Where to Stay in Bali
The first thing to work out about where to Stay in Bali is which side of the island is best for the time of year you’re visiting. If you’re visiting Bali between March and September you’ll probably want to stay on the west coast of the island of Bali, as that’s dry season. If you’re visiting between October and March it would make a lot more sense to stay on the east coast since that’s the rainy season. And in rainy season all the rubbish comes up on the beaches on the west coast. Plus there’s none of the usual good Bali surf since the wind becomes onshore.
If you want to travel around while in Bali you can also check out my Bali travel guide that will give you a route around the island.
In almost all of Bali, even the most touristy spots, you’ll still find Balinese culture in abundance with people putting offerings out multiple times a day and ceremonies taking place on all of the beaches.
Everyone’s definition of budget, mid-range and luxury accommodation is different so for the purposes of this article, and for ease of booking the type of accommodation you’re looking for, I’ve made all budget ones pretty much the cheapest in that area (hostels where that’s an option), all mid-range ones about 300,000 to 500,00 IDR ($20-$35 USD) and all Luxury ones 1,000,000 IDR plus ($70 USD +).
Where to Stay in Bali
South Bali & The Bukit
People frequently refer to the whole of the little bubble shaped bit but at the the bottom of Bali as Uluwatu when actually there are a lot of different places within that area. Collectively it’s the Bukit peninsula (meaning hill in Indonesian) and Uluwatu is the most southern of the areas on the west coast.
For the best cliff top views, and a party on Sundays, head to Single Fin. For chilled beach club vibes head to Ulu Cliff House. And to stay right overlooking the view spend a night or two at De Sapphire Cliff Villa
Accommodation in Uluwatu
Budget – Tregge Surf Camp Uluwatu
Mid-range – De Sapphire Cliff Villa just look at it <3 …
Luxury – Ulu Cliff House (also a beach club but they’ve just opened accmmmodation there too)
Binign is the cutest of all the areas in the Bukit and the best place to stay if you like everything to be close together. In Bingin is a beach down the bottom of a cliff and all the warungs and restaurants are built up that cliff essentially so as you climb down the stairs you can stop off for smoothies and drinks. If you stay right near to the beach you’ll therefore be able to walk to most of the places you might like to go. Although places don’t stay open late there.
There are really good healthy restaurants around at the top of the cliff like Cashew Tree too.
Accommodation in Bingin
Budget – Leggie’s Bungalow
Mid-range – Pondok Indah Bungalow Bingin
Luxury – Morabito Art Cliff
Padang Padang Beach
Padang Padang Beach is really famous for surfing but not advisable for surfing if you’re a beginner. It’s a relaxing place to hangout too but there’s not really much on the beach. The road leading down to Padang Padang beach (Jalan Labuansait) has the highest concentration of restaurants on any of the streets around so it’s a good area to be based in.
Even if you’re staying on that road though it will be easier to hire a scooter to drive down to the beach and between places as the distances are quite large so it’s not ideal if you haven’t learnt how to drive a bike yet.
If you’re only able to get places on foot, Bingin would be better. Or one of the more touristy areas further north.
If you decide to stay around this way, and are an 80s baby like me, make sure you check out the bar Hatch while you’re down there.
The inside is incredible and they have a projector screen upstairs where you can play Super Mario Kart and Street Fighter.
Accommodation in Padang Padang
Budget – Kenang Inn
Mid-range – Pink Coco
Luxury – Suarga Padang Padang
Balangan beach is a bigger beach than the others a bit further south and has a row of warungs (local restaurants) all the way along it.
It’s the best place in the area if you’re just learning to surf (other than Thomas Beach) but you might feel a bit isolated staying right down on the beach in the evenings as it’s a look way to get out to any other restaurants and activities.
Accommodation in Balangan
Budget – Balangan Paradise Hotel
Mid-range – Balangan Seaview
Luxury – Mandala Village (it is a little while back from the beach though)
West Coast Bali
Ah Kuta, you’ve probably heard of Kuta as the s**thole full of drunk Australians. Look it’s not actually that bad and it can be fun for a night out. Plus it is good for learning to surf there it has some of the smallest waves around.
Accommodation in Kuta
Budget – M Boutique Hostel Legian
Luxury – Citadines Kuta Beach Bali
Seminyak is the posher version of Kuta. That doesn’t mean it’s posh, it’s just not as grotty. I personally really like Seminyak, it has a nice mix of tourist and local places to eat, beaches, surfing and Seminyak has good nightlife too.
Accommodation in Seminyak
Budget – M Box Seminyak
Mid-range – Vansari Hotel
Just before getting to the mainpart of Canggu is Berawa. A lot of people prefer Berawa because it’s a bit quieter than the center of Canggu but if you don’t drive a bike you will be limited in where you can go there as things aren’t that close together and you won’t be able to easily pop over to Batu Bolong.
It’s a better spot for surfing than Canggu if you surf a short board and are looking for a few less kooks in the water. And it’s home to a number of the beach clubs in the area such as Finns.
Accommodation in Berawa
Budget – The Escape Hostel
Mid-range – De Umah Berawa
Luxury – Lv8 Resort
If you can’t stretch to staying at Lv8 you can still go in for the day and go to the Vue Beach Club with the above view.
Alternative Beach in Canggu
Canggu is packed with great restaurants. It’s a fun place to hangout but it’s a bit of a bubble with pretty much no semblance of Balinese, or Indonesian life. I’m not a massive fan of the surfing there either as Batu Bolong, the main beach is so packed with people and it’s a reef break so it’s not the best if you’re learning.
It is the best area to meet other travelers though and the nightlife in Canggu is good.
