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Known across the world for its beautiful beaches and pumping nightlife, Kuta is one of Bali’s most famous tourist regions, North Kuta exudes a somewhat quieter ambience than its neighbours to the south, with the upmarket resorts of Seminyak and Legian at its heart. While the great swathes of sandy beach are the obvious jewels in North Kuta’s crown, there are excellent restaurants to dine in, surfing and scuba diving to try, boutiques to peruse, spas to unwind in and spiritual temples to explore too.
Seminyak is North Kuta’s Cote D’Azur, the destination for the glitterati who come to lounge on the impossibly pretty beach and while away evenings in the swanky cocktail bars and restaurants. It is the region’s boutique and spa capital, with some of the best shopping in all of Bali to be found here. Independent stores sell trendy clothes and one-of-a-kind designs, and there is a whole host of small art galleries to browse. Spas too are big in Seminyak, and few who visit here leave without enjoying a pampering spa or massage session. Seminyak’s allure lies in its pure holiday atmosphere, where activities can be as exciting as horse-riding along the beach or discovering the underwater world on a scuba diving course, or as laid-back as watching the legendary sun dip behind the Indian Ocean horizon.
Outside of Seminyak, the North Kuta region promises surf-friendly beaches, coastal villages and some of Bali’s most important Hindu temples. The once-quiet fishing villages of Kerobokan, Dalung and Canggu are today home to relaxed resorts, a world away from the hustle and bustle of Kuta town. Palm trees line the dark-sand beaches, fishermen still sell their daily catch in the early morning light and all around the rural village are undulating rice paddy fields typical of Bali.
For those in search of a perfect family destination, Legian offers close proximity to the excitement and amenities of Kuta yet with a more low-key atmosphere. The resort lies just south of Seminyak, with one blending into another. The beach is lapped by gentle rolling waves, which are ideal for splashing about in, while the seafront is lined with restaurants, and there are the ubiquitous shopping and spas here too.
When you crave a break from shopping, surfing and eating, North Kuta’s striking temples provide a more cultural diversion. Smaller temples such as Kerobokan’s Pura Petitenget, perched on the beach, are small and pretty, and often used for beach-side ceremonies. When it comes to temples however, North Kuta’s famous Tanah Lot is the must-see. Located in the far northern corner of the district, this picturesque temple – one of Bali’s most important landmarks – is poised precariously on top of a rocky outcrop. Ravaged by the sea over the centuries, the revered temple is now islanded, and at low tide hundreds of thousands of pilgrims wade over to worship here. While non-Balinese people aren’t allowed to enter the temple itself, you can visit at high tide to get stunning crowd-free photographs.