The ultimate guide to Bali accommodation
Bali can appeal to even the most demanding traveller specifically because it offers a great variety of options depending on your wants and needs. However, before you select a villa to stay in, it is a good idea to do a spot check on its location to make sure the area also offers what you are looking for. Here are our recommendations for the best areas for you to stay in depending on who you are and what you need.
What’s the best place to stay in Bali for families?
Canggu, Canggu and again Canggu. Definitely the best area for a family as the area’s whole development is mainly (but not only) centered around families. First of all, Canggu is more family friendly in that it is less noisy than its close rival, Seminyak. Here you will find more full time staffed villas than hotels. Almost all villas in Canggu offer kid friendly services such as a free high chair and cot as well as a pool fence and babysitting services for a minor extra cost. In addition, Canggu has some of the trendiest shops, cafés and restaurants. It is also well developed in terms of travel essentials including pharmacies, ATMs, exchange bureaus and Western supermarkets, like Pepito and Popular. And it’s the place to find anything almost any time from a sim card to a mobile charger or adapter.
What’s more, Canggu has a lot of cafés and restaurants with playgrounds. Examples include Tamora Square with its trendy playground, The Joglo which has kids’ movie projections every Friday and La Casita, just to name a few. Do check out also the Equestrian centre in Berawa that has a child friendly pool, playground and also offers equestrian lessons for kids. One thing to be careful about though, when selecting a villa in Canggu, is the location. Make sure the villa is located either in the Berawa or Batu Bolong area and is close to the beach where most of the cafés, restaurants and shops tend to be located.
What’s the best place to stay in Bali if you are a busy bee?
If you can’t stay away from all that glamour and glitter, then Seminyak is your place. Here you will find a lot of the most chic restaurants and ‘do not miss out’ cafés. This is also the place where everything new and trendy pops out. Seminyak with its epicentre – Petitenget – is famous for its boho boutiques, local markets and upmarket stores. (More on Bali’s shopping scene here.) And we should not forget to mention the most wanted beach clubs such as Potato Head and Kudeta. The area also has a vibrant nightlife with La Favela, Mirror Night Club and Champagne Bar right at your feet. Now, in terms of accommodation, Seminyak has plenty of hotels and villas. To save you time and money, just follow our guide here about where to find the best villa to stay in Seminyak. (More things about Seminyak here.)
What’s the best place to stay in Bali if you are a hipster?
Canggu is definitely the hipster capital of Bali. Restaurants and clubs with skate ramps such as Konkrete and Pretty Poison find their place here. And so do beach bars with surf cameras, namely the one and only Old Man’s. But the true hipster of Canggu is Deus Ex Machina. One of the first places to open in Canggu, Deus Ex Machina, is a concept venue that has everything from old school bikes and longboards for sale, to yummy burgers, to unforgettable Sunday live music. Canggu has also a number of gourmet and vegan restaurants, trendy cafés and all the leftfield things you would expect to find in a hipster capital. In terms of accommodation, villas rule here. You can find any type of villa and for sure the boho, bamboo, rice field view villa that fits the very hipster of Canggu. (More on Canggu villas here.)
What’s the best place to stay in Bali if ‘Om’ is your word?
No matter how many yoga places and meditation centres pop up in Bali, Ubud will rule them all. Voted as the spiritual capital of Bali, this is your place if you are on a spiritual journey. Here you will find renowned yoga places such as Ubud Yoga House and Yoga Barn but also less famous and more local spiritual centres. Yoga and meditation seminars are very common here. Pretend you are Julia in ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ and visit your healer – available in every corner of Ubud. Massage parlours and spas are also all over the place. You literally can’t find a street that does not have a spa. Get ready to uplift your spirits, meditate and end your day with a de-stress massage. You are in Ubud after all! (More on Ubud here.)
What’s the best place to stay in Bali if you are looking for a 5-star ultra-luxury resort?
