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Where to Stay in Bali in 2023 (Best Areas & Places)

Kurt Norris
Last Updated: July 12th, 2023

Despite being a relatively small island, Bali offers diverse experiences for different kinds of travelers. And the most important decision any visitors to this island paradise will make is the decision of where to stay in Bali.

Throughout my time traveling through Bali, I found each area offered a vastly different experience, despite being relatively close to one another.

In this post, I will detail each of Bali’s main tourist neighborhoods to help you decide whether your stay is best suited for the paddy fields of Ubud, the volcanos of Kintamani, or the white sands of the island’s coastal communities.

Best Places to Stay in Bali

Belangan Beach Bali
Tourists relaxing at a beachside bar in Belangan Beach, Bali.

Don’t have time to explore the best neighborhoods in Bali right now? Don’t worry. I have you covered with all of my best hotel picks right here.

11 Best Neighborhoods & Areas to Stay in Bali

Now that we know some of the best hotels in Bali, let’s take a closer look at some of the top neighborhoods and areas for hosting your visit to the island.

1. Kuta

Best Area to Stay in Bali for Nightlife and Surfing.

Sunset At Kuta Beach
Crowds gather to watch the sunset at the world-famous Kuta Beach.

When deciding where to stay in Bali, first-time visitors most often tend to stick to the Kuta area. After all, the area is easily the island’s most famous beach destination and features plenty of fantastic infrastructure for hosting tourists, including some of Bali’s top restaurants, bars, and shopping centers.

Along with boasting the island’s most vibrant nightlife and social scene, Kuta is conveniently located amidst some of Bali’s most picturesque stretches of coastline and offers several opportunities to catch a wave or enjoy a cocktail along the shore’s sprawling white sands.

Kuta is the best area to stay in Bali for nightlife while still providing a convenient location for enjoying the numerous beaches and temples that make the island such a fantastic travel destination.

Kuta Mini Guide
The best area to stay in Bali for nightlife, world-class beaches, and surfing.

2. Seminyak

Best Area for Luxury Accommodations, Shopping, and Dining

The Potato Head Beach Bar In Seminyak
The Potato Head Beach Bar in Seminyak. Image by JasonParis / Flickr

Located just north of Kuta, Seminyak enjoys many amenities similar to the more popular beach area while boasting lighter traffic and crowding for a more relaxing atmosphere.

Still, Seminyak boasts several fantastic accommodations, shopping centers, and dining facilities that make it easily one of the best neighborhoods for hosting international tourists, and it even provides guests access to a beach just as beautiful and yet much less crowded than the one in Kuta.

Visitors staying in Seminyak have a wide selection of accommodation options ranging from budget-friendly hostels to some of the island’s most prestigious luxury resorts, all of which are conveniently located for exploring everything the island offers.

Seminyak Mini Guide
The best area for enjoying luxury accommodations while staying in the heart of Bali’s tourist scene.

3. Canggu

Best Area for Laid Back Beach Vibes and Surfing.

Pura Tanah Lot Temple Near Canggu
Pura Tanah Lot Temple Near Canggu. Image by Kurt Norris

Featuring a much more laid-back atmosphere than that found in either Seminyak or Kuta, Canggu is a favorite location amongst backpackers, digital nomads, and surfers. Located only 6 miles from Kuta, Canggu remains in the heart of Bali’s tourist center while offering a more quiet setting for enjoying the region’s world-class surf and sprawling white sands.

Along with being home to one of the island’s most beautiful stretches of shoreline, Canggu is surrounded by several fantastic cultural attractions, including the Pura Batu Bolong, Pura Batu Mejan, and Pura Tanah Lot Temples.

Several budget-friendly accommodations operate out of Canggu, while the region’s coast is home to numerous beach bars and restaurants, making Canggu the best area in Bali for enjoying quiet beach vibes away from the bustling hubs of Kuta and Seminyak.

Canggu Mini Guide
The best area to stay in for laid-back beach vibes and surfing.

4. Ubud

Best Area for Culture, Art, and Yoga.

