This is a bit unorthodox but bear with us for a second. Before reading any more of the article, take a moment and marvel at the images we’ve included.
Done? Well, then let’s just skip the part where we try to convince you about whether you want to stay in this beautiful country and go right to where to stay in Bali.
Where to Stay in Bali
While what we said above was meant to be taken half-jokingly, the truth is that the only motivation that most people ever need to visit Bali is just to see an image of that absolute paradise on Earth.
The beaches, the forests, and the hiking trails are so breathtakingly stunning that they’re worth the price of the plane ticket by themselves. However, if that’s not enough to sway you, you also have fantastic restaurants where you can try the local delicacies and a ton of water parks where you can spend all day having fun.
That’s not even mentioning the animal reserves where you can see and even interact with some exotic creatures. Bali is also known for the many pura and puri that are scattered all over the island.
Pura is a term that refers to a temple, while puri refers to palaces. You’ll see both of those terms a lot throughout the article as we go over some of the most famous landmarks in the region.
The fascinating thing about the architecture on the island is that the places of worship are all varied and have specific designs. Sea temples have elements that are not seen in mountain temples, and temples that are dedicated to Vishnu have different designs from those that are dedicated to Shiva or Durga.
We’ll get into the details a bit more when we go over where to stay in Bali, but suffice it to say that the island has no shortage of attractions and appealing locations for any tourist that’s looking to try something new for their vacation.
The 5 Best Parts of Bali
Bali is full of locations that are great vacation spots, so narrowing the choices down was pretty tough. Either way, we managed to pick out what we consider to be the five best spots that any tourist would love to check out.
- Ubud: Full of temples and historic sites
- Kuta: Home to some of the best beaches on the island
- Seminyak: Surf, sand, and plenty of fun activities to try out
- Denpasar: The capital of the island and the nightlife hotspot
- Nusa Dua: A resort district with plenty of great hotels and restaurants
Bali’s Best Areas and Hotels
Certain parts of Bali are much more suited to hiking, while others are perfect for anyone that wants to spend some time suntanning on the beach or doing a bit of swimming. Regardless of where you stay, you can still do both, but it might take a bit of walking before you get there.
If you’re a nature lover that likes to walk, then we’d recommend staying in one of the locations that are a bit farther away from the sea. On the other hand, if you prefer to spend your vacations close to the water, it would probably be a better idea to stay in a hotel that’s near a beach.
You’ll have great attractions nearby regardless of where you stay if you pick one of the locations that we mention in our article, but it would still be a lot more convenient for you to pick your hotel based on which attractions you want to see the most.
Ubud is a pretty small settlement, and there aren’t all too many attractions, bars, or shops that you can visit. However, any visitor to Bali will definitely want to visit the temples that the island is known for, and this is where you’ll find some of the most famous ones.
The Pura Taman Saraswati is one of the many temples that can be found in Ubud. There are definitely larger temples on the island, but the pond in the front, the statues on the walkway, as well as the detailed carvings give this place an almost ethereal feeling and make it a must-visit spot.
Goa Gajah is more of a cave than a temple, but the giant face that’s carved into the side of the mountain and that’s surrounded by intricate carvings is definitely a sight to behold.
You enter the cave by going through the mouth of the deity, and inside you’ll find cave paintings and a small shrine that’s used for prayer. Puri Saren Agung is a palace that was constructed in the 17th century to serve as the home to the royal family.
While you can’t enter the palace itself, you can still go into the gardens and admire the architecture from the outside. Ubud is a beautiful place, but if you’re not really interested in architecture or temples, this area has very little to offer.
Things to Do
- Ubud has a giant botanical garden where you can check out all of the different types of flora that grow on the island.
- Go into the mouth of Goa Gajah and explore the cave that was believed to have been carved using the fingernail of the giant Kebo Iwa.
- Visit Pura Taman Saraswati and take in all of the beauty of one of the most notable temples on the island.
Where to Eat
- Taco Fiesta Bali is the best place in town to get some Mexican food.
- UNAME Ubud by Pramana offers a great view and a great menu to go along with it.
- Moksa Ubud has a great vegan menu with a lot of dishes that you can try out.
Ubud Budget Hotels
- Uma Dawa Resort and Spa comes with a kettle and an AC unit in every room, as well as an outdoor swimming pool with an accompanying kiddie pool.
