Bali is a true wonder of the world at large, and any man who would pass over it and head somewhere else probably has no idea what he is missing. Here the land slopes from beautiful verdant volcanoes, blooming and beautiful from the ripe volcanic soil, and leading down into beaches of amazing white sands or charcoal black sands – soft underfoot, wetted by the cool waves, and often touched by the fire of gorgeous sunsets falling below the horizon, going, going, and gone. These lands are cared for and treasured by their Indonesian locals, and even those who travel from all over to tour the many beaches and waves.
Oh, these waves and the surf and the bars/beaches/clubs/markets! Bali has so much to offer across all of its many shores – so the hardest question is often, where should I stay? Where will I get the most out of my journey.
Here surfing, disco, and shopping is amazing in the very busy Kuta, but over there in Ubud the inland people and culture is more religious, calm, and truly culturally significant. Other places and other shores there is also great rafting, surfing, scuba-diving, and other water sports. Many here are from Europe, the Americas, Asia and Australia – all here to enjoy the sea, the mountainous landscapes, and the temples which are still standing and very old. So, who stays where, where should you stay, where is the best place to stay?
In fact, the answer may be to stay in several locations – at that is what we suggest! – when in Bali pick out several different locations and spend a few days (at least 2 or 3) at each new ‘base’ or ‘home away from home’. You can rent a bike or get a taxi. If you really want to rent a car, know that tourist areas make the roads crowded and hard to navigate for foreigners. As well, road signs are almost non-existent in Bali, the driving is narrow, and the traffic is a snarled mess.
Best Places To Stay In Bali 2018:
Top Beach Destination
Pasir Putih is easily one of the best beaches along all of the Bali coast. Why? Because this beach is stunningly free of the rest of developed Bali, with a long unblemished coast of white sand, no hotels or resorts, and few beach-hut cafés as you explore its length. Here in this natural setting, the ocean is tranquil – and in their shadow there is nothing better to do than relax on the water, or dive deep below the surface and snorkel in the depths below the coconut groves high above.
Is this trip a romantic holiday? Just married? On your anniversary? Want to get away from the kids for a while? The resorts you’ll find in Nusa Dua cater to the recently married and other romantic packages, providing luxury, peace, and privacy for you and your loved one beside the sea. Here you both can relax and work on your suntans, or you can take a cool dip into the deep blue, face off against each other with different water sports, or just relax at the seaside cafés and very romantic dinners.
Have I even mentioned the sunsets yet which are like fireworks across the entire skyline? Or the actual fireworks most nights of the year? What about the succulent fresh sea-food dinners? Wandering musicians? Truly, Nusa Dua is a romantic holiday destination.
Nusa Lembongan well-known, even famous, for its virtual lack of night-clubs, loud partying, and vehicles. Here many come just to explore the untouched landscape, the eerie mangroves, secret and untouched villages with their kind locals, as well as the very remote beaches around the islands length. This place is very unlike any of the other Islands next to Lombok, very lush, very hilly, and perfect for hikes and bike rides across its length.
Most Family Friendly Destination
Nusa Dua will help your adventures when you’ve got children and family in toe! Here the complexes are safe and gated, with warm water pools, private bars and restaurants, as well as plenty of activities for you and the children. Many of the pools have water slides and kid’s clubs. Many of the restaurants are child friendly and provide kid menus with the meal to help with the options and the cost of each family member. As well, there are grand gardens in many of these resorts, which face over cliffs and beaches, and all the regions of the north which aren’t nearly as busy as anywhere else in Bali!
Outdoor Activities Destination
Ubud holds a place in the heart of Bali, its people, its culture, and its tourism. From Ubud you are perfectly located to discover the central delights with amazing clubs, parties, and live music’s for the indoor event lovers. Those who want more nature and local culture can a private car or a guide and find the amazing sculptures by Gunung Kawi, as well as the rich volcanic gardens and lush volcanic forests – including the terraces of rice by Jatiluwih, and the man-made exhibit, ‘Bali Zoo’ which will educate you on all of Bali’s gorgeous animals and wild-life.
