The white sands of Kuta are still arguably the best beachfront on Bali. The beach is much cleaner than just a few years ago, although the vendors remain annoying. Kuta is a booming Pacific resort and its streets are clogged with tourists and traffic during peak seasons. Legian is more of the same, just as crowded, but more suitable for longer stays, although in many ways it has become an extension of Kuta. Further north, Seminyak, Petitenget and Canggu offer more tranquility.
Kuta is a shopper's paradise. This is partly because it's an important manufacturing center of summer wear, jewelry and decorative handicrafts which are exported all over the world. Most of the goods are designed by young expatriates from Europe, the USA or Japan.
The best area for shopping is J1. Legian, JI. Bakungsari, JI. Melasti and nearby back lanes such as Poppies I and II. Some of the best deals, though, can be made as far away as Seminyak. Before buying, check everything carefully because goods are not returnable. Beware also of "antiques", as most are fakes.
Kuta has also several department stores. On the down market side Supernova, near the post office on JI. Raya Kuta, offers casual T-shirts, flashy purses and jewelry, while the big Plaza Bali on JI. Raya Kuta has kiosks offering the whole range of Indonesian handicrafts such as batik, ikat textiles and designer clothes. The best department stores for that one-stop-shop are the Matahari stores. There is one on Jl. Legian, one in Kuta Square and another in Mal Bali Galleria on the roundabout on the Sanur By-Pass. As well as ladies, gents and kids clothing departments, they all have supermarkets attached. You will also find the Gramedia Book Store in Mail Bali Galleria as well as the Periplus Book Store.
Kuta offers the whole range of clothing prices and styles, from gaudy T-shirts to exclusive designer cloths. Always check the quality of costly items to ensure you don't get export remnants. Branded goods are not always authentic. Counterfeit items are abundant in small shops, bargain hard. In designer outlets, don't expect more than 10 or 20% discount. Items with price tags are not always exempt from bargaining. A good tailor shop is Aneka Tailor on JI. Kartika Plaza, Gang Melati 7. They will copy or make almost anything to order from suits to shoes for men and women. They have a large stock of different fabrics and leather and offer a speedy service.
The established manufacturers generally have more than one outlet in Kuta and Legian. Check out Uluwatu for cut-lace women's wear at one of several locations: JI. Legian, JI. Bakungsari, JI. Pantai Kuta, and Gang Poppies 11. Rascals in Kuta Square carries batik swim sets with matching sarong, costume and accessories. Animale is a huge ladies clothing store in Kuta Square, set out over three very stylish floors. Huge bright collections of day, night and beach wear.
The Balinese partiality for the shiny and the glittery has inspired flashy sport wear and dazzling footwear, like that found at Meidy Collections on Jl. Legian Kaja 458B and JI. Pantai Kuta 23B, and Dynasty at JI. Raya Seminyak 496 and JI. Legian Kaja. A Mica Bali, Jl. Legian 286 has ladies' wear and trendy sandals. A. Dyana Pura has a number of small shoe shops that will also make shoes to order. Try Desperado for some outrageously funky as well as more sensible styles. Muti on JI. Legian Kelod 402 has flashy footwear at reasonable prices. Kaya Gaya, JI. Basangkasa 1, has shoes, bags and jewelry with an emphasis on embroidery and beads.
Colorful children's wear is popular throughout Kuta these days. One of the originators is Kuta Kidz, JI. Legian at Bemo Comer, with a classic collection of fun and sun wear. The second outlet is on JI. Legian Kelod. Indigo Kids and OK Kids are on Jl. Pantai Kuta, across from Made's and next to Kentucky Fried Chicken, respectively. Do Re Mi Kids, A. Pantai Kuta 194 also has a wide range. Bali Beach Kids in Kuta Square Block C-25 features children's beach wear.
The Kuta Kidz name has now been reclaimed by the licensee in 2007. The original owner and designer have had to change their name into Pokito (girls) and Qii (boys). They still have one shop on the Bemo Corner under the new name, and others in Jl. Bakungsari (Jl. Singosari) Kuta and Jl. Dyanapura in Seminyak. To make it confusing the licensee is currently using the name Kuta Kids on Bemo Corner as well. The name might be the same, but this is absolutely no guarantee that the quality of the products will be the same too, as the producers of the original Kuta Kidz had to adopt their new names after 20 years of using the Kuta Kidz brand.
For the teen set, Bouncy Wear, JI. Basangkasa 1142, Seminyak, has a colorful range of knit clothing. Body & Soul NYC at Kuta Square 32D and Jl. Legian has trendy fashion, Lycra pants, shirts, and bright prints.
Surf Wear is the rage in Kuta now. Stop in Spyderblit on JI. Pantai Kuta, King Kong, Jungle Surf on JI. Legian (opposite Logi Mini Market), Bali Barrel, JI. Pantai Kuta and Jl. Legian, or The Curl on J1. Legian Kelod 191. Get colorful shorts and T-shirts at Lost Boy or Amphibla, JI. Legian. Joe's Surf Shop, JI. Pantai Kuta 29D is owned by one of Bali's original surfers, I Made Darsana. Baik-Baik on Jl. Raya Kuta has colorful cotton print shirts and trendy pants. Mr. Bali on JI. Legian has fancy shirts, military bermudas and checkered shorts; or try Mr. Bali's brother, Mr. Bali Gozeng on JI. Bunisari. The two giant surf wear brands Billabong and Quiksilver both have stores on JI. Legian and sell everything from watches and jewelry to the latest designs in surfboards. Surfer Girl also on JI. Legian is a huge shop selling everything for the beach girl.
Mambo Surf Deluxe Store, JI. Melasti 34 and JI. Legian Tengah 419, has Mambo brand T-shirts under license, cheaper than overseas. The Surf Shop, JI. Legian 94, has labels including Uluwatu and Kuta Reef, along with T-shirts, bermudas and glasses. Rusty Surf Shop, JI. Legian 462, has imports from Australia * Dreamland Surf, Kuta Square D24, has another range. Bali Design, Gang Poppies II and JI. Legian, has surf wear at more reasonable prices.
Leather is big business in Bali. Bags, belts and footwear can all be found along JI. Legian. Some designs incorporate plaited rattan, dubbed "jungle Gucci." Among the notables: Gocko, JI. Legian 406; Natural Leather Station, off JI. Legian near Legian Banjar Kelod; Orlando Leather, JI. Legian. For leather handbags, Site Fashion, JI. Legian 373 or Bella, JI. Leglan 166; Inti Kulit, JI. Laksmana 117; Asia Baugs Leather, JI. Kartika Raya.
You'll find many "antique" stores in Kuta. Be very wary of your Balinese finds: many objects aren't genuine. Most genuine antiques have disappeared, but it's still possible to buy good pieces between 25 and 40 years old from Bali, Java, Kalimantan, and Nusa Tenggara. Hand-woven textiles, ikat, from many ethnic groups are authentic and a good value. Look for natural dyes, as opposed to brighter chemical dyes for traditional quality.
Location map of Shopping in Kuta-Legian
Last revised on December 15, 2009
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