Where To Stay In Bali For Families, Solos Travellers and Couples
Our family made the move to Bali long term after travelling full time through Asia. We love Bali for many reasons and it is a fabulous place to live as well as an amazing spot for a tropical holiday. After considering where to stay in Bali long term, we found the best area to stay in Bali for us was Sanur, a resort town in the south.
It makes a great base for exploring the south of the island. Before you go to Bali do check out our travel gear recommendations and if you are travelling with children be sure to check out the top travel toys for toddlers! We have many more Bali travel blog posts with safety tips, recommended activities and more so do check those out.
If you’d like to check out some lesser known places in Indonesia check out these fun things to do in Bintan!
We recommend the Lonely Planet Guide to Bali & Lombok to keep in your bag for those times when you’re out of 4G signal on the island!
Bali Quick Facts
Size: 80 km x 145 km
Location: Indonesia, 8 degrees south of the Equator
Population: Approximately 4 million
Capital city: Denpasar
Language: Bahasa Indonesia and Balinese
Seasons: Dry season is May to September, rainy season is October to March-April
Districts: There are 9 districts in Bali and 1 municipality (Denpasar)
There are many reasons people want to come for a Bali holiday or to move to Bali long term. You might be looking for a rural break near picturesque rice terraces, or to explore exotic coffees and spices, or go snorkelling or diving at one of the nearby islands. You might just want to party! Here are the different areas of Bali in the most popular areas, with what to do and where to stay in Bali for each of them (don’t forget to stay safe by checking out our guide to avoiding the Zika virus in Bali)
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Get the insider Bali travel tips here from a travel writer living in Bali, Indonesia and discover the best places to stay in Bali! [Includes bonus excursion travel tips!]
Situated at the very southernmost tip of Bali, Nusa Dua is a quiet and serene area that is ideal for travellers looking for a peaceful beach break. The resorts are generally more upscale than the other beach resorts of Bali and there are several that are located on the beach, with swimming pools overlooking the ocean. Nusa Dua is popular with honeymooners as well as families looking for a luxury break thanks to the kids’ clubs at many of the hotels and resorts.
Two of the beaches there, Mengiat and Geger are known as two of the best in Bali. Nightlife is provided by beach clubs, gourmet restaurants and cultural shows and is not raucous. Transfer time from the airport to Nusa Dua is 20 minutes, click here to avoid airport transfer scams.
What to do in Nusa Dua:
- Surf. The waves at Nusa Dua make it a popular surf spot, and surfboards can be rented or borrowed from hotels or watersports companies along the beach. There is also the beautiful Bali National Golf Club, an 18-hole golf course among a shopping and villa complex (for luxury golf villa rates click here).
2. See Komodo Dragons. Tours to Komodo island are very popular, with 2-day or 4-day options that offer all-inclusive cruises through the tropical islands to see the great creatures as well as mangrove boating, bat spotting and snorkelling.
3. Enjoy a cultural show. A fantastic cultural show highlighting traditional aspects of Balinese culture, the Devdan Show, is also popular.
4. A customised private tour. If you fancy heading inland to see the rice terraces and coffee plantations of Bali, a customised day tour with an air-conditioned vehicle and private guide is the perfect way to see the sights.
Suggested highlight to book: <<– Uluwatu and Tanah Lot Sunset Tour with Beachside Dinner –>>
Where to stay in Bali, Nusa Dua: Our Top 4 Picks
The Kayumanis Private Villa & Spa is one of the best honeymoon resorts in Bali, with romantic touches such as personalised honeymoon cakes and cocktails for honeymooners. There is a world-class restaurant offering Balinese and Italian cuisine, sunrise breakfasts and tropical outdoor bathrooms. To see current rates and book << click here >>
The St Regis Bali resort is a stunning resort surrounding a lagoon-style pool on the sands of Nusa Dua beach. Guests can look forward to fire dancing displays, a high staff-to-guest ratio and world-class luxury breakfast buffets. Premium beach loungers are always available as the resort is intimate and not overcrowded (and just a three minute walk from your room to the beach). To see current rates and book << click here >>
The Mulia Resort is another of the best resorts in Bali, with unparalleled luxury and indulgence in exquisite surroundings. There are four restaurants and five bars to choose from and guests receive complimentary full board with no minimum stay! The Mulia Spa has the first ‘ice room’ in Asia Pacific, hot-cold therapy and a Zen Spa bar with cold-pressed juices and herbal infusions. To see current rates and book << click here >>
The Bali Nusa Dua Hotel is easier on the wallet yet still a five-star hotel. The spacious rooms and suites are arranged around a panoramic pool and gardens, with stylish contemporary Balinese decor. Dine from traditional clay pots or indulge in western cuisine as well as nutritious salads and tropical fruits with a view of the freshwater pool. The complimentary shuttle takes guests to the white-sand beaches and the best beach clubs on the island. To see current rates and book << click here >>.
