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.
Back in the 1960’s the only hotel was the Kuta Beach Hotel, but soon without much planning, Kuta developed rapidly into a haunt for surfers and backpackers, while the high end market preferred to stay at the more sedate Sanur village on the opposite side of the peninsula.
With time, Kuta’s popularity grew, and 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 massage 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.
One poignant reminder, however, of the tragedy that befell Kuta is a monument located next to the present Paddy’s café. The monument is erected in memory of those killed during the fatal October 2002 bomb terrorist blasts. The blasts killed more than 300 people, mostly Australian tourists and Indonesian workers.