Part of what makes Bali so popular among travellers is its diversity, with each region offering something different from the last. Whether you came to shop, sunbathe, party, explore, or relax, you’ll find the perfect spot to suit your tastes.
With so many different areas to choose from, picking the perfect place for your trip may seem like a daunting task. Each new town in Bali attracts a different crowd of people and the atmosphere, cost of living and activities reflect this.
To help you decide where to go on the island, we’ve put together of a list of the best localities to visit. For families, yogis, surfers, couples, fitness fanatics and solo travellers, here are the best places to be in Bali.
Why families should go to Bali
For families travelling with kids, there are many options for accommodation in Bali. Renting a family villa is a great way to go, and many have private gardens or pools. Outside of where you sleep, there are several spots around the island with a great range of kid-friendly activities.
Kuta and Seminyak: For many families, Kuta and neighbouring, upmarket Seminyak are ideal locations for a holiday. With miles of sandy beachfront, great shopping opportunities, and plenty of Western food options these areas are the most convenient for family getaways. Kuta beach is also close to the airport, so you don’t have far to go after arriving in the country. However, these notorious party areas can get loud and hectic at times, which isn’t ideal for young children.
Kuta has some great opportunities for family fun
Ubud: No beaches here, but what Ubud lacks in coastline it makes up for in culture. This town, although still touristy, is quieter than Kuta and offers a wealth of opportunities for family activities. A trip to the monkey forest is a particular hit with kids and, again, there are plenty of Western food options and shops.
Nusa Dua: If you want your holiday to be all about the beach, but you’d rather avoid the crowds of Kuta, Nusa Dua is great for family relaxation. This safe and secluded beach complex has excellent spots for swimming, snorkelling, and sunbathing, and has plenty of supportive services for families.
Why honeymooners should go to Bali
Bali is a hot spot for honeymooners, and with so many stunning beaches, dreamy sunsets and secluded beauty spots, it’s easy to see why.
Seminyak: Seminyak is a popular place for honeymooners, many of whom are attracted by the high-end accommodation and dining options. For many newlyweds, finding a luxury villa near the beach is the perfect way to start a marriage.
Thinking of a perfect destination for your honeymoon? Bali is the answer!
Uluwatu: The coastline around Uluwatu is devastatingly beautiful, and the relaxed vibe of the town gives it a peaceful atmosphere. This is the perfect spot to enjoy being by the ocean with a few cocktails, for newlyweds seeking a romantic, low-key honeymoon.
Gili Meno: Gili Meno, although technically part of Lombok, can easily be reached by boat from Bali’s east coast. It is the second of the three Gili islands and is well known as a popular spot for honeymooners. Meno is quiet and peaceful, with beautiful beaches and incredible sunsets, and is considered the perfect spot for lovers.
Why you should have your wedding in Bali
To have a dream wedding on Bali is a fantasy for many. With such gorgeous surroundings, it’s no surprise that so many people choose to tie the knot here.
For those who get the chance to say ‘I do’ in this glorious setting there are plenty of idyllic locations and beautiful venues around Bali to pick from.
Ubud: The lush, rolling rice fields of Ubud make the perfect backdrop for your Bali wedding. The town also has a wealth of things to see and do, which is perfect for keeping guests entertained. Ubud is a popular location for weddings in Bali, and the town has a wide range of stunning venues to choose from.
Jimbaran: If you’d rather be by the sea than surrounded by greenery, Jimbaran is the perfect place for your dream wedding. With unforgettable ocean views and sunsets, and a quiet, secluded setting, Jimbaran Bay is a wonderfully romantic setting.
Seminyak: Celebrating your wedding on the beach decorated with candle lights, in your private holiday villa, or in a trendy beachfront restaurant with a view would feel like a fairy tale. Lovers of truly romantic moments should definitely opt for sunny Seminyak.
Why yogis should go to Bali
Bali is a yogi’s paradise, and you won’t be short of beautiful, serene locations in which to practice. But which are the best areas for yoga retreats and teacher training on the island?
Canggu: Although Canggu is better known for surfing, this coastal hippie-hangout is also a great place for yoga. The chilled-out vibe creates the perfect atmosphere for peaceful practice, and there are many beautiful studios offering teacher training, retreats, and classes.
Ubud: Ubud is the best spot in Bali for yoga, and thousands of yogis flock there every year to take advantage of the excellent classes and serene environment. Many people visit Ubud to try yoga at its famous centres, such as the Intuitive Flow and Yoga Barn, as Ubud has some of the most picturesque settings in which to do so. Ubud is also well-known for its teacher training courses, where participants can become qualified teachers of everything from Hatha to Vinyasa.
