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Where To Stay In Bali

For nearly a century the world has referred to Bali as a lost Eden. The tropical island is almost paradisal. From its romantic old-world charm to its upscale luxury, the Island of the Gods is whatever the traveller decides it to be. It does not matter if you need surf, chic living, lush landscapes and centuries-old temples, wellness or adventure, Bali can provide. The only question is where you should stay to best experience the holiday you want.

Working with luxury villa booking portal, The Luxe Nomad, we’ve discovered everything you need to know about where you should go in Bali.


Seminyak: If you’re looking for lively day and nightlife

Seminyak is Bali’s go-to destination if you’re looking for something a bit more stylish and sexy. This cosmopolitan playground is full of beaches, chic restaurants, cafes, nightlife and the island’s best shopping.

The Main Attractions:

Seminyak’s main drawcard is its beaches and their easy access to a wide array of bars, restaurants and clubs. Double Six Beach is Seminyak’s busiest stretch of sand as surfers head out to the line-up and sunbathers take up residence on the day beds along Blue Ocean Boulevard and at its many restaurants.

No matter what time of day or night, you can always find a beach club at which to eat, drink, play and be merry in Seminyak. Clubs like Ku De Ta, Potato Head Beach Club and Mrs Sippy are must visits.

For all your upscale shopping needs, head to Jalan Petitenget and Jalan Raya Kerobokan. These two shopping strips will provide you with all the retail therapy you could hope for, whether you’re after designer swimwear or sophisticated housewares.

When the sun goes down, if you’re not still beach club hopping, Seminyak has all the lounges and nightlife you could ask for. If you’re into a bit of Gothic architecture crossed with light shows, Mirror Lounge and Club is a favourite spot to hit up. If you want to go a bit more Latin, then it’s all about Motel Mexicola. For the more cosmopolitan traveller, head to Club Jenja.

The striking seaside temple of Pura Petitenget is great for those who need a bit of local culture. This active brick and sandstone temple is one of the few cultural landmarks remaining in Seminyak and plays hosts to a series of Hindu rituals throughout the year.

Where to stay:

The Cotton House Bali

Spread over four expansive pavilions, The Cotton House Bali is an eight-bedroom, eight-bathroom villa in the midst of Seminyak. The luxury villa features a 20-metre wet-edge swimming pool, plunge pool with extensive tropical gardens, a fitness centre, pool table, and a vast entertainment area. The Cotton House Bali is not only close to the Seminyak’s must-visit beach clubs like Potato Head and Ku De Ta, but walking distance to bars, shops and restaurants.

Canggu: If you’re looking for great waves, coffee and family-friendly fun

With its long beaches, great breaks and consistently good surf, Canggu is a surfer’s paradise. Yet, moving away from the beach, there is abundant natural beauty with tons of rice paddies, as well as plenty of bars, cafes, and restaurants. As the area featuring Bali’s largest expat community, this is the place for families on the go.

The Main Attractions:

Canggu really is all about the surf, whether you’re a novice or a complete pro. Echo Beach is the main beach spot to head out to with waves for all levels. At night, you can transition from surf to dining and cocktails as you lounge at one of the area’s many waterfront restaurants.

While you’re there, whether or not you have children with you, head to Finns Beach Club. This club not only features a 30-metre infinity pool, a white sand beach, restaurants and bars, but a water park, trampoline area, bowling alley and fitness centre.

For coffee people, Canggu is a great option. Thanks to its expat/hipster scene, the area has some of the best cafes in Bali. For those a bit more into wellness, Café Vida is a favourite place to eat as the all-organic restaurant offers a wealth of vegan, vegetarian, paleo, and gluten-free options.

The shopping in the area might not be as high-end as Seminyak – it’s a bit more vintage - but there is plenty to love!

Where to stay:

Ombak Luwung Beachfront Estate

Sitting directly on the world-famous Echo Beach, Ombak Luwung Beachfront Estate is an expansive five-bedroom, five-bathroom villa perfect for large groups who don’t want to skimp on luxury. Designed by world-renowned architect Bill Bensley and top Balinese architect Popo Danes, the 600 sq metre villa is set on an acre of land and features lush gardens, a 17-metre infinity pool, giant chess board and endless sea views.

