When I looked up a little information on Kuta, Bali, here's what I found:
"Kuta Beach is located on the western side of the island's narrow isthmus and is considered Bali's most famous beach resort destination."
"Kuta is the best known tourist resort area on the island of Bali in Indonesia..."
"Kuta boasts the best beaches in Bali, a five-mile stretch of clean sand that is a magnet for surfers and sunbathers."
"One of Bali's first tourist
Sounds perfect right?
We were only there for two full days, but that was enough time to learn that I probably won't be back to this part of Bali anytime soon. Having said that, I'm really glad that I went.
Kuta, Bali is a fast paced, crazy busy place. Our hotel was situated right in the heart of a maze of narrow streets clogged with shops, tourists, motorbikes, and cars. It wasn't so different from any back street here in Shenzhen or Nha Trang, Vietnam. I expected the village-side of Kuta to look tired, shabby, even dilapidated and massive amounts of motorbikes to take up the roads based on my experiences in Asia.
I didn't expect the beach to be lined with souvenir stands and frippery. Since Kuta Beach was only a 15 minute walk from the hotel, it was where we planned to spend some quality time. It was a big let down to see the state of things. Half of the beach was lined with vendors (all those umbrellas in the picture below) willing to sell you time on the chair, beverages, food, massages, gaudy souvenirs. What remained of the beach and that wasn't pounded by the surf, was debris filled sand.
The best part of Kuta Beach was watching the surfers and the sunset over the Indian Ocean. Two parts of the descriptions that were actually accurate about this place.
Since the beach was less than we were expecting, we retreated to the hotel roof top pool. It was a refreshing shallow pool and we enjoyed lunch pool-side both days.
The main highlight of the trip was our Mt. Batur Sunrise Trek with Pineh Bali Private Tours. Mt. Batur is an active volcano (last erupted in 2000). Our hike began with a 1:30am hotel pickup. At 3:00 we were at the Pineh Colada Bali, Bali coffee plantation and organic farm, having banana pancakes for breakfast. We climbed 1717m (2.73 miles) in 1:52:29 in the dark to watch the sunrise! Our second breakfast was a banana sandwich and boiled egg at the top. On the climb down we got to see all of the things we passed in the dark including the monkeys! We were all finished by 9am!
The Pineh website describes this experience as a once in a lifetime and it was! Our guide, Rapi, gave us GREAT support getting up and down the mountain. It was challenging and got even more challenging the higher we went. Without him literally holding my hand, I would have fallen many more times than just once on the way down.
It was short and sweet, but as usual we tried to get as much out of an opportune trip as we could.
Have you ever hiked at night?