Formerly a backwater of southern Bali, Jimbaran is slowly moving away from the quiet fishing village atmosphere to more of a tourist resort. However Jimbaran village is still very traditional, there are wooden fishing row-boats to be seen on the sand and temples including the famous Tanah Lot. There are several great hotels and the famous Jimbaran Bay which has been transformed from a fish market into an open-air hub with over 40 restaurants and eateries. Transfer time from the airport is approximately 10 minutes; click here to avoid airport transfer scams.
What to do in Jimbaran
- Visit Uluwatu Temple,one of the six temples believed to be Bali’s key spiritual pillars. It is a popular Instagram-worthy spot at sunset and people queue to receive blessings from the local priest.
2. Visit Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park, a 250 hectare park with an ampitheatre, exhibition gallery, an art market, massage centre and ATV/ Segway rentals; you can also catch performances of traditional Balinese dance here.
3. See the underwater magic. All-inclusive snorkelling trips to the nearby islands are very popular, with manta rays, octopus, turtles and small sharks usually seen; some snorkelling trips include mangrove tours by kayak, gondola or stand-up paddle boards too!
Suggested highlight to book: <<– Swimming with manta rays & mangrove tour at Crystal Bay –>>
Where to stay in Jimbaran: Our Top 3 Picks
The InterContinental Bali Resort combines traditional Balinese architecture with modern convenience and luxury. Set on the shores of the famous Jimbaran Bay, the Jimbaran Gardens restaurant offers al fresco dining with ocean views while the Sunset Beach Bar & Grill serves food to four-poster beach beds. Japanese and Italian restaurants ensure that a holiday of indulgence is guaranteed, while the extensive spa and sports facilities ensure a balance of wellbeing. To see current rates and book, click here.
Kupu Kupu by L’Occitane, winner of Luxury Hotel of the Year awards, has designed each suite to function as a personal retreat for guests, with privacy and charm at the forefront. Long stay packages with up to 40% discount and sumptuous honeymoon offers are available, and every guest will benefit from complimentary afternoon tea in their own suite. A buggy will take guests to the beach if you don’t fancy the 7 minute walk; Kupu also owns an exclusive beach club with dream beds reserved for guests. To see current rates and book, click here .
Bali Paragon Resort Hotel is a four star hotel just steps away from the renowned art and fashion markets and is set in landscaped gardens with hideaway rooms. A kids’ club provides entertainment for children and adults can enjoy the spa, the health club, a lounge and coffee shop as well as a rooftop bar. To see current rates and book click here.
Kuta & Legian (10 minutes from each other)
Very popular with Australians looking for a good value tropical break, Kuta is a busy resort with lots of partying and nightlife opportunities. If you want to shop, drink, and enjoy cheap food and booze in a hot climate, Kuta is where it’s at. Kuta’s waves make it a popular surf spot, although recently there has been a lot of plastic washing up on the beaches (check out my eco friendly travel bits ‘n’ bobs including reusable straws here).
Legian is 10 minutes up the coast and is a very similar town with tourists looking for the same activities at Kuta as they are such a short drive from each other. Shopping is one of the biggest attractions here, and its location just 10-15 minutes from the airport is another pull for tourists; click here to avoid airport transfer scams.
What to do in Kuta & Legian
- Visit Waterbom Bali water park. If you haven’t yet seen our YouTube video of our day at Waterbom Bali, check it out and then book amazing value tickets here (we got the tickets with food credit; the food is amazing so well worth it). We loved it so much we went twice!
2. Surf. If you’re staying in Kuta a surf lesson is also a great idea; this one from Get Your Guide includes board hire, bespoke tuition according to your experience and surf clothing.
3. Take a break on a paradise island. If you want a break from the hustle and bustle of Kuta and wish to escape to the paradise of the Gili islands, hop on a fast boat for white sands and turtle-filled crystal clear waters.
4. Shop ’til you drop. The popular shopping areas are Kuta Beachwalk, with brands such as Miss Selfridge, GAP and New Look, and Discovery Shopping Mall is one of the largest malls in Kuta. Kuta Art Market has more of an artisan vibes and Merta Nadi Art Market is brilliant for handicrafts and souvenirs.
5. Alternative fun for families. There is also an illusion art museum that is great for a morning or afternoon out with children and the Pandora Experience similar to ‘Escape Rooms’ where you have to work as a team to escape from a labyrinth in 2 hours or less!
For those seeking even more adrenaline Legian has a reverse bungee ridethat catapults riders into the air at 200 km/h.
