Planning your first trip to Bali? Congratulations! This Indonesian paradise offers a blend of stunning landscapes, vibrant culture, and warm hospitality. However, where to stay in Bali for the first time?
In this article, we will explore five amazing Bali destinations for first-time visitors. So, if you are ready to embark on your adventure and discover the best places to stay in Bali, let us be your trusted guide. Get ready to immerse yourself in its captivating beauty, rich culture, and warm hospitality as you find the ideal accommodation for your first-time visit to this magical island.
The definitive surfing paradise and nightlife hotspot on the Island of the Gods. The village that never sleeps and the best base if you want to go wild on a budget.
A more upscale and sophisticated counterpart to Kuta, which is renowned for its stylish beach clubs, high-end boutiques, and fine dining restaurants.
The cultural heart of Bali attracts visitors through its lush rice terraces and wellness activities, from yoga studios to holistic healing retreats. It's also home to the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary.
Known for its luxurious resorts and white sandy beaches, this is a popular destination for honeymooners and families. The town hosts the Nusa Dua Fiesta annually, a cultural celebration that showcases traditional Balinese music, dance, and art.
Once a simple fishing village, Jimbaran is now famous for its seafood restaurants lining the beach, known as the “Jimbaran seafood cafes”. The area also offers luxury resorts and beautiful sunset views.
1. Kuta: A Vibrant Beach Haven
Where to stay in Bali for the first time? Kuta, Bali, is an absolute haven for beach lovers! Its picturesque coastline boasts some of the most renowned beaches in the world, like the iconic Kuta Beach and Legian Beach.
These stunning sandy shores offer a perfect setting for sunbathing, swimming, and, of course, surfing. Moreover, they are just a short distance from the DPS airport, a mere 5 kilometres away. So, when you step off the plane, you can quickly find yourself immersed in the beauty of Bali's finest coastal treasures.
Now, let's talk about shopping! Known locally as "Pasar Seni Desa Adat Kuta", the Kuta Art Market is a popular tourist spot. Picture this: rows upon rows of shops, six major shophouses, and a large structure filled with a delightful variety of booths. It's a shopper's paradise!
Just 15 minutes from Kuta Beach, you will discover abundant high-quality Balinese art and handicrafts. The best part? Everything is priced pocket-friendly, so you can indulge in your shopping spree without breaking the bank, from beer holders and magnets to faux leather shoes.
Furthermore, people adore the vibrant nightlife in Kuta! It's a place where the fun never ends, and the energy is infectious. There are several famous spots that visitors simply can't get enough of.
One of the must-visit places is Sky Garden, a multi-level nightclub that guarantees an unforgettable party experience. You can dance the night away to your favourite beats with different music genres on each floor.
Head to the Hard Rock Cafe Bali if you're into live music. This iconic venue offers fantastic live performances by talented bands and artists. Enjoy great music while sipping your favourite cocktails and indulging in delicious American-style cuisine.
- Ammaya Resort Kuta (€170-250/night)
Note: All costs are calculated based on a two-adult stay. Room prices are subject to change.
2. Seminyak: A Stylish Retreat
Just 30 minutes drive from Bali Airport, Seminyak stands out as a sophisticated destination and the best place to stay in Bali for first-time travellers.
As you wander through Seminyak, be sure to visit the iconic Potato Head Beach Club. This world-renowned establishment offers stunning ocean views and serves as a cultural hub with its live music performances and a range of delectable dining options. Remember to snap some envy-inducing photos of its iconic beachfront infinity pool!
Seminyak's fashionable beach clubs make it a wonderful getaway. Photo by Ern Gan on Unsplash
If you are a shopaholic, you'll be thrilled to explore Seminyak's bustling shopping scene! Head to Seminyak Square, a popular shopping complex, where you'll find fashion boutiques, art galleries, and quirky shops offering unique souvenirs. For high-end fashion, go to Jalan Raya Seminyak, a vibrant street lined with upscale boutiques and designer stores.
To unwind and pamper yourself, treat your senses to a rejuvenating spa experience at one of Seminyak's luxury wellness retreats. The W Retreat & Spa Bali offers an array of blissful treatments, from soothing massages to invigorating facials, all set against the backdrop of lush tropical gardens. Alternatively, immerse yourself in the healing powers of traditional Balinese therapies at the award-winning Amo Spa.
- Kayumas Seminyak Resort (€140/night)
- Kanvaz Village Resort Seminyak (€150/night)
- Potato Head Suites & Studios (€240-300/night)
H2. 3. Ubud: The Cultural Heart of Bali
Among the best places to stay in Bali for visitors, Ubud is a popular destination, with an estimated 3 million visitors in 2018. Unlike the bustling beachside areas of Kuta and Seminyak, it provides a tranquil escape immersed in the island's rich traditions and natural beauty.
The rice paddies of Ubud offer an idyllic escape. Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash
The iconic Tegalalang Rice Terrace is a must-visit spot in Indonesia, where you can marvel at the stunning green fields cascading down the hillsides. Don't miss the adorable swing adorned with an "I LOVE BALI" sign at the entrance. It may not be too challenging, but its cute design is hard to resist. Remember to have some cash as local children guard the swing.
Moreover, the town's cultural attractions are a big draw for travellers. The Puri Saren Agung palace, for example, is a beautiful royal palace that dates back to the 1800s and has been the residence of the royal family of Ubud for generations. The nightly Balinese dance performances, accompanied by live music, will transport you to another world with its magical atmosphere.
The Ubud Monkey Forest is another popular attraction and home to over 700 long-tailed macaque monkeys. The forest was initially a source of wood and other resources. In the 14th century, it became a sacred site for the local Hindu community.
