Where To Stay In Bali? The Ultimate Guide To Living On The Island

Bali is one of the planet’s most popular travel destinations and is a large place. That often makes people wonder, “Where to stay in Bali?”

Well, a lot of that depends on what you love doing and how much you want to spend, but there’s somewhere that suits your needs here.

Our guide to “where to stay in Bali” has everything you need to know to decide where to spend your holiday.

We’ll look at the most popular parts of the island and explain what each of them has to offer and who it tends to attract in terms of visitors.

General Bali Holiday Travel Information

But first, let’s take a few moments to look at Bali.

It’s A Hindi Place

Bali Island is part of the Indonesian archipelago on the Indian Ocean. Unlike most of Indonesia, where there is a Muslim majority, Bali’s main religious influence is the Hindu faith.

That means there are fewer restrictions on activities such as drinking or eating pork than in the rest of the country.

However, you should be aware that while nobody will stop you from enjoying a steak on your holiday here, some local Balinese don’t eat beef as cows are considered sacred in Hinduism.

Why People Come To Bali

The island is considered one of the world’s best destinations for surfing, beach fun and temples.

One of the best things about Bali for visitors is that plenty of Western influences rub shoulders with the local culture.

That means that international brands, food options and activities are among the warungs and traditional markets. 

kelingking beach bali indonesia

The Bali Basics

You don’t need to know much about the island or island life before you come here. Bali’s famously relaxed and you can work things out as you go, in the main, but you should know:

  • The currency. This is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR), the only form of legal tender in Bali. You cannot pay in US or Australian dollars or UK pounds or euros anywhere here. And it’s mainly a cash economy, so stop relying on your cards and make sure to have a fistful of notes on you when you venture out of tourist areas.
  • The language. As with all of Indonesia, the official language is Bahasa Indonesia, but you can also find plenty of Balinese speakers around. English is relatively common in tourist areas but might be rare if you go off the beaten path.
  • The weather. It’s generally warm all year round, but there are two seasons. The dry season runs from April to October and the wet season runs from November to March. You’re more likely to get rained on in the wet season, but it doesn’t usually rain all day long, even in that season.

OK, that’s enough to get you started in Bali, so let’s look at where you can stay and why you might want to stay there.

The Best Places To Stay In Bali

Whether you want to lounge on the beach all day, go surfing or tour around the island or have something else in mind, you’ll need somewhere nice to rest your head at night.

It’s best to decide what you want to do and then book somewhere local. You wouldn’t, for example, want to spend your nights clubbing in Kuta and then take a taxi for 2 hours to sleepy Lovina.

So, we’ve broken each area of Bali down to give you a general feel of what’s there and what might appeal (or not) for your holiday plans.

Kuta/Legian: Where To Stay In Bali For Hectic Nightlife

Kuta and Legian are the heart of the package holiday tourist market in Bali. They are often the very parts of Bali that any holidaymaker sees and are among the most famous areas on the island in Australia and other countries. 

Who Are These Areas For?

Kuta and Legian tend to appeal to the younger holiday crowd. Kuta, in particular, is famous for its nightlife and is packed with clubs and bars.

Some local says that Kuta is where you go when you’re single and Legian is where you stay in Bali after you get married.

As you might expect, this brings in a certain crowd of locals seeking to take advantage of the party atmosphere.

You can get hassled on the streets with offers of “massage” and the t-shirt vendors can be among the most persistent salespeople anywhere in Bali.

It’s not easy to get about in these areas except on foot or motorcycle, as the lanes are quite narrow here, too. It also suffers from heavy traffic due to its popularity with tourists.

What’s In Kuta and Legian?

There are plenty of things to see and do in these areas if you can tear yourself away from the nightlife, including:

  • Waterbom Park
  • Ground Zero Monument Bali
  • Kuta Theater
  • Kain Museum
  • Dream Museum Zone
  • Bali Sea Turtle Society
  • Vihara Dharmayana Buddhist Temple
  • Hard Rock Cafe
  • Discovery Mall
  • Beachwalk Shopping Centre
  • Mal Bali Galeria

What’s The Accommodation Like?

You can find some of the best bang for buck accommodation in Kuta and Legian and some of the most luxurious hotels and resorts on the island.

Many big international chain hotels have branches here and the local guest houses can be charming. There are also plenty of hostels to choose from for the backpacker crowd.

Kuta tends to be cheaper than Legian, but there’s a small amount.

Our friends at the Bali Res Center can help you source your accommodation in Bali and it’s typically cheaper than booking direct with a hotel or hostel.

The best luxury hotels and luxury resorts here include:

  • Padma Resort
  • The Anvaya Beach Resort
  • Bandha Hotel & Suites
  • Holiday Inn Resort Baruna
  • Mamaka by Ovolo

Overall

Kuta and Legian are great places for shopping, clubbing and surfing. You’ll find that the accommodation options are suited to all budgets too.

The only downside is that it’s heavily touristed and, thus, pretty crowded.

You might decide that it’s the right place to be for your first visit to Bali experience, but then decide to go somewhere else on your next visit.

Teenagers and those in their twenties will likely thrive in these areas. Others might prefer somewhere a bit more laid back.

