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Ultimate Bali Guide + Where to stay in Bali

Updated: 4th February 2020

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Deciding where to stay in Bali can make or break your trip. So picking the right area and hotel to call ‘home’ for a few days or more is essential. After spending over 9 months here across 6 visits I think I’ve finally got it sussed out so I hope this helps you to plan your perfect trip to the ‘Islands of the gods’ which truly offers something for everyone.

While there is no denying both the good and bad of Bali, I truly love this beautiful place and it’s very much one of the best islands to visit in Asia, and indeed, beyond.

The ‘Island of the Gods’ has so much more to offer than luxury resorts and party spots and is small enough you can stay in more than one place on your trip here, and I really recommend you do move around to a few different areas to really maximise your trip to Bali.

Bali Hotel Guide
Exploring the rice terraces of Bali

I’ve spent countless days and my own dollar putting together and revising this guide so you can be sure all the recommendations are from me and my personal experiences staying in my beloved Bali.

A note on pricing: I’ve tried to list accommodation in Bali by luxury, mid-range and budget but keep in mind, budget in Nusa Dua might be a similar price to luxury in the north, so all pricing and my categorisation is done based on the location of Bali, rather than as an island overall. I’ve also stayed at or visited, 90% of these properties personally over the last few years.

Bali hotel guide
Sunsets in Canggu

Contents

Main South

The long beach strip along the south coast from the airport up to Tanah Lot is one of the most popular places to stay on the island, but each part is different.

In Kuta, it’s more about the party. In Seminyak, it’s a little more classy. Then, in Canggu there’s a quickly growing digital nomad and international scene, still sprinkled with some local life and customs.

This is one of the most touristed areas of Bali, and the best place to stay if you want easy access to beaches, nightlife and a wide variety of restaurant options.

Kuta – Good for partying and ease of access

Kuta gets a bad (fair?) rep as being the party central part of the Island. When I was 21 I loved it but now I give it a wide berth (Though maybe sometimes you’ll find me reliving the good old Alleycat days).

It is close to the airport, full of nightclubs, bars, small shops and plenty of haggling opportunities. There are plenty of accommodation options and shops here which are a good price and right by the beach.

POPULAR KUTA ATTRACTIONS:

  • KUTA BEACH SUNSETS
  • DISCOVERY MALL SHOPPING
  • NIGHTLIFE

LUXURY: SHERATON KUTA RESORT

This luxury resort is right in Kuta, connected to a mall and has beautiful pool views of the ocean and sunset.

Compare prices on Booking.com – Agoda

MID-RANGE: THE 101 HOTEL

Affordable choice with rooftop pools and has a party vibe you can join in or avoid. Located on the main party road towards Legian.

Compare prices on Booking.com – Agoda

BUDGET: GORA BEACH INN

Affordable twin rooms built around a pool. A heavy party place located in the Poppies streets surrounded by shops. I can’t promise luxury at all, but I had some good times here.

Compare prices on Booking.com – Agoda

Bali accommodation guide
Hip eateries such as Sisterfields are all across Seminyak

Seminyak – Good for beach chills and stylish nightlife

Further along the coast Seminyak still has plenty of restaurants, nightlife and the beach but also comes served up with some of the famous premium nightspots such as Potato Head (who launched their own hotel in 2019) and Ku De Ta. It is slightly more chilled out than Kuta and here you will find plenty of luxury hotels and villas.

There are some exciting new luxury hotel openings here I’ll be checking out on my return such as Katamama which uses the finest traditional materials in its decoration.

POPULAR SEMINYAK ATTRACTIONS:

  • BEACH CLUBS
  • FANCY RESTAURANTS
  • BEANBAG BEACH SUNSET BEERS

LUXURY: MAYA SAYANG VILLAS

My favourite place in Bali I stayed – luxury private villas with breakfast chefs, pools and in the heart of Seminyak.

Compare prices on Booking.com –  Agoda 

MID-RANGE: THE IZE

Great location in Seminyak and affordable prices. Clean minimalist look with a rooftop pool and chill vibes.

Compare prices on Booking.com – Agoda

BUDGET: HOTEL LIBERTA

A little out from the main hub, but close by the beach in Seminyak is expensive. A relatively cool and simple place to rest up.

Check prices on Booking.com – Agoda

Bali hotel guide
Rice terraces around Canggu

Canggu – Good for surf and chill

Moving along the coast you hit Canggu which is my favourite of the three. With a more chilled out surfer vibe here you will find plenty of Acai bowls and cool coffee shops as well as Echo Beach which is well known for its surf.

There are also plenty of rice terraces around you so you get a good mix of the island and the coast. It is also in the direction of Tanah Lot, one of the most famous temples in Bali.

If you are a digital nomad in Bali then Canggu is also great with the DoJo co-working space being a reliant internet and working spot.

POPULAR CANGGU ATTRACTIONS:

  • SURFING
  • TANAH LOT TEMPLE
  • RICE PADDIES

LUXURY: COMO UGA

This is a brand new opening so I haven’t had a chance to visit yet, but initial reviews from my friends in Canggu are raving. Beautiful rooms in an epic location, bringing serious luxury to the Canggu area!

Check prices on Booking.com – Agoda 

MID RANGE: BALI DREAM VILLAS

Not the easiest to access but beautiful villas and rooms with a jungle feel and tranquil pool to escape the Bali madness.

Check prices on Booking.com

BUDGET: CHILL HOUSE

I only spent one night here but it does the job and has a more social hostel vibe while also being able to arrange Surf lessons.

