While many well-meaning friends advised me to stay away from Kuta Beach as it is considered the default and "mainstream" beach (ala Boracay), I couldn't help but still feel so lucky to be there. I mean, come on -- it definitely doesn't have white sand but take me to any beach with the sun shining bright and I'd be deliriously happy.
The beach shoreline stretches from Kuta to Seminyak, the latter where most of the tourists, surfers, surf instructors are located. In short, Seminyak (from the side of beach anyway) is a more populated area where I spotted so many tourists hanging out, drinking, sunbathing -- it was pretty crowded. But it's in the Seminyak beach area where all the activities are: you can rent the surfboards, kayaks, banana boats, jet skis, etc., and where you can enjoy Bintang by the beach if you prefer to mingle with tourists and locals.
Where we stayed, Home36 Condotel, was ironically a more welcome and chill alternative even though it was beside the mall. And another reason to stay in Home36 (if you plan to stay in the Kuta area) is it is literally beachfront real estate.
If you wake up early enough then you can enjoy the serenity of Kuta beach. This was taken at 9am on a Wednesday where most of the tourists were either still lounging in their room taking their sweet time or having breakfast.
Kuta has been receiving so much bad rep in the past due to waste in their beaches, but I honestly didn't spot any the week I was there -- or maybe they were all concentrated in the Seminyak area where 90% of the tourists were? On my Kuta side, the beach was clean and I didn't see anyone littering. If any, Kuta Beach sorely reminded me of Sabang Beach in Baler -- the fine grey sand, the gurgling waves that rose from 2ft to 5ft. The water isn't crystal clear as the waves and strong undercurrent constantly disturb the sandy bottom. Very, very much like Sabang.
You can hang out by the rocks near the beach and sunbathe, or take your board with you and try to ride the waves, or people-watch. Guess what our favorite activity was :P
Another thing you mustn't miss is the sunset on the Kuta Beach side, and the people who come out to watch it. By 5pm everyone positioned themselves on the beach to marvel at the golden sunset. You'll be surprised how many tourists this wide beach can accommodate.
Golden hour is my favorite time to photograph people and places because everything always looks scenic and extra dreamy.
As the sun set and disappeared into the horizon, the temperatures dropped and it signaled the end of another beautiful day. It was time for dinner and for us to pack up our things for our Manila flight later that evening.
If it's your first time in Bali consider staying in the Kuta area. It may not be as chill (ala Eat, Pray, Love) as Canggu, or the beach may not be as pristine as Nusa Dua's, but it's smack in the middle of affordable restaurants and modern conveniences. It depends on what you want, really. Start from Kuta and then explore from there.
Thank you for this vacation, achi Tish, this beach escape was truly what we needed. I cannot wait to head back.
More Bali adventures here: http://bit.ly/BaliChronicles.