Kuta is the most famous tourist destination in Bali. Despite having turned into a rather over-commercialized haven for young backpackers in skimpy outfits, the city remains one of the biggest attractions on the island.
Kuta’s popularity stems from its discovery by tourists as a surfers’ haven. The popular sandy beach on the Indian Ocean is five kilometers long. Though surfing is still possible here, most serious surfers have moved to less frenetic destinations.
Kuta offers reasonable infrastructure for the tourist industry but some parts of the town remains fairly rugged. There is plenty of accommodation, dining, shopping and internet access. After the sun goes down, Kuta becomes the party hub of Bali.
A great place to really get away from the boorish tourism of Kuta is the central Bali town of Ubud. Considered the cultural heart of Bali, Ubud is a tasty destination in many ways.
Ubud enjoys a real air of spirituality. Temples and monasteries have been built in the town for hundreds of years. Today, they offer a unique mix of history, arts, culture and spiritual energy.
A cave complex at Goa Gajah, just outside Ubud, was turned into temples in the 9th century. Exotic demonstrations of dance and music are held regularly in Ubud.
The appeal of Ubud is further underpinned by the fact that the town has some of the best food found in Bali. Lodging in and around Ubud is available in everything from cozy family inns to upmarket resorts. The town even has an excellent supply of spas.
A small town that runs along the beach from Kuta to Seminyak, Legian represents a smooth segue from Kuta’s simple, noisy, crowded partyland to the relaxed, expensive tastes of Seminyak.
Legian offers visitors easy access to the amenities of Kuta with a gentler atmosphere. Hotels here are less pricey than up the road in Seminyak but the town is also less noisy than the big tourist destination of Kuta.
Legian’s upmarket neighbor, this town north of Legian is mostly filled with high-end resorts and other luxury accommodation, expensive restaurants and pricey bars.
The feel is notably more sophisticated than you’ll find in Kuta. Legian is home to many fine spas and is the island’s luxury-shopping capital. Both the town and the beach are much more relaxed than Kuta.
A peaceful area located in the southeast corner of Bali, Amed offers the chance to get away from the noise of more popular destinations. A bunch of quiet fishing villages dot the area and tourists should find plenty of hotels and restaurants.
The least-visited part of Bali, the area is home to the cities of Gilimanuk and Negara. Several beaches are found on the north and south coasts of this little peninsula which stretches west, towards Java.
The beaches to the north offer placid seas ideal for diving. The beaches in the south have rougher seas and several great surf breaks are located here. Relatively few tourists come to this part of Bali, which makes it a great place to head of you’re looking to get away from the crowds. Access to Java is also good.
A peaceful town on the coast of North Bali, Lovina is home to a range of narrow beaches of black sand. The waters here are relatively placid, which nicely matches the slow, quiet pace of local life.
For those who find Bali too famous and busy, this small island off Bali’s southeast coast still offers a chance to enjoy a bit of the way Bali was when tourists first came here decades ago. You’ll have to move quickly, though – even this idyllic paradise risks being properly ‘discovered’.
Some upmarket resorts have sprung up on Nusa Lembongan but for the most part, accommodation is relatively simple. The views across the blue-green waters, with Bali’s mountains in the background, are stunning. Two of the world’s greatest surf breaks are located just off Nusa Lembongan.
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