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Bali Map: Where to Stay & What to Do

Everything you need to know to plan your Bali trip from where to stay, what to do and where to avoid.

Last updated: 23 Feb 2024 - 11 min read
Bali Map: Where to Stay & What to Do

Most people are surprised by Bali's size, so it's important to plan where you'll stay carefully to avoid spending too much time in traffic. Choose to stay in a part of Bali that's close to the activities you want to do.

This Bali map and travel guide will introduce you to the different cities on the beautiful island of Bali, so you can plan your perfect trip!

Map of Bali

Map of Bali's key areas of interest.

Unlike other cities in Asia, Bali island is not one city but it’s actually a collection of multiple cities. It's so big that getting from one city in Bali (e.g. Canggu), to another city (e.g. Ubud) could take over-2 hours each way.

Overview of Bali Areas

  • South Bali (Canggu / Kuta / Seminyak / Denpasar / Uluwatu / Sanur): This is where the beaches are! If you're looking for partying, surfing or beach time, stay in the south. Also, if you're looking to do a day trip to Nusa Penida or you'd like to dive around Nusa Penida, stay in the South.
  • Central Bali (Ubud): Central Bali is where you'll find the iconic rice terrace views, wellness activities, local artisans and the best restaurants in town. It is also where most of the tourist attractions like Monkey Forest, Ubud Art Market and Campuhan Ridge Walk are. Ubud is our favourite place to base ourselves, as it's close to the more heartfelt East Bali and North Bali. Note that there are no beaches or clubs here!
  • East Bali (Sidemen / Tulamben / Amed): Even if you're staying in Ubud, we'd highly recommend a day trip to East Bali. It's a bit sleepy but a lot more authentic, and the true essence of Bali where everything moves slowly with respect to nature. Here you can craft with artisans and snorkel/dive to shipwrecks!
  • North Bali (Munduk / Kintamani): Up North is cooler and is where the volcanoes, ancient jungles and hidden waterfalls are. If you'd like to explore North Bali, stay in Ubud and do a day trip or two up north!

More details below on each area and highlights!

Top Tips on Getting Around

  • Airport Pick-up: If you need a pick-up from the Airport, the most convenient is to book a pick-up in advance, or get a Grab at the airport. Note that Gojek cannot pick you up directly from the airport terminal (you'll need to walk some distance to the pick-up point), so it's cheaper but less convenient.
  • Getting around: You can get around easily with Grab, Gojek or Bluebird taxi apps. These are very reliable and good value. If you would like to do a day trip, we'd recommend hiring a local driver for the day. A local driver can help you customise your itinerary, and ensure you get to places on time for your activities.
  • Google Maps: Note that Google Maps isn’t accurate in Bali due to traffic. For any ETA shown by Google Maps, double it to be safe! 

Bali's Complete Area Guide

1. Canggu 

Come to Canggu for aesthetic cafes, yoga, crowded beach clubs and beginner surfing.

Known for: Surfing, trendy cafes & beach bars, coworking spaces.

Top things to do in Canggu

  • Aerial Yoga at Udara Bali with beautiful sunset beach views
  • Beginner-friendly surfing (gets crowded though!)
  • Visit a local healer who descended from Balinese Kings
  • Visit a Chocolate Factory and learn about Balinese Farm-to-Table Chocolate (featured on Netflix’s Chef’s Table!) 
  • Farmers Market (La Brisa is famous but it’s ridiculously crowded. Instead go to the other one next door - Love Anchor, in front of Black Sand brewery)

Foodie Notes

  • The Canggu food scene is less about local Balinese food, and more western brunch spots - think IG-worthy avo toast and wood-fired pizzas. 
  • We’d recommend: Shelter Pererenan, Home by Wayan and 7AM Bakery.

2. Seminyak/Kuta

Come to Seminyak / Kuta if you're looking to party

Known for: Rowdy parties, beach clubs,  boutique shops, cafes and luxe hotels like the W Hotel.

Top Things to do in Seminyak / Kuta:

  • Shopping
  • Surfing (not very challenging) 
  • Chill at a luxe hotel
  • Party at a Beach Club. The well-known beach clubs such as Potato Head, Fins, Atlas and La Brisa are a bit overrated (and many of them have very strict rules). We prefer Mari Beach Club, and Sol at Pererenan. 

Foodie Notes: We don't love the food here, but there are some fancy restaurants & steakhouses here: Boy n cow, Sijin and Tagine.

3. Denpasar

Come to Denpasar to experience how locals really live in Bali's capital city.

Known for: Bali's capital city where the international airport is. Not popular for tourists.

Top Things to do in Denpasar:

  • Bali Museum
  • Head to famous Tanah Lot temple nearby (20km away)
  • Go shopping at Pasar Badung Market, Bali's largest outdoor market

Foodie Notes:

  • Many local restaurants (Balinese & Indonesian in general) are found here, mostly in Renon & Teuku Umar area.
  • Check out: Nasi Tempong Indra, Igor, Toko Seniman, Warung Mina.

