Once a sleepy village with a quiet, beautiful sweep of beach, Kuta today has become a popular beach destination in its own right, alive with tourists from all over the world, swimming, surfing or sunbathing by the beach. Others, casually dressed in shorts, T-shirts and flip-flops stroll along its main road, shopping around or enjoying meals at its many open air restaurants. When in Kuta you know that you are in a holiday town, and people here are in a holiday mood.
Kuta’s popularity grew over time from the old days, shops, restaurants, discos, hotels, - from the simple to the exclusive - sprang up along the main road from Kuta to Legian, catering to the ever increasing holiday crowd, that not only included international tourists but also domestic visitors from Jakarta and other big cities.
On the beach, people enjoy parasailing, banana boat trips or swimming, women offer traditional Indonesian massages on the beach, others are seen plaiting hair.
Before sunset, crowds rush to the beach waiting to watch Kuta’s legendary sunsets. Then as darkness falls, Kuta’s nightlife starts to throb with loud music from bars and restaurants, while shops stay open till late at night. Kuta’s main attraction is that everyone can enjoy the town without any prescribed dress code.
Many famous international bands and celebrities have voluntarily played and sung here enlivening the fun, dance and music scene of Kuta.
There are plenty of taxis that can take you to Kuta beach. You can rent these by the meter or by the hour. Taking your own car is not recommended as parking here is very tight.
Moving around Kuta is very fun and simple. You can go around on foot or you can rent a bike or motorcycle.
Many visitors come here to shop. Kuta is a manufacturing centre for summer wear, jewellery and decorative handicrafts that are exported all over the world. There are department stores to boutiques, to roadside stalls.
Popular night spots on Kuta include the Hard Rock Café, De Ja Vu, the Bali Globe, Paddy’s Café and many more.
Kuta is the ultimate beach resort catering to any taste and budget. You may stay at five star hotels, or at clean “losmen” or home stays. In the hotel complex you will have privacy at the hotel’s own beach front or swimming pool, but when you stroll out you will be met with the hustle and bustle of the town centre.
There are various foreign and local restaurants that offering international and local foods. These restaurants are available along Kuta.
Greet the sun as she gradually rises from below the horizon radiating the most brilliant colors over Sanur Beach, while the soft white sands embrace the oncoming waves: a perfect picture of a beautiful sunny morning, where nature displays her fascinating features at the tranquil, laid back retreat of Sanur, east of Denpasar, capital of the fabled island of Bali.
Located just 25 minutes from the international airport, 30 minutes from the Kuta area, and 15 minutes from downtown Denpasar, Sanur is renowned as Bali's first beach resort and is actually where the early tourism industry grew on Bali.
Sanur is also recognized as the largest village in Bali where its people - as with the rest of east Bali - are particularly friendly, welcoming and accommodating. Despite the locals’ activities and the abundance of restaurants and accommodation, it is surprising how un-crowded and peaceful Sanur is. There are many activities to try as well as beach resorts and restaurants but these are all spread along a long coastline, creating a secluded feeling where the action goes unnoticed to sunbathers and loungers on the unspoiled beaches that continue to maintain the traditional Balinese feel.
Sanur beach is a long stretch of beautiful white sand lined with palm trees that shade dreamy footpaths, market stalls and relaxed beach cafes. Along the beach are traditional Balinese Bale (raised shaded open verandas for lying down or relaxing). Most are no longer in use although a few are sometimes occupied by fishermen who fish in these waters.
The waters of Sanur are protected by a long string of offshore reefs, creating large, warm shallow, safe lagoons that are perfectly clear and excellent for swimming, snorkelling and a whole array of water sports. Surfers will be pleased to know that the reefs around Sanur produce some of the best waves in the world in the right conditions although they can be very shallow at low tide. But there are more consistent waves beyond the reefs good for surfing.
Sanur is also the launching pad for visitors who want to dive and explore the splendors of the nearby island of Nusa Lembongan which is approximately 8 square km in size, and is one of three neighbouring islands, the others being much the larger Nusa Penida and tiny Nusa Ceningan. Many areas around the island are good for diving and snorkelling, with abundant marine life and healthy corals. Surfing can get a bit crowded, but the waves are good. There are several white sand beaches away from the main centres which are virtually never crowded.
