First Time to Bali: Where Should I Stay?

Where should I book my hotel in Bali?

On planning your first ever trip to Bali, your first critical challenge is choosing where to stay and which beach is best for you. Making the wrong choice could ruin your holiday.

Even though Bali is a small island, its different beaches and areas offer their own set of features. What one lacks in dynamic nightlife it might make up for in quiet and laidback settings, and so forth. It's worth going through some of the highs and lows of each of Bali's most popular areas before deciding which hotel to book. If you're planning your first visit to Bali, or just curious about which hotel, location and highlights is the best fit for you, here's a quick guide showing you the main features of Bali's most popular areas.

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Should I book my hotel in Seminyak?

Seminyak? How to decide...

Best known for its beautiful and fairly quiet sunset beaches, Seminyak is Bali’s upmarket beach resort area, where luxury five-star resorts, secluded villas, world-class beach clubs and hip sunset venues line the coastline and main streets. Most of the island’s best restaurants are found in this area, and most happen to be on a single popular dining street known as Jalan Laksmana or Kayu Aya. Another street, Jalan Dhyana Pura or Camplung Tanduk, is known as the gay-friendliest, with fun bars set virtually side-by-side. It’s also a shopping paradise with many designer boutiques and brand shops around.

Who is it For:

  • Moderately wealthier travellers
  • People who prefer a not so crowded beach
  • People who like a good but not hectic nightlife scene

What's Good:

  • Many upmarket dining and nightlife options
  • Wide range of hotels and villa resorts

What's Not So Good:

  • Traffic jams common during the high season (roughly June to December)
  • Things are spaced out so walking is often required
Top 10 Hotels in Seminyak

Top 10 Hotels in Seminyak

Hotels in Seminyak come in a variety of choices, from luxurious private pool villas, to five-star luxury beachfront Read More...

All Seminyak Hotels

All Seminyak Hotels

Seminyak Beach features various boutique and five-star luxury resorts such as The Oberoi on Jalan Kayu Aya, and The Read More...

All Seminyak Hotels

See the Hotels People Like Best in Seminyak

How to find the right hotel for you in Seminyak is now easy: See which hotels have the highest satisfaction rating with Read More...

Should I book my hotel in Ubud?

Ubud? How to decide...

The main destination in Bali’s central highlands, Ubud is a small town that offers an alternative to the tropical beach scene. More cultured and closer to the island’s classical artists’ villages, the area also features verdant river valleys and rice terraced landscapes. A collection of five-star retreats make the most of this, some offering magnificent spas and wellness programs to suit. World-class and fine dining restaurants are adjacent casual cafes; royal palaces, heritage museums and art galleries are nearby fashion boutiques, yet the nightlife scene is mainly low-key.

Who is it For:

  • People who prefer green valleys to the beach
  • People who like arts, culture and historical places
  • Honeymooners

What's Good:

  • Nature scenes, with green valleys, rice fields
  • Arts and culture rich
  • Royal palaces, temples, galleries and museums

What's not so good:

  • Narrow streets with detours; congestions are commonplace
Top 10 Hotels in Ubud

Top 10 Hotels in Ubud

With so many amazing hotels in Ubud, finding the best one can be a real challenge, so to help you making the right Read More...

All Ubud Hotels

All Ubud Hotels

Ubud's outskirts feature five-star hotels and luxury villas in stunning locations such as the Maya Ubud Resort & Spa Read More...

All Ubud Hotels

See the Hotels People Like Best in Ubud

How to find the right hotel for you in Ubud is now easy: See which hotels have the highest satisfaction rating with Read More...

Should I book my hotel in Kuta?

Kuta Beach? How to decide...

Bali’s most famous beach; Kuta was once a fishing village that turned into a surfing mecca. Today, in addition to the great surf, it is also one of the island’s major nightlife areas, and offers something for all visitors. A favorite for budget travelers, there’s countless restaurants, bars, a big mall, the largest waterpark in Southeast Asia, and a wide variety of hotels to suit any budget. Being close to the airport, only 10 minutes’ drive north, adds to the convenience.

Who is it For:

  • Low to medium budget travellers
  • Surfers and people who like being close to the beach
  • Clubbers and people who prefer an assorted dining scene

What's Good:

  • Wide range of hotel prices
  • Plenty of dining and nightlife options

What's not so good:

  • Traffic congestion common during the high season; venues are spread out widely

 

10 Best Hotels in Kuta Beach

10 Best Hotels in Kuta Beach

Hotels in Kuta come in a wide variety, and to help you narrow down on your choice of place to stay for your Kuta Read More...