Tegenungan Waterfall In Ubud
Tegenungan Waterfall in Ubud. Image by Kurt Norris

Often considered the cultural center of Bali, Ubud is the best area to stay in for immersing in the island’s local religions, arts, and natural attractions. While tucked away from Bali’s coastal beaches, the area is surrounded by other breathtaking landmarks, including numerous waterfalls and temples.

Among the region’s most popular attractions are the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary and the paddy field tours of the numerous rice terraces that surround the community. Other popular activities in the community include taking a cooking class and exploring one of the many museums operating within the area.

While the region boasts several accommodation options, including hotels and budget-friendly hostels, Ubud also features a collection of private villas, making it a popular destination for families and group travelers.

Ubud Mini Guide
The best area to stay in for exploring Bali’s traditional cultures and rejuvenating yoga retreats.

5. Jimbaran

Best Area for Seafood Dining and Beach Relaxation.

Restaurant On Jimbaran Beach
Balinese Jimbaran Beach famous for its perfect seafood restaurants

A quiet fishing community located just to the south of Kuta, Jimbaran is a fantastic area in Bali for enjoying the island’s breathtaking beaches and Hindu temples.

While removed from Bali’s bustling tourist center, Jimbaran is still conveniently located amidst numerous services, including some of the island’s best restaurants and shopping centers.

Along with providing more secluded access to the region’s world-class beaches, Jimbaran is also home to the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Park and the Jimbaran Fish Market, making it one of the best areas in Bali for enjoying the island’s religious cultures and delicious seafood dishes.

Jimbaran Mini Guide
Best area for relaxing beach vibes and sampling the island’s delicious seafood.

6. Lovina

Best Area for Exploring Bali’s Northern Region While Enjoying a Relaxing Beach Holiday.

White Sands Of Lovina Beach
The white sprawling sands of Lovina Beach along Bali’s northern coast.

Tucked away along Bali’s northern shores, Lovina is a popular destination for escaping the bustling tourist hub of Kuta to explore the island’s natural environments, including its dolphin-infested northern waters, majestic waterfalls, and rejuvenating hot springs.

While not as commercialized as the island’s southern destinations, Lovina still boasts plenty of infrastructure for hosting your stay in the area, including several accommodation options that fit all budgets.

Home to some of the island’s most beautiful stretches of coastline, several natural landmarks, and numerous beachside restaurants and bars, Lovina is the best area to stay in for exploring Bali’s traditional island charms, free from the heavy crowding and traffic of its southern communities.

Lovina Mini Guide
The best area for basing an exploration of Bali’s northern shores and attractions.

7. Uluwatu

Best Area for Surfing, Stunning Beaches, and Cliff-Top Temples.

Uluwatu Temple, Bali, Indonesia
Uluwatu Temple overlooks the Indian Ocean from its perch on the cliffside

Located along the western shores of the Bukit Peninsula, Uluwatu is one of the most southern points of Bali and is a favorite destination for its stunning quiet beaches and cliff-top temples.

While one of the most exclusive neighborhoods on the island, tucked away from the bustling tourist center, Uluwatu does feature a small selection of budget-friendly hotels and hostels, but several luxury resorts can also be found in the area.

Uluwatu Temple, Bingin Beach, and Nyang-Nyang Beach are just some of the popular attractions in the area, and each provides some of the most surreal views of the Indian Ocean and the island’s majestic coastal cliffs. It is one of the best neighborhoods in Bali for enjoying the region’s white sands while escaping Kuta’s and Seminyak’s crowding.

Uluwatu Mini Guide
The best place to stay is in Bali, near beaches with breathtaking coastlines, cliff-top temples, and world-class surf.

8. Tulamben

Best Area for Scuba Diving and Exploring Marine Life.

Diving With A School Of Jacks In Tulamben
Scuba Diving with a huge school of Black Jacks, at the Liberty Wreck at Tulamben, Bali

Home to several dive resorts, Tulamben is a small fishing village located along the island’s northeastern shores and is a favorite destination for exploring the region’s aquatic environments along a scuba diving adventure.

In fact, one of the region’s top attractions is the USS Liberty Shipwreck, which lies about only 40 meters from Tulamben Beach. Thanks to its close proximity to the beach, the shipwreck can be accessed directly from the coastline, making Tulamben one of the most exciting and cost-effective places in the world to earn your Suba Diving Certification.

