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Entries in Accomodations (2)


Kuta Beach, Bali. Best and Worst, Old and New. The Real Deal.

I am perhaps the harshest critic of Kuta but I do have to give it its due on a couple points.  It has changed quite a bit in the 17 years I have been coming here and just 20 years before that, Jalan Pantai Kuta was just a dirt road lined with coconut trees linking Kuta, Seminyak and Legian.  But now it is packed with hawkers, chain stores, drunk loud bule and the traffic can be worse than the 405 at rush hour on a Friday.  Sure, for the first couple hours you can politely say ‘no thank you’ or ‘tidak tertarik’ to the hawkers yelling out to you every 4 steps, but they are so numerous and persistent that even Gandi would want to get a sign that reads, “NO, I am NOT interested in transportation, neon beer cozies, spiked motor bike helmets, drugs, massage, etc.” I remember thinking after first arriving, “How sad.  Bali is over.  Some places can handle tourism and the influx of the almighty dollar, but unfortunately, Bali can not.”  This was of course before I smartened up and got the hell out of Kuta as fast as I could and saw the real Bali. 


The short video above is from The Balifornian Tours & Travel Blog's "Quick Look" series. 

I return to Kuta seldomly, but I do have some dear friends there like Mas Ngurah and his sweet family who run the newly renovated Baleka Hotel and Resort.  If you want to be in Kuta, it’s a great value in a good location and with the Balifornian discount, you can get a steal of a deal on some modern and impressive lodging.  They have a pool and The Gula Gula Restaurant and Lounge.

That being said, the cause of the over-crowding is in fact for good reason as the beach itself is a world-class beach with white sand and great waves.  If you can avoid road rage getting in, and the crowds at the beach, it can be close to a quintessential beach experience (although I greatly prefer being on a beautiful beach alone or with a small group which Bali also offers).  The trash on the beach is certainly disappointing.  “Littering” is an unknown concept to many Balinese.  In fact our close friend Kadek is a bright and very spiritual person, but I have seen him toss his trash onto the ground on occasion.  Its not that he and many other Balinese don't care or are bad people, they just did not receive the same repeated messages that we in the west did- No cute owls telling us kids to “Give a hoot and don't pollute”.  I in no way blame the Balinese for all the trash on Pantai Kuta as much of the blame falls on the tourists.  However major efforts are underway to educate and its effects are being seen already.  For example, this last weekend was Eco-Weekend on Kuta beach and a massive clean up volunteer effort was held to clean up the beaches.

The surfing in Kuta is great for most levels including the beginner and there are tons of activities.  One secret we recommend is a place on the beach called 27 Beach.  The short video above was shot at this location. Neither I nor the staff knows the significance of the ‘27’ as I asked half a dozen of them, but they have a great pool, post-surf shower, comfy lounges and decent food and drink.  It serves as a great home base to sit with friends, have lunch and drinks, head to the beach for play or surf, and return to your own un-crowded spot.

As much as I can get down on Kuta, I am thankful for it, as it being the easiest place to get to (just a few km from Denpasar Airport), it keeps most of the obnoxious tourists in one small spot leaving much of the real Bali for the rest of us.

Leave a comment and let us know what you think of Kuta.


Sanur Beach ~ A great place to stay in Bali ~ Photos

Sanur is certainly one of our favorite places to stay in Bali.  It’s close to our land so we can easily check on things in Ketewel, so we tend to spend a good amount of time in Sanur.  Despite it being one of the oldest places for expats to occupy, it has retained its charm and boasts one of the best beaches in southern Bali.  When the Dutch came to colonize Bali as far back as the late 1800’s, Sanur was their point of entry and where they called home.  Also during World War II, The Japanese used Sanur as their entry point. This being said, current day Sanur shows very few remnants of these past events and is a cozy small town with excellent restaurants, great little shops, a fun nightlife and plenty to do to keep you busy. It's a great alternative to loud and crowded Kuta and it's still close enough to the airport so its not a difficult journey.

Bali Sanur beautiful girl beachThe many Gazebos dotting Sanur Beach are great spots for a picnic But as mentioned above, the biggest draw might be the clean white sand beach. It's protected by a reef making the water calm for swimming and snorkeling at high tide. And at low tide the beach can be explored for marine life.  Although many areas like Amed and Menjangan Island are far superior for snorkeling and scuba, its still a nice way to pass the hours hanging out at the beach.  There is a lovely beachfront walk that covers the length of the town’s downtown area (over 4km) and has some little cafes, which are perfect for a beachside Bintang and there are many hotels that you can pop into for a nicer bite to eat.

Bali Travel Sanur beach bestColorful catamarans line Bali's Sanur Beach

There is some surfing as well, but mainly the surfing done here is wind surfing.

Our two biggest suggestions for Sanur are The Village and The little Pond.  Little Pond is a small hotel with perhaps 15 rooms and a nice small pool.  It’s nothing fancy but the value is excellent as the rooms range from about $17-35 USD and they are clean and fairly well appointed.  If you are not looking for really cush accommodations and want to save a bit of money, this is a great place to stay.

 Best Bali Travel Sanur VacationA great way to spend a day in Sanur

On the other hand, a bit more pricey suggestion is The Village restaurant.  While I much prefer traditional Indonesian food when I am in Bali, once in a while its worth it to try something else.  The Village is one of these places.  I lived in Italy and this modern eatery in Sanur is perhaps one of the top 10 Italian meals I have had outside of Italy.  The design of the restaurant is modern and stylish and the wine cellar is one of the best in the area.  The volcano pizza is one of the most bizarre looking entrees you can imagine but its really not quite as tasty as some of the other dishes.  It is certainly a head turner and a fun option but I would suggest the pasta dishes.

Bali travel tips sanur best tour

I do also want to mention Warung Pregina as it is also an excellent option as it serves delicious traditional Balinese food.  The crispy duck is fantastic and the value is hard to beat.

Sanur is a great place to spend a few days.  While it is heavily touristed and you will be annoyed by hawkers and the inexplicable practice of each and every taxi passing by honking at you, its still a nice place to stay and enjoy the beach and it’s turquoise waters, good food and minimal but fun nightlife.