Tabanan: If you’re looking for the real Bali and tons of natural beauty 

Tabanan has so far escaped the development you’ll find in its neighbours of Seminyak and Canggu and has plenty of natural beauty to offer. Between its black sand beaches, terraced rice paddies, mountain vistas, thickly forested trails, and stunning temples, Tabanan is one of the best places to get a sense of the true Bali experience.

The Main Attractions:

Pura Tanah Lot is the must-see attraction in Tabanan. This temple sits on a rock in the sea and is only accessible to visitors when the waters are shallow enough to walk. It is an absolute must do at sunset as the sun disappears behind the temple, however, only Hindu visitors may step inside Tanah Lot itself.

Another must-see temple is the seaside Ulun Danu Bratan. This picturesque Hindu temple was built in 1633 to be a place where worshippers gave their offerings to the river goddess Dewi Danu. Despite being on the sea, the temple is located 1,200 metres above sea level. 

If you love monkeys and mischief, you should spend a day at The Sangeh Monkey Forest. Set on 14-hectares of forest, the site is home to many a monkey as well as a small temple surrounded by nutmeg trees. You do need to be careful of the monkey if you go, they are known to steal food and shiny objects, e.g. cameras and phones.

There are rice paddies aplenty in Bali, but for the most Instagram-worthy views, Jatiluwih is a must visit – it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site after all.

When a day at the spa won’t do to rid you of your aches and pains, Angseri Hot Spring is a small, sulphuric hot spring complete with a waterfall that the locals swear by for healing their ailments.

Where to stay:

Villa Tantangan

Designed by acclaimed Italian architect Valentina Audrito, the environmentally friendly Villa Tantangan is a haven of natural light and wood accents. It is perfect for design aficionados who desire front row seats to stunning sunsets, black sand beaches and chic holidays. The 3-bedroom villa, which sits on 8,200 square meters of land, provides a true off-the-grid experience. It is not only a paragon of privacy, being elevated 15m above the isolated beachfront of Pantai Nyanyi and set back behind working rice fields, but operates independently of Bali's electrical network, powered instead by solar panels, minimising energy consumption.

Uluwatu: If you’re looking for more experienced surf and clifftop views 

Whether you’re looking to explore the towering limestone cliffs of Bali, surf the world-class breaks, explore the local culture or play a couple rounds of golf, Uluwatu has something for you.

The Main Attractions:

Outside of the beaches, Uluwatu’s main attraction is Pura Luhur Uluwatu – considered one of Bali’s most scenic temples. Built into the side of a steep cliff, Uluwatu Temple is perched 70 metres above the ocean and is made of dense grey coral. Each night, Balinese dancers perform on the temple grounds.

Surf breaks like Padang Padang, Uluwatu, and Impossibles are the stuff of legends, but should only be attempted by experts. The rock and reef breaks here can make for huge swells and dangerous falls. 

Spend a day at the legendary Single Fin or Sundays Beach Club. Single Fin is the cliff-top bar to be and be seen at as you can watch the surf below during the day and enjoy tons of live entertainment on one of the largest decks in Bali. Meanwhile, Sundays features plenty of water-based activities like paddle boarding and snorkelling in a clear lagoon, a restaurant with a mix of local, international and fusion cuisine for all-day dining, and, of course, a bar. At night they have bonfires, so you can pull up a beanbag and enjoy some smores.

For golf lovers, the New Kuta Golf Course is a must. The 18 Hole Championship Golf Course offers breathtaking views of the Ocean, and some holes seem to hover just above cliff faces – you don’t want to lose your balls here!

Where to stay:

Villa Sena

Designed to maximise fun and relaxation, Villa Sena is a five-bedroom, five-bathroom villa in Bali’s jungles and five minutes from the main thoroughfares of Uluwatu. The villa features an 18-metre swimming pool, a kids’ pool with a safety wall, and an entertainment room. It is an entirely self-contained villa perfect for an intimate holiday away from Bali’s hustle and bustle.

