In the 19th century Kuta on the southwest coast was a thriving slave market attracting a wide cross-section of lowlife, lepers and black market practitioners. In the late 1960s, the poor fishing village on the way to Bali’s international airport was discovered by seasoned hippy travelers who were attracted by its cut-rate hedonism and magnificent crescent-shaped two-kilometer long beach. Today Kuta and adjoining Legian to the north are one of the world’s best-value hangouts and the island’s craziest, liveliest and naughtiest beach towns. Located 10 km south of the Bali’s capital Denpasar, Kuta’s 3-km long beachfront road, Jalan Pantai Kuta, is lined with luxury resorts, shopping malls, fancy restaurants and clubs. Its parallel one-way inland artery, Jalan Raya Kuta, is packed door to door with travel agencies, money changers, beauty parlors and unending shops and smart boutiques. And, not to everyone’s delight, you will be approached every 50 meters by street side sellers, drug pushers, tour-guides and many other overly eager sellers of merchandise and ‘services’. A dozen narrow lanes filled with travelers, backpackers and surfers wend their way inevitably from the main street to the sea. About 5 out of 10 tourists are Australian, most of whom never leave the area. The beach road is a carnival of motorbikes, honking cars and thousands of milling pedestrians drawn to Kuta’s famous sunsets. Only 3 kilometers west of the airport, a well-known stop on the international tourist circuit, new investment and increasing prosperity have brought about a dramatic renaissance in Kuta with the introduction of multi-story shopping malls and stylish entertainment centers. Flowerbeds have been planted; enviro-friendly trashcans provided, the streets are regularly patrolled and fixed prices are now charged at beachside food and drink stalls. The shopping here is unparalleled on Bali. Creative and unusual beach wear, global brands, designer fashions; leather, silk, tie-dye, ikat and batik, footwear, cheap beads, sunglasses jewelry, fine art and surf shops, garish souvenir shops, rambling art markets and all-under-one-roof shopping emporiums. Classy or lowbrow, you name it - they have it.
If surfing, sunbathing and cavorting is not enough, then the rollicking non-stop nightlife: air-conditioned big-city style discotheques with strobe lights, cabaret shows with live bands, elegant dinner clubs, pubs packed with tank-topped beer-swilling Australians, and laid-back open-air cafes facing the beach where tourists provide the richest source of amusement for other tourists. Hundreds of restaurants serve a truly mind-boggling range of cuisines in every price range and degree of sophistication. Once a sandy path through acres upon acres of coconut trees, neighboring Legian - essentially an extension of Kuta though with a slightly more chic attitude – is now a 2 kilometer walk on a sidewalk besides a busy road running north (more pleasant to take the beach). A bona-fide tourist destination in its own right, ever-popular Legian is more residential and upmarket with glamorous cafes, beach panoramas and a few surviving pockets of nature. In either Kuta or Legian, few hotels are suitable for weddings and no villa wedding options or dedicated wedding chapels are available. Unless you want leering onlookers in their bathers, open-air beach ceremonies are not advisable and few beach photo opportunities present themselves. For receptions, caterers, live music bands, flowers and decorations, bride-to-be clothes shopping, morning after brunches or family functions and venues with unique ambience such as art galleries or cosmopolitan international restaurants are just minutes away with minimal transportation costs. Kuta & Legian are Bali’s most convenient destinations for out-of-town guests who may also take advantage of accommodation options ranging from basic inns in the back lanes to star-properties overlooking the ocean.
On the other hand, because of the lack of facilities for newlyweds, you may choose to trim the guest list and downsize and simplify your wedding in preference in favor of just having a good time. Casual with no dress code is the norm in these sprawling beach communities. In spite of this crowded and funky coastal strip’s round-the-clock activity, the beautiful tropical sunsets and sensuous walks along moist firm sand along a broad swath of grey beach are created just for young lovers. If you accept Kuta and Legian for what they are –honky-tonk, noisy, traffic clogged, hyper touristy and overcrowded – they can be a fun place for couples and guests who prefer to stay in an all-inclusive beach resort, yet want to braid beads into their hair, buy a fake Rolex, get a temporary tattoo or just surf, sunbathe and cavort on the sand. Finding someone to share your life with is reason enough for a good party? In general Kuta and Legian are less suited for weddings and only a few options and venues exist. If you want us to help you arranging for your wedding in Kuta / Legian please send us an email. Please see the following links if you wish to learn about other areas for your wedding in Bali:
Happy Wedding - Jameela Tey ℠™