Bali (Denpasar)

Sail away to a beautiful beach destination that offers everything from pulsing nightclubs to tranquil retreats with stunning views. 

South Bali has it all. From pulsing nightclubs to tranquil retreats, and from cliff-top temples to the very latest in music and fashion. You’re in the thick of it the moment you step off the plane and there’s something to suit every budget, from dirt-cheap backpacker offerings to some of the most exclusive resorts in Asia. But what really sets Bali apart is that for all the hustle, bustle and helter-skelter traffic a deep Hindu-Balinese tradition still underpins everything. Where else would you find a delicate offering to the gods laid out each morning at the threshold of an exclusive fashion boutique?

There’s a huge amount of action crammed into the small space of south Bali. The cheap and cheerful chaos of Kuta, the über-cool spaces of Seminyak, the exclusive enclave of Nusa Dua, and the sedate seashore of Sanur all lie a short taxi-ride from the airport. Further south, the rugged Bukit Peninsula is home to glorious hidden beaches where surfers ride some of the world’s best waves. Denpasar City, meanwhile, the capital of Bali, has a few quiet corners of its own to explore.

Whether its action or relaxation, surf or shopping that you’re after you’ll find it here, and a glimpse of the mighty Mount Agung, rising to the north, is a reminder that the rest of Bali is in easy striking distance too. A visit to 'the Island of the Gods' is exactly what you make of it.


When to go

South Bali gets its fair share of thunderous downpours during the wet season, (Nov-Apr), and this is not a great time if you're here for the water sports. But otherwise it's fine to visit at any time of year. Peak seasons are July and August, and the Christmas holidays when prices rise and things get crowded. During the Lebaran holidays at the end of Ramadan half of Jakarta decamps to Bali, so this isn't the best time to come if you're after solitude.

Visa requirements

Singaporeans and citizens of other ASEAN member states can visit Indonesia for 30 days without a visa. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months and that you have a return or onward ticket. Visitors from many other countries can get a 30-day visa on arrival at Denpasar for US$25.


Indonesian rupiah. There are ATMs and currency exchange counters at the airport, with more cash points and money changers at every turn all over South Bali. Be warned, however - local money changers have a reputation for all sorts of sleight-of-hand shenanigans.


There's a prepaid taxi booth at the airport with fixed prices to destinations all over Bali. There's not much by way of public transport in South Bali, though the Trans Sabargita bus service is slowly expanding its network. Most people opt for metered taxis (Bluebird have the best reputation) or rent a car with driver. Others hire motorbikes and head out on the highway under their own steam, but be warned - Bali's traffic is not for the faint-hearted.

Health and safety tips

For such a busy place South Bali is pretty safe, but there is always a threat of petty crime. Bag-snatchers on motorbikes have become a problem in recent years so keep a firm grip on your belongings and while it's generally safe after dark, beware of spiked drinks and scams involving card games. Watch out for arak, the local moonshine often on offer in cheap bars and restaurants - it's sometimes tainted with methanol and tourists have died from drinking it.

Emergency details

The nearest Singapore consulate is in Jakarta (tel: (62) 21 2995 0400).

Bali Tourist Police has a 24-hour helpline: (62) 361 224111.

Basic greetings
English Indonesian
Hello Halo!
How are you? Apa kabar?
Fine, thanks Baik, terima kasih
Goodbye Selamat tinggal
Excuse-me! (to get attention) Permisi!
Thank you Terima kasih
Yes Ya
No Tidak
What's your name? Siapa nama anda?
My name is… Nama saya…
Nice to know you Senang berkenalan dengan anda
Are you on Facebook/Twitter? Anda ada di Facebook/Twitter?
Where’s an internet café? Warnet [warung internet] di mana?
Where can I get a taxi? Di mana saya bisa mendapatkan taksi?
Where is the bus/train station? Stasiun bis/kereta di mana?
A one-way/return ticket to… Tiket sekali jalan/pulang-pergi ke…
Do you have a room for one/two? Ada kamar untuk satu/dua orang?
When's check out? Kapan waktu check-out?
Can you recommend a good restaurant/bar? Bisakah anda menyarankan restoran/bar yang bagus?
A table for two, please Tolong meja untuk dua orang
A menu, please Tolong minta menunya
The bill, please Tolong minta bonnya
Where's the toilet? Kamar kecil di mana?
Help! Tolong!

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Pura Luhur Uluwatu

Jl. Raya Uluwatu, Pecatu

Bali’s most spectacularly located temple, the 11th-century Pura Luhur Uluwatu complex perches 70 metres above the seething surf at the far southwest tip of the island. One of the island’s most important places of worship, you can rub shoulders with pilgrims here and dodge the resident troop of monkeys who are always ready to snatch snacks from unwary passers-by. You’ll get a stupendous view of the sunset over the Indian Ocean, and there’s also a nightly performance of the famous kecak dance, a dramatic scene from the Ramayana acted out with fire and hypnotic chanting.