Those less inclined towards exploring the ocean’s depths still have plenty of things to do in Tulamben, including lounging on the beach’s quiet shores while enjoying the premier accommodations, restaurants, and services found in the area.

Tulamben Mini Guide
The best area in Bali for scuba diving and exploring the region’s aquatic environments.

9. Nusa Dua

Best Area for High-End Luxury Resorts and Beachfront Activities.

Nusa Dua Resort In Bali Indonesia
The large pool area of a luxury resort in Nusa Dua.

Home to Bali’s most prestigious luxury resorts, Nusa Dua, it is one of the most expensive neighborhoods on the island, with not even a single budget-friendly hostel operating out of the area.

Still, for those that can afford to stay in this affluent corner of the island, Nusa Dua offers one of the most exclusive experiences, complete with opulent amenities and a myriad of coastal gems and beachfront activities.

Even if the region’s high-class resorts are out of your budget level, day-tripping to the region is a fantastic activity for visitors seeking a window into Bali’s most lavish neighborhood while exploring such attractions as the Nusa Dua Beach, Pura Geger Temple, and the Museum Pasifika.

Nusa Dua Mini Guide
The best area in Bali for luxury resorts, world-class beaches, and a wide array of water sports and activities.

10. Sanur

Best Area for Family-Friendly Atmosphere, Calm Beaches, and Water Sports.

Beautiful Beach In Sanur, Bali. Indonesia
Beautiful beach with a cafe in Sanur with local traditional boats in the morning. Dawn on the island of Bali. Indonesia

Located along Bali’s southeastern shores just outside of Denpasar and the central hub of Kuta, Sanur is a small seaside town with a long stretch of coastline. It is a favorite place to stay on the island for calm beaches, waterside activities, and its family-friendly atmosphere.

Despite being just outside of Kuta and boasting several nearby restaurants, bars, and other services, Sanur is much quieter than the other nearby communities. In fact, many visitors opt to base in Sanur for a quiet place to sleep while visiting the busier beaches in Kuta and Seminyak during the day.

Another advantage of staying in Sanur is the presence of a nearby dock that operates ferry boats to and from the Gili Islands every day, offering convenient access to these more remote island destinations. Whether seeking a quiet beach to relax on or a quiet base for exploring the region, Sanur is the perfect neighborhood for hosting a family holiday to Bali.

Sanur Mini Guide
The best area to stay in Bali for a family-friendly atmosphere, laidback beaches, and engaging water sports.

11. Kintamani

Best Area for Volcano Treks and Exploring the Island’s Natural Environments.

Mount Abang And Lake Batur
Mount Abang and Lake Batur From The Cliffside of Mount Batur. Image by Kurt Norris

When it comes to Balinese destinations, the island’s coastal regions seem to get all of the glory. Still, Bali’s inland regions are filled with natural wonders and breathtaking attractions scattered throughout its volcanic landscapes.

Beyond soaking in the sun at one of the island’s numerous beaches, one of the most popular activities amongst visitors to Bali is taking the sunrise hike to the top of Mt Batur, where guests can enjoy some of the most spectacular views of the island.

While many visitors spend only the evening before their hike within the area before heading back to the island’s coast, the Kintamani region is actually one of the best areas to stay in on Bali for exploring the island’s pristine natural landscapes and traditional villages.

Additionally, the region boasts a wide variety of accommodation options, including some of the island’s most environmentally friendly eco-lodges.

Kintamani Mini Guide
The best area in Bali for hiking and exploring the island’s natural environments and volcanic landscapes.

FAQs About Where to Stay in Bali

What are the best places to stay in Bali for tourists?

Most of Bali’s tourism development is concentrated towards the southern reaches of the island, with sprawling commercialization in the communities surrounding the island capital, Denpasar. For this reason, the communities of Kuta, Seminyak, Canggu, Sanur, and Jimbaran feature the best infrastructure for hosting international tourists.

Where to stay in Bali to escape the tourist traps?

