A jewel-shaped island in the heart of the Indonesian archipelago, Bali is unquestionably the country’s biggest holiday destination. It beckons surfers with gnarly reef breaks and glassy rollers between Kuta and the Bukit Peninsula. It tempts culture vultures with mystical and ancient Hindu shrines. It calls to foodies with peanut-topped gado gado salads and tempeh skewers and kopi luwak coffee (the most expensive on Earth, apparently). Yep, Bali is a land where you can laze on the beachfront, carve up waves, hike smoke-belching volcanos, be pampered in spas, and party the nights away. It’s whatever you want it to be.
Airbnb in Bali offers a whole load of rental options and accommodation types between the surf-washed beaches and the emerald rice paddies of the so-called Isle of the Gods. They run the gamut from budget-friendly hostels to chic pads with fibre internet aimed at digital nomads. There’s also an abundance of family villas with pools and chic apartments close to the happening walks of areas like Kuta and Seminyak. Let’s take a closer look…
There are no laws against using Airbnb on the island of Bali. Go ahead and get booking those deluxe villas down by the shores of Kuta. Start searching for your timber-built cabanas amidst the misty jungles of Ubud. The local government does ask that all owners register their properties. But that’s on them, not you. It’s also easy to check that everything’s above board. The information will either be noted in the description of the listing online, or you can simply message your host to double check. Also bear in mind that you might be asked to present an ID on arrival and pay a local tourist tax, just as you would in a hotel.
Where should I stay in Bali Airbnb?
Bali is a big island. Most travelers set their sights on the south coast. Famous resorts and surf towns there include Kuta(1) – the liveliest of the lot – and Seminyak(2) – mainly reserved for luxury seekers. There’s also Canggu(3) a tad further west, where digital nomads and flashpackers are the resident crowd. Those dreaming of the iconic surf breaks that bless Bali’s coastline throughout the year should look to Bingin Beach(4) and the Bukit Peninsula that’s even further south. Alternatively, there’s the eco-friendly Airbnb offering amid the yoga studios and art galleries of Ubud(5), the romantic stays in Lovina(6) up north, and the less-trodden beach villas around Padangbai(7). More five-star luxury awaits over in Nusa Dua (8), close to arguably the most beautiful sands on the whole isle.
Great for learning to surf
Kuta is the heady, hedonistic hub of south Bali. The stomping ground of partiers, Aussie surfers, backpackers, and stag dos, it’s the place to go if you’re looking to let loose and spend your evenings glugging bucket cocktails and beers. The town is a maze of winding alleys barely big enough to fit the stream of scooters that purr this way and that. Much of it is dominated by traveler hotels and warung (traditional Indonesian kitchens), along with ramshackle markets that sell knock-off fashion wear and surf gear. Talking of surf…Kuta Beach is famed around the globe as one of the top spots to learn the sport, thanks mainly to its small and manageable waves. After ocean sessions, the action shifts to Legian Road, where Sky Bar and the Engine Room rumble until the early hours.
Skirt the Bali coastline north-west from Kuta and you’ll soon come to the refined and luxury enclave of Seminyak. This is where the backpacker pubs drop off and chic Balinese spas and five-star hotels begin to adorn the streets. It’s long been a vacationer’s mecca, mainly for the yellow-sanded beachfront that goes for a whopping 2,000 metres along the shore. That’s laced with uber-cool beach bars that become a hubbub of life at the sunset hour. It’s also a good surf spot for beginners and intermediates.
Canggu seems to have been ordained as the heir apparent to Thailand’s Chiang Mai sometime in the last decade, crowning it as the digital nomad hub of Southeast Asia. Cue countless Scandi-cool cafés and organic eateries serving chia-topped poke bowls and veggie burgers. Cue oodles of artisan bakers, co-working hubs and roastery cafes. The district extends a long way inland, through an ever-dwindling patch of rice paddies. However, the hub of it all is Batu Bolong Beach, which touts some great surf points and a happening nightlife scene.
Anyone heading to Indo with their board in tow might want to consider an Airbnb in Bingin or vicinity. Cascading down a high cliff on the side of the Bukit Peninsula, the little coast village is surrounded by some of the most famous surf breaks on the island – and that’s seriously saying something in Bali! A fast, left-hand reef fronts the town itself, while the iconic sets of Uluwatu and Padang Padang are just around the headland. When you’re done on the waves, the little warung taverns by the shore have rickety decks, cold beers, fried rice and fantastic views of the sunset.
