Best Place to Stay in Bali for First Timers 2024!

So, you’ve decided to dive into the magic of Bali – I mean, who can resist those lush landscapes, vibrant cultures, and beaches straight out of a daydream? Now, I get it finding the best place to stay in Bali for first-timers can be a little overwhelming.

But don’t worry because today, I’m spilling the tea on the absolute best places to stay in Bali, especially if you’re a first-timerer eager to soak in all the island vibes.

I vividly remember my first trip to Bali. It was 2019 and I was travelling with my family for my mum’s 50th birthday. And let me tell you, we did it all! Sipped cocktails at Potato Head in Seminyak, wandered the beaches in Canggu, rode through rice fields in Ubud and of course relaxed by our villa’s private pool.

So, buckle up and get ready for some serious wanderlust as we find your perfect Bali haven together! 

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Bali Travel Essentials

  • Arrange your Bali airport transfers for a fast, reliable and comfortable ride to your accommodation. 
  • One of the best ways to get around Bali is by arranging a private driver. Make sure to book your Bali Private Charter ahead of time!
  • Stay connected with a 3G/4G Prepaid SIM Card that is delivered straight to your hotel in Bali.
  • Download Grab and Gojeck transport apps since Uber isn’t available in Bali
  • Don’t forget your I recommend World Nomads for affordable and extensive coverage.

best place to stay in bali for first timers

Overview: The Best Place in Bali To Stay 

From the lush jungles of Ubud to the trendy streets of Seminyak, we’re about to uncover the ultimate spots that will make your Bali adventure nothing short of legendary. Let’s start off with an overview summary perfect if you’re in a bit of a hurry!

LocationShort StatementBest ForWhere To stay
UbudUbud, Bali’s cultural heart, is all about landscapes, artsy vibes, and monkey-filled adventures. Perfect for soul-searchers, art enthusiasts, and anyone dreaming of yoga amidst rice paddies.Best For: Culture Seekers, Nature Lovers, Yoga EnthusiastsVilla Sabandari
SeminyakSeminyak is Bali’s cool kid, with trendy beach clubs, designer boutiques, and a nightlife that never sleeps. It is ideal for fashionistas, cocktail lovers and those who brunch as a sport.Best For: Trendsetters, Nightlife Junkies, ShopaholicsSerene Villas
CangguCanggu, where surf meets smoothie bowls, is a laid-back paradise for digital nomads, surf bums, and Instagram addicts. Get ready for board shorts, beach vibes, and Bali’s best avocado toast.Best For: Digital Nomads, Surfers, FoodiesDesaku Bungalows
UluwatuUluwatu, where cliffs meet the sea, is a haven for sunset lovers, wave chasers, and luxury seekers. If your dream vacation involves infinity pools and epic ocean views, you’re in the right place.Best For: Luxury Travelers, Surfers, Sunset AdmirersThe Edge Bali
KutaKuta, Bali’s lively playground, is a never-ending party of beach games, street eats, and budget-friendly fun. Perfect for backpackers, thrill-seekers, and those who never say no to a Bintang beer.Best For: Backpackers, Party Animals, Budget TravelersBeach Hut Hostel
Nusa DuaNusa Dua, the area known for upscale resorts, spoils travellers with pristine beaches, spa retreats, and cocktails by the pool. Families, honeymooners, and anyone craving a touch of luxury, this is your place to be.Best For: Families, Honeymooners, Luxury TravelersAmarterra Villas Bali Nusa Dua

Best Areas To Stay In Bali For First Timers

In Bali, there are a few areas you can consider staying in. Let’s unpack your options and at the end, I’ll give you my opinion on the best area to stay in Bali for first-timers. 

Ubud is one of the best places to stay in Bali for first timers for those looking for cultural immersion

Ubud: For Culture Seekers, Nature Lovers, Yoga Enthusiasts

Located in the heart of Bali, Ubud offers a wonderful blend of culture, nature, and spiritual vibes. For first-timers, choosing Ubud as your Bali base is like diving straight into the island’s soul. Here’s why:

Ubud Pros

  • Cultural Playground: Ubud is Bali’s cultural epicentre. Explore traditional markets, art galleries, and vibrant ceremonies. The Ubud Palace and the nearby Saraswati Temple are cultural gems waiting to be discovered.
  • Loads of Nature: Surrounded by lush landscapes, Ubud offers a serene escape. Wander through the iconic Tegallalang Rice Terraces, trek to the Campuhan Ridge Walk, or chase waterfalls like Tegenungan. Getting out in nature is a way of life here.
  • Yoga Paradise: If downward dogs and zen moments are your jam, Ubud is a yoga paradise. Choose from a plethora of yoga studios and retreats, each offering a unique experience. It’s the ideal place to roll out your mat and find your inner yogi.
  • Local dining: Ubud’s dining scene is a fusion of local and international flavours. From warungs serving Nasi Goreng to upscale eateries offering gourmet dishes, you will eat well here.
  • Artistic Vibes: Ubud has long been a haven for artists. Dive into the art scene with visits to museums like the Blanco Renaissance Museum or explore the myriad of art galleries showcasing both traditional and contemporary Balinese art.
  • Spiritual Retreats: Feel the spiritual energy at the Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave) or during a purification ceremony at Tirta Empul. Ubud is a place where you can connect with your spiritual side, whether you’re a seasoned practitioner or a curious beginner.