Museum Negeri Propinsi Bali

Jl. Mayor Wisnu, Denpasar

When you’re done with the surf, the sand and the high life, head inland to the fascinating Museum Negeri Propinsi Bali in the genteel heart of Denpasar. Built in the 1930s in the style of a Balinese palace, the pavilions and split gateways are just as interesting as the collections, which run the full gamut of Bali’s history. Crafts, fabrics and cultural relics from prehistory to the more recent past are on display here to help you make sense of Bali’s deep-seated artistic traditions.

Waterbom Bali

Jl. Kartika Plaza, Kuta

With a mass of rides, flumes and pools set in a 3.8-hectare expanse of gardens, Waterbom Bali is the spot for serious aquatic fun. As well as rides and games there are in-house spas, bars and restaurants, and a full package of activities to keep you occupied. Staff are enthusiastic and helpful and the whole place is very well run.

Kuta Beach

Jl. Raya Pantai Kuta, Kuta

The place where it all began – Kuta was where Bali’s first hotels appeared in the days when Indonesia was still a Dutch colony. Back then the place was just a fishing village amongst the palm trees. Much has changed, but the great expanse of yellow sand is as it always was. There are always crowds of sun-seekers here, but the beach is so big that you’ll never feel cramped. This is also the best place in Bali to find your feet as a surfer and there are plenty of places to rent boards.

Padang Padang

Jl. Labuhan Sait, Pecatu

A perfect little gem of a beach tucked between craggy limestone cliffs and banks of shady vegetation, Padang Padang is a world away from the clamour of the main resorts. On days when the groundswell is running the offshore reef throws up some of the most powerful waves in Indonesia and plays host to an annual international surf contest in July and August. But closer to shore the waters are warm, calm and clear. There are more soft sands further along the coast at Bingin, and a few low-key places to stay and eat are dotted along the cliffs nearby.



Jl. Raya Seminyak 36, Seminyak

Amongst the myriad top-flight boutiques that dot the streets of Seminyak Biasa, the flagship store of Bali-based designer Susanna Perini, is always worth exploring. The collection here features cool, tropical couture in cottons and silks of just the kind commonly sported by the international glitterati who inhabit the surrounding villas and spas.

Budget $$$

Discovery Shopping Mall

Jl. Kartika Plaza, Kuta

It’s hard to miss Discovery Mall's hulking white edifice, standing proud above the southern stretches of Kuta Beach. Inside there are three levels of domestic and international fashion outlets, electrical goods stores, eateries and entertainment venues. There’s sometimes live music in the central atrium, and there can be few other malls with such a magnificent ocean view.

Budget $$


Jl. Sunset Road, No. 88, Kuta

A monumental emporium of souvenirs, you’ll find everything offered by hawkers in the nearby tourist markets under one vast roof at Krisna – and at fixed bargain-basement prices too. There are hats and t-shirts, batiks and key rings, snacks and sweets, and the place does a roaring trade with domestic package tourists. You’ll also find all the same mass-produced trinkets customarily offered as artisanal handicrafts in the resort gift shops, but at a fraction of the cost. There are other branches in Denpasar and near the airport.

Budget $

Magali Pascal

Jl. Kayu Oya Oberoi, No. 177X, Seminyak

Parisian haute couture in the heat and humidity of Bali, Magali Pascal is amongst the top deck of outlets for the beautiful people of super-cool Seminyak. With a fine range of chic and delicate women’s wear at prices below those outside Indonesia, this is an excellent place for top-end clothes shopping.

Budget $$$

Mall Bali Galeria

Jl. Bypass Ngurah Rai, Kuta

Just off the seething traffic intersection that is the hub of south Bali, Mall Bali Galeria is a refreshingly low-key mall with a little more atmosphere than most air-conditioned emporiums. There are boutiques and bookshops, as well as some good restaurants and department stores, as well as little pockets of open-air garden within the complex.

Budget $$



Jl. Uluwatu, No. 39, Jimbaran

Bali Style meets shabby chic in this peaceful, French-accented restaurant in Jimbaran. This is a quieter neck of the woods from the other resort areas, and that’s reflected in the Balique's relaxed atmosphere. The menu features decent Mediterranean cuisine with a smattering of Asian interlopers, and a solid wine list.