Those looking to escape the crowds of Bali’s tourism epicenter can still find fantastic accommodations and places to stay towards the center and northern regions of the island, with Ubud, Lovina, and Kintamani being the best regions outside of this bustling hub for exploring the island’s breathtaking beaches and adventurous landscapes.

Where are the best beaches in Bali?

Beautiful world-class beaches can be found lining the entire coastline of Bali. Still, those found in Kuta, Seminyak, and Canggu typically tend to receive the most recognition on the international stage, while the beaches of Sanur, Nusa Dua, and Uluwatu are equally as beautiful but host far fewer visitors.

Where to stay in Bali with family?

When visiting Bali with children, most families want to be close to the convenient services and amenities of the island’s tourist center but far enough away from the nightlife hotspots of Kuta and Seminyak to enjoy a peaceful holiday. For this reason, the neighboring communities of Sanur and Jimbaran are often the ideal setting for a family vacation.

Where to stay in Bali for scuba diving?

With the USS Liberty Shipwreck just 40 meters from its beautiful coastline, Tulamben is easily the best neighborhood to stay in for scuba divers and snorkelers. The town features plenty of diving resorts and is one of the best places in the world for acquiring a Scuba Diving Certification.

So, Where Should You Stay in Bali?

  • Kuta — The most popular neighborhood in Bali for international tourists, Kuta is the best area to stay in for visitors looking to be in the heart of the island’s nightlife and social scene while enjoying the region’s numerous beachfront attractions, restaurants, and shopping centers.
  • Seminyak — Also located within the heart of Bali’s tourism scene, Seminyak provides visitors with several nearby services and attractions and is the best area to stay in for visitors looking for a vibrant nightlife and beachfront activities free from the heavy crowding of Kuta.
  • Canggu — A quieter neighborhood on the southwestern shores of Bali, Canggu boasts tranquil beach vibes and beachfront bars, making it popular amongst backpackers, digital nomads, and surfers.
  • Ubud — Located in the central region of Bali, Ubud is the island’s cultural center. Surrounded by rice fields, Hindu temples, and majestic waterfalls, it is the ideal setting for hosting an immersion into the island’s traditional charms.
  • Jimbaran — Tucked away to the south of Kuta, Jimbaran is a small fishing community that provides a quiet setting for enjoying the island’s relaxing beaches while sampling some of the region’s most delicious seafood.
  • Lovina — Nestled along Bali’s northern shores, Lovina is the best area to stay in for visitors exploring the island’s northern landscapes and attractions while enjoying world-class beaches free from the heavy crowding that can occur in Bali’s southern communities.
  • Uluwatu — Home to quiet beaches and towering cliff-side temples, Uluwatu is one of the best areas in Bali for experiencing the island’s idyllic coastal setting and cultures without much crowding.
  • Tulamben — Boasting colorful aquatic habitats and the USS Liberty Shipwreck just off its beautiful beachfront, Tulamben is the best area in Bali for scuba diving and snorkeling and is even home to numerous diving resorts and Scuba Certification Training.
  • Nusa Dua — Home to Bali’s most luxurious resorts, Nusa Dua is one of the most exclusive corners of the island and is the perfect setting for hosting an opulent holiday.
  • Sanur — Tucked away in Bali’s southeastern corner, just outside of the bustling hub of Denpasar, Sanur offers visitors a quiet neighborhood in the heart of all of the action and is the perfect base for families looking to relax on the beach while engaging in numerous waterfront activities.
  • Kintamani — Located in the center of the island, the Kintamani region surrounds the celebrated Mt. Batur Volcano and serves as a fantastic base for exploring the island’s natural environments, volcanic landscapes, and traditional villages.

Choosing where to stay in Bali is just the start. In reality, every corner of the island is full of fun and exciting things to do and is worthy of exploration. Before you go, be sure to check out this list of the best things to do in Bali as you continue to plan your trip to this corner of paradise.

About The Author

Kurt Norris

A Canada-based freelance writer, Kurt acquired his bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Windsor. Upon graduating, Kurt left the courtside media desk behind and began venturing the globe. Throughout his journeys, Kurt enjoys partaking in slow travel and loves to explore the histories and cultures of each destination, which he shares with others through his writing.

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