The Coolest Neighbourhoods in Bali

Head to Uluwatu to marvel at the clifftop Uluwatu Temple
Head to Uluwatu to marvel at the clifftop Uluwatu Temple | © domonabikebali / Alamy
Photo of Edira Putri
4 September 2021

Bali offers striking coastline, fascinating temples and bustling towns – but some neighbourhoods are more developed and popular with travellers than others. To get the best of the culture, cuisine, accommodation and attractions, explore the coolest neighbourhoods in Bali.

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Kuta

Architectural Landmark
Map View
The main beach in Kuta, which is popular with surfers
© kevin hellon / Alamy
As the most mainstream destination in Bali for decades, this neighbourhood has evolved into a bustling tourist stop, with restaurants and shops lining virtually every street. You can find almost everything in Kuta — hotels, high-end restaurants, humble warung (small family-run restaurants), shopping malls, traditional markets, surf schools and, of course, Kuta Beach, which has great surfing and markets, plus a second role as a major thoroughfare.

Seminyak

Architectural Landmark
Map View
BALI, INDONESIA - FEBRUARY 21, 2016: Tourists enjoy a stunning sunset on Kuta beach in the Seminyak area of the popular island in Indonesia.
© AsiaDreamPhoto / Alamy
Often dubbed the more upscale sibling of Kuta, Seminyak has everything Kuta has but high-end. Lavish hotels and resorts, fine-dining restaurants and designer boutiques are usually proud to have Seminyak in their address. The neighbourhood also has its share of stunning coastline, occupied by cosy beanbag chairs from hip cafes and bars, most of which stay alive until late into the night. Seminyak also stands out as a shopping destination, where tourists can find handmade products from all over the island as well as international designer boutiques.

Ubud

Architectural Landmark
Map View
tegallalang rice terrace in Ubud, Bali - T4ME5Y
© Stockbym / Alamy
Serving as the cultural and educational hub of Bali, Ubud is one of the most well-developed areas on the island. It’s the place to go for cultural experiences as many attractions – temples, museums, restaurants, workshops and galleries – are nestled on Ubud’s busy little streets, lush green spaces, or by the sacred Ayung River. Also the lifestyle and spiritual centre of Bali, it has plenty of wellness retreats, yoga shalas and health-food restaurants. You can visit Ubud and enjoy a Balinese cooking masterclass there as part of Culture Trip’s exclusive 12-day Bali adventure, led by our local insider.

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  • Canggu

    Architectural Landmark
    Map View
    Canggu, Bali, Indonesia - 9th June 2019 : View of the Organic food market held at every sunday at Samadi in Canggu, Bali - Indonesia
    © Marlon Trottmann / Alamy
    For years, Canggu has kept the balance between popular tourist destination and semi-rural coastal town with green rice fields and humble buildings. Street and contemporary arts are cherished here more than anywhere else on the island – something evident from the awesome murals at every turn. Also a major surfing destination, Canggu is embellished with beach-inspired restaurants, hip cafes and accommodation – and it also features on our specially curated small-group Bali trip.

    Nusa Dua

    Architectural Landmark
    Map View
    Aerial view of Nusa Dua Beach in Bali Indonesia with bay and a turquoise sea taken above from the sea during April with a drone
    © nikjvt / Alamy
    Probably the most well-developed area in Bali, Nusa Dua has resort living by a glorious beach. Many lavish and famous resorts share the grounds of Nusa Dua, adding to its luxurious buildings with the perfect tropical touch – playful swimming pools, stunning infinity pools, palm trees, cosy daybeds and countless activities to do. Even if you’re not staying here, visit the neighbourhood to try water sports or enjoy the resorts on a day pass.

    Sanur

    Architectural Landmark
    Map View
    Sanur Beach, Bali, Indonesia
    © Jan Wlodarczyk / Alamy
    This laid-back beach town offers numerous family-friendly activities, from cycling to water sports, trekking to surfing. Graced with the tranquil east-facing coastline of Bali, Sanur Beach has calm waves that match the personality of the town – it’s also a safe beach for families with kids. Beyond the sands, Sanur also attracts the crowds with beach resorts, ocean-front restaurants, galleries and a calming ambience.

    Uluwatu

    Hindu Temple
    Map View
    View over Uluwatu beach, Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia, Southeast Asia, Asia
    © robertharding / Alamy
    The Uluwatu neighbourhood is home to the finest temples, beaches and waves. The Uluwatu Temple, Suluban Beach and Padang Padang Beach are all here, each contributing to its reputation as one of the coolest neighbourhoods in Bali. Being a culture-rich spot and a surfer’s paradise, Uluwatu is also a popular place to find excellent restaurants, resorts and cafes.

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    These recommendations were updated on September 4, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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