7 reasons to pick Kuta over Ubud
The title of this blog makes me cringe.
Anyone who knows me, knows full well that I try to stay clear of places like Kuta. We've labelled that entire beach and resort area, "the armpit of Bali”. But hey, if you’re in your twenties and you feel like chugging back a substantial amount alcohol while listening to drunk Aussie calls for a taxi “meeedaaa" . . . well, to each their own. Not my style though. So, when we're back in Bali, we gravitate towards Ubud. Yeah, it's pretty quiet. For some, maybe even dull. But, If you’re not there to party, it's a special place. The Balinese culture, which has all but disappeared from the over-developed south, has somehow remained completely intact around Ubud. Combine that with less humidity, fields of endless rice paddies, and lots of amazing eateries . . . yeah, it's pretty much our favourite place ever. I do pride myself on being open minded though, so here's my best attempt. There might still be a small, tiny even, benefit from staying in what is the most populated tourist area of Bali.
Hangouts + nightlife.
Countless beach bars are spread across the beaches of the Kuta area. Throughout the day, you have endless options of chill hangout spots. Really cool places that make it super easy to detach from reality and slip into immediate vacay mode . . . with a margarita on the side. The liveliness of Kuta means that you'll rarely be bored. The mentality of "you'll sleep when you're dead" reigns supreme here. Partying starts in the middle of the afternoon and continues to the next morning. Kuta's nightlife game is ON POINT. Meanwhile, Ubud is . . . well, it caters primarily to couples, families, and people who aren't into the "Spring Break in Bali" bit. If that's your thing though, Kuta's got you covered. In alcohol.
Unless you’re one of those (weird) people who prefer unpredictable weather with sporadic precipitation, well then Ubud loses this battle by a long shot. Rainy season? Pfft. Sunny skies more like it! Every single time we're in Kuta, the weather is just damn near perfect. Which makes sense, since Ubud is surrounded by lush jungles and located on higher elevation. If you’re looking to score that golden bronze tan though, your best bet is to head to the tanning capital of Bali.
I love Ubud. But, one of the worst things about the place is the horrendous condition of every single walking path. Scooters rule, pedestrians drool. The sidewalks are usually corroded, torn, or under construction for the next hundred years. You have to be an extremely alert walker at all times. Take a step? Make sure to look down first! Just don't ever forget to look up too before a speeding scooter takes you out. Not really the most "relaxing" experience, huh?
The insanely beautiful, indoor, air-conditioned eateries.
Because sometimes you just really want to sit in an icebox with a cold drink and not sweat profusely while you eat your meal. Currently, Ubud has only a handful of eateries or cafes with indoor, air-conditioned rooms or seating. Sure, many of the restaurants are beautifully decorated and the overall ambiance is uber romantic, but who really cares when it's still hot as hell. I am happy to say that the ever-so-popular Milk & Madu eatery from Canggu just recently opened up near Ubud's palace. Indoors. Air-conditioned. Central. Score!
When it comes to shopping, Ubud can't compete with the endless options in and around Kuta. Sure, you’ll find many of the same boutiques scattered all over Hanoman and Monkey Forest, but they’re usually small and they carry 50% less than their southern counterparts. The selection is incomparable, not to mention that the prices are substantially higher! Seminyak, in particular, has the best selection of boutiques, often offering huge sales and even nearby designer outlets. All in all, shoppers in Bali should head south to fill up that extra suitcase.
It’s not that the beach is super nice in Kuta. Sorry to burst your bubble, it’s really not. (Psst, head to Uluwatu, Green Bowl, or White Sand Beach for Bali’s best). Rather than the quality per se, it’s the simple fact that Kuta has a beach at all. Ubud is, at the very least, 45 minutes from the nearest one. If you’re a surfer, diver, snorkler, or just a beach bum, that factor alone makes Kuta your pick over Ubud. The good news about Ubud is that you can always find an amazing hotel or villa with a salt water pool, or even head to Jungle Fish for an ultimate “no beach, beach resort” experience.
Blue bird makes things SO MUCH EASIER. In the Kuta area, those taxis are everywhere. You'll know by the constant honking to get your attention. They also run on meters, which means you won't have to bargain back and forth before you even get in. Since Ubud is a "no taxi zone", you're forced to walk down hazardous pathways while ten Balinese men simultaneously shout "taxi?!", or simply hold up a cheeky sign reading, "I'm cheap, I swear!". You're left to rely on private vehicle drivers who make up their own rates depending on their mood and then tell you to walk a few hundred metres to their overheated parked van. I'm not lazy, nor am I trying to be difficult, but that dreaded place, Kuta, wins yet again. Blue bird is the word, Ubud. Get on that.
That's it. It's all right there. I guess an armpit is still useful, no matter how stinky it can get. Have you ever been to Kuta? What about Ubud? Is there a place that's a tourist hotspot, but you just don't get the attraction? Let us know in the comments below!