Bali ranks among the most beautiful, fun, and exciting places on Earth. Nestled within the islands of Indonesia, Bali is home to pristine beaches, tropical waterfalls, fascinating culture, and a great nightlife scene.
With each area of Bali offering a unique experience, deciding the best places to stay in Bali can often feel overwhelming. Visitors here will want to ensure they’re choosing the right area to stay in to get the most out of their time on the island.
To help make sure you have the very best time in Bali, check out our guide below. We’ll cover the best areas for tourists and travellers to stay in and list the best accommodation in Bali.
Kuta & Legian
Surfing and partying
Sitting right alongside each other on the west coast of South Bali, Kuta and Legian are considered the go-to party destination on the island.
Take a walk through Kuta, and you’ll find it abuzz with activity as it’s one of the first ports of call for tourists new to Bali. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re looking for a place to party with budget-friendly drinks, accommodation, and food, Kuta is for you.
It mostly attracts younger travellers, including backpackers and tourists interested in its huge variety of nightclubs. And, while Kuta is considered a party town, it has a long heritage as a surfer hotspot. The beginner-friendly waves and learning facilities here make it a perfect destination to learn how to surf.
If you’re looking for a quieter stay but are still looking to sample Bali’s nightlife, Legian offers a good alternative.
Legian is a lot more laid back than Kuta without being a ghost town. There are still plenty of restaurants, bars, and shopping outlets to browse as well as a beautiful beach that begins to fill out at around 4:00 PM.
Relaxed luxury and shopping
North of Kuta and Legian is Seminyak, an affordable but more luxurious destination that attracts a slightly older crowd. Most people staying here are aged 25 or older, with Seminyak attracting people looking for a more relaxed vacation with fewer crowds.
Getting to Seminyak from the airport only takes around 20 minutes by taxi and, due to its location, makes visiting the capital Denaspar and elsewhere relatively easy. It’s also only a short trip away from Kuta and Legian for those who might want to indulge in some late-night partying.
Around Seminyak, you’ll find the area to be a lot more stylish than Kuta, with plenty of high-end bars, cool cafes and restaurants, and designer boutiques. This does make the area more expensive to stay in, however, meaning Seminyak is less budget-friendly.
Popular expat and surfer location
Often compared to Seminyak, Canggu is another popular destination for those looking for an alternative to the party scene of Kuta and Legian. It’s a popular spot for surfers thanks to its main beaches experiencing perfect waves.
Just a short trip North-West of Denpasar, Canggu is a great place to stay if you’re looking to venture further into Bali to experience some cultural sites. For example, the evocative Tanah Lot temple can be reached quite easily, as well as the Vihara Dharma Cattra worship site.
Most people visiting Canggu are expats, digital nomads, and those looking for a good spot to surf and relax. This surfer vibe is helped by the many hipster-style cafes, bars, and coffee shops here, often run by expats themselves.
While you’ll still find people partying on the beach with several lounge bars available, you’ll also experience a more authentic side of Bali. This is due to Canggu being one of the newer resorts on Bali and is still surrounded by terraced rice paddies stretching out into the distance.
Spend any time in Uluwatu, and the relaxed, surfer attitude of the area will soon rub off on you. The area has a particularly laid-back feel to it accompanied by outstanding views, beautiful cliff-lined beaches, and the famous Uluwatu temple.
It’s located on the Western side of Bali’s southern peninsula and is famous for its incredible surf. Surfers flock to Uluwatu, which is now one of Indonesia’s most popular surfing destinations due to its amazing waves.
With the waves particularly large and powerful, this is not necessarily the best place to learn surfing, but for those with more experience, it’s a one-of-a-kind experience.
Outside of surfing, there’s still plenty to do with a mixture of both high-end and affordable cocktail lounges, quirky bars, resorts, and cultural sites of interest.
Culture, spirituality and wellness
Most people who visit Ubud wish that they could stay longer thanks to its genuine small-town feel and welcoming spiritual and wellness community. Ubud is known as a centre of spirituality, with the villages showcasing Hindu architecture, statues, and shrines. The popular movie “Eat, Pray, Love” was filmed on location in Ubud, with the area used for many of the film’s most memorable landscapes.
Ubud is a far cry from the nightlife and partying of Kuta, with the town located northeast of the capital Denaspar. Within Ubud, you’ll find a wealth of activities, such as visiting the Sacred Monkey Forest, the Saraswati Temple, the thousand-year-old Elephant Cave used for meditation and prayer, as well as the many museums and temples.
An inland destination, Ubud is popular amongst those looking to visit further afield, too, with plenty of transport links nearby.
Still one of Bali’s very best-kept secrets, Umalas is a popular destination for those who want a well-rounded, relaxing experience without the busy crowds. It neighbours Seminyak and Canggu and is often overlooked by tourists as a result.
Instead, Umalas is preferred by expats, particularly French nationals, which has given the area’s cafes, restaurants, and bars a unique feel over those from other parts of Bali. Here you’ll find French bakeries and pastry shops, as well as bistros serving some of the best food in Bali.
Umalas is ideal for those looking to simply relax and enjoy the tropical climes of Bali without crowds. The nightlife scene here is a lot quieter, and the town has managed to retain its charm, despite rising popularity.
Offering pure luxury, Nusa Dua is one of Bali’s most desirable places to stay. The prestigious area is located 40 KM East of Denpasar on the Eastern shore of Denpasar.
Nusa Dua is a purpose-built collection of luxurious hotels, relaxing spas, world-class golf courses, and unique shopping experiences with an emphasis on luxury.
As well as lavish surroundings, you’ll also find Nusa Dua home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Here, you’ll find crystal clear waters set against stunning white sand beach fronts, perfect for photos and capturing memories.