- Queen at Gunung Sari offers either an a la carte or a Continental breakfast in the morning, and all of the rooms come with a flat-screen TV and an AC unit.
Ubud Mid-Range Hotels
- Tegal Sari Accommodation provides all of the guests with an outdoor swimming pool, a fully-equipped fitness center, and a choice between an a la carte or a Continental breakfast every morning.
- Arkamara Dijiwa Ubud has an outdoor swimming pool, and all of the rooms come with a flat-screen satellite TV, with a select few even coming with a kitchenette.
Ubud Luxury Hotels
- Wapa di Ume Ubud has a full-service spa with massage services, an in-house restaurant, and the front desk also offers cycling and rice paddy trekking activities.
- Chapung Sebali has rooms that come with free wifi and a flat-screen satellite TV, several outdoor swimming pools, and there are also horse riding services and yoga classes that you can sign up for.
On an island full of great beaches, Kuta is considered by many to be the best destination for anyone that likes spending their vacations lounging in the sun and swimming in the ocean.
There are plenty of other places on the island with the same soft white sand and the same crystal clear water, but this is the region with the most resorts, beachside bars, and fun activities. In short, this place is considered to have the best beaches because there’s plenty to do on them.
There are waterparks like Waterbom that you can visit and spend a whole day riding the lazy river and going down slides. There are some great waves that you can catch on Kuta Beach if you’re a surfer. If you’re traveling with children, you’ll be glad to know that there are amusement parks with plenty of rides as well.
And those are just the attractions near the beaches. The upside-down house, where you can see what it would be like to be spiderman, and the Flow House surfing machine, which is essentially a treadmill for surfers, are definitely our favorites away from the beach.
Kuta also has quite a few bars and restaurants that you can visit, shops that you can check out, and even a theater where you can catch a play if you’re into that sort of thing.
The only real issue that you might come across in Kuta is probably the tourists on the beach. Most of them are fine, but a few always leave trash lying around the beach when they leave, and with the sort of numbers that Kuta sees, a few is all it takes to turn the beach into a dump.
Things to Do
- Go to Waterbom or Circus Waterpark and spend a whole day going down water slides and just having fun.
- Go to Upside Down World or Dream Museum Zone if you want to snap a fun picture of yourself on your vacation.
- Vihara Dharmayana Kuta is a Buddhist temple, and it offers an interesting contrast to the other temples that you see around the island.
Where to Eat
- Shinta warung is a small restaurant that serves traditional Indonesian dishes.
- Crumb & Coaster serves both Indonesian food and global fare.
- Benih Cafe is a great place to grab a quick bite or a coffee in the morning.
Kuta Budget Hotels
- Bakung Beach Resort offers both laundry and dry-cleaning services to all of the guests, and the rooms come with a TV and an AC unit.
- Sun Boutique Hotel comes with a 32-inch flat-screen satellite TV, a coffee maker in every room, and free wifi throughout the property.
Kuta Mid-Range Hotels
- Mercure Kuta Bali has a full-service spa with a lot of treatment options, a rooftop swimming pool, and rooms that come with cable TV and a coffee maker.
- Grand Inna Kuta offers around-the-clock room service, a complimentary breakfast every morning, and free parking.
Kuta Luxury Hotels
- Amnaya Resort Kuta provides all of the guests with access to a library with a great selection of reading material, an outdoor swimming pool, and a fully-equipped fitness center.
- Kuta Seaview Boutique Resort comes with a full-service spa with plenty of treatments to pick from, an outdoor swimming pool, and rooms that come with a coffee maker and a 42-inch flat-screen TV.
We’ve already mentioned that Kuta is the best place on the island to visit if you’re looking for fantastic beach-side destinations, but Seminyak isn’t that far behind it.
Seminyak Beach is a very popular surfing spot, and while Double Six Beach is smaller, it still has plenty of beachside bars where you can grab a drink and a lot of activities that you can try out. Speaking of activities, we’d recommend trying scuba diving.
There’s plenty of space in the deeper regions, the fish are amazing to observe, and there aren’t many rocks that beginners might hit. All in all, if you’ve never been underwater with a tank before, this is probably the best place in the world to try it for the first time.
