If you landed in this post, I believe you have known what is Bali? Where is Bali? and any other brief description about the island. So I will skip the introduction about this lovely island and jump straight to my topic, the tourist destination area in Bali and which one are the best on my lists aka My “it” List.
Before that, for you who have been following my blog, this post is similar to “My Travel Tips to Bali Island, Indonesia” post which is a short version of the Best Travel Guide To Bali Ever! because I write all the travel tips in a single post. But this post has My “it” List that is not mentioned in that travel tips post.
If you are my new reader, you can continue reading this post or if you prefer reading a short and brief version of this Best Travel Guide To Bali Ever!, you can go to “My Travel Tips to Bali Island, Indonesia” post.
While for you who want to read the most detail and Best Travel Guide To Bali Ever! -plus My “it” List-, you can continue to read this one.
THE DESTINATION AREA IN BALI
FYI, I spent at least one night in these areas in Bali (unless stated otherwise)
Kuta is located about 20min drive from airport.
In my opinion, Kuta is like the center of everything. It is extremely a touristic area for sure. Some called it crazy, while some (me) called it awesome. When hearing Kuta, people immediately think that this is not the best place to stay or it’s too crazy. For me, this area has everything.
If you like quiet place, not many crazy ‘new’ bikers around, you can choose the southern part of Kuta along Segara beach. If you want to be near good beach for surfing, crazy party, then northern part is your best option along Kuta beach or Bakung Sari street or Benesari street.
If you are a backpacker and ready for all the actions, Poppies lane is your place 😉 My favorite place in this area when backpacking is Poppies Lane 2. There are many affordable guesthouses here and surrounded by a great nightlife, and cheap food. I can also walk to my favorite beach (Legian beach). One downside is that most people here respect foreigners more than local tourists.
Legian is located about 25min drive from airport. This area is calmer than Kuta. It’s next to each other so sometimes it’s hard to differentiate which one called Legian or Kuta. Thus, if you are confused, the area where lies Padma Street, Werkudara Street and Arjuna/Double Six street is Legian.
Legian is kind of in the middle of crazy Kuta and exclusive Seminyak. IMO, if I have enough budget, I will stay in Legian whilst in Bali. It’s quieter than Kuta, close to my fave Legian beach, many good restaurant but a bit pricy and I like the environment where the hotel/restaurant staffs respect local tourists too. It’s about 20-25min drive from airport.
Seminyak is located about 30-35min drive from airport. The area can be referred to as the exclusive area since there are many nice boutiques and nice restaurants. It is quiet (imo), good for family or couple. Everything looks expensive but there are many good restaurants serving nice foods there. You will need transport to go anywhere though.
Sanur is about 40min drive from airport, through the toll road.
I stayed in Sanur few times recently. Once I stayed near the Sindhu traditional market in Jalan Danau Tamblingan when taking my dive course. I see many divers stay in this area. Well there are many dive centers here. I also see many elderly tourists as well as expats.
There are beachfront cafes along Sindhu beach which is anice place to hangout. There is a big Hardy’s department store for your daily supply, reachable by taking angkot (public transport) for Rp10,000.
For me, it’s too quiet and far from the action.
Lovina is about 4 hours drive from airport. This area is the best place to stay if you want to go for snorkeling or diving in Menjangan island. I stayed in Jalan Mawar which is just 5min walk to the beach where lies many beachfront cafes. The beach itself is not really interesting. I saw many divers and some elderly tourists 🙂
Candidasa is about 2-2.5 hours from airport. I supposed to visit Candidasa with my friend as a stop for try-scuba lesson in Tulamben. But she cancelled last minute while I’d had my booking. So I spent for 3 nights alone here. The hotel is nice, but it was low season that in my opinion, Candidasa is too quiet for solo travel but perfect for couples. Yes, many honeymooners stayed in the hotel. I hardly see any solo traveler ><” I did really feel like being in the wrong zone.
Candidasa is also the right place to stay if you want to go for diving or snorkeling in Tulamben and Amed but want to be close enough to go to the airport or the area which has action.
You can reach this area by bus too (Perama shuttle bus)
Padang Bai is about 2-2.5 hours drive from airport. I don’t know why but I like this place. The weather is not too hot (even cold). The dive site is just in front of you. The wind can be really cold that you’ll need warm clothes, even in July. Cheap food is near the entrance harbor gate and so is a nice secluded beach, Bias Tugal beach. At night, you can see thousands of stars in the sky. The environment doesn’t make me scared to go out at night. You can cross to Gili islands too from here. I really enjoyed my stay there.