Check prices on Agoda

Bali Hotels The Bukit
The Ritz Carlton in The Bukit

The Bukit

Below the airport is a small bulge off the main Island known as the Bukit. Full of luxury resorts, private beaches and local villages you are spoilt for choice here.

BTDC – Good for luxury resorts

The BTDC is a gated, private development which houses some of the most luxury resorts. It has a beautiful beach (but not those killer sunsets) and some high-end beach dining. To be honest, I am not a massive fan of staying away from the real Bali but for a few nights to chill out, you can’t go wrong here.

The prices are pretty steep but if you are on honeymoon or looking to literally just switch off and not explore this is a great spot.

LUXURY: THE ST REGIS

I wish I could personally afford to stay here. The food was amazing, the resort and service impeccable and my friend who got to review it was blown away beyond words. Just being in the restaurant and seeing how intimate the resort is was enough to convince me to include it.

Compare prices on Booking.com – Agoda 

MID-RANGE: MERCURE NUSA DUA

A great affordable option on the outskirts of the BTDC area. Marriott style luxury resort built around pools and gardens with a short walk/shuttle to a reserved beach area and the first place I stayed on my 4-year would trip.

Check prices on Booking.comAgoda

MID-RANGE / BUDGET: THE GRAND WHIZ

Located right next to the Sofitel and minutes from the beach this resort actually can be super cheap if you look for the right deals at the right time, I’ve stayed here plenty of times at heavily discounted rates when available, though on paper the rates as standard are higher.

Check prices on Booking.com

Bali Best Hidden Beach
The beaches around the Bali Bukit are beautiful

Nusa Dua – Good for village life

The BTDC sits within Nusa Dua but as it is outside the development I’ll give it its only place to shine. Home to one of the most ‘luxurious resort’ in the world the Mulia – it sits in contrast to the small local village of Sawangan slightly further inland I spent a couple of months calling home.

There is some great surf around here near Geger Beach, and also some secret beaches nearby which are stunning and usually empty (drive down the dirt tracks near the Ritz).

POPULAR NUSA DUA ATTRACTIONS:

  • BEAUTIFUL BEACHES
  • SURFING & BLOWHOLE
  • LUXURY RESORTS

LUXURY: THE RITZ-CARLTON

This recently opened hotel (2017) with its private beach, Bali vibes and so much greenery is the ultimate place to stay and relax whilst being close enough to plenty of activities.

Compare prices on Booking.com –  Agoda 

LUXURY: THE MULIA

This resort is huge, and has a vast arrange of options but it is stunning and even if you aren’t a guest you should heed my following tip: For $80 you can get Sunday brunch at the Mulia with free flow food AND booze for four hours, when you know how expensive wine is in Bali it will seem like a steal! I took my parents here for Christmas Day last year and it was a real treat.

Check prices on Booking.com – Agoda 

MID-RANGE: THE NEST HOTEL

I stayed here over Christmas with my parents and it’s outside the complex just before Benoa. Good affordable prices and a nice rooftop pool with swim up bar.

Check prices on: Booking.comAgoda 

BUDGET OPTION: VILLA ANJING

This village is one of those super chilled places in the village I used to call home so you get a much more local feel. Pool and ocean views at the top of the hill. Car / Bike recommended + a love for a few dogs.

Compare prices on Booking.com – Agoda 

Bali hotel guide
Beach club views in The Bukit

Benoa – Good for water sports

Benoa is the stretch of sand which points back to the mainland on the map. The beach here is not the best for sunbathing or families but has plenty of water-sports options and as such the accommodation prices here are usually cheaper than the main Bukit area.

That said, the beaches here are a lot more local in feel and with the water sports going on aren’t the best sands for relaxing / cleanliness.

POPULAR BENOA ATTRACTIONS:

  • FERRIES TO ISLANDS
  • WATER SPORTS
  • SCUBA DIVING

LUXURY: MANTRA SAKALA

This suite hotel + beach club with its lagoon pool you can roll out of bed into was perhaps one of the best hotels I have ever seen except when I stayed the pool was closed due to Algae so I checked out early although after checking back with them (Nov 18) the problem was just an opening teething issue).

Compare prices on Booking.com – Agoda 

MID-RANGE: IBIS STYLES

A pretty standard Ibis hotel which can usually be booked at a great price and good value given its proximity to the beach.

Compare prices on Booking.com –  Agoda 

BUDGET: WANGSA CONDO

Apartment style accommodation down a small side street but not a long walk to the beach. Great prices and a good pool to chill in.

Compare prices on Booking.com

Where to stay in Bali
Enjoying another incredible Bali sunset in Jimbaran

Jimbaran – Good for seafood and sunset

Jimbaran bay beach looks back across the airport and has some killer sunsets. I always head down to treat myself at Sundara beach club for an amazing spice old fashioned and to catch the last rays of the day from the pool.

The beach is nice and there are plenty of fresh fist restaurants to pick from plus a lot of accommodation options. Being pretty close to the airport makes this the perfect nearby stop point from the Airport if Kuta is off the radar.

POPULAR JIMBARAN ATTRACTIONS:

  • FRESH FISH MARKET
  • NEARBY SURF

LUXURY: FOUR SEASONS

Again, one I wish I could stay at but I have only used the Sundara beach club (amazing spiced old fashion), pools and the resort restaurants as a guest. Perfect location, great rooms but insane prices. Maybe one for your honeymoon trip…

Compare prices on Booking.com –  Agoda 

MID-RANGE: KERATON BEACH RESORT

This resort is actually rather luxurious and I really loved how Balinese in style it is. When i stayed there I found the rooms slightly older than many of the newer hotels in Bali which is why I’m assuming the prices were lower than similar starred hotels.

