What is your Bali? Tips for choosing where to stay in Bali

ULUWATU-BALI-INDONESIA

You’re planning your trip to Bali, and when it’s time to choose where to stay on the island, there is always the question: which part is the right one for me? Don’t worry; I am here to help you choose the best place to stay in Bali.

The Island of Gods, as Bali is commonly referred to, is fairly big! Think about an island with an area approximately 100 times bigger than Manhattan, and that offers a wide range of attractions – beaches, volcanoes, forests, and temples – all scattered around different parts.

Because of this, setting up a base in different parts of the island is the best way to enjoy everything it has. But among Uluwatu, Ubud, Canggu, Nusa Dua, etc., how do you know which one suits you best?

This post has all you need to know about each part of Bali to help you choose where to stay on the island and top hotel recommendations.

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Where to stay in Bali

Ubud

Ubud is the soul of Bali. If you are not into big waves and surfing, you probably think of Ubud when you think of Bali.

Among vegetarian restaurants, yoga, forest, temples, and spirituality, choosing Ubud as a place to stay in Bali will give you a true idea of what Bali is about.

Your days in Ubud will be filled with matcha lattes, colorful smoothie bowls, and organic food.

And when it comes to activities, there is plenty to do – wander around rice terraces, explore temples, hike volcanoes for sunrise, cool down in waterfalls, join lots of yoga classes, try g a Balinese cooking class, and have a special spa treatment.

WHERE TO STAY IN UBUD

  • Bisma Eight: a boutique hotel very close to the heart of Ubud and within walking distance to some of the main places to see in the area – Ubud Market and Saraswati Temple. The 38 rooms are very well designed and the infinity pool offers impressive views of the forest.
  • Calma Ubud: this is one of the best hotels in Ubud. The infinity pool overlooks the rice terraces and it’s also within walking distance to the center of Ubud.
  • The Udaya Resorts and Spa: set among the lush greenery forest of Ubud, one of the highlights of this hotel is the spa. Spa treatments include the Balinese Boreh and can come with the famous and beautiful decorated flower bath.

Make sure to check the Ultimate Ubud Travel Guide.

Where-to-stay-in-Bali-Ubud

Nusa Dua

Nusa Dua is where families with kids usually stay. Why? Because the white sand beaches with blue waters are calm and many big hotels and resorts are located here.

By choosing Nusa Dua to stay in Bali, there is also no need to be traveling around, as you can go to the hotel and enjoy their restaurants, pool, and – most of the time – their private beach.

Nusa Dua will provide all the infrastructure required when traveling with children or as a family.

WHERE TO STAY IN NUSA DUA

  • The Mulia Nusa Dua: this luxury hotel in Nusa Dua is perfect for couples, families, or anybody looking for a stunning place to stay in Bali. The Mulia has comfortable rooms and breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean.
  • The St. Regis Bali Resort: a beachfront resort in Nusa Dua with complete amenities that are perfect for families with kids. Your days here can be enjoyed on the hotel’s beach or relaxing by the pool.
  • Conrad Bali: another oceanfront resort with comfortable accommodations and all the 5-star infrastructure you need for your stay.

Seminyak

Seminyak used to be the low-key part of Bali, but the area has slowly changed to accommodate new developments – now you can find big hotels and even a shopping mall here.

You should stay in Seminyak if you want to go to the beach clubs in the area, do some shopping, and have lots of restaurants to choose from.

Since the beach in Seminyak has a darker color, you can spend your days sipping drinks at the many beach clubs, such as the famous Potato Head, or enjoying the many charming cafés in the area.

WHERE TO STAY IN SEMINYAK

  • Alila Seminyak: a beautiful 5-star resort with beachfront views and a stunning swimming pool.
  • W Bali Seminyak: with a gorgeous oceanfront beach club and one of the most impressive pools in Bali, this 5-star hotel is one the best places to stay in Seminyak.
  • The Colony Hotel Bali: a lovely boutique hotel in Seminyak with a courtyard pool and spacious rooms. By staying here, you can walk to the nearby restaurants, shops, and the beach.
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Canggu

Canggu is laid-back, how Seminyak used to be a while ago. Think about surf vibes and wholesome cafés settled among rice terraces.

