Where to stay in Bali for first time: 6 Safe areas

Bali is one of my favorite travel destinations in South East Asia. I visited Bali several times, both from Vietnam and Australia. In today’s article, I will help you to find the safest places to stay in Bali for first-time visitors.

I will share with you what I believe are the best and safest areas to stay in Bali for first-timers and tourists, along with a helpful map and areas to avoid. I’ll also share where I stayed in Bali and recommend some of the best hotels in Bali for visitors with various budgets.

Bali is a famous tourist destination in Asia between Java and Lombok. It is known for its beautiful beaches, iconic rice paddies, and volcanic mountains. 

The island is renowned for its traditional and modern dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metalworking, and music. It is also known for its yoga and meditation retreats.

Bali is home to numerous temples, with some of the most prominent ones being Tanah Lot, Uluwatu, Besakih, and Ulun Danu Beratan. These temples reflect the rich culture of the island.

The island has a variety of beaches catering to different preferences. Kuta Beach is known for its vibrant nightlife, while Seminyak offers a more upscale atmosphere. Uluwatu and Padang Padang are famous for surfing.

In central Bali lies Ubud, a famous town known for its traditional crafts and dance, rainforest and terraced rice paddies including The Tegallalang Rice Terraces.

Balinese cuisine is diverse, with influences from Indonesian, Indian, Chinese, and other Southeast Asian cuisines. Some popular dishes include Babi Guling (suckling pig), Bebek Betutu (slow-cooked duck), and Lawar (a traditional mix containing fine chopped meat, vegetables, grated coconut, and spices).

Bali is home to several volcanoes, including Mount Agung and Mount Batur. These volcanoes not only contribute to the island’s topography but also hold cultural significance for the Balinese people.

Is Bali Safe for tourists?

Yes, Bali is one of the safest places in South East Asia. But, like any travel destination, it’s essential to be aware of your surroundings and take common-sense precautions to ensure your safety.

It is recommended to be cautious of scams and touts. Be vigilant with your belongings, especially in crowded areas. Use hotel safes for valuables and avoid displaying expensive items in public.

The island is located in an area prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes and volcanic activity. So, you should be informed about local conditions, and follow safety instructions from local authorities.

Also Keep yourself updated on the current political and social situation in Bali. Respect the local culture and traditions. Dress modestly when visiting temples, and be mindful of local customs.

Where to stay in Bali for the first time?

The best and safest areas to stay in Bali for first-timers and tourists are Ubud, Kuta/Legian, Seminyak, Canggu, Sanur, and Uluwatu. It is always recommended to take care of your belongings and be aware of your surroundings regardless of the area you are in.

Ubud is one of the most popular areas in Bali for first-timers. Surrounded by lush landscapes and rice terraces, Ubud is known for its art galleries, traditional performances, and yoga studios. It’s a peaceful and safe area in central Bali and is a great base for  cultural experience. 

Kuta and Legian are known for their vibrant nightlife and are popular among young travelers. While it’s generally safe, the nightlife scene can be intense, and some caution is advised, especially late at night.

Seminyak is known for its upscale resorts, shopping, and dining. It’s popular among both tourists and expats. It’s generally safe, but like any tourist area, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded places.

Uluwatu is known for its cliffs, beaches, and the Uluwatu Temple. It’s generally safe, but like any coastal area, be cautious around cliffs and strong ocean currents.

Sanur is known for its calm beaches and family-friendly atmosphere. It’s generally considered safe and is a good choice for those looking for a more laid-back experience.

Canggu is a more relaxed area with a growing expat community. It’s known for its surf spots and hip cafes. It’s considered safe, but like anywhere, it’s good to take normal precautions.

During my trip to Bali, I spent 3 nights in Ubud and 3 nights in Kuta. In Ubud, I had a pleasant stay at the Dewangga Ubud. The hotel is located in a prime location, within walking distance from Ubud Palace and The sacred Monkey Forest. My room was spacious and clean. Breakfasts were delicious.