Ubud Cons

  • Traffic Congestion: Ubud’s popularity comes at a cost – I’m talking traffic jams during peak hours. The narrow streets can get congested, especially in the central area. Plan your travels wisely to avoid getting stuck in the hustle.
  • Limited Nightlife: If you’re seeking wild parties and beachfront restaurants, Ubud might not be your top pick. While there are cozy bars and cultural performances, the nightlife scene is more subdued compared to areas like Seminyak or Kuta.
  • Popular Tourist Destination: Ubud’s charm attracts visitors from around the globe. This popularity means that certain attractions and areas can get crowded, particularly during the high season and some of the authenticity can be lost.

Choosing Ubud for your Bali debut is great for exploring Balinese culture and natural beauty. Embrace the magic, explore the rice fields, and let the vibes of Ubud capture your heart.

Best Villa in Ubud to Stay for First-Timers: Villa Sabandari

⭐ 9.5/10 (60 reviews)
1-night stay starts at $246 AUD 

Villa Sabandari can be your personal slice of paradise tucked away amid the rice fields, just a skip away from the vibrant heart of Ubud! 

This intimate stay features only six cozy rooms, ensuring you’ll find tranquillity and seclusion. Take a refreshing dip in the inviting infinity pool that offers breathtaking views, treat yourself to a pampering massage at the spa, or unwind in the peaceful library.

For the more adventurous souls, grab a bicycle for free and explore the surrounding villages, or let the front office assist you in securing tickets for your next adventures.

Each room comes with a private terrace, and free Wi-Fi, and is adorned with lovely furnishings, providing stunning views of the gardens, pool, or rice fields. With breakfast and afternoon tea included, every day here feels like a holiday.

➡️ Book your Ubud stay at Villa Sabandari

Seminyak is the best place to stay in Bali for first timers as it has a little something for everyone

Seminyak: For Trendsetters, Nightlife Junkies, Shopaholics 

For those who want to blend beach vibes with a touch of glamour, Seminyak is the place to be in Bali. Trendsetters, nightlife junkies, and shopaholics will find their paradise in this stylish corner of the island.

Seminyak Pros

  • Chic and Trendy Vibes: Seminyak is the epitome of Bali’s chic scene. Boutique shops, upscale resorts and villas, and fashionable beach clubs set the stage for a wonderful retreat. It’s where trendsetters come to see and be seen.
  • Fun Nightlife: When the sun sets, Seminyak comes alive. From beachfront bars to nightclubs, the nightlife here is a heady mix of cocktails and beats. It’s the perfect destination for those who love to sip cocktails until dusk or dance until dawn.
  • Designer Shopping Spree: Calling all shopaholics! Seminyak is filled with designer boutiques, local crafts, and unique finds. The streets are lined with stylish stores, ensuring your wardrobe gets a Bali-inspired upgrade.
  • Gourmet Paradise: Calling all foodies! Seminyak boasts a plethora of gourmet restaurants offering cuisine from around the world. Whether you’re craving Balinese specialties or international cuisine, Seminyak’s dining scene is extensive. Plus some of the beachfront restaurants offer front-row seats to the best sunsets in Bali.
  • Beach Bliss: Enjoy the golden sands, catch a legendary Bali sunset, or try your hand at some water sports at Seminyak Beach. The beach is not just a spot for relaxation; it’s a hub of social activity.

Seminyak Cons

  • High-End Price Tag: All good things come at a cost. Accommodations, dining, and shopping in this upscale enclave can be pricier compared to other areas in Bali. Budget travellers might need to be extra strategic in their choices.
  • Crowded Street: Seminyak can come with crowded streets, especially in the central areas. If you’re seeking a more tranquil Bali experience, Seminyak’s bustling atmosphere might feel a bit overwhelming.
  • Limited Cultural Immersion: Seminyak’s focus on luxury and modernity means that it might lack the cultural immersion found in other parts of Bali. If you’re looking for a deep dive into Balinese traditions, you may need to venture beyond Seminyak.

Seminyak is where the glitz and glamour of Bali unfold. Whether you’re sipping cocktails on the beach, dancing under the stars, or on a shopping spree, Seminyak promises a Bali experience with a touch of sophistication. 

