Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Kuta Beach-South Bali

For many people South Bali is Bali; for many others it is anything but. Chaotic Kuta and upscale Seminyak throb around the clock. In the south, the Bukit Peninsula is home to some of the island's largest resort, while in the east Sanur follows the subdued beat of its reef-protected surf. The coast features a fine range of beaches.


The Kuta region is overwhelmingly Bali's largest and tackiest tourist beach resort. Most visitors come here sooner or later because it's close to the airport and has the greatest range of budget hotels, restaurant and tourist facilities. Some find the area overdeveloped and seedy, but if you have a taste for a busy beach scene, shopping and night life, you will probably have a great time. Go elsewhere on the island if you want a quiet, unspoilt tropical hideaway.

It is fashionable to disparage Kuta and its immediate neighbor to the north, Legian for their rampant development, low-brow nightlife and crass commercialism, but the cosmopolitan mixture of beach party hedonism and entrepreneurial energy can be exciting. It is not pretty, but it is not dull either, and the amazing growth is evidence that a lot of people find something to like in Kuta.
Kuta has the most diversions and the best beach-but the worst traffic and most persistent hawkers.

Mads Lange, a Danish copra trader and an adventurer of the 19th century, established a successful trading enterprise near modern Kuta, and had some success in mediating between local rajahs and the Dutch, who were encroaching from the north. His business soured in the 1850s, and he died suddenly, perhaps murdered. His grave, and monument erected later, are near Kuta's night market.

The original Kuta Beach Hotel was started by a Californian couple in the 1930's but closed with the Japanese occupation of Bali in 1942. In the late 1960's, Kuta became a stop on the hippie trail between Australia and Europa, and an untouched 'secret' surf spot. Accommodation opened and by the early 1970's Kuta had delightfully laid-back atmosphere. Enterprising Indonesians seized opportunities to profit from the tourist trade, often in partnership with foreigners who wanted a pretext for staying longer.

As Kuta expanded, Legian further north became the quist alternative, but now you can't tell where one ends and the other begins. Immediately north again, Seminyak continues north from Legian. All this has taken its toll, and the area is chaotic mixture of shops, bars, restaurants and hotels on a confusing maze of streets and alleys, often congested with heavy traffic, thick with fumes and painfully noisy.

(reference: by lonely planet)

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