This post was last updated on July 8th, 2020 at 01:51 pm
There is really only one real city on Bali; the capital Denpasar. In addition, there are a lot of small tourist places that are more like a chain of villages and kampungs. All these options make it difficult to choose where to stay in Bali. Many of these places have no more than a few thousand inhabitants but are important for the many smaller villages in the area.
Along the coast and the many bays in Bali lie several former fishing villages. Over the years these villages became popular tourist destinations. Some of these coastal towns are entirely aimed at mass tourism, while others have retained their authentic character.
Kuta was a former fishing village in the south of Bali. Now it is one of the most important tourist destinations in Indonesia. It is known for its long sandy beach with ideal surfing conditions, many restaurants and bars, accommodations in all price ranges, and an easy connection to Bali’s Ngurah Rai airport.
In earlier years, Kuta was very popular with backpackers and surfers. Partly because of this you will find enough budget accommodations around Kuta among all the resorts.
Most people will remember this place from the horrific bombings that took place in 2002 and 2005. The Kuta tourism industry was hit hard by the attack and many Balinese lost their jobs due to the absence of tourists.
In recent years the tourists came back and if you want to go out every day, want to sunbathe and occasionally go surfing, it is best to stay in or around Kuta.
Whether this is the place for you or not, without a visit to this place you haven’t actually been to Bali.
Where to Stay in Kuta, Bali
- Grandmas Plus Hotel Airport – It’s like a little oasis in the city. We stayed here for a few nights and it was perfect. The Wi-Fi was good, the food was great, and the happy hour is awesome! It even includes spa services. It’s a perfect place to stay for a night before or after a flight.
- Amnaya Resort Kuta – This hotel enjoys a great location. It’s a short drive from the airport, a four minutes walk from a nice mall and five minutes walk from the seafront. There is an abundance of restaurants, cafes, and bars in the neighborhood. If you want to stay close to everything and you’re wondering where to stay in Bali, we recommend taking a look at this hotel.
- The Kana Kuta Hotel – You wouldn’t think so but one of the best things about this hotel is the breakfast. It is very delicious and you can choose from many different styles (including vegetarian food). The location is great and the staff is very friendly. It includes everything you need.
Ubud is seen as the cultural capital of Bali. In the main street of Ubud, you can find the Jalan Raya Ubud with many shops (especially art), cafes, restaurants, hotels, and the Puri Saren Agung. This palace is a big attraction and there are often performances by various Balinese dance groups. It is also always busy in the market (Pasar).
There are beautiful rice terraces in the surroundings of Ubud. The Puri Lukisan Museum is well-known, consisting of 3 buildings with modern and traditional Balinese art.
The Monkey Forest is also famous. It contains the Monkey Cave temple complex that is now inhabited by a large colony of more than 200 cheeky macaque monkeys.
In the area of Ubud, there is the possibility of many excursions, partly because it is centrally located. White water rafting and a visit to the bird and reptile park are recommended.
Where to stay in Ubud, Bali
- Betutu Bali Villas – A great location, in the center of Ubud, but it’s still quiet and peaceful. The breakfast was awesome. You can enjoy it sitting next to the pool and garden.
- Desak Putu Putra Hidden – You can choose your own breakfast for the day, so you can try different things every day. The beds are comfortable and spacious. It is only 2 blocks from the market but it’s still quiet when you go to sleep. A great hotel to stay at!
- Yuni’s House – What did we like about this hotel? Almost everything! It felt homey and comfortable, both inside our room and outside. The hotel lies smack dab in the middle of Ubud center. The hospitality of the staff was nothing short of amazing. We recommend it!
The capital of Bali has been Denpasar since 1958. The city has more than 800,000 inhabitants. It is the center of Bali for trade, hospitals, education, and other government institutions. Yet it seems that the local population is aware that tourism is an important income, even in the big city where people seem to be very open and friendly.
The main place of interest in the city is Puputan Square, known for the bloody massacre of the Balinese nobility in 1906. This square also houses the Governor’s Residence and the Bali Museum.
Also worth a visit is the Puri Pemecutan Palace, which was built in 1907. This palace replaced the destroyed old palace, caused by Dutch artillery fire.
Definitely visit a local market in this city because the supply of various products is the largest here. It has a great atmosphere with many different scents and colors.