Seminyak: Where To Stay In Bali If You Have A Big Budget

Another big hit with tourists when they visit Bali is Seminyak.

Seminyak Beach and the other beaches in this area are very popular because they’re considered the best place on the island to watch the sunset. 

Who Is The Area For?

Seminyak is very much for those seeking luxury and upscale nightlife compared to Kuta and Legian.

For LGBT travellers, the gay-friendly area of Camplung Tanduk will be a big draw to Seminyak and may answer the “where to stay” question entirely for people in that group.

It’s an ideal place to lounge on the beaches because there are fewer people on the beaches than in some other areas (this is a reflection of the fact that Seminyak is quite expensive for Bali too).

What’s In Seminyak?

Seminyak is a tourism hub and you will find plenty of tourist activities here:

  • Beach clubs and beaches – Seminyak Beach is very popular and within walking distance of gorgeous white sand beaches.
  • Restaurants (including The Plantation Grill, Sarong Bali and the Sardine Restaurant, which are considered to be among the finest restaurants in Bali)
  • Shopping (Seminyak is home to many of the most exclusive boutique stores, colourful markets and upscale malls)
  • Nightlife (it’s more laid back in this respect than Kuta, but you will pay more for a night out than in Kuta too)
  • Water sports (a lot of people come to Seminyak for the excellent facilities where they can learn specific water sports from world-class coaches)

Sadly, the uber-modernity of Seminyak makes it harder to enjoy traditional Balinese culture on your holiday.

We think many people might be happier with a day trip to the area to enjoy a drink in some of the beach bars than they would be staying here for the whole of their Bali holiday.

What’s The Accommodation Like?

Seminyak is all about luxury villas, luxury resorts and luxury hotels. Some of the best hotels anywhere in the world are in Seminyak.

It’s not impossible to find budget Bali holiday accommodation here, but it’s an uphill struggle.

If you want your stay in Bali to be all private pools and luxury accommodations and you can afford it, then Seminyak can be lovely.

The top choices for a modern luxury resort are going to be:

  • W Bali – Seminyak
  • and The Oberoi

If you’ve got your heart set on Seminyak and you’re looking for somewhere family-friendly that doesn’t cost the Earth, you might also look at something a little more mid-range:

  • Ramada Encore By Wyndham
  • Aloft Bali Seminyak

Perhaps the best of the few budget accommodation options in Seminyak will be:

  • CR Tris Rooms Seminyak
  • Sunset Point Hotel

Overall

We love beautiful beaches and an infinity pool like the next holidaymaker. If our budget was unlimited, we might answer the “where to stay?” question as “Seminyak” for everyone.

But in reality, luxury resorts, beach clubs, luxury hotels, private villas, scuba diving, etc. can come at quite a price. You’ll sink a lot more money into staying in Seminyak than in almost any other part of Bali.

That doesn’t mean it’s not worth it, but you might want to see how much farther your money will go elsewhere on the island before you book to stay in Seminyak.

You might also consider that it has fewer cultural highlights than most of Bali. So, you might decide that time spent in Seminyak is less than a stay in Bali as it is a stay in a hotel on a nice beach.

Canggu: Where To Stay In Bali For The Best Mix Of Activities

We confess we think that Canggu is the most happening place on the island of Bali and that’s why we built Finns Beach Club here, the world’s best beach club.

It’s more laid back than the busy areas of Kuta and Legian and many say it’s even more chilled out than Seminyak. It’s where the in-crowd opts to stay in Bali. 

Finns Beach Club - Best area in Canggu

Who Is The Area For?

Canggu has become a Mecca for the world’s social media influencers who would only stay in Bali with at least visiting Canggu.

It’s also one of the most popular destinations for digital nomads, surfers, tourists, and expats. That’s probably because it’s a very easy-going place and feels less hassle than the big tourist venues.

However, the area sometimes has better transport on hand and you may find yourself hiring taxis or even renting a motorcycle here because it’s essential to getting around.

You must have an International Driving Permit to drive in Canggu or Bali. Otherwise, you will break the law and can’t claim on your travel insurance if you have an accident.

We’d recommend using Gojek to go places on your Bali holiday instead. The Gojek app is very popular and a good alternative to Grab

You can almost always find a driver on Gojek and the fare is fixed in advance, so you don’t have to worry about being cheated. Remember to bring some change with you as the driver won’t have any.

What’s In Canggu?

There are a wide variety of things to do in Canggu including:

  • Learning to ride at Canggu Scooter Lessons – a good idea if you rent a motorbike. Bali traffic is a nightmare and nothing like you have experienced at home.
  • Bali MMA
  • Beaches – Batu Bolong, Berawa, Nelayan and Canggu Beach are among the most popular.
  • Finns Beach Club – There’s no excuse for not going to the world’s best beach club if you visit or stay in Canggu.
  • Finns Recreation Club – Staying healthy is part of the Bali lifestyle and it’s really easy at the Rec Club, where there is a well-equipped gym and many awesome fitness classes to participate in.
  • Echo Beach (well, Pantai Batu Megan, to be precise, but where else are you going to hit a beach immortalised in a hit song? Echo Beach isn’t far away in time in Bali.)
  • Local markets – There are more authentic local markets in Canggu than in the big tourist spots.
  • Surf lessons – Canggu isn’t the top surfing destination here, but it is a great place to learn
  • Tanah Lot Temple (Land in the Sea) – Go for sunset for the silhouette shot, but in the morning to beat the crowds
  • ALLCAPS – the best place to check out the thriving street art scene in Bali and it’s free!