In Kuta, I stayed at Seahouse Bali Indah Beach Inn. It was a good value for money accommodation in a prime location. It was within walking distance from Kuta Beach, Legian Beach, and Kuta Art Market. The hotel provides paid airport shuttle service and comfortable rooms.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Bali for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the safe areas to stay in Bali first time
Map of the safe areas to stay in Bali first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Bali, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Bali have been carefully selected by me, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

6 Safe areas to stay in Bali for first-timers and tourists

1. Ubud

Ubud, without a doubt, is one of the best places to stay in Bali for the first visit. It is a popular choice for those seeking a cultural and artistic experience in Bali.

Ubud is known as the cultural heart of Bali, offering traditional dance performances, art galleries, and craft markets. You can visit the Ubud Palace and the nearby Saraswati Temple to experience Balinese architecture and cultural activities.

The Tegallalang Rice Terraces, located just north of Ubud, are iconic and provide stunning panoramic views. You can take a walk or hire a local guide to learn more about the rice cultivation process.

Another must see attraction is The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. It’s home to hundreds of playful long-tailed macaques, and the lush jungle setting adds to the enchanting atmosphere.

Ubud is also home to The Ubud Market, which is a vibrant place to shop for local handicrafts, textiles, and souvenirs. Bargaining is common, so be prepared to negotiate.

You can explore the nearby Campuhan Ridge Walk for scenic views of the landscape. Visit the Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave), the Tirta Empul water temple, or take a trip to Ayung River for rafting adventures.

Ubud is a hub for yoga and wellness retreats. Many resorts and studios offer yoga classes, meditation sessions, spa treatments, traditional Balinese massages and other holistic treatments.

You can try Balinese cuisine in numerous restaurants and warungs (local eateries). Be sure to taste the traditional dish called Babi Guling (suckling pig) and explore the local flavors.

Depending on the time of your visit, you may have the chance to experience local festivals, ceremonies, or art events.

Best places to stay in Bali in Ubud for first-timers:

  • Luxury ($$$): Royal Kamuela Villas & Suites at Monkey Forest Ubud, 5-star hotel, located in Ubud, the cultural hub of Bali, 10 mins walk from Monkey Forest. You can stay in a beautiful villa, enjoy a wonderful breakfast and a quiet location in lovely gardens.
  • Mid-range ($$): Adiwana Resort Jembawan, popular 4-star accommodation located in Ubud, easy distance from  Ubud Palace and Ubud Market. You can rent a bike from the hotel to explore the area. It has a spa center, an outdoor swimming pool, and yoga facilities.
  • Budget ($): Jati Cottage, 3-star accommodation located on  Jalan Jatayu Tebesaya, in the heart of Ubud, close to Yoga Barn, and various shops and restaurants. The hotel features a sun terrace, free parking, and excellent breakfast.

2. Kuta/Legian

Kuta and Legian are neighboring areas located on the southwestern coast of Bali, and they are well-known for their lively atmosphere, bustling nightlife, and accessible beaches. 

Kuta’s location near the Ngurah Rai International Airport makes it a convenient starting point for many visitors arriving in Bali.

Kuta Beach is one of Bali’s most famous beaches, attracting surfers and beach goers alike. Legian Beach, just to the north, offers a slightly quieter environment.

Kuta Beach is a popular spot for beginner surfers due to its consistent waves. Surf schools and rental shops are readily available. You can find various water activities along the coast, including parasailing, jet-skiing, and banana boat rides.

Kuta and Legian are renowned for their nightlife scene. Jalan Legian and the surrounding streets are filled with bars and clubs. Sky Garden Bali is a popular multi level nightclub in Kuta.

Kuta is a shopping hub with numerous markets, street stalls, and malls. Beachwalk Shopping Center in Kuta and Legian offers a mix of international and local brands.

Kuta and Legian offer a wide range of accommodations, including budget-friendly hotels, hostels, and guesthouses. This makes it a popular choice for backpackers and budget travelers.

Kuta is home to Waterbom Bali, a popular water park suitable for families and thrill-seekers alike.

Keep in mind that the nightlife can be lively and may not be suitable for travelers seeking a quieter experience.

