Where to Stay in Bali – A Guide to Bali’s Neighbourhoods

Gili T sunset with people

Bali is Indonesia’s most famous tourism destination, often referred to as ‘The Island Of The Gods’. While many travellers scoff at Bali’s popularity, it’s an old hand at welcoming different types of visitors. 

Each area caters to a different kind of traveller so knowing what you want to get out of your trip (and what you want to avoid!) will help you find the best place to stay in Bali. Base yourself in Kuta if you want to rave the night away, call Canggu home if you’re a digital nomad, or set up in Ubud to indulge in a wellness retreat. 

Deciding where to stay in Bali is a small decision but a very important one! As a seasoned traveller to this island, I’ll outline what each place offers so you can find the right digs for you. 


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A Guide to the Areas in Bali

🏝️ Best Places to Stay in Bali – Quick Answers!

  • Where to Stay in Bali for Digital Nomads: Canggu 
  • Where to Stay in Bali for Surfers: Kuta & Uluwatu
  • Where to Stay in Bali for Wellness: Ubud 
  • Where to Stay in Bali for Party Animals: Kuta & Gili Trawangan 
  • Where to Stay in Bali for Divers: Amed, Tulamben & Nusa Islands
  • Where to Stay in Bali for Families: Sanur    
  • Where to Stay in Bali for Luxury: Seminyak & Uluwatu
  • Where to Stay in Bali for Couples: Uluwatu, Ubud & Gili Meno
  • Where to Stay in Bali for Solo Travellers: Kuta

What Type of Accommodation Is Available in Bali?

Bali has accommodations for every style of traveller. The island is lined with incredible villas offering coastline views, guesthouses aimed at families, hostels for the wildest parties and yoga retreats for those seeking relaxation. No matter what you are searching for, you will be spoilt for choice in Bali. 

Hotels and high-end luxury villas offer all-inclusive experiences, including airport transfers, personal chefs, housekeeping, spas and massage services, to name but a few! Celebrities have been known to visit some of Bali’s most exclusive resorts, and VIP arrival service can be arranged on arrival at the Bali Ngurah Rai Airport to fast-track you through immigration. Although the level of luxury can be off the scale, Bali arguably offers fantastic value for money. 

Bingin Beach, Bali
With beaches like this, it is easy to see why travellers flock to Bali!

Budget backpackers flock to Bali for a taste of luxury at a very low price point and they are rewarded. Hostels with swimming pools and private rooms are available in abundance all over the island. Bali is also a burgeoning hub for Southeast Asia’s digital nomads, with several co-working spaces opening post-pandemic. Many of these offer long-term accommodation as well as all the tools that you need to work online.

Families can relax in one of the many family-friendly villas or resorts on the island. Balinese hospitality is warm, friendly, and respectful, and visitors often comment that the staff are excellent with children. 


How Much Does Accommodation Cost in Bali?

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Budget Backpacker – $10-$30USD 💸

Hostels will be the best accommodation option for backpackers. Many of the hostels are typically found in the party district of Kuta, so this is an ideal base for solo travellers and those looking to socialise. Dorm beds at popular hostels, including Da’Housetel Kuta and Bali Caps Kuta, start at just $10USD per night.

If you have extra cash to spare, a basic room in a guesthouse will offer additional privacy and a more laid-back atmosphere. A double room usually includes A/C, WiFi, daily breakfast, and access to a swimming pool and garden area. 

Hostel in Bali with a swimming pool
Hostels are a great budget option for cash-strapped travellers!

Mid-Range Traveller – $30-$150USD 💰

Those that fall into the mid-range traveller category can usually choose between private rooms at upmarket hostels, mid-range guesthouses, private villas (when shared with family/friends), or nice hotels. For this price, rooms will usually include A/C, WiFi, and daily cleaning. If you’re willing to spend a little more, you can enjoy the use of a swimming pool and complimentary breakfast. 

Flashpackers are likely to fall into the mid-range category and will be able to stay in hostels offering modern facilities, private rooms, and less of a party vibe. The same can also be said of digital nomads. Nice accommodation at co-working spaces is available but in high demand. Popular places include Outpost Canggu, Dojo Bali, Bali Bustle, and Uluwatu Hub. 

