Top 10 Best Areas to Stay in South & Central Bali

Finding the perfect place for your stay in Bali is not that hard of a task to achieve. It does take some time to explore the many places that are available and see whether the prices and accommodations are within your budget and criteria. Most tourist choose to stay in South or Central Bali mainly for the location for easy access to many of the attractions in Bali. Choosing a place to stay in the South or Central Bali would depend on whether you are travelling alone, with a partner or with your family. Here are the top ten areas to stay in the south and central of Bali.

Kuta – for the party goers

Kuta is the central party spot in Bali. Since it’s considered the most developed area in Bali, places to stay are everywhere. The Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel is quite a popular place to stay in Kuta, despite its price, which is justified as it’s a 5-star hotel. There’s also the Bali Bungalo Hotel, which is highly recommended by frequent visitors of this area. Suji Bungalow and Gemini Star Hotel are affordable places to stay for low-budget tourists.

Holiday Inn at Kuta, Bali

Holiday Inn at Kuta, Bali

Legian – for family holidays

Legian is very popular among families that visit Bali. The place is quiet and filled with shops and places to eat. Legian is near Seminyak and Kuta as well, merely a walking-distance to these places. Since it is the perfect place for families, you can expect a lot of hotels that accommodate families of all sizes. Padma Resort Bali, Legian Beach Hotel and Hotel Kumala Pantai are the finest family hotels in Legian with facilities, such as adults and children pools, game rooms, shops and restaurants.

Tuban – for group stay

Tourists distinguish Tuban from the other places in Bali for its Waterbom Park (one of the largest water theme parks in Asia) and Discovery Shopping Mall. It is also known as a place that has lesser expensive mid-range hotels. If you are travelling in a big group then the perfect choices of residence would be the Holiday Inn Resort Baruna Bali and Patra Jasa Bali Resort & Villas, which are located near the airport and the beach in Tuban.

W Hotel at Seminyak, Bali

W Hotel at Seminyak, Bali

Seminyak – luxury resorts and villas

Seminyak is perfect for those, who are prepared to spend whatever it takes just to enjoy themselves and make their visit to Seminyak memorable. In other words, you get what you paid for in Seminyak. There are great hotels and villas, which provide discounts or special deals during off-season when there are not that many tourists. The famous places to stay in Seminyak are W Retreat & Spa Bali, 3V Kerobokan Villa, The Oberoi Hotel Bali and Semara Resort & Spa Seminyak. Sometimes renting for long term is cheaper than paying by the. The North Seminyak Home is one of the popular places for long term rental in Seminyak.

Sanur – for midrange budgets

Sanur is well-known for its beaches. Due to the heavy flow of tourists in Sanur, there are plenty of places to stay during your visit. Some of luxurious hotels with kids club, pools, suites and interconnecting rooms are Sanur Paradise Plaza Suites and Peneeda View Beach Hotel. If you are looking something a little more moderate, there are the Besakih Beach Hotel and Griya Santrian Resort. While Prima Cottage is known as one of the finest budget hotels in Sanur.

Sanur Paradise Plaza, Bali

Sanur Paradise Plaza, Bali

Nusa Dua – perfect stay for Honeymoon

Many of Bali’s big resorts are located in Nusa Dua, which is a place in the South of Bali. Like the beaches in Nusa Dua, hotels are aplenty in this area especially all-inclusive places to stay. Among the popular hotels with rooms of all sizes, swimming pools and restaurants in Nusa Dua are the Grand Nikko Bali, The Laguna Resort & Spa and Ayodya Resort Bali. If you are looking for something more moderate than these hotels, then there is the Febris Hotel And Spa in Nusa Dua. Overbooked is something that is very common in Bali, so in case this happens you can always go to Suji Bungalow, Hotel Santika or Bali Rani Hotel.

Jimbaran – good location and seafood

Jimbaran is an area surrounded by the beach and seaside resorts. It also has the nicest seafood restaurants by the beach side. One of the popular hotels in Jimbaran is Hotel Puri Bambu, which is a 3-star hotel near the beach. Another nice place to stay is the Udayana Kingfisher Eco Lodge, which has the most amazing views you will ever see in Jimbaran. Flower Bud Bungalows are also popular in Jimbaran with its unique design.

Ayodya Resort at Nusa Dua, Bali

Ayodya Resort at Nusa Dua, Bali

Canggu – for private holidays and surfers

Canggu is an area in Bali with black sandy beaches. It is popularly known for its surfing activities. The Bali Luxury Private Villa is quite popular in Canggu. It is a stylish villa that offers all sorts of facilities for couples and families. Most of the places to stay in Canggu are private luxury villas like Hotel Tugu Bali, which can be expensive for some visitors. For more affordable places to stay, there are Jonsen Homestay and Puri Rama Homestay. There are also specific places to stay for surfers, which are The Chillhouse and the Andy Surf Villa.