Last but not least, the town is widely known as a centre for healing and wellness. Its name also comes from the Balinese word "Ubad", which means medicine.
There is a range of holistic treatments and practices, including traditional Balinese massage, yoga, meditation, and herbal medicine. Many of the town's spa and wellness centres offer customised treatments that use local ingredients like coconut oil, tamarind, and turmeric to promote healing and relaxation.
- Bliss Ubud Spa Resort (€80-230/night)
- SereS Springs Resort & Spa (€140-280/night)
- Ayuterra Resort (€230-450/night)
- COMO Uma Ubud (€400-850/night)
- Kuwarasan A Pramana Experience (€1,200/night)
- Komaneka at Bisma Ubud (€1,100-1,600/night)
4. Nusa Dua: Tranquility and Luxury
Nusa Dua is a high-end resort area that was developed in the 1970s with the aim of attracting luxury tourists to Bali. Today, it's home to many of the island's most prestigious resorts, including St. Regis, Conrad, and The Mulia, which offer a range of world-class facilities as one of the best places to stay in Bali for first-time travellers and families.
Nusa Dua offers a serene escape where tranquillity meets opulence. Photo by Spenser Sembrat on Unsplash
One of the most unique experiences you can have in Nusa Dua is a visit to the Geger Temple, which is located on a hill overlooking Geger Beach. The temple complex is built in the style of a pura (a Balinese Hindu temple), with multiple courtyards, shrines, and pavilions. The roofs are made of thatch, and the walls are adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures.
Visitors to Geger Temple are expected to dress modestly and respectfully, covering their shoulders and knees. Sarongs and sashes are available for rent at the entrance to the temple for those who need them.
Moreover, Nusa Dua's culinary scene is a feast for the senses, offering a sensational range of flavours and dining experiences. One of the standout dishes in Nusa Dua is Babi Guling. It’s a mouth-watering roast suckling pig that's marinated in a rich blend of fragrant spices and roasted over an open flame.
For the ultimate Babi Guling experience, head to Warung Babi Guling Pak Dobil, a renowned restaurant that's been serving this delectable dish for over two decades. And if you're looking to try another Balinese speciality, Sate Lilit is a must-try. This grilled minced fish on a skewer is bursting with flavour and can be savoured at Arwana, a beachfront restaurant located in The Laguna, a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa.
Finally, Nusa Dua is a great place to experience some of Bali's most important cultural celebrations, such as Nyepi Day (the Balinese New Year) and Galungan (a Hindu festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil). During these times, the locals dress in traditional attire and participate in colourful parades and ceremonies.
- Melia Bali (€175-680/night)
- Bali Tropic Resort & Spa (€200-270/night)
- Grand Hyatt Bali (€200-360/night)
- Amarterra Villas Bali Nusa Dua (€450-1,000/night)
- The St. Regis Bali Resort (€700-2,000/night)
- The Ritz-Carlton Bali (€400-6,000/night)
H2. 5. Jimbaran: Serene Beachfront Bliss
When it comes to choosing where to stay in Bali for the first time, Jimbaran stands out as an excellent choice. Situated on the island's southwestern coast, this charming fishing village offers a delightful blend of natural beauty, serene beaches, and delectable seafood.
If you enjoy seafood and want to get a feel for authentic Balinese culture, then a trip to the Jimbaran fish market is necessary. Located near the beach in the northern part of the village and is open daily from early morning until midday. You can watch fishermen bring in their catch of the day, including fish, crabs, prawns, and other seafood, displayed on ice for easy selection.
To ensure the best price, please negotiate with vendors who may quote higher prices to tourists. A local guide can also help you navigate the market and secure the best deals.
The availability of beachfront resorts and private villas is the main reason you should stay here. These accommodations provide stunning views of the ocean to experience the soothing sound of the waves right at their doorstep. Imagine waking up to the sight of turquoise waters and golden sandy beaches, creating a picturesque setting for a memorable stay.
Jimbaran is a blissful haven where visitors can unwind and bask in the beauty of the sunsets. Photo by Mayur on Unsplash
Having a seafood BBQ on the beach is one of the best things you can do here. Local restaurants offer a once-in-a-lifetime eating experience by setting up tables and grills on the sand as the sun sets.
Nothing is better than relaxing the sea wind and enjoying a delicious seafood meal made with freshly caught seafood. This promises a perfect date for any couple as a secret Valentine's gift.
Even better, Jimbaran is conveniently located near Bali's main airport, Ngurah Rai International Airport. It is ideally situated for a quick break or as a stopover en route to other regions of Bali, as the airport is only a 15-minute drive away.
- Le Yanandra Bali Resort (€100-480/night)
- La Joya Biu Biu Resort (€160-250/night)
- Vivara Bali Private Pool Villas & Spa Retreat (€200-400/night)
H2. Final Word
In conclusion, if you are wondering where to stay in Bali for the first time, you're in for a treat! Bali offers many accommodation options that cater to every type of traveller. From vibrant beachside towns to serene inland villages, this Indonesian paradise has something for everyone.
For those seeking a lively atmosphere, the southern coastal areas like Kuta, Seminyak, and Legian are perfect choices. Or, if you prefer a more tranquil setting, Ubud is an ideal retreat nestled amidst lush rice terraces and tropical forests.
The north and east coasts are worth exploring Bali's natural beauty. No matter where to stay in Bali for the first time, the island's warm hospitality and friendly locals will make you feel welcome.
So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in Bali. Embark on this journey with an open mind, and you will create cherished memories that will last a lifetime.