Today, the options of where to stay are basically rental villas and a dozen or so hotels. And that’s why in Canggu you will find a relaxed and good vibes atmosphere, and yet with plenty of cafes, vegetarian restaurants, and beach clubs.

As a comparison, I like to say that Canggu is the beach version of Ubud.

Activities in Canggu include surfing, yoga classes in cute studios, and beach club hopping (The Lawn, Finns, and La Brisa are located here).

When it comes to food, Canggu has many charming cafes and restaurants with plenty of colorful food and picture-perfect settings to post on social media.

WHERE TO STAY IN CANGGU

  • Como Uma Canggu: a beachfront hotel with two pools, a beach club, and a superb spa. Accommodation options range from standard rooms to pool villas and duplex penthouses with luxurious modern architecture. Near Como Uma Canggu, you’ll find many restaurants and coffee shops.
  • The Slow: one of Canggu’s finest boutique hotels with an excellent location – close to The Lawn and Old Man’s. The hotel features 12 suites (some with private pools) and a rooftop restaurant and bar to watch the sunset. The Slow is one of Canggu’s busiest places, so I’d recommend an early reservation.
  • The Haven Suites Bali Berawa: located in Berawa, the cool area of Canggu, this is a great place to stay and enjoy the surroundings. It’s also a budget yet comfortable hotel in Canggu.
  • Theanna Eco Villa and Spa: offering 22 uniquely styled private pool villas. Here, you can choose from Scandinavian minimalism, Japanese zen, and the tropical vibes of Bali. There is also the option of a 2 bedroom villa for families or groups. The hotel also has a main pool for all guests to relax and offers a shuttle to certain parts of Canggu at certain times of the day.

Don’t forget to read: Best Hotels and Best Restaurants in Canggu

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Jimbaran

Jimbaran is a fishing village where you can find the best seafood restaurants in Bali.

Despite being close to Kuta, Jimbaran couldn’t be more different: by staying here, you’ll be very close to the beautiful beaches of the area, and yet still have access to some luxury hotels and resorts.

From Jimbaran, you can visit some of the top beaches in Bali, like Dreamland and Bingin.

Also, Jimbaran is a good in-between option if you don’t want to stay in Uluwatu but still want to be close to the pristine beaches of Bali.

WHERE TO STAY IN JIMBARAN

  • Ayana Resort and Spa: Ayana has many swimming pools, but the infinity pool is one of the most beautiful ones in Bali. It’s close to the beaches, but if you stay here you’ll probably want to hop from pool to pool or enjoy the private beach of the hotel. This hotel is perfect for couples on a honeymoon looking for a dreamy experience.
  • Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay: a cliff-edge resort that features an outdoor pool with stunning views of the Indian Ocean. Each villa comes with a private pool and, by staying in this 5-star hotel, you’ll be able to walk on the nearby Jimbaran Beach.
  • Rimba Jimbaran: part of the Ayana family, this is a good alternative if you can’t splurge for the Ayana but want access to the resort amenities.
Where-to-stay-in-Bali-Jimbaran

Uluwatu

Worldwide known as the perfect place for surfing, Uluwatu offers plenty of big waves and stunning clifftop ocean views.

However, even if you are not a surfer, you can still enjoy the stunning beach scenery of the region and the trendy beach clubs, like Karma Beach Club and Sundays Beach Club.

In Uluwatu, you can visit Uluwatu Temple, one of the best places for sunset, and Garuda Wisnu Kencana park.

The range of accommodation is also another major point in Uluwatu – perfect for honeymooners. The area has many luxury hotels offering private pool villas, floating breakfasts in the pool, and other luxury perks.

