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Where to stay in Bali (For first time visitors)

Not sure where to stay in Bali for your upcoming tropical holiday? We're here to help. A gorgeous location with charm like you won’t believe, Bali’s an island that will keep you coming back for more. The waters that flow from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean are doing wonders for the climate, as it has one of the best climates in the world. Its popularity has only been on the steady increase since the 80s, with today being one of the most popular tourist destinations from all around the world, but despite that, the land’s still has a deep-rooted spirituality which invariably adds to its already irresistible charm. Here is our where to stay in Bali guide, to help you pick the right accommodation.

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Where to stay in Bali

The island of Bali isn’t a very large place but it never feels cramped. Staying on holiday in Bali never feels cramped and like there are too many people around you, but if you’re there to party you’ll definitely find a lot of like-minded people. Bali is split into several parts each with its own unique locations, so there are definitely things to consider when picking a location to stay at. But still, the island offers plenty of choices, so wherever you go you’re bound to have a lot of fun.

Where to stay in Bali

Seminyak, Bali

Often considered the most premium location in Bali, and often hailed as the place to be, Seminyak used to be a small fishing village that has now turned into one of the largest attractions in all of Bali. After a big investment and a significant redesign of the place, it now offers a wide variety of activities and locales each better than the last. With boutiques, health spas, a long stretch of white sandy beach, Seminyak is an amazing location to stay in Bali.

Why stay in Seminyak

Seminyak is designed to be filled with people. That means that parties are a regular thing, and that the boutiques and shops are bustling, or that the premium spas will offer fantastic and competitive service. An amazing place if you’re looking for excitement and activities because there’s always something going on, and the beach itself is in pristine condition, no different than the water.

Why avoid Seminyak

The downside to a busy place like Seminyak is that it might feel cramped after a while. It’s not recommended for people that prefer to be a little isolated from crowds and large happening, or for divers that seek to explore the waters near the coast. And because it’s also very modern there’s little in the way of local culture that feels unique and genuine, at least compared to other parts of the island.

Where to stay in Bali Seminyak
The Ulin Villas and Spa - by Karaniya Experience

Budget - Grandmas Plus Hotel Seminyak

This property is 5 minutes walk from the beach. Just a 2-minute walk from Seminyak Beach, Grandmas Seminyak Hotel offers modern rooms with free WiFi access and flat-screen cable TVs.
Grandmas Seminyak Hotel is surrounded by the shops, restaurants and nightlife of Seminyak.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Mid-range The Bli Bli Villas & Spa

Surrounded by gardens, each air-conditioned villa has a well-equipped kitchenette, dining area, and semi-outdoor bathroom with spacious bathtub. Amenities include a flat-screen TV with satellite channels and a DVD player. The villa also comes with a spacious living area. Prices start at £129 per night.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Luxury - The Ulin Villas and Spa - by Karaniya Experience

The Ulin Villas and Spa – by Karaniya Experience features 14 well-decorated boutique villas. Each villa features spacious bedrooms and large dining and living areas. Features also include a designer kitchen and a bathroom with sunken tub and separate shower. Free WiFi is available in all rooms. Prices for the private villas start at £234 per night.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Ubud, Bali

Meditation, spirituality, and culture are the main draws of Ubud. It’s not only a place of breathtaking nature, because of the lush forests that surround the valley, but also a location that’s dotted with many unique temples filled with people and ceremonies of the local Balinese culture. A place to feel immersed in the local culture, Ubud is a place to get lost in.

Why stay in Ubud

Ubud as a whole feels like it’s locked in time, which is downright amazing for people that want to explore the culture and surroundings. The locals are warm and welcoming, and they greet many of the tourists as they go about their day. There are ceremonies and traditions happening in the temples constantly, which are opened almost entirely to the public, and offer plenty of spots and opportunities for yoga and meditation.

Why avoid Ubud

As it’s a very peaceful place it’s not a location that’s made to party at. It’s a very cultural place with museums and peaceful restaurants so events are very sparse and rare, and there are no beaches since it’s not near the water. It’s not recommended for people that want to actively do something because there’s very little in the way of excitement and opportunities for adventure. Ubud is the ultimate wellness destination.