4. Uluwatu 

Come to Uluwatu for the best surfing in Bali, glam beach clubs with epic sunsets and hidden beaches.

Known for: Advanced surfing, epic sunsets, gorgeous hidden beaches and kecak (fire dance) experience.

Top things to do in Uluwatu

  • All levels surfing at world-class waves
  • Watch Kecak dance 
  • Discover secret beaches - our favourites are: Green Bowl, Gunung Payung and Tegal Wangi. These are gorgeous and much less crowded than Canggu beaches!
  • Cool Beach Clubs on top of cliffs

Foodie Notes: 

  • We haven't found places that we love at Uluwatu, but The cave by Chef Ryan Clift at The edge and Mana Uluwatu may be worth trying if you're there.

5. Nusa Dua 

Come to Nusa Dua for fancy resorts and paragliding!

Known for: Fancy resorts and golf clubs. International conferences like G20 are held here.

Top Things to do in Nusa Dua:

Foodie Notes: 

  • Our favourite Babi Guling (Bali’s most famous local food!) is here - we'd highly recommend Warung Babi Guling Sari Dewi Bp. Dobil!
  • For Nasi Campur (mix rice), head to Bu Oki. 
  • Nusa Dua is also close to Jimbaran which has lots of beachside seafood restaurants. It’s pretty touristy but the vibe is quite nice enjoying seafood on the beach. 

6. Sanur 

Come to Sanur if you want a gateway to dive spots in Nusa Penida, or if you want to help with sea turtle conservation.

Known for: Super laid back atmosphere, popular with seniors & families, lots of Japanese restaurants. Gateway to Nusa Penida and many great dive spots.

Top Things to do in Sanur: 

Foodie Notes

  • There are lots of Japanese restaurants and yummy local food here. 
  • For Local Fried & Fish soup, head to Makbeng. For yummy Nasi Campur, head to Men Wetti

7. Nusa Penida

Come to Nusa Penida to see gorgeous viewpoints made popular by IG and swim / dive with Manta Rays.

Known for: Dramatic landscapes, gorgeous viewpoints (that can get crowded), Manta Rays and Mola Molas.

Top Things to do in Nusa Penida: 

  • Island hopping to see Kelingking Beach (T-Rex), Broken Beach and other IG-popular sites.
  • Visit local seaweed farms to see how locals live apart from tourism.
  • Visit Goa Giri Putri Temple, a huge and sacred Hindu temple you’ll need to crawl into.
  • Epic annual kite festival at Teletubbies Hill where locals compete with giant kites.
  • Stay overnight to really experience Bali before mass tourism. Nusa Penida is gorgeous without the crowds and the community vibes are strong.
  • Diving and snorkelling - you'll get to see large marine life like Manta Rays and Mola Molas if you're lucky! You'll need to be a strong swimmer as currents are strong.

Foodie Notes: Nusa Penida is still very underdeveloped and we haven’t found good restaurants here. 

Read More: Our Ultimate Guide to Nusa Penida

8. Nusa Lembongan 

Come to Nusa Lembongan if you're looking for an island day trip in Bali that's more accessible than Nusa Penida.

Known for: More accessible and developed alternative to Nusa Penida. But less pretty and adventurous!

Top Things to do in Nusa Lembongan: 

  • Kayak or boat around the huge mangrove forest.
  • Surf and yoga.
  • Snorkel and dive with Mantas and Mola Molas (rare!).
  • Visit Devil's Tears (a rock formation with dramatic crashing waves).
  • Walk across Yellow Bridge to neighbouring Nusa Ceningan.
  • Pair Nusa Lembongan with a day trip to Nusa Penida.

Foodie Notes:  We haven’t found good restaurants here

9. Ubud

Come to Ubud for rice paddy views, and a cool mix of adventure, nature and local culture.

Known for: Rice terrace views, best restaurants in town, craft artisans, cooking classes and perfect base for adventure trips.

Top Things to do in Ubud: 

Foodie Notes: 

  • Ubud has some of the best local and international restaurants in Bali - so if you’re a foodie, you should definitely come here
  • Upmarket restaurants: Nusantara (chic, modern Indonesian), Locavore (basically the Noma of Indonesia) 
  • Yummy local food: Try Nasi Ayam Kedewatan Ibu Mangku for the best local food! Warung Nuri is also yummy - the OG balinese bbq ribs

Read More: Top Things to Do in Ubud

10. Sidemen 

Come to Sidemen to experience what Ubud was like before Eat, Pray Love.

Known for: The sleepy little sister to Ubud, basically Ubud before mass tourism. Come here for rice fields, the true essence of Bali and artist villages.