Serene Villas in Seminyak is where I recommend you stay in Bali

Best Villa in Seminyak to Stay for First-Timers in Bali: Serene Villas (where I stayed)

⭐ 9.1/5 (67 reviews)
1-night stay starts at $655 AUD

I had the absolute pleasure of staying at Serene Villas during my first trip to Bali, and it truly exceeded my expectations.

The villa’s location, just a brief 5-minute stroll from the lively Oberoi Street and Seminyak Beach, made it incredibly convenient for exploring the area.

What sets Serene Villas apart is the talented private chef, always ready to whip up dishes from an extensive menu. 

And, our dedicated private butler made our stay extra special, attentively catering to our every need – from fetching cold drinks to taking breakfast orders and organizing tours and massages.

Each villa boasts a private swimming pool, inviting sun lounges, and a gazebo with daybeds – you won’t even want to leave the villa!

For an added touch of luxury and relaxation, arrange a massage in your villa. 

Serene Villas goes above and beyond and will make your first trip to Bali extra special.

➡️ Click here to book your stay at Serene Villas

Canggu smoothie bowl. Canggu is great for digital nomads, surfers and travellers on a budget

Canggu: For Digital Nomads, Surfers, Foodies

Canggu, the hipster side of Bali, between rolling rice paddies and the surf, is a unique Bali experience. If you’re a digital nomad, a wave rider, or a devoted food enthusiast, Canggu might just be your kind of paradise.

Canggu Pros

  • Digital Nomad Oasis: Canggu is a favourite among digital nomads, offering a range of co-working spaces with a view. Fast internet, a laid-back atmosphere, and a community of like-minded individuals make it an ideal spot to balance work and play.
  • Surfing Mecca: With its black sand beaches and consistent waves, Canggu is a surfer’s dream come true. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a newbie looking to catch your first wave, the surf schools and board rentals cater to all levels.
  • Foodie’s Paradise: Canggu is a culinary adventure waiting to unfold. From trendy cafes serving Instagram-worthy smoothie bowls to warungs offering authentic Indonesian flavours, foodies will find themselves in a gastronomic wonderland.
  • Bohemian Vibes: The bohemian spirit is alive and well in Canggu. Street art, beachside murals, and boutique stores contribute to the area’s artsy and laid-back ambience. 
  • Yoga and Wellness Hub: Canggu is a hub for yoga and wellness in harmony with its bohemian vibe. Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or a beginner, the studios and retreats in the area offer a chance to rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul.

Canggu Cons

  • Traffic Jams: Canggu’s popularity has led to increased traffic, especially during peak hours. Navigating the narrow streets can be challenging, and it’s something to keep in mind if you plan to explore the area on wheels.
  • Tourist Influx: Canggu’s charm is no secret, and the area has become increasingly popular with tourists. While this has contributed to its atmosphere, it also means that some of the once-hidden gems may now be crowded.
  • Limited Beach for Swimming: Canggu’s beaches are perfect for surfing, but the strong currents make them less ideal for swimming. If you’re looking for a beach solely for sunbaking and swimming, you might need to explore neighbouring areas.

Canggu’s blend of surf, sun, and an eclectic community has made it a popular spot in Bali for first-timers. Whether you’re chasing waves, savouring acai bowls, or setting up your laptop with a sea view, Canggu welcomes you with open arms!

Where to Stay in Canggu: Desaku Bungalows

⭐ 9.1/10 (312 reviews)
1-night stay starts at $49 AUD 

Desaku Bungalows easily secures its spot as my top budget-friendly accommodation in Canggu, offering private bungalows at an exceptionally affordable rate! 

It features a balcony with garden views, an outdoor swimming pool, a garden and a 24-hour front desk, what more could you need?!

Desaku Bungalows also recently introduced a spacious outdoor communal kitchen, catering to families, long-term guests, and those looking to save some extra cash.

With its lively garden, welcoming shared lounge, and a range of amenities, including complimentary private parking, Desaku Bungalows ensures an unforgettable experience for guests without denting their wallets. 

➡️ Click here to book your stay at Desaku Bungalows

Uluwatu cliffs are a great place to stay for luxury travellers, surfers and sunset chasers

Uluwatu: For Luxury Travelers, Surfers, Sunset Admirers

Perched on dramatic cliffs with waves crashing below, Uluwatu is the epitome of Bali’s luxury and natural beauty. If you’re a luxury traveller seeking exclusivity, a surfer chasing epic waves, or someone who is chasing breathtaking sunsets, Uluwatu is your place to be. 

