Planning a holiday but don’t know the best areas to stay in Bali? Then read on to understand what each area has to offer and if it is the best choice for your individual wants and needs.
Bali is a paradise everybody wants to visit. The thoughts of white sandy beaches and turquoise waters seem like a call to travel to the island of the Gods. Bali is one of the most popular islands of Indonesia, and stunning waterfalls, beautiful temples, amazing rice field vistas, and many more scenic landscapes are waiting to be discovered.
But with so many places to visit, travellers may be wondering: Which are the best areas to stay in Bali to maximize your holiday? While it’s not possible to tick everything on your bucket list in one go, of course, you want to cover as much ground as possible.
In this blog, we hope to help travellers plan every trip to Bali as enjoyable as possible by having an efficient travel plan. That is, knowing where to stay and what to do on this tropical island.
Did You Know?
- Bali is one of the few places in the world where you can get authentic Kopi Luwak – the most expensive coffee in the world. This ‘special’ coffee is made from coffee beans removed from civet droppings, and sells for as high as USD$50 per cup!
- The Balinese usually have one of the following four names: Wayan, Made, Nyoman or Ketut. They simply mean First born, Second born, Third born and Fourth born and it doesn’t matter if the child is a boy or a girl!
- The Balinese calendar has its origins in the Hindu religion and has only 210 days – 10 weeks made up of 10 days.
“Don’t talk about heaven if you’ve never been to Bali.”– Toba Beta –
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Best Time to Visit Bali
Make the most of your visit to Bali by being aware of the best time to visit Bali. While there are a lot of recommendations everywhere, in reality, it all boils down to your preference as a traveller.
There are only two seasons on the island – the dry season which is between April and October, and the wet season which is between November and March.
Obviously, the dry season is great for going out and enjoying the many activities on the island. But this also means that the island is more crowded especially during June, July, and August which are considered the peak season. During these months, aside from having to contend with the crowds, you also have to deal with higher prices on accommodation and some activities.
Although some might think that the rainy season is not the best time to visit Bali, it’s still possible to have a great vacation during these months. For starters, there are fewer tourists during the wet season, and you will find places to stay at a more reasonable price. Also, even though chances are that there’s daily rainfall, it’s mostly only in the late afternoon for an hour or so.
As mentioned, in our opinion, the best time to visit Bali depends on you as a traveller. If you’re a beach lover who loves to swim and get a suntan, the months of April to September are your best bet. During this period, the sun is shining down on Bali with almost no chances of raining.
May to September are great for sightseeing, hiking, and other outdoor activities. April to June are good for diving and snorkelling.
Top Tip: Nyepi Day is a Balinese ‘Day of Silence’. For a 24 hour period on the 3rd day of the 6 day festival, all roads are off-limit to all types of motorised vehicles and people on foot. All shops such as grocery, clothes and any other type of shop is closed for tourists and Balinese, as are restaurants. As a hotel guest, you’re confined to your hotel premises, but free to continue to enjoy the hotel facilities as usual. Nyepi Day normally falls in March each year but please check for the exact date so you are well prepared beforehand.
Now that you know the best time to visit Bali, it’s time to think about where to stay in Bali.
Best Areas to Stay in Bali
It’s important to know the areas to stay in in Bali so you can make an informed decision on your accommodation. But of course, this should be based on your itinerary. You don’t want to stay in an area that will take several hours of travel time to and from the places you want to visit. That would be a waste of your precious time.
There is no escaping the most popular area on the island. Being home to the International Airport of Ngurah Rai, the town is a popular tourist destination. At a certain point, this is where most of the tourism activities took place as Kuta is one of the areas that was first developed for tourism in Bali.
Today, the Kuta District is known as a resort town that comes alive when the sun goes down. If you’ve come to paint the town red, this area is definitely the place to stay. But this has earned Kuta a reputation. However, it’s not all bad in Kuta, especially not since a few International luxury hotels have opened along the main beach road.
What to do in Kuta
Of course, aside from nightclubbing, you can do other fun things in Kuta. If you’re a beach lover, a surfer, or just someone who loves to sunbathe, Kuta Beach is for you.
Take a peek at the Balinese culture through the performances at the Kuta Theatre or by visiting one of the oldest Buddhist temples, Vihara Dharmayana.
For some family-friendly activities, Waterbom Bali and Circus Waterpark will definitely be enjoyed by everyone with all the slides, pools, and other water activities.