What’s The Accommodation Like?

Canggu has some of the best range of choices of any area in Bali regarding places to stay.

The most popular places are Jalan Pantai Berawa, Jalan Batu Bolong and Jalan Pantai Pererenan.

The first two streets are prime locations for restaurants and shopping. The latter is a bit quieter and away from the nightlife.

The best hotels tend to be more local than international in Canggu, which is a great reason to stay in the area.

Luxury hotels include:

  • COMO Uma Canggu
  • Hotel Tugu Bali
  • Eastin Ashta Resort
  • Citadines Berawa Beach

More budget-friendly options include:

  • Litus Rinaya Canggu
  • Mojo Resort
  • Utama Village
  • The Tipsy Gypsy Hostel

Overall

We know we have some bias regarding where to stay in Bali, but we think Canggu offers the best of all worlds.

There’s nightlife and beaches, but there’s also relaxation, surfing, yoga and chilling.

You don’t have to fight through crowds of tourists when you stay in Bali; Canggu is proof of that.

And yes, you can still find a place with an infinity pool and private beach access here.

Jimbaran: Where To Stay In Bali For Quiet Beaches

The beautiful beaches of Jimbaran can be accessed by somebody on any budget and many locals opt to come to this area to watch the sun go down on the beach.

Its most famous beach is a white sand bay that runs almost to the runway at the airport! Well, not quite, but it gets pretty close to the airport.

That means your stay in Bali here involves little transit time from the plane to your front door.

Who Is The Area For?

Jimbaran is for those who come on an island adventure to experience the pace of true island life.

There needs to be more in the way of nightlife or shopping in this area. It’s all about the beautiful beach and enjoying the sun, sand and sea.

One nice thing about this is that many of the hotels in Jimbaran are right on the beach. So, you can walk out of your bedroom and into the sea! Nice, right?

What’s In Jimbaran?

There may not be a ton of nightlife here, but among the luxury accommodation and budget hostels, there’s plenty to see and do, including:

  • Jimbaran Bay – the most famous beach area in town and with some lovely seafood restaurants on the shore
  • Jimbaran Fish Market – If you love to cook your food, this is the place to go, and if you’d rather other people cook for you? This is still the place to go. Take your purchase to one of the many Warungs nearby and they will cook it for you (~IDR25k/kg)!
  • Samasta Lifestyle Village – a small, local mall emphasising food rather than shopping.
  • Tegal Wangi Beach – a lovely place to catch a sunset.
  • Pura Ulun Siwi – the most striking temple, dates back to the 18th century. There is also the smaller Pura Muaya temple to check out in Jimbaran.

What’s The Accommodation Like?

You have plenty of options in Jimbaran, as you might expect for somewhere about beach hotels. You can spend as much as you like. The best hotels here are a good mix of name brands and local boutique offerings.

Ultimate Luxury Resorts And Hotels:

  • Kedonganan Beach Villas
  • Four Seasons
  • Rimba by AYANA
  • Kupu Kupu Jimbaran Beach Hotel by L’Occitane

Great Honeymoon Options:

  • Cross Bali Breakers
  • Jimbaran Bay Beach Resort & Spa
  • Le Meridien

Mid-Range and Budget Accommodation:

  • Gaing Mas Jimbaran Villas
  • Kandava Villa
  • Watermark Hotel & Spa
  • Villa Puri Royan

Overall

Jimbaran might be a little too sleepy and laid back for some, but it will be the perfect place for a secluded beach getaway for others.

It’s also very close to the airport, meaning less time in transit than in some other areas on the island.

Uluwatu: Where To Stay In Bali For Surfers

If there’s one sport for which Bali is famous, it’s surfing.

And the answer to “Where to stay in Bali?” is always Uluwatu if you’re a highly experienced surfer looking to make a name for themselves.

However, there are better places to learn to surf.

So, ensure you have the skills to tackle dangerous surf breaks onto reefs before you book in Uluwatu.

If you hurt yourself surfing, your stay in Bali won’t be much fun. 

Uluwatu Beach Surfing

Who Is The Area For?

Surfers and people looking to spend most of their time at a single resort.

That’s because Uluwatu is kind of isolated from the rest of the island and getting transport can be something of a challenge or expensive.

You’re going to find there’s a long walking distance between most hotels, bars, etc. in this part of Bali.

Its location on the Bukit Peninsula makes it a little further removed from other areas of Bali than Canggu or Kuta.

What’s In Uluwatu?

That doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to do in Uluwatu. There’s quite a bit here – it’s hard to get to.

  • Uluwatu Temple – one of the “big 6” of Bali’s temples and famous for its night-time fire dancing spectacles. It’s a cool place.
  • Balangan Viewpoint – one of the best Instagram snap points on the island. Just don’t annoy the wedding photographers who spend much time working here.
  • Beaches – Nyang Nyang Beach, Thomas Beach, Bingin Beach, etc. all offer beautiful unspoiled sand to lay on and soak up the rays. The water is usually a perfect turquoise too.
  • Surfing – head out to the local surf spots, grab a board and set out to impress. With so many would-be pros in this part of Bali, you may even run into a talent scout or two.