Co-working and co-living spaces are ideal for entrepreneurs, business owners, and influencers who need reliable internet, access to meeting rooms, and want to network with other creatives.

Digital nomads work at Outpost Canggu, Coworking space in Bali.
Digital nomads work at Outpost Canggu, a coworking space in Bali.

Luxury Visitor – $150USD+ 🤑

A luxury villa will include housekeeping, a private pool, tropical gardens, and privacy. These places are generally located in the upscale areas of Seminyak, Canggu, Pererenan, and Uluwatu. Book a suite at one of many luxury 5-star resorts in the area and indulge in traditional Balinese hospitality. Rates for private villas can easily exceed $3000USD per night.

High-end wellness retreats are available at the high end of this price range, including the renowned COMO Shambhala Estate, REVIVO Holistic Wellness Resort and the award-winning Fivelements eco-haven. These all-inclusive luxury options include 5-star guest accommodation, wellness packages with meals, yoga, meditation, healing sessions, and spa services.   


Where to Stay in Bali 

Kuta – Great for Surfers and Party Animals 🎉 

Located in southern Bali, Kuta is a popular tourist area which extends down to Jimbaran and Denpasar. It’s famous for surf schools, nightlife and party hostels, making it a popular starting point for international travellers. If you are on a backpacker budget, you will be pleased to hear that you can find plenty of cheap dorm beds here!

Beachwalk Mall Kuta
Kuta has plenty of amenities.

Kuta attracts tourists from all over the world and is best known for the party atmosphere that comes to life after sunset. Popular nightclubs include Paddy’s Pub, LXXY Bali, Engine Room Bali, Sky Garden, and Soka Nightclub. There are several spots to kick back with a cocktail and watch the live entertainment, but it’s hard to beat Hard Rock Hotel.

If partying is not your jam, there are plenty of alternatives, including surf lessons, local warungs (food stalls), Kuta Art Market, Kuta Square and a range of modern shopping malls. Also close by is the Sari Club Memorial on Jalan Legian which commemorates the lives lost in the Bali Bombing. It’s a sobering attraction but one that is frequented by travellers nonetheless.

Getting around Kuta is best done by motorbike, especially in peak hours when traffic jams are commonplace. You can also walk along the main beachfront on Jalan Pantai Kuta. Here you’ll find several top-rated surf schools, spas, restaurants, and shops. Kuta is also where you’ll find the Waterbom Bali theme park; fun for the whole family. 

Bali Caps Hostel
Bali Caps Hostel, Bali.

When it comes to hostels in this area, check out the following couple of options. Bali Caps offers affordable, comfortable dorm rooms, and Da’Housetel is ideal for travellers looking to meet new friends in a relaxed atmosphere. The Jero 18 guesthouse is an ideal mid-range option for those looking to escape the hostel vibe.


Seminyak – Ideal for Luxury Travellers 💆

Seminyak is located just north of Kuta, approximately 10 kilometres from the airport. This area is known for expensive accommodation and hosts a range of premium villas and resorts, with the occasional guesthouse thrown in for good measure. 

Seminyak Beach
The area of Seminyak draws a more luxury crowd.

Seminyak is known for a range of popular beach bars, including Potato Head, Ku De Ta, and Alila Seminyak. The neighbourhood attracts a mix of young and old, looking to soak up the sunset views, partake in boutique shopping and indulge at one of the many day spas in the area. 

Some of Bali’s best beaches are in this area; check out Double Six Beach, Batu Belig Beach, Berawa Beach, Kelan Beach and Sanur Beach, all ideal for a sunset walk or a cocktail. For coffee lovers, there are a number of cafés on the busy Petitenget Street, as well as incredible brunch spots hidden off Jalan Seminyak. 

Like most of Bali, getting around Seminyak is best done by motorbike. You can use local transport apps like Grab or Gojek to book a bike or a car. Car hire and private tours are also available.  