All Kuta Beach Hotels

Kuta Beach offers various accommodation options, from five-star resorts to budget range stays all set in convenient Read More...

See the Hotels People Like Best in Kuta Beach

How to find the right hotel for you in Kuta is now easy: See which hotels have the highest satisfaction rating with Read More...

Should I book my hotel in Legian Beach?

Legian? How to decide...

Sandwiched right between Seminyak and Kuta, Legian offers a mix of these two famous beach resort areas. Cheap beachfront hotels present quiet spaces to relax, while out on the main streets are among Bali’s most famous bars and venues which draw young travelers and partygoers. It comprises an eclectic mix of restaurants and bars. There are fewer crowds in some parts of Legian Beach compared to Kuta, and its close proximity makes a great choice for those wanting to experience both areas.

Who is it For:

  • Budget to moderately wealthy travellers
  • People who prefer to stay near a beach that is quieter than Kuta
  • Partygoers, shoppers and people who prefer a great food scene

What's Good:

  • Eclectic mix of dining and nightlife options
  • Lesser crowd than Kuta

What's not so good:

  • Maze-like streets with dominantly one-way traffic make navigating a bit of a hassle.
Top 10 Hotels in Legian

Top 10 Hotels in Legian

To help you plan ahead for your holiday in Legian, check out these top selections of Legian hotels that come with Read More...

Legian Beach Hotels

All Legian Beach Hotels

Legian features boutique and first-class hotels such as the Padma Bali and the Jayakarta Hotel that add to the Read More...

Legian Beach Hotels

See the Hotels People Like Best in Legian

How to find the right hotel for you in Legian is now easy: See which hotels have the highest satisfaction rating with Read More...

Should I book my hotel in Jimbaran?

Jimbaran? How to decide...

Jimbaran Bay is one of the most beautiful places to be for sunsets in Bali. Most of the hotels here are international chains and five-star resorts. Dining options follow suit, with great fine restaurants within. One of the main local seafood dining destinations here is the famous cluster of seafood cafes and restaurants on Muaya Beach, simply known as ‘Jimbaran Seafood Cafes’. Shopping and nightlife remain low-key, while some resorts, especially those on the rocky limestone cliff south of Jimbaran, feature spectacular sunset cocktail venues.

Who is it For:

  • Wealthy travellers; honeymooners
  • People who prefer a stay with coastal views and direct beachfront access
  • People who prefer great seafood dining options

What's Good:

  • Good selection of luxury beachfront hotels
  • Panoramic bay and popular sunset seafood dining

What's not so good:

  • Remote and widely spaced; not for those wishing to explore far outside their resort very often
Top 10 Hotels in Jimbaran

Top 10 Hotels in Jimbaran

Jimbaran hotels comprise a collection of fine five-star resorts overlooking the scenic Jimbaran Bay, together with a Read More...

Jimbaran Beach Hotels

All Jimbaran Beach Hotels

Several luxury five-star resorts in Jimbaran consistently rank in the top 100 best hotels in readers polls by travel Read More...

Jimbaran Beach Hotels

See the Hotels People Like Best in Jimbaran

How to find the right hotel for you in Jimbaran is now easy: See which hotels have the highest satisfaction rating with Read More...

Should I book my hotel in Nusa Dua?

Nusa Dua? How to decide...

Bali’s most exclusive beachfront resort enclave; virtually all hotels in Nusa Dua are international five-star resorts. These line the gorgeous white sand southeastern coast, which is very well-maintained by ITDC, a state-owned corporation. The same goes for the meticulously landscaped flower and water gardens and paved walking paths just outside the resorts. A 24-hour tourist police force patrols the environs. Quality dining options are within respective hotels; nightlife is mostly contained within hotels and are mostly of the refined bar scene, while shopping is focused at the central grand complex known as the Bali Collection.

Who is it For:

  • Wealthy travellers, families and honeymooners
  • People looking for direct beachfront access
  • People who prefer a whole resort experience during their stay, without much exploration outside of their hotels

What's Good:

  • Secure and secluded complex of luxury hotels
  • Almost all hotels provide direct beachfront access

What's not so good:

  • Self-contained and remote location, with a slight sense of disconnection to the local culture
Top 10 Hotels in Nusa Dua - Tanjung Benoa

Top 10 Hotels in Nusa Dua

Nusa Dua and Tanjung Benoa hotels comprise among the most beautiful beachfront resorts in Bali, mostly with landscaped Read More...

