Where to stay in Bali - an insider's guide
Bali is arguably one of the most beautiful places in the world. I have travelled there a few times, and I still can't get enough of it. Stunning beaches, rice paddies, temples, forests, markets, culture and the most amazing sunsets you could ever wish to see. Plus, Bali's people are among the happiest I have ever come across in all my travels.
Here are my favourite places to visit on a Bali holiday – I hope they will inspire you to visit this beautiful country too!
Bali’s airport is situated about ten minutes from Kuta, so this will be an excellent place to start. Kuta has a fantastic buzz. Filled with markets, restaurants and pubs, there is never a dull moment when staying here.
Kuta Beach can get quite busy with its many surf schools – a perfect place to learn! So, after a day of bartering in the markets or visiting the multitude of surf shops, why not give it a try. For the more advanced surfers, they will take you out on a long tail boat beyond the break where you can show off your skills.
Nothing beats the sunsets on Kuta Beach – especially with a Bintang in hand. For a night out, you can visit one of the many pubs or the Hard Rock Café for a night filled with music and cocktails. There are also some larger shopping malls around like the Kartika Plaza. There really is something for everyone in Kuta.
Seminyak is a little bit more ‘European’ in feel. Even though there are also markets around, you will find more fixed-price shops in Seminyak, with more of an ‘arty’ atmosphere in its quaint coffee shops and cafes. Even though the locals will tell you that you need to take a taxi to Seminyak, you can walk along the beach – it will take longer, but it is do-able.
On the opposite side of the peninsula, you will find the more upmarket area of Nusa Dua. Most of the hotels here are located right on the beach, which is pristine. So if you are keen to spend your days lazing in the sun, Nusa Dua is the place to be. Just a stone’s throw from Nusa Dua you will find Benoa, ideal for water sports lovers. You can do anything from jet skiing to parasailing and tubing here. Be sure to try out the flying fish!
Jimbaran is another area in Bali with quite a lovely stretch of beach. Along this beach, you will find many seafood restaurants. At night time you can dine there with your toes literally in the sand as they all set up on the beach. Great food and great vibe and worth a visit. Be sure to also pay a visit to Uluwatu Kecak and see the Fire Dance.
Moving a bit further North, you will find an area called Sanur. The bay is ideal for families with smaller children. You don’t have to worry about the break so they can happily splash around in the shallows. Also great for windsurfers and kite surfers, it offers ideal conditions for these sports.
Ubud is found inland. Generally, when one thinks of Bali, you imagine lush greenery and forests with rice paddies, batik art and wooden crafts. On your way to Ubud, you will drive through many little villages, with lots of people selling these trinkets. Ubud itself is a beautiful village. It offers many charming shops and restaurants, cheap markets and lots of culture.
Monkey forest is a must-see when you travel to Ubud… just remember no touching and no loose items as they will steal them from right under your nose! You can also visit the lotus gardens and many temples around Ubud. If you are into yoga, then this is the place to be. Many of the hotels in the area offer picture-perfect views over the rice paddies, and you can really unwind in the stillness. You can also go and visit the volcano and many temples.
There are still many places to explore, and one day I will get there. Bali is a truly amazing all-round destination that offers a little bit of everything. With its great weather, great people, great culture, beaches, nature and so much more, I would recommend it to anyone.
Written by Liesel Moller