You can reach this area by bus too (Perama shuttle bus)
Amed is located about 3-4 hours drive from airport. I went here for a snorkeling with my family. At night, it was really dark and quiet. But the snorkeling site was amazing. In Jemeluk beach, you can just swim a few feet from the beach and find an amazingly clear water, corals, and marine life. I can’t imagine how there can be so many fishes. Just a few swim strokes from the beach! I had a wonderful time here and I hope I can go back again soon.
Ubud is located about 1-1.5 hours drive from airport. I haven’t had the chance to stay here but I did several trips here with my family or during office tour. This area is lovely. You can see paddy rice fields. Greens is everywhere. The area many cafes along the main road.
The thing I remember the area has affordable places to shop, those are Sukawati Market and Ubud Art Market. The price here is much more cheaper than in Kuta Art Market. Just try to bargain up to 70%!
Nusa Lembongan is located about 40min drive from airport to Sanur plus 40min fastboat ride. Yes, it is an island, off from Bali mainland.
Finally, I visited this island and keep coming back-and-forth. I love how laid back it is. Beautiful scenery from the beach. The surrounding is relaxing even no nightlife (if you know me, I like nightlife).
Anyway, I like spending my time in Mahagiri Resort private beach and Mushroom bay. If you visit this island, please keep in mind that the food, accommodation, and transportation are much more expensive than Bali. Plus do not expect that you will get the same food quality or hotel amenity or service as in Bali.
MY “it” LIST:
THE BEST – THE WORST – THE MOST
MY FAVE – MY BUCKET LIST
Now that you’ve got a picture of the area in Bali, let me share you which one (or more than one) are on my “It” list based on my experience.
THE BEST AREA TO EXPLORE IN BALI FOR FIRST TIMER: Ubud, Tanah Lot, Uluwatu.
These area are usually included in daily tour. You can also go to Nusa Lembongan or Nusa Penida to feel the real island life.
THE BEST AREA FOR FAMILY IN BALI: Seminyak, Sanur, Canggu, Nusa Lembongan.
These areas are far from crazy Kuta and have nice beach. You can easily find international or local food for your family and children.
THE WORST AREA FOR FAMILY IN BALI: Kuta, especially near the nightlife area (Bali Bomb Monument).
Why? Traffic is worst in this area and there are loud noise until 3am and drunk people in the street during clubs hours. Me, I am not sure I want my children to see all of these.
THE BEST & THE WORST AREA TO STAY IN BALI: …
this part is difficult to answer. I believe you have your own like-dislike. If you like quiet area, you can stay in Sanur, Nusa Lembongan, Candidasa, Amed, Lovina. If you are on budget/backpacker, you can stay in Poppies Lane 1 or Poppies Lane 2 in Kuta. If you like exclusive area, you can stay in Seminyak, Petitengget, Nusa Dua. If you like underwater (diving/snorkeling), you can stay in Tulamben, Amed, Candidasa (near Tulamben/Amed), Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida, and Lovina (near Menjangan).
As for the worst area, I can only say the one I don’t like which is staying in Kuta area because I don’t like how some hotels treats their local guest there.
THE MOST QUIETEST AREA TO STAY IN BALI: Candidasa, Amed, Lovina
Some people may like being in a quiet place and this area is suitable for you. It is very quiet at night!
THE MOST LAID-BACK AREA IN BALI: Nusa Lembongan
You should go to this island and try it by yourself. Then tell me, am I right or wrong about it!
THE MOST CRAZIEST AREA IN BALI: Kuta
When you hear people say that Kuta is crazy or how crazy this area is, please believe them. It is crazy! But I like the nightlife here and I did stay here when traveling on budget or as backpacker.
THE MOST COLDEST AREA IN BALI: Padang Bai in May-Jun (when winter in Australia).
I stayed here once in May and had no jacket. It was the coldest day ever.
THE BUSIEST / TOURISTIC AREA IN BALI: Kuta, Legian, Seminyak
MY FAVORITE AREA IN BALI are Legian and Seminyak
These areas have everything I want. Nice food from the cheapest and affordable to the most expensive fine dining, awesome sunset, budget hotel, and party place. So yeah, I stay in this area on most of my trips to Bali.
MY BUCKET LIST: The next area in Bali that I want to visit and explore more are Nusa Penida, Ceningan in Nusa Lembongan, Ubud, and Amed.
Well, that’s it. I hope you’ve got a picture on destination area in Bali now. If you’ve been to Bali or have your own list about the area in Bali, feel free to share your list in the comment below.
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