Compare prices on  Agoda 

MID-RANGE: WATERMARK HOTEL & SPA

The Watermark Hotel is crazy cheap for the accommodation it offers. With a rooftop and ground level pool, top service and amazing room details including private pool villas the five-minute walk to the beach is covered with your own private shuttle.

Compare prices on Booking.com –  Agoda 

WatermarkBaliHotel
My private pool room at the Watermark Hotel

Uluwatu – Good for temples and beach clubs

On the far south of the Bukit is Uluwatu – famous for its beautiful cliffside temples and monkeys. It is also home to plenty of luxury hotels, villas and surf bars. I have hung out at Finns beach club (now re-branded – Finn’s has moved) and Single Fin which are great spots to chill by day or the latter for a few evening drinks as well.

POPULAR ULUWATU ATTRACTIONS:

  • MONKEY TEMPLE
  • TRADITIONAL DANCE
  • PRIVATE BEACH CLUBS

LUXURY: THE UNGASAN

These beautiful ocean views and chilled out vibes are all over Bali but here felt super special. You also have the bonus of the beach club with its crystal clear coral waters.

Compare prices on Booking.comAgoda 

MID-RANGE: ULUWATU COTTAGES

An affordable option if you want ocean views from your pools – a good choice if you have a group and want to stay in a similar place but not at villa prices.

Compare prices on Agoda

Ubud hotel guide
Explore temples in the cultural hub of Ubud

Central Hotspots

Head inland in Bali and it seems a world away from the beaches. Known for hippy hangouts and Yoga sessions, the jungle and rice terraces are an ideal place to switch off.

Ubud – Good for culture and yoga

Ubud, the ‘cultural capital’ of Bali is home to the famous Yoga Barn, lots of cooking schools (trust me, you want to be able to cook Balinese food!) as well as the Monkey Forest which draws in the crowds.

Enjoy the traditional dance here, visit the palace and pick up beautiful handcrafted woodwork and be sure to sample all the delicious vegan restaurants in Ubud, this is one of the best spots in Asia to dine out as a vegan.

Top Tip: You may have seen the amazing Hanging Gardens pool hotels of Bali, but you need to be a hotel guest… Jungle Fish Pool Club makes for a great alternative!

POPULAR UBUD ATTRACTIONS:

  • CULTURAL SHOPS
  • MONKEY FOREST
  • THE PALACE
  • YOGA BARN
YOGA AND WELLNESS RETREATS

Ubud is one of the mecca’s of the world for yoga and wellness retreats, and with the serene setting you can easily see why – even my mum took some yoga classes when I brought her here.

Many hotels and local retreat centres offer packages which include daily classes, organic (and often vegetarian/vegan) meals, spa sessions, and evening meditations. I rarely get the chance to totally detach and destress from work, but Ubud is the ideal place to recharge. I haven’t detailed any specific yoga retreats in this section, as I haven’t personally been to one, but WellBook is dedicated to wellness retreats, and offers a vast selection, so is a good place to start looking.

LUXURY: MANDAPA: THE RITZ-CARLTON

The Ritz Carlton hotel here is something special. 100% in tune to the beautiful nature and feel of Ubud. On the pricey side but good for a special occasion (which Bali is ideal for!)

Compare prices on Booking.com –  Agoda

MID-RANGE: SRI BUNGALOWS

I really loved staying here and opening the curtains on to rice fields and a pool set within them. Great hospitality and super close to everything in Ubud.

Compare prices on Booking.comAgoda 

PRIVATE VILLAS: VILLA PALM KUNING

A short walk out of Ubud centre to this small village offers you incredible private villas with pools. When I took my parents to Bali in 2018 this was their favourite place we stayed.

Check prices on Booking.com – Agoda 

Ubud hotel guide
Bedroom rice terrace views at Sri Bungalows

Tegalalang and Kintamani – Good for nature & Mountains

Slightly further north of Ubud is Tegalalang which is well known for its rice terraces you should have seen on any postcard of Bali.

Most people will head here for a few hours in the day but the in this beautiful location I loved spending two nights there and listening to the sound of the jungle whilst watching the fire-flies dance outside the window.

POPULAR CENTRAL BALI ATTRACTIONS:

  • RICE PADDIES
  • TREKKING MOUNT BATUR
  • ULUN DANU BRATAN TEMPLE
Bali hotel guide
Central Bali is home to many temples

Kintamani is also usually passed through quickly as people come to do the sunrise trek up Mount Batur and snap a few shots of the temple on the lake (you know the one, it is on all the brochures) but there is actually plenty of trekking and lush greenery here so you can easily spend a couple of days exploring. Find a local guest house or grab a tent and enjoy the natural side of the island.

TEGALALANG: ABING TERRACE

In the middle of the Jungle surrounded by palms and rice fields and a beautiful pool. Pay the extra for a suite to get the best views.

Check prices on Agoda.com

KINTAMANI: SEGARA HOTEL

Simple a-frame style cabins boasting a great location right next to the lake. Friendly crew and good for a pitstop.

Compare prices on Booking.com

Bali hotel guide
Jungle views at Abing Terrace

Other Bali destinations

The east coast of Bali offers black sands and some great diving spots. Padang Bai is where the boats jet off towards the Gili Islands but there is more to see than just the dock.