Uluwatu Pros

  • Luxury Retreats: Uluwatu is home to opulent resorts and private villas. Enjoy unparalleled ocean views, infinity pools, and world-class amenities that cater to the needs of luxury travellers seeking an extravagant Balinese escape.
  • World-Class Surfing: Uluwatu boasts some of Bali’s most famous surf breaks. Dreamland, Padang Padang, and Uluwatu Surf Point offer challenging waves for experienced surfers and a mesmerizing spectacle for those who prefer to watch from the cliffs.
  • Breathtaking Sunsets at Uluwatu Temple: The Uluwatu Temple, perched on the edge of a cliff, provides an iconic setting for catching one of Bali’s infamous sunsets. The Kecak dance performances against the backdrop of the Indian Ocean add a cultural touch you won’t forget.
  • Dining with a View: Indulge in fine dining experiences with panoramic views of the ocean. Uluwatu’s upscale restaurants offer a blend of international and Indonesian cuisine and are paired with stunning surroundings.
  • Exclusive Beach Clubs: Enjoy the high life at Uluwatu’s exclusive beach clubs. With private beach access, poolside lounging, and vibrant beachfront scenes, these clubs redefine the meaning of relaxation by the sea.

Uluwatu Cons

  • Higher Price Tag: Luxury comes at a price, and Uluwatu’s exclusivity is reflected in its higher-end cost of accommodations, dining, and activities. It’s a destination for those who can afford to spend a little more.
  • Limited Budget Options: Uluwatu caters primarily to luxury travellers, so budget-friendly accommodation options are more limited. Travellers on a tighter budget may need to explore nearby areas for more affordable stays.
  • Remote Location: While the remote setting is part of Uluwatu’s charm, it also means longer travel times to reach other popular Bali attractions.

Uluwatu embodies the pinnacle of natural grandeur in Bali. Whether you’re sipping champagne on a clifftop, riding the waves of the Indian Ocean, or watching a sunset like no other, Uluwatu invites you into a realm of luxury and beauty. 

Where To Stay In Uluwatu For First-Timers in Bali: The Edge Bali

⭐ 9.6/5 (62 reviews)
1-night stay starts at $2000 AUD

Get set for a dive into pure luxury at The Edge Bali – seriously, it’s the ultimate luxury pick!

Perched on a cliff overlooking the ocean, The Edge provides an opulent 5-star experience featuring private infinity pool villas.

During your stay, make the most of the world-class spa or hit the gym whenever you feel like it.

And get this – you’ll have not one but two private pools and a legit home theatre for your entertainment. Or why not lounge in the villa’s tropical garden or on the private sundeck? There are so many options at The Edge.

But wait, there’s more! Wine lovers, there’s a wine cellar and even a chill cigar lounge.

You won’t even need to lift a finger during your stay as your personal villa butler is ready to make all your wishes come true. Talk about getting the royal treatment.

And breakfast? Your personal butlers take care of it right in your villa’s kitchen. The chef goes all out, creating gourmet menus just for you, with fresh seafood and fancy European dishes stealing the show. 

➡️ Book your luxurious stay at The Edge Bali

Kuta Beach Bali is a great place to stay in Bali for first timers looking to party and save money

Kuta: For Backpackers, Party Animals, Budget Travelers

Kuta, oh Kuta, with its lively atmosphere and vibrant energy is a magnet for those who like to party by the beach!

If you’re a backpacker on a shoestring budget, a party animal ready to dance the night away, or a budget traveller seeking Bali’s vibrant core, Kuta is calling your name.

Kuta Pros

  • Budget-Friendly Accommodations: Kuta is perfect for budget travellers, offering a plethora of affordable guesthouses, hostels, and budget hotels. Finding a cozy place to crash without breaking the bank is easy here.
  • Iconic Kuta Beach: Kuta Beach is where the action begins. Whether you’re catching waves, relaxing in the sun, or joining a game of beach volleyball, the iconic stretch of golden sand is the ultimate playground for budget-conscious beach lovers.
  • Energetic Nightlife: When the sun sets, Kuta comes alive with bars, clubs, and beach parties. If you’re a party animal, Kuta’s nightlife scene can be pretty wild, perfect for dancing until dawn.
  • Surfing for Beginners: Kuta’s waves are friendly to beginners, making it an ideal spot for those looking to try their hand at surfing. Numerous surf schools along the beach offer lessons, ensuring everyone can catch a wave.
  • Budget-Friendly Eateries: From street-side warungs serving Indonesian cuisine to budget-friendly international options, Kuta’s dining scene caters to those who want to explore local flavours without breaking the bank.

Kuta Cons

  • Crowded Streets: Kuta’s popularity and low price means it can get crowded, especially in the central areas. If you prefer a more serene and quiet environment, the streets of Kuta might be a bit much for you.
  • Party Noise: The vibrant nightlife can be a double-edged sword. With loads of partying in the area, the noise from bars and clubs can be disruptive when you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep.
  • Limited Cultural Immersion: If cultural immersion is high on your list, Kuta may not provide the deep dive into Balinese traditions that you’ll find in other parts of the island. Its focus is more on beach fun and nightlife.

