Every backpacker should have Bali on their bucket list! Because who doesn’t want to relax on the beach, explore hidden temples, and party the night away? There is no shortage of things to do in Bali. Along with excellent hostels and hotels, it is the ultimate destination for every type of traveler.
When it comes to cities, Bali isn’t very conventional. Its cities and regions are full of rice paddles, colorful markets, historic temples, and exotic marine life. Some cities are perfect for nightlife, while others are great for those looking to relax. So, which are best for your budget and bucket list? Let’s dive in!
Before we explore my five bucket list cities in detail, let’s check out a few commonly asked questions people ask when thinking about traveling to Bail.
Is Bali suitable for backpackers and digital nomads?
The simple answer is yes. The Indonesian hotspot offers affordable accommodations, great connectivity for work, as well as cheap, delicious eats! On top of that there's always lots to do.
In Bali, you can start your adventure on a budget and stick to it. However, to ensure you stay on track with your spending, you must be open to doing free activities, eating in budget-friendly restaurants, and staying in hostels! If that is the case, you can get great value for money.
Where is Bali?
The small island of Bali is part of a vast collection of islands that makes up the popular tourist destination of Indonesia. Situated between Indonesia’s islands of Lombok and Java, Bali is 95 miles wide and full of adventures.
How many cities are there in Bali, Indonesia?
Bali is home to many tourist areas that can tick all your backpacking boxes. The central city that you fly into is Denpasar. Offering great connections to the rest of Bali, you can stay in Denpasar to recover from jetlag.
However, I recommend you start exploring straight away!
Bali has over 25 cities/provinces, each packed with culture, cocktails, and local cuisine. There are a few areas that stand out... Let’s take a look at my favorite spots!
5 Bucket List Cities in Bali (Updated 2023)
5. Ubud: The Cultural Center of Bali
Picture rice paddies, monkey forests, and cascading waterfalls. You’re in Ubud, Bali’s cultural center. Located just 1 hour from Denpasar, Ubud welcomes over 3 million tourists annually.
But don’t let that put you off! Deep in the mountains of Ubud, you will find peace in some of the best hostels around.
Ubud is also famous for its colorful Balinese festivals and art markets. Many crafts and arts are made in the surrounding areas of Ubud and brought to markets to sell to tourists.
Many shops in Ubud sell antiques, woodcarvings, crafts, textiles, paintings, and jewelry. Now that’s retail therapy!
Other activities that Ubud is known for include yoga and cooking classes. Still doesn’t sound like your cup of tea? Then explore one of the hundreds of temples that call Ubud home! A few of my favorite Balinese temples are the Tirta Empul Water Temple and Pura Gunung Kawi.
Ubud is the perfect place to kickstart your backpacking adventure.
4. Canggu: A Hot Spot for Digital Nomads
Packed with cafes, restaurants, bars, and unique workspaces, Canggu has quickly become a digital nomad’s heaven. The bustling, vibrant atmosphere hits you as soon as you arrive!
There is no better place to work through the day and party the night away.
While working the remote dream in Canggu, you can surf, relax on beaches, explore rice paddies and hike in the nearby mountains. These are just a few of the many activities you can partake in!
Canggu is just a 40-minute walk away from the glamorous Seminyak. So if you fancy a night of cocktails and high-end shopping, it’s all within walking distance. Or hop on a budget-friendly scooter if you want to cut your travel time in half!
3. Amed: A Backpacker and Diver’s Paradise
Backpackers on a budget should head to Amed because of its cheap accommodation and rich marine life!
This famous little town brings in backpackers and scuba divers from all over the world. People flock to the crystal clear shores of Amed to scuba dive at the famous Japanese wreck. But if you just want to watch all the action, you can sit at sunset point, enjoy a cocktail and watch the sun go down.
Many travelers describe Amed as the Bali that once was. It’s the perfect balance between hardcore chilling and various exciting things to do. You can see the authentic side of Bali in Amed. So, if you’re looking to avoid most of the tourists, this is the area for you!
2. Sanur: A Couples Paradise
Situated on Bali’s east coast, Sanur offers tranquil waters and beaches galore. Some say it has one of the best beaches on the island.
On the quieter side of Bali, this little seaside town is perfect for couples to relax on sandy beaches and explore the tropical mountains.
Once you have explored the beaches, why not wander through the small streets of Sanur? Here you will find local spas, markets, and warungs. There are also plenty of museums, a turtle sanctuary, and delicious restaurants to try.
The great value hostels continue in Sanur. This area is excellent for backpacking on a budget, or you can treat yourself by renting an affordable beachfront villa. Wherever you stay in Sanur, a perfect beachside experience awaits.
1. Kuta: A Lively Beach Town That Never Sleeps
Are you in Bali to party? Then you will love Kuta! The iconic Kuta beach is packed full of tourists, shops, bars, and nightlife.
The partying in Kuta never stops. Shows, nightclubs, and beach bars are just a few ways to party all year round in Kuta. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, so be prepared to see the tourist side of Bali.
But, there is more to Kuta than just its tourist hot spots. The food scene here is heaven. From street food to boutique cafes, there is a dish with your name! There are more restaurants here than anywhere else on the island.
Now you have had your fill of delicious food. Work off the calories as your try surfing for the first time. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, why not try kite surfing? Kuta has a non-stop supply of adventures.
You’re also in luck because accommodations in Kuta are cheap. If you’re looking for value, you can save money by staying here. Hostels start from just $5 a night! Affordable accommodations mean you have plenty of cash for those beach cocktails!
Why is Bali so special?
This unique destination has something for everyone. You won’t be stuck wondering what else there is for you to do!
The beaches, culture, and nightlife make it the perfect place for backpackers and digital nomads. Endless cafes, good wifi, and cheap hostels will have you itching to stay in Bali long term.
Bali has stolen hearts around the world. Now it’s your turn to explore this magical island. So grab your mates and set off for a trip of a lifetime.
Your Bali adventure awaits!
Ready for your next backpacking trip? Then Bali is waiting for you. Let Pilot plan your dream trip to Indonesia.