Where to stay in Bali Ubud
Pramana Watu Kurung Resort

Budget - Angga Homestay

The rooms are provided with a terrace, a desk and a seating area. Private bathroom also comes with hot and cold shower facility. Guests can enjoy garden view from the room. Breakfast is served in the room. Prices for this authentic accommodation start at £13 per night.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Mid-range Purana Boutique Resort

All units are air-conditioned and feature a flat-screen TV, CD player, and DVD player. Some units have a seating area and/or terrace. There is also a kitchen, equipped with a refrigerator and stovetop. A minibar and kettle are also available. There is a private bathroom with a bath or shower and slippers in every unit. Towels and bed linen are offered. Prices start at £85 per night.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Luxury - Pramana Watu Kurung Resort

Pramana Watu Kurung Resort offers certain units that have pool views, and every room includes a private bathroom and a desk. The units feature a wardrobe. You can get a private villa with incredible views of the jungle. Prices start at £117 per night.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Kuta, Bali

Kuta is a little town whose beaches offer a little glimpse into heaven. Perfect waters and soft sand, it’s the surfer's dream come true. The town itself is great too, with affordable accommodations and decent restaurants, it’s also a place with one of the best nightlife scenes in all of Bali. Quick and busy, it’s a great place to drop an anchor at and just experience that magic that happens around Kuta.

Why stay in Kuta

Perfect for the person that loves watersports in general. Surfing is definitely the biggest draw of Kuta, as the waves can get pretty menacing at times, but not truly dangerous. With decent diving and snorkelling spots nearby, as well as the pristine beaches, the sea is the biggest attraction here. The nightlife is also great as there’s always something happening, and it’s a great place to be surrounded by people.

Why avoid Kuta

Not really a place for a family vacation, because other than the beach there’s not really a lot of activities for children. The beaches themselves get really busy and crowded often, so it’s not a place to just kick back and relax, or to just feel a bit secluded. While the accommodations and restaurants are decent and cheap, they’re nothing to write home about, and the local culture is slightly replaced with a modern global feel.

Where to stay in Bali Kuta
Aryaduta Bali

Budget - Pondok Sutya

Certain rooms feature a seating area for your convenience. A terrace or balcony are featured in certain rooms. Rooms have a private bathroom. TV is only available in selected rooms. Prices start at £9 per night.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Mid-range - The Anvaya Beach Resort Bali

Blending modern designs and Balinese touches, air-conditioned rooms at The Anvaya Beach Resorts Bali are fitted with a flat-screen TV, a minibar and coffee/tea making facilities. The spacious villa features a private pool and a large en suite bathroom with walk-in dressing room, double vanities, a bath and a separate shower. Prices start at £88 per night.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Luxury - Aryaduta Bali

Every spacious room is furnished with a sofa, a flat-screen TV and a fridge. Certain rooms at Aryaduta Bali have a balcony, but all of the air-conditioned rooms come with a private bathroom. Prices at this 5-star resort start at £70 per night.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Legian Beach, Bali

On first glance, it might appear that Legian Beach is just another Kuta, but is not quite the case. Unique and refreshing, as it’s a suburban beach, with beach bars all vying for your attention, and a place with nonstop parties and activities. Surfing is the go-to activity here, as well as relaxing in spas, Legian Beach and its adjacent beaches are also crammed with shops that offer a huge amount of goods, from things like local crafts to latest designer clothing.

Why stay in Legian Beach

One of the best party-focused places you can visit in Bali, it’s chockfull with people all partying and enjoying their time. Despite all the hustle of Legian, it has a very relaxing feel – in an active sort of way – and is a great social hub where people from all around the world gather to have fun. The waters are perfect for surfing, and if mingling with people is something you’re looking for, then Legian is the perfect place.

Why avoid Legian Beach

It can often get very crowded on the beach, and everyone is always coming and going, which can sometimes lead to it being a very busy place. There’s little in the way of typical relaxation, and there’s practically no sign of local culture since it’s not a town or a village, but only a suburban beach. Even though the waters are warm and fine, it’s not a place suitable for extended swimming, and due to its location there aren’t many affordable nearby accommodations – it’s mostly hotels in the region.

Luxury Legian Beach
Padma Resort Legian

Budget - Adys Inn

The rooms come with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, fridge, a kettle, a shower, free toiletries and a desk. Complete with a private bathroom, all guest rooms at the bed and breakfast are equipped with air conditioning. Prices start at £16 per night.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Mid-range - The Bandha Hotel & Suites

Nestled on Legian Beach, The Bandha Hotel & Suites offers accommodation with a year-round outdoor pool. The property has a spa centre and fitness centre, and guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant or a drink at the bar. Free WiFi is featured throughout the property and free private parking is available on site. Prices start at £97 per night.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Luxury - Padma Resort Legian

Boasting views of tropical gardens, 5-star rooms feature private terraces and flat-screen TVs. Padma Bali's pleasant rooms offer the comfort of classic wood furnishings with Balinese touches and a DVD player. Prices start at £164 per night.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Jimbaran, Bali

What was once a modest fishing village now has transformed into what many call the Beverly Hills of Bali. With its unique blend of calm and active, there’s something for everyone in equal measure. The beaches are perfect and relaxing, watching the sunset or rise can be magical, and the nightlife is also amazing.