If you can’t settle for anything less than the very best, then head over to Nusa Dua. Here you will find all the renowned international resort chains plus the very best hotels Bali has to offer. It is no exaggeration to say that Nusa Dua is the ‘epitome of luxury’ in Bali. However, be prepared to pay a fair premium for your choice. Nusa Dua beach is amongst the few beaches in Bali where you can actually swim. Imagine crystal clean blue waters and sandy beaches. If you can afford to stay in one of the hotels overlooking the beach, then you are truly experiencing Bali in all its luxury. One thing to consider is that it is quite far from Bali’s centre, namely Kuta, Seminyak and now Canggu. However, Nusa Dua has upmarket bars and restaurants, kid friendly places and even a theatre and a museum. In truth, Nusa Dua is not truly the real Bali and has a more of a western Californian vibe. (More on Nusa Dua here.)
What’s the best place to stay in Bali if you are looking for some true romance?
This is a tricky one as there are various places that offer a romantic setting in Bali. This includes Seminyak, Canggu, Ubud or even a more remote area in Bali such as the less touristy Lovina and Balian. True romance can be found anywhere in Bali but there are some tips to follow in order to avoid the big spoilers. This includes choosing a villa or hotel that you thought was in a lovely remote location with rice field or beach views, only to find out that you are in the most crowded area of Kuta and the only view you have is that of a driver beeping at a hundred motorbikes. Worst, you can end up in a villa located next to a club. So take our advice and do an inspection of the area first before even looking at the villa.
Which area is best to stay in Bali for beaches and parties?
Canggu and Seminyak compete closely for this one. Some years ago we would say with no doubt that Seminyak is the queen of the night. However, Canggu is now a fair opponent. It really depends on what you are looking for. For hard core partying until late at night and more of a night club scene, Seminyak is your place. Red Ruby Club, OPIVM Bali Nightclub and Motel Mexicola are just some of the night clubs Seminyak has to offer. Canggu, on the other hand, is famous for its chill out bars and beach bars. Old Man’s and Deus should ring a bell but there are also the more alternative Gimme Shelter and Pretty Poison. (More on Canggu’s night scene here.)
Now in terms of beaches, both Canggu and Seminyak have a fair amount of beach life including beach bars of any size. This includes proper beach clubs such as Finns Beach Club in Canggu and Kudeta in Seminyak to the more chilled La Brisa (in Canggu) to the popular La Plancha (in Seminyak). For gold sand beaches, head over to Seminyak, while the surfing tends to be better in Canggu. Last but not least Canggu beach vendors are a bit less annoying that the ones you’ll find in Seminyak. (More on Canggu vs. Seminyak here.)
What’s the best place to stay in Bali if you are a hard core surfer?
Forget about the hipster capital of Bali, namely Canggu, which also has some decent waves and head over to Bukit. Uluwatu, Balangan, Padang, Impossibles, Dreamland and Bingin are all located in this area. Here you will find the most challenging waves in Bali that can really test your surfing skills. On a big day, Padang Padang and Uluwatu offer some big wave surfing including tow-in sessions. In terms of accommodation, there is a great range of options from the cheaper surf hostels to the very luxurious villas overlooking the Uluwatu cliff. And since you’ll be staying in Bukit, do pay a visit at sunset to Uluwatu temple, but be careful not to feed the temple monkeys! They are not as friendly as they might seem… (More on Uluwatu here.) You should have in mind that this is one of the least developed areas in Bali. You will find some decent western restaurants dotted here and there but nothing like the great choice that exists in the centre.
What’s the best place to stay if you are looking for a quiet location in Bali away from the touristy centres?
If you want to escape from it all and don’t mind missing out on your western comforts, then head off to the north part of the island. A room overlooking the beach at Balian might just be the perfect option. Medewi, only 20 minutes away from Balian, is also an interesting idea. Both places offer a bunch of cafés and restaurants and some good surfing. Other options include Lovina, famous for its black sand beaches and dolphin watching cruises, or Candidasa and Amed, popular for snorkelling and diving. Bedugul, the coldest place in Bali, is also a tempting option for those seeking peace and quiet. Despite being more remote, all of these places offer a good selection of villas and hotels to fit all budgets. One thing you should be aware of though: ATM’s, exchange bureaus and pharmacies are more scarce in these areas. And so are western supermarkets, the likes of Pepito, Popular or Bintang supermarket in Seminyak. So before you head to your destination, make sure you have taken with you all necessary provisions.
To find out the best 20 villas to stay in Bali here.
For more information on things to do in Bali click here.
To find out the 10 must do day trips in Bali click here.