Accommodation in Canggu
Budget – Bali Reef House Surf Co
Mid-range – Pondok Canggu Homestay
Luxury – Hotel Tugu Bali
Some would argue that Echo Beach is the same as Canggu but it’s just a bit further north and more chilled than the main part of Canggu. If you stay on the road leading down to the beach there too you’d be able to walk between the bars, restaurants and beach.
Accommodation in Echo Beach
Budget – Bima Sakti Hostel Canggu
Mid-range – Echoland Bed and Breakfast
Luxury – Como Uma Canggu
Balian is much further north in Bali and a quiet sleepy surfer town. There aren’t going to be any nights out there or that many other people but it’s great for a get away from all the madness further down south.
Time feels slower there, with just a few restaurants to walk between and not much to do other than to sit by the pool, surf, eat and sleep. But watch out surfing there in rainy season, it’s the one surf spot in Bali that sharks like to visit.
Accommodation in Balian
Budget – Gubug Balian Beach Bungalow
Mid-range – Balian Surf Villas
Luxury – Pondok Pitaya Balian Hotel
Medewi has one of the longest left waves in Bali and is perfect for longboarding.
It’s quite a small area like Balian but perfect for a surfing getaway and there are enough people traveling through that that you’ll easily meet people to hangout with there especially if you go to one of the surf camps.
Accommodation in Medewi
Budget – Mai Malu
Mid-range – Medewi Beach Inn
Luxury – Bombora Wavelodge
Central & East Coast
Ubud is the area famous for having been where the main character went in Eat, Pray, Love went and it’s the biggest yoga hotspot in Bali.
It also has some of the most impressive rice terraces and it’s a digital nomad hub so there are a lot of foreigners staying there longterm working online. If you’re a fan of beaches and the sea however it won’t be for you as it’s inland.
Accommodation in Ubud
Budget – In Da Lodge
Mid-range – Manggis Sari Guesthouse
Luxury – Adiwana Bee House
Nusa Dua is where all the big resorts are. It’s an odd area. As you drive into the main area the roads and surrounding greenery are all perfectly manicured making it look beautiful but in a way that could be considered fake.
There isn’t a lot of accommodation other than resorts there and if you stay at one of the reports there aren’t a lot of places to go from there. In one way it’s lovely as there is a promenade along the beach so you can go for good beach walks easily from your resort and carry on further down to Water Blow where the sea comes in and smashes up in fantastic shapes against a rock.
If you’re not staying at one of the hotel beach resorts but want a beach club there’s Agendaz Beach Club that’s free to enter if you buy drinks.
It’s also just by Tanjung Benoa where all the water sports go from. You can go Jetskiing parasailing or banana boat riding.
Accommodation in Nusa Dua
Budget I don’t think it’s really worth staying arund Nusa Dua if you’re not going to stay at one of the bigger hotels and it’s definitely not a backpacker area. If you do want to stay there on a budget though La Orein is an option
Mid-range – Hotel Santika Siligita Nusa Dua
Luxury – Melia Bali
Sanur is one of the best places for families to stay in Bali as it has a long stretch of beach with a promenade you can walk along and much easier access to everything. It’s known for being a safer area of Bali too with less petty theft.
Yearly rentals are cheaper there than in a lot of Bali too if you’re thinking about moving out longterm to the island.
Accommodation in Sanur
Budget – Di Kubu Homestay
Mid-range – Sari Villa Sanur Beach
Luxury – Villa Pantai Karang
Keramas is one of the most popular surf spots in monsoon season as it’s on the east coast too and has more advanced waves for those searching for them.
Whilst more advanced waves can be found in Nusa Dua too, along with beginner waves, Keramas has is much more chilled out and surfer vibe to it. And the line up will be a lot quieter.
Accommodation in Keramas
Budget – Nirmala Guest House
Mid-range – Blue Coco
Luxury – Komune Resort and Beach Club
Further north on the East Coast is Amed. Amed is best to go to if you’d like to go scuba diving or free diving.
It’s filled with black sand beaches, which I don’t personally find the most beautiful but it’s not about what’s above the water there, but what’s under it.
Accommodation in Amed
Budget – Bali Fab Dive Center
Mid Range – The BBQ Guest House
Luxury – Vienna Beach Resort
Lovina and Singaraja
Right up in the north of Bali are Lovina and Singaraja.
Lovina is known for seeing the dolphins. I’ve been up there and could have gone but knowing people who’ve done it before, and given their reports ,I’m not sure how I feel about it. Apparently unlike whale watching in Sri Lanka where the boats just go out and hope to see the whales, in Lovina friends have said they chase the dolphins along there so I haven’t done it in case that’s true. The water is supposed to be incredible out there and so clear though so would be worth doing a boat trip anyway. Or hiring your own boat and being very clear about what is and isn’t ok in relation to the dolphins.
Along in Singaraja although there looks like there’s quite a lot there on the map there isn’t really much going on so you’d probably be better off staying in Lovina.
It’s well worth going up there for a couple of days as the drive through the mountains in central Bali is incredible, with plenty of rice fields to see, and you can stop off at waterfalls on the way.
You could go up to the waterfalls for a day trip but it’s a long drive for one day. This is what Aling Aling waterfalls are like if you’re thinking of making the trip
Budget – Lovina Loca
Mid-range Lovina Beach Hotel
Luxury – Lovina Beach Club and Resort
The Gili islands (Gili Air, Gili T etc.) and Nusa Lembongan are all short boat rides away from Bali too departing from Sanur and Padang Bai.
Have a different recommendation of where to stay in Bali? Let me know in the comments
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