Best places to stay in Bali in Kuta/Legian for first-timers:

  • Luxury ($$$): Hard Rock Hotel Bali, 5-star beachfront hotel, located along Kuta Beach. It has an onsite Jamie Oliver Kitchen and the signature Hard Rock Cafe. It is within walking distance from many restaurants, surf, shops, and massage places.
  • Mid-range ($$): Amnaya Resort Kuta, popular 4-star good value for money hotel, located close to Kuta Center and the airport. It has family rooms, paid airport shuttle service, Outdoor pool, free parking, and very good breakfast. 
  • Budget ($): Febri’s Hotel & Spa, great 3-star good value for money accommodation in Tuban, South Kuta Beach, easy distance from the Kartika Plaza main street, Waterbom Park, and Discovery Mall. Location away from hustle and bustle.

3. Seminyak

Seminyak is a chic and upscale area on the west coast of Bali, known for its sophisticated atmosphere, high-end resorts, fashionable beach clubs, and trendy boutiques. 

Seminyak offers a range of upscale resorts, boutique hotels, and private villas, making it a popular choice for travelers looking for a more luxurious stay.

Seminyak is home to some of Bali’s famous beach clubs, such as Potato Head Beach Club and Ku De Ta. These venues offer stylish settings, poolside lounging, and often host international DJs.

Seminyak is a shopping haven, with boutique stores featuring designer fashion, homeware, and unique local crafts. Seminyak Village and Seminyak Square are popular shopping destinations.

The area boasts a diverse and sophisticated culinary scene. Seminyak is home to numerous fine-dining restaurants, trendy cafes, and beachfront eateries offering international and Indonesian cuisine.

While not as bustling as Kuta, Seminyak has a vibrant nightlife scene with trendy bars, rooftop lounges, and beachfront clubs. The nightlife in Seminyak tends to be more upscale and relaxed.

You can enjoy breathtaking sunset views along Seminyak Beach. Some beachfront venues provide a perfect setting to unwind with a cocktail while watching the sunset.

Best places to stay in Bali in Seminyak for first-timers:

  • Luxury ($$$): Sampatti Villas, great 5-star hotel in a calm and quiet area in Seminyak, close to many restaurants and cafes including the famous Starbucks Dewata. It has 24-hour front desk, airport transportation, and free parking. 
  • Mid-range ($$): Annora Villas Seminyak, great 4-star accommodation located north of Kuta within 5 mins walk of Seminyak Beach, short taxi drive from Petitenget Beach, Petitenget Temple, and Seminyak Square. You can find the famous Gado Gado Restaurant nearby.
  • Budget ($): Grandmas Plus Hotel Seminyak, popular 3-star hotel, situated within a short walk from Seminyak Beach. Easy access to  shops, restaurants, and nightlife. 

4. Canggu

Canggu is a coastal village and a rapidly growing area on the southwest coast of Bali. Known for its laid-back atmosphere, vibrant expat community, Canggu has become a popular destination for surfers, digital nomads, and those seeking a bohemian vibe. 

Canggu is a renowned surfing destination with consistent waves, making it attractive to surfers of all levels. Echo Beach is a popular spot, and there are several surf schools offering lessons.

The atmosphere in Canggu is more relaxed and bohemian compared to the busier areas like Kuta and Seminyak. You’ll find a mix of trendy cafes, beach clubs, and street art.

Canggu is home to a diverse range of cafes and restaurants, catering to different tastes. From healthy smoothie bowls to international cuisine, you’ll find a variety of dining options.

Some well-known beach clubs, such as Finns Beach Club and La Brisa, offer beachfront settings, poolside lounging, and a lively atmosphere.

Canggu has become a popular destination for digital nomads. Many cafes and coworking spaces provide a comfortable environment for remote work.

Unlike the more urban areas in Bali, Canggu has retained much of its rural charm with scenic rice terraces. Take a stroll or bike ride through the lush landscapes.

Explore the local markets in Canggu for unique handmade goods, clothing, and accessories. The Love Anchor Canggu is a popular market venue.

Canggu has a thriving yoga scene with numerous studios offering classes for all levels. The tranquil surroundings make it an ideal place for yoga enthusiasts.