Flanked by lush rice paddies and misty jungles, Ubud is like a long-lost Shangri-La up in the rising mountains of south Bali. That said, it’s still pretty easy to get to – around 40 minutes’ transfer from the airport in Denpasar should do it. Then, you can spend your holiday wandering between the colossal teak trees and half-crumbled Hindu temples of the Money Forest, or haggling for traditional batik fabrics and Balinese carvings in the town’s bazaar. The vibe in Ubud is more laid-back and relaxed than down on the coast – this is the island’s yoga, wellness, and artistic hub, after all.
Calling all honeymooners and relaxation seekers, Lovina whisks you away from the hubbub of backpackers and partiers in the south of Bali to the chilled-out northern regencies. It spills down to a shoreline that’s hemmed with black-sand beaches and watched over by craggy volcanic peaks. You’ll find oodles of space to lay the towel and gaze at the local fishermen bobbing on their boats. But there are also mystical Buddhist and Hindu shrines to fill the days, along with waterfalls and – get ready for this – dolphin-watching cruises!
Padangbai is a small but bustling ferry and fishing port on the eastern edge of Bali. It’s one of the prime gateways to the fabled white-sand islands of the Gilis. But you don’t need to venture to those to make the most of the Indonesian coastline. To the south of Padangbai itself is stunning Bias Tugel Beach, and then mile after mile of brooding black-sand beaches. Closer to the port, you’ll find fantastic dive schools and fishing outfitters, along with beer bars where you can sit with views of Lombok’s soaring Mount Rinjani across the strait.
Treat yourself and your travel crew by picking an Airbnb in Bali down on the golden sands of Nusa Dua. This is Bali’s jet-setter enclave, where five-star spa resorts, manicured golf courses, and chic beach clubs with infinity pools but right up to the sky-blue Indian Ocean. There’s a luxury touch to many of the rentals in these parts, but be warned: You’re sure to pay extra. In addition to sun-splashed sands, Nusa Dua is flanked by some of the best dry-season surf breaks on the island.
Not far from the main surf beach in Canggu and hemmed in by oodles of cafés, bakeries, and eco kitchens, this modern apartment on the Bali south coast is perfect for all sorts of travelers. It totals 50 square metres, which includes a bright lounge come reading nook and a large bedroom with a king-sized bed. There’s also a small kitchenette and stylish modern bathroom, along with a dedicated working desk (hello digital nomads!).
Thatched roofs and timber beams abound in this classic Balinese villa. It sits out in the rice paddies around the artsy town of Ubud, offering an escape to nature that’s still under 10 minutes by car from the bars and galleries. Inside, there’s an open-plan living space with understated luxury running through the kitchen and lounge – think polished concrete and glazed-oak surfaces. Bedrooms are big and breezy, with stunning views of the grassy fields and forests outside.
Smack dab in the heart of stylish Seminyak is where you’ll find this entire standalone villa. It’s built with traditional Balinese architecture in mind, with just a twist of modernism – get ready for colonial-styled porticos bolstered by air conditioning and Scandi-cool lounges. The piece de resistance is surely the garden area. It’s completely enclosed by vines and overhanding palm trees, hiding its own dark-tile pool and al fresco dining areas.
Live like the 1% on your holiday to Bali this year by opting for this grand and gorgeous villa. It’s a gleaming white mansion set over two stories and a sprawling garden. It counts eight individual bedrooms, all ensuite, and even comes with a dedicated staff, who offer massages in the al fresco gazebo and organised tours at an extra price. Still not convinced? Just check out that pool!
You won’t have to go very far to check if the surf is pumping if you book this clifftop villa in Bingin – the breaks roll out down the bay just below! And when you’re done ripping up the barrels, you get to return to an uber-luxurious flat that has sun-kissed sunset terraces and gorgeous interiors of stripped-down minimalist design.
Under the gaze of the smoking volcanos of north Bali, between emerald rice paddies and pockets of lanky palm trees, these stunning bamboo houses are the perfect place to escape to with your other half. They’re all about immersing yourself in the wilds of the tropics, something that’s made easier by the presence of panoramic windows, outdoor hammock-terraces, and gardens with front-row seats over the farm fields.
That really all depends on what you’re after. There are certainly some budget-bolstering deals on offer when it comes to Airbnbs on the Isle of the Gods, but you can also pay lots for the most luxurious sea-view villas. Generally speaking, Airbnbs will be cheaper than hotels and resorts, but mainly because they let you share the cost of your stay by booking a whole pad for your entire crew, come with generous long-term discounts, and offer money-saving features like self-catering kitchens.
Unless you bag an Airbnb with dedicated staff, or a private room in a resort via the platform, you will have to bear in mind that you won’t get the same service as in a hotel. To wake to cooked breakfast buffets, have daily housekeeping, room service and all that jazz, somewhere like the Park Regis Kuta Hotel could be a good choice. It’s in the most happening, hedonistic corner of the island, has a huge pool and all the extras you’d expect of a resort establishment.