If you want to stay in Seminyak and the luxury resorts are out of reach, you can check out My Capsule Bali (if you like a party hostel) or Kubu De Uma if you’d prefer a private room in a guesthouse. 


Ubud – Perfect for Wellness Junkies 🧘

Ubud is located in the Gianyar regency, around 40 kilometres from the airport. It’s often referred to as the cultural capital of Bali, found in the central foothills, away from the hustle and bustle of south Kuta. 

swing in ubed bali indonesia
Ubud is popular with yogis!

There are plenty of affordable rooms available here, no matter whether you’re looking for guesthouses, homestays, hostels, or yoga retreats. You can easily stick to a backpacker budget or indulge in luxury as there are accommodation options to suit every price range. 

This area attracts travellers looking to spend time in nature and lush jungles, rice paddies, rivers, waterfalls, and temples are all just a stone’s throw away. In addition, it’s popular with yogis looking to take part in world-class retreats and meditation courses. Ubud is a great location to learn about Balinese culture through artisan workshops, cooking classes, and massage therapy courses. 

One of the main attractions in Ubud is its vegetarian and vegan food. Don’t leave without trying the menu at Zest Ubud, Alchemy, Sayuri Healing Food, The Seeds Of Life, and Walun Vegetarian Warung. Most cafés offer a variety of healthy Balinese dishes comprising rice, vegetables, tofu, and tempeh, with several gluten-free, organic, and raw food options scattered around the town. 

The Monkey Forest, Ubud, Bali.
They may look cute, but watch out! – The Monkey Forest, Ubud, Bali.

Once you have enjoyed a healthy breakfast, you can visit the Monkey Forest, the Bali Swing and the Tegallalang Rice Paddies. The best way to get around Ubud is to hire a motorbike or car. You can also hire a private driver for a half-day or full-day tour to take you to the most iconic spots in Bali. Grab and Gojek are less prominent here so sometimes the local Bluebird taxis are the only option. 

If you’re looking for a place to sleep, you’ll find excellent value for money at Poshtel Ubud or Jero di Bisma.


Denpasar – Calling All Culture-Vultures 🙏

Denpasar is the capital city of south-central Bali and the largest city on the island. It is home to the Provincial Governor’s office and the Administration of the Regency of Badung. You’ll also find a number of cultural and historical landmarks here. 

The area is popular with both domestic and international tourists looking to explore the local temples, cultural centres, and museums. It is also a great place to sample delicious regional cuisine, including traditional Balinese dishes. Try the famous Ayam Betutu (Balinese spiced chicken or duck), served with an extra-spicy sauce! A quick search on Google Maps will find several local warungs serving up this Balinese dish.  

There are several landmarks in Denpasar to tick off your list, including the Bali Museum, the Sidik Jari Museum, the Taman Wedhi Budaya Cultural Centre and the Bajra Sandhi Monument. The city area is accessible by bus (trans metro Dewata), and walking is also a great way to get around, especially during peak times. Alternatively, order a motorbike or car on Gojek/Grab or hail a local taxi. 

The city is reasonably priced and visitors have many hotels and guesthouses to choose from. For backpackers, the affordable and modern Lokal Bali Hostel is the place to stay in Denpasar. 


Canggu – Digs for Digital Nomads and Expats 👩‍💻

Located to the north of Kuta on the south coast, Canggu is one of the most popular places to stay in Bali. Canggu has seen substantial growth over recent years and has become a magnet for digital nomads, entrepreneurs, investors, and solo travellers. What was once a sleepy coastal village is now a bustling area full of luxury villas, international cafés, bars, restaurants, day spas and boutique shops. 

Canggu Beach
Canggu is popular with solo travellers.

Catering to the expat market, Canggu is home to several gyms, beauty salons, tattoo studios, co-working spaces and grocery stores. A few favourite spots to order coffee with brunch are Crate Cafe, Shady Shack, or Honey Kitchen, and you’ll find delicious Balinese cuisine at Varuna Warung or Warung Sika.

