Until a few years ago just a village on the highway, UKUNDA is now a scruffily burgeoning town and the main service centre for the resort hotels, strung out along the Likoni– Lungalunga road, with a post office (Mon– Fri 8am–12.30pm & 2–5pm, Sat 9am– noon), a KCB bank with ATM next door, a petrol station opposite, a couple of places with Internet access (BTS near Casino Pub, for example), which is cheaper than at Diani Beach, and hundreds of dukas. Only marginally touched by tourism, Ukunda has a life of its own, not all of it pleasant: the sprawl is an increasingly deprived area, and along with Likoni) was a centre of ethnic violence in the region prior to the 1997 elections, when some 100,000 "upcountry" people were forced to flee. Still, if your holiday isn't otherwise adventurous, it's worth a visit to see something of Kenya a little less unreal than the strip.
If you need accommodation in Ukunda (and if you're on a budget, you could consider staying here and simply catching matatus down to the part of the beach you want), there are several cheap B&Ls, the best of which is Corner Guesthouse (PO Box 855; Tel:0724/173484; 2), just north of the junction for the beach road. Quieter is the family-run Gombato Lodge, 2.5km north (no phone; 2), with reasonable B&L-standard rooms, and a dozy bar.
For nightlife, almost anything here comes as a shock after Diani's more urbane delights. All the bars can seem (and sometimes are) pretty rough places, so go with a Kenyan friend if you can. Currently, the best are New Dodoma Club, 200m south of the beach road junction, the more mellow Juhudi Club, 400m further south of the junction, just before the filling station, and Masai Club, which is just north of the junction.