To guide you through your stay in Bali, we describe for you the different areas in Bali with all the activities to do there. At the end, you will see that Bali is very different from a place to an other and what makes the beauty of this island.
- Kuta & Legian
Kuta and Legian are busy mass tourism areas generally for the low to middle budget tourist. As the area is open to the Balinese, there are some notably good restaurants and shops, although much is about being loud while devouring beer and chips. Several department and retail stores offer a good selection of goods at low prices for those who need their retail therapy and one could even bargain for vouchers or discounts, however much is about rip-off fakes and tacky Indonesian / Balinese “art”.
Pluses: Some truly Balinese accommodations providers, a great range of restaurants and shops, the occasional authentic cultural show, a very short distance from the airport so a good starting point for people who want to go walkabout. Superb beach.
Minuses: Unbearable numbers of street pimps offering drugs and women, aggressive salespeople both on the street and in shops, a multitude of crooks (from money changers to timeshare sellers), loud often offensive tourists.
Sanur is generally a middle budget tourism area which straddles a long road lined with shops, restaurants and bars. Less built up and in some ways a little more upmarket than Kuta / Legian but without the range and even quality of places to shop, eat and drink. The beach has long suffered from erosion when they used the coral for cement, polluted seas from untreated sewerage and in areas as a rubbish dump where locals drop litter where they stand.
Pluses: A generally much quieter area than Kuta / Legian and with fewer aggressive sellers along the shopping areas. Some very nice Balinese friendly hotels operate here and you can still see authentic Balinese cultural shows.
Minuses: One of the worst beaches for a tropical island (dirty, polluted, often smelly and a haven for both hawkers and sex workers). Very close to the noisy, smelly bypass road with some of the filthiest malariaand dengue carrying mosquito heaven drainage ditches you can “hope” to find.
Something for everyone including authentic Balinese culture and art, but without a beach. Ubud has everything from backpacker homestays to luxury resorts; though some of the later are at odds with the local populous. Almost nightly cultural performances and some excellent restaurants, a plethora of art with some actually worthwhile and at good prices. A generally very laid back and friendly atmosphere, a chance to get to know real Balinese. Pluses: Often described as the “Real Bali” as rightfully so. Prices for cheap tourist art generally much lower here than in the beach areas further south. A good base for getting out to see the often spectacular Balinese countryside and local crafts villages. Plenty of activities, plenty of authentic Balinese food, often much cooler than the resort areas further south. Minuses: Very few though chose your hotel area wisely as some parts of Ubud may appeal more to young singles and couples. Ubud often “enjoys” sustained torrential downpours during the low / wet season.
- Seminyak to Canggu
Seminyak, lots of designer (often illegal) villas, bespoke luxury resorts and lauded restaurants. A bit remote for many given the number of neighbors hardly makes Seminyak a “Balinese get away from it all” any longer. Where Seminyak adjoins Legian,there is some shopping and other tourist facilities, otherwise an over-developed green zone which has lost its sparkle. Great beach but highly dangerous waves and rip tides makes walking a pleasure, swimming suicidal.
Pluses: Generally upmarket with a huge range of accommodation styles and choice, relatively close proximity wise to shopping in Kuta and Legian. Great beach with large waves breaking almost yearly. Some of the more upmarket restaurants in Bali.
Minuses: Pretentious expatriates and visitors frequently spoil the atmosphere in restaurants; some restaurants are pretentious anyway; some upmarket restaurants have hygiene problem. Many villas here have been built illegally and operate without the necessary licenses, so you may come unstuck if you are not careful.