Kuta draws in party animals and budget travellers from around the world. Whether you’re catching waves, dancing under the stars, or simply soaking up the lively atmosphere, Kuta is an invitation to experience Bali’s wild and budget-friendly side

Budget Stay in Kuta: Beach Hut Hostel

⭐ 9/ (836 reviews)
1-night stay starts at $35 AUD

Welcome to the vibrant heart of Kuta, where Beach Hut Hostel stands just 400 meters from the sun-kissed shores of Tuban Beach.

 Offering a blend of comfort and community, this 3-star hostel welcomes you to a great value stay with an outdoor swimming pool, free private parking, and a lush garden. The shared lounge is a lively space for travellers to connect, while the terrace provides a relaxing spot to soak up the tropical vibes.

Immerse yourself in the comfort of air-conditioned rooms, thoughtfully adorned with modern amenities and featuring free WiFi to keep you connected. As you unwind in your cozy abode, the 24-hour front desk staff, proficient in English, Indonesian, and Japanese, are always at your service, ensuring you have a comfortable and hiccup-free stay.

Refuel at the on-site restaurant, where American and Indonesian dishes take centre stage. Alternatively, sip on a refreshing cocktail at the bar as you share tales of your Bali adventures with new friends.

Play some billiards or dart matches, or take advantage of the business centre for those who mix work and play.

Kuta’s popular attractions are within easy reach including Jerman Beach, Kuta Beach, and Discovery Shopping Mall.

➡️ Book your stay at Beach Hut Hostel

Nusa Dua is full of family friendly resorts

Nusa Dua: For Families, Honeymooners, Luxury Travelers

Nusa Dua, known for its private beaches and luxurious resorts, caters to those seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle in Bali.

Whether you’re a family looking for a safe and serene environment, a honeymooning couple in search of romantic seclusion, or a luxury traveller craving a resort stay, Nusa Dua offers something for you. 

Nusa Dua Pros

  • Family-Friendly Environment: Nusa Dua’s calm waters and clean beaches make it an ideal destination for families. Resorts often provide dedicated kids’ clubs, family-friendly pools, and activities, ensuring an enjoyable stay for the little ones.
  • Luxurious Resorts: Nusa Dua is synonymous with luxury. The area is home to some of Bali’s most upscale resorts, offering private villas, spa retreats, and world-class amenities. It’s a paradise for those who love resort living.
  • Pristine Beaches: The beaches in Nusa Dua are renowned for their cleanliness and calm waters. Perfect for swimming, snorkelling, or simply lounging on the golden sands, Nusa Dua’s beaches provide a wonderful escape from the hustle and bustle.
  • Exclusive Honeymoon Escapes: Nusa Dua’s intimate ambience and luxurious accommodations make it a popular choice for honeymooners. Private villas, romantic dinners by the beach, and spa experiences create the perfect setting for a memorable honeymoon.
  • Water Sports Galore: Adventure seekers can indulge in a variety of water sports, from jet skiing to parasailing. Nusa Dua’s clear waters and well-managed activities offer a thrilling aquatic experience for those seeking a bit of excitement.

Nusa Dua Cons

  • Limited Cultural Immersion: Nusa Dua’s focus on luxury and exclusivity means that it might lack authentic cultural experiences found in other parts of Bali. Travellers seeking a deep connection with Balinese traditions may need to explore beyond Nusa Dua on day trips
  • Higher Price Point: The luxury and upscale nature of Nusa Dua comes with a higher price tag. While it offers unparalleled comfort and amenities, budget-conscious travellers may find more affordable options in other areas of Bali such as Canggu or Kuta.
  • Less Vibrant Nightlife: If you’re a night owl looking for a bustling nightlife, Nusa Dua may not be the ideal choice. The evenings here are generally more relaxed, with emphasis on quiet dinners and intimate settings.

Nusa Dua is the best place to stay in Bali for first-timers or appreciate a more refined side of Bali. Whether you’re building sandcastles with the family, enjoying a romantic candle-lit dinner, or simply sipping cocktails by the pool, Nusa Dua provides a wonderful stay.

Luxury Villa in Nusa Dua Amarterra Villas Bali Nusa Dua

⭐9.1/5 (267 reviews)
1-night stay starts at $618 AUS

Get ready to soak up the royal treatment at Amarterra Villas Bali Nusa Dua!

These villas are all about giving you loads of space to relax and unwind, complete with your very own private pool.

And guess what? Nusa Dua Beach practically lives next door – just a quick 3-minute walk away. Plus, they’ve got a slick fitness centre and a restaurant, now that’s balance.