Bali hotel guide
Watching dolphins in the north of Bali

Sanur – Good for families

Sanur is a good middle ground between quiet beaches and noisy nightlife. You can get a good balance here as well as a great base to take day tours from. The beach is protected by a reef making it a great spot for families.

With plenty of accommodation as well as bars and restaurants which aren’t exclusive to resorts you don’t have to spend a small fortune here as you would in say the BTDC.

POPULAR SANUR ATTRACTIONS:

  • ISLAND FERRIES
  • TAMAN FESTIVAL ABANDONED GHOSTLAND
  • MASSAGE & YOGA

LUXURY: THE FAIRMONT

My friends stayed here as a family and I really loved the facilities and the location when I went to visit them. It’s a bit on the pricey side IMO but seems a popular pick for those with kids. (Now under the Intercontinental brand)

Compare prices on Booking.com – Agoda

BUDGET/MID-RANGE: THE JANAN VILLA

A great value option with extra space and a good location – a really short walk from the beach but worth it if you want to save some cash and still have a pool and nice facilities.

Compare prices on Booking.com – Agoda 

Tambalang Region – Good for waterfalls, lakes and temples

The central part of Bali is getting more and more popular as people discover its lush jungle waterfalls and hiking roots, as well as the famous temples and lakes that are located here. I haven’t personally stayed here, but it’s somewhere well worth visiting if you are driving around and if you find any amazing accommodation, please drop it in the comments!

POPULAR TAMBALANG ATTRACTIONS:

  • TEMPLES
  • THE TWO LAKES
  • WATERFALLS
Bali travel guide
The black sand beaches of Amed

Amed – Good for scuba and relaxed vibes

Amed has the ultimately sleepy town vibe to it. Think black sands, plenty of dive shops and small huts to kip in and you get the picture. Music nights are shack like bars, dust roads that kids play on and plenty of pop up hammocks. I loved it but got slightly bored after two nights.

There are also plenty of dive shops here. I used No Fear Diving, who can take you the 30-minute drive up the coast to Tulamben to dive the Japanese Wreck of the HMS Liberty, a great dive site I have visited a couple of times.

POPULAR AMED ATTRACTIONS:

  • HMS LIBERTY WRECK SCUBA DIVING
  • BLACK SAND BEACHES

LUXURY: THE KAMPUNG AMED VILLAS

These private villas outside of Amed are beautiful. Traditional Javanese style wooden huts with intricate carvings, outside dining spaces and private pools. Also the nicest staff ever. My favourite place to escape in Bali and one of my favourite places I’ve ever stayed.

Check prices on Booking.com – Agoda 

MID RANGE: HIDDEN PARADISE

These cottages surround a tranquil pool and have a perfect location on the tip of the coast offering great ocean views from the restaurant.

Compare prices on Agoda.com

BUDGET: BILA BUNGALOWS

Cheap and cheerful with super nice hosts and an on-site dive centre. On the road just back from the beach views and hammocks hanging outside each room.

Compare prices on  Agoda.com 

Bali Hotel Guide
Hotel Suma in the north of Bali

Lovina and Singaraja – Good for dolphins and history

Situated on the North coast and a popular spot on route from Java (the ferry crosses into Gilimanuk, 90 minutes away). Lovina is well known as a spot for watching Dolphins.

With the same dark sands of the north-east imagine a laid-back resort. With a lack of high rises and some good bargains to be had, it might be worth the (long-ish) trip up here during Dolphin season.

On a side note, there is a SICK dolphin attraction in the south of the island with toothless dolphins stuck in a chlorinated pool just meters away from the ocean so head up here to see them in the wild rather than get fooled into seeing them there.

MID-RANGE: HOTEL SUMA

My research trip to Lovina was affected as it was during the 2017/2108 alerts of the volcano eruption so many of the accommodation providers were sadly closed. This resort that is right next to the beach offered good priced rooms and can arrange the dolphin trips. Also with a nice pool and fresh coconuts.

Compare prices on  Agoda

Bali accommodation guide
Continue beyond Canggu to hit Tanah Lot

South-West Coast – Good for peace and escape

The long stretches of beaches that span from Tanah Lot up to Gillimanuk make for a stunning drive, which is good as it can be painfully slow! If you have a driver it is well worth stopping off to see these empty stretches of paradise to imagine what the Island could have been like years ago.

There are a few hotels and guest houses dotted along which are perfect if you want to be away from the main tourist bustle of the resort areas and have a bike or car.

I used to really enjoy spending nights in the Pan Pacific Tanah Lot hotel but it has now sadly closed down and been demolished to open a Trump hotel, as such I can’t recommend anywhere personally to stay along here.

Bali hotel guide
The much quieter small islands of the coast of The Suites in Lombok

Beyond Bali…

A lot of people will tie in their trip to Bali with a visit to Lombok and/or the Gili Islands and while I’ve written more about those on separate posts, here are a few of my favourite accommodation ideas there to help out.

Lombok

Lombok is a vast island that offers some of the best volcano trekking in Indonesia at Rinjani, alongside amazing beaches and deserted waterfalls. Following the tragic earthquakes and tidal waves of 2018, now is a great time to support the local business here.

THE SUITES LOMBOK, SEKOTONG

These modern and beautiful villas right on the water also give you access to three smaller ‘gilis’ that you can even swim or take a boat out to. I loved staying here as it’s quite removed from everything.

