Popular areas of Bali
Seminyak: Seminyak is a beach resort area at the southern end of Bali, Indonesia, with many luxury hotels, villas and spas, as well as high-end shopping and restaurants. It also boasts the best nightlife, filled with bars, beach resorts and clubs. Although it is more “upscale”, you can definitely find more affordable spots in Seminyak. Cocktail prices range from $5-$10 and meals can vary from $7-$20, just depending on where you go. I still find it quite affordable especially when compared to home!
Ubud: Ubud is the heart of Bali, a place where the culture of the island is most accessible. The surrounding rainforest and terraced rice paddies, dotted with Hindu temples and shrines, are among Bali’s most famous landscapes. If you want an escape, this might be for you! I would also think more carefully on where to stay here as it’s not the kind of place you can just walk out and grab a taxi, so make sure you choose somewhere with a restaurant, 24 hour room service and facilities!
Uluwatu: Uluwatu is the most popular area on Bali’s Bukit peninsula, best known for the namesake landmark cliff-top temple. The hilly limestone region is home to Bali’s most scenic luxury villas and resorts, with facilities on towering cliffs, overlooking the Indian Ocean. If you love beaches and surfing, this place is for you!
Nusa Dua: Nusa Dua is Bali’s ‘all-inclusive’ type of beach resort. It has an incredible collection of world-class, international-chain hotels facing a pristine beachfront. It’s quiet and secluded, almost in it’s own luxury bubble but only 30 minutes from Kuta.
Kuta: Best known for it’s best known for its party-centric atmosphere and surfing in the Indian Ocean. If you love the bustle and party, Kuta is for you. It’s also the most affordable spot in Bali, which attracts a lot of the backpacker crowd. Most of the shops require bartering and you can’t walk a few steps without being approached, and whilst I do appreciate the nightlife and vivid scene here, it’s a bit too full on for me.
Legian: Legian was one of the first places I ever stayed in Bali! It’s in-between Kuta and Seminyak, and not just location-wise, but in terms of affordability and atmosphere too. It’s that mid-range section and you’ll find a lot of tourists here too. Legian offers the same easy access to shops and bars but a slightly more relaxed and less chaotic feeling. It is a low-key area where you can still get the low prices of Kuta without some of the hassle.
Canggu: Canggu is one of the hottest up-and-coming spots on Bali right now, with hot new restaurants and resorts opening every week. Populated with surfers, beach babes, yogis, digital nomads and holiday makers, there is something for everyone in the super cool Canggu. We didn’t stay here, but went to a few very cool parties and bars in the area and swore we’d stay next time!
Hotel vs Villa
After staying in both hotels (mid-range and luxury) and villas, I would highly recommend villas for a trip to Bali. A lot of people hear the word “villa” and might immediately think they’re out of their price range, but because Bali is very affordable (an average meal out costs $5-$7), luxury villas could potentially be in your financial reach. A lot of hotels actually happened to be around the same price as some of the villas we stayed at, so why not go for the villa?
The Wolas Villas
The first place we checked into was The Wolas Villas in Seminyak. This place felt like a tranquil escape in the crazy bustle that is Seminyak. It’s a great location in the sense that it’s close to everything (around a 10 minute drive to the main strip depending on traffic), but also far enough from the crowded centre. There’s a mini mart in walking distance for essentials, but the main strip isn’t walkable. The hospitality was beyond exceptional and each staff member greeted us with the biggest smile while welcoming us with drinks. I really can’t express enough how helpful and kind everyone was.
The walk to our villa made you feel like you were in a tropical oasis, with lush greenery lining the sides until you arrive at your villa. We stayed in the One Bedroom Royal Pool Villa which was like a slice of paradise. It’s all open space living, so the lounge and kitchen are outdoors, but the bedroom and bathroom are indoors. I loved the setup of this place and how spacious everything felt, especially the bathroom. I’m pretty sure the bathroom is bigger than the size of my bedroom!
For breakfast, you had the option of going out to the restaurant or having it served in your villa (we opted for the in-villa dining, of course!). Our favourite feature was the private pool. It was the biggest pool out of all the villas we stayed at, which left lots of room to lounge around on floaties all day!