Canggu is home to three main beaches, Berawa Beach, Batu Bolong Beach and Echo Beach. There are three main streets, Jalan Patai Batu Bolong, Jalan Pantai Berawa and Jalan Padang Linjong. A little further out from the main (very crowded) tourist area, you will find the residential neighbourhoods of Pereranan, Kerobokan, and Umalas. Most people get around by motorbike but due to the traffic, you will see signs for various shortcuts. Make sure you are confident on a scooter before making your way around! If unsure, order a Gojek/grab driver or hire a private driver.

The draw of Canggu is the lifestyle that it offers: amazing food, epic surfing, lip-smacking drinks and pumping parties are just a few reasons why Canggu is the place to be in Bali. Don’t miss a visit to the Pura Tanah Lot Temple, an important spiritual site and endpoint of the ancient Hindu pilgrimage.  

Swimming pool at Tribal Hostel in Canggu, Bali.
The hostels in Bali are pretty impressive! (Pictured: Tribal Hostel, Canggu)

If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, The Nest is a clean, comfortable and ideally located guesthouse. However, if you prefer to mix with other travellers, one hostel you can’t miss is the community-focused TRIBAL Bali, offering modern dorms and private rooms. 


Uluwatu – Excellent for Beach Bums 🏖️

Uluwatu, Bali
Just one of the beautiful beaches in Uluwatu!

Uluwatu sits in the southwestern part of the Bukit Peninsula, which is famous for its limestone cliffs and incredible viewpoints. One of the main attractions in Uluwatu is the temple there, known as Pura Luhur Uluwatu, where the traditional Kecak dance performance is held at the nearby amphitheatre.  

Another major drawcard is the surf breaks and crystal clear waters, so if you are searching for a place to chill out on the beach, Uluwatu is a great choice. Less crowded than Kuta and more suited for intermediate and advanced surfers, the coastline here has long been rated by pros. 

Getting around this part of Bali is best done by hiring a scooter, but you can also hire a private driver and take a car. It is important to note that this area has limited Grab and Gojek drivers. 

There are plenty of choices for eating out, such as Ours Bali, Drifter Surf, Suka Espresso, Bukit Cafe or Alchemy Uluwatu. Finish the day with a cocktail at Single Fin Beach Club and take in the spectacular 360-degree views overlooking the Indian Ocean. 

Uluwatu villa
Not a bad view!

Uluwatu is home to some of the most luxurious hotels and villas in Bali, including the Bulgari Resort Bali, Alila Villas Uluwatu, Jumana Bali Ungasan Resort by Hilton, Six Senses Uluwatu, Radisson Blu Bali Uluwatu and Renaissance Bali Uluwatu Resort & Spa

For backpackers, the options are hostels, bungalows, homestays or guesthouses. Check out Home-Bience Hostel or the Surfers House Green Bowl, both offering chilled-out places to relax and meet other travellers.


Sanur – Family-Friendly Options Abound 👩‍👩‍👦

Sanur is located in the southeast corner of Bali and is regarded as a family-friendly neighbourhood. Mainly appealing to couples and those with little ones, Sanur is a little more expensive than other tourist areas like Kuta or Denpasar. South Sanur is home to several luxury hotels on the Mertasari and Cemara Beaches. 

Sanur Beach
Sanur boasts plenty of luxury options – plus sunsets like this!

Seafood lovers will be in food heaven in Sanur with incredible fish restaurants, upscale beach bars, fine dining establishments and local warungs. Sanur is fantastic for enjoying the sunrise, taking a stroll on the boardwalk, practising yoga or doing a sunset bicycle ride. The ocean is much calmer too, making it an ideal place for kids to play in the water. 

There are several tourist attractions in Sanur, including the La Mayeur Museum, the Sindhu Night Market, the Pura Blanjong Temple and a range of fun water sports! If you are in Bali in July/August, the Bali Kite Festival is a must-see activity for the whole family. 

A unique experience for your bucket list is participating in the baby turtle release organised by the Turtle Conservation and Education Center (TCEC). You can also book your accommodation at the Turtle Island Homestay in Sanur. Alternatively, the Suwardika Homestay & Dormitory near Karang Beach is lovely and great value for money. 