Where to Stay in Kuta
Kuta has the most accommodation options in Bali. There are high-end hotels as well as budget-friendly accommodations too. You can choose to book a place with a view of the sea, or simply stay at the city centre to have access to everything.
A sub-district of Kuta, Legian is also one of the most popular places to stay in Bali. If you want to be near the main tourist destinations in Bali, then you definitely want to stay in this area. This district is also a good choice if you love wandering past the local souvenir markets.
That doesn’t mean there are no crowds in Legian. As a matter of fact, the area can be busy with tourists and traffic too. But it can also be a laid-back place from time to time.
What to do in Legian
Very much similar to Kuta, Legian is a destination for shopping, nightlife, and watersports. You can unwind on Legian Beach or play beach volleyball. For the adventurous, sailing, surfing, scuba diving, or fishing are great activities for your time away.
If you want to learn to surf, there are outlets offering surfing lessons in the area. If you want a more relaxed beach scene, you can head over to Double Six Beach near Seminyak.
If you’re interested in some history, visit the Ground Zero Memorial. It’s a monument that serves as a permanent tribute to those who died during the 2002 Legian bombing,
Visit Dream Museum Zone Bali and Pandora Experience for some activities with the entire family. Dream Museum features life-size artworks with a 3D feel where you can take selfies and be part of the artwork. Pandora Experience will be enjoyed by teens who love the thrill of figuring out a way to escape a labyrinth using the clues within the 120 minutes time limit.
You can also arrange a tour to visit famous tourist attractions such as the Tanah Lot Temple, Ubud, Jimbaran Beach, and other destinations and be back by night time.
Where to Stay in Legian
There are plenty of options to stay in Legian. The beach is lined with secluded bungalows, boutique hotels, and resorts catering to families. There are five-star hotels, luxury resorts, and backpackers’ lodges along the main roads.
With its beautiful beaches, chilled-out vibes, and considered as Bali’s most sophisticated and upscale beach resort area, Seminyak is drawing the crowds in.
What to do in Seminyak
If you plan to soak in the sea, sun, and sand, Seminyak Beach and Double Six Beach are your best destinations here.
Seminyak Beach offers a quieter ambiance that’s perfect for hanging out with friends, swimming, and sunbathing, while a part of Double Six runs parallel to a line of bars and restaurants.
For the more adventurous, you can go horseback riding and enjoy the views along the shore of Seminyak. Surfing is also a great way to have some adrenaline rush.
For some peace and quiet, a visit to Petitenget Temple is recommended. It’s Seminyak’s central cultural landmark. The centuries-old temple comes alive during festivities.
Where to Stay in Seminyak
Discover Villa Swarna, a modern colonial pool villa in the heart of Seminyak. It’s just a short walk from Seminyak Beach, this two-story tropical pool villa features an expansive courtyard with a swimming pool surrounded by lush greenery, an outdoor dining space, and a living room with hardwood timber panels and marble floors.
In recent years, Canggu has gained a lot of popularity among young travellers and digital nomads. Previously a sleepy surf area, it’s now becoming one of Bali’s top tourist spots.
A laid-back vibe permeates this little town with its lush green rice fields surrounding hipster cafes, fantastic restaurants, and yoga studios.
What to do in Canggu
This area is relatively still a surfing destination. You can ride the waves in Echo Beach, Berawa Beach, and Batu Balong Beach. Although these beaches are not as beautiful as others in Bali, the chill vibe is the one to beat.
Canggu is also an area for the health and wellness crowd with establishments offering yoga sessions and spa treatment. Meanwhile, foodies will have a feast enjoying the café culture in Canggu.
Don’t forget to visit Tanah Lot Temple. If you’re looking for a tourist attraction in Canggu, then this temple is it. The ancient Hindu temple sits on a rock that is eroding and by the sea. It’s the most photographed tourist spot in Bali.
Where to Stay in Canggu
We recommend Canggu villas managed by Nakula. Whether you choose Villa Manis, Villa Uma Berawa, Villa Istana Putih, or Villa Kumuda, your vacation is what your family wants it to be. These private accommodations are a few minutes away from the beaches and cafes.
If you want to be close to everything in Bali, then consider staying in Ubud. Only 1.5 hours from the airport, it’s one of the best areas to stay on the island.
What to do in Ubud
Ubud is close to many attractions such as the Ubud Monkey Forest, the Royale Palace, Tegalalang rice terraces, the Elephant Cave temple Goa Ganjah, and the Agung Rai Museum of Art.