Why stay in Jimbaran

Good both for a relaxing family vacation and for a party-filled holiday for the young, Jimbaran is a place filled with restaurants that offer freshly caught fish, and bars and clubs with high-octane parties. It’s a luxurious town with plenty of spas and chic boutiques, so shopping is a big part of the appeal.

Why avoid Jimbaran

Because of its luxurious nature, Jimbaran can get pretty expensive and is not for people that have a stricter budget. Although the beaches are fantastic, when it comes to partying they’re the main draw of the place, as they’re more like places for family gatherings and the like. Accommodations aren’t that affordable mostly since the villas overlooking the town are pretty extravagant at times.

Luxury Jimbaran
Kayumanis Jimbaran Private Villas & Spa

Budget - Bali Travel & Surf Villa

Featuring Balinese designs, the villa offers 3 spacious, air-conditioned bedrooms. En-suite bathrooms are fitted with bathtubs and hot/cold water showers. Guests enjoy lounges and dining areas fitted with sofas, coffee making facilities, and dining tables. Prices start at £8.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Mid-range - Keraton Jimbaran Resort

This property is 3 minutes walk from the beach. Keraton Jimbaran Resort offers boutique-style accommodation along Jimbaran Bay in Southern Bali. Surrounded by tropical gardens, the resort features an outdoor pool, a spa and 3 dining options. Prices start at £68 per night.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Luxury - Kayumanis Jimbaran Private Villas & Spa

This property is 3 minutes walk from the beach. Kayumanis Jimbaran Private Villas & Spa is located in the fishing village of Jimbaran, within walking distance from Jimbaran Beach. It offers villas with private pools. Other complimentary services include return airport transfer, welcome drink, daily afternoon tea and homemade cookies, daily re-stocked minibar and fruit basket. Prices start at £273 per night.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Nasa Dua, Bali

This east-facing complex is a lavish retreat whose main appeal is its five-star rating. A place where local meets international, Nasa Dua is deal for those that want to experience Bali without haggling with the locals for the prices or accommodations. With superb restaurants with nightly shows and live music and tropical gardens ideal for sipping cocktails, Nasa Dua is completely superb.

Why stay in Nasa Dua

Because everything is focused around the complex everything is easy to reach and convenience is the primary draw. There are both large shopping malls and smaller local markets, there’s always something nice and interesting to purchase, both local and international. The atmosphere is very calm and relaxing, and because it’s facing east, Nasa Dua is quite comfortable and calm when it comes to the climate.

Why avoid Nasa Dua

There are no nearby accommodations outside of the hotels, so that is a negative for those that want to find more affordable local accommodations. There is also very little in the way of nightlife because there are no typical bars to speak off, but rather lavish cocktail parties and nightly shows. Because of this, it can get pretty expensive because it’s meant to be a five-star retreat, rather than a typical relaxing place to stay.

Where to stay in Bali Nasa Dua
The St. Regis Bali Resort

Mid-range Sadara Boutique Beach Resort

Spacious rooms at Sadara Boutique Beach Resort offer a blend of traditional Balinese and modern décor. Fitted with tiled flooring and dark wood furnishings, they each come with shower facilities and a bathtub. Rooms start at £64 per night.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Mid-range INAYA Putri Bali

These beautiful rooms are air-conditioned and feature a flat-screen satellite TV with English and Mandarin channels, a laptop safe, wardrobe and a seating area. There is also an electric kettle, a desk and a terrace. Prices start at £126 per night.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Luxury - The St. Regis Bali Resort

Decorated with cultural fabrics and enjoying sea views, all villas and suites are fitted with an iPod dock, flat-screen TV and DVD player. Each comes with a balcony or terrace overlooking the garden, pool or ocean. Select suites and villas feature a private hot tub or plunge pool. Prices start at £450 per night.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Sanur, Bali

Arguably Bali’s top surf spot, Sanur is a little town whose quality is highly curated as it offers a superb atmosphere and ambience. The town is perfect for walks and views, as there are plenty of vistas, and is one of the best spots for a calm, relaxing vacation. The town is very accommodating to tourists with plenty of shops and restaurants, with some unique choices among them, Sanur is great to just kick back and relax.

Why stay in Sanur

Besides it being the ideal place for a family vacation, water sports like surfing are some of the biggest draws of Sanur. The beaches themselves are pristine and perfect, especially due to Sanur being in the south-easy corner, and because the town is rather small everything is within walking distance, but accommodations are plentiful.

