Best places to stay in Bali
(Honeymoon, Nightlife, Surfing, Singles, Family)
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
(Honeymoon, A Week, Couples, Family, Nature)
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
(Honeymoon, Family, Surfing)
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
(Nightlife, Surfing, Family, Solo Travellers)
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
(Nightlife, Singles, Family)
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
(Honeymoon, Surfing, Young Adults)
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
(Honeymoon, Family, Couples)
Nusa Dua is the where you will find the majority of the 5 star resorts. Here you will find all the high end hotel chains with a few cheaper options scattered throughout the area. It is about 20 minutes from the Ngurah Rai airport, via the new tollway.
Once you are through the security check at the entrance of the exclusive resort area, you will find neatly manicured gardens where the resorts are nestled amongst the palm trees, many of these resorts are situated along the beaches. There is a small shopping centre where you can buy souvenirs and there are a few restaurants located in the area.
Water sports are available, there is the National Golf club. If you are travelling as a family then take the kids to Pirate Bay where they climb the pirate ship or tree house, whilst parents relax in the huts on the beach.
Accommodation in Nusa Dua
Sanur is about a 25 minute drive from the Ngurah Rai airport, it is a nice relaxing part of Bali. There are many types of hotels in this area to suit any budget, from 5 star resorts to small family run hotels and homestays. It is a quieter part of Bali, where you will find families and middle aged people with a large majority being Europeans.
The beaches are clean and safe to swim as there are only small waves. You will see many of the colourful traditional fishing boats lined along the shoreline. In the distance across the Bali Sea is the small island Nusa Lembongan.
There are many restaurants and small shops scattered along the beach path which extends from one end of Sanur to the other, this is great if you want to hire a pushbike to get around safely. Be warned though the shopkeepers can be very persuasive.
Accommodation in Sanur
(Honeymoon, Relaxation, Snorkelling)
Nusa Lembongan is a small island about 12 kms across the Bali Sea from Sanur, there are fast boats that leave from Sanur and Serangan Island for most of the day, or until the swell picks up. To get around you can either walk or hire a motorbike, there is no traffic apart from a few little covered trucks that will pick you up and take you to different restaurants, which is always fun.
There are many places to stay on the island, some nestled on the hills or along the beachfront and coves, most with wonderful views of Mt Agung (weather permitting) and the ocean with Bali in the distance.
There are seaweed farms that you can visit, or you can take a stroll across the suspension bridge to Ceningan Island. There are water sports, for example, banana boat rides or just snorkelling in the different bays. There are a few little shops scattered around for you to acquire any needed supplies.
Accommodation in Nusa Lembongan
Nusa Penida is becoming a popular spot, there are many more options for accommodation than there used to be. Again ranging from 5 star to the cheaper options. There is not much in the way of restaurants, and getting around the island can take time as the roads are not the best, it is a much bigger island than Nusa Lembongan.
It is a great spot for scuba diving, snorkelling with many species of fish to see in the clear waters. There are many bays to explore, some of which you have to climb down. You can hire a tour boat and watch the Manta rays at Manta point. There are temples to explore one of which you enter through the mouth of a cave.
There is little water on the island so there is not much produce grown there, therefore a lot of produce is brought in by boat, therefore prices are slightly inflated compared to Bali.
Accommodation in Nusa Penida
(Diving, Relaxation, Snorkelling)
Amed is situated on the north east of Bali, it is roughly 100 kms from the Ngurah Rai airport about a 21/2 hour drive. In Amed there are many types of accommodation which are scattered along the coastline or tucked into the hills overlooking the ocean. There are ample restaurants to visit but only a few shops to get your supplies.
The beaches consist of black sand or pebbles and are famous for their diving and occasionally catching a glimpse of the dolphins swimming close to the shore. There are beautiful coral reefs to experience when snorkelling, and in Jemeluk Bay here is a temple underwater to explore.
The majestic Mt Agung is a wonderful backdrop to Amed, you can see where the lava killed a lot of the vegetation on one side of the mountain after erupting in 1963. The volcano is active as we speak, so it is wise to check it is safe to stay in Amed before you visit.
Accommodation in Amed