As an “upscale” district of Bali, Nusa Dua caters mostly for those who can afford to spare no expense and wish to experience a more peaceful stay on the island.
Seafood, nightlife, and relaxation
A quiet fishing village, Jimbaran offers backpackers, travellers, and those who want a chilled Bali experience in the comfort of top accommodation. The area is one of Bali’s newer tourist resorts, only becoming developed in the 1980s, and now boasts several 5-star resorts alongside some more affordable hotels.
Jimbaran itself is only a 15-minute ride away from the airport and is located a little way South of Kuta. This means the area is a great place to call home for a few days if you plan on doing some relaxation, as well as partying.
People staying in Jimbaran are most drawn to the beautiful sunsets over Tegal Wangi Beach, strolls through the old streets of Jimbaran town and its fish market, as well as the spas, yoga retreats, and seafood restaurants.
The Best Luxury Hotels & Resorts in Bali:
1. Six Senses Uluwatu Bali
Six Senses is located in Uluwatu, one of the spiritual centres of Bali. In the spirit of wellness and spirituality, Six Senses offers a unique, cliff-top resort village with 103 suites and villas available to rent. Sat atop the cliff, these are inspired by both contemporary and traditional Bali design and blend seamlessly into the landscape.
Offering 180-degree views of the ocean to help centre guests, there’s also great food, drinks, luxury pools, spa, yoga, as well as wellness treatments available.
2. W Bali
Found on the shores of Seminyak, W Bali is a luxury resort featuring modern, chic restaurants, fashion outlets, art galleries, and unique clubs. It’s considered a tropical playground and is one of Bali’s most popular places to stay, with plenty to do on-site and nearby.
This 5-star hotel is the perfect place to refresh and refuel with a range of restaurants on offer, serving everything from BBQ ribs, Thai chicken skewers to freshly caught fish cooked to local recipes.
W Bali is also a top music destination, with the hotel regularly featuring many of the world’s top DJs and musicians.
3. The Villas at AYANA Resort, Jimbaran
With breathtaking views of the Indian ocean atop a limestone cliff, Ayana Villas offers truly unforgettable sunsets with outstanding hospitality.
This 90-hectare, five-star resort features spacious villas, each with its own infinity pool. While not cheap, Ayanas Villas is the ideal location for those who want a week or two being pampered and waited on, thanks to the many treatments at the Thermes Marins Spa, a world-class cocktail bar, and multiple food options.
4. Bulgari Resort Bali, Uluwatu
Combining a tropical aesthetic with the sophistication of European hotels, The Bulgari is a high-end luxury resort found in Uluwatu.
The accommodation here is full of Italian class and inspiration, with both villas and mansion suites on offer. Set among the volcanic rock terraces of Uluwatu, each accommodation offers seclusion and privacy to unwind in Bali.
The focus here is on escaping the crowds, with a private beach available to guests only, as well as open-air treatment rooms, a fitness centre, and the resort’s signature Italian restaurant, Il Ristorante.
5. Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay
This beach-side holiday resort offers more affordable prices than some other places in Bali while still delivering luxurious villas and fabulous services.
The resort is located in Jimbaran and is just 20 minutes from the airport. Surrounding the resort is a quiet town with street food, a clean beach, and unbroken views, providing plenty to do.
As a Four Seasons resort, you’ll be right to expect professional, inviting staff with particular attention to detail. You’ll find the hotel itself has an authentic Balinese feel with thatched roofs, volcanic rock motifs, and local wood used where possible.
As well as the performances, tours, and classes, be sure to check out the Spa Village here, considered one of the best anywhere in Bali.
6. Karma Kandara, Uluwatu
The Karma Kandara’s villas offer a cosmopolitan beachfront experience. Here you’ll find private pools, people lounging on their own secluded decks, and amenities that bring people together.
People come to Karma Kandara for the grand views of the ocean and the top-specced villas, each finished to a very high standard. Service comes as standard here, with each villa having access to a concierge that can make your stay perfect.
Step outside your villa, and you’ll find hanging pods, elegant tables, and quiet snugs for talking while enjoying a drink from the resort’s bar. Being a beach resort, Karma Kandara is great for those who like to surf too, allowing easy access to the waves and back.
7. COMO Shambhala Estate, Ubud
For those who need to unwind and destress, the COMO Shambhala Estate offers the ultimate wellness retreat. Set amidst the jungle forests of Ubud above the Ayung River, COMO has been offering luxury and spiritual development to travellers for over twenty years.
Here, East meets West, with the resort using both Eastern and Western knowledge to rejuvenate guests through food, treatments, mindfulness and bespoke wellness services.
This is not your typical spa and offers a much more personal wellness experience while not skimping on the luxury.
8. Alila Villas Uluwatu
Possibly Bali’s most beautiful resort, Alila Villas, sit atop a verdant beach-side cliff, with 65 designer villas that almost universally offer ocean views. While other resorts seek to retain the traditional feel of Bali, this resort has an emphasis on modern, innovative design, with a unique open architecture that somehow blends into the landscape.
While the villas are family-friendly, it is most suited to adults looking to sample some incredible food and drink in a truly unique location. Most famously, the resort’s infinity pool is one of the most Instagrammed, with the overhanging Sunset Cabana bar also providing some fabulous shots.
Food-wise, you’re spoilt for choice with Western, Parisian, experimental Mediterranean, and Bali cuisine all catered for.
The Best Time to Travel to Bali
With Bali located just 8 degrees off the equator, the island experiences warm, tropical weather all year round. Temperatures here average around 26-29°C.
Expect higher temperatures and dryer weather during the months of April to October and wetter weather during the rainy season, which lasts from November to March.
The best time to travel to Bali is May, June, and September. These months offer warm weather, quieter crowds, and cheaper prices.