Why avoid Sanur

The town of Sanur is highly maintained so while being topnotch, the accommodations can get pretty expensive, especially because most of them are top villas and hotels. There’s also almost no nightlife to speak of because the focus is on more relaxing vacations, so it’s not for those seeking different types of thrills other than watersports.

Luxury Sanur
Mahagiri Villas Sanur

Mid-range Kamuela Villas and Suite Sanur

Bright and airy, with spacious interiors, the suites and villas come with ample living and dining space. They are equipped with a flat-screen cable TV and modern entertainment systems. Prices start at £63 per night.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Luxury - Mahagiri Villas Sanur

Mahagiri’s villas feature spacious open-concept living and dining areas, as well as a garden with a pool, sundeck and a Balinese gazebo. Some villas have a kitchenette with a fridge, microwave and kitchenware. Prices start at £181 per night.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Mid-range Manzelejepun Luxury Villa & Pavilion

The accommodation comes with a seating and dining area. Some units include a terrace and/or balcony. There is also a shared kitchen, equipped with a minibar. Each accommodation is fitted with a private bathroom with bathrobes. Prices start at £48 per night.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Tanjung Benoa, Bali

This resort area and little town are like a more affordable version of Nasa Dua. Tanjung Benoa offers an interesting mix of relaxation and adventure with the main focus being on excellent cuisine and watersports. There’s an interesting middle ground between partying and family-friendly vacations, and the long stretches of beach are perfectly maintained so they’re ideal for anyone that wants some water-based action.

Why stay in Tanjung Benoa

Not quite as expensive as Nasa Dua, it’s great for you people that want to experience as much of Bali as possible. What’s unique about Tanjung Benoa is there are plenty of temples, as well as bars, so it’s very possible to experience the local culture and traditions, and have a nice tourist adventure too. Because the town is home to one of the best cooking schools in Bali food has a large part of the appeal, as it offers arguably the best cuisine on the island.

Why avoid Tanjung Benoa

While it is significantly cheaper than Nasa Dua it’s not the most affordable part of the island. It can get really crowded, especially during the tourist season so it’s not the ideal place to simply relax. For some, it might feel like there’s either not enough nightlife, and for others like it’s too much, so it comes up as a mixed bag to some people.

Where to stay in Bali Tajung
Novotel Bali Benoa

Mid-range Peninsula Bay Resort

Each room at Peninsula Bay Resort will provide guests with air conditioning, seating area, flat-screen cable TV, an electric kettle, and an en suite bathroom featuring shower facility. Some rooms come with dining area and and a kitchenette. Prices start at £79.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Mid-range Sadara Boutique Beach Resort

Spacious rooms at Sadara Boutique Beach Resort offer a blend of traditional Balinese and modern décor. Fitted with tiled flooring and dark wood furnishings, they each come with shower facilities and a bathtub. Rooms start at £64 per night.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Luxury - Novotel Bali Benoa

Furnished with dark wood fittings, Novotel’s Benoa’s rooms feature either a private balcony or tropical garden views. They are well-appointed with satellite TV, a safe and seating area. Prices start at £104 per night.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Candidasa, Bali

A gorgeous little pocket of Balinese culture, Candidasa offers plenty for every visitor. It’s not a place with a busy nightlife, but rather a place where culture and history play a large part in its appeal. The surrounding nature is absolutely breathtaking, with lotus lagoons and winding pathways into different parts of the area having the biggest draw of the place. The locals are more than welcoming, and little independent shops scattered around the place with very unique items for sale, all made by the local community.

Why stay in Candidasa

If you want to experience the history of the Balinese culture then Candidasa is by far the most ideal place. You can bathe in the royal pools of the ancient water palace, or experience the geography of the land by exploring the volcano. The locals’ way of life is also quite intriguing, so those seeking to witness the day-to-day life of the Balinese it can be amazing.

Why avoid Candidasa

The nightlife is extremely limited and partying is practically nonexistent, so other than having a cold drink in a hot afternoon there’s little else to do. Because history and culture are the main appeals, adventuring is not the focus, so don’t expect thrill-seeking action here. Other than the quaint little cafes and some local accommodations there aren’t any other more high-class places to stay.