Located within the vicinity of Denpasar, Sanur is a 20 minute taxi ride from the Ngurah Rai International Airport. There are plenty of metered taxis all over the island that will be keen to take you to Sanur. This is one of the more straightforward areas of Bali to find as the main Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai is the western boundary of Sanur.
There are many well signposted exit points from this main road into the heart of Sanur. Allow about 30 minutes driving time from Kuta or Legian, about 45 minutes from Seminyak or Ubud and 15 minutes from Downtown Denpasar.
Sanur is also well serviced by shuttle buses and bemos from the north and south and also from Denpasar's Tegal terminal. The bus company Perama has its Sanur office in Jalan Hangtuah, and offers direct transfer here from Candidasa, Kuta, Lovina, Padang Bai and Ubud. Private shuttle buses run from most major tourist centers of Bali to Sanur; check local advertising and always book 24 hours in advance.
Jalan Danau Tamblingan, the main street in Sanur, has a number of outlets for car, motorbike and bicycle rental. A large number of metered taxis patrol the streets looking for passengers. Local bemos run with some regularity up and down both Jalan Danau Tamblingan and Jalan Danau Poso. Sanur is also a great place to walk. Distances are not far, the streets are relatively quiet, and there is a splendid, paved beach front path which runs the whole length of the district.
Sanur's splendid paved beachfront cycle-path stretches some 5 kilometres from the Jalan Mertasari area in south Sanur, north to the main beach at Jalan Hangtuah. This makes for a lovely scenic bike ride, especially in the early morning. The more active could try one or more of the many watersports on offer at Sanur Beach. Try kitesurfing, windsurfing, wakeboarding, surfing or paragliding. For those less active, hire a banana boat and hit the calm waters. The surf here is not great by Bali standards but there are reasonable breaks about 1km offshore during the northwest wind season (about October to March). In that period you will have no problem locating the breaks — just follow the locals.
For one of a kind experience, you should try the Sea Walker – a safe and exciting underwater adventure and a unique diving system, that provides an opportunity to observe the underwater world to a depth of 15 feet without certification, and without getting your hair wet. Participants actually walk along the bottom of the sea, rather than swim while numerous exotic fish and sea life are found all around.
Sanur is a quieter version of Kuta that offers a decent selection of accommodation options. You won’t find the mega resorts of Nusa Dua, but you will discover a price selection, with many small personal places situated close to the beach. As a site where tourism flourished for the first time in Bali, Sanur has a complete selection of Budget, mid-Range and Luxury options.
There are a lot of restaurants and cafes along the coastline, for budget meals you may want to try the pasar malam (Night Market) at the northern end of Jalan Danau Tamblingan where it meets Jalan Pungutan.
Nusa Dua is a special, self-contained tourism estate, built comprising of a large Bali Convention Centre and complemented with super-deluxe resorts. Here you will find some of the world’s best known hotel names, like the Grand Hyatt, the Westin Resort, the Laguna Resort & Spa, the Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa, Melia Bali, Nikko Bali, Novotel Nusa Dua, and the Ayodya. The sprawling hotels offer beautifully manicured gardens, fantastic panoramic views of the blue ocean beyond, long stretches of white beaches and swaying palm trees. And, adhering to the architectural rule here, no hotel is built taller than a palm tree, making Nusa Dua a truly tropical dream paradise.
Some twenty years ago Nusa Dua was a barren and deserted area, where just a few fishing communities lived. A French company entrusted with compiling the Bali master plan recommended that Bali’s unique culture be protected from an undiscriminating onslaught of tourists to the island. In order to do this, the bulk of hotels and tourist facilities must be kept apart from the essential way of life and culture of Bali. Thus the development of the Nusa Dua resort was envisaged in this barren area, which would not encroach on the lush agricultural land of Bali, and provide routes inland to access the myriad attractions that the island offers.
Today, Nusa Dua is Bali’s top venue for important international conventions.
Nusa Dua is easily accessible from Bali’s Ngurah Rai airport directly by a wide highway. Hotels usually provide their own transportation. There is a shuttle bus between the hotels in Nusa Dua. Since all hotels are situated rather far in from the main gate, you must hire a taxi to see sights outside of Nusa Dua.
Besides going for meetings and conventions, Nusa Dua offers some of Bali’s best Spas for ultimate pampering and relaxation. There are also good golf courses and Olympic sized swimming pools.
All hotels in Nusa Dua offer fine dining, or have their own coffee shops. There are no roadside stalls here.