Loud and frenetic are two of the adjectives commonly used to describe Kuta and Legian, the centre of mass tourism in Bali. Today's wall-to-wall cacophony has become notorious worldwide through often overhyped media reports of tourists behaving badly.
Although this is often the first place many visitors hit in Bali, the region is not for everyone. Kuta has ugly narrow lanes jammed with cheap cafes, surf shops, incessant motorbikes and an uncountable number of T-shirt vendors and bleating offers of 'massage'. But flash new shopping malls and chain hotels show that Kuta's lure will only grow.
Legian appeals to a slightly older crowd (some say it's where fans of Kuta go after they're married). It's equally commercial and has a long row of family-friendly hotels close to the beach. Tuban differs little in feel from Kuta and Legian, but has a higher percentage of visitors on package holidays.