Denpasar – center of everything

Denpasar is recognised as the real Bali among the tourists there, as it is the capital of Bali. It is filled with nice places to stay, including the Taman Suci Hotel, which is an affordable 45-room hotel. Popular places to stay in Denpasar are the Inna Bali and the Nakula Familiar Inn, which are first class hotels in their own rights. There are also The Grand Santhi Hotel and the Puri Saron Denpasar Hotel, which are considered affordable places to stay by international standards.

UMA by COMO at Ubud, Bali

UMA by COMO at Ubud, Bali

Ubud – for art and culture lovers

Ubud has plenty of places that tourists will enjoy staying at. There’s the Como Shambhala Estate, which is a health retreat deep in the rainforest. There’s the Hanging Gardens Ubud, which has a spectacular view and private pool villas. The Purist Villas & Spa is another popular place to stay in Ubud, as it’s a stylish boutique villa complete with meal and spa facilities. A popular boutique hotel is Uma by COMO, which is located on the hillside in Ubud.

Bali is an island, which is not that big. Still, to make choices as tourists in Bali can be quite overwhelming. That is why it is easier to research and review before making a decision on what to do, when to go and where to stay in Bali. Mostly you can book your choice of place to stay in Bali online through the many agents online or even directly through the hotels, resorts or accommodations’ websites. Choosing an area to stay in Bali is a highly personal one, therefore, go for one that would suit you best and you will be sure to have an enjoyable stay in Bali.

* all hotel links here are affiliate links, at no extra charge to you!

Photo credits from top: eGuide Travel, Simon_sees, Marufish, St and Rob Bertholf

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Ubud, Bali : Arts, Rice Terraces, Spa, Yoga

Ubud, one of the favourite town in Bali, being centrally located and also metaphorically as a cultural centre of the island. Many people who visit Bali, comes first to experience Ubud, which had been well known for arts, culture, people and food. There are also beautiful architectures to behold, many attractions to see and things to do.

Though Ubud may be said by some that it is now fashioned towards tourist business, but there are still many local livelihood that permeates the place. It is made of 14 villages that is run by their very own banjar (committee). In Ubud you can still find terraced fields along the rivers and away from the town centre there is still quiet village life going on as usual.

Ubud, Central Bali Map

Ubud, Central Bali Map

Where is it

It is located at the south of Central Bali, about an hour from Bali’s Airport in Denpasar.

Why go

Imagine a town bursting with activities, energies, arts and culture while surrounded by rolling rice paddies. If you head out to south or southeast of the town your breath will be taken away by the greenness of it all. While at the northeast of this town in Tegalalang, you will find the classic rice terraces of Asia that everybody so admire. Imagine picturesque backdrop along the way as you explore Bali whether in a car or on a bike flanking by rice fields as far as the eye can see.

Rice fields terraces, Tegalalang, Ubud, Bali

Rice fields terraces, Tegalalang, Ubud, Bali

As for the other side of town, north of Kintamani area and opposite of Campuhaun, Sanggingan and Kedewatan areas, you also get landscapes such as gorges, limestones and lush, dramatic valleys. Here is one of the places where it is best explored by a motorbike.

There are also key historical sites like attractions such as Goa Gajah, Gunung Kawi, Tirta Empul and Pura Kehen. A local guide would be nice to help understand and appreciate the cultural and spiritual significance of all these sites besides marveling at all the beauty.

Pasar (Market), Ubud, Bali

Pasar (Market), Tegalalang, Ubud, Bali

When is the best time to go

It is hard to say when is the best time to go to Bali as you would be hard-press to choose between good weather of dry season which is peak season or less tourists during low season which would be wet season. Nevertheless, it would be your choice cause Bali is actually good to visit all year round. The dry season is April to October while the wet season is November to March but normally only rain in the afternoon.

If it is your thing, come here for Ubud Writer’s Festival in October. Or other Bali Indonesian festivals as Ubud is the center of it like Galungan and Nyepi.

Balinese Hindhu festival, Ubud, Bali

Balinese Hindhu festival, Tegalalang, Ubud, Bali

What to see

Yoga Hall, Ubud, Bali

Yoga Hall, Ubud, Bali

Neka Art Museum for traditional paintings

Agung Rai Museum of Art for the many cultural activities, and home to many well-known international Balinese artists. There is also a kafe (cafe) with tea and coffee here.

Museum Rudana boasting 400 paintings with a wide range on both traditional and contemporary Balinese styles.

