Where to Stay in Bali (The Ultimate First Timer Guide)
Finding out where to stay in Bali as first time visitor is not easy because there are too many amazing areas.
After spending 2 months on the island we put together a guide about all the regions you need to know about.
Keep on reading to find the perfect location for your most amazing time on the island of the gods.
At a glance
- Where to Stay in Bali
- Canggu – The Hipster Beach Town
- Seminyak – Shopping Mecca and Beach Bars
- Kuta – If You’re Young and Wanna Have Fun
- Jimbaran – The Beverly Hills of Bali
- Uluwatu – Magic and Mystery
- Nusa Dua – The Resort Town to The East
- Sanur – The Family Beach Town
- Ubud – Eat, Pray, Love in Central Bali
- Bedugul – In Between Bali’s Mountains
- Lovina – The Slow-paced Beach Vibes in The North
- When to Visit Bali
- Balinese Culture and Religion
- How to Get Around in Bali
- Flying A Drone in Bali
- Bali 2 Week Itinerary
Where to Stay in Bali
The accommodation options in Bali are as diverse as the different regions of the island.
From high-class luxury villas to hostels with shared rooms – you find it all.
We stayed in different accommodations and regions during our visits and we loved Canggu the most.
Below we put together all you need to know about each region with our tips on where to stay in Bali.
Canggu – The Hipster Beach Town
Canggu is the perfect combination of culture, food, surfing and nightlife.
If you are an expat or digital nomad you will love Canggu.
It offers plenty of cafes with great wifi and several co-working spaces to get work done or connect with like-minded people.
Canggu is popular for its beaches like Batu Bolong, Berawa and Echo Beach.
During our stays, it was our absolute favorite area for hip restaurants.
Check our Guide to the Best Restaurants in Seminyak & Canggu to find out why.
Seminyak – Shopping Mecca and Beach Bars
You would never think of a former fisher village with all the designer stores and chic boutiques located in Seminyak today.
Most famous for the endless shopping opportunities and high-end spas, this area of Bali was one of the first to be populated by tourists.
Besides the many shops, Seminyak offers several miles of sandy beaches popular among surfers as well as boutique hotels.
Kuta – If You’re Young and Wanna Have Fun
As one of the most active party towns, Kuta is extremely popular among younger tourists who are looking for surf fun and party on the beach.
Start the night with an incredible sunset.
Kutas location guarantees a night sky with vivid reds, purples and oranges looking out across the ocean.
Jimbaran – The Beverly Hills of Bali
Luxury villas close to the best beaches – welcome to Jimbaran.
This part is famous for its white beaches, which are perfect to relax and watch the surfers.
With a cocktail in hand, you can enjoy the colorfully painted sky during sunset and indulge in a fish from today’s catch.
For tranquil tropical waters, daily fresh cuisine and a twist of luxury Jimbaran is the place to be.
Uluwatu – Magic and Mystery
With the majestic Uluwatu temple, this region perfectly represents the island of the Gods.
In Uluwatu you can feel the fusion of cultural heritage and luxury.
You will find plenty of local boutiques selling handmade Balinese lace.
Uluwatu is the place to escape the busy city life and soak up the sounds of nature and crashing surf.
Nusa Dua – The Resort Town to The East
With all-inclusive hotel complexes, there is nothing you need to worry about in Nusa Dua – if this is your kind of accommodation.
Offering plenty of high-end restaurants, all kinds of activities and the white beach right in front of the hotel this area offers all the conveniences of a resort town.
Sanur – The Family Beach Town
As the typical seaside tourist town, Sanur offers a peaceful beach resort holiday.
With its small town center, you can discover all the restaurants and shops expected in a seaside tourist town by foot.
Ubud – Eat, Pray, Love in Central Bali
You can feel the eat, pray, love vibes wherever you go in Ubud.
With its lush green scenery and the breathtaking temples, it shows a completely different façade of Bali compared to the beach towns in the South.
You can learn all about Balinese spirituality, with the numerous temples surrounding Ubud.
No wonder that Ubud is THE place for your Yoga retreat in Bali.
Besides the unique cultural experience, Ubud is famous for its Monkey Forest in the middle of the city.
