Where to Stay in Bali
There is no one best place to stay in Bali; every area has its benefits, and it really depends on the kind of experience you want. If you have time, we recommend basing yourself in at least two different places to get a well-rounded view of the island. Bali is truly unique, so wherever you stay, prepare for the trip of a lifetime!
Ubud is a creative and cultural hub in the heart of Bali, surrounded by beautiful green rice paddies and lush jungle. It’s also one of the best places to stay on the island to experience traditional Balinese culture.
The artistic center is a popular tourist destination; visitors flock here not only for the beautiful natural scenery and serene setting but to relax and rejuvenate at the many yoga studios and wellness centers.
- Budget: Mid to high-range
- Crowds: Crowded in the center, particularly during the high season
- To do: Monkey Forest, Ubud Water Palace, Ubud Market, Spa treatments, Yoga
- Best for: A little bit for everyone
Where to Stay in Ubud
There are some beautiful hotels in the town and the surrounding villages and a great choice of hostels in Ubud. The best areas to stay in and around Ubud are:
- Ubud Center – great for central location
- Penestanan – best for authentic village life
- Tegalalang – home to some of the most stunning rice terraces in Bali
Why Stay in Ubud?
The laid-back town is very walkable, and you can spend days exploring beautiful temples, dipping into art museums, or hanging out in chilled-out cafes with great coffee and even better vegan food! There are plenty of activities to do in Ubud: learn how to cook delicious Balinese cuisine, lean into your spiritual side with a meditation retreat or visit the Monkey Forest.
Good to know: Its central location is also very convenient for day trips. Within an hour, you can be white water rafting, swimming in waterfalls, or hiking up Mount Batur for stunning sunrise views.
The town has chilled beach vibes but has seen a tourism explosion in the last few years. Because of this, visitors can expect big crowds and high prices. There are still some lovely rice paddies just outside the town. However, if beautiful natural scenery, a peaceful atmosphere, and authentic Balinese culture are what you’re after, visit Sidemen, Amed, or Ubud instead.
- Budget: Most expensive area in Bali
- Crowds: Busiest area of Bali
- To do: Tanah Lot Temple, surfing, beach clubs (La Brisa and The Lawn)
- Best for: Digital nomads & nightlife enthusiasts.
Where to Stay in Canggu
Canggu is relatively small, so you’re never too far from the action, and note that all areas are connected to the beach, but here are some of the best areas:
- Batu Balong – the most central
- Berawa – close to the Canggu center, lots of restaurants, the busiest area with traffic.
- Pererenan – slightly outside of the main town, close to the peaceful rice terraces
Why Stay in Canggu?
Canggu offers some of the best surf breaks in Bali, and it’s this reputation as a surfer’s paradise that has made it so popular in the last few years. Once a sleepy fishing village, the town is now full of fitness centers and gyms, trendy boutiques, concept stores, and countless hipster cafes offering delicious, wholesome brunches.
Although the black sand beaches are not the most beautiful in Bali, the beach clubs are fantastic, and you can spend all day relaxing by the pool with great music and ocean views.
Seminyak is a great place to base yourself in Bali as it has a lively city-like atmosphere, sits right on the beach, and is close to many sightseeing spots. Located on the west coast, Seminyak is also where the most affordable villas are. As such, it’s a good option for those looking for a stylish, sophisticated setting on a budget.
- Budget: Mid-range, excellent affordable accommodation here
- Crowds: Less crowded than Canggu
- To do: Sunbathe, large beach, eat, and shop!
- Best for: First-time visitors
Why Stay in Seminyak?
With gorgeous white sand beaches, great local boutiques and markets, and a fantastic food scene, Seminyak has much to offer. It’s also a bit more luxurious than bohemian Canggu just down the road. Come here for a relaxing holiday, and enjoy its great sunbathing spots, beautiful sunsets, and upscale resorts.
You can also take lots of day trips from Seminyak to temples or sacred mountains if you’re looking for some culture. Plus, the stunning island of Nusa Penida is just a boat ride away.