Compare prices on Booking.com – Agoda

KILA SENGGIGI BEACH, LOMBOK

Not overly fancy, but these bungalows were great for a one night stop close to the beach and before continuing onwards to the ferry port.

Compare prices on Booking.com – Agoda

Gili Islands
The waters are crystal clear on the Gili Islands

The Gili Islands

The Gili Islands aren’t untouched paradise any more, but they are still paradise. Sadly after the recent events that also affected Lombok tourism is slowly recovering here, so swing by and share your support with the local businesses. Gili T is more party, Gili M is more chill, and Gili Air is kinda in the middle and my favourite.

GILI AIR: STAY SHARK VILLAS

Although I haven’t stayed here, it was founded by my friends Esin and Phillip who I met diving in Raja Ampat and I built their website. The handful of private villas, with plunge pools and poolside breakfast, seem much nicer than most of the places I have personally stayed here, never quite managing to book myself into the right place on Gili Air.

Turtle Beach Hotel is the closest I found and that I usually recommended but the prices seem to have gone quite high lately compared to the quality.

Compare prices on Booking.com – Agoda

GILI MENO: MAHAMAYA RESORT

A real beauty, and although I’ve only eaten here it would be somewhere I’d book. The bonus of staying on Meno is you can explore lakes, snorkel around underwater sculptures and even check out abandoned resorts.

Compare prices on Booking.com – Agoda

GILI T: GILI BREEZE TROPICAL BUNGALOWS

These bungalows offer a chilled out spot, nice pool and of all the places I stayed on Gili T offered me the best sleep as it didn’t seem as party heavy.

Compare prices on Booking.com – Agoda

A bit more Bali Guide information

Getting Around Bali

Getting around Bali is pretty affordable. Blue Bird taxi group offer metered fares; Uber now operates though be aware they have a lot of clashes with the local taxi services. Hiring a private driver and you can pick up a driver for the whole day for around $50.

There is also a great and relatively new service called GoJek which is bookable by an app and is a crazy value bike taxi service! For about $5 a day you should be able to hire your own bike.

Bali Best Hidden Beach
So many beautiful beaches to discover

Things to know about Bali

In Bali be wary of driving by yourself at night on a bike with a bag in view. Too many of my friends have been pulled off their bikes by their bags. In the dark, your valuables are an easy win to steal with little after-thought for the damage to you when you come off your bike.

Beware of alcohol that is not legit. Dirt-cheap drinks have been known to be mixed with methanol to dilute them, and there have been deaths from tourists drinking these. The Gili Islands and Bali are two places to be aware of this.

In the Gili Islands and Lombok be aware of minimal if any police presence, although mainly safe there have been more reports of thefts and attacks, particularly in Lombok, from the international community of late.

Do try the local foods at the Warungs, these criminally cheap plates loaded with local flavours are delicious. While some people can be put off by the window display type ordering, if you visit earlier in the day to a busy restaurant, the turnover of the dishes are high.

A dodgy stomach, or ‘Bali Belly’, is likely the worse you will suffer in Indonesia but be sure to take out travel insurance in case you do fall ill. In the more developed parts of the country, hospital access is easy and advanced, and in places such as Bali, you can find Australian operated hospitals and dentists if you would prefer. Pharmacies are well stocked, and you can usually get most things with just a quick chat (or point!)

Always shop around when exchanging currency, especially when you are already abroad. If using an ATM be sure it has not been altered and aim to arrange an emergency credit card before you set off on a trip as a backup.

Bali has its pros, but it also has its cons – After spending so long there over so many visits, it would be naive for me not to point them out. Check out this post to get an idea of what to watch out for in Bali: Beautiful or Beyond Repair? Or if you want to know my favourite beach, and how to get there, check out my post on the best beach in Bali.

And if you want to explore the rest of Indonesia, my Ultimate Indonesia Travel guide has you covered and is packed full of helpful blog posts. Safe travels :)

91 replies
  1. Jesika Parker says:

    I have thought so many times of entering the blogging world as I love reading them. I think I finally have the courage to give it a try. Thank you so much for all of the ideas!

  2. Tim Neeble says:

    Thanks Dan for this sorted list. Was planning to visit Bali this year but postponed due to ongoing pandemic. Hope everything will be alright soon and we can resume our travel plans.

  3. MyLine says:

    My friends and I were planning to have a trip to Bali this summer vacation. Well. as you already would’ve known, it was immediately cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But we would still like to continue our plans hopefully soon if everything’s gonna be fine by then. These guide will be one to note and study as I think it is the best that there is out there! Thanks for this very insightful and valuable information!

  4. Cheap Accommodation Wellington says:

    Bali….the name is dreamy in itself, I love this place. It’s kind of love at first, thank you for mentioning these gorgeous accommodation options, I am planning another trip to Bali. Will definitely explore these. Well, I have visited another site foreshoremotorlodge.co.nz having some wonderful and similar information.

  5. Melody says:

    Hi, Dan. I would love to do Canggu + Ubud over a 2 week period. I would like to go in January, and am concerned that I will be rained out. Thoughts? Also, which island do you think I should do first? My idea is to go to the farthest one first and finish with the closest island to the airport last. I’m a pretty chill traveler, and don’t want to be near nightlife and crowds. Interested in monkeys, temples, yoga, sunsets, and good food. Thanks!

    • Daniel James (Dan Flying Solo) says:

      Hey Melody – January is a tricky one, as the rains are usually short bursts of showers, but can be longer. If you are planning to do the Gili islands as well as Bali, you can likely just pick one as they are all similar enough, same for the Nusa islands, you might just want to do one and not rush too much. For what you are after, Ubud and Uluwatu on Bali sound the best bets.

  6. Nisha says:

    Hi Dan,
    We’re planning to go to Bali for 7 days in May (6 Adults) but i’m not sure where to stay as we want to see The Gilli islands, and the Gate of heaven, Gangga waterfall,Tukad Capung waterfall, The Rice Terrace & the Swing.
    I don’t really want to move accommodation but would like to a couple of day trips & also have time to relax & enjoy the beaches.
    Would really appreciate your recommendations.
    Thanks
    Nisha

    • Daniel James (Dan Flying Solo) says:

      Hey Nisha,

      Well, the Gili Islands can’t really be done as a day trip – it would be a very short visit and a lot of hassle, so you would want to do at least one night there. Most of the other bits you could base yourself in Ubud and take day trips out – although then you wouldn’t be that close to the beach. You could stay say in Sanur, and then do day trips to the inland places, but would be a bit more driving around on the travels.

  7. Huzefa says:

    Your name says it all “dan flying solo”.
    I wish to travel solo one day to any destination I feel like and you really inspire me to do so. Thumbs up for this post ;)

  8. Anita says:

    Bali is a really amazing travel destination. Your travel guide will be really helpful to everyone. Thanks for sharing. The photos are also really beautiful.

  9. George says:

    I must say what a beautiful guide to staying in Bali. It was a nice feeling to read your blog brother keep it up. in between all these places I prefer Lovina and Singaraja, And what is yours? let me know.

  10. Hemant says:

    Hi Dan, loved your blog. Wanted to ask if December (during Christmas) is a good time to travel to Bali/Indonesia. How many days would you recommend to have a great experience in Bali and other islands of Indonesia?

    • Daniel James (Dan Flying Solo) says:

      I’ve been before in December/January, and it can be a bit rainy, and there can be more trash on the beaches in Bali as the tides seem to bring it in at that time of year, but I’ve still always enjoyed my times there. I guess it depends on how you feel. And the days is a big question, I’ve spent at least 150 in Indonesia and still not seen much. A minimum of 14 days will get you between a few of the highlight islands at a relatively quick pace – just depends on where you want to get to and how good the connections are.

  11. June says:

    Hi Dan,
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge of Bali with me. My husband and I are going to Bali for 2 weeks in Oct. His friend is recommending us to stay at the ritz in Nusa Dua. My husband doesn’t want to change hotels too often, he does this when he travels for business. I really want to stay in Ubud for a few days, and Seminyak, also maybe Sanur. I love to snorkel, swim in the ocean, and explore and meet people. Would you suggest staying in a few different locations ?
    Thanks
    June

    • Daniel James (Dan Flying Solo) says:

      Hi June,

      Firstly, have a great time. And yes, I would – taxis or drivers don’t usually take that long nor are too expensive, so moving around if only once wouldn’t be too inconvenient. The Rtiz is a lovely resort, I liked it there and it’s very secluded, but I think going to Ubud for a few days would give you a very different experience too and would be worthwhile. Nusa Dua has some lovely beaches for swimming.

  12. Claire says:

    Hi Dan.. Can I just say this is by far the best travel blog I have come across in a long time.. my 3rd visit to Bali next month and will be staying for 1 month… your blog offers great advise for time and repeat travellers to Bali!

  13. Tracey Kifford says:

    Hi Dan,
    This is a great article! I’ve just found some good flights to Bali – a place I’ve never visited before. It’s in August, and I’ll be travelling as a family group (husband, two children – aged 12 and 10). We will only be on the island for 10 days – and I want to explore as well as chill out. I’m thinking of looking for an airbnb with a private pool … but in your opinion, what area should I look to base us in? Knowing my children they’d like to visit a temple, the monkey forest, do some ‘easy’ snorkelling … take some day tours to see the sites (be tourists). My only concern, having never visited, is where to base ourselves, and how to get around the island. August I believe is really really busy, so we don’t fancy hiring a car. Are taxis the way to go?
    Sorry for all the questions!
    Take care,
    Tracey

    • Daniel James (Dan Flying Solo) says:

      Hi Tracey,

      I think Ubud would likely be your best choice, as most of the temples and monkey forest is nearby, and then you could taxi out for a day trip to a beach (maybe Sanur?) for some snorkelling and swimming. Taxis aren’t that much, and even to hire a driver for the day wouldn’t cost too much more. The alternative would be to perhaps split the trip, and spend 5 days in Ubud and then 5days in a beach area, given distances aren’t too far and taxis quite affordable, it might be a nice way to go. Have a great trip!

  14. Akshay says:

    This is definitely the most helpful guide to Bali I have ever found, thank you so much for taking the time. Love how you broke this guide up into what style of travel for each area.

  15. Jule says:

    Bali is so overrun by tourists sadly. and soo much plastic trash…

    May I ask what do you do to make your travels more sustainable?
    Cheers,
    Jule

    • Daniel James (Dan Flying Solo) says:

      I don’t think that’s a very fair assessment. Parts of Bali have too many tourists, but much of the island does not, really depends if you go there to travel or just stay in the tourist places and while the trash is bad, it’s certainly amplified November – March when the tides turn.

