Picking where to stay in Bali is absolutely essential to ensure that you have a wonderful vacation. I think the biggest mistake I made when I visited was not researching properly on where I should be staying. Unfortunately, I ended up in areas I didn’t enjoy and hotels that were not suitable – and that had a bad effect on my perception of the island.
I really don’t want you to go through the same experience I had – my job here is to make sure you make the most out of your holidays. That’s why I decided to write this guide on the best places to stay in Bali – hopefully it will save you the hassle of being in a place that is not for you and it will save you some time when researching and booking.
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5 Things To Consider When Picking Where To Stay In Bali
Before I get to the juicy bits and tell you how to pick where to stay in Bali, let me summarize a few things you should be keeping in mind when picking your Bali accommodation.
Bali is beautiful
Rice terraces; temples; beautiful beaches; interesting cultural heritage; volcanoes such as the very active Mount Agung; sunsets as beautiful as they get; endless shopping opportunities; diving, snorkeling and surfing (among others sports); bars and restaurants galore: Bali is a fantastic island to explore, and it has a lot to offer to visitors.
One thing is for sure: there’s way more to Bali than luxury resorts, yoga and spas.
But it can get extremely crowded (and traffic is horrific)
Thought to be one of the best tourist destinations in the world and a “bucket list” place, Bali receives an average of 3 million visitors per year, with peaks of 4 millions – and the numbers are increasing. On an island that small, this can only mean one thing: between the locals and the tourists, Bali can get terribly crowded and you may often end up feeling that there is no way you can be by yourself.
But worry not: there are places in Bali where you can escape the crowds. It’s just a matter of looking for them.
FACT: I am not a fan of the bucket list travel trend at all and I don’t even like using that expression. You may want to read this article on how the bucket list is ruining the world.
Another thing to remember is that although Bali is small enough that you can easily explore it in a few days, traffic is overwhelming and it may take you hours to drive a few km. That’s why I recommend taking your time, picking a few areas to stay and exploring the vicinities.
Read my experience if you are thinking about hiring a scooter in Bali.
Before you visit – check out my top helpful travel resources
Here are a few of my recommendations for travel assistance and sites I use when traveling myself. For more on these and why I choose to recommend them, check out my full disclosure page.
- Book your travel insurance with Insured Nomads if you are from the US or Worldwide Insure for European visitors.
- Find the best flights with Skyscanner.
- Get great prices on Rental Cars from Discover Cars.
- Travel throughout Spain and Europe via train. Book your tickets with the Trainline.
- Find affordable accommodations on Booking.com
- Search tours from GetYourGuide or Civitis
- Check your visa requirement on iVisa
Think of your travel style
Are you a backpacker on a budget? Are you interested in surfing? Are you on a romantic break with your partner, or are you traveling with your children? Please keep in mind that for as beautiful as a place may be, it may not be suitable to your needs or to the needs of those you are traveling with!
And of what you are looking forward to do
The main thing you need to consider when deciding where to stay in Bali is the kind of scene you are looking for. Do you want a city that pulses with life, where you just have to walk out the door to find a market, shops, restaurants and bars and crowds of people all willing to mingle? Or are you really looking forward to get some rest away from any sort of noise?
Do you want to spend all day exploring, hiking the volcanoes and visiting the rice terraces; or would you rather hang at the pool, get a massage and enjoy a light meal? Do you want to practice yoga or surf all day? Are you looking for a local scene?
Remember that towns such as Ubud or even Kuta may have anything you may possibly desire in terms of restaurants and nightlife, but they can be overwhelming with the traffic, the noise, the cars and scooters zipping by at any time of day and night.
Isolated resorts, on the other hand, may be significantly more peaceful – but if you ever want to get to town you will have to hire a taxi or hope that the hotel offers a shuttle to its guests.
Keep your budget in mind
Needless to say, keeping your budget in mind is important when choosing where to stay in Bali. If you are a backpacker on a budget, you’ll probably find the best budget friendly options in Kuta and Ubud. On the other hand, if money is not an issue, places like Seminyak offer the largest array of luxury accommodation.
Let me now finally get to the purpose of this post and highlight where to stay in Bali. I will start with my favorite place.
