Bali is undoubtedly one of the world’s most beautiful holiday destinations. This Indonesian island is famous for its bustling nightclubs, spectacular views of the mountains and volcanoes, rich artistic culture and, of course, the undeniably idyllic tropical beaches. Its tropical climate, ancient and mystical temples, and beautiful beaches draw travelers from around the globe. The island is situated close to the equator line which means it has warm temperature all year round. The dry season is from April to September while the monsoon season is from October to March.

RelatedBali Weather and the Best Time to Travel to the Island

Travelers ought to choose their destination carefully to ensure that they get the most out of their Balinese vacation. Some of the visitors of this paradisiac island seek utmost relaxation in resorts; some go to Bali for spiritual cleansing and yoga retreats. Some seek adventure, while others hope to satisfy their taste buds from the delectable dishes served at the high-end restaurants, or have a good time in the vibrant beach clubs. Bali’s different areas are designed to meet all of these needs. Hence, when planning to go to Bali, travelers and holidaymakers need to take into account their interests, budget and whether socializing or relaxing is their priority. This guide will help travelers choose the best part of Bali and ensure that they get what they are looking for in their holiday on this paradise island.

  1. Seminyak

Surfboards on Seminyak Beach, Bali

Tranquil beaches, luxurious resorts, and elegant beach clubs make Seminyak a sought after destination. Over the past ten years, it has undergone extensive development in resorts and tourist attractions. Seminyak offers a variety of luxurious accommodation – from private serviced luxury villas for rent to elegant, upscale beach resorts and luxury hotels. It is also famous for its relaxing spas and high-end shopping boutiques boasting the world’s most exclusive brands.

Related: Best Areas to Find a Private Luxury Villa to Rent in Bali

Seminyak is located on the west coast of Bali, north of Kuta and Legian. Because of its location, guests can enjoy scenic sunset views from beachfront restaurants and clubs. The beach itself is a 3-kilometer expanse of white sand, with a popular surf break and stunning views of the Indian Ocean. Travel from the Ngurah Rai International Airport to Seminyak takes about 30 minutes in normal traffic.  

A holiday in Seminyak will suit travelers who are fairly affluent and who prefer tranquil beaches and quieter restaurants and bars. There is plenty of opportunity for socializing in an elegant and understated way in this part of Bali. The secluded villas and five-star resorts provide a perfectly beautiful venue for a romantic island wedding or honeymoon getaway.

  1. Ubud

Villa Hartland in Ubud

Known to many as the vibrant arts and culture center of Bali, Ubud offers travelers a slice of authentic Balinese life. Ubud has something to offer for everyone – from backpackers exploring the world, to spiritual seekers immersed in yoga retreats, to people who simply enjoy spending time in secluded luxury resorts.

Ubud is located in the central highlands of Bali and is known for its mix of historical attractions, stunning volcanic plateaus, artists’ villages, traditional rice terraces and excellent wellness retreats. There are many artist galleries and workshops to visit and some even offer visitors the opportunity to try out traditional methods and create their own local craft. There are a number of high-end but more relaxed cafes and restaurants which provide elevated views of the lush valleys and the breathtaking traditional rice terraces. Ubud Village is 38 kilometers from the international airport, or about an hour drive because of its terrain.  

Travelers who are interested in seeing and experiencing a unique and beautiful culture will not be disappointed with Ubud. Intrepid travelers who enjoy hiking and exploring nature will likewise love this place. While Ubud does not offer the tropical beaches that spring to mind when a holiday in Bali is mentioned but is nevertheless a captivating destination in other aspects.

RelatedThings to Do in Ubud, Bali – Retreat, Nature & Culture

  1. Kuta Beach

Kuta Beach, Bali

Nestled along the beautiful coastline of the Bali isthmus, Kuta is without a doubt the island’s party capital. Travelers here can expect a lively social whirlwind in the many beach clubs, bars, and restaurants that Kuta Beach is famous for. There is an accommodation to suit any budget, particularly small to mid-range travelers who don’t mind a lot of noises and are on holiday to mix and mingle.

