make memories at
Kuta beach, one of the island's loveliest seacoasts. Skylight descends
in warm waves of color, leaving shy stars behind. Village fishermen
often set off at dusk, the sails of their prahus shrinking to frail
silhouettes that drift across a wide, red sun. They vanish into the
night, lulled by the rhythm of waves breaking on a beach longer than
vision can discern. They return when the young warmth of early morning
lights up the slopes of Mt. Batukau and, on clear days, the mountains
on the eastern tip of Java.
the villagers usually busy themselves at sundown and rarely wander down
to the beach to sit quietly watching the sun set into the sea. The Kuta
Beach Hotel, was opened in 1959, but guests were few. Only in the late
sixties did young travelers, at home riding the waves of Hawaii and
California and elsewhere, begin to frequent the beach. At that time,
almost everyone stayed in Denpasar, coming to Kuta for a swim, the
sunset, a kris dance and sometimes a night on the beach. The villagers
of Kuta were farmers and fishermen and metal smiths, and they were
rather surprised at the great interest their beach received. But like
many Balinese, they saw there was a profit to be made. For a small
charge they invited the travelers into their homes. Home-stays were set
up everywhere. These are clean, simple and cheap accommodation. A
number of larger hotels, such as the Kartika Plaza Bali and the Oberoi,
have also sprung up. There are many restaurants serving all kinds of
westernized dishes and "soul" food, and mini-boutiques selling Bali
beach fashions abound everywhere. Tourist activity has spread north up
the coast to Legian and beyond on the road to Krobokan.
It is said
of the sea claims at least one victim each year at Kuta beach, so be
careful, at times there is a strong undertow. Mostly, however, it is
fine swimming and the body surfing is great. Kuta and Ulu Watu have
waves as fine as anywhere in the world for board surfing. Boards are
available for hire. The Surfing Club of Bali was set up by an
Hawaiian-in-residence and a Lifesaving Club patrols one section of the
beach. In 1981, Kuta hosted international surfing and lifesaving events
on its golden beaches.
size and fame of
Kuta spread, the beach became popular with the residents of Denpasar.
Indonesians from the large cities of Java came by the tour load. Dozens
of art shops opened along the main streets. On the beach, girls and
women carry bundles of sarongs and batiks on their heads, looking for
customers. Young boys sell dance tickets, and young girls sell cold
drinks. At sunset, the beach is a lively place, and the roads are full
of cars and motorbikes.
the water stays
warm late until after dusk, like its saffron reflections; and the
smooth descent of the shore suits anything from building sandcastles to
taking long walks. Local beachcombers are on hand gathering fans of
white coral and stringing cowries into long necklaces to sell. The
Balinese sometimes come from near and far to perform rituals by the
ocean. Although all the ritzy nightclubs are at Sanur, Kuta after dark
is a popular place for young visitors to eat, drink and be merry. There
is a night market, one or two informal discotheques and numerous bars
and restaurants serving good food at moderate prices. Almost every
evening there is a performance of Balinese dance somewhere in Kuta. To
know what is going on, just ask around.
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