Where to stay in Candidosa
Villa Gusmania

Mid-range The Nirwana Resort and Spa

Enjoy scenic views of the Indian Ocean or surrounding landscapes from private balconies. Also, each room comes with a private bathroom featuring bath and shower facilities, a hairdryer, slippers and free toiletries. Prices for the intimate villas start at £50 per night.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Mid-range Villa Gusmania

Situated in Candidasa, Villa Gusmania offers modern and tranquil accommodation with free WiFi access throughout. It features an outdoor pool, sun terrace and free parking. Prices start at £40 per night,

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Denpasar, Bali

The capital of Bali is a busy, bustling, multi-cultural place, and it’s only natural that things get a little hectic. Visiting Denpasar means experiencing as much of the real Bali as possible, especially if not you’re not staying for long. It’s a beautiful, if not daunting, city, with lots of history and plenty of attractions. Just make sure that you spend as much time as possible exploring its streets because there’s plenty to see.

Why stay in Denpasar

There’s something for everybody, meaning that it doesn’t matter if you prefer nightlife or just a casual stroll through the city, Denpasar can offer it. It’s where the government is seated so that’s where the most cultural events are happening, and the sheer range of activities to do makes it even better. From shopping malls to authentic local restaurants, Denpasar is a great place to visit at any time of the year.

Why avoid Denpasar

Because it’s a busy place it can get pretty chaotic at times, and due to its big growth in the past few decades, it can get pretty confusing pretty fast. While the locals are generally receptive and welcoming, the occasional scam and con can happen, or a thief might try to steal something. Because Balinese culture is quite unique it might be troublesome dealing with merchants trying to haggle or with the persistence of locals offering cheap accommodations.

Where to stay in Bali Denpasar
b Hotel Bali & Spa

Mid-range Alam Puri Art Museum Resort & Spa

Alam Puri Art Museum Resort & Spa’s grand villas offer wide open spaces and marble flooring, with some villas featuring a private plunge pool and kitchen. Balconies with views of Ayung River or paddy fields complete the experience. Prices start at £32 per night.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Mid-range The Banyumas Villa

Located in the central Denpasar area, The Banyumas Villa offers modern rooms situated near the business and entertainment area. The hotel features a large outdoor pool and provides free internet access and on-site parking. Prices start at £33 per night.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Kerobokan, Bali

One of the most charming and relaxing places in all of Bali, Keroborak feels like a slice of heaven. With tranquil rice terraces, coconut trees, and luxurious villas, Kerobokan is both a place for relaxation and a social hub. Due to its proximity to Seminyak, there are a lot of happenings going on, so there’s no shortage of activities. The beaches are also quite stunning and offer both high-octane parties and some solitude when needed.

Why stay in Kerobokan

It’s great to simply relax in Kerobokan. While there are plenty of activities, there’s also ample space to relax and get away from the bright nightlife of the rest of Bali and to just enjoy the view and calm sea air. It’s great for families that want a quiet time, but also perfect for people that like to party because of its close proximity to Seminyak and its busy bars.

Why avoid Kerobokan

The villas in Kerobokan are all high-class and outfitted to the brim so it’s not as affordable as some places. It does feel a bit secluded, but there are still plenty of people coming through and for those seeking some time away from civilization it might not appear to be the ideal place. Other than the restaurants there’s not much in the way of fine cuisine, and the shopping malls are mostly international stores and there aren’t that many local shops.

Where to stay in Bali Kerobokan
Rachline Villa

Mid-range Villa Rendezvous

Offering garden and pool views and featuring a blend of traditional and contemporary furnishings, air-conditioned rooms include a flat-screen TV with cable channels. The en-suite private bathroom comes with shower facilities and a bathtub. Prices start at £64 per night.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Mid-range Kubu Manggala Villas

Offering a terrace, particular units are air-conditioned and include a dining area and a seating area with a flat-screen TV. Some units also have a kitchen equipped with an oven and microwave. The villa offers a continental or American breakfast. Prices start at £58 per night.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Luxury - Rachline Villa

The air-conditioned villa is composed of 4 separate bedrooms, a living room, a fully equipped kitchen with a microwave and toaster, and 3 bathrooms. The villa also features a seating area and a bathroom with a bath. Prices start at £220 per night.

Compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com

Bali is a fascinating place to spend your time at. Nightlife, partying, or a calm vacation – it has it all. To top it all off, the scenery is constantly gorgeous and its prices are mostly affordable. It’s great for a visit at any time of year, so once you’ve picked your ideal spot, make sure to visit it as soon as possible.

Now that you know where to stay in Bali, tell us what location did you pick and why. Safe travels!

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Katie is a soft adventure traveller who is madly in love with Asia. She travels exclusively with her partner and their dog Cyber. Katie is a full-time traveller and a part-time content creator for You Could Travel.

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Responses

r
riyakhanna
16 Jul 2018

This was a really interesting post, thanks for sharing your travel experience.