Museum Puri Lukisan with impressive carvings and beautiful garden

Seniwati Gallery of Art by Women, a gallery featuring arts only by women

What to do

Watch traditional dances such as Legong and Barong dance at the south of Ubud on main road to Sanur, which is about a story of never ending battle between good and evil or Kecak dance which is an impressive fire dance.

Legong and Barong Traditional Dances, Ubud, Bali

Legong and Barong Traditional Dances, Ubud, Bali

Walk the Ubud market at Jalan Raya Ubud, located just the corner of Jalan Monkey Forest. This two story building are filled with stalls selling all sorts of things like wood carvings, batik, sarongs, souvenirs and such. Shopping tips here is to go upstairs where the price are often lower but you would need to hone your haggling still here for a good bargain.

Take up a cooking class here to learn Balinese cuisine which is well known for delicious. Famous courses are such as Payuk Bali Home Cooking Class or Paon Bali Cooking Class.

Or you can go for relaxation with either spa, massage or yoga, your take as all are well available here in Ubud.

Spa at Purist Villas, Ubud, Bali

Spa at Purist Villas, Ubud, Bali

Take a motorbike ride out and explore the north of Kintamani area for the gorges, limestones and lush, dramatic valleys. Head out west over Campuhan Bridge and all the way via Jalan Raya Sanggingan to Kedewatan. You will not be short of an impressive ride through mesmerising landscapes.

What and where to eat

Few famous must eat places in Bali that are well recommended by fellow travelers are Naughty Nuri for its BBQ pork, Sari Organik for fresh off the farm food and Bebek Bengil for the crispy duck. For cheaper and budget options, you will be spoilt for choice for various local warung (stalls) around.

Crispy Duck at Bebek Bengil, Ubud, Bali

Crispy Duck at Bebek Bengil, Ubud, Bali

Where to stay

Ubud has a big selection of choices from luxury to specialty to budget accommodations to choose from. Many travellers would choose to stay in the outer area from town centre for its beautiful view of the famous rice terraces. That said living on the outer area means it is harder to get around so you would need to get a transport of sorts. For budget places to stay, you can go to Jalan Monkey Forest or Hanoman or north of Raya Ubud.

-> Find the best hotel deals in Ubud *

How to get there

First fly into Denpasar, Bali airport, from either internationally or domestic flights from Jakarta, Surabaya and other major airports in Indonesia. There are many flights whether international or domestic that flies to Denpasar as it is a really popular tourist location.

From Denpasar airport in Bali, there are few ways to get from Denpasar to Ubud:
By taxi
The easiest way which will cost about 200,000 Rp. Some taxis are metred while some would like to set a price before leaving, just make sure you check before going off. Official Denpasar airport taxi will cost 250,000 Rp

By Bus
Cheaper option from Denpasar to Ubud, you can catch one of the buses which runs four times a day. The bus will take you to Perama terminal which is unfortunately not in the center of Ubud, where you need to get another bus to get to town center.

Kids at a temple, Ubud, Bali

Kids at a temple, Ubud, Bali

How to get around

You can cover central Ubud by foot itself but if you want to venture further a transport of sorts will be needed. Be careful when walking around as there are many vehicles around and sidewalks are not necessarily available.

Rent bicycle (bike) at Ubud, Bali

Rent bicycle at Ubud, Bali

Ubud can be quite large if stretch out the the quieter areas and all the beautiful serene surroundings. Many tourist find it fun to rent a motorbike and do self exploration but be careful when driving especially in hectic town center. A motorbike rental will set you back about 50,000 Rp a day.

You can also go around by metered taxi or rent a local car transport with driver for trips further afield. A short trip should not cost more than 30,000 Rp. Or you can rent an ojek (motorbike taxi) for half the price to closer destinations.

You can also rent a bicycle for nearer places that cannot be cover by foot for 20-30, 000 Rp a day cost. You can get a lot of choices for bicycle rental at Jalan Monkey Forest. Though be warned cycling here is not in best condition especially within the town but riding through the rice paddy fields is a wonderful experience though hilly.

Where to go nearby

Check out our Top 10 Must Visit Places in Bali for more places to go nearby Ubud!

For further escape, you can catch a boat out of Bali to Lombok or Gili Islands.

Travel Tips

As in matter of most famous tourist places, touts are everywhere. Beware of your surroundings, take care of your belongings and all else travel safety measures apply here. But most of all, come here with an open mind and heart and you will find that you can enjoy Ubud despite all the facades and touristic setups.

Farmer working at rice field, Ubud, Bali

Farmer working at rice field, Ubud, Bali

Photo credits from top: Burmesedays, Pandu Adnyana, VasenkaPhotography, Steve Davidson, Joanna Penn, Arian Zwegers, The Purist Villa, Naotake Murayama, Alexis Cozic, Made Yanuarta and Sean McGrath

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