Bali offers a little patch of paradise for every traveller.
Those seeking sunshine and relaxation can pick from any number of sun kissed beaches and world-class spas. Those who like to party can ride ATVs by day and hop from one bar to the next in Seminyak by night. And those who wish for romance or to reset their soul can steal away to private treehouses and jungle retreats in Ubud or yoga classes in Canggu.
Whatever you’re after, here’s our list on where to stay in Bali.
Best for: First timers, party goers
One of the most popular regions for Aussie tourists, Kuta is a half-hour’s drive from Denpasar Airport, making it one of the most accessible neighbourhoods on the island.
Its surf is reliable, however not highly challenging, making it ideal for beginners looking to catch their first waves, and it’s a hop and skip from the famous Waterbom Bali waterpark.
Moments from Seminyak and Legian, it’s a fantastic base to explore these tourist hubs, and beyond. Similar to Seminyak, it has a reputation for its nightlife with clubs like LXXY Bali and Sky Garden worth adding to your list.
Best for: First timers, high-end resorts, families
Another hotspot for Aussie tourists, Legian finds itself cozied up between Kuta and Seminyak on the west coast of Bali.
Despite its loud neighbours it has a relaxed flop-and-drop vibe and gobsmackingly beautiful sunsets over uncrowded beaches.
A favourite with couples and families alike, it’s home to a smattering of luxurious five-star resorts with sprawling grounds and spas for traditional pamper treatments.
Best for: Yoga, nature lovers and cultural activities
When you wish to steer clear of the sun worshippers and party goers, Ubud is the answer.
This tranquil jungle region is a hotbed for yogis and romantics and is speckled with valley retreats, traditional homesteads and hillside hideaways.
Escape writer Jenny Hewett calls it Bali’s “spiritual soul” and once you’ve recharged your batteries at the resort, you can feed your soul at the local holy spring, water temple or wellness spa.
Best for: Food and nightlife
If we were in high school, Seminyak would be the cool kid. It’s got beach clubs, nightclubs, boutique shopping, pool parties and fine dining. Accommodation ranges from budget-friendly hotels to up-market resorts. And while the beaches aren’t the best on the island, they still offer everything you need out of a beach holiday from optimal swimming conditions (Double Six Beach) to places to lay your towel down and work on your tan (Batu Belig Beach).
- Things to do: Pool parties, bar hopping, fine dining, temple hopping, shopping and hitting the spa.
- Where to stay: W Bali (high-end), Hotel Indigo (mid-range), Ramada Encore (budget)
Everything you need to know about Seminyak
Seminyak: Six reasons why you should sidestep Kuta
Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida
Best for: Diving and snorkelling
These tiny specks in the ocean sit to the east of Bali and are reminiscent of its pre-mass tourism days. Think minimal scooter and pedal-powered bikes, crystal clear waters and great warungs. I’s biggest drawcard are its marine-based adventures which range from surfing the world-class breaks of Shipwrecks, Lacerations and Playgrounds to snorkelling through corralled reefs alongside manta rays.
Accommodation options are few and far between so if you wish to stay on one of these islands, booking early is a must. Otherwise day trips are popular.
Best for: Resorts and families
Famed for its gated, all-inclusive resorts, Nusa Dua is one of the most exclusive and luxurious locations to stay in on Bali. Resorts read like mansions with manicured gardens, private beachfront access and golf courses, while VIP treatments can see you swanning around in private lounges and pools.
For honeymooners, private pool villas scream romance, while for families, waterslide pools and kids’ clubs scream family holiday goals.
Best for: Backpackers and surfers
Hedonists, digital nomads and yogis flock to Canggu for its trendy cafes, cool startup spaces, modern yoga studios and desirable morning surf conditions.
By night, this expat fav produces a buzzing nightlife scene complete with beach parties and cheap eats. Quieter than Seminyak and Legian and less developed, it’s quickly growing in popularity, particularly with backpackers seeking a more chilled out vibe.
Best for: Beaches and surfing
Legendary surf breaks meet powder soft sands and dramatic cliffs in Bali’s southern region of Uluwatu.
You won’t find too many attractions or shopping pursuits this side of Bali, but with its ever-expanding portfolio of luxury hotels and beach clubs, it’s a relaxing, if not expensive, spot to flop-and-drop.
For something exceptional, book a villa at a clifftop resort like Bulgari Resort Bali where unimpeded sunsets can be captured from every corner and rubbing shoulders with celebrities is expected.
Best for: Swimming, seafood and couples
This traditional fishing village is a relaxing outpost for young families and couples seeking to slow down and soak up the atmosphere. The calm shallow waters of the crescent shaped bay serve up hours of fun for tots, while shacks serving fresh seafood on the beach provide the fare.
Luxury resorts abound and when you’re not throwing a towel on the beach, you’ll likely be plopping one down poolside at one of your resort’s many pools. Rimba Jimbaran Bali by Ayana has 12 pools to its name, including a smattering of fun and colourful waterslides for kids and a seawater therapy pool for loved up pairs.
Best for: Luxury eco-stays, couples
Set on the foothills of Mt Agung, rice paddies and palm trees dominate the landscape in Sidemen. It’s the kind of place you go to get away from it all. Waterfalls and natural springs fill your itinerary and when you’re ready to hit the hay, there are a number of homestays, rice field stays and eco-accommodations to drift off in.
Candidasa and Keramas
Best for: Outdoor adventures
Often overlooked, the East Bali destinations of Candidasa and Keramas have a road-less-travelled appeal and are filled with outdoor pursuits that range from surfing and mountain biking, to snorkelling and rice paddy walks.
You’ll still find luxury accommodation in both neighbourhoods, though your options are more limited. In return you’ll receive a local vibe of live music bars and traditional wellness treatments.
Which is the best area to stay in Bali?
The best area to stay in Bali for you really depends on the type of holiday you’re after. For first timers looking to get a taste of Bali, Kuta and Seminyak are popular hubs filled with resorts, beach clubs and nightlife. For flop and drop holidays, Legian and Jimbaran Bay are more laidback locations with uncrowded beaches. For outdoor pursuits, Ubud, Candidasa and Keramas are surrounded by jungle landscape and offer mountain biking, rice field trekking and whitewater rafting adventures.
Which is the most posh area in Bali?
Nusa Dua is arguably the most posh and exclusive region in Bali. Gated resorts open up to manicured lawns, golf courses, and world class spas. Its beaches don’t disappoint either and offer soft white sands and enough room to toss your towel down and worship the sun.
Is it better to stay in Ubud or Seminyak?
Seminyak and Ubud are like chalk and cheese. Ubud is an inland sanctuary of jungle treehouses and cosy villas where adrenaline-filled adventures sit right on your doorstep. Seminyak on the other hand is an energetic coastal town, alive with boutique shopping, world class dining, beach clubs and nightlife.
Ready to book? Save on your stay by checking out the latest coupons and deals from Luxury Escapes, Booking.com, Agoda and Expedia.
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