Bedugul – In Between Bali’s Mountains
This region is most of all the perfect starting point to explore Bali’s mountains.
Bedugul is known for its three crater lakes: Lake Bratan, Lake Buyan and Lake Tamblingan.
The perfect getaway in the mountains is definitely the Munduk Moding Plantation with its amazing infinity pools.
Lovina – The Slow-paced Beach Vibes in The North
Contrary to the South, Lovina is the perfect spot for a tranquil beach holiday.
Its popular for dolphins and its hot springs and attracts those who want to relax & sunbath on the black beaches.
When to Visit Bali
Before thinking about where to stay in Bali you should decide when to visit.
Bali has a very steady climate with an average of 27°C throughout the year and a humidity level of about 85-90%, which is why the temperatures seem even warmer.
The dry season is between April and September and the wet season usually from October to March.
Keep in mind that the two seasons are not fully predictable.
Apart from the months July and August in the dry season, the holiday seasons are when Bali gets the busiest and most expensive.
Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Easter holidays attract lots of tourists to the magical island.
We have spent time on Bali in December, February, April as well as March.
Our tip is to visit Bali in shoulder seasons from April-June and September-October to get the best combination of great weather and the best prices. ;)
Balinese Culture and Religion
While the majority of the Indonesian population is Muslim Bali is home to most of Indonesia’s Hindu minority.
Stories from Hindu epics are portrayed in dances that represent the diverse cultures on the island.
The most important festivity on Bali is Nyepi the Hindu New Year also known as Balinese Day of Silence.
Nyepi is a public holiday and each Balinese stays at home during this day of silence, fasting and meditating.
It’s forbidden to light fires, work, travel, talk, as well as entertainment or pleasure.
The day before Nyepi colorful sculptures of Ogoh-ogoh monsters (mystical demons) are paraded through the streets of the island and burnt to banish evil spirits.
One of the first things you will notice after arriving on Bali are all the offerings on the streets, in front of doors and temples.
You see them simple everywhere.
Little baskets made out of palm leaves and filled with different flowers, rice, and other offerings.
Women put them on the streets and temples in the early morning, saying a prayer, sprinkling holy water with a flower and lightning an incense stick.
This ritual symbolizes the importance of the different element: earth, fire, wind and water.
It’s meant to please the various gods and demons of Balinese Hinduism and part of the daily routine of almost every Balinese woman.
The scent of the Frangipani flowers and the incense sticks makes exploring the island of the Gods even more spectacular.
How to Get Around in Bali
The most important thing you need to know about transportation in Bali is that exploring the island takes time no matter where you stay in Bali.
Bali doesn’t seem that big but due to the street conditions and the traffic in the cities traveling doesn’t go very fast.
One thing you will learn pretty fast on the island of the Gods is to be patient and take your time. ;)
After arriving at Ngurah Rai International Airport there are several options on how to get around on Bali.
Depending on the size of your group we are recommending the following.
If you are traveling alone or in a pair get yourselves a scooter.
It makes your time on the island even more adventurous and you will be fast as soon as you adapted to the Bali street rules.
Read our Definite Guide to Renting & Driving a Motor Scooter in Bali for everything you need to know to conquer the Balinese roads.
If you are a group of 4 people or more, you can either rent scooters (if you want to choose the fun option) or share a car.
We experienced that Uber and Grab are much cheaper than the official taxis, but it might get tricky to find them in non-touristy places and at the airport, since they seem to be banned at Ngurah Rai International Airport.
Flying A Drone in Bali
During our time in Bali we never had a problem flying our drone and if you have one yourself we absolutely recommend bringing it. ;)
However, be careful when flying it for the first time!
It might have happened that we crashed our Mavic Pro into a banana tree once (True story and not proud of!).
There are certain areas where drones are restricted or prohibited like government offices, police stations or military bases but there is usually a sign saying so in those areas.
Out of respect, you should never fly your drone over temple areas.
Bali 2 Week Itinerary
Now you know where to stay in Bali during your visit and all the important facts for your first time on the island.
Make sure to check our Perfect 2 Week Bali Itinerary for a detailed day by day guide including our top tips and special add-ons!
Let us know which one of Bali’s areas you like most in the comments? ;)