From Ubud, mini-busses also supply trips for organized rafting, mountain biking, hiking, surfing, and even snorkeling and diving!
Seminyak is a great place to experience the culture of Bali’s night life. Here you will find grand multi-level musical nightclubs full of drink and dance (Jalan Legian Street) which are known for their selection of international DJ’s and performance groups. If clubs aren’t your scene, merely look along the street for the great sports bars which feature competitions against each other in who can serve the best ‘cocktail specials’ in the city. On many nights bars will serve drinks and provide opportunities of ‘free barbeque’ or ‘women drink for free’ events. After your night is over, make sure you take a taxi home and get there safely!
Farther to Seminyak’s north there is a higher rate blend of clubs which feature soul music, R&B, as well as excellent live jazz performances. These clubs are pricier, but well worth your time to explore and enjoy.
As well, if you’re looking for an area which is known for its great dining atmosphere, Seminyak takes the cake. . . literally. Here the curving lanes and streets can be found dotted with great cafés, tapas bars, and bistros – some of the cuisine is very traditional Indonesian, but there are also great assortments of food from around the world.
Most Spiritual Destination
Once again Ubud proves its merit in the heart of Bali, boasting the peace and serenity of a truly spiritual place. Here all sorts can be found on a path of their own, experiencing journeys led by yoga, meditation, local village remedies and blessings, as well as other types of spiritual healings performed or discovered at many of the temples throughout Ubud. As well in this city, you will find Penestanan, which is a smaller part of Ubud covered in small private resorts catering to spiritual rejuvenation, as well as sporting a smattering a yoga shalas with classes in growing your strength, peace of mind, and inner spirituality.
First Timer Destination
If this is your first journey into the hustle and bustle of Bali, including its busiest area of Kuta – this includes the popular places of Legian, Seminyak, and Tuban – your holiday may seem a little strangled by the fear of constant traffic, lots of people, noise and more noise and more noise!
So, if you’re looking not to panic on your first few days out, an excellent way to ease into the culture is by staying in Padangbai, or as close to the little town as possible – it will help you realize the best parts of Bali, and learn how to have fun and even navigate the worst parts of Bali. Then, once you’re ready, ease out into the sand, sea, nightclubs even! Or just stay in Sanur full time, because this resort area is much calmer than the rest, its night clubs are limited and not so sporadic, and the shopping and surf is less congested by other travelers.
Most Unique Destination
You’re about to be surprised! Hopefully pleasantly surprised, as you learn about the village tucked away beneth the most active volcano of Bali. Welcome to Toya Bungkah, which can be found right within Mount Batur. Here the village has excellent access to both hot water springs and amazingly clear cold-water pools. For being lazy and relaxing in natural hot-pots, eating at pool bars and restaurants, this village and the resort Toya Devasya inside of it, is perfect for you! The price is around $12 USD a day, for fun in the Olympic length pool, the natural occurring hot baths, and just general relaxation.
Best Village Destination
Unfortunately, most tourists are on their way back and forth from the renowned Gili Islands, pulled by the rumors and stories they have heard about its lore, its locals, and its fun. As they go however, passing by on speedboat or ferry, each of these tourists is missing out on the delightful and unpretentious village of Padangbai. Here the landscape is quite untouched by the ever growing flood of hotels and resorts being built, and instead has remained a quaint and beautiful curved bay hidden behind hills and clustering little buildings and streets in which can be found the most beautiful markets, schools, and temples. If one place as kept its original face for the rest of the world to see, it is the village of Padangbai – one of its best sights being the temple tucked away into its clifftops, boasting 1000 years of age over the blue lagoon and beach below.
Most Underrated Destination
This would be the village of area of Candikuning, which can be found around halfway between Lovina and Kuta, just tucked away sweet and sound beside the crater lake of Mt. Bratan. What is here that most people find themselves overlooking is the recreational water sports area of Bedugal lake, the villages massive botanical gardens, and the highly spiritual Pura Ulun Bratan temple.