Budget $$


Jl. Raya Petitenget, Seminyak

A charming restaurant with antique furniture and exposed woodwork, Biku has a much more down-to-earth atmosphere than some of the nearby fashionable hotspots. There are sandwiches and succulent burgers on offer, along with a comforting range of curries, steaks and fish dishes. The real selling point, however, is the daily English-style high tea complete with delicate finger sandwiches, scones and cream. The cakes and breads are excellent too and the restaurant also houses a small branch of the wonderful Ganesha Bookshop.

Budget $$

Ku De Ta

Jl. Kayu Aya, No. 9, Seminyak

A place that’s spent so long at the forefront of all that’s cool in Seminyak that’s it’s become a destination in its own right, Ku De Ta is still pulling in crowds of international hipsters for the music, the cocktails and the sunsets. The food is excellent too, with an extensive menu featuring modern European cuisine with Asian accents, as well as pizzas, tapas and sumptuous desserts.

Budget $$$

Made's Warung

Jl. Pantai Kuta, Kuta

Made's Warung is the original restaurant in Kuta, dating from the days when the place was still a fishing village and the only foreigners on the scene were threadbare surf bums and long-haired hippies. It’s grown exponentially since those days, but is still serving up sure-fire helpings of Indonesian food, steaks, sandwiches and banana pancakes. There are literally hundreds of similar places in the surrounding streets, but this is where it all started – and it’s still going strong.

Budget $

Warung Kayu Api

Jl. By Pass Ngurah Rai, No. 95, Sanur

On the edge of Sanur, Warung Kayu Api has a tempting menu of Western and Indonesian dishes, with good pizza and pasta and some irresistible desserts. The real draw, however, is the attached Warung Surya Babi Guling, a humble offshoot at the side of the main restaurant specialising in Bali’s famous babi guling, spit-roast suckling pig infused with a heady concoction of spices.

Budget $


Alila Villas Uluwatu

Jl. Belimbing Sari, Pecatu

Perched at the very tip of Bali, high over the crashing waves, Alila Villas Uluwatu place offers serious luxury in a spectacular location. Each villa comes with its own private pool and a flawlessly modern and stylish interior. There’s fine dining with sunset views too, and an infinity pool on the very brink of the Indian Ocean.

Budget $$$

Courtyard Bali Nusa Dua

Kawasan Pariwisata Lot SW1, Nusa Dua

In the heart of the Nusa Dua enclave – a world apart from the bustle of Bali beyond – the Marriott-run Courtyard Bali Nusa Dua is excellent value. Rooms are ranged around a pleasant pool and come with small balconies and comfy beds. The bathrooms are a little small and there's not a great deal of character, but the whole place is very peaceful. The beach is a short stroll away.

Budget $$

Hotel Tugu Bali

Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong, Canggu

A fantastically original boutique hotel, tucked away to the north of Seminyak, Hotel Tugu Bali combines Balinese and Javanese antiques and art deco style to make something unique. There’s no starchy minimalism here and every room is a lavish celebration of the arts. There are in-house spas and restaurants, the service is excellent, and there are beautiful views of surf and sunsets.

Budget $$$

Masa Inn

Poppies Lane I, No. 27, Kuta

Masa Inn is a long-running and friendly budget hotel in the heart of Kuta but far enough from the main roads and nightclubs to allow for a good night’s sleep. The rooms are neat and simple, with cool tiled floors and comfortable beds. They open onto a central garden with a small pool and plenty of pretty little Balinese touches.

Budget $

Pondok Ayu

Jl. Sekuta, Gang Pudak, No. 3,↵Sanur

A quiet enclave in sleepy Sanur, the rooms at Pondok Ayu are cool, airy and simple, with tiled floors, deep bath tubs, and small terraces for sipping tea and taking breakfast. There’s a small swimming pool in the frangipani-filled garden. Staff are very friendly, and the atmosphere is warmly welcoming.

Budget $$

Bali Arts Festival

Date varies in June, July

A month-long celebration of the arts based around the Taman Wedhi Budaya arts centre in Denpasar, this festival offers a huge programme of dance performances, traditional music, exhibitions and workshops.

Bali Spirit Festival

Date varies in March

Over five days each March the artistic town of Ubud – a short ride into the hills from the beaches of south Bali – plays host to a quirky gathering of world music fans and yoga devotees.

Independence Day

17 August

A nationwide commemoration of the declaration of Indonesian independence, this national holiday is celebrated with parades, competitions, and a mass of red-and-white flags.


Date varies in March

Held each March, the Balinese 'Day of Silence' brings everything to a grinding halt. For 24 hours from sunrise to sunrise the roads are empty, the beaches closed, the airport shut – and all visitors are confined strictly to their hotels!

Sanur Village Festival

Date varies in September

Held each year in late September, this event sees Sanur hosting live music, exhibitions, kite-flying contests and more.

Ubud Readers and Writers Festