Where to stay in Bali: Best areas to stay in Bali!
Who doesn’t dream of visiting the quintessential paradise island? There's a reason Bali is called the Island of the Gods — there seems to be a kind of magic in the air.
Ranging from the four active volcanoes in the interior through the green rice terraces around Ubud to the white sandy beaches in the south with the mighty waves of the ocean, Bali is a a singular natural wonder.
But you aren’t the only one with the idea to visit Bali, so brace yourself for tourist traps and loud music blaring from the many bars and clubs. But nevertheless, there are still some quiet spots on the island, and even deserted beaches you can have all to yourself — especially during the low season!
That means Bali is a place with something for every type of traveler — whether you want to party through the night, climb volcanoes or jump on top a surfboard.
But not every part of Bali is equally suited for all these activities: While the beaches in the south and southwest are ideal for surfing, the north is the best place to relax without even the hint of a techno beat in the background.
Where to stay in Bali? The best parts on a map!
To give you a hand with your search, we’ve made a list of the best parts of Bali and picked the best hotels for every budget range for each of them. We’ve categorized the most interesting places to stay on the island from south to north:
- Kuta and Legian
- Bukit peninsula
We love to know which way we’re headed, geographically speaking, so here’s a map for you listing all the spots on the island. With all the Balinese names it’s easy to lose track, and you wouldn’t want that, would you?
Kuta and Legian: For party people and surfers
The coastal stretch from Kuta to Legian is approximately 5 km long and the richest in tourism with countless bars, restaurants, and thumping baselines on the streets and beaches.
Kuta is the gateway to the island because it’s the first place you end up after the airport and so every vacationer on Bali is almost guaranteed to wash up here sooner or later.
The town is a complete tourist stronghold, the Bali’s Spring Break central so to speak. Legian is right next door and the two towns merge into each other, and so Legian is hardly a stranger to the party scene.
So if pure partying and sleeping it off on the beach is your kind of thing, then this an excellent choice. The beaches are also ideal for surfing novices, there are several affordable surfing schools, and the waves aren’t all that high.
Pros of staying in Kuta and Legian
- Great for first-time surfers
- Active night life
- All hotels are within a 30-minute drive of the airport
Cons of staying in Kuta and Legian
- Chaotic and crowded streets, both by day and by night
- The sea and the beaches aren’t always clean
- Party all night means you won’t get much sleep
Our hotel tips in Kuta and Legian
The cheapest hotels in Bali are located here, booking.com alone lists 86 hotels in the 0 to 20-euro category. Here are the hotels in different price ranges with the best reviews.
Seminyak: The hippest area with the best restaurants
Seminyak is the next town along the coast after Legian and is known to attract a more sophisticated crowd. It has the best restaurants in Bali, the area and the hotels are generally cleaner and classier, and there are plenty of places for shopping.
But you also have to dig a little deeper into your pockets than in the surrounding towns. Surfers may be disappointed here because the sea is relatively calm.
Pros of staying in Seminyak
- Clean and stylish ambiance
- Good shopping options and restaurants
- Not as chaotic and overrun
Cons of staying in Seminyak
- Higher prices
- Not such a good surf spot
Our Bali Hotel Tips for Seminyak
The prices are a bit higher in Semniyak, but then again you’ll find quite a few trendy boutique hotels there. You can choose from a total of 97 hotels.
Canggu: Relaxed surfing with an expat flair
Canggu is the most laid-back part of the southwest, there are fewer and smaller hotels, excellent surf spots, and is especially popular among expats. There are a couple of beach bars with live music, but the noise level is much lower than further south.
It also boasts one of the most famous temples on Bali, Tanah Lot, the beautiful but unfortunately frequently overrun sea temple.
Pros of staying in Canggu
- Not as touristy
- Relaxed, but not boring atmosphere
- Several popular surfing beaches
Cons of staying in Canggu
- About an hour away from the airport by car
- You need to your own vehicle to get around (most of the accommodations offer a scooter rental)
Our tips for where to stay in Canggu
There are far fewer hotels in Canggu, only 20 according to booking.com. Instead, there are more villas and guest houses.
Bukit Peninsula: Rocky beaches and the world’s best surf spots
This peninsula is the southernmost part of Bali, only a few kilometers from the airport. It’s particularly rocky and popular with more laid back vacationers like families and couples, and of course with surfers. It also has some of the most famous surf spots in the world, including Dreamland, Impossibles (named for its deadly surf breaks) or Ula Watu.
The only sandy beach is the 4-kilometer-long Jimbaran Beach, that slopes down gently, making it good for bathing. Bukit also has accommodations for every price class, and hotels on the beachfront usually also have their own private beach.
If you stay here, you’ll most likely have to rent a scooter or hire a driver, because public transport aren’t as common as in area around Kuta.
Pros of staying on the Bukit Peninsula
- Close to the airport
- Some of the most famous surf spots in the world
- Relax away from the party mile of Kuta
Cons of staying on the Bukit Peninsula
- The beaches are mostly rocky and you’ll need sandals (only one sandy beach)
- No public transport
- Hardly any night life
Our tips for where to stay on the Bukit Peninsula in Bali
Also here aren’t that many hotels here either, guest houses and private accommodation are much more common. Nevertheless, we’ve found the best hotels for you:
Ubud: Balinese culture in the hinterland
Ubud is the cultural center of the island. It’s about 30 km further in the interior and can be reached via taxi or bus from the airport. The small, colorful town has about 30,000 inhabitants and is known for its special atmosphere.
One of the most famous attractions is the magical monkey forest located in the center of town. You can witness religious rituals there and visit temples surrounded by jungle. Ubud is a great place to shop for typical Balinese carvings and art, eat tasty food, take yoga lessons, and explore the surrounding area with its many rice fields by bike.
There are accommodations in every shape or size, ranging from wellness hotels on the outskirts to simple hostels in town. Even though Ubud isn’t exactly close to the beach. it’s absolutely worth a visit!
Pros of staying in Ubud
- There are lots of things to do
- You get a good insight into the Balinese culture
- There’s a large selection of hotels
Cons of staying in Ubud
- You’d be far from the beach
- The taxi ride from the airport takes about 2 hours
Our Hotel Tips for Ubud
There are very many hotels in Ubud — booking.com currently lists 155.
Sanur: The laid back tourist center
Sanur is located on the east coast of Bali, just a few kilometers north of the airport, and so you can get there quickly by taxi. Just as in Kuta, tourism is very present here, but it’s still more quiet than its neighboring towns.
There are several good restaurants and bars and a lovely beach promenade for an evening stroll.
The beach and the water are also cleaner than in Kuta, the water is calm and less dangerous as an off-shore reef keeps stronger currents at bay. So it’s also great for snorkeling and diving trips. All in all, that makes it ideal for a relaxing vacation with your better half or with kids.
Pros of staying in Sanur
- Quick and easy to get to from the airport
- Laid-back atmosphere with good restaurants
- Beautiful beach with calm water
Cons of staying in Sanur
- Not a surf spot
- Not a very active night life
Our Bali Hotel Tips for Sanur
There are a total of around 60 hotels and boutique hotels to choose from in Sanur, most with above average reviews on booking.com.
Lovina: Dolphin tours and black lava beaches
Lovina isn’t a single town, but actually more of a coastline in the north of Bali. It’s much quieter here than in the south, although tourism is slowly beginning to rear its head here too.
The beaches in the north are made of black lava sand and drop off gently, with weak currents. That makes them ideal for diving, snorkeling, and swimming.
Lovina consists of several villages, with the most going on in Kalibukbuk. There are also lots of opportunities for organized excursions to Bali’s mountainous hinterland, as well as dolphin tours and snorkeling and diving trips by boat.
The area is ideal for more laid-back vacationers, families, and nature lovers. Especially during the rainy season, it’s worth staying on the north coast because the mountains often shield the area from rain clouds.
Pros of booking a hotel in Lovina
- Laid-back atmosphere
- You’re more likely to spot animals
- A calm sea for swimming and snorkeling
- Less rainy than the south
Cons of booking a hotel in Lovina
- Far from the airport
- Not a very active night life
- Not suitable for surfing
Our tips for where to stay in Lovina
Lovina is relatively affordable, but there are only 32 hotels in the area. So booking ahead well in advance wouldn’t be a bad idea.
More tips for your vacation in Bali
Have you ever been to Bali and can highly recommend your hotel? Then we look forward to your comment on this post!