Best Bali Location For You?
Our villas are located all around Bali, and although each villa offers the same level of service, each location offers quite different experiences and things to do. If you are not sure which location is right for you, have a look below at our quick summary that we hope will help you.
Seminyak – 30 minutes North West from Airport
Seminyak has for several years now been the most popular location for visitors to Bali, and many come back year after year. Seminyak (and Kuta/Legian that are just to the South) is the most built up area of Bali, with loads of restaurants, bars, shops all topped off with a huge wide flat beach that stretches all the way up to Echo Beach. The beach is great for walking and surfing but not great for kids or swimming though (except at low tide). Seminyak is the place for sitting back and enjoying sunset drinks (if your budget allows it) at one of the mega-restaurants on beach such as Ku-De-Ta, Samaya or Potatohead. It is also the place for shopping with loads of great independent clothes and art and craft and furniture shops all along Jalan Petitenget / Jalan Laksmana and Jalan Legian. For families Seminyak is the place for water parks, paintball, sports and surfing/boogie boarding or catching a film at the cinema, and also for useful services like child-care, indoor play areas and on a more sober note, for the best doctors and hospitals. It is also easy to arrange tours to almost any other attraction in Bali from Seminyak.
The downside of all this popularity of course is traffic and crowds and noise, which can make the centre of Seminyak very busy during the summer and xmas/new year seasons, and also costs, with some of the most expensive/striking places to have a beer being in Seminyak. On the plus side Villa Rene and our other villas in this area are both located in lovely quiet back street, an easy walk to the beach and restaurants such as Hog’s Wild, Watercress, Tropicola and 707.
Also our villas are on the northern edge of Seminyak, and so there are still some laid back warungs with cheap eats/drinks right on the beach and close by Villa Rene, and it is also easier to get out of Seminyak to see great cultural sites such as Tanah Lot temple.
Canggu/Batu Bolong/Tanah Lot Area – 60 minutes North West from Airport
Canggu is to the North West of Seminyak, and in the past few years has increasingly become a destination in its own right. It is now the cafe culture capital of Bali, with a huge variety of interesting and varies places to shop, eat, drink and increasingly go out as well, particularly around the rapidly expanding Batu Bolong area (which is close to where Villa Wiljoba is located). The surfing scene is still strong though, with Batu Bolong one of the best beaches for beginners, and there are still laid back beach side surf bars and BBQs at Echo Beach, but now increasingly people head to the ever increasing variety of beach bars varying from the laid back and local to the mega such as Finns Beach Club and LV8.
However here are still rice field views and open spaces in Canggu, particularly away from the coast. Also the spectacular Tanah Lot temple is close by. For families apart from the beach, there is horse riding, and a great range of indoor and outdoor sports and activities at the Finns Rec Club, including Splash Waterpark, Bounce Trampolining, Strike Bowling and Cubby House kids soft play area.
The downside of Canggu is that the road infrastructure is clearly inadequate for all the development that has happened, and so expect to take longer than expected to get around, particularly by car. Also there are often regular building works in this area.
The beach here is great for long walks and surfing, but is not suitable for other activities such as swimming, snorkeling or paddling for small kids.
Sanur – 30 Minutes North From Airport
Sanur has a very different feel to other beach locations in Bali. Firstly it is just about the only beach facing East in Bali, and is fringed by a reef, which means calm, flat seas, no currents and very gently sloping white sand beaches – ideal for small kids or guests who are not confident swimming. The whole 8 kilometre length of Sanur Beach has a paved tree-lined and mostly shady, path right along the beach, that is not open to traffic, and so is ideal for walking or cycling (bikes are readily available for hire). All the way along there are a variety of great restaurants and bars and small stalls selling the typical stuff you find on a beach! The centre of Sanur has even more variety of restaurants and shops, and Sanur also rarely suffers from the traffic issues that Seminyak/Canggu can sometimes face. Also Mertasari Beach at the Southern end of Sanur is the site for kite festivals in July – quite spectacular to see if you are staying there then. Sanur is also the location of one of the main golf courses in Bali – just a few minutes from Villa Mata Hari Terbit.
All of these factors also make Sanur a popular place for long term expatriates to live, particularly as a couple of the main international schools are nearby.
Having said that Sanur beach can get crowded, particularly at weekends as the Balinese from Denpasar city escape the heat – but at the same time it also has a much more local and genuine Balinese/Indonesian feel (hence the kite flying for example) . Also the beach itself was redeveloped (including the addition of the cycle path) so it is not a picturesque beach like those down on the Bukit, but more practical with regular groins/jettys, and the gentle slope of the beach, also means that at high tide, the beach shrinks in size considerably.
Tegal Besar Beach – 60 minutes North East from Airport
Tegal Besar Beach is a black sand beach that stretches for several miles from the North of Sanur, most of the way to East Bali. If you want to fall asleep with the sound of crashing waves, enjoy some fantastic views out over the ocean, swim in a spectacular infinity pool, and then enjoy some great food at the villa with friends and family then this is the location for you.
Also the location means it is easy to get in a car and go to Sanur, Ubud, Padang Bai or Candidasa, all within an easy and picturesque 30 to 45 minute drive from Tegal Besar, and with our staff on hand to drive you with the villa car, or organise transport, it is easy to get out and about for a day. Nearby attractions include Bali Marine and Safari Park, that is just a few minutes drive away, but also surfing at Keramas just 10 minutes away.