5. Uluwatu and Bukit Peninsula
Uluwatu and the Bukit Peninsula on the southernmost tip of Bali offer some of the most incredible coastal scenery on the island, with beautiful beaches, dramatic limestone cliffs, and stunning ocean views. This area is also close to the airport, so it is a good option if you aren’t here for long.
The trendy destination of Uluwatu is a little more upmarket than other beachy spots, but it’s very laid-back. Best of all, the off-the-beaten-path nature of this place means fewer crowds.
- Budget: Mid-range (cheaper than Canggu)
- Crowds: Fairly quiet
- To do: Surfing, paragliding, Uluwatu Temple and Uluwatu Cliff
- Best for: Beach lovers
Where to Stay in Uluwatu
We’d recommend choosing accommodation on the clifftop for breathtaking ocean views. There is a mixture of luxury villas and hotels and budget hostels to pick from, and a few different areas depending on what you like:
- Pecatu – everything you need within a 20-minute scooter ride
- Padang-Padang Beach – best for surfing
- Ungasan – Quieter but with some great beach clubs!
Why Stay in Uluwatu?
This area is best for ocean lovers looking for a little more luxury and a mix of culture and relaxation. Explore small secluded beaches and vast expanses of soft white sand, climb up to clifftop temples to take in the expansive ocean views, and watch a traditional Balinese fire dance as the sun goes down.
You are also spoilt for choice for trendy restaurants and cafes, and it’s easy to explore the beautiful natural surroundings by scooter.
This somewhat secluded area is also fantastic for surfing, with a mixture of big breaks and calm waves perfect for all levels.
This relatively undiscovered corner of the island is perfect for those looking to explore Bali’s authentic and traditional side. The 10km stretch of coastline lined with small fishing villages has stunning black and white sand beaches, the best diving spots, and a laid-back local vibe.
It is also way off the beaten track (easily a two to three-hour journey from the airport), so the area hasn’t really seen the same tourism boom as other parts of Bali. Because of this, so it’s uncrowded and peaceful. However, this does mean that it’s not the best spot to explore the rest of the island, as it’s far from many of the main things to do.
- Budget: One of the cheapest places in Bali
- Crowds: Very quiet
- To do: USAT Liberty Shipwreck, Sea Salt Farm, Tirta Gangga Water Palace (half an hour’s drive)
- Best for: Beach, peace and diving
Where to Stay in Amed
There are lots of budget options in Amed, including homestays and hostels right on the beach. The best areas are:
- Jemeluk – best for snorkeling and diving
- Amed Beach – most central
- Bali Aga village – most traditional
- Bunutan – stunning natural scenery
Why Stay in Amed?
Amed is where you can escape it all, enjoy beautiful nature and peaceful surroundings, and see the real Bali. Hop on a motorbike and head down the coast, stopping at tiny villages and chatting with locals at beachside fish markets before heading into the mountains for incredible views of volcanos, rice terraces, and the ocean. (Read: Things to do in Amed, Bali)
While you’re here, you can’t miss out on snorkeling or diving—a big reason why this is one of the best places to stay in Bali! Swim with turtles and exotic fish among colorful coral reefs and explore underwater temples and long-forgotten shipwrecks off the shore. There are a few western-style restaurants in Amed, but it’s primarily family-owned warungs, so take the opportunity to try delicious local dishes, especially the fresh seafood.
Sidemen is a quiet and beautiful area, slap bang in the middle of some of the most stunning rice terraces in Bali and with incredible views of the sacred volcano, Mount Agung. There are few tourists here, the locals are very friendly and welcoming, and you can get a real feel for rural life and local traditions. For example, religious ceremonies and weaving workshops. It is also one of the cheapest places to stay, making this a good option for those on a budget.
- Budget: Very cheap
- Crowds: Very quiet
- To do: River rafting, waterfalls, rice terraces
- Best for: Nature lovers and authentic Balinese vibes
Where to Stay in Sidemen
We’d recommend staying in one of the beautiful bamboo houses in natural surroundings (one of the reasons why Sidemen is starting to get more visitors) or opting for a homestay to meet a local family. The best areas in Sidemen are:
- Sidemen village – the main village with traditional weaving shops and a local market
- Selat – some great bamboo villas here
Why Stay in Sidemen?