Where to Stay in Denpasar, Bali
- b Hotel Bali & Spa – They have a great pool where not many people come so sometimes it was all ours. The staff were extremely friendly and couldn’t do enough for you. You get free bottled water every day. The room was lovely with a great walk-in shower. It is about a 3 minutes walk from a big shopping mall, which has many places to eat and buy goods from.
- Melati Bali Homestay – The Melati Bali Homestay is very clean with a relaxing ambiance. The property is close to a lot of restaurants, money exchange, and a supermarket. The staff is very friendly and responded fast to all of our inquiries. The breakfast is good and a nice touch is that they have an outdoor shower. It feels very relaxing!
- Griya Tunjung Sari – This hotel is of great quality and it’s very quiet. The rooms are big and comfortable, with a soft bed and clean sheets. The bathroom has hot water (which you can’t find everywhere in Indonesia) and we could prepare our own tea in our room. Complimentary bottles of water made our experience complete and enjoyable.
Lovina lies in the north of Bali and is very popular among backpackers. Lovina is best-known for the dolphins that you can visit with the local fishermen in the early morning. In the crystal clear water, you can dive and snorkel very well.
It is also a good starting point for many sights in the area such as the old capital Singaraja, the lakes and volcanoes in central Bali or the Bali Barat nature park. There are also plenty of hiking trails that lead to warm sulfur baths and temples in the area.
Where to Stay in Lovina, Bali
- The Kayu Manis Villa & Spa – After staying here it became clear that a lot of care, attention to detail, and love has gone into creating and maintaining this hotel. The rooms are big, luxurious, and very clean with lots of fun, quirky details thrown in which really adds to the hotel’s character. Everything is freshly made, including the coffee and orange juice! The view is amazing and there’s a great infinity pool plus a spa facility where you can get a nice and cheap massage.
- Pandawa Village – Pandawa Village is in a perfect location, just a short walk away from the beach and restaurants. The in house restaurant was also amazing, making us eat there 2 out of 4 nights we were there. They also offer vegetarian food here. Just order from the special menu and let the chef amaze you!
- The Lovina – This hotel is located in a little bubble in the northern part of Bali. It is an incredible place to unwind, go for a swim, get a massage, or just relax. The staff is friendly, the food is great and the resort itself is perfect. Are you a calm person who’s wondering where to stay in Bali? Try The Lovina!
5. Nusa Dua
Freely translated, Nusa Dua means two islands. It is not actually a city but a tourist peninsula of Bali. You can find more luxurious accommodations there. Street vendors are denied access. There is little to do except visiting the extensive facilities, laid out for the resorts and luxury hotels.
The local tourism industry provides cultural entertainment by having Balinese dance groups perform. A number of Balinese-style accommodations are also present.
This part of Bali is for the tourists who want all the conveniences and do not want to be disturbed by the chaotic local life of Bali.
Where to Stay in Nusa Dua, Bali
- Courtyard by Marriot Bali Nusa Dua Resort – The Courtyard by Marriott is located close to some of the best sceneries in Bali. You can witness a gorgeous sunrise from the beach club which is a short 10 minutes walk. The Bali Collection open mall, where you can go shopping or enjoy dinner, is just a 15 minutes walk. The view from our room was amazing. It is a well maintained, state of the art, modern and comfortable hotel.
- INAYA Putri Bali – This is one of few hotels on the Bali coastline where you can swim during low tide. The rooms are spacious and cozy, the bathroom is large, and the bed was super comfy and huge. Lots of sunbeds are available, no need to fight each other! The breakfast has a good variety the quality of the ingredients is great. The hotel itself is fairly quiet with a relaxing atmosphere. If you’re into relaxation and wondering where to stay in Bali, you should take a look at this hotel.
- Puri Clinton Bali – We loved staying at the Puri Clinton. It is one of the best places we’ve stayed at in Bali! The owners are friendly and the breakfast is delicious, including omelets and fresh croissants, coffee, and fruit. The homestay itself and the pool are beautiful and well-maintained. The location is great, close to many minimarts, the beach, and many restaurants. We recommend taking a right when you leave the alleyway, there’s a lady who sells kebabs and burgers from a stand which are cheap and delicious!
Jimbaran is a former fishing village that became a luxury holiday resort. It is located along the coast, south of Kuta. Everyone is allowed access here, only the facilities outside the accommodations are limited.
In practice, this means that there are no bars and gift shops. Jimbaran is best-known for the great seafood restaurants that are located on the beach.
