Where to stay is the first question that pops up on everyone’s mind after the tickets are booked to a particular destination. Bali has no shortage of hotels and hostels as it's one of the most famous holiday destinations not only in southeast asia but the world.
Bali is an island and province in Indonesia with beautiful beaches, volcanic hills, lush rice terraces, ancient temples, great nightlife and world's most expensive coffee. It has something in store for everyone, making it part of every traveller’s bucket list and stays on the list forever as you can never get enough of it. There are so many places to see and so much to do in Bali that picking a place to stay could be quite overwhelming. To help you take an informed decision we have listed some of the popular areas where you can set your camp. If you are travelling for a longer duration, you could also consider staying in 2-3 different areas in Bali. We also recommend visiting sumatra for orangutan trekking, and trekking up a volcano when here.
Kuta is the most visited area of Bali. It's located in South Bali and is famous for its surf friendly beaches and the nightlight. Kuta is a convenient place to stay as it's quite central to the key locations as well as just 10 mins drive from the airport. You will find plenty of budget friendly and mid range hotels and restaurants serving all kinds of cuisines. It's a paradise for party animals with number of amazing bars and clubs that are open till the wee hours.
Kuta generally attracts young travellers offering many budget friendly hotels near the beach and the bars. The bars too are reasonably priced making it a perfect place to enjoy the Balinese party scene without burning a hole in your pocket. The beaches in Kuta are not only famous for its serene view but is also a great surf spot. Beginners can try their hand at it as the waves are consistent making it a perfect spot for surfing. You can find several shops renting surf boards and providing surf lessons. So do get a little adventurous and give it a try.
Some of the other attractions in Kuta are Waterbom Bali - waterpark ranked number one in Asia, Dream Museum Zone Bali - 3D Trick Art museum, Bali Sea Turtle Society - where you can release baby sea turtles in the sea, the Museum Kain where you can learn about the history of Batik and shopping in the Beachwalk Shopping Mall and from the street shops selling mainly souvenirs and local handicraft. The most unique attraction is exploring the marine life in Bali via a submarine called Odyssey. Might be a little expensive but worth every penny spent.
During the peak season from May-June, August and December, Kuta tends to get really crowded and traffic could be quite chaotic too. If you plan to travel during this season, be sure to book your stay well in advance. Also if you plan to travel in October you should watch out for the Kuta Karnival hosted on one of the weekends on the beach.
Seminyak is another popular destination amongst people who want to enjoy a quieter holiday but at a premium. The beach here is less busy giving you ample of opportunities to peacefully relax and enjoy the view. It is located in South Bali, next town north of Legian sharing the same coast line along with Kuta.
Seminyak hosts lots of the luxury and fine hotels, resorts and restaurants. The nightlife here is more sophisticated compared to Kuta and other parts of Bali. Its famous for its high-end boutiques offering high quality fashion and art goods. The spas here are also worth a mention for the incomparable luxury they offer. The 1 km stretch of Jalan Laksmana, Jalan Kayu Aya and Jalan Oberoi hosts the eat street, boutiques and spas.
If you want to get a little adventurous, you should go Bungee Jumping at AJ Hackett Bungy situated at Double Six nightclub on Seminyak beach. It’s a 45 m jump just by the sea and is open all night. The waves here are not as favourable for surfing as in Kuta and Legian. But you can still give it a try. Some of the other attractions are Santo Mikael Church and Pura Petitenget - Balinese temple besides the beach.
Legian, another town in South Bali, located between Kuta and Seminyak. It’s a small quiet town where most of the hotels are located near the beach. It’s a good blend of both Kuta and Seminyak and an apt place for travellers who want to experience both the budget friendly nightlife as well as the uptown restaurants hosted in Legian. Plus the easy access to both Kuta and Seminyak makes it a perfect place to set your base.
Apart from the beach where you can enjoy the white sand with an amazing view, surfing on the favourable wave breaks, reliving the delicious food served by the restaurants and street shopping, there isn't much to do in Legian. But it’s a great place stay in case you are looking for a quite budget friendly holiday.