Now, let’s talk about the villas. The bedroom’s got it all – AC, a flat-screen TV for your Netflix marathons, a minibar, and a wardrobe.

And the bathroom? Oh, it’s a fancy affair with a shower, a swanky bathtub for those spa vibes, and a toilet (you know, the essentials).

Feeling peckish? Dive into Indonesian and International food right from the comfort of your villa.

And here’s the cherry on top: couples are head over heels for this place, giving it a solid 9.3. Or if you’re travelling with family opt for the two-bedroom villa which has ample space for everyone.

So, if you’re all about those good vibes, luxurious pools, and being treated like a rockstar, Amarterra Villas Bali Nusa Dua is calling your name. 

➡️ Click to book: Amarterra Villas Bali Nusa Dua

Overall Best Place to Stay in Bali for First Timers: Seminyak!

Now that I have taken you through all the great areas to stay in Bali let me share my personal pick on the best place to stay in Bali for first-timers!

Drum roll, please! 


It’s got everything a first-timer like me could wish for. From lounging on laid-back beaches and diving into trendy beach clubs to wandering through artsy streets filled with hidden gems, Seminyak offers the perfect mix of chill vibes and vibrant energy. 

The nightlife? Let’s just say, sipping cocktails dancing under the stars here is practically a rite of passage. And the food scene? Oh boy, it’s a culinary adventure waiting to happen – local flavours, global bites, you name it. 

Staying in Seminyak you’ll feel the unique mix of Bali’s rich culture with a dash of contemporary cool. 

So, for this first-timer, Seminyak in my eyes is the only way to kick off my Bali journey. 

Travel Tips For First-Timers in Bali

Before you travel to Bali for the first time, there are a few things you should know so you are prepared for the best trip possible! Let’s dive into my top tips for travelling Bali. 

Ride the Wave, But Not Just Figuratively

Bali’s got killer waves for surfing, but navigating traffic is a different kind of adventure. 

Make sure to budget extra travel time for traffic and I recommend one of the easiest ways to get around is by hiring a private driver for the day, but more on that later. 

And if you’re game grab a scooter – it’s like a Balinese rite of passage. Just remember: go with the flow, and invest in a helmet!

Temple Time? Cover Those Knees and Shoulders

Bali’s temples are Insta-worthy, but they’re also sacred. Wrap a sarong around those shorts, and cover your shoulders with a breezy shirt. 

Fashion meets tradition – you’ll look good and show respect. Double win!

Go Nasi Goreng or Go Home

Sure, you’ve heard of Bintang, but Bali has so much more to offer your taste buds. 

Nasi Goreng (fried rice) is a national treasure. Scoop it up with a side of satay, and you’ll be doing the happy food dance.

Barter Like a Boss at the Markets

Markets are your playground, and bartering is the name of the game. Channel your inner negotiator, flash a smile, and don’t be afraid to haggle. 

It’s an excellent way to immerse yourself in the shopping culture, interact with locals and snag a great deal!

Watch Out for Bali Belly

Bali belly can sneak up on anyone at any time. Stick to bottled water, avoid ice in your drinks, and be choosy about where you dine. I suggest sticking to reputable restaurants where loads of other tourists dine, keeping your mouth closed in the shower and brushing your teeth with bottled way.

Your stomach will thank you. 

Cash is King, But Plastic Works Too

While Bali loves cash, plastic can still be an option.

Many places accept cards, but having some rupiah for local markets, taxis and small vendors is a must. 

Exchange cash early to avoid those awkward moments when you can’t pay someone…

Roll up your sleeves and vaccinate

Before you head on your Bali adventure, head to your local Doctor or travel clinicc. Check if your routine vaccines are up to date and consider a few extras like Hepatitis A and Typhoid. 

Additional vaccines worth considering include rabies and Japanese encephalitis. 

This health-savvy move not only shields you from potential travel bugs but also lets you dive headfirst into the wonders of Bali with peace of mind. Plus a lot of these vaccines can cover you for life. So in my eyes, it’s worth the cost and the pinch.

Embrace the Glow: Prepare to Sweat in Bali’s Tropical Heat

Bali turns up the heat, literally! 

Pack breathable fabrics, stay hydrated (bottled water only of course), and get ready to glow like you’ve just nailed a yoga session. 

Bali is not only hot but it’s also humid so make sure to schedule in some pool time to cool off. 

Visiting the rice fields is one of the best things to do in Bali

Things to do in Bali for First-Timers

For first-timers in Bali, you’ll feel like every corner is a photo op and every experience is a story waiting to be told. Here’s your ultimate checklist of things to do. 

Chase Waterfalls (Not Water Bills)

Bali’s waterfalls are Instagram gold. Take a dip in the refreshing Tegenungan, take in the twin cascades of Sekumpul, or feel the jungle vibes at Gitgit.