      Personally, I try and do a fair bit to be sustainable; eating in local restaurants, declining any laundry or other bits in hotels, volunteering at beach cleanups and other initiatives, not using any plastic etc, as I have sporks, water bottles and coffee cups with me – this is actually something Bali is really ahead of its neighbours on too.

  16. Larissa says:

    Such lovely photos and the Watermark hotel looks sooo nice with it’s private pools! Bali is still on my list of places to go :) Thanks for the interesting read

    Larissa

    x

  17. Lorraine says:

    Hi Daniel
    A friend and myself are travelling to pemuteran on the north coast for 8 days staying at a honesty Arunja.
    Will it be easy and safe enough for 2 females to get around from there including into Bali or would we be better staying closer x

  18. Mithun says:

    Hi Dan,
    The best informative review on Bali I ever found on internet. Great write up, helped a first timer a lot while surfing through thousands of options. Wondering if you could suggest for me— I am age 34 a Solo traveler for 10 days planning to hire a Scooter/car , looking for water sports, other solo traveler crowds and good bars & clubs. Your valuable suggestions please.

  19. partgypsy says:

    Very Interesting Blog, beautiful post thanks for sharing nice one for us.. keep it up man..

  20. angela says:

    Hi Dan!
    This has been one of the best articles I have read in regards to helping me plan my trip. I have traveled to many Countries, and Indonesia has been giving me some anxiety as far as planning due to not knowing much about the Country, and all the places to see. I am currently educating myself with all of that. Anyways, my travel buddy and I usually travel during Jan and Feb, but that doesn’t appear to be the best time for Bali. Do you think March/April would be better? Thank you for your time!!

    • Daniel James (Dan Flying Solo) says:

      Hey Angela,

      I’m so pleased you found this post so useful.

      If suggest avoiding if possible, I was there in January again and the skies were grey and additional rubbish on the beaches due to the win cycles. I think March/April would be a much better time to visit.

      Enjoy!
      Dna

    • Lorraine says:

      Hi Daniel
      A friend and myself are travelling to pemuteran on the north coast for 8 days staying at a honesty Arunja.
      Will it be easy and safe enough for 2 females to get around from there including into Bali or would we be better staying closer x

  21. Ken says:

    Hi Dan,

    I’m planning to go on a solo trip to Bali mid-July for my 30th birthday. I want to experience the beaches, arts & culture, picturesque sceneries, and do a little shopping all in just 4 days. Any suggestions?

    Thanks a lot in advance.

    • Daniel James (Dan Flying Solo) says:

      Hey Ken,

      I’d try and stay around Canggu where you have the beaches and some nice rich terraces and scenery but aren’t too far by a fairly affordable taxi to day trip to Seminyak or Ubud for shopping and particularly culture in Ubud.

  22. francesca says:

    hi Dan great to hear about all your experiences in Bali
    can you advise for luxury quiet single person taking out a motorbike for 10 days with great beach travelling soon refined but great places to visit

  23. Ali says:

    Hi Dan,

    I am planning to go to Bali for my honeymoon. Planning on splitting the trip up with staying in Ubud for most of the holiday, but would like a few days with the whole beach culture and atmosphere – however, i am not quite sure.

    We don’t drink alcohol so the nightlife and clubbing scene is not a consideration for us. Initially, i thought of Nusa Dua but it seems this will just be a standard resort holiday? Can you advise somewhere please?

    Many thanks

    • Daniel James (Dan Flying Solo) says:

      Hi Ali,

      Hope you have a wonderful tip.

      Uluwatu might be a nice option as you get the beaches but you also have the cliff temples and cultural museum near by. Alternatively, along the east coast you have options such as Candidasa and Sanur which arent too far away from some of the better known temples. Most of the beach resorts in Bali are in general geared towards more resort style holidays, but you might also consider transfering to the Nusa Islands or Lombok where you could have beautiful beaches but also nature filled bike rides or hikes as well.

  24. Julie S says:

    Hi Dan!
    We are planning a trip to bali this September and trying to choose the best midpoint to stay to get to more white sand beaches but also do some tourist things like visiting temples with the monkeys and the volcano hike. Nusa Dua seems like it would make traveling to other places more difficult. Any suggestions?

    • Daniel James (Dan Flying Solo) says:

      Nusa Dua isn’t too bad, and to be honest it’s some of the best beaches (nearby Uluwatu is also great). In Uluwatu you have a beautiful temple on the cliff which also has monkeys and the Volcano hikes will usually be a couple of hours early morning drive from anywhere.

      Another option would be Candi Dasa, a white sand beach on the east coast providing slightly nearer access to Ubud. I always split my trip in Bali and spend some time at a beach hotel and then sometime in Ubud, so depending on how long you will be there you might want to look into different hotels.

      Even hiring a driver for a full day there shouldn’t cost any more than around $40 so that’s another option for day trips and combining bits together.

      Have a great trip :)

  25. Nikki says:

    Bali is often referred as the vacation paradise, with the city sporting spellbinding views and locations. Being culturally rich, Bali is also known for its heritage and traditional architectural marvels. This combined with the views of the island city makes up for the complete adventure.

  26. Karlie says:

    Hi Dan! I love your blog! I’m going to Bali this March 2018. Do you have a sample itinerary? Thank you so much!

  27. angie says:

    bali was wonderfull, and everythins was cheap thou, if i go to bali, i recomend you to stay in villa, and rent a scooter

  28. Sandra says:

    Hi Dan,
    I really enjoyed reading your article. I travelled to Bali as a solo in September and thought you offered up some really valuable information for those planning a visit to Bali. Another site worth checking out is http://www.baliairportexperience.com which provides information including what to expect on arrival/departure, visa information and transportation options at the airport and around Bali. I personally found the information helpful particularly as a first time traveller to the region.