Amed & Tulamben – Perfect for Divers 🤿

Amed and Tulamben are located on the east coast of Bali and are part of the Karangasem Regency. It takes approximately three hours to drive from Kuta to the coast, which is now a popular diving spot due to the USS Liberty Shipwreck. There are plenty of budget-friendly and mid-range accommodation options with stunning ocean views in this sleepy fishing village, including several dive resorts. 

Amed
Amed comprises a strip of cute fishing villages.

By far, the number one reason people travel out to this area is scuba diving. Become a certified diver by taking your Open Water course or join a fun dive to explore this region’s rich biodiversity. Amed and Tulamben are perfect for beginner divers with shallow reefs and coral gardens. In addition, advanced divers can enjoy a selection of wreck dives and drift dives. 

Getting around the area is best done by scooter, and your accommodation can help you to hire one. The dive centres sometimes offer free transfers to and from your guesthouse, as Amed does not have a local taxi service.  

Ocean Prana Amed and Bali Reef Divers Tulamben are ideal places to book your accommodation and organise your dive trips. The Bali Reef Dive Centre is a 5-star PADI-certified centre just a two-minute walk from Tulamben beach. 


Nusa Islands – Relaxin’ to the Max 😶‍🌫️

The Nusa Islands are comprised of three islands off the coast of Bali; Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. These Instagrammable islands are highly popular on social media thanks to their stunning scenery, incredible dive spots, and beautiful sunsets.

Nusa Dua
Paragliding over the incredible Nusa Dua.

The islands offer a range of activities, accommodations, restaurants, and transport, so there is something for everyone’s travel style and budget. Beckoning some of the best diving in Indonesia, scuba divers have the chance of seeing oceanic mantas at Manta Point. If diving isn’t your thing, there are endless beaches for swimming and snorkelling. 

Budget to mid-range accommodation options includes Dream Beach Hostel, Double’D Hostel and Kamasanti Hostel. For the ultimate indulgence, book a room at The Kama or the Semabu Hills Hotel. 


Gili Islands – A Honeymoon Paradise 💕

The Gili Islands are located in the Lombok Strait. Gili Trawangan (Gili T), Gili Meno, and Gili Air make up the Gili Islands and they are easily reached by fast boat from Padang Bai Harbour. The journey takes around 1.5-2 hours, depending on the weather. The Gili Islands attract all kinds of travellers, from solo backpackers to honeymooners, scuba divers, and surfers; everyone is welcome. 

Gili T
The Gili Islands are one of Southeast Asia’s most romantic destinations!

Gili T is famous for live music, beach parties, and scuba diving. It’s also the most developed island for tourism. You can snorkel with turtles, dive into the reefs, take photos at the Gili T sunset swings, try delicious food at the night market, join a cooking class or treat yourself to one of the day spas. Gili Air and Gili Meno are popular with honeymooners, couples, and those who want to sit back under a palm tree and relax. 

Trawangan Dive Resort is a great place to base yourself, regardless of if you plan to dive. The private rooms are modern and the breakfast is delicious! Book a room at Majo Private Villas if you want all the extras. Romantic getaways and honeymooners will fall in love with the bungalows at Gili Meno Escape

One thing you’ll notice about the Gili’s is there are no cars or motorbikes on the islands. Luckily, the size of the islands means you can easily walk or cycle to where you need to go. Horse and cart transport is also available but there are concerns for the welfare of Gili’s horses so we don’t recommend this. 


From epic parties at clifftop bars to romantic sunsets and silent yoga retreats, whatever your soul is seeking, you can find it in Bali. 

With areas catering to specific kinds of travellers and options to suit every budget, choosing a great place to stay in Bali means not only finding accommodation but also finding your community.

Cherie Julie | Travel For Change Collective

Cherie founded a responsible tourism blog, Travel For Change, in 2016 with the desire to encourage other travellers to wander with purpose. Today the blog has transformed into a copywriting business for mindful brands where Cherie writes on a variety of topics such as the environment, human rights, animal welfare and sustainable travel.

Find her on: Instagram

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