Best Towns In Bali For Tourists
There are so many tourists who are just unwilling to venture out of their comfort zones, staying instead tucked away into the busy life of Kuta with its shops, markets, clubs, bars, surf, and sunsets. Where all of these things are nice and even relaxing for a long time, there is such a range of other places throughout the nearby area which are worth a quick day or two of your time, such as Tuban found south of Kuta. Here in Tuban you will find a plethora of family-friendly resorts, and an array of smaller more culturally Indonesian villages. The shops and cafés in this area have no comparison, and are 100% unique to the people and the traditional heritage of the Bali area.
This white sand bay town is located close enough to see the airport, and is an easy point to get from location A. to location B. when you are traveling Bali or when you are traveling home. It is known for its great surf for beginners and for some of its frequently empty (private) beaches.
Once again, if you want to break away from the club scene and ritzy malls of Kuta, there is plenty of space to unwind and discover yourself or a loved one within the city of Legian and its many beaches and less crowded lanes. Then, further north even from Legian, discover Seminyak for its bistros, cafés, restaurants, and food upon food upon food! As well as the local drinks, and grand villas you can sip them in.
If you’re looking for one of the longest stretches of beach and seaside in all of Bali, or even just looking to move extremely far away from Kuta as you can, choosing Lovina as your beachside hotel, resort, holiday location is the perfect choice for you to make. Here your sunsets are fantastic, the villages are amazing and very spiritual as well as very hip, and behind you the mountains are equally as tantalizing as the oceans below – perfect for a hike and an adventure into the wild. As well, nearby are the hot-springs of Singaraja.
Here you may once again discover privacy and safety for you and your children – it’s a gated resort community with almost all the resorts receiving a rating of 4 to 5 stars for their design and attention and love for each and every guest within. Protected by the walls and a lack of general traffic, excellent gardens have flourished about, and swimming pools are tucked along beside them. As well, most of these resorts overlook the nearby ocean, and cater to scuba lessons and tours of the undersea world below.
Nusa Penida And Nusa Lembongan
These two islands are separate for the Gili Islands, and are around a 30 – 45 minute ride, via the speedboat that you can get from Sanur. Here you will find the very old and authentic village of Jungutbatu, which is beach-lined and known for being a quaint fishing village with excellent skill in cooking and serving its daily and fresh sea foods. Then, just a few short miles from the village, discover Mushroom Bay which is most popular for its snorkeling and swimming.
Then, practically right next door to the Island of Nusa Lenbongan, you can also find the larger, but also less developed, area of Nusa Penida – clearly a fragment of mainland Bali which is historically said to have split off from the mainland around the 1970’s. This island is hard to access, but the villages and beaches here – including the renowned Crystal Bay – are enchanting.
Here, now departed from the tossing waves and surfers, you will find the calm waters and beaches of Sanur to be quite relaxing. It’s a short taxi ride from the bustle of Kuta, and then you will discover such an ideal setting for a relaxing meal, a quiet stroll, an uninterrupted swim, or a cycle through the wonderful streets around the bars and cafés and many market stalls.
Nusa Dua is an expensive solution to having fun with the family, and its cheaper and equally as fun ‘cousin’ of sorts is the peninsula city located at the tip of southern Bali’s thumb: Tajung Benoa. The resorts here face over the white sand beaches with their surfers, scuba divers, boating experiences (such as parasailing), and general sunbathers. These resorts are quite cheap and cater just as well to families and newly-weds.
Farther along the tip of the peninsula, discover more of the lovely village, and the mosques and temples it has to offer your sense of spirituality.
Bali’s East Coast
Most come here to travel to the nearby Gili Islands, which are accessible via ferry or speedboat and provide charming villages amongst rather untouched lush forests and other island life. Most ferry’s take off from Lombok, and head into the islands. Here you can find nearby Candidasa, with a beach resort overlooking the crude ruins of a rocky beach which has been gradually eroding for many years. The setting is idyllic and almost the perfect area in which to write a haunting novel about what lurks and waits with the mysterious island jungle around you.
As always, we hope you enjoy your journey to Bali, and find everything you are looking for in the heart of its culture, its people, and the experiences which have been developing out of its Malay heart-beat for the last thousand and more years since first it began to be populated.