Kuta's six-kilometer-long, crescent-shaped surfing beach, protected by a coral reef at its southern end, and long and wide enough for Frisbee contests and soccer games, is famous for its beautiful tropical sunsets and broad swath of gray sand, and also list of great eating places along the beach.
You will see everything here at Western kids doing wheelies with BMXs, topless Italian women, Euromen in G-strings, beach-tennis players, California joggers, patrolling Indonesian soldiers, clusters of carts selling steamed corn and bags of peanuts, hefty Dutch matrons, packs of mangy dogs, hordes of Javanese tourists, cyclists, horseback riders, hippies, masseurs, and whole Australian families with Whoopi Goldberg hairdos.
Huge crowds gather it sunset, setting up tripods, reading novels, humming guitars, swigging cold beer, tripping in magic mushrooms. Vendors, who may not venture beyond an official demarcation line, offer massages, drinks, souvenirs, and bikinis. Large sun umbrellas are for rent. Nude swimning and sunbathing, as well as motorcycle and surf buggy riding, are frowned upon by the local police.
The beach is extremely crowded in August and December. For any semblance of seclusion you have to walk north for at least a kilometer past Legian.
Although Kuta beach is inviting, watch the treacherous undertow and strong currents. Since 1958, over 100 tourists have drowned here. Always swim within the flag markers on the beach, loop near the crowds and lifeguards, and remain within the reef.
Kuta became a hippie haven and surf paradise the early 70s. The best waves are the lefthanders out on Kuta Reef; the best surfing from March to July. Kuta Reef is accessible motorized outrigger from Jimbaran.
Young Kuta cowboys tend to be real possessive about their waves, make friends with them first. For surfing equipment, head for the dozen or so surf shops on Bakung Sari and Jl. Legian. Run by veteran surfers, these shops rent and sell surfboards, boogie boards, and such accessories as watersport wear and tide charts. These guys can also give you current information on the state of surf. Surfboards can also be rented on beach.