There’s a little more to Kuta Beach than just the nightlife, though. It hosts the biggest waterpark in Southeast Asia, some of the world’s popular surfing destinations, and the quintessential tropical beaches. Kuta is on the western side of the island and is conveniently situated just 10 minutes by car from Ngurah Rai International Airport. Other popular beaches such as Seminyak and Kuta can be reached in just a few minutes.

Kuta Beach embodies the party lifestyle of people who enjoy the social whirlwind, surfing and a bustling, stylish atmosphere. It is definitely a popular destination for young travelers and adventure-seekers, in their twenties and early thirties.

  1. Legian

Legian’s Beach, Bali

Nestled between Seminyak and Kuta Beach, Legian offers elements of both places. There is an eclectic mix of bars, restaurants and luxury resorts dotting the beachfront. There is a wide range of accommodation options to suit any budget, and all conveniences are close by. Legian plays host to numerous spas, art galleries, and fashion boutiques. Guests can enjoy bars and nightclubs in this area or if looking for livelier and more vibrant bars, travelers can take a short taxi ride to the neighboring Kuta Beach.

The beach at Legian is a postcard picture-perfect Bali beach defined by the white sand fringed with palm trees and dotted with colorful beach umbrellas and innumerable vendors of various goods. Visitors in Legian can rent surfboards and take surf lessons; enjoy a beach massage or listen to informal music jamming on Saturday and Sunday evenings. The beach has a laid-back and friendly atmosphere and is a 20-minute drive from the Ngurah Rai International Airport.

Travelers who enjoy the ambiance of bars, restaurants and fantastic nightlife but who want a less frenetic atmosphere and avoid the often-crowded beaches of Kuta prefer to be in Legian. It also makes for a good base to explore Kuta and Seminyak by day and return in the evening to a slightly more peaceful environment.

  1. Jimbaran

Jimbaran Beach

This traditional Indonesian fishing village is located on the seaside just south of Kuta Beach. In recent years, it has become a popular high-end holiday destination with the sprouting of many new five-star beachfront resorts. It has quickly become one of the most sought after holiday destinations for the world’s rich and famous people.

A cluster of fine seafood restaurants offering beachfront dining is just one of the major attractions of Jimbaran Bay. The sunsets on this coast are spectacular, and a number of the clifftop resorts capitalize on this by offering evening cocktails with an ocean view. Uluwatu Temple, one of the key directional temples of Bali, is perched on the nearby cliff and is a captivating place to explore the history and enjoy the beautiful sunset at the same time. The beach itself is peaceful and idyllic with soft white sand and safe waters for swimming. Jimbaran is accessible via a 15-minute drive from the international airport.

Jimbaran is often called the “millionaire’s row” and is popular among tourists with deep pockets whose personal preferences include exquisite seafood dining, relaxed hospitality, and beautiful ocean views. It is also a very desirable spot for honeymooners who want to have a memorable beginning to their married life.

  1. Nusa Dua

Nusa Dua Beach, Bali

On the beautiful Bukit Peninsula of Southern Bali, Nusa Dua features beaches with glorious golden sand and warm, deep water for swimming. The Nusa Dua tourist enclave is known for its exclusive five-star resorts that offer every convenience within reach. The resort community is gated and secured by a 24-hour tourist police force tasked to protect and keep the guests safe.  

Nusa Dua features a world-class golf course in Bali, a convention center and an elegant, refined bar and restaurant scene. The Pasifika Museum is somewhat underrated by tourist guides even if it offers a fascinating historical insight of the place. A glass-bottomed boat trip to Serangan Island (Turtle Island) can be booked on the beach of Nusa Dua. It is 40 kilometers from Denpasar and can be reached via a 30-minute drive from the international airport.

For people who seek direct access to the beach, a safe and secure holiday resort, and are willing to pay the premium for it, Nusa Dua is a good destination decision. At Nusa Dua, it is possible to enjoy a full and satisfying holiday without having to leave the grounds of the resort enclave.