WHERE TO STAY IN ULUWATU

  • Alila Villas Uluwatu: in this all-pool villa luxury resort you’ll have gorgeous panoramic views of the Indian Ocean. The hotel infinity pool is one of the most beautiful in Uluwatu. Here, you can also find The Warung, one of the best restaurants in Bali to try authentic Indonesian food.
  • Anantara Uluwatu Bali Resort: another cliffside hotel in Uluwatu, this luxury hotel has a gorgeous infinity pool and is perfect for a tropical getaway.
  • Six Senses Uluwatu:  all suites at Six Senses have unbeatable views of the Indian Ocean and some of them come with a private infinity pool. The amenities are luxurious and the location is one of the best on the island.
  • The Ungasan Clifftop Resort: a luxurious cliff-edge resort above the Indian Ocean near some of the best beaches in Uluwatu.
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North/ Northwest Bali (Munduk/Menjangan)

If you are keen to visit an off-the-beaten-path part of Bali, you should definitely plan on spending some days in the North/Northwest Bali, either in Munduk or Menjangan (or both!).

In Munduk, you will be surrounded by waterfalls, swings overlooking the mountains, and be able to escape from the crowds.

In Menjangan, you will be in one of the best diving spots in Bali. The clear waters are home to psychedelic-colored corals, providing plenty of diving and water activities.

WHERE TO STAY IN MUNDUK:

  • Munduk Plantation: this hotel offers luxurious villas and suites and features an outdoor infinity pool that provides scenic views of the surrounding.

WHERE TO STAY IN MENJANGAN

  • Menjangan Dynasty Resort: have you considered a glamping experience in Bali? Then you need to stay at this resort with luxury, comfortable tents, and a gorgeous infinity pool. The restaurant offers a delicious Indonesian menu with some international dishes. When not enjoying the comfort of the hotel, you can go on diving and snorkeling trips.
  • The Menjangan: an opportunity to have a luxury experience in a not-so-famous part of Bali. the rooms are spacious and comfortable.
  • Plataran Menjangan Resort and Spa: a beautiful property with perfect accommodations for a few days of relaxation.
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Kuta

I don’t recommend staying in Kuta at all! If you are a tourist and want to visit Bali, by only staying in Kuta you will definitely be disappointed.

Here you will find dirty beaches and party people that have nothing to do with the Balinese vibes.

You will hear people say that Kuta can be a good place if you are on a budget, but you can certainly enjoy Bali with limited resources anywhere you choose to be. Regardless of the number of luxury hotels in Bali these days, there will always be homestays around the island.

As I said, I don’t recommend staying in Kuta, but if you really want to see it for yourself, here are some options:

WHERE TO STAY IN KUTA:

  • Aryaduta Bali: has direct access to the mall and a rooftop pool, a pool bar, and a kid’s pool.
  • Sheraton Bali Kuta: for a 5-star stay in Kuta, Sheraton offers an infinity pool overlooking the beach
  • Bali Garden Beach Resort: this Balinese design hotel has not only one but three swimming pools.

From Bali, you can also visit the magnificent Nusa Penida on a full-day trip, and hop on a fast boat to the Gili Islands to spend a few days unwinding at the beautiful beaches.

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Tips for visiting Indonesia

  • Visa:  for current information about Indonesia’s visa, currency, and other travel updates, please visit my post on What to Know for Visiting Indonesia.
  • The best time to visit Bali is from April to October.
  • Always carry some cash with you, as some places do not accept credit cards.
  • In Canggu, you can get Grab and Go-Jek (apps that work like Uber). In Ubud and Uluwatu, the apps don’t work (because of local disputes), so you’ll have two options: rent a motorcycle, or negotiate with taxi drivers to take you to the places you want to go. There is also the option of booking a car with a driver at the hotel, but it can be the most expensive option if you don’t plan to travel a lot.
  • Travel Insurance: I recommend purchasing travel insurance for every international trip, and the same applies to Bali. My recommended and used travel insurance tool is SquareMouth, a platform for searching for the best option amongst travel insurance companies. It allows travelers to instantly purchase a travel insurance policy from every major provider in the US and it also makes clear each policy’s COVID-related coverage.

Best tours in Bali

Bali packing tips

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Now that you know the different parts of Bali, which one would you stay at? Tell me, what’s your Bali?

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I am Elen, and I help 9-5ers plan their next getaway. I curate travel experiences, from places to sip a coffee to stays in boutique hotels, so you can save time when planning your next vacation. Here you will find travel guides, tips, and the best itineraries for your next trip.

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