However this area is almost the complete opposite of Seminyak. While there are some really nice cafes within a short drive of Tegal Besar, locally there is just a local village in Tegal Besar itself, making this a location to sit back and relax with family and friends, enjoy everything our great villas here have to offer, and just get away from it all.
Also the beach here is black sand and sometimes has crashing waves – very picturesque, and interesting for walks, but it can be less good for swimming.
Jimbaran/Bukit Area – 20 minutes South from Airport
Jimbaran lies on a lovely sweeping bay, directly south of the airport, with wide white sand beach, and lots of laid back seafood restaurants with chairs and tables right on the beach, and at the far Northern end there is still a working fish market, giving Jimbaran a very different feel to Seminyak. Further south from Jimbaran lies the cliffs and beaches of the “Bukit” (literally “hill” in Indonesian). Here there are some great public beaches all with their own flavour such as Balangan Beach (laid back and local); the picturesque Padang/Padang beach (from Eat, Pray, Love fame) and the calming and warm waters of Geger beach with its 5 star hotels and restaurants. There are many idyllic pure white sand beaches (some with expensive but great beach clubs) and smart hotels and cliff top restaurants and bars (similar to Seminyak but with views) and also some great cultural attractions including the spectacular Uluwatu temple (complete with atmostpheric kecak dance at sunset on the cliff top) and the GWK cultural centre with all types of Balinese dance, set in an atmostpheric location in an old quarry.
For golfers there are the world class New Kuta Golf Course (host of the European Open) and Bali National Golf course down at Nusa Dua. For the more adventurous there are waterparks, great paragliding off the cliffs, water sports at Benoa and of course all the attractions of Nusa Dua and Kuta are only a short drive away.
The Bukit area though is nowhere near as green as the rest of Bali as it is made of limestone, and so the water runs away easily, and so walking is not recommended, and it is better to get around by car or taxi. Also, similar to Seminyak, Jimbaran/Bukit with a couple of exceptions, has less of the Balinese culture that can be experienced more readily in other areas of Bali, such as Ubud.
Ubud Area – 90 minutes North East from Airport
(Closest Villas: Villa Kalisha -Best Alternative Villa: None)
Ubud is known as the cultural heart of Bali, and for good reason, with some of the largest and most spectacular ceremonies taking place in and around Ubud, and some of the most significant temples and palaces close by including Tirta Empul; Gunung Kawi and Goa Gajah as well as in Ubud itself, the Monkey Forest Temple (great for the kids to see monkeys – but be careful) and Ubud Palace. There are also there are cultural events and dances in Ubud every evening. Close to Ubud there are beautiful rice fields and walks, and all of these attractions have bought artists, and art galleries to Ubud, as well as notable restaurants and interesting shops and most recently the fascinating eco-built Green School. There are also increasing numbers of modern attractions with Bali Zoo, Bali Bird Park and the Elephant Park at Taro all close by to Ubud. Like Seminyak though, central Ubud can suffer from traffic and crowds, and for me the real attractions of the area actually lie outside of Ubud, particularly around Villa Kalisha where traditional village life (and all the staff at Villa Kalisha come from local villages), and beautiful scenery combine to make it feel like you are stepping back to a more relaxed, simple time.
Candidasa/East Bali Area – 90 minutes East from Airport
East Bali (and its main town for tourists – Candidasa) is one of the less developed areas of Bali, and it still retains a relaxed, easy going feel. This is the place to get away from the crowds; relax, and enjoy the calm clear blue waters that make this area of Bali the best for diving and snorkeling, and also for kids for playing on the beach, swimming and paddling. Candidasa is pleasant town, with some laid back, ocean front bars and restaurants, many of which let the kids play in the pool while you eat, and it is a good jumping off place to experience all that East Bali has to offer. Some of the foremost of Bali’s cultural attractions are close by, including the Besakih Mother Temple and Goa Lawah (the “Bat Cave” temple, and second most important temple in Bali) as well as the Tirta Gangga Water Palace (take your swimming costume to swim in the beautifully ornate public swimming baths with the fish in crystal clear water) and the interesting walled medieval village of Tenganan. All around in the countryside are beautiful rice field views and walks (Kastala to Tenganan is a personal favourite) and of course views of the largest volcano in Bali, Gunung Agung. Increasingly there are more modern attractions as well, including of course Bali Marine and Safari Park (which also has a good but underused waterpark and a great cultural show) and the Odyssey Submarine trip (a real submarine trip down to 30m around the bay where Villa Talia Vashti / Villa Anjani are situation – great although it is expensive).
Lovina/North Bali – 210 minutes North from Airport
Lovina is a laid back beach resort, stretched along the main road West from Singaraja on the North Coast of Bali with a black/sand and pebble beach . It is a pleasant laid back place, with some nice restaurants and bars looking out over the sea, and an easy going charm. There is some diving and snorkeling, but it is rather limited compared to East Bali or Menjangan (another 75 minutes drive to the North West). Around Lovina there are some nice waterfalls and walks to and from them on the winding road through the mountains from the South of Bali, and other attractions include the (in)famous Melka Excelsior hotel where you can swim with dolphins in what is basically a large swimming pool.
While Lovina/North Bali has quite a lot to recommend it, in our view East Bali and Candidasa offer pretty much everything tha Lovina does, and much more besides (particularly culturally and beneath the waves) and also does not have the extremely long drive from the airport. As a result we do not at the moment have any villas listed on our site in the Lovina area, and would recommend that if you are interested in this area you have a look at our villas in Candidasa, Villa Talia Vashti/Villa Anjani.