Villa Air Boutique Resort & Spa
Our next place of accommodation was Villa Air Bali Boutique Resort & Spa which is also located in Seminyak. As you walk on stepping stones over water to reach the outdoor reception, you immediately notice how beautiful and imposing the grounds are. We preferred this location just slightly more as it was closer to the nightlife and bars, cafes etc, but taxi’s are so cheap in Bali, it’s really not much of an issue. I loved that it was only a few minutes drive from my favourite Cafe Organic which we always ended up for lunch!
After check-in, we were welcomed into our villa and given a tour by the sweetest and most hospitable staff. That’s one thing you might notice in Bali – everyone is so accommodating and kind-hearted. They are the sweetest of people who really go out of their way to make your stay as comfortable as possible. The villa itself was stunning, but I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. Similar to The Wolas Villas, it was open space living but the bedroom was indoors and also had a big bathroom which at first glance, we thought was outdoors, but it was actually set in a glasshouse!
The room service food exceeded our expectations. I’d highly recommend the burgers and mie goreng! If you have the option, I’d include the breakfast package in your booking too. It can be eaten from the restaurant or delivered to your villa (we opted for the delivery). Also, if you’re wondering, the breakfast pictured in this post is the Japanese breakfast, the most popular breakfast option as 80% of the resort’s guests are Japanese! Breakfast also comes with a fruit salad, freshly squeezed fruit juice and coffee.
I really loved how the villa was set out and the fact it had a grass area, which for some reason made it feel more homely, in the most luxurious way possible. The shaded sun bed was a nice touch too.
They also set up the most beautiful candle lit dinner in our villa for one of the nights. It was the dreamiest setting I’ve ever had dinner in. I joked to my boyfriend that if he was ever going to propose, this is the kind of situation I would hope for – HA! Joking, but not really.
Next we moved to Ubud, which is about an hour and a half out of Seminyak. I had been to Ubud previously but never stayed there, and really wanted to discover it more, so I was excited to be there for a few days! We checked into Viceroy Bali, which is honestly like another world in itself. Everything about this place feels incredibly grand and luxurious. It’s situated in the middle of the valley and jungle, with sounds and scenes from the rolling river and waterfalls below. We also noticed a lot of people here on their honeymoon, so if you are after a honeymoon in Bali, this resort might be one to consider!
After check-in, we were escorted to their restaurant and bar, which we were a little taken back by. The place doesn’t even feel real, with the awe-inspiring views of the jungle and pool area surrounding you. We got in a golf car to drive us down to our villa from reception, which I think already speaks to the grandness of the grounds. We completely fell in love! Once arriving at the villa, it differs from the others as it’s all indoors, except for the pool, sundeck and bungalow, which became our favourite little spot.
You won’t have to, nor want to, leave the resort to get food as room service operates 24/7 and the food is definitely a reflection of the resort itself. For breakfast, alike the other places you can have it delivered to your room but for a $5 fee per person. We chose to venture out to the restaurant for once and enjoy it there (plus I wanted to get another look at the view there – so dreamy). There were options of American, Continental, Healthy or Indonesian breakfasts with entrees including waffles, fruit platters, and so on. Refills of everything too! They cut my toast into a circle to fit the plate so I think that says enough about the lengths they will go to.
Our last accommodation was also in Ubud, at the Sankara Resort, which is a hidden gem surrounded by a landscape of lush exotic plantations. From the moment we arrived, the staff made us feel right at home. The resort is actually set in the rice fields, and if you look outside your villa, you’ll find some right at your doorstep!
The resort itself is so peaceful and relaxing. If you’re coming to Ubud for an escape from the bustle, then Sankara might be for you as it is about a 10-15 minute drive from the town of Ubud. The resort has both rooms and villas, and after staying in one of their pool villas, I would highly recommend paying the extra for it! Although the resorts public pool is amazing, it doesn’t beat having your own. The deluxe pool villas even have their own infinity pools facing the rice fields. Magical.
Breakfast was served at their restaurant, which we really loved. It overlooks the pool area and is so beautiful when lit up at night. A little tip: make sure to try the mie goreng here! My boyfriend swears it was the best he had the whole trip (and trust me when I say he had a lot of mie goreng). It was such a lovely spot to spend our last few days in total tranquility just lounging around the pool and spa.