Nusa Dua Hotels

All Nusa Dua Hotels

Nusa Dua boasts spectacular luxury resorts that incorporate contemporary Balinese styling and landscaped gardens, ponds Read More...

Nusa Dua Hotels

See the Hotels People Like Best in Nusa Dua

How to find the right hotel for you in Nusa Dua is now easy: See which hotels have the highest satisfaction rating with Read More...

Should I book my hotel in Sanur?

Sanur? How to decide...

As Bali’s first tourism resort area, Sanur is famous for being mostly slow-paced and laidback. This quiet sunrise beach offers a relaxing coastal atmosphere, much the antithesis of the youthful and livelier Kuta and Legian on the other side of the island. Here you will find some of Bali’s legendary hotels, perfect for honeymooners and elders looking for a classical Bali setting, and those looking for a place where they can take things slow, hence the longer stays. A multitude of restaurants line the main streets of Jalan Danau Tamblingan, as do a myriad of local art shops and boutiques.

Who is it For:

  • Moderately wealthy travellers, honeymooners and retirees
  • People who prefer direct beachfront access
  • People who prefer less action and more relaxation

What's Good:

  • Quiet and very laidback beach resort feel
  • Wide range of dining and shopping options

What's not so good:

  • Not much variety in terms of nightlife
Top 10 Hotels in Sanur

Top 10 Hotels in Sanur

Hotels in Sanur range from budget to luxury, and here we have listed the best. The resorts mostly retain a nostalgic Read More...

Sanur Beach Hotels

All Sanur Beach Hotels

Sanur Beach is an idyllic east coast location dotted with hotels for any budget, with local communal halls and Read More...

Sanur Beach Hotels

See the Hotels People Like Best in Sanur

How to find the right hotel for you in Sanur is now easy: See which hotels have the highest satisfaction rating with Read More...

Should I book my Hotel in Tanjung Benoa?

Tanjung Benoa? How to decide...

The haven for marine water sports in Bali; Tanjung Benoa is the exciting peninsula to go to if you’re in for some parasailing, jet-skiing, banana boat riding and many others. The hotels here are mostly of the boutique resort type and come as quite a mix. Dining spots are abundant along its main Jalan Pratama road, while nightlife and partying is not quite the feature here. Several stores, boutiques and local art markets offer some great shopping.

Who is it For:

  • Moderately wealthy travellers, couples and honeymooners
  • People who prefer direct beachfront access
  • People wanting marine water sports action as part of their stay

What's Good:

  • Eastern coast full of marine water sports action
  • Great mix of dining options along Jalan Pratama

What's not so good:

  • Slightly remote location and a lack of nightlife options
Top 10 Hotels in Tanjung Benoa

Top 10 Hotels in Tanjung Benoa

Tanjung Benoa hotels comprise beautiful beachfront resorts, with landscaped tropical gardens that border the seven Read More...

Tanjung Benoa Hotels

All Tanjung Benoa Hotels

The Tanjung Benoa peninsula just north of the Nusa Dua area features excellent hotels such as the Novotel Benoa Bali Read More...

Tanjung Benoa Hotels

See the Hotels People Like Best in Tanjung Benoa

How to find the right hotel for you in Tanjun Benoa is now easy: See which hotels have the highest satisfaction rating Read More...

Should I book my Hotel in Candidasa?

Candidasa? How to decide...

The main destination in East Bali, Candidasa offers a quiet coastal escape away from the crowds. Although it lacks sandy beaches, the vast blue sea panoramas with calm waves make up and serve as perfect backdrop. Numerous hotels dot the area, from the hills to the low-lying coastal areas, and come in a variety of accommodation features, from budget sea view bungalows to full-fledged five star resorts. Great dining spots abound, while bars and cafes offer a rather low-key nightlife scene. Candidasa is the great starting point to explore the exotic east, from major temples, ancient Balinese villages and the world-class dive sites of Amed and Tulamben.

Who is it For:

  • Medium budget to wealthy travellers, couples and honeymooners
  • People looking to escape the common crowds of Bali's south
  • Divers, sightseers and people interested in heritage Balinese arts and culture

What's Good:

  • Far away from the crowds, and great base for exploring East Bali
  • Wide range of hotel prices

What's not so good:

  • Remotely located, venues widely spaced and attractions far-flung
Candidasa

Candidasa

Candidasa is a relaxing beach area close to Bali's eastern cultural treasures like Pura Besakih, Bali's 'Mother Temple'. Read More...

