On planning your first ever trip to Bali, your first critical challenge is choosing where to stay and which beach is best for you. Making the wrong choice could ruin your holiday. Even though Bali is a small island, its different beaches and areas offer their own set of features. What one lacks in dynamic nightlife it might make up for in quiet and laid back settings, and so forth. It’s worth going through some of the highs and lows of each of Bali’s most popular areas before deciding which hotel to book. If you’re planning your first visit to Bali, or just curious about which hotel, location and highlights is the best fit for you.
As Bali’s first tourism resort area, Sanur is famous for being mostly slow-paced and laid back. This quiet sunrise beach offers a relaxing coastal atmosphere, much the antithesis of the youthful and livelier Kuta and Legian on the other side of the island. Here you will find some of Bali’s legendary hotels, perfect for honeymooners and elders looking for a classical Bali setting, and those looking for a place where they can take things slow, hence the longer stays. A multitude of restaurants line the main streets of Jalan Danau Tamblingan, as do a myriad of local art shops and boutiques.
Who is it For: Moderately wealthy travelers, honeymooners and retirees People who prefer direct beachfront access People who prefer less action and more relaxation.
What’s Good: Quiet and very laid back beach resort feel Wide range of dining and shopping options.
What’s not so good: Not much variety in terms of nightlife.
Bali’s most exclusive beachfront resort enclave; virtually all hotels in Nusa Dua are international five-star resorts. These line the gorgeous white sand southeastern coast, which is very well-maintained by ITDC, a state-owned corporation. The same goes for the meticulously landscaped flower and water gardens and paved walking paths just outside the resorts. A 24-hour tourist police force patrols the environs. Quality dining options are within respective hotels; nightlife is mostly contained within hotels and are mostly of the refined bar scene, while shopping is focused at the central grand complex known as the Bali Collection.
Who is it For: Wealthy travelers, families and honeymooners People looking for direct beachfront access People who prefer a whole resort experience during their stay, without much exploration outside of their hotels.
What’s Good: Secure and secluded complex of luxury hotels Almost all hotels provide direct beachfront access.
What’s not so good: Self-contained and remote location, with a slight sense of disconnection to the local culture.
Bali’s most famous beach; Kuta was once a fishing village that turned into a surfing mecca. Today, in addition to the great surf, it is also one of the island’s major nightlife areas, and offers something for all visitors. A favorite for budget travelers, there’s countless restaurants, bars, a big mall, the largest water park in Southeast Asia, and a wide variety of hotels to suit any budget. Being close to the airport, only 10 minutes’ drive north, adds to the convenience.
Who is it For: Low to medium budget travelers Surfers and people who like being close to the beach Clubbers and people who prefer an assorted dining scene.
What’s Good: Wide range of hotel prices Plenty of dining and nightlife options.
What’s not so good: Traffic congestion common during the high season; venues are spread out widely.
Jimbaran Bay is one of the most beautiful places to be for sunsets in Bali. Most of the hotels here are international chains and five-star resorts. Dining options follow suit, with great fine restaurants within. One of the main local seafood dining destinations here is the famous cluster of seafood cafes and restaurants on Muaya Beach, simply known as ‘Jimbaran Seafood Cafes’. Shopping and nightlife remain low-key, while some resorts, especially those on the rocky limestone cliff south of Jimbaran, feature spectacular sunset cocktail venues.
Who is it For: Wealthy travelers; honeymooners People who prefer a stay with coastal views and direct beachfront access People who prefer great seafood dining options.
What’s Good: Good selection of luxury beachfront hotels Panoramic bay and popular sunset seafood dining.
What’s not so good: Remote and widely spaced; not for those wishing to explore far outside their resort very often.
Best known for its beautiful and fairly quiet sunset beaches, Seminyak is Bali’s upmarket beach resort area, where luxury five-star resorts, secluded villas, world-class beach clubs and hip sunset venues line the coastline and main streets. Most of the island’s best restaurants are found in this area, and most happen to be on a single popular dining street known as Jalan Laksmana or Kayu Aya. Another street, Jalan Dhyana Pura or Camplung Tanduk, is known as the gay-friendliest, with fun bars set virtually side-by-side. It’s also a shopping paradise with many designer boutiques and brand shops around.
Who is it For: Moderately wealthier travelers People who prefer a not so crowded beach People who like a good but not hectic nightlife scene.
What’s Good: Many upmarket dining and nightlife options Wide range of hotels and villa resorts.
What’s Not So Good: Traffic jams common during the high season (roughly June to December) Things are spaced out so walking is often required.
Seminyak Beach Resort
Grand Inna Kuta
Prama Sanur Beach Bali
Padma Resort Ubud
Jimbaran Bay Villas
Alila Villas Uluwatu
Nusa Dua Beach Hotel
My Villa Canggu
The Camakila Legian