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.

Bali travel tips: 10 things to know before you go

Bali travel tips: 10 things to know before you go

With its coral-speckled beaches, luscious green rice terraces and blissful azure seas, Bali has long been a haven for surfers, sun worshippers and yoga junkies …

21 Sep 2016 • Henry Fry insert_drive_file Article
Discover Indonesia: our film of the week

Discover Indonesia: our film of the week

Searching for that daily dose of travel inspiration? Look no further, but don’t be surprised if your feet start to itch for Indonesia. This archipelago nat…

16 Dec 2015 • Colt St. George videocam Video
The other Bali: an alternative guide to the Island of Gods

The other Bali: an alternative guide to the Island of Gods

Beyond the mystical sounds of gamelan and the intricate craft of batik, Bali boasts a world of subcultures often overlooked by visitors. The art makes bold stat…

20 Nov 2015 • Colt St. George insert_drive_file Article
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