For the last week of my travels I’ve been based in Kuta in Bali, Indonesia – a place famed for epic surf and binge drinking Aussie holidays.
It’s also a place I based myself in for nearly a month last year when I simply wanted to be sat in one spot for a while, surf and generally just relax.
Kuta filled that spot perfectly – I had a some sweet accomodation (including 2 pools!) and was a 2 min walk from the waves in one direction and 2 mins walk to the main part of town in the other.
What I also quickly realised is that Kuta is one of the cheapest places I’ve ever been as a backpacker – even more so than Cambodia – and seeing as everyone backpacking the world wants more bang for their buck I thought I’d pass on a little info and maybe tempt you over to Indo and Kuta itself!
Accomodation wise you’re pretty spoilt for choice in Kuta as it’s the main hub of the Indo travel scene and popular destination for the Aussies to head to.
Personally I stayed at Ayu Beach Inn on Poppies 1 in the centre of Kuta. Here a twin room set me and my buddy back around 150k rupiah (don’t fret that’s only about £10!) which included the use of 2 pools, a free breakfast, free wifi and was situated close to the beach and the town.
There are cheaper options (although you get what you pay for!) and of course way more upmarket places, but £5 a night is pretty cheap in my books. If there’s 3 of you travelling together you can make it even cheaper and split a triple at around £4 per night.
When it comes to budgeting when your backpacking you’ll find that booze will take up a large percentage of your expenditure, especially – if like me – you enjoy a good bit of partying and lazy cocktails on the beach.
Kuta has some heaps cheap options for cheeky drinks that won’t make your wallet cry. For example an ice cold beer on the beach will be around 14k rupiah – that’s just short of a quid, and you’ll get a gorgeous sunset or view of the reeling surf thrown in for free!
If you fancy heading out for the night Alley Cats bar serves up its infamous Double Doubles (basically a double vodka redbull) for 15k rupiah, now that’s going to get you where you want to go pretty quickly for under a fiver!
The crowning glory in backpacker drinking bargains is without a doubt the Skygarden Club on Legian Street. In fact this is probably the best backpacker bargain I’ve found worldwide for a long time.
For starters there’s the 50k BBQ special every night from 5pm – with the first hour including free beer…a great way to get your night started.
Then from 9pm-10pm EVERY night there’s the free flow cocktail hour, literally all you can drink for an entire hour!
And if that wasn’t enough on Friday and Saturday nights they also do a reload hour from 12pm-1am with free vodka redbulls.
If you’re running low on cash and still want to party hard you can’t go wrong here, there’s nothing better than waking up in a hangover haze the next day and realising you spent NO money!
And with all these free booze nights and surfing throughout the day you’ll want to make sure you’re well fed too.
Because it’s a big tourist hub Kuta caters for all tastes and wallets when it comes to food. There’s your standard McDonalds if you’re that way inclined, but for those who want to sample the local grub and not break their budgets you’re in luck.
There’s heaps of great little restaurants dotted around Poppies 1 and 2 in the centre of the town – serving up local treats like Nasi Goreng or under 15k (£1) and with epic portions too.
My upmost favourite has to be the Warung Indonesian buffet in the connecting alley between the two – where you can pick out a range of dishes to try, all served up on a bannana leaf with rice and you can get a solid feed for under 15k (£1)
If you’re wanting a bigger feed or some more western food this alley also has a heap of restaurants serving up everything from pizza to chicken courdon blue – both of which will set you back around 30k (£2).
So whatever you fancy eating there’s no reason to starve or spend heaps!
Of course backpacking isn’t all about drinking and eating – you’ll want to explore and do some things too!
Kuta is a great little base to explore some good chunks of Bali and you can rent a moped or hire a taxi for the day to get around.
I headed down to Uluwatu (around an hours drive south depending on the traffic!) for a day trip which included a stop off at the Monkey Temple and Padang Padang Beach and it set me back around 70k (around £5)
If you’re looking at learning to surf or hire a board for some waves Kuta Beach offers a good spot to learn and a board will cost you around 30k (£2) for a couple hours, with lessons being a bit more.
For those surfers looking for something a bit more challenging you can also hire a boat to take you out to the reefs of Airport Left and Airport Right for around 50k (around £3.50) return.
If you arrive in the right season (from mid June onwards) you can also take a stroll down Kuta Beach to the turtle conservation area – where once or twice a day you can que up and release a baby turtle into the ocean!
Yup you get you’re own little pot with a newly hatched turtle and around 100-200 people head to the waters edge to set them free and watch them navigate a short stretch of beach and begin their life at sea…and the whole thing won’t cost you a thing!
…although I highly recommend giving them a donation to help continue their great work!
And then of course is the rest of Kuta Beach – where you can relax, sunbathe and swim in the warm ocean without spending a penny, unless of course you fancy a back massage while you do so!
What More Could You Ask For?!
For me at least Kuta has all the elements for a pretty epic backpacking spot – sun, sea, surf and a dirt cheap party scene, so my last month here was literally filled with surfing days and partying nights!
And at the end of that month I barely spent £500 all in!
So if you’re heading to Bali or Indonesia I suggest stopping off for a few days to sample it, it won’t be everyones cup of tea (in fact it has a pretty bad stereotype) but if you’re on a budget it’s a great place to base yourself to sample a slice of Indonesia or a base to explore the rest of Bali from.
…and you can have a solid day and night for less than £15!
Have you been to Kuta before – what did you think?