  1. Sanur

Beautiful Sanur Beach on Bali

One of the traditional tourist destinations in Bali, Sanur is more focused on providing guests with utmost relaxation and tranquility. The beach is generally quiet and uncrowded. Visitors who are up early enjoy the stunning sunrise. Visitors have a good choice of activity from a number of luxurious day spas, fashion boutiques and local art and craft galleries in the area.

The waters are fairly calm, and kayaks or banana boats are available for hire on the beach. Most of Bali’s best-known dive operators are based in Sanur and travelers can book a diving excursion to any of the island’s stunning underwater wonderlands. Sanur is a 20-minute taxi ride from the Ngurah Rai International Airport.

Sanur is an ideal vacation spot for families because of its affordable prices, safe swimming beaches and the lack of large and crowded beach bars and loud parties. It is also popular among older couples seeking a peaceful tropical getaway.

  1. Tanjung Benoa

Beach at Tanjung Benoa, Bali

The cliff-lined beach of Tanjung Benoa is a striking holiday destination for the adventurous travelers. Visitors who love the thrill of water sports will definitely love Tanjung Benoa as it offers jet skiing, parasailing, fly fishing, sea kayaking, and many other exciting activities that can be booked through beachfront vendors. The surf breaks on Bali’s southern peninsula are world famous among the experienced and seasoned surfers.

There is a wide range of accommodation options available – from opulent boutique resorts to backpacker hostels offering just a bed and a fan. Tanjung Benoa is located on the Bukit Peninsula, about 15 kilometers from the international airport and neighbors the Nusa Dua resort cluster.

Active vacationers for whom nightlife is not a priority find Tanjung Benoa to be an ideal destination. It feels remote and secluded but is conveniently close to the airport and the main tourist attractions of Bali.

Related: Top 10 Water Activities to Do in Bali

  1. Candidasa

Beautiful lotus lagoon in Candidasa, Bali

Situated in the quiet East Bali, Candidasa offers travelers a tranquil coastal escape and the chance to explore Bali’s rich cultural history. The beaches of Candidasa are mainly of black sand that tend to disappear at high tide. This makes for an excellent spot for snorkeling and diving. Many beach operators offer guided water tours from the beach or Candidasa town. Many small hotels, best suited to medium or wealthier budgets, dot the hillsides.

For most travelers to Candidasa, the highlights of a visit include the traditional villages and ancient temples. Just four kilometers inland, travelers will find the Tenganan Bali Aga, one of the oldest and best preserved traditional villages on the island. One of Bali’s key directional temples, the Goa Lawah Temple, and Bat Cave is conveniently accessible just 10 kilometers west of the town. Candidasa is in one of the remotest parts of the island’s east and is a 90-minute drive by car from the Ngurah Rai International Airport.

Candidasa is perfect for people who want to escape the crowds of the south of Bali and enjoy the spiritual and historical aspects of Balinese life. It is a truly unique part of the world, surprisingly unchanged and uninfluenced by Westernization or the highly commercialized tourist industry.

  1. Denpasar

Garden in center of Denpasar, Bali

Travelers who want a taste of modern life in the “real Bali” often choose the capital city of Denpasar. The city is the center of Balinese industry and is also the gateway to the tropical tourist areas. Within Denpasar itself, tourists can visit interesting history museums, a myriad of shops, malls and restaurants and intricately-designed authentic Balinese temples. The fusion between ancient and modern does a project and leave a fascinating effect.

Home of the local government, postal services and all major banks, Denpasar is a convenient place to stay. It’s a good base for tourists to branch out and explore Ubud in an hour’s drive, Seminyak in 30 minutes and many other tourist attractions in Bali. Public transport, taxis, and car rental companies are available close to the airport or in the city center. It is noteworthy that while Ngurah Rai International Airport is often called Denpasar Airport, it is actually 13 kilometers away and is slightly closer to Kuta Beach than to Denpasar itself.

Budget travelers and backpackers find Denpasar to be an ideal holiday retreat because the central location is great for exploring the resort areas by day while saving on accommodation expense and enjoying the convenience of city living. It is also an excellent destination for people who have a particular interest in the cultural and religious history of Indonesia.

Image sources: