If you are organizing a trip to Bali, you may be wondering where it is best to stay to enjoy your holiday and admire the beauties that this island offers.
Bali is quite large and for this reason it is important to understand which are the main places to stay overnight to visit the most famous attractions but also to enjoy a little relaxation on its beaches.
The best thing would be to divide the stay into several stages, 2 or 3 depending on the days you have available and based on what you want to see. In this way you can create an ad hoc itinerary to optimize travel and not miss the wonders that the island offers.
Usually a good itinerary includes a few days in the splendid Ubud, a stop in the north, and finally a relaxing stay on the southern beaches, also convenient for visiting the temples of Tanah Lot and Uluwatu.
However, it is important to know that the sea of Bali is mainly suitable for those who love surfing with high waves and it is not always suitable for swimming, except for some areas where it is calmer. In Bali you will hardly find the typical sea of the tropics with calm and crystalline waters.
But a holiday in Bali offers much more: kind and smiling people, good food, lush nature, spirituality and culture.
If you are looking for a particularly beautiful sea where you can relax, snorkel and swim with turtles then you can consider the nearby Gili Islands.
But now let's see in detail the various locations so to help you choose the one that best suits your needs.
Without doubt the best place where to stay in Bali is Ubud, fabulous town and starting point for visiting the island, its temples and some of the main attractions.
Ubud is an unmissable stop on a trip to Bali perfect for cultural visits and nature excursions. The town is magical and remains in your heart, it is located between green hills and terraced rice fields and is in an excellent position that allows you to reach most of the areas to visit.
Ubud is full of small shops, art galleries and restaurants, but it is very quiet, and in the evening you will not find the same bustle as in Kuta. I recommend spending at least 4 days in this beautiful location.
Once chosen Ubud as a base for visiting Bali, you will have to decide in which hotel to stay overnight.
There are a multitude of accommodations: from budget guest houses to ancient Balinese-style buildings overlooking rice fields.
The town center consists of the two main streets, Monkey Forest Road e Jl Raya Ubud, which cross each other, where most of the businesses, shops, agencies, restaurants and hotels are located.
The options are mainly two:
- The first is that of choose a hotel right in the center of Ubud. In this way you can enjoy the town, wandering around the shops, restaurants and visiting all the attractions of the place.
- The second option is staying around Ubud, there are many resorts that offer beautiful luxury huts, overlooking the tropical forest or rice fields. It is the most suitable choice for those who want to isolate themselves from everything and immerse themselves in Balinese nature.
Amed is still a quiet and authentic area, a fishing village that has been developing in tourism in recent years.
Amed is particularly suitable for snorkeling and for diving. There are several beach restaurants where you can relax in the evening while admiring the imposing Agung Volcano.
The beaches are of volcanic black pebbles, but the waters are particularly transparent.
In addition, Amed is also the fastest and cheapest starting point to go to the Gili Islands.
Particularly recommended is the area of Jemeluk Beach where the sea is very beautiful and offers the opportunity to explore the seabed a few meters from the shore.
Amed remains a good choice to stay in Bali for those looking for a place away from mass tourism, for those who love snorkeling and for anyone who knows a little bit to adapt. I recommend choosing a good hotel because the quality standards are not very high here.
Important: Amed is located very close to the Agung volcano, so given the recent eruptions it is preferable to monitor the situation.
South Bali: Which area to choose
If you are looking for unbridled nightlife, the most suitable place to stay in Bali is Kuta, full of pubs, clubs and discos. The beach is of dark sand, very wide, equipped and full of surfers.
I stayed two days at the Samsara Inn, very nice hotel, with nice swimming pool, clean rooms and good value for money. The hotel is located in a quiet street away from the clubs and discos, but remember that you are always in Kuta, so there is always some noise.
Another nice area to stay is Seminyak, about 5km north of Kuta. Seminyak is rich and modern Bali, with many high quality restaurants.