Why surfers should go to Bali
Bali is well-known as a world-class spot for surfing, and attracts surfers of every level, from beginners to professionals. There are a variety of locations around Bali’s west coast where you can catch some waves. Whether you’re a veteran surfer or just want to get in some practice, here are the best places to be in Bali.
Uluwatu: Indisputably the best spot for surfing in Bali, Uluwatu is located on the south-western tip of the island’s Bukit peninsula. During monsoon season waves can swell as high as 15ft, and skilled surfers can be spotted off this wild coastline year-round. The surf round Uluwatu is not for the faint of heart, and most people who surf here are both confident and experienced in what they do.
Canggu: For beginner and intermediate surfers, Canggu is the place to practice before graduating to the more serious swells around Uluwatu. There are a few main surf breaks around here, and the peaks are way more manageable for learners.
Kuta beach: What if you’re a complete beginner on a surfboard, and want a good place to pick up some skills? Kuta beach is the most beginner-friendly surf spot in Bali, with a gentle tide and small-ish waves to practice on.
Why partygoers should go to Bali
For some, a visit to Bali is all about the party, and the island is packed with hip venues, clubs, and off-key evening hangouts. The nightlife in Bali varies as much as everything else does on the island, so finding your scene once you arrive is simple.
Kuta and Seminyak: If pure hedonism is what you’re after, you won’t have to stray too far from the airport to find it. Kuta is infamous for its bustling party scene, where bars and clubs stay open late into the night and offers on drinks are generous. Equally popular, but attracting a slightly more affluent crowd, is the town of Seminyak. Just a 20-30 minute drive from Kuta, this town has lots of places to drink, dance, and meet people.
Gili Trawangan: The ‘party island’ of the three Gilis, Gili Trawangan (commonly known as Gili T) is notorious for its nightlife. Unlike its neighbouring islands, Gili T has several bars and nightly parties that spill out onto the beachfront. Trawangan is the only place in Indonesia where it is easy to find drugs – don’t be surprised if you are offered magic mushrooms as you stroll along the sandy beachfront. But remember, this is still Indonesia, and the penalties for possessing drugs can be life-ruining.
Canggu: Canggu has a reputation for cool evening hangouts, and it is easy to find places to drink, listen to music, or simply relax with friends. Pretty Poison, with its skate park out back, is the place to be until midnight. After 12, partygoers usually head to Old Man’s or one of the two Sand Bars. Here the drinking and dancing often go on until dawn, with hundreds of people heading to the beach to party.
Why should corporations go to Bali
Corporate retreats are a great way to strengthen relationships within your team, and what better location to bond than in beautiful Bali? The island offers many opportunities for team-building activities; in fact, the only difficult thing is choosing where to go!
Ubud: The relaxing environment around Ubud creates the ideal setting for a corporate retreat, and the town has plenty of yoga studios and options for accommodation. Companies can also take advantage of nearby Mt. Batur, hiking to the summit at sunrise for a unique team-building activity.
Seminyak: If you want to rent a luxury villa for your corporate retreat, look no further than Seminyak for the very best in high-end accommodation. This can create the most comfortable environment in which to grow as a team and can make your retreat all the more memorable.
Why the eco-conscious should go to Bali
Bali’s environmental problems are well known, as is Indonesia’s reputation as one of the world’s biggest plastic polluters. For the environmentally-aware out there, Bali has a number of fabulous eco-retreats. Here, visitors can enjoy their time on the island knowing that they aren’t leaving a big carbon footprint behind them.
Ubud: The peaceful setting around Ubud is home to several eco-resorts. These are often characterized by gorgeous wood and bamboo structures, as well as their green, vibrant surroundings.
Menjangan: Located in the West Bali National Park, the island of Menjangan is home to some beautiful eco-resorts. Situated among lush jungle and with beachfront access, these havens of tranquillity are a must-visit for nature lovers.
Moreover, if you are looking for ways to help, you can always join numerous voluntary projects that aim to improve the environmental situation in Bali.
Why fitness fanatics should go to Bali
While many people head to Bali to relax on the beach, there are plenty of opportunities for the more active traveler. There are several fitness retreats around the island, as well as ample opportunities for hiking, yoga, and surfing.
Bali & Fitness go together!
Canggu: Surfing is great exercise, and helps to develop almost every muscle group in your body. Canggu is the best place in Bali for intermediate surfers, where you can easily improve your skills (and fitness) on the moderate swell.
Ubud: Hikers should head to Ubud, and from here to Mount Batur to climb to the summit for sunrise. The walk takes just four hours each way, though it is fairly steep in places. The panoramic views from the peak are well worth the hike, and the early-morning workout can be invigorating.