What’s The Accommodation Like?

Expensive. In this part of Bali, most people stay in luxury villas and you’re looking at $750+ per night. These villas are often better than the best hotels in Bali.

Having said that, if you stay a short distance from the most popular beaches, you can find hotels and guesthouses that are under $200 or even $100 a night.

Just don’t expect bargain basement prices like in other parts of Bali.

Luxury Options:

  • Bingin Cliff House
  • Jellyfish Villas
  • Mick’s Place
  • Melali Bingin
  • Uluwatu Surf Villas

Affordable Options:

  • Mule Malu
  • Dreamsea Bali
  • Sun & Surf Stay
  • Gravity Hotel

Overall

It’s not hard to fall in love with Uluwatu if you’re looking to stay in Bali and go surfing or just want a total break from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the world.

Sure, there’s not much in the way of shopping, but who cares if you want a cold drink in your hand, the feel of sand under your body, the waves lapping at your toes and a spectacular sunset on the beach?

Ubud: Where To Stay In Bali For Cooler Weather

Ubud is where to stay in Bali if you come to Bali seeking spirituality, culture and wellness retreats.

It has a small-town feel and is based in the central highlands, so be aware that there are no beaches or beach clubs in Ubud.

It’s cooler up in the highlands than at the beach resorts. Mind you, many people love to stay in Ubud because of this.

Who Is The Area For?

Culture and history buffs will love spending some time in Ubud. Sure, there are no hidden beaches, but you’ll find historic sites, museums, local markets, galleries and art galore!

It’s also the top destination for seeking wellness treatments and retreats in Indonesia. These are also great places to learn about the spiritual side of Balinese culture.

What’s In Ubud?

There are so many things to see here that you’ll be kept plenty busy, but highlights include:

  • Tegalang Rice Terraces/Rice Fields are spectacular terraces that go on for miles. They make for a brilliant Instagram shot, but be warned, they get super busy late in the day.
  • Pura Tirta Empul Temple is a famous temple with locals (though perhaps less famous than Uluwatu temple) where you can get washed in holy water!
  • Pura Gunung Kawi is a whole area full of temples and rock formations. Visiting Bali without visiting here means missing out on something spectacular.
  • Monkey forest – if you like monkeys, this forest is the place to find them.
  • Ubud market – go wild and shop for local souvenirs and everything Balinese here.
  • Ubud Palace/ Saraswati Temple – This temple in the town centre is famous for its lotuses and water flowers. Ubud Palace is a little sanctuary that everyone should explore.

We should also note that Ubud is famous for excellent restaurants showcasing Balinese cuisine.

What’s The Accommodation Like?

You can’t go wrong in Ubud, there’s something for every budget and some of the best luxury hotel offerings are here alongside some of the cheapest hostels on the island.

A stay in Bali is easy to tailor to your needs in Ubud.

Luxury Hotels and Resorts:

  • Padma Resort Ubud (get the best jungle views in Bali)
  • Amarea Ubud
  • Askari Resort Ubud
  • Kaamala Resort
  • Mandapa (a Ritz Carlton Reserve)
  • COMO Shambhala Estate (a world-class wellness retreat)

Mid-Range And Affordable Hotels:

  • Dinara Ubud
  • Bambu Indah
  • 11 on Kajeng
  • Sandat Glamping
  • BISMA Cottages
  • Tegal Sari

Overall

There must be more than stunning rice terraces and luxurious villas for temple beach lovers in this central location in Bali. However, you can always stay in a place with a private pool or infinity pool instead of a beach.

However, we think everyone should visit Ubud at some point or another. It has so much to offer and it’s a bit different from the usual places to stay in Bali.

It’s home to some of the best Bali hotels and the atmosphere of the rice fields and local temples really can’t be beaten.

Ubud’s also the answer to “Where to stay in Bali if you don’t really like tropical heat?”

Nusa Dua: Where To Stay In Bali On Honeymoon

Nusa Dua island is the home of the most exclusive resorts in Bali province. This is the place to come if you want private pool villas or five-star international brand hotels. 

Who Is The Area For?

Anyone who can afford it, but we find that most often, people who come here are either in young, affluent families or honeymooners.

Most big-name hotels will have a private beach, too, which means you can get some real privacy while chilling out on the sand.

The environment is perfect for playing on the beach and enjoying water sports in the luxury that would cost an arm and a leg almost anywhere in the world except Bali.

We’re not saying it’s cheap in Nusa Dua because it’s not, but it’s great value for money, considering what you get for your money.

Most of the hotels and leisure facilities are connected by pathways decorated with fountains and run through jungle and tropical gardens.

It’s pretty enchanting, and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Nusa Dua to somebody who thought it would be a good place to stay.

What’s In Nusa Dua?

One of the reasons that Nusa Dua is a luxury destination other than beaches, of course, is that there are plenty of local entertainment and shopping options.