As the cultural and artistic centre of Bali, you can go shopping and find unique handmade products, silver jewellery, batik, wood carvings, and antiques that you can take home as souvenirs. You’ll also enjoy Balinese performances such as Kecak dances.
The area is also surrounded by lush mountains and valleys covered in green rice terraces, the perfect backdrop for meditation and yoga. Staying in Ubud will definitely nourish your body and soul.
Where to Stay in Ubud
If you choose to stay in Ubud, there are many types of accommodation that you can choose according to your plans. Villas are perfect when you’re traveling with an entire family or a group of friends. But there are also a lot beautiful resort with infinity pools overlooking the iconic rice terraces.
If you’re looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of city life, Nusa Dua is for you. This resort area is the quieter side of Bali and has that air of exclusivity.
What to do in Nusa Dua
You will find the best beaches in Nusa Dua, with white sand and vibrant blue shores. These beaches are your gateway for water sports activities such as jet-skiing, parasailing, snorkelling, and more.
If you’re not the active type, you can simply swim in the calm waters or just lounge around the area while enjoying the view. Alternatively, you can visit the Water Blow site. It’s located on a rocky shore where the waves crash and cause the water to shoot up to 30 meters in the air.
If you’re a golfer, you can practice your swing at the Bali National Golf Club or Bukit Pandawa Golf Club & Country Club.
Alternatively, you can visit the temples in Nusa Dua for a dose of culture. Pura Geger Temple is located atop the cliff overlooking Geger Beach and you’ll also come across various temples in Bualu Village and along the coastline of Nusa Dua beaches.
Where to Stay in Nusa Dua
Nusa Dua is an enclave of large 5-star hotels and other exclusive accommodations. But don’t let it deter you from staying in Nusa Dua. You can still find affordable hotels in this area or in the nearby Tanjung Benoa peninsula.
The district of Sanur is a beach town on the southeast side of Bali. Known for its five-kilometre-long sandy beach, it’s a favourite among the family-oriented crowd with Sanur’s village feel.
What to do in Sanur
Tourists are drawn to Sanur for its stunning sunrises and quiet beaches. You can also do other water sports activities such as sea kayaking, wakeboarding, snorkelling, and parasailing, among others.
A walk or a bicycle ride along the beach for sightseeing is a popular activity too. If you are looking to do something completely different, visit Taman Festival – the haunted, abandoned amusement park. Another option is to take the fast boat the Nusa Lembongan for a day trip; it takes just 35 minutes. Lembongan is a popular diving and snorkelling destination.
READ MORE: 10 REASONS WHY YOU’LL LOVE SANUR IN BALI
Where to Stay in Sanur
Sanur offers a quiet escape in Bali and there’s no better place to stay than in private villas like Villa Angsa or Kama Village where you can enjoy your piece of paradise while still being able to quickly access what the area has to offer. This nice town in Bali also has a range of resorts to choose from.
Jimbaran used to be a quaint fishing village. Now, it’s a town located in the district of South Kuta, Badung regency of Bali. Despite the development into a tourism spot, it has retained its old charm and has attracted people to come and relax.
What to do in Jimbaran
Jimbaran is popular for its white-sand beaches. Beach lovers can head over to Jimbaran Beach, Tegal Wangi Beach, Muaya Beach, and Balangan Beach. Kids will enjoy the beach too as the waves are calmer here.
However, the main drawcard for tourists is the unique experience of seafood dining along the beach. The good thing about this area is that it’s a far cry from the hustle and bustle of Kuta and Legian. It’s an ideal area for relaxation and you will have many spa choices in Jimbaran.
Where to Stay in Jimbaran
Jimbaran has earned its moniker as the “Beverly Hills of Bali” because of the many high-end villas and resorts in this area, particularly on the ridges of high ground above Jimbaran Bay. For authentic Balinese style accommodation perfectly suited for families you can opt for any of the Nakula villas in Jimbaran.
In Summary – Best Areas to Stay in Bali
Aside from these areas, there are many more areas to discover in Bali. Your choice will greatly depend on your preference based on the experience you are looking for when in Bali.
Have you visited Bali? Are you planning a trip and looking for the best area to stay in Bali? Post your tips and questions below.
As founder and managing director of Aureum Hospitality Advisers, Marlieke Kemp-Janssen provides digital marketing solutions to hospitality companies like Nakula. She has over 10 years of experience in digital marketing for the hotel and travel industry in both Europe and South-East Asia.
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