Here, too, the sea is particularly suitable for those who practice surfing and less for swimming; even in some areas bathing is forbidden due to the currents and the rough sea. In the evening, however, the beach attracts many tourists for an aperitif at sunset.
Seminyak is the best choice for those looking for an area with a more refined nightlife, with exclusive clubs and discos. For the best beaches you will have to move to Uluwatu.
The area with the best coasts in Bali is Uluwatu, here are some of the most beautiful beaches on the island.
However, bear in mind that Uluwatu offers little in the way of evening life. Most recommended for experienced surfers wishing to stay in one of the best surfing areas.
Jimbaran is a great starting point for exploring southern Bali. The area is particularly known for its beach restaurants where you can eat the freshest fish and its incredible sunsets. In addition to this Jimbaran does not offer much for the evening, let's say that after 22,00 everything closes. If you are looking for evening life as I have already said, better opt for Kuta or Seminyak, and one night you go to have dinner in Jimbaran.
Jimbaran beach is wide and very quiet during the day.
Jimbaran is a good choice as a location for getting around the south and is also convenient for its proximity to the airport.
Nusa Dua is perhaps the place where there is the best sea in Bali for bathing, with less strong currents, and also suitable for doing a decent snorkeling. The beach is of light sand and the sea is transparent. But it is not the most authentic Bali, on the contrary it is home to large resorts and recommended for those looking for a more comfortable and relaxing holiday.
Consider that this beach also suffers a lot from the tides, so it changes suddenly from morning to afternoon and due to this phenomenon it is sometimes possible to find algae.
Sanur is one of the recommended seaside resorts to stay overnight in Bali. It is a fairly quiet area, albeit a tourist one, with restaurants, shops and a beautiful seafront promenade. Unlike other areas in Sanur there are no waves and the sea is calm. Precisely for this reason it is particularly suitable for families with small children.
The location is good for visiting the south, beaches and temples, not far from the airport and it is convenient to reach Nusa Lembogan, even with daily tours.
Sanur is therefore a good solution for those looking for a quiet place to take long walks with a beautiful and wide white sand beach. However, calculate that the beach is very subject to the tides and with the low one it will be impossible to swim.
Canggu is a new area, a few years ago there was practically nothing besides the rice fields.
In recent years the area has been filled with trendy bars, restaurants and cafes.
Canggu is perfect for those who want to learn to surf, there are many surf schools and the waves are particularly suitable for beginners. I can assure you I have personally tested them.
As a location it is not the best in the area, a bit far from everything. Let's say it is recommended for a longer stay, in fact there are many expats here and in particular it is perfect for digital nomads. In fact, Canggu is full of coworking or cafes that offer a good internet connection.
As we have seen, the sea of Bali is mostly characterized by rough waters and ideal for surf lovers. There are some beaches with calmer sea but if you are looking for crystal clear waters where you can snorkel and admire the wonderful seabed it is better to opt for the nearby ones. Gili Island.
Even if the opinions on the Gilis are mixed, I liked them a lot. In particular I have been to Gili Trawangan, the most touristic one. The island is quite chaotic, full of restaurants, but there are also calmer and quieter areas with perfect spots for swimming with turtles and the many tropical fish.
I know from experience that it is not easy to choose the perfect base to stay in Bali, so let's recap the basic information.
Ubud: unmissable stop in the Balinese hinterland to visit some of the main attractions;
Amed: authentic and not very touristy area with the possibility of snorkeling and starting point for the Gili;
Stop in South Bali: I recommend choosing a single location according to your needs:
Seminyak and Kuta: evening life and surfing;
Sanur: good compromise between sea, tranquility and a little life;
Jimbaran: sunsets and dinners on the beach and near the best beaches;
Uluwatu: the area with the most beautiful beaches but offers little for the evening;
Nusa Dua: resort and beautiful sea;
Canggu: long-term stay and beginner surfing;
If you need further information or advice, comment on the article or write me privately.
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