this joint

Learn more about Legian

Beach bums

Learn more about Bedugul

Cool weather, succulent strawberries

Learn more about Nusa Dua and Tanjung Benoa
Nusa Dua and Tanjung Benoa

Fancy pants resorts

Learn more about Denpasar

The capital

Learn more about Gilimanuk

West as Bali gets