My Views On The Best Places To Stay In Bali
Let me stress that my personal preference is just this – personal. It does’t have to be yours. But if you ask me for a personal recommendation on the best places to stay in Bali, I will inevitably mention Canggu. Located a bit north of Seminyak, it’s a lovely quiet town surrounded by rice fields and not nearly as touristy as the rest of the island. Close to Canggu you’ll find beautiful beaches, the famous rice terraces, and lots of traditions. There even is a co-working place, perfect if you need to do some work on the road.
Where To Stay In Bali – Best Overall Options
Before getting into the details of the best areas to stay in Bali, let me get straight to the point and highlight the best places to stay in Bali, divided in hotels, villas and hostels.
Best hotels in Bali
It’s hard to beat this hotel in terms of value for money and location. Rooms have fantastic views, a traditional external bathroom, and all comforts. The hotel has a pool, a restaurant and a bar. It’s located in Nusa Lembongan.
Rooms are set around a gorgeous garden, where you’ll also find a pool and a bar. It’s very budget friendly. It’s located in Ubud.
Kuta isn’t the best place to stay in Bali, but if you decide to base yourself there, make sure you do it in style. This hotel features a pool, a fitness center and a wellness center, as well as a bar. Even the most basic rooms are very large, and all of them comfortable, modern and stylish.
Best luxury villas in Bali
The setting of these gorgeous villas in Ubud couldn’t be any better. They are completely immersed in the forest, each has their own pool, there is a bar and a restaurant and everything you may possibly need for a perfect holiday.
Immersed in the rice fields right outside Ubud, these villas all have their own private pool and are fully equipped to cater to your needs. They are excellent value for money.
Located in Seminyak, these villas have each their private pool. Activities such as yoga or cooking classes are organized for guests.
Best hostels in Bali
This beautiful hostel located in Kuta has a well kept garden with a small pool, private rooms and well equipped dorms. With dorms starting at $10 USD, it’s a real steal.
Located in Canggu, this small hostel features well equipped dorms, an outdoor pool and a bar. Guests love the easygoing atmosphere and the prices are unbeatable.
This hostel is located in a traditional home 7 km outside of Kilimantani, with rooms set around a beautiful garden. Dorms are basic, but they all have air conditioning and mosquito nets.
Where To Stay In Bali – Best Areas And Places To Stay
Canggu: The best place to stay in Bali
Canggu really is a lovely place. Considering how Bali gets crowded with tourists and busy with traffic, it’s surprising that Canggu is much more quieter. It’s north of Seminyak and a million miles away from the busy places of southern Bali. If you base yourself in Canggu, you’ll be surrounded by rice terraces, have easy access to wonderful beaches perfect for surfing, and can count on a few good bars and restaurants and cultural activities. There even is a co-working space, in case you need to take your work with you.
Best places to stay in Canggu
- The Tipsy Gypsy Hostel is small hostel with equipped dorms, an outdoor pool and a bar. The easygoing atmosphere and the unbeatable prices make it a favorite of travelers on a budget.
- Tapa Tepi Kali By Pramana counts with spacious modern room facing a lush garden and the pool.
- Theanna Eco Villa And Spa have their own private pool and there is an on site restaurant and a bar.
Ubud: the best place to stay in Bali for solo travelers and yoga lovers
Thought to be the cultural and artistic center of Bali, Ubud is seriously a lovely place to visit and to spend a few days. You’ll find temples, markets, rice terraces and mountains, and plenty of restaurants serving food from anywhere in the world. While in Ubud make sure to visit the Monkey Forest, and to explore the surrounding attractions such as Jatiluwih Rice Terraces – so pretty that they are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Ubud is also the main yoga hub in Bali – so if you are looking to join a yoga retreat this is probably the best area to stay in Bali for you.
Best places to stay in Ubud
- Pondok Massas Ubud has rooms set around a lush garden, a pool and a bar. It’s very budget friendly. It’s located in Ubud.
- Amora Ubud Boutique Villas are completely immersed in the forest, with their own pool. There even is a bar and a restaurant.
- Anusara Luxury Villas are immersed in the rice fields right outside Ubud, have their own private pool and are perfectly equipped to cater to your needs. Great value for money.
Kuta: Where to stay in Bali for budget travelers
Do not stay in Kuta if what you are looking for is peace and quiet. I somehow ended up there for a few days when I was in Bali and didn’t enjoy it one bit (except for the amazing sunset, that is). Kuta is chaotic, crowded, dirty. But on the bright side, it has an incredible young vibe, it’s packed with good restaurants, shops galore, and very budget friendly options. It’s close to Bali airport and it’s a great place to learn to surf – hence the young crowd it attracts.
