Where to stay in Bali, Indonesia? Finding the perfect place for you
The island of Bali, Indonesia, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
It’s a great blend of amazing beaches, green scenery, friendly locals and Hindu culture.
Compared to similar destinations around the world, it fits a variety of budgets, which makes it a favorite among travelers and expats.
This article will help you decide where to stay in Bali.
Where to stay in Bali, our top 3 areas
It’s hard to mess up your stay in Bali due to the wide variety of areas that offer a similar experience. Regardless, we took the time to set aside some of our favorite areas using criteria like how close you’ll be to the action, the diversity of things you can do and price range (keeping in mind that Bali is already affordable overall).
|Where to stay in Bali, Indonesia|
|Best for first-timers||Kuta|
|Best for partying||Seminyak|
But wait, where is the budget edition?
Well, when it comes to Bali, budgeting will not limit where you can stay, it will depend on your lifestyle preferences. You can get around cheaply anywhere in Bali if you follow these tips:
- Bring lots of cash – Not all places accept cards like in the west, especially local food vendors or street merchants. Even if they do, you’ll pay additional bank fees depending on the type of bank and card you’re using. ATMs may be hard to find and constantly withdrawing will cost you. Additionally, many places like temples, gardens and private beaches have entry fees that can only be paid in cash.
- Eat local food – Eating at restaurants may make your vacation look fancier on Instagram, but we promise you the traditional food at local food joints and street vendors is much cheaper and infinitely more delicious and exotic.
- Always bring a water bottle and sunscreen – the easiest things to overpay as a tourist are these simple things that cost a few cents at the market and a few dollars on the spot.
- Use official taxis only – if they don’t have a taximeter, leave.
Transportation – Getting around Bali
Most people will be getting to Bali through Ngurah Rai International Airport. The strategic location of the airport makes the most popular places to stay easy to access.
When moving around Bali, depending on how far you’re going, there are 3 good ways to get around: Taxi, Scooter or Bike.
- Taxis are known to be cheap in Bali, but you also have to be careful of tourist traps. To avoid overpaying, make sure that you only use official taxis that have a displayed taxi meter. The official taxi service should cost only a few dollars on top of a starting fee in the inner cities.
- Scooters are the second option and a favorite among locals. There’s a lot of them for rent, but officially you will need an international driver’s license. We say officially because we’re aware of lots of tourists that don’t. Locals will still be willing to rent you a bike without one, but if you get stopped by the police you’ll get a ticket. The best thing about scooters is they will get you around traffic easily, making them time efficient.
- Bikes are great for quick travel around the areas you’re staying at. They’re cheap to rent, eco-friendly, and you’ll be able to avoid traffic. Additionally, those who enjoy a bit of adventure may want to take them off-road.
*Side note – Bali does have Uber and similar services, however as it stands they’re pricier than local taxis. If you don’t mind paying extra for additional security, go for it, but we had no notable trouble with taxis.
Where to stay in Bali for first-timers – Kuta
If you come by plane, the first place you land in Bali is Kuta. It also happens to be a great place for your first Bali visit.
It’s one of those well-rounded areas which you won’t have to leave for the most part, unless you want to see something specific.
Where to go and what to do in Kuta?
Legian is an extension of Kuta beach, although we prefer it to mainstream Kuta spots because it’s less crowded. The soft white sands make for some nice walks or chilling in shallow water. In the evening, you can enjoy the sunset by the shore or grab a drink at the beach bars.
When people think of waterparks, they think of places where children can laugh and play. Although there’s no shortage of activities for kids, there’s a variety of unique slides guaranteed to pump your adrenaline like SmashDown 2.0, Fast’N’Fierce and the aptly named Climax.
Sky Garden Lounge
Amazing all-in-one nightlife experience. The rooftop houses a restaurant, bar and hookah lounge with a view over Kuta. We recommend grabbing a drink or a bite to eat as you wait for the sunset for some amazing panoramic views of the city. It also features multiple levels of indoor and outdoor thematic clubs and lounges, which makes it diverse and worth visiting more than once.
Where to stay in Kuta, recommended accommodations
Affordable price range: Beautiful private pool in Lokal Bali Hostel
Moderate price range: Legian Beach Villa – beautiful and colorful with a pool
Luxury price range: Sikara Lombok Hotel – a high-end famous hotel
Where to stay for the nightlife – Seminyak
Just north of main Kuta is the area of Seminyak. For travelers, it’s a bit more modern and not as crowded, although this reputation has slowly caught up to it. People choose Seminyak for the nightlife and being close to more western-like entertainment.
Where to go and what to do Seminyak?
La Favela Bar and Club
The vintage, mostly wooden exterior and interior design make this unique looking place very visually appealing. It’s a restaurant throughout the day and dance club at night, making it worth visiting twice. The jungle vibe is mixed with replicas of iconic landmarks (such as the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro).
Try Scuba Diving
Although the main beaches of Seminyak are not the best for diving, the area hosts numerous diving accredited diving schools. You can check-in for lessons or join on the diving expeditions off the coast. Diving is a must-try in Bali because it’s part of the Coral Triangle, the most biodiverse area of marine species in the world.
Take a cultural break and visit this contemporary art gallery in the heart of Seminyak. What you’ll find is exhibits full of artworks of Indonesian, but also international artists. The gallery also supports local and up-and-coming talent. The world Nyaman means comfortable in Indonesian, which is the gallery aims to set.
Where to stay in Seminyak?
Affordable price range: Kosta Hostel – A room in this cozy Seminyak hostel
Moderate price range: Super 1-bedroom Villa – a modern, centrally located villa with private pool
Luxury price range: Pelangi Bali Hotel – a luxurious hotel
Where to stay, bohemian/cultural edition – Ubud
If you’re willing to trade being close to the beach for a memorable time inside the jungles, Ubud is the place for you. The town is strategically located near the otherworldly outdoor attractions in Bali.
Where to go and what to do in Ubud?
Sacred Monkey Forest
This unique experience deserves top of the list of things to see in Bali, period. The monkeys are friendly and used to humans, however – as with all animals – body language is important. Don’t go out of the way to bother them, but if you’re open to being approached they will come to you. After all, you’re equally as interesting to them.
Tegallalang Rice Terraces
Located slightly out of the town of Ubud. This amazing landscape is the result of Subak, an irrigation system invented by the Balinese. Although the scenery can be beautiful, it can get overcrowded throughout the day, so it’s recommended to get there early and enjoy the sunrise.
Although everybody in the world has at some point seen the shots from Bali Swing, it has a lot more to offer than the name and images suggest. For one, there’s more than one swing, plus other tourist attractions, like rafting and elephant rides, under the Bali Swing brand.
Where to stay in Ubud?
Affordable price range: Green Paddy Hostel & Villa – vintage, a nature-inspired room in this cozy hostel
Moderate price range: Peaceful Satya Villa – great balance of modern and nature
Luxury price range: The Kayon Resort Ubud by Pramana – gorgeous, high-end, very in touch with nature hotel