Best places to stay in Bali in Canggu for first-time tourists:

  • Luxury ($$$): Lalasa Villas Canggu, 5-star accommodation located in the tranquil Canggu area, within walking distance from Berawa Beach. You can choose to stay in villas with private outdoor swimming pools.  Close to many great restaurants and shops and a supermarket.
  • Mid-range ($$): Amandaya Canggu, 4-star accommodation in a quiet area of Canggu, featuring an outdoor swimming pool, luggage storage space, and family rooms. Easy access to the beaches including the Nelayan Beach and Berawa Beach.
  • Budget ($): The Calmtree Bungalows, a popular 3-star hotel in Canggu, a short distance from  Canggu Beach and Echo Beach. You can stay in wooden bungalows with air conditioning.  

5. Sanur

Sanur is a coastal town located on the southeastern side of Bali. It is known for its relaxed and family-friendly atmosphere, making it a great base for a quieter beach experience.

Sanur Beach offers a long stretch of calm and shallow waters, making it suitable for swimming, snorkeling. The beach path, known as the Sanur Promenade, is ideal for leisurely walks or bike rides.

Sanur is a great place for various water activities such as snorkeling, paddleboarding, and kayaking. The coral reef just offshore provides opportunities for underwater exploration.

You can visit the Le Mayeur Museum to see the works of Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur, Belgian artist who lived in Sanur. The museum is located in the artist’s former residence.

The area is also home to the historical Blanjong Inscription, an ancient stone pillar with inscriptions dating back to the 10th century.

There are the traditional markets in Sanur, such as Sindhu Market, where you can find local crafts, textiles, and fresh produce.

You can experience walking on the seabed with Bali Seawalker, a unique underwater activity that allows you to explore marine life without diving.

Sanur has a variety of restaurants offering both local and international cuisine. Try fresh seafood in beachfront warungs or explore the local flavors in the night markets.

Sanur is renowned for its beautiful sunrise views over the ocean. Many beachfront accommodations provide a perfect vantage point to enjoy the sunrise.

If you visit in August, you might catch the annual Sanur Village Festival, which features cultural performances, art exhibitions, and a jazz festival.

Best places to stay in Bali in Sanur for first-time visitors:

  • Luxury ($$$): Andaz Bali – a Concept by Hyatt, great 5-star beachfront resort in Sanur. You can rent a bike at the hotel to explore the beach area.
  • Mid-range ($$): Holiday Inn Bali Sanur, an IHG Hotel, 4-star hotel located a min walk from Semawang Beach. It has a 24-hour front desk, Outdoor swimming pool, and free parking for those who drive.
  • Budget ($): Asoka Hotel & Suite, 3-star sustainable homestay in Sanur, located  within easy walking distance from the beach. It is around a 250R taxi ride from the airport. 

6. Uluwatu

Uluwatu is a scenic and picturesque area located on the southwestern tip of the Bukit Peninsula. It is famous for its dramatic cliffs, stunning ocean views, and renowned surf breaks.

The Uluwatu Temple is a must-visit Balinese sea temple perched on a steep cliff, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the Indian Ocean. The temple is also famous for its traditional Kecak dance performances at sunset.

Uluwatu is a world-famous surf destination, attracting surfers from around the globe. The waves at Uluwatu, Padang Padang, and Bingin are known for their quality and consistency.

You can explore the beautiful beaches surrounding Uluwatu, such as Padang Padang and Bingin Beach. These beaches offer white sand, clear waters, and excellent surfing conditions.

Uluwatu is home to several cliffside bars and restaurants with panoramic ocean views. Single Fin, Rock Bar, and Omnia Dayclub are popular spots to enjoy the scenery, sunset, and live music.

The western-facing cliffs of Uluwatu provide some of the best sunset views on the island. The Uluwatu Temple and nearby venues offer a spectacular setting to witness the sun setting over the Indian Ocean.

Suluban Beach, also known as Blue Point Beach, is accessed through a cave and offers unique rock formations and great surfing conditions. It’s a favorite spot for both surfers and beachgoers.

Best places to stay in Bali in Uluwatu for tourists:


In conclusion, Ubud, Kuta/Legian, Seminyak, Canggu, Sanur, and Uluwatu are the safest places to stay in Bali for first-timers and tourists. Always make sure to check recent reviews when booking your accommodations no matter where you stay.

You can continue reading these posts about Bali and other destinations in Indonesia:

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safest neighborhoods that you can stay during your first trip to Bali. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

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