You can find all of the following in Nusa Dua and more:

  • Museum PASIFIKA – the best art museum in Bali hosts lovingly curated collections that are sure to impress.
  • Geger Beach, Nusa Dua Beach, Mengiat Beach, Geger Sawangan Beach – white sand beaches that will have you happily sunbathing for days on end.
  • Bali Collection – a high-end shopping precinct and outdoor mall near the Nusa Dua Beachfront.
  • Royal Orchid and Zahra Spas – the best places to get a massage on the island? We don’t know, but they certainly have to be up there.
  • Puju Mandala – This temple is one of the most interesting places in Nusa Dua because it bears witness to the concept of Pancasila. This Indonesian cultural movement seeks to keep equality and harmony between the islands.

What’s The Accommodation Like?

While the main options here are luxury accommodations, it’s worth noting that you can find some budget options in Nusa Dua too. The best hotels here are generally big names from all around the world.

Luxury Resorts:

  • Hilton Bali
  • The Bale
  • The Apurva Kempinski
  • St. Regis Bali
  • Ritz-Carlton Bali
  • Conrad Bali

Mid-Range Accommodation:

  • Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa
  • Bali Tropic Resort & Spa
  • Courtyard by Marriott Nusa Dua Resort

Budget Accommodation:

  • Avisara Villa & Suite
  • Villa Alindra
  • The Lerina Hotel Nusa Dua

Overall

There’s not much nightlife in Nusa Dua, but otherwise? It’s a very pleasant place to stay in Bali.

One big plus of staying here is that everything is within easy walking distance of everything else. This can be a big deal if you want to avoid renting a car or motorbike.

There’s an abundance of private villas with private pools in this area too, if you want something truly unique to stay in.

You should find that all the best hotels in this part of mainland Bali have a kids club facility during the day and that means a family can have lots of fun and the parents still get some downtime of their own.

Nusa Dua is a separate peninsula of Bali, of course, but it’s in Bali province.

Nusa Lembongan: Where To Stay In Bali For Small Island Life

Nusa Lembongan is a small island about a 45-minute ferry journey from Bali Island. It, like Nusa Dua, is a part of Bali Province.

Because of its location, it sees fewer visitors than many other areas of Bali. Nusa Lembongan should fit the bill if you were hoping for somewhere you can wander around without encountering a crowd or a queue.

Yellow Point Bridge

Who Is The Area For?

If you want the feel of authentic small island life, you’ll love Nusa Lembongan. You can do everything you can on the mainland, but you won’t have to go far to do it.

What’s In Nusa Lembongan?

It may be small, but there’s plenty to see and do in Nusa Lembongan, including:

  • A fishing village – as you might expect, many Indonesians have made their living from the sea over the years and there is an authentic traditional fishing village in Junngutbatu Village.
  • Seaweed farms – in the channel between Lembongan and its neighbouring island, you will find some lovely seaweed farms.
  • Dream Beach – yes, it lives up to its name. A trip to Dream Beach is like dying and going to heaven for a beach enthusiast.
  • Devil’s Tear – one of the most dramatic parts of the Indian Ocean is on this small island. Don’t miss it, but don’t swim near it, either.
  • Manta Ray Snorkeling – You can swim with giant manta rays! (Don’t worry, they can’t hurt you).

What’s The Accommodation Like?

While your expenses might be a little higher in Nusa Lembongan because goods must be brought over from the mainland, accommodation is reasonably priced on this island.

You can, of course, find awesome luxury accommodation but there are plenty of less expensive choices too. Some of the best hotels in Bali are here and we’d love to be able to afford to stay at The Tamarind regularly.

Luxurious Hotels and Villas:

  • The Tamarind Resort Nusa Lembongan
  • Villa Voyage
  • Batu Karang Lembongann Resort & Day Spa
  • Villa Tanjung
  • The Beach Shack

Mid-Range Hotels:

  • Tigerlillys
  • The Palm Grove Villas
  • Ombak Bay Lembongan
  • Sunset Garden Nusa Lembongan
  • Bay Shore Huts

Budget Hotels:

  • The Niti Huts
  • Komodo Garden
  • Koji Garden Huts
  • Taju Guest House
  • Natural Guest House

Whether you want to stay near Mushroom Bay Beach, Double Six Beach or Jungut Batu Beach, you’ll be fine finding something to suit your budget.

Overall

This island is becoming a backpacker favourite, but it’s also a great place to take a few days, no matter where you intend to spend the bulk of your holiday in Bali.

You only need 3 days to see everything on this island and maybe an extra day to visit its two neighbouring islands. (Nusa Penida Island – the home of the renowned Crystal Bay Beach – and Nusa Ceningan).

If this is your second or third visit to Bali and you have yet to go to the Nusa Islands, you should give them a go.

Sanur: Where To Stay In Bali For Older Couples and Families

Sanur is one of those funny places that never seems to roll off people’s tongues when they recommend places to stay in Bali, but it’s lovely.

We think the reluctance to recommend it comes from the fact that it’s very quiet and serene. That’s a shame because if you’re looking for a real break from the stress of work, isn’t quiet and serene what you need?

Sanur Bali

Who Is The Area For?

Sanur tends to appeal to older couples who love to walk the local streets without tackling the crowds of tourists.

