Bali Accommodation

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Where to stay in Bali

Exploring Bali

The famed ‘Island of the Gods’, Bali, is the tropical holiday destination to beat all others for its spectacularly beautiful volcanic landscapes, shorelines with rugged cliffs and picture-perfect beaches, fascinatingly spiritual culture, long history, surfing heavens and endless accommodation options. This earthly paradise offers the traveller everything from beach huts to exclusive, private spa resorts. South Bali is the most-visited for Kuta Beach with its extravagant nightlife and fashionable Seminyak, although remote beachside fishing villages and traditional inland agricultural settlements can still be found.

The island is divided into Central, South, West, North and East Bali and the offshore Southeastern Islands famed for their dive sites. Kuta is surfer central, catering mainly for the lower end of the tourism market, with more upmarket Jimbaran to its south offering a sheltered beach and great seafood. Trendy, even more upmarket Seminyak, set near low-key Legian, has boutique and high-end spa resorts such as the Royal Kancana Villas and Spa and the Anantara Seminyak Resort and Spa. Getting away from it all in tiny, charming Padang Bai, set along a horseshoe-shaped bay, is as close as it gets to the real Bali experience.

Sights nearby

Bali is perhaps the world’s quintessential tropical island destination, with an endless choice of things to see, do and experience. Even exploring its major highlights would take far longer than the average stay, although must-sees include active Kintamani volcano, Amed with its black-sand beaches lined with traditional fishing communities and the wild, rugged and untamed Nusa Penida.

Bukit Peninsula
Jutting into the ocean at the southernmost tip of the island, the peninsula is known for its world-class surfing, beautiful beaches and its spectacular Uluwatu Temple clinging to the soaring cliffs above the surf breaks. The temple is a major pilgrimage destination and one of the island’s nine protective directional temples.

West Bali National Park
Rainforests, lowland forests, savannahs and dense mangrove swamps are all part of this protected area, set on the far northwestern tip of the island. It’s a haven for numerous endangered bird species as well as wild boars, leopards and other indigenous mammals. The uninhabited offshore island of Menjangan with its Puri Gili Kencana Temple and rich diversity of marine life is well worth a boat trip.

Ubud
Set in the foothills of Bali’s volcanic ranges, Ubud is a centre for traditional Balinese dance and arts and is regarded as Bali’s cultural hub. With its atmospheric, intricate traditional architecture dating back as far as the 8th century, the town and its surroundings are almost a visual assault on the senses, and seven small museums celebrate Balinese history and culture to the full.

Eating and drinking and shopping nearby

Bali is crammed with a huge choice of eateries and cafés serving everything from traditional Balinese cuisine to international dishes and American fast foods. Smaller local restaurants are the places for delicious culinary experiences, with seafood and roast suckling pig high on the list of ingredients. Don’t be afraid to eat from the streetside food carts lining the beaches in the evenings, as they offer authentic Balinese dishes and the chance to spice them yourself. Padang restaurants serve tasty Sumatran dishes using coconut meat and milk. Beachside bars and pubs are plentiful, serving light local beers, fruit-flavoured liqueurs, the 40 per cent proof arak spirit and rice wine. Balinese artworks, fabrics and carvings make exotic, highly decorative souvenirs of the tropical holiday of a lifetime.

Public transport

Getting around Bali is by bus, boat, traditional bemo minivan shuttle buses or by taxi. Touring will need either a degree of organisation as regards bus timetables, a friendly taxi-driver with a working meter or the comparatively inexpensive hire of a car with driver. Bus travel is more comfortable than you might expect, with several fleets of air-conditioned, modern vehicles offered by Perama bus company and covering the more popular resort towns and inland attractions.

Bali travel guides

Bali travel guides