Bali is an amazing place to holiday if you love a nice resort, good food, and a relaxing holiday! It is only a 6 hour flight from Sydney Australia, so it’s also great if you’ve only got a short time off.
If you have made the decision to travel to Bali, first task is to decide which area you want to stay. The main spots for tourists and the areas which have heaps of hotels are Kuta, Legian and Seminyak. That is also more broadly in order of their price. These are all 30mins – 1 hour away from Ngurah Rai International airport (pending traffic). Other popular areas include Ubud, Uluwatu, Nusa Dua and the up and coming Canggu.
Kuta is generally cheaper than the other locations mentioned, it has heaps of pubs and there’s always plenty of tattooed up Australians in Bintang singlets. That may be a little bit of a stereotype and you certainly can find nice hotels there too. Best suited to those looking for a bit of a party or the family looking for a cheaper trip, close proximity to the shops and waterpark.
A little further north than Kuta is Legian with plenty of resorts, smaller hotels and numerous shops, restaurants and bars. We find this to be a bit nicer, also quieter and a bit further from the party atmosphere. Best suited to those wanting a more laid back vibe.
Accommodation wise, we did want to stay in Seminyak, but I was with a friend and we required twin configuration. All the super nice sophisticated places in Seminyak did not offer that. So we went for the Padma hotel in Legian. A huge resort with everything you need! Big rooms, three pools, daily activities, buffet breakfast and more. See our blog on the Padma.
Whilst in Legian, we mostly ate in the hotel as well as a few places in Seminyak as mentioned below.
Mugshot is a coffee shop close to the beach in Legian. Serving proper quality coffee and has some good brunch offerings, if you’re not at a hotel with an all-inclusive buffet, we recommend you visit here. Even so, make sure you do pop by for a coffee at least. Staff are super nice and the barista has amazing latte art skills.
Seminyak is lovely and a place where you’ll find the more upmarket resorts, beach clubs, and plenty of villas. The restaurants and shops are generally high end and you’ll be paying prices close to that of Australia. But it’s certainly a great spot. Best suited to the socialites and instagrammers, or anyone with a little bit more cash.
Some places to stay (amongst hundreds of others) include:
The Seminyak Beach Resort and spa
Courtyard by Marriot
Places to eat
The Junction House
The Junction House is right opposite Seminyak Village and is a 2 story premises serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. We visited here 4 years ago and it has undergone stylistic renovations. A cool house style, with trendy art and cane and plush chairs. We visited this time for lunch and tried the tuna carpaccio and ceviche, as well as a spinach salad and chicken bites. The price was good and servings were generous. I also love their latte art designs. Service was friendly and efficient.
An amazing seafood restaurant in rice paddies, but in Seminyak. Beautiful clean white tables and cane furniture. Impeccable fine dining style service. The seafood is extremely high quality, but expect to pay higher prices.
Other restaurants: Naughty Nuris, Mamak, Bikini Bar, Clean Canteen, Mozarella, Barbacoa, Merah Putih, Mamasan
Beach clubs: Potato Head, Mozaic, Cocoon, Ku De Te
Canggu is an area that has been developing quickly since we visited three years ago to today. A trendy coastal town, not dissimilar to a smaller version of Bondi beach. A resort area with plenty of spots to surf, healthy cafes and coffee haunts. Travel north from Seminyak and you’ll find yourself in Canggu in about 15 minute. Best suited to the surfer, hipster or bohemian babes.
Eats: Deus Ex Machina, Betelnut café, crate café, Ruko cafe
Beach Clubs: Finns VIP Beach Club, The Lawn
If you’re looking for a more wellness style holiday, then perhaps Ubud is your thing. It is over an hour drive from the main towns of Bali, so you can do a day trip or stay in the area for a longer stay. Best suited to the yoga and wellness enthusiast. See our blog on Ubud here:
Where else to check out
- Waterbom park
- Bali safari park
- Tanah lot
- Nusa Lembongan
- Uluwatu temple
- Seafood in Jimbaran
- Surf breaks in Uluwatu
- Uluwatu is awesome: see our blog here
- Money used is Indonesian Rupiah
- Tap water is not suitable to drink
- Appropriate clothes needed when entering sacred areas
- May-September is the best as it’s dry season
- English is widely spoken