Suggested highlight to book: Waterbom Bali VIP All-Inclusive Day Passes with 100k Credit
Where to stay in Kuta & Legian: Our Top 4 Picks
The Double-Six Luxury Hotel is an all-suite luxury accommodation with a stunning 120 metre pool. Wrap yourself in you in-room kimono and enjoy complimentary cocktails and 24 hour room service and butler service. There are five destination-dining venues within the resort; watch you fresh pasta being made before your eyes and indulge in a gourmet experience each evening. The Acqua Perla spa is the perfect place to rejuvenate with Hermes amenities. To see current rates and book click here.
The Bliss Surfer Hotel is a bright and funky hub for surf bums and families to hang out and enjoy a friendly and relaxing stay. With fun surf decor and surf-themed rooms, kids and adults alike will love staying in this budget-friendly hotel. Choose from free beer daily, kids’ cooking classes, free motorbike rental and other great offers when you book. To see current rates and book click here.
The Berry Glee Hotel in Legian is as sweet and bright as its name and is perfect for families. Stay in one of the themed rooms (dollhouse or basketball), relax on a unicorn pool float and play in the games rooms with both traditional and digital games. There is even a kids’ club with friendly staff and a kids’ sand and pool area. To see current rates and book click here.
The Hard Rock Hotel Kuta Bali is situated in the heart of the shopping and entertainment district and offers all the rock ‘n’ roll glamour that you would expect from the Hard Rock brand.5The hotel is packed with memorabilia of stars and has a free-form swimming pool, fitness centre and even rock climbing on the premises! Mini Olympic games, a children’s club and a teen’s club will keep kids entertained and everyone will love the 7 restaurants, from Jamie’s Italian to the Starz Diner. To see current rates and book click here.
AVOID THIS PLACE!
The main road in Kuta that is lined with dark, dingy bars and bordered with a busy grey road and smokey traffic. The alleys and smaller roads off it are full of badly hidden brothels, overpriced and yuck food stalls and more gross bars.
Places like this are where pickpockets and scammers hang out, or those touting drugs (drug offences in Bali can range from a lengthy prison sentence to death). We’ve driven through this bit of Kuta several times and every time we get a bad feeling; it’s not a place that we would ever hang out and we can’t see why people would want to come to Bali to sit in these places.
A trendy and upmarket area popular with digital nomads, Seminyak is the best area to stay in Bali for those looking for swanky beach bars, health food stores and cafes, great shopping and picturesque beaches. The nightlife is active and upmarket, not raucous like areas of Kuta.
There are many luxury hotels and villas, beach clubs and sunset scenes and the town is 30 minutes from the equally trendy Canguu which attracts a similar crowd.
What to do in Seminyak
- Take in some local art. If you are in to art and local culture visit the Nyaman Art Museum in Seminyak. Most of the exhibits are made by local artists and the gallery focuses on showcasing rising talent; nearly all of the pieces are for sale so if you want to take home a souvenir this is a great place to shop.
4. Hike a mountain or magical volcano! If you fancy leaving the trendy bustle and heading out to explore Bali’s nature, a sunrise trek to enjoy breakfast atop Mount Batur is a stunning way to make memories, as is the overnight trip to East Java to see and hike the iconic blue fire volcano, Mount Ijen.
Suggested highlight to book: Experience the blue fires of Mount Ijen volcano on East Java
Where to stay in Seminyak: Our Top 3 Picks
The Anantara Resort Seminyak is an ultra luxury resort on a prime beachfront location. The all-suite hotel offers a stunning rooftop restaurant, an infinity pool, a world-class spa and yoga and detox experiences. To see current rates and to book click here or here.
The Royal Beach Seminyak is set within beautiful tropical grounds and offers exclusive experiences for Le Club AccorHotel members. Along with spacious rooms there are 17 thatched villas with private pools. There are special daily packages for kids so young guest feel like mini VIPs! To see current rates and to book click here or here.
The Harris Hotel is just steps away from Seminyak beach and 10 minutes from Seminyak square, making it a great hotel for a Bali holiday. The Harris is a popular option for families as it has five pools and a Dino Kids’ Corner as well as a gym and spa for adults. To see current rates and to book click here.
A surfing resort village on the south-west coast of Bali, Canggu is known as a trendy area popular with hipsters. Situated between Seminyak and Tanah Lot, Canggu is ideally located for seeing the best of Bali as it is also surrounded by rice paddies.
There are plenty of vegan eateries and trendy bars here and you’re more than likely to spot some of your favourite Instagrammers hanging out around the area!
What to do in Canggu
- Eat! Eating and drinking can take up a lot of your time in Canggu, with delicious fresh and wholesome food served in places like Betelnut Cafe and the famous Peloton Supershop serving the prettiest food we’ve ever seen- Canggu is probably the best area to stay in Bali for vegans!