Best places to stay in Kuta
- Hotel Lusa is a good budget friendly choice. Guests love its large pool and the quiet vibe.
- Interconnection Kuta is a beautiful hostel with a lush garden and a small pool, private rooms as well as comfortable dorms.
- Amnaya Resort Kuta is a fabulous hotel that features a pool, a fitness center and a wellness center, as well as a bar. Rooms are very spacious, comfortable and stylish.
Seminyak: best place to stay in Bali for nightlife
Seminyak is like the sophisticated, adult version of Kuta. You’ll find all of the nightlife, none of the trash. It’s packed with upscale restaurants, beautiful boutiques, beach clubs such as Potato Head (perfect for an evening out and for a sunset drink) and plenty of excellent accommodation options, with luxury hotels and villas but also some options for people who are traveling on a smaller budget.
Best places to stay in Seminyak
- Royal Samaya Villas have each their private pool and offer activities such as yoga or cooking classes.
- The Legian is located right on the beach. It features a massive pool, a fitness center, a spa and wellness center, a bar and a restaurant. The massive rooms all face the ocean.
- Socialista Lifestyle Hostel is a very well organized hostel with good dorms, a pool, a fitness center and even a spa.
Jimbaran: The best hotels in Bali for couples
Jimbaran is very close to the airport and to Kuta, but a good place to stay especially at the beginning or at the end of your holiday. It once was a small fishing village, which with time became a popular tourist destination with resorts and lots and lots of restaurants right on the beach.
Lots of people go to Jimbaran to enjoy the sunset, eat seafood and just chill at the beach.
Best places to stay in Jimbaran
- Bali Bobo is a nice upscale hostel with excellent dorms and great atmosphere.
- Ayana Resort And Spa is one of the overall best resorts in Bali. Rooms are absolutely plush. There is a beautiful garden, a pool, a fitness center and a spa.
- Rimba Jimbaran Bali By Ayana is a fabulous resort with spacious modern rooms and a garden with an incredible pool. There is a fitness center, a spa, a bar and a restaurant.
Nusa Dua: best for families with children
Located on the southern tip of Bali, Nusa Dua is thought to be one of the most romantic places in Bali. Yet, there are many resorts that cater to families with children. Divided in two main areas – the resort part, which is isolated from everything, and Tanjung Benoa, which is where shops and restaurants are located, Nusa Dua has some beautiful beaches with white sand and clear waters – thus making it a good place to stay if you want to bring your kids along.
Best places to stay in Nusa Dua
- Inaya Putri Bali has very large rooms, furnished in modern style. It has its own private beach area, as well as a pool and a fitness center.
- Pondok Agung Bed And Breakfast is located in Tanjung Benoa. Rooms are plain but clean and comfortable. There is a pool and easy access to the beach.
- Kayumanis Nusa Dua Private Villa And Spa is the best place to stay if you are looking for peace, quiet and privacy. Villas are beautifully decorated and all have their own pool.
Uluwatu: Where to stay in Bali for surfers
Home to one of the most beautiful temples in Bali, and an incredible place to admire the sunset, Uluwatu – located on the tip of Bukit peninsula – is where to stay in Bali to go surfing. Mind you – it’s a place for experienced surfers. If you decide to base yourself there, you can count on some very good accommodation options.
Best places to stay in Uluwatu
- Radisson Blu Bali Uluwatu has spacious, comfortable rooms – some face the ocean. There is a pool and even a fitness center, as well as a restaurant and a bar.
- Villa Hari Indah is a lovely place, suitable for families as well as couples and solo travelers. Rooms are spacious, and there is a nice pool and a lush garden.
- Home-Bience Hostel is an extremely budget friendly place, with well organized dorms and a nice gardens. Pets are allowed!
For as small as it may seem, exploring Bali is easier said than done. Lack of public transportation means you can’t easily move around. Yet, the poor driving customs and the overwhelming traffic are such that I wouldn’t recommend renting a car. Some people who visit rent a scooter and move around that way – I haven’t. Alternatively, the best thing to do is hiring a private driver any time you want to go out explore.