Candidasa Hotels - Where to Stay in Candidasa

All Candidasa Hotels

Candidasa is a good holiday location for those wanting to explore the eastern side of Bali; home to some of the island's Read More...

Candidasa Hotels - Where to Stay in Candidasa

See the Hotels People Like Best in Candidasa

How to find the right hotel for you in Candidasa is now easy: See which hotels have the highest satisfaction rating with Read More...

Should I book my Hotel in Denpasar?

Denpasar? How to decide...

For a closer sense of connection to Balinese town life, Denpasar as Bali’s provincial capital offers visitors one of the most local and non-touristy experiences. Accommodation options come as either new modern budget style city hotels that are fit for business travelers, or legendary hotels that carry historical significance and offer a sense of nostalgia, much like the characteristics of the classical hotels in Sanur. Denpasar is centrally located, convenient for exploring the other resort areas of southern Bali.

Who is it For:

  • Budget to mid-range budget travellers, backpackers
  • People who like a sense of culture and history
  • Business travellers

What's Good:

  • Plenty of cheap, city-hotel options
  • Endless local shopping and dining options

What's not so good:

  • Hectic traffic; non-pedestrian-friendly paths, and sparsely located attractions
Denpasar

Denpasar

Denpasar is the capital city and the centre of Bali’s economy, and is actually the home of several historical, Read More...

Denpasar Hotels

All Denpasar Hotels

Denpasar hotels and resorts from five-star resorts such as the Athena Garden & Spa Villa, to budget Read More...

Denpasar Hotels

See the Hotels People Like Best in Denpasar

How to find the right hotel for you in Denpasar is now easy: See which hotels have the highest satisfaction rating with Read More...

Should I book my Hotel in Kerobokan?

Kerobokan? How to decide...

This small resort area in the North Kuta district is roughly sandwiched between Seminyak and Canggu. Most of the hotels you’ll find here offer secluded stays, some in slightly urban settings, while villa resorts closer to the coastline are truly laidback and perfectly suit honeymooners and couples, or groups travelling together. Kerobokan’s own coastline spans only 2.6km with a few beachfront hotels to choose from, overlooking its exotic black sand, surf and sunsets.

Who is it For:

  • Budget to moderately wealthy travellers
  • People looking for a convenient stay, but close to the more popular beach resorts
  • People who prefer less action and more relaxation

What's Good:

  • Away from the common crowds, but positioned snugly between Canggu and Seminyak
  • Varying hotel options, from budget city hotels to private villas

What's not so good:

  • Not much nightlife, but hotspots of Seminyak and Legian are 20 minutes’ drive away

10 Best Hotels in Kerobokan

Kerobokan hotels offer you a stay that is snugly in between two of Bali’s major resort areas, namely Seminyak and Read More...

All Kerobokan Hotels

Kerobokan hotels and resorts come in elegant and opulent choices, serving as perfect places to stay during your Bali Read More...

10 Best Luxury Hotels in Kerobokan

These best luxury hotels in Kerobokan comprise a fine selection of five-star hotels and villa resorts, which all promise Read More...

Editor's Pick of Bali favorite hotels!

Still hesitating? Check our editors' personal favourites!

What is 'Editor's Pick':
Editor’s Picks are the hotels we personally reviewed and liked the most, ones we recommend to our own friends and family when they come to Bali and are looking for the best places to stay according to their budget or location preferences.

Where to Stay in Kuta

Where to Stay in Kuta

Birthplace of Bali’s (if not Indonesia’s) surfing scene, Kuta Beach attracts all types of travellers and there’s a rich Read More...

Where to Stay in Seminyak

Bali's upscale beach resort area of Seminyak not only offers a great combination of beach, surf and sunset, but it is Read More...

Where to Stay in Ubud

Ubud is Bali's central highland destination that offers you an alternative to the island's famous coastal mix of sun, Read More...

Where to Stay in Legian

Legian Beach is situated between famous Kuta Beach and the upscale resort area of Seminyak, offering the best of both Read More...

Where to Stay in Jimbaran

Famous for its beautiful curving white sand bay that lies just southwest of the Ngurah Rai International Airport, Read More...

Where to Stay in Nusa Dua

Bali’s most exclusive beach resort area, Nusa Dua, is home to many of the island’s five-star international luxury chain Read More...

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