It’s also popular with young families as it’s always easy to keep an eye on your little ones in Sanur.

As soon as you arrive, you’ll notice the much more traditional Balinese feel to this area. It’s about as far removed from Seminyak as you can find in Bali.

What’s In Sanur?

This area isn’t as well provided for in terms of attractions as, say, Kuta and Canggu are, but there’s still plenty to do and enjoy including:

  • Sanur Beach – is widely regarded as one of the nicest, cleanest and best beaches on Bali Island. It’s within walking distance of many lovely seafood restaurants too.
  • Sindhu Market – This is a genuine local flea market and one of the few places in Bali where you might bag a real bargain at a market.
  • Sindhu Beach and Cemara Beach – there’s plenty more warm sand and sea to enjoy in Sanur.
  • Le Mayeur Museum – This museum takes us back to Bali before they had a law banning “immodest dress” on the island. It also has some wonderful portraits of a Balinese dancer, made by her husband, a Belgian artist.
  • Pura Tirta Empul Segara Merta Sari – this temple is a local affair with people coming to bathe in and be washed by the holy water. It’s very authentically Balinese. Visitors say that it’s a spiritual experience visiting here.

What’s The Accommodation Like?

Sanur may be a little sleepier than the rest of the island, but that doesn’t mean it lacks accommodation options. You can find plenty of luxury options as well as budget-friendly places.

Luxurious Accommodation Options:

  • Hyatt Regency
  • Andaz Bali (a place that represents a traditional Balinese Village)
  • Maya Sanur Resort & Spa
  • Tandjung Sari
  • Puri Santrian

Mid-Range Hotels:

  • Prama Sanur Beach
  • Besakih Beach Hotel
  • Inna Sindhu Beach Hotel

Budget Hotels:

  • Sanur House
  • Semarandana Sanur
  • Sanur Guest House
  • Kembali Lagi Guest House
  • Nyaman Guest House

Overall

Sanur has so much to offer and now that Bali is becoming increasingly popular, it might only stay sleepy for a short time.

We think it’s the ideal place to go if you want to unwind after a hectic year. There are plenty of great restaurants and places to chill out. You’re not losing out by opting for Sanur at all.

And we’ve never met anyone complaining that they don’t have to push through crowds in Sanur.

Amed & Tulamben: Where To Stay In Bali For Divers

If you want to visit the East Coast of Bali, you can go right with Amed or Tulamben. The two areas are right next to each other and tend to appeal to divers.

That’s because some of the best shipwreck sites are here. There’s a Japanese wreck that’s very popular and, of course, the wreck of the USAT Liberty, too.

That doesn’t mean diving is the only thing to do in Amed and Tulamben. There are plenty of other diversions when you’re on dry land. However, these areas attract far fewer tourists than other parts of Bali.

Diving in Amed

Who Are These Areas For?

Divers are the primary audience for this part of Bali. But they’re not the only people who enjoy Amed and Tulamben.

If you want to enjoy an authentic homestay at a sensible price, this is a good area to do it in.

What’s In Amed and Tulamben?

Amed has quite a few attractions:

  • Scuba diving – the wrecks, dive sites and even swimming in the local bays all offer a chance to see incredible marine life.
  • Black sand beaches – Thanks to the volcanic activity in Amed, you can enjoy a black sand alternative to the usual white sands of Bali.
  • Bukit Cinta – this is a great place to get that perfect Instagram snap of Mount Agung. Get there at sunrise for the best light.
  • Pura Lempuyang Temple – not only does the gate give you a cool shot of the might of Mt. Agung framed by man, but there are seven sanctuaries to explore here too.
  • Tirta Ganga – this former Royal Palace is one of the coolest pieces of architecture on the East Coast.

Tulamben also has its fair share of attractions:

  • USAT Liberty Shipwreck – this is an easy dive and one of the most attractive spots in Bali.
  • Tulamben Beach – is a quiet and super clean beach, a long way from the crowds of Kuta.
  • Jemeluk Bay Underwater Gallery – beneath the waves of the Eastern Coast, you will find an art museum! Several NGOs and eco groups run this. Don’t miss it.

What’s The Accommodation Like?

There’s less choice in these two areas for accommodations, but there are more than enough options at every price point to make things pleasant for your stay.

High-End Luxury Options:

  • Mathis Lodge
  • Griya Villas and Spa
  • Pine Garden Amed Beach
  • Aquaterrace Amed
  • Siddhartha Oceanfront Resort & Spa

Budget And Mid-Range Options:

  • Villa Melasti Amed
  • Mejore Beach Hotel
  • Dama Sanjaya Cottages
  • Bali Amed Feel Home Villa
  • Liberty Dive Resort

Overall

Staying on this part of Bali’s East Coast is a great idea. However, the big challenge is going to be transport. Taxis are few and far between, often costing more than elsewhere on the island.

If you can put up with that or intend to rent a bike, then you’re in for a real treat and you don’t have to be a diver to appreciate the unspoiled nature of these areas.

You can also get some of the best photographs of Bali in these environments, which might put you ahead of the gaggle of influencers congregating elsewhere on the island.

