Crammed with hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs, tour agencies and shops, the KutaLegian–Seminyak conurbation, 10km southwest of Denpasar, is Bali’s biggest, brashest beach resort. The beach itself is one of the finest on the island, its gentle curve of golden sand stretching for 8km, and lashed by huge breakers that bring experienced and novice surfers flocking. Be wary, however, of the strong undertow and always swim between the red- and yellow-striped flags. Everyone else comes to shop and to party, fuelled by a pumping nightlife that ranges from the trashy in Kuta to the chic in Seminyak and Petitenget, though drugs, prostitution and gigolos (known locally as Kuta cowboys or mosquitoes because they jump from woman to woman) feature all over. Although the resort’s party atmosphere was shattered in 2002, when Islamic extremists from Java bombed Kuta’s two most popular clubs, and again when Kuta Square was attacked in 2005, the good-time vibe has resurfaced. A Monument of Human Tragedy now occupies the 2002 “Ground Zero” site.

Accommodation, shopping and restaurant options broadly fit the same geographical pattern, with Kuta the destination of party-going travellers, Legian the choice for families and couples, and Seminyak favoured by those with style and/or money. Kuta stretches north from the Matahari department store in Kuta Square to Jalan Melasti, while its southern fringes, extending south from Matahari to the airport, are defined as Tuban. Legian runs from Jalan Melasti as far as Jalan Double Six (Jalan Pantai Arjuna); Seminyak goes from Jalan Double Six up to the Oberoi Hotel, where Petitenget begins.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Indonesia features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

24 breaks for bookworms

24 breaks for bookworms

1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas In 1971, fuelled by a cornucopia of drugs, Hunter S. Thompson set off for Las Vegas on his “savage journey to the heart of …

02 Mar 2017 • Eleanor Aldridge camera_alt Gallery
26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

From ancient temples to hyper-modern skyscrapers, these are just a few of the world's most incredible architectural wonders. Whether you're looking to wander l…

01 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
Go solo: the 20 best places to travel alone

Go solo: the 20 best places to travel alone

Solo travel can be one of the most rewarding ways to explore the world. Whether you'd rather spend it on a desert island or in a frenetic new city, here are th…

21 Dec 2016 • Rachel Mills camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month