Sidemen is an excellent choice if you’ve already explored the popular areas of Bali, like Ubud or Seminyak, and you want to experience something more authentic and traditional. Here you can relax among beautiful rice paddies, swim in healing waterfall pools and live the everyday life of the locals by shopping at village markets and roaming the quiet countryside roads by scooter. This is also a great place to take a Balinese cooking class, as it’s cheap, and you can cook outside over an open fire.
8. Nusa Dua
Nusa Dua is a true tropical island paradise and the most luxurious area in Bali, with beautiful white sand beaches, great golf courses, and 5-star hotels. The exclusive resort area is great if you’ve got a higher budget and you want a luxury beach holiday away from the crowds. However, be aware that it is relatively isolated from the main areas of Bali. Although very close to the airport (about 20 minutes), it’s not the best place to base yourself if you want to explore other destinations during your stay.
- Budget: High-end and expensive
- Crowds: Quiet
- To do: Swimming, watersports, golf
- Best for: Honeymooners
Where to Stay in Nusa Dua
- Mengiat Beach – best for swimming and snorkeling
- Nusa Dua Beach – most central
- Tanjung Benoa – best for watersports
Why Stay in Nusa Dua?
There are some stunning resorts in Nusa Dua with fantastic facilities, including pools, spas, and excellent wait service. The huge beaches here are mostly private and belong to the hotels. However, they are stunningly white and clean with crystal-clear water. Because of this, it’s the perfect destination for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing the day away. Additionally, if you like watersports, this is the place to do it, with everything from jet-skiing to kiteboarding.
When to Book Your Stay in Bali
The best time to visit Bali is during the dry season from April to September, when the weather is best for sightseeing. During this time, you have great visibility for snorkeling and diving, and the surf conditions are amazing. However, try to avoid the months of July and August as most places get very crowded, especially the coastal hotspots like Seminyak and Canggu, and prices are at their highest.
If it’s the beautiful rice terraces you are most interested in seeing, come here during March/April or September/October, right before harvest time, when they are green and vibrant. Alternatively, for a unique taste of Balinese culture, visit in mid-June for the Bali Art Festival, where music, dancing, and colorful parades fill the streets.
How Many Days in Bali?
There is so much to explore in Bali, but part of its appeal is its reputation for relaxation and spiritual healing, so don’t feel like you have to rush around trying to pack everything in. Many people stay here for months (or even years!), so you will never run out of things to do. We recommend at least 10 days here to base yourself in two or more different places and still have time for day trips elsewhere. For slower travel, two or three weeks is even better!
Cheap Places to Stay in Bali
Although Bali is one of the most expensive places in Indonesia, it is still generally very affordable for tourists, with inexpensive accommodation, cheap local eateries and street food, and budget-friendly transport like motorbike rental and public transport.
The quieter and more traditional local villages are cheaper than the tourist hotspots, so places like Sidemen and Amed will generally be more affordable than Ubud, Canggu, and Seminyak. However, you can find budget accommodation almost everywhere, and it helps to book in advance to avoid last-minute price hikes. Similarly, you can find luxury villas and hotels in most places, so it depends on what experience you’re after and how much money you have to spend.
Summary: Best Places to Stay in Bali
Whatever experience you are after, there is something for everyone in Bali. Where you choose to stay depends on your budget, how long you stay, and what you’re interested in doing while you’re here.
If you’re visiting for 10 days or more, it’s better to split your time between a few different places, so you can experience a bit of everything and cut down on travel times for day trips.
- Budget: Amed, Sidemen
- Backpacker: Canggu, Ubud
- Luxury: Nusa Dua, Uluwatu
- Spiritual: Ubud
- Adventure: Amed for diving, Uluwatu for surfing, Ubud for day trips
- Best beaches: Uluwatu, Nusa Penida Island, Amed, Nusa Dua
- Nature and beautiful scenery: Ubud, Amed, Sidemen, Nusa Penida Island
- Nightlife: Seminyak, Canggu
- Most central: Ubud