Lovina/Singaraja/Munduk: Where To Stay In Bali For Nature Watching

You can only get a little further from Bali’s traditional tourist areas than Lovina and Singaraja in North Bali.

This means they’re quite a long drive from the airport and you should expect about a 3-hour transfer time if you opt to go this far North. 

Lovina Beach with dolphins

Who Are These Areas For?

Nature lovers wouldn’t stay anywhere else in Bali. Young families looking to create their entertainment are very happy here too.

The biggest attraction of this side of the island is dolphin and whale watching; seeing these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat is thrilling.

What’s In Lovina and Singaraja?

There’s a reasonable amount to do in this part of the island. In Lovina, you will find:

  • Lovina Beach – this sandy, shallow beach is a great place to swim. You can also hire equipment for watersports locally. There are no strong tides, which makes it ideal for young kids and new swimmers. It’s also where you can find the boats for dolphin watching.
  • Kalibukbuk Buddhist Temple – This temple is a traditional Balinese Buddhist temple and there are definite similarities between the architecture here and Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
  • Krisna Waterpark – the perfect place to take your family for an afternoon of fun and water slides. It’s quite inexpensive too.
  • Petirtan Mumbul – this temple specialises in holy water and you can get in the water yourself and feel amazingly refreshed.
  • Krisna Funtastic Land – this theme park is fun for the kids. It’s not got the sophistication of Disney, but that’s part of its charm for us.

And in Singaraja, you’ll find:

  • Banjar Hot Springs – a great place to enjoy some warm water from the local volcanic springs. There are a variety of pools for bathing in and they’re all quite safe.
  • Gitgit Waterfall – is one of the more impressive waterfalls on the island.
  • Dalem Jagaraga Temple – a very Instagrammable local temple where you can learn the history and something of the local culture too.
  • Chinese Temple Singaraja Tempat Ibadat Tridharma – a very tranquil temple in the Chinese style, something you don’t often find in Bali.
  • Gedong Kertya Museum – This is the place to go if you want to understand local myths and superstitions.

What’s The Accommodation Like?

There are fewer options in this part of Bali and you can easily find something for a tighter budget, too, as there’s less competition for rooms from tourists.

Luxury Stays:

  • Hotel Melamum
  • Handara Golf & Resort
  • Munduk Kupang Villa
  • Odika Loving House and Villa
  • Villa Romy and Bungalows

Mid-Range and Budget Stays:

  • Ciliks Beach Garden
  • Sananda Bungalows
  • Nugraha Loving Seaview Resort
  • ESA di Kubu Homestay
  • RedDoorz Plus @ Singaraja

Overall

You will probably already know if these areas are what you’re looking for in a Bali holiday.

For some, getting off the beaten path and seeing dolphins will be thrilling. For others, the idea will be a nightmare.

As with any of the more remote areas, transport can be problematic in this region and taxis are going to be harder to find and more expensive sometimes.

Denpasar: Where To Stay In Bali On A Tight Budget

Denpasar is a provincial capital and while it’s not a tourist haven, it is a busy city with terrible traffic.

The big upsides of Denpasar is that it won’t break the bank to stay here and you will get a brilliant introduction to Balinese culture if you take advantage of everything you can see and do in the city.

Aerial view of Bajra Sandhi Monument Denpasar

Who Is The Area For?

Typically, Denpasar attracts backpackers and cost-conscious tourists. There are only a few luxury hotel options here (none), but you can easily find a hostel or mid-range hotel that will be much cheaper than the rest of the island.

It’s also popular with visiting business people as it’s where many Indonesians come to strike a deal with a supplier.

We think it ought to receive more attention as a cultural destination. Loads of museums and temples make Denpasar interesting.

What’s In Denpasar?

There’s plenty to do in Denpasar including:

  • Bajra Sandhi Monument – this relatively recent construction is packed with dioramas telling stories of the island’s cultural life.
  • The Public State Museum – OK, it could be a better name, but it is a great museum. It holds over 10,000 rare local artefacts and is a great introduction to the history and culture of the island. It has some lovely tropical gardens too.
  • Shark Island – swim with sharks a little way out of the city! You can feed them too and don’t worry, they are very harmless to humans.
  • Ngurah Rai Mangrove Forest – this huge mangrove forest is one of Bali’s largest nature reserves and you can find nearly a dozen reptiles here and over 60 bird species!
  • Turtle Conservation and Education Center – not only can you learn about turtles and their part in island life, but you also get to ensure their future survival by paying the entry fee. Win-win, right?

What’s The Accommodation Like?

There is a small amount of choice and while you can find pleasant accommodation for a very fair price, luxury is something other than something that Denpasar does.

But you can certainly find a modern hotel in a central location that lets you explore the city and have a good time.

Mid-Range and Budget Options:

  • Quest San Denpasar by ASTON
  • b Hotel Bali & Spa
  • Neo Denpasar by ASTON
  • Inna Bali Heritage Hotel
  • RedDoorz Plus Near Mall Bali Galeria 2

Overall

Sure, big city living is different from what everyone wants from a Bali holiday, but there’s no doubt that Denpasar offers incredible value for money.

It’s also one of the better locations to explore the local culture and history. That’s something that many visitors need to get a feel for.