Ubud: If you’re looking for wellness and culture 

The arts and culture capital of Bali, Ubud is the place to go if you’re looking to enjoy local dance performances, peruse art galleries, and visit temples and palaces. Beyond the culture, Ubud is perfect if you need to decompress. Take a long walk through a rice paddy, take a yoga class, or indulge yourself with a spa session or two.

The Main Attractions:

The Royal Palace is still the centre of Ubud life – it is still inhabited by Indonesia’s royal family. Located in the downtown area, you can wander parts of the ground for free and each night at 7:30 PM, you can enjoy a classical Balinese dance show.

Located just across the from the Royal Ubud Palace, you’ll find the Ubud Art Market. Here you can take care of all your souvenir shopping with silk scarves, woven bags and baskets, and other hand-crafted goods. Plus, part of the movie Eat Pray Love was filmed here, so you can stroll the same stalls as Julia Roberts.

It may not be full of elephants like its name suggests, but Goa Gajah or the ‘Elephant Cave’ was built in the 11th century as a place for spiritual meditation. Containing both Hindu and Buddhist imagery, the temple, with its large courtyard, meditational cave, bathing pools and fountains is characterised by menacing figures which were designed to ward off evil spirits.

If you’re looking for wellness, a visit to the Pyramids of Chi is a must. The two pyramids are built to a 1/16th and 1/18th scale to the Great Pyramid of Giza and are the world’s largest venue for sound healing – a great way to rebalance and harmonise your energy.

One of the most popular places in Southeast Asia for yoga, enjoy a yoga retreat in one of Ubud’s open-air studios overlooking the greenery of the area’s rice paddies.

Monkey lovers should take a trip to the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. The sanctuary is home not only to families of monkeys but also to stone temples draped in tropical greenery. If you go, just remember that monkeys are very clever and will steal anything they find interesting.

Where to stay:         

Origin Ubud

Designed to be original, this resort showcases three types of villas all of which merge modern minimalism with traditional Ubud Balinese interiors. Each villa features a private pool with hammock. All the bespoke built-in furniture was crafted on-site by a local carpenter. Origin Ubud is just 500 metres from the town centre and walking distance to the area’s major cultural attractions. Additionally, Origin Ubud comes with bespoke amenities, butler service, special in-villa spa treatments, and organic menus created by internationally acclaimed chefs.

Candidasa: If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle 

A peaceful town on the eastern shores of Bali, Candidasa is a true hidden gem. It is in Candidasa that you’ll find more authentic scenes of Bali life as village women go about their daily tasks in colourful traditional dress and fishermen tend to their catch. There are excellent restaurants and laid-back bars, but you won’t find the nightlife of Seminyak here. 

The Main Attractions:

For a taste of true Balinese history and culture, tour the village of Tenganan. The quaint village is famous for its textiles, and its inhabitants can trace their lineage to the original Balinese people who populated the island long before the largely Hindu population arrived in the 11th century.

One of Bali’s most important temples, Pura Goa Lawah is an easy drive from Candidasa. The Balinese Hindu temple, which, features a complex built around a cave opening inhabited by hordes of bats is considered one of the “six sanctuaries of the world”. According to legend, the cave’s interior extends all the way underground to emerge nearly 30 kilometres away at Pura Besakih – Bali’s “Mother Temple”.

For something a bit more physical, diving and snorkelling, as well as fishing trips, hiking and cycling are popular in Candidasa.

The cooking classes at Bali Asli are great for those looking to learn a bit more about local techniques. The classes at Bali Asli are run with the theme of “a day in the life of…” where students learn how everything about the local cooking process. Whether they live a day in the life of a fisherman and start the class by fishing from a canoe or as a farmer learning to plough with a cow, these classes are certainly an adventure.

Where to stay:

Siri Mendira Beach Villas

An estate of three beach villas which can be booked together or on their own, the three villas are designed in a mix of classic and modern comfort. There is one six-bedroom villa and two four-bedroom villas, all of which feature private infinity pools, private white sand beaches, ocean views and open living areas. Each villa comes fully staffed with a private chef.