how to be a tourist in kuta, bali: don’t

I never knew just how huge Bali was until I started researching for the trip. Ben and I had been invited to a friends destination wedding in Bali, so we decided to make a whole vacation out of it. We planned to spend a total of 6 days in Bali before heading over to Singapore for the second leg of the trip. We needed to end up in Nusa Dua, which is where the wedding was. I had also heard great things about Ubud, so I wanted to check that out. And we wanted to do one more region in Bali just to explore a bit more. We wanted to stay on the south side of the island since our time was limited, and driving towards any other direction would have been too far. We settled on Kuta because Fodor’s was telling me that it was a town with fun, beachy vibes with lots of shops. It was also about 20 minutes away from Denpasar airport, which meant that we only had a short car ride after a long flight from NYC that arrived at 10 PM. 

Honestly, there wasn’t much to do in Kuta and knowing what I know now, I would have just skipped this and spent a few extra days in Ubud, or picked a lesser known town. It’s a town for ex-pats, with tourist traps for restaurants, and there are a lot of (empty) loud clubs there with employees trying to lure you in, which wasn’t our scene. Perhaps if I was 10 years younger but now, I just want to eat good food, explore the sights, shop, and get back to the hotel at a reasonable hour. Is that so much to ask?

Here are the things we got to check out while in Kuta:

1. Beachwalk Shopping center

This is an open air mall. They have your typical shops but also some unique ones. There’s even a supermarket, where we bought cut up dragon fruit for about $2 USD!

$2 dragonfruit

2. Kuta beach

This was my first Bali beach experience and it just wasn’t it. First of all, it was so windy that day, that it would be impossible to lay out. Second, the beach was so dirty – maybe even more so than Coney Island. There was garbage everywhere. Third, it’s impossible to step onto the beach or even sit anywhere without having a vendor harassing you to buy something – whether it’s a beer, or renting out a beach chair. We left after 5 minutes and went to the pool at the hotel, which was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in life

3. KUTA Art market

This is where you can buy your souvenirs. They have T-shirts, bags, magnets, etc. We didn’t buy anything since it was just our first day in Bali but if you do, make sure to haggle. The tip is to be willing to walk away

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