  29. Jen says:

    Dan, any suggestions for place to stay a couple nights on nusa penida? Seems like nusa lembogan has more options but want to see the sites on penida and snorkel with mantas

  30. Anonymous says:

    Hi there would you say it’s best to book hotels and plan ahead, or could you book places to stay whilst your there? Me and my partner are going for a month ☺️

    • Daniel James (Dan Flying Solo) says:

      You can do either, to be honest, there is such an abundance of accommodation I have in the past booked the same day even and usually find a good deal if you aren’t too fussed about location. If you want a specific hotel or spot it’s likely better to book in advance, especially during Aussie holidays. Enjoy!

  31. Nids says:

    HEllo there me and my husband are planning our babymoon in February. Need a nice place with beaches and lots of restaurants and good property to stay in to relax. Can you suggest something great for us. Thanks :)

  32. StephanieA says:

    Oh my When I stayed at Bali I only visited Legian (near Seminyak) and Ubud, but Canggu and Uluwatu look amazing!
    Hopefully next time I visit Bali I can go there :)
    x

  33. sarah says:

    Hi Dan, thanks, great post! Will be heading to Bali soon, and I would love to find a quiet place, if possible live with locals. Would you recommend any place in particular? (If possible around Yoga or diving sites) Thanks, Sarah

    • Daniel James (Dan Flying Solo) says:

      Hey Sarah! So excited for you. Hmmm, i’m sure you can find yoga around most the island if you really look for it but obviously Ubud is the main hub for it. Also, in terms of scuba diving around the island it’s self I don’t find it that impressive, other than the wreck diving around Amed (The Nusa and Gili Islands are a bit better for it). Amed is a very sleep town and still quite local orientated with home stays, also Tegellang a little further out than Ubud. You might want to consider splitting your time between both as the travel distance isn’t too far – but then, if you want beaches overall I would say the village of Sawangan (where I used to live in Nusa Dua). A lot of the consideration will come down to if you have a scooter. If not GoJek and Uber operate on the island but the places they are allowed to go are getting deminshed. Any other Q’s give me a shout and if not, have an amazing time!

  34. Gaby Molpeceres says:

    Hey Dan! The Canadian again! As my trip to Bali is coming up soon, I was wondering: To rent scooters and ATVs do tourists need an international license or can we rent them without?

    Thanks!

    • danflyingsolo says:

      Erm. Legally, I’m not sure. But given I don’t have any kind of license at all and was able to hire them in sure getting one won’t be a problem – the legal side and any police ‘fines’ I can’t give advice on. Tbh, when I went to do my test in Bali there were ‘fast track’ options in front of the station so it’s pretty grey in terms of that. My only tip would be check your insurance as the roads can be crazy and you don’t want a small international license cause costing heaps.

  35. Megan Indoe says:

    We are actually planning a trip to Bali coming up soon! This is super helpful as last time we stayed on the island we were really remote and didn’t get to see much in our short time! This post does a really great job breaking down what each area is like! Thanks for sharing, it will definitely help us!

    • danflyingsolo says:

      I am so pleased it helps – I love Bali and have spent months there in the past couple of years but 100% agree, if you stay in the wrong area it can completely change the experience. Have an amazing time!!!

  36. Rebecca O'Brian says:

    The Maya Sayang villas look so nice. How much did you get an offer for because they are very expensive for now?

    • danflyingsolo says:

      I honestly can’t remember. I did it though Booking.com as a booking genius and maybe just two days before so the rate was about 50% off I think…

  37. Ben G says:

    Where is the best place to stay if you want a mix of everything like beach/party/food and stuff. There are four of us and we don’t really wanna move around much as we only have 4 days there. My mates said Kuta might be best but it sounds pretty full on. Do you know if you can get a sim card at the airport too?

    • danflyingsolo says:

      I’d say go for Seminyak, imagine that will give you the best mix. You should be able to pick up a cell at the airport, if not there are heaps of shops on the streets. Have fun!

  38. Gaby says:

    Hey Dan!

    Thanks so much for the helpful tips! I am definitely keeping them in mind as I plan my trip!

    Cheers!

    Gaby

  39. Gaby says:

    Awesome and very detailed advice! I am planning a trip to Bali this summer and will definitely be staying in Ubud. However, in terms of coastal stays, which area would you recommend? My boyfriend and I are looking for a chill spot with nice beaches. Would this be Canggu? Also, how long would you say it takes to get from one side of the island to another?

    Cheers!

    • danflyingsolo says:

      Hey Gaby. Thanks for reading!

      It really depends on what you want alongside the beaches – In my oppinion the best beaches (whiter sands, beautiful water) are in the Bukit area, around Nusa Dua and Uluwatu but then you sacrifice the night life aspect of Seminyak – so if you want a good balance Seminyak might be your best bet. The beaches at Canggu are chill but more black sand which I know is not everyones favourite.

      In the Bukit there are heaps of hotels and restaurants in a complex area called the BTDC with a beautiful private beach, but you are slightly shut off from ‘Bali’ in a way. To get from the south beaches to Ubud takes about 1.30 hours on average but can take a lot longer depending on traffic. To go from top to bottom can take a lot longer, again it really depends on traffic but taxis or drivers are not too expensive. Have an amazing time in Bali :)

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