Bali may be a small island, but it’s incredibly diverse. From jagged mountains and rich, tropical landscapes to pearly white oceans and ashy volcanic terrain, the Island of the Gods has it all. And it’s not just the scenery that has variety: each city has its own quirky vibe that attracts unique travelers and personalities. Whether you’re a beach bum or a wild child, a foodie or a yogi, we’ve got the lowdown on where to stay in Bali so that when you rock up to the island, you know exactly where to head to tick all of your boxes.
Seminyak is the most popular area to stay in Bali, simply because it has everything that a short-term, up-market tourist could ever want. Think: boutique shops, fine-dining eateries, boujee villas, bustling beach clubs, and opulent spas— all accessible via walkable streets (a rare luxury here!)
If your ideal vacay day in Bali has you heading out for breakfast, dipping into a beach club to spend a few hours, taking an indulgent self-care trip to the spa for a mani-pedi then back out for dinner, cocktails, and dancing, Seminyak will perfectly suit your needs.
Some of my favorite Seminyak stays are The Legian for luxury beachfront hotel life, Layar Designer Villas & Spa for full-service, dreamy villa living, and The Katamama Suites at Potato Head for contemporary-style indulgence.
Canggu is the spot of all things hipster, boho, and chilled out. Popular with travelers who crave a low-key stay, Canggu is becoming the center of all things cool and carefree.
Home to a large number of long-term expats, as well as short-term visitors looking to soak up the laid back feeling, this is the place to be if you’re into quirky coffee nooks, beach hangouts, vegan-friendly cafes, boutique yoga shalas, and great waves.
Kuta was the first city in Bali to be hit by tourists back in the 60s and 70s, so obviously it’s one of the most developed tourist areas on the island. With rows of souvenir shops, day spas, hotel complexes, hostels, and bars, Kuta is a great choice for those looking for a sunny holiday spot without the need to see much history or culture.
If your ideal day includes chilling out on a sun lounger by the beach (Kuta Beach is one of our favorite things to do in Bali), getting a $5 massage before heading out to the bars, and dancing the night away, Kuta could be the perfect place for you to stay.
Sat atop white limestone cliffs, Uluwatu is home to big waves, secret beaches, quaint cafes, luxurious villas, and beach clubs with views for days. It’s the ideal area for a surfer’s getaway, a lover’s retreat, or a beach bum’s break.
If you dream of nothing but gliding down flights of stairs to secluded beaches, upscale dining overlooking pro surfers in the ocean below, being pampered at grand resorts, and going to sleep and waking up to the sound of the waves, you better head to Uluwatu.
Nusa Dua, feeling a world away from all of the hustle and bustle happening on the West Coast, is the perfect vacation spot for those looking to indulge in a bit of full-service luxury, and for those dreaming of that quintessential family holiday.
Think a little town full of world-class resorts featuring private white sand beaches (home to Gunung Payung: one of the best beaches in Bali) with a calm ocean perfect for swimming, perfectly manicured acres of gardens, water-sports of all kinds, and fine dining overlooking the ocean.
Of course, we can’t compile a list of the best places to stay in Bali without mentioning Ubud. Brought to the tourist’s eye through Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Eat, Pray, Love, Ubud is the center of all things zen and spiritual. If you’re longing for a yoga retreat in the jungle, a scenic bike ride through the terraces, or a visit with a Balian (local healer), Ubud is your place.
Walking through the winding, small-town streets, you’ll see why Gilbert felt so drawn to the place —there really is an almost indescribable magic feeling in and around Ubud. Whether you plan to stay at an Ashram, homestay, or resort, if you’re looking for serenity and peace, head to Ubud.
Some of my personal favorites in Ubud are the Anand Ashram for ultimate spiritual deep-diving, Bonato Homestay for wholesome downtime, and The Four Seasons at Sayan for a heavenly, majestic stay (it’s so good that it was mentioned in 2020 Condé Nast Gold List).