Monkey Business in Ubud

Visit the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud, where cheeky macaques rule the forest. Watch them swing from trees, photobomb tourists, and maybe even try to borrow your sunglasses.

Book now: Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary Ticket and Guided Tour

Sunrise at Mount Batur

Channel your inner early bird and trek up Mount Batur to catch the sunrise. The panoramic views of the sunrise, the crater, and Lake Batur are the stuff of postcards. 

Pro tip: it’s worth sacrificing a bit of sleep for this one.

Island Swing at Gili Trawangan

Take a short boat ride to the Gili Islands and swing into the crystal-clear waters. Gili Trawangan is the party hub, but the swings make it feel like an adult playground. It’s like swinging over a tropical paradise – the ultimate vacation flex.

Surf’s Up in Canggu

Even if you’ve never touched a surfboard, Bali’s the place to start. Canggu’s beaches offer beginner-friendly waves, and you’ll be riding the surf in no time. 

Bonus: it’s a great workout, and wipeouts are just part of the fun.

Explore Ubud’s Art Scene

Dive into Ubud’s cultural richness. Visit the Blanco Renaissance Museum, stroll through the Ubud Art Market, and catch a traditional dance performance. Bali isn’t just beaches after all.

Rice Terraces of Tegallalang

Immerse yourself in the stunning beauty of Tegallalang’s rice terraces. The lush, green landscapes are a testament to Bali’s agricultural prowess.

Take a stroll through the terraces, snap some envy-inducing photos, and soak in the tranquillity. Bali’s version of a green carpet awaits your exploration. 

Check Out The Tegalalang Rice Terrace Photos Tour with a Swing Ticket

Temple Tour – Tanah Lot at Sunset

Bali’s temples are iconic, and Tanah Lot is a showstopper. Perched on a rock in the sea, it’s especially beautiful at sunset.

Capture the silhouette against the orange sky, and you’ve got a truly unforgettable moment.

Book a Tanah Lot Private Full-Day Tour – All-Inclusive

Eat Like a Local – Nasi Goreng Galore

Balinese cuisine is a flavour explosion, and Nasi Goreng is the crown jewel. Dive into local warungs (eateries), try satay sticks, savour babi guling (suckling pig), and wash it all down with a fresh coconut…or a Bintang. Your taste buds will thank you.

Island-Hop to Nusa Penida

Take a boat to Nusa Penida to explore the breathtaking Kelingking Beach, snap pics at the T-Rex-shaped cliffs, and float in the crystal-clear waters of Broken Beach. It’s Bali’s untouched beauty at its best.

Book a Nusa Penida Day Tour from Bali

Getting Around in Bali

Navigating Bali is an adventure in itself! Here’s the lowdown on conquering Bali’s roads.

Private Driver 

Hiring a private driver is oftentimes the best way to day trip. They’ll show you hidden gems, provide insider tips, and navigate the hectic roads safely. Negotiate a daily rate, and you’ve got a personalized tour guide and chauffeur in one.

Often times villas will offer private driving services or can recommend a reputable service so I recommend you chat with your accommodation provider. 

Alternatively, Viator and Klook has highly-reviewed and reliable services. 

Book a Private Driver in Bali on Viator here

Grab and Gojek 

Whilst there isn’t Uber in Bali, Grab and Gojek have swooped in to offer similar services.

Download these apps, request a ride, and voilà – your budget-friendly chariot awaits. From scooters to cars and even deliveries, these apps are a game-changer for zipping around Bali.

Plus what I love about these ride-sharing apps is you agree upon a rate before you hop in the car so there is no negotiating or getting ripped off which is pretty common in traditional taxis in Bali. 

Bluebird Taxis 

Speaking of taxis, Bluebird is your best bet.

Look for their unmistakable light blue colour and logo. They use meters, meaning no haggling and no surprises. 

Reliable and honest, Bluebird taxis are your go-to for a safe and comfortable ride.

Rent a Scooter 

Want to feel the wind in your hair and get around like a local?

Renting a scooter in Bali is the most flexible and cost-effective option for short distances.

Just make sure you’ve got an international driver’s license and a helmet snug on your head – safety first!

Bemo – Bali’s Open-Air Mini Buses

For a taste of local life, hop on a Bemo – Bali’s version of a mini-bus. It’s a budget-friendly option for short distances and a chance to experience Bali’s vibrant street scenes. Prepare for a cozy ride and a bit of Bali charm.

Walking – Flip-Flops On, Adventure Mode Activated

Some areas in Bali are best to get around on foot. Take a walk through markets, beach promenades, and vibrant streets. It’s the perfect way to soak in Bali’s atmosphere, discover hidden spots, and burn off those extra Nasi Goreng calories.

