Kuta – Party and Shopping
Kuta is one of Bali's first tourist developments and it is famous for a swinging nightlife and surfing in the Indian Ocean. Located at the southern end of Bali next to the airport, it is brimmed with endless shopping and dining options, all reachable by sidewalks. The iconic Kuta Beach is popular for surfing and sunbathing – head there early to claim the best spot on the sand. You’ll also find pristine Hindu shrines and a significant Buddhist temple in central Kuta.
Seminyak – Beach and Nightlife
Further up the coast Seminyak offers a wide selection of top restaurants, and trendy nightlife along the beach. It is slightly more chilled out than Kuta and you can find more luxury hotels, villas and spas. Sleek bars and clubs with busy sunset scenes line Seminyak and Petitenget beaches, which are wide, west-facing stretches of Indian Ocean shoreline with white and gray sand and good surfing conditions.
Canggu – Surf and Chill
Hip enough for the “Gu”? Canggu (pronounced “Chan-goo”) is a fantastic little area in Bali that is popular among young travelers, surfers, and digital nomads. Hidden behind the bigger and busier Kuta and Seminyak, Canggu is holding on to a backpack laid-back town vibe where lush green terraced rice paddies are surrounding the countless hipster cafes, fantastic (vegan) restaurants, yoga studios and loads of creative inspiration. Find out more about vegan restaurants in Canggu here.
Ubud – Culture and Yoga
Regarded as the cultural heart of Bali, Ubud is located far away from the beaches, between the island’s mountains and rice fields. Known for a superb art scene and rural vibe, Ubud is the backdrop for great authentic Balinese temples and bewildering palaces. It is also considered as Bali´s yoga hub: With its peaceful and paradisiac surroundings, its spiritual vibes and wide open spaces for saluting to the warm Bali sun, Ubud is a yogi’s dreamland. Discover all about Yoga in Ubud.
However, nothing compares to the neighborhood’s grey long-tail macaque population that reside comfortably inside the famous Ubud Monkey Forest.
Central - Tegalalang and Kintamani – Nature and Mountains
Slightly further north of Ubud is Tegalalang which is well known for its rice terraces, volcanoes and waterfalls. Most people do the sunrise trek up Mount Batur and snap a few shots of the picturesque temple on the lake. For the real adventurous: grab/rent a tent and enjoy the breathtaking sunrise view to Mount Batur and its lake and Caldera. Bring warm clothes for the night – it can be chilly up there.
Sanur – Beach and Family Holiday
As the oldest beach resort in Bali, Sanur has a beautiful coastal ambiance and is popular for its laid-back lifestyle. Pricier than Kuta but cheaper than Seminyak, Sanur is home to many of Bali’s first hotels and luxury beachside resorts. The former fishing village is located on Bali’s east coast, with a neighborhood that offers a unique combination of contemporary cafes, restaurants, and entertainment venues with a wealth of classic art and culture. Extremely popular among travelers with families and visitors from Europe, Sanur is also the epicenter of the significant Kite Festival that is held in Bali in July every year. If you would like to know about how to travel in Bali as a family, read this article.
Jimbaran – Seafood and Sunset
This former fishing village and now resort area south of Kuta, is appropriately the best seafood spot in all of Bali. Jimbaran offers unparalleled views of the ocean and the long beach with calm water is lined with countless seafood restaurants. At its northern end, colorful boats are pulled up by the lively, open-air Kedonganan fish market. Southwest of the bay are Dreamland Beach and Balangan Beach, known for their strong surf waves.
Uluwatu – Surf and Beach Clubs
The most noteworthy neighborhood in Bukit Peninsula, Bali, Uluwatu’s biggest attraction is its namesake cliff-top temple which is surrounded by a dense tropical forest and is home to many grey long-tailed macaques. Another notable attraction in the area: the surf breaks here are considered among the best breaks of Bali’s southern shore. Come in the evening, and the temple grounds become the ultimate spot to enjoy a traditional Kecak Fire Dance and a spellbinding sunset. Several beach clubs are situated along the cliffs, offering infinity pools and breathtaking ocean views. Find out more about Yoga and other things to do on the Bukit here.
The North - Lovina and Singaraja – History and Dolphins
Lovina, a beach town at the Northern coast of Bali, thrills with a black-sand coastline, a calm ocean which is perfect for swimming, coral reefs and dolphins. From the village of Temoekoes, a trail leads to SingSing Waterfall and a Dutch war monument. The Banjar Hot Springs have warm water pools and tropical gardens. The Brahmavihara-Arama Buddhist monastery is home to a miniature replica of the huge Javanese archaeological site Borobudur.
The North – Amed – Relax and Scuba
Amed is a 14-km strip of fishing villages in Karangasem Regency on the east coast of Bali and has the ultimate sleepy town vibe. Think black volcanic sand beaches, great variety of dive operators with a huge beautiful underwater playground and small huts to stay in and you get the picture. Amed Beach is also suitable for snorkeling as vast reefs span the bay. Freediving, an extreme sport, is a recent addition to the line-up of activities. Book a tour and within a 30-minute drive up the coast you will arrive in Tulamben to dive the Japanese Wreck of the famous HMS Liberty.
The Islands - Gilis, Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan
You won’t have seen Bali, if you haven’t seen its islands. For the ultimate island escape from the island Bali, go east. Find the bigger and epic Nusa Penida for stunning photos and in its lee Nusa Lembongan with pristine beaches, cliff viewpoints, and sea views that can get very idyllic at sunset. A little bit further east three desert islands known as the Gilis are fringed with white- sand beaches and coconut palms sitting in turquoise water, all highly popular amongst divers. Get some inspirations on Yoga and Diving on these islands in this article.
We hope this introduction to Bali’s most famous areas gives you a better overview on where to stay in Bali, so that your needs are met. In the end, paradise can be found in the details and each part of the Island of the Gods has something special to explore.