Bali’s nascent attempts at becoming a surf resort date from the 1930s when an American couple, the Kokes, opened the island’s first beachside hotel, and Bob Koke — hailed as Bali’s first surfer — took to the waves on his big Hawaiian board.
Kuta’s charms were rediscovered in the 1960s and, since then, tens of thousands of travellers have seen sun-drenched Kuta turn into a flourishing world-class resort, where several generations of tourists have made their way up its village lanes each afternoon to witness one of Bali’s famous psychedelic sunsets prior to an evening of dining and entertainment.
Few people visit Bali without making at least one trip to this popular holiday magnet.
Young surfers still ride the waves that initially attracted early visitors but, since that time, Kuta has steadily grown into the most multicultural and worldly resort on the island.
Kuta is essentially a seaside boulevard. It stretches five kilometres along a beautiful public beach, flanked by a wide range of hotels, open-air restaurants and bars, internet cafes, surf shops, craft stalls, textile shops, travel agencies, beauty salons, moneychangers, spas, recreation, nightclubs and malls selling everything from diamond-encrusted Piaget wristwatches to ethnic basketry.Thousands throng to the Kuta Karnival in September/October each year — a festive nine-day celebration of Bali life on Kuta Beach.
Bali’s more creative local Destination Management Companies often incorporate Kuta and Legian into their MICE programs, either via the exclusive lease of one of the resort’s many entertainment venues for a group event or the option of a dine-around in a selection of its many sophisticated eateries.
[10:10:07] Efi Nur Handari: SANUR: Characterised by its unique charm and unhurried pace, Sanur has long been a popular destination for guests seeking a stylish, laid-back beachside getaway. Visitors and meeting participants delight in the romantic beachfront — a picturesque, unbroken seaside promenade that stretches past ocean-front hotels, luxury villas and luxuriant gardens, affording a pleasant stroll in the cool early mornings and late afternoons. This peaceful fishing village is the scene of massive investment in new five-star hotels and villas, and millions of dollars in hotel renovations. A spectacular beach conservation and landscaping project that replenished the sand and safeguarded the coral has made the calm, shallow lagoon and beach increasingly conducive to a wide range of marine sports and beachside activities. On any given day, people can be seen fishing, snorkelling, sailing, surfing or simply wading towards the reef searching for shells and tropical fish. Colourful jukung outriggers dot the horizon and line sections of the beach, while the massive, looming presence of Mt Agung and the eastern hills in the background, present an idyllic scene all year round.
In the 1930s, Sanur attracted a host of expatriate characters — bohemian artists and entrepreneurs – who set up house with the families of local landowners, claiming a piece of the nearest beach as their very own slice of paradise. Over time, guest rooms gave way to guesthouses that made way for chic B&Bs — the precursors of Bali’s first group of international-
standard hotels that eventually sprang up along Sanur’s reef-protected shore.
Famed for its legendary sorcery and magic, Sanur retains a decidedly village atmosphere. The community, focussed around important priestly Brahmin homes, is constantly busy with ceremonies and celebrations featuring performing art-forms and processions unique to the Sanur area.
Sanur, where local banjar meeting halls and ancient coral-walled temples sit side-by-side with exclusive hotel properties, offers a harmonious cluster of world-class restaurants, shops, nightspots, water-sport centres and traditional markets — a melange sure to provide days of serendipitous discovery for those who venture out into the many shady lanes and byways.
Visitors and locals flock to the Sanur Festival held each August/September, where beach games, dance, exhibitions, jazz and sports are among the many activities.
One of the highlights is a kite competition, with a myriad of flying creations made by members of the local community, entrancing visitors with a kaleidoscope of colours in full sail above the beach.