2. Explore temples. Trips to iconic temples such as Uluwatu and Tanah Lot are well worth a visit.
3. Soak up nature. Watch the sunset from Old Man’s and chill with a coconut or braced corn-on-the-cob, or enjoy the scenery on a super-cool day tour of stunning West Bali in a vintage VW open-top Cabriolet!
Suggested highlight to book: >> Tour of West Bali in a gorgeous vintage VW Cabriolet Jeep <<
Where to stay in Canggu: Our Top 3 Picks
Serenity Eco Guesthouse & Yoga is a family-run guesthouse with a dream to be the best eco-guesthouse in the world! Staying in a backpackers’ house or bungalows including pool bungalows, enjoy a vegan and vegetarian-friendly menu and super relaxed vibe. For current rates and to book click here.
Ametis Villa is a five-star luxury retreat offering private butler service and exquisite tropical landscaped grounds. Choose from two exceptional restaurants as well as in-villa dining and indulge in world-class spa treatments and massages. For current rates and to book click here.
Aradhana Villas offer a tropical getaway with private outdoor swimming pool, complimentary Wifi access and free airport transfers. Hop on one of the hotel bicycles to explore to rice fields or sit back and enjoy the services of your private butler. Aradhana is just 200m from the very popular Finns Beach Club. For current rates and to book click here.
By the time we head back to the UK we will have lived in Sanur for 8 months. We absolutely love this little town- it’s not crazy-trendy like Canggu or high-end like Seminyak, or party-wild like Kuta.
It’s fairly quiet which makes it ideal for families and retirees, it has a great variety of beach bars and restaurants and cafes (some of our favourites are Soul on the Beach for the lovely staff, excellent food and beautiful location) and Nelayan for its kids’ play area and uhh-mazing chips.
What to do in Sanur
- Enjoy the family fun markets. There is a local market on the first Sunday of every month outside Byrdhouse Beach Club, and buying a meal from the market gives you all-day access to Byrdhouse’s 4 swimming pools including its beachfront infinity pool. On the last Sunday of every month there is a market outside Mercure Resort with bouncy castles, food, candy floss and the like, and every single Sunday outside Genius Cafe there is face painting and crafts for kids.
2. Be an eco-warrior. Each Monday at 5pm there is a Trash Heroes beach clean-up meeting outside Genius Cafe, and every Saturday at 6am outside Genius is the Bali Beach 5km fun run.
3. Island hop. Sanur has a beach specifically for grabbing boats to other islands, which makes it a great place to check out Nusa Penida (see our guide to Nusa Penida here) and the stunning photo-worthy spots there (Mum and I did this tour together and really enjoyed it).
Suggested highlight to book: Best fo Nusa Penida Full Day Tour by Fast Boat
4. Visit a WWF turtle sanctuary. Serangan Island is less than 20 minutes’ drive away with its turtle sanctuary- check out what we thought of it here.
We have found living in Sanur on a budget very doable- check out what we spend in >> one month in Bali here <<
Where to stay in Bali, Sanur: Our Top 3 Picks
We’ve visited plenty of hotels in Sanur for day trips or when their markets are on- we stay in apartments in a fairly local area around 5 minutes from the beach but there are countless hotels and guesthouses right on the beach.
Segara Village Hotel is a beachfront resort a stone’s throw from its Byrdhouse Beach Club. Yoga sessions, cooking classes, cultural learning and romantic dinners are just some of the activities on offer at Segara. Accommodation is high-end, with several swimming pools and a kids’ play area within the grounds. To see current rates and to book click here.
Artotel Sanur Bali is an extremely fashionable and hip hotel that is newly opened in Sanur. We’ve spent plenty of time in the Artotel Beach club and the food and service is excellent; the bamboo structure is also spectacular. Enjoy the luxurious surroundings, art-filled hotel and rooftop swimming pool. To see current rates and to book click here.
The Oasis Lagoon Sanur is an opulent and exotic hotel featuring luxurious rooms, an alfresco restaurant and a spa. It is located along the popular shopping road near the beach and has extraordinary Cabana rooms with private pools exclusively for honeymooners. To see current rates and to book click here.
If you love the look of Bali but aren’t sure where to go, check out this 6 day Bali itinerary with plenty of island inspiration! We love the south of the island as it is rich in beautiful nature, full of attractions and a great base from which to explore the rest of Bali and other nearby islands. Do check out other nearby islands such as Lombok- see this guide on what to do in Kuta, Lombok for 3 days!
We hope you found our guide to the best area to stay in Bali helpful; please share this article with anyone considering a Bali holiday!