Best places to stay in Bali
Whether it's the beaches dotted with bars and cafes or the exclusive boutiques and fine-dining restaurants that draw visitors to Seminyak, they can be assured that this beach resort area, while being just fifteen minutes away from its crowded cousin, is worlds away from Kuta in terms of nightlife and crowds.
Nightlife is nevertheless prevalent in Seminyak but significantly different to that of Kuta. Instead of nightclubs, Seminyak is famous for its beach bars and cafes. Surfers are also seen flocking to its sandy shores– the coastline makes for good surfing conditions. Seminyak is 5km from Ngurah Rai International Airport, making it a convenient (and obligatory) stop-over.
The upmarket town spoils visitors for choice with its many hotels, villas and spas. Ranging from three-star to world-class accommodation, Seminyak is the best place to stay for people of all ages and budgets. Lush tropical gardens, swimming pools, and exquisite dining options offer a quiet escape from the energy radiating from outside hotel walls. With hotels also offering daily activities and child-minding services, Seminyak is especially ideal for families with children.
>> Accommodation in Seminyak
The epicentre of Bali's arts and culture, Ubud presents a stark contrast from most of Bali's popular towns that bustle with nightlife and beach activities. Ubud radiates positive energy and is known to attract artists, naturalists and humble travellers.
Ubud lies in the highlands of Bali and is most well-known for its green rice fields that blanket much of the town. Other than visiting the fascinating Hindu temples, meeting with holistic medicine practitioners or watching Balinese dance performances, Ubud's monkey forest never fails to amaze – watch out for your belongings, though! The monkeys are known to pickpocket.
Accommodation ranging from three-star cottages to five-star villas are found in the heart of Ubud, placing the Ubud Art Market and Monkey Forest only a few minutes away on foot. Spacious Balinese-inspired rooms offer views of surrounding greenery and are usually equipped with private balconies. Most lodgings have swimming pools, restaurants and fitness centres. Far removed from the parties and crowds of Kuta, Ubud has been an attractive option for families, and especially couples. While children can be kept busy, Ubud ultimately remains the most popular destination amongst adults and couples.
>> Read more about where to stay in Ubud
Canguu is a small beach village twenty minutes from Seminyak. Colourful beach bars, prime surfing conditions and wholefood cafes attract hipsters and beach-lovers from all around the world. The green rice fields beautifully contrast the black volcanic beaches which, while not being ideal for days lazing on the beach, make for challenging surfing sessions. The beaches in this region are also less polluted than those of Kuta and Seminyak, and the water is clean.
Canggu's unspoiled beauty acts as a backdrop for the island's attractions which include great dining locales and shops. Budget to mid-range restaurants serve both local and western food. Canggu's three main beaches are untouched by hawkers, other than friendly locals selling ice cream, pineapples and coconuts. Just north of Canggu, perched on a rocky outcrop is the Hindu Temple of Tanah Lot where beautiful sunsets are admired.
The Instagram-friendly scenery of Canguu offers a rich cultural experience and is the best place to stay for families and young adults wishing to take a break from the bright lights of Seminyak. While small hotels and bungalows are common forms of accommodation in the region, private villas are the most popular.
>> Accommodation in Canggu
Just fifteen minutes away from the Ngurah Rai (Denpasar) International Airport lies Kuta, a town where nightlife is rife, and traffic forever congested with endless sights of scooters and taxis. Restaurants and fast food locales are scattered along the main street of Jalan Pantai Kuta along with countless shops and currency exchange booths. Waterbom is a popular water park that can also be found on this road.
When Jalan Pantai's restaurants and vendors call it a night, visitors can wander down the narrow alley that is Poppies Lane, towards Jalan Legian, Kuta's party strip. Poppies lane is dotted with local vendors, internet cafes, bars and anything else you could need, scattered between traditional architecture, local homes and backpackers.
The best place to stay is along Kuta beach. Accommodation along the main road mainly comprise of five-star hotels. Closer to Legian, cottages and three to four-star hotels become available. Most are self-contained, however, featuring multiple pools, daily activities and excellent staff. Kuta is best suited for adults who enjoy nightlife and don't mind sleepless streets. However, hotels do offer solace from the street noise, with families with children scattered throughout Kuta.
>> Read more about where to stay in Kuta
Translating to ‘sweet' in Balinese, Legian promises rich Bali experiences. Beyond its famous bars, sand and surf, Legian offers a variety of attractions, all within easy reach of each other. Away from the beach streets, the main Jalan Legian route boasts rows of art shops and restaurants, while Kuta's recreational and shopping highlights are just minutes away.
Legian is the place to stay to experience the hub of Bali's nightlife. The nightlife in Legian is famously lively, and there is certainly no shortage of choice when it comes to partying and beach bars. Another popular attraction is the white sandy beach filled with young millennials soaking up Balinese island fun.
Legian is best suited for young adults seeking great nightlife in the liveliest part of the island. However, there are many four- and five-star hotels, mostly elegant boutique resorts that provide a convenient base to get away from the hustle and bustle and explore the surrounding Kuta and Seminyak. There are some mid-range and low-cost options available as well. Although not a cultural destination, there are surrounding attractions that both families and thrill-seekers will enjoy.
>> Accommodation in Legian
Uluwatu is a popular destination in Bali thanks to the limestone hills that tower around the region boasting Bali's most beautiful luxury villas and resorts. It is also home to the landmark cliff-top temple, the Uluwatu temple. The cliffs overlook the Indian Ocean and play host to hidden beaches with world-class surf breaks attracting serious surfers from around the world.
Uluwatu is the best place to stay if getting away from the crowds in the South of Bali such as Legian and Seminyak is the order of the day. Uluwatu's exotic location creates an idyllic setting for resorts and restaurants and offers a unique combination of luxury and casual surfing lifestyles. The region provides solitude and relaxation and can also be frequented as part of a day excursion, being only an hour away from Bali's busier attractions.
Uluwatu is best suited for adults seeking a peaceful getaway. In addition to five-star resorts and villas, Uluwatu offers accommodation to suit all budgets, including retreats, guesthouses and smaller hotels. Along with surfers and older crowds, groups of young adults flock to Uluwatu's exotic shores for the perfect blend of luxury and relaxation.
>> Accommodation in Uluwatu
Jimbaran is a fishing village south of Kuta. Boasting a vast scenic beach with calm waters, the village is lined with seafood restaurants and backed by tropical greenery and rocky outcrops. Nearby beaches adorned with coconut palm groves and with strong surf waves make Jimbaran yet another one of Bali's surfing hotspots. Ancient sea temples perched upon cliffs make for pristine sunset viewing and invites visitors to experience raw Balinese splendour.
Jimbaran offers an eclectic shopping scene with fashion boutiques and speciality stores lining its streets. A blend of cosmopolitan and local life is enjoyed with the traditional market in the heart of the village and fine-dining spots.
Jimbaran Beach is also home to some of Bali's most luxurious hotels, most having direct beachfront access. These include resorts and spas, most of which are self-contained.
The scenic Jimbaran is somewhat isolated, with venues widely scattered. For that reason, in addition to there not being much to do outside resort walls, Jimbaran is the best place to stay for couples and young adults wanting to get away from it all.
>> Accommodation in Jimbaran