If it’s too hot to wander around and you’re not in the mood to go for a swim, the next best alternative would be to visit Nyaman Gallery. A good number of the artworks on display here are made by local artists, and while some are definitely inspired by Indonesian culture, there’s a wide range of different topics and styles.
Additionally, if you still haven’t had enough of the temples on the island, then you can visit Pura Petitenget and Pura Masceti. This is where you can experience the different architecture of sea temples and agriculture temples.
Seminyak has the same issues as Kuta in that the beaches get a lot of visitors a day, and not all of them are courteous enough to bring their trash with them when they leave. The beach does get cleaned on a regular basis, but you might still see some trash here and there.
Things to Do
- Try your hand at scuba diving and check out all of the colorful fish that swim around in this area.
- Visit the Nyaman Gallery and look through the many artworks that include sculptures, paintings, and ornate carvings.
- Relax by taking a yoga class in the local fitness center, or just unwind and grab a massage in one of the many local spas.
- Go to either Double Six Beach or Seminyak Beach and just enjoy the surf, the soft sand, and the seaside bars.
Where to Eat
- Jaansan Bali Restaurant is a chic restaurant with a relaxed atmosphere.
- Seminyak Kitchen is a small eatery where you can grab a quick bite in the morning.
- Seasalt Seminyak is a seafood restaurant with a great view of the beach.
Seminyak Budget Hotels
- Destiny Boutique Hotel has an AC unit and a flat-screen TV in every room, and there’s also an outdoor swimming pool and free wifi throughout the property.
- Grandmas Plus Hotel Seminyak comes with a front desk that’s always on-call, as well as rooms that come with cable TV and free wifi.
Seminyak Mid-Range Hotels
- Tonys Villas & Resort Seminyak offers rooms that come with an AC, a cable TV, and a coffee maker, and there’s both a spa and an outdoor swimming pool that guests can use.
- Mutiara Bali Boutique Resort & Villa comes with plenty of massage treatments in the full-service spa, an outdoor jacuzzi pool with a lounge deck, and rooms that have a flat-screen cable TV and a coffee/tea maker.
Seminyak Luxury Hotels
- IZE Seminyak has both a lounge and a poolside bar where you can grab a drink at the end of the night, an in-house restaurant with a pretty large menu, and room service if you decide that you’d prefer to drink or dine in your room.
- Kanvaz Village Resort Seminyak offers all of the guests a choice of either a Continental or an a la carte breakfast in the morning, and the hotel also has an in-house restaurant where you can eat, as well as a fully-equipped fitness center.
Denpasar is the capital of the island, so it’s by far the largest city. This does make getting from one side to the other a bit of a pain, but on the bright side, it also means there’s more to see.
More specifically, there are plenty of cafes, bars, and nightclubs that you can check out and grab a drink with your friends. The city also has quite a few clothes boutiques that you can check out if you’re looking to spruce up your look a bit.
Additionally, there are also tons of gift shops, shoe stores, and shopping malls as well. If you’re more interested in the local attractions, we recommend checking out the Duta Orchid Garden. This is where you’ll find a forest of rare and common vegetation alike — well, common to Bali.
You can either walk around by yourself or be escorted by a guide that can tell you a bit more about the plants and point out the best places where you can snap a picture. This city is also the place where you’ll find the Bali Museum and all of its exhibits.
There are tons of sculptures that you can check out, artifacts that were dug up on the island, old dresses and garb, and plenty of other artifacts as well.
As you might expect from a capital city, the prices here are higher than in most other locations on the island. That being said, there are still reasonably priced bars and hotels, so if a drink or a room seems a bit too costly, then just go to another establishment.
Things to Do
- Check out the bars in the city, try to find a place that has a live performance on stage, and party the night away.
- Walk around the Bali Museum and look through all the exhibits on display.
- The flora in the Dula Orchid Garden is pretty popular with tourists, especially ones that want to get a great vacation pic that they can frame.
- Go on a shopping spree and check out all of the different stores that can be found in the city.
Where to Eat
- Goemerot Restaurant is a great eatery with a playground where kids can run around.
- Fisherman’s Club always has fresh ingredients on the catch-of-the-day menu.
- Gosha Kitchen & Patisserie Renon offers both traditional Indonesian and Western dishes.
Denpasar Budget Hotels
- OYO 90311 Hotel Damai has a flat-screen TV and free wifi in every room, and the front desk offers both car hire and airport transportation services.
