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Bali Guide

Seminyak? How to decide...

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

Ubud? How to decide...

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

Kuta Beach? How to decide...

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


Legian? How to decide...

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.

Jimbaran? How to decide...

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

Nusa Dua? How to decide...

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

Sanur? How to decide...

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

Tanjung Benoa? How to decide...

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

Candidasa? How to decide...

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

Denpasar? How to decide...

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

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
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