Remember, traffic in Bali can be a bit chaotic, so plan accordingly and enjoy the journey. Whether you’re cruising on a scooter or lounging in a Bluebird taxi, getting around Bali is all part of the island’s magic! 

When is the best time to visit Bali?

The dry season, from April to October, is considered the peak tourist season, offering sunny days, pleasant temperatures, and ideal conditions for getting outdoors. If you’re into surfing, the dry season is also prime time for catching the waves. 

However, it also means more crowds and slightly higher prices. 

The wet season, from November to March, brings occasional downpours, greenery landscapes, and a quieter ambience. While rain showers can happen at any time, they often come in short bursts, allowing for plenty of exploration between drops. 

It’s worth noting that the wet season, particularly around December and January, can experience more continuous rainfall and the risk of tropical storms, making it one of the worst times to visit. That being said, this period is excellent for those seeking budget-friendly options and a more authentic, less touristy feel. 

Ultimately, the best time to visit Bali depends on your preferences for weather, crowd levels, and the type of experience you’re seeking.

FAQs: Best Place to Stay in Bali for First Timers

Moving onto some commonly asked questions about the best place to stay in Bali for first-timers.

Which area in Bali is best to stay?

For a lively beach scene, trendy shops, and nightlife, Seminyak is a popular choice. Ubud is another great option located in the lush landscapes it’s perfect for a cultural and tranquil experience. 

Nusa Dua offers luxurious resorts and calm beaches, ideal for those seeking a more refined escape.

And then there’s Canggu which is perfect for surfers, yoga enthusiasts and those on a budget!

Bali has a range of great places to stay so it’s best to find the spot that most aligns with your travel plans.

Does it matter where you stay in Bali?

Absolutely! The area you choose can significantly impact your Bali experience. Each region has its unique charm and attractions.  Whether you’re into vibrant nightlife, cultural exploration, or serene beach retreats, selecting the right location enhances your overall stay.

Is it better to stay in Nusa Dua or Seminyak?

It depends. Nusa Dua is known for its luxury resorts and calm beaches, offering a refined atmosphere. 

Seminyak, on the other hand, is vibrant, trendy, and packed with nightlife and shopping options. 

Choose Nusa Dua for a resort stay and Seminyak for a lively and social experience.

Is it better to stay in Ubud or Seminyak?

Again, it depends on what you’re seeking when it comes to the best place to stay in Bali for first timers. Ubud is perfect for those craving cultural experiences, lush landscapes, and a serene ambience. 

Seminyak, with its bustling scene, is ideal for beach lovers, shoppers, and those who enjoy a vibrant nightlife and eating out. Consider your preferences in terms of atmosphere and activities to make the best choice for your stay.

The Wrap-Up: Best Place to Stay in Bali for First Timers

✔️ Flights: Book your flights on Skyscanner 

➡️ Car rental: Rent your car on DiscoverCars

✔️ Travel insurance: I recommend World Nomads

➡️ Accommodations: Book your stay at booking.com

✔️ Activities: Arrange your adventure trips and tours

Alright, let’s wrap up our little journey to discover the best place to stay in Bali for first timers. There is truly something for everyone in Bali whether you are looking to sip cocktails by the beach or do yoga amongst the lush greenery.

So, to recap we’ve strolled through Ubud’s gorgeous landscapes, went shopping in Seminyak, caught some waves in Canggu, felt the luxury vibes in Uluwatu, partied like there’s no tomorrow in Kuta and soaked up resort fun in Nusa Dua. Each corner in Bali offers something different, it ultimately comes down to what you’re after.

Now, if you’re anything like me – chasing that perfect mix of modern and local charm – Seminyak in my opinion is the best place to stay in Bali for first-timers.I mean, come on, trendy beach clubs, artsy streets, and oh, did I mention the private slice of paradise in your villa? It’s like living in a dream!

But hey, Bali has so much on offer so no matter what your budget is or what occasion you are travelling for there is a place ready to welcome you!

So, grab your passports, pack your bags, and get ready to explore the heart and soul of Bali!

Safe travels! 

Read more about Bali Travel!

23 BEST Things To Do In Canggu 2023
Canggu or Seminyak: Where Should You Stay in Bali
Best Area to Stay in Bali for Couples – 6 Best Areas
Is Bali Overrated? An Honest 2023 Review
Goa or Bali? The Ultimate Comparison Guide
17 Best Hotels in Canggu: Where to Stay in Canggu
Can You Drink The Water in Bali? Guide to Avoiding Bali Belly
Where to Stay in Ubud: 17 Best Hotels & Resorts
Is There Uber in Bali? Guide to Getting Around!
11 BEST Bali Day Trips & Excursions You’ll LOVE 2023
12 Best Places like Bali: Top Alternatives to Visit

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