Where to Stay in Jimbaran, Bali
- AYANA Resort & Spa – The resort is a straight-up paradise! We only stayed for one night and it wasn’t enough. The resort itself is huge so you need at least a few nights to fully explore everything it has to offer. The staff is amazing, and the food is incredible (especially the Dava restaurant). We recommend taking a look at the Rock Bar and Ocean Pool. The view here is amazing. Here you can also find one of the best private beaches in Bali; Kubu beach. We can’t wait to go back!
- Kubu Kak Dudung Villas – We absolutely loved it here. The villas are cozy and feature everything you need. The breakfast is great too and the staff is very friendly. It’s a short journey from the airport (15 minutes) but keep in mind that the beaches are quite a walk. We recommend going to the beach in the evening to eat fresh fish. Not only is the bay one of Bali’s best places to enjoy the sunsets, it’s also a popular place to enjoy grilled seafood.
- Flower Bud Bungalow Balangan – One of the cheaper options in Jimbaran. We loved the Bungalow – it was beautifully presented and clean, with an amazing partial outdoor bathroom. There’s a great restaurant next to the pool with a great variety of food; from all-day healthy breakfasts to traditional curry, seafood and wraps. Overall, it was a fantastic stay!
Sanur is located southeast of Bali and is 18 kilometers away from Denpasar airport. It is the oldest tourist resort on the island and still contains the characteristics of ancient Bali. This was the place where foreign artists moved to in the 1930s.
Sanur is beautifully situated on a 5 kilometers long white beach that gradually ends and is protected by a reef. This makes this place very suitable for families with young children because the sea is fairly calm there.
The landscape of Sanur is beautiful. There are several places of interest in Sanur such as the Pura Belanjong and Le Mayeur Museum.
Where to Stay in Sanur, Bali
- Umah Bagus – This property is very close to the harbor where you can catch the boat to Lembongan or Penida (about 7-10 minutes walking distance). Near the guesthouse, there are few restaurants and it’s about a 5-10 minutes scooter ride to the Sanur center. Ibu Yani, the host is amazing! She helped us with our boat ticket to Nusa Penida and she rent us a scooter. The bedroom is quite spacious and the bathroom is very clean. It is definitely worth the money!
- Bali Wirasana Inn – This is a smaller hotel but the rooms are very clean and well equipped. The gardens are gorgeous and the pool has sunshine all day, so you will never feel cold. The location is great – only a 5 minutes walk to the beach, with excellent restaurants in walking distance.
- Inna Sindhu Beach Hotel & Resort – This resort has many beautiful gardens which are all well maintained. The bungalows are well spaced, so it’s not too noisy. All rooms have a terrace or balcony and a nice outlook. The beds are large and comfortable. We also enjoyed the breakfast buffet, it has many different options.
Seminyak is located west of Denpasar and you can find excellent hotels, restaurants, trendy cocktail bars, night clubs and attractive shops here. It is stylish there, unlike the party roar in Kuta.
The black beach is wide and peaceful, but the water is less suitable for swimming. A great place to visit near Seminyak is the Tanah Lot. This is a temple that is located on a rocky island surrounded by the rough sea.
Of course, you can spoil yourself with the luxury that Seminyak offers, but count on hefty prices. Luckily there are also guesthouses and shops that offer normal prices and give you the idea that you are still in Bali.
Where to Stay in Seminyak, Bali
- Seminyak Icon, by Karaniya Experience – Since the first day we arrived we felt very comfortable and welcomed by the friendly and helpful staff. Here, you don’t feel like a customer but more like staying with family. The breakfast and food, in general, was delicious with great variety. The location is great; it’s very close to everything the city has to offer, including the city’s famous beach clubs and beautiful sights.
- Grandmas Plus Hotel Seminyak – We weren’t expecting too much because the price is cheap, but on arrival, the staff was by far the friendliest we’ve come across on our travels. The rooms are in a cozy boutique style with enough space and compartments to put our belongings. The restaurant is a great place to go at any time during the day. Great food, drinks, and live bands in the evening. The location is perfect; the beach, shops, restaurants, and bars are very close. If you’re wondering where to stay in Bali, this is a great experience!
- Lloyd’s Inn Bali – Enjoying a central location in Seminyak, close to the beach, this modern hotel has everything you need. The style is minimalistic. All rooms are airconditioned and although some rooms are small, it still feels spacious thanks to the top-to-floor window. It even includes a small garden outside. The breakfast buffet is very good. You won’t be able to resist getting multiple servings!