Top Things to Do in Sidemen

  • Stay in a gorgeous villa (the treehouses you see in IG are found here!) 
  • Jewellery crafting with master local artisan. Many of the artisans have gotten priced out of Ubud and have moved to Sidemen.
  • Rice field trekking - less crowded and more authentic than Ubud. You'll also get to see authentic village life.
  • Vegan cooking class
  • Enjoy Volcano views! If you’re adventurous you can also use this as a base to climb Mount Agung, Bali’s tallest peak! 
  • Visit Besakih temple, the holiest and most important temple in Bali

Foodie Notes: We haven’t found good local food here.

11. Amed

Come to Amed for a slowly gentrifying fishermen village, with lush jungle on one side and seaside cafes and free diving on the other side.

Known for: Hipster fisherman village with chill seaside cafes, freediving and yoga retreats.

Top Things to do in Amed:

Foodie Notes:

  • There's a good seafood warung by Jemeluk Bay.
  • Check out Blue Earth Cafe for sunrise & yoga!

12. Tulamben

Come to Tulamben for a sleepy fishing village where you can snorkel and dive to WW2 shipwrecks.

Known for: Snorkelling/diving with shipwrecks. Sleepy fishermen village 30 mins north of Amed, that's more lowkey / authentic than Amed.

Top Things to Do in Tulamben:

Foodie Notes:

  • Head to Warung Wayan for the best local food!
  • We’d also recommend Bali Mula, a shaman in North Tulamben who offers a Farm-to-Table experience! 

13. Kintamani / Mount Batur 

Come to Kintamani for Mount Batur, beautiful Lake Batur and Trunyan Village, Bali's oldest village.

Known for: Mount Batur, Bali’s most popular active volcano. 

Top Things to Do in Kintamani: 

Foodie Notes : Mujair Nyat Nyat is a spicy Balinese style fish stew, and the best versions of this local dish are found in Kintamani! You should definitely try this dish when you’re in Kintamani. 

14. Munduk 

Come to Munduk for a real adventure! See ancient jungles, hidden epic waterfalls and explore a sacred lake.

Known for: Adventure! Cool weather, a sacred Hindu temple, gorgeous lake to canoe in, ancient jungles with towering trees and untouched waterfalls. 

Top Things to Do in Munduk: 

  • See gorgeous Lake Tamblingan (our favourite thing to do is to spend the night camping by the lake) 
  • Visit epic waterfalls (they’re epic and much cheaper than Sekumpul). The top ones are: Banyumala Twin Waterfalls, Munduk Waterfall, and Wanagiri Hidden Hills. Sekumpul, Bali's tallest waterfall, is also nearby.
  • Hike the ancient jungle.
  • Visit the sacred Ulun Danu Bratan Temple.

Foodie Notes: We haven’t found any foodie places in Munduk. 

15. Lovina

Lovina is a seaside town with black sand beach.

Known for: Aggressive Dolphin watching tours, Snorkeling and Diving.

Top Things to Do here: 

  • Dolphin watching boat trip. Note that we would strongly not recommend this as it feels like the boats are hunting down the dolphins, and it makes for a very unpleasant experience.
  • Hot Spring
  • Yoga retreats (seasonal)

Foodie Notes: We haven’t found any good foodie places here. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Area to Stay In?

  • For beaches and partying: stay at Canggu/Kuta/Seminyak. 
  • For hiking, nature, culture and key tourist areas: stay at Ubud.
  • For getting away from the crowds: head to Sidemen or Tulamben which are the sleepy essence of Bali before mass tourism.
  • For surfing: Uluwatu and Medewi (less crowded).
  • For diving: Head to Nusa Penida (Mola Molas and Manta Rays), Candidasa/Padangbai for lots of sharks, Tulamben for underwater photography/macros and Menjangan National Park for coral walls, calm waters and good visibility.
  • Regardless of where you stay in, we’d recommend spending a night at Nusa Penida which is gorgeous

How Many Days Should I Spend in Bali?

  • We’d recommend at least 8 days to really experience Bali, especially if you're a first time visitor.
  • If you have 8 days, you can spend 3 days in the South at Nusa Penida and chilling at beaches, and then spend 5 days in Ubud and up north where you can explore the tourist areas in Ubud, take in a cooking/art class, hike Mount Batur/Agung and do an adventurous day trip to Munduk. 
  • If you have longer (e.g. 2 weeks), you can explore beyond Bali to hike Ijen volcano (blue flames!), or take a boat to nearby Lombok and Gili Islands. If you're heading to Lombok, you'll need at least another week.

How Long Does it Take to Drive Across Bali?

  • From South Bali to North Bali - for example from Canggu to Mount Batur,  it’ll take 2.5 hours without traffic and 5-6 hours with traffic. This shows how long travel times can be in Bali since this isn’t even from one end of Bali to another! 

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