Uluwatu: If a fitness or wellness retreat is what you’re looking for, the chilled out town of Uluwatu has some fabulous coastal centres. These combine luxurious comfort with guided fitness programs, to help you meet your health goals in the most relaxing environment.
Why sports fanatics should go to Bali
Whether you love to watch or play, Bali has plenty to offer sports enthusiasts. From sports bars to golf courses, Bali has something to satisfy everyone.
Nusa Dua: The beach complex area of Nusa Dua has several golf clubs, such as the National Golf Club, all with immaculate courses and beautiful surroundings. The temperate climate of Bali makes for perfect golfing weather between April and September, so this is the best time to go.
Kuta: If you prefer to spectate rather than take part, Kuta is the area with the most sports bars in Bali. Here you won’t be short of places to watch big sporting events, and you can do so with a cold Bintang in hand. Perfect!
Relaxation, spas, and wellness in Bali
If you want to detoxify and rejuvenate, take a trip to one of Bali’s many spas or wellness retreats. Visitors can luxuriate in the sumptuous treatments on offer, for a holiday that packs the ultimate in relaxation.
Spas in Bali are often luxurious (even the ones where you can go on a budget)
Seminyak: Without a doubt, Seminyak is the best place to go for pampering in Bali, and has dozens of boutique spas and luxury saloons. Whether you want a massage or a manicure, you’ll find yourself spoilt for choice in this pleasure-seekers paradise.
Badung: Badung, one of the largest suburban areas of Greater Denpasar, is home to several health and wellness centres. Experience the luxury and tranquillity of these spas and retreats, where visitors can cleanse their bodies and minds.
Ubud: For massage-lovers, Ubud is a great place to visit in Bali. The town has parlours on every corner, and services range from basic massage to full pampering treatments. These often include full body exfoliation, scented oils, and rose-petal baths.
New Year in Bali
Who hasn’t dreamt of bringing in the new year in a tropical island paradise, rather than your local bar (again)? New Year’s Eve in Bali is a celebration that’s not to be missed, as the island hosts some memorable parties. Choosing which to attend is important, so here are our favourite places to be for the new year in Bali:
Seminyak: The party town of Seminyak easily has the most going on around New Year, with several bars and clubs hosting unforgettable parties. Bring in the new year with a bang at KU DE TA, or at the popular Potato Head Beach Club.
Canggu: Just down the road from Seminyak, the ordinarily laid-back coastal town o0f Canggu has its share of new year celebrations on December 31st. Single Finn’s is the most popular place to be on the night, though Old Man’s is always packed out with partygoers on NYE.
Why digital nomads should go to Bali
Bali is becoming more and more popular among global wanderers and digital nomads. The low cost of living and relaxed pace of life on the island make for the perfect, casual working environment. For those who have ditched the office in favour of a nomadic lifestyle, Bali has many great spots for periods of work and rest.
Many digital nomads are choosing Bali
Canggu: The digital nomad scene in Canggu is growing bigger every year, and the town is starting to cater to this group more as a result. With rent as low as a few hundred dollars per month, lots of Western comforts and some great coworking spaces, it’s easy to see why so many people choose Canggu as a temporary home.
Ubud: For those who prefer greenery to beaches, Ubud is another rapidly growing community of digital nomads. Accommodation can be found cheaply in the serene environment of the rice fields, and the cost of living is low. Take your laptop along to one of Ubud’s many cafes and coworking spaces, and make friends among the friendly and open expat community.
Why romantic couples should go to Bali
Bali is the backdrop for many a wedding, holiday fling and a romantic getaway. The island is full of loved-up couples enjoying their idyllic surroundings, but what are the most romantic spots in Bali?
Bali is the perfect place for a romantic break
Nusa Penida: This quiet island off the southeastern coast of Bali is the perfect place to escape society and spend some quality time with your significant other. Nusa Penida has a minimal tourist presence and some breathtaking, secluded beaches and waterfalls. Check out Kelingking beach, you won’t regret it. The walk down is treacherous, but the pristine bay far below is the stuff of dreams.
Nusa Dua: If you’d rather escape the outside world entirely, you can always rent a luxury villa near the secluded beaches of Nusa Dua. Here, you can escape into your own private paradise, venturing out only to enjoy the spectacular sunsets and lush surroundings.
Why the LGBT community should go to Bali
Much of Indonesia’s Muslim community frowns upon homosexuality, and the LGBT scene is nonexistent in places like Lombok. However, the Hindu island of Bali is much more accepting and is home to a small but thriving LGBT scene.
Seminyak: Bali’s LGBT scene is largely confined to Seminyak, and there are a few gay bars and clubs in town. Although few in number, these hangouts are lively and popular, and well worth checking out! Head to Mixwell, Bali Joe, and Bottoms Up for some vibrant and colourful nightlife while visiting the island.