The once sleepy fishing village of Kuta was discovered in the 1960s due to the sweeping, sandy beach, which is renowned for its world class surf breaks. Years of unplanned development turned it into a jumble of closely-packed pubs, raucous nightclubs, tacky restaurants, souvenir shops, juice bars, money changers, beauty parlours, surf emporiums, second-hand bookstores and budget hotels.
However, a shift in strategy, new guidelines and planning, means that a gentle renaissance is now taking place and Kuta is slowly maturing. Immediately north of Kuta lies the neighbourhood of Legian, which was initially developed as an upmarket alternative to Kuta. Today, however, these two beachside villages have merged together and the similarities, such as the cheap and cheerful eateries, pubs, souvenir shops and market stalls, make it hard to distinguish the boundaries.