Ubud is located in Central Bali away from the beaches but is the Cultural capital of Bali. Lush green rice terraced landscape and the river valleys are the highlights of this area. Its home to number of temples, historic sites, museums, artists’ villages, coffee studios and traditional shows. You will also find a number of yoga and meditation centers here. Ubud also features the Monkey forest which as the name suggests is home to number of monkeys and three ancient temples, of which Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal, a temple of the dead is the most famous. Some of the other temples and historic site you should visit are Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave), Pura Gunung Kawi (Poet Mountain Temple), Tirta Empul and Puri Saren Agung (Royal Palace, Water Palace). While visiting the temples make sure you are dressed appropriately and your legs are covered. Alternatively you can carry a stole with you and wear it as a sarong around your waist till the time you are within the temple premises. If you are keen on some bird watching, you can visit the village of Petulu, where every evening thousands of herons flock to the trees in this village.
Ubud is mainly divided into three major streets, Jl Raya Ubud, Jl Monkey Forest and Jl Hanoman. There are a number of hotels, restaurants, cafes and spas here. It's easy to reach these places by foot if you plan to stay within the town. You can also opt to stay in the resorts or hotels located in the outskirts of Ubud between the rice fields to enjoy the natural beauty. Ubud in general is a quieter location as compared to the other areas in Bali. But if you just want to relax and enjoy the nature at its best, outskirts of Ubud be a great place to spend your vacation. You will find all types of hotels and resorts here - budget, midrange and luxury. You can also consider to book a private villa if you are travelling in a big group or on a honeymoon in Bali .
For the adventurous lot, there are a lot of cycling tours and ATV tours through the forest and rice fields, trekking the two volcanoes Mount Agung and Mount Batur, river rafting in the the Ayung and the Telaga Waja Rivers and Canoeing on Lake Batur. Also make a trip to any of the coffee studios around Ubud to taste the famous Luwak coffee and different variants of herbal coffee and tea.
Ubud is very different from rest of Bali so we would recommend you spend at least 2-3 days here to be able to experience the true essence of this place. Day tours might not be able to do justice to this hidden gem.
Nusa Dua is the most developed part of Bali. It is located in Southeast Bali. Its known for the luxury 5 star hotels and spa resorts with direct beachfront access. Most of the restaurants and bars are located within these hotels and resorts. It's quite secluded from the Balinese culture but a great way to spend a lavish vacation admiring the Bali’s natural beauty.
For tourists not staying in Nusa Dua, you can visit the public beach called Geger to enjoy the breathtaking view. Don’t miss out on seeing the Water Blow, an amazing rock formation where the sea water collides with the rocks to form a massive splash as if the water is blowing up. It is located on the Nusa Dua beach near the Grand Hyatt Hotel. You can also indulge in some water sports like banana boating, jetskiing, parasailing, scuba diving and snorkeling. Other attractions are Pasifika Museum, top notch Nusa Dua Golf and Country Club, international shopping complex known as The Bali Collection, Serangan Island (Turtle Island) a short boat ride away and Uluwatu temple and surfing spots which is about 20 mins drive from here.
Another area with luxury hotels, resort and villas located in the South Bali also referred to as the "Beverly Hills of Bali". Jimbaran has limited mid range hotels and almost none budget hotels. The beaches here are considered the best of all in Bali. With white sand and clear calm water, the beaches here are suitable for swimming. The Tegal Wangi Beach is surrounded by high cliffs and trees giving it a very picturesque view. The rocks on the shore have small holes which get filled with fresh seawater, just like a natural jacuzzi, making it a great place to lie down and enjoy the amazing ocean view.
The biggest attraction are the seafood restaurants located on Jimbaran Beach. The tables are sit on the sand and during high tide you can even soak your feet in the ocean if you sit on the lower tables. The ambience and the food both are worth the visit. Apart from this there is not much to see or do in Jimbaran. A perfect place to relax in style but also be close enough to other attractions in Bali.
Staying in South Bali is the first choice amongst most of the tourists, especially for the first timers. This is where most of the action happens. But if you are looking for an offbeat place to stay you can consider areas like Lovina in North Bali, Amed and Candidasa in East Bali, Uluwatu and Canggu in South Bali and West Bali National Park in West Bali. Hope by now you have been able to pick an area where you would like to stay and are ready to start your research on the hotels. Happy travelling and enjoy Bali!