- POP! Hotel Denpasar has a front desk that’s always available, and all of the rooms come with a flat-screen cable TV and an AC unit.
Denpasar Mid-Range Hotels
- Ganga Hotel & Apartment comes with a water dispenser, an electric kettle, and a mini-bar in every room, as well as a flat-screen satellite TV and free wifi.
- Inna Bali Heritage Hotel provides all of the guests with access to an outside pool and an in-house restaurant, and all of the rooms come with cable TV.
Denpasar Luxury Hotels
- The Vasini Hotel serves a complimentary buffet breakfast every morning, all of the rooms come with a flat-screen cable TV and free wifi, and there’s a sizeable pool where guests can take a dip.
- b Hotel Bali & Spa has an electric kettle and a flat-screen satellite TV in every room, a playground where kids can run around, a spa where guests can relax, and a large outdoor swimming pool.
5. Nusa Dua
Rather than a city or a village, Nusa Dua is a resort district that’s full of great hotels and plenty of restaurants that you can check out. There are also many interesting spots that you can visit, with the most notable one probably being the seaside cliff that’s known as “Water Blow.”
The name alludes to the spectacle of crashing waves that spray water high into the air due to the steep cliffs, almost always creating a rainbow. Water Blow is a real spectacle to behold, and it’s a great place to get a pic for your vacation album.
This area is also the home to the Pasifika Museum and the numerous sculptures inside. There’s also a temple that’s called Pura Gegar, and while only worshippers are allowed inside, you can still admire it from the outside. Additionally, you can also go to the shore and get on a boat that will take you to the nearby Serangan Island.
This is the location of a turtle preserve where you can see a number of these beautiful creatures. Aside from that, Nusa Dua also has quite a few boutiques that you can visit and bars where you can grab a drink.
The good thing about this area is that it’s a tourist hotspot, so there are a lot of fantastic hotels and resorts that you can stay in. The bad news is that the more luxurious ones will cost you an arm and a leg, while the more economical ones are still pretty expensive.
Things to Do
- Get on a boat and go to turtle island if you want to visit the preserve and see how the turtles are cared for before they’re released back into the wild.
- Check out the sculptures in Pasifika Museum and try to see if you can tell which ones have traditional Western influences and which ones have Asia-Pacific influences.
- Snap a pic at Water Blow and try to time it so that the spray is behind you (bonus points if you also manage to get a rainbow in the frame).
- Go to the beach and try your hand at water skiing, jet skiing, parasailing, or any of the other water sports that are available.
Where to Eat
- Piasan Restaurant is the place to eat if you’re looking for some Italian dishes.
- Tetaring Restaurant offers quite a large menu full of authentic Indonesian dishes.
- Nusa Dua Beach Grill has every sort of BBQ that you might want on the menu.
Nusa Dua Budget Hotels
- Mahogany Hotel has air-conditioned rooms that come with a flat-screen satellite TV, there’s free wifi throughout the property, and the hotel also has an outside swimming pool with a lounge area.
- Ibis Styles Bali Benoa comes with free parking for all of the guests, a front desk that’s always available, and rooms that come with a flat-screen TV and an electric kettle.
Nusa Dua Mid-Range Hotels
- Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort provides all of the guests with a mini-bar, free wifi, and a flat-screen satellite TV in every room, and you also have five different on-site restaurants to pick from.
- Holiday Inn Resort Bali Benoa has both a fully-equipped fitness center where you can work out and a full-service spa where you can relax.
Nusa Dua Luxury Hotels
- Melia Bali provides all of the guests with the option to try out the many activities that it provides, like canoeing, paddle surfing, bicycling, archery, and many others.
- The Ritz-Carlton Bali comes with a full-service spa and wellness center, several outdoor swimming pools, and rooms that come with a flat-screen satellite TV and a DVD player.
So, Where Should You Stay in Bali?
Ubud is the place to go if you want to see some of the temples that appear on all of the travel brochures for the island. Denpasar has the most bars and clubs, and it’s definitely the location for anyone that likes to spend their vacation dancing and having fun.
Kuta has some of the best beachside attractions on the island, and the beaches themselves are huge and excellent for both sunbathing and swimming. But wherever you choose, you’re sure to have the time of your life. Happy travels!