If we had a decent budget and enough time to spend in Bali, we’d spend a couple of days of our holiday in Denpasar, it’s the real Bali.

Gili Islands: Where To Stay In Bali For Something Different

The Gili Islands have a little something for nearly everyone. There are three islands, and each caters to a slightly different crowd.

Gili Islands

Who Is The Area For?

Party animals will love Gili Trawangan as it’s the most developed and one of the cheapest places to learn to dive in Bali.

Honeymooners will prefer Gili Meno, a small, quiet and refined place with sumptuous beaches that will blow your mind!

Gili Air is where you go to destress and unwind. It’s super quiet and you can get spectacular views of the mountains on Bali’s coastline from here.

What’s In The Gili Islands?

  • Diving and snorkelling. Each island has diving schools and they’re very good at accommodating beginners. They also rent equipment at reasonable rates.
  • Island hopping. You can get cheap public boats between the islands or hire your private boat (this can be very economical for big tour groups).
  • Paddleboarding and kayaking. Rentals are reasonably priced and the perfect way to go around the islands under your own steam (though you can walk around them if you want, it will take a little time, as these islands are not very big).
  • Gili Trawangan view point. If you want some great Instagram shots of the mountains of Lombok and Bali, you can get them from this viewpoint.
  • Presean fighting. If you head to the market on Sundays, you can watch the local “stick fighting” contests (they can be a bit brutal but don’t tend to get too bloody). If you want to join in, you can, but expect to take a few whacks.
  • Gili Meno turtle sanctuary. This is a place where young turtles are raised and then released. If you donate, you can release a turtle yourself!
  • Gili Meno Bird Park. This is a nice chance to see some of the native bird life.
  • Partying on Gili Trawangan. There are many big beach parties at the local bars and you can always have a good time on this island.

What’s The Accommodation Like?

You can find some nice places to stay on the Gili islands, but they tend to come at a bit of a cost premium compared to other parts of Bali.

Luxury Options:

  • Vila Ombak
  • Pearl of Trawangan
  • Kuno Villas
  • Slow Gili Air
  • Meno House

Mid-Range:

  • Aston Sunset Beach Resort
  • Gili Amor Boutique Resort
  • The Beach House Resort
  • Howies on the Beach
  • Gili Meno Escape

Budget:

  • Gili Teak Beach Front House
  • Manta Dive Gili Trawangan Resort
  • Villa Coco Republic
  • L’Archipel
  • Le Pirate Gili Meno

Overall

The Gili Islands are an excellent option to get far away from the crowds of Bali and enjoy a holiday experience very much tailored to your needs.

There’s a cost premium to be paid to stay here, but we think it’s very much worth it.

They are a part of Bali that few people see, but we’re expecting that to change rapidly over the coming years now that Bali is becoming a “must-see” global destination.

We’d recommend seeing these islands now before everyone else decides to.

FAQs

Which Area Is Best To Stay In Bali?

We think it’s Canggu, so we built Finns the world’s best beach club there. It has the perfect mix of entertainment options, beaches, culture and different types of hotel accommodations.

You can always take a day trip from Canggu to other parts of the island. It’s also only a 15-minute drive, in good traffic, from Ngurah Rai International Airport, which is super convenient when you’re flying in.

Which Part Of Bali Is Most Popular?

Kuta and Legian are the most popular areas in Bali. This is only sometimes a good thing and it’s worth noting that many travellers prefer to avoid hyper-touristy areas.

However, if you want cheap hotels and lots of company from fellow travellers, you can go right with Kuta. Just be warned, it will be harder to get around than some of the more relaxed areas.

Which Side Of Bali Has The Best Beaches?

It’s a subject of furious argument among locals and visitors alike, but the Southern side of Bali probably emerges as the winner of this debate.

However, you can always take a trip to the Nusa Islands or Gili Islands if you want even more beach options.

What About The West Coast of Bali?

West Bali is still a little underdeveloped compared to the rest of the island.

It’s worth a visit, but you probably would only want to stay there for a few days if you’d already experienced the best Bali beaches and other cultural offerings on the rest of the island.

Most people will aim for North Bali or South Bali, where the more popular areas of the island are.

Final Thoughts On Where To Stay In Bali

There are so many options regarding where to stay in Bali. Island life is very accommodating to overseas visitors and everyone here wants to ensure you have a good time.

With our guide and a good understanding of what you value in a holiday, you should be able to figure out the perfect place to stay in Bali (and if you can’t, don’t hesitate to call our friends at the Res Center for some advice and to book somewhere).

You can find everything here, from picturesque rice fields to lush tropical gardens, and you can enjoy fresh seafood on black-sand beaches or opt for white sands instead.

And remember, you don’t have to stay in any particular area if you want to see it, you can always take a day trip from where you are staying in Bali. It’s still a fairly small island. After all, nothing’s that far away from your front door. 

Share this entry

CONTACT US

FINNS BEACH CLUB

Jalan Pantai Berawa, Canggu
info@finnsbeachclub.com
Bali – Indonesia

Phone: +62 361 8446327
WhatsApp (Text Only): +62 821 4784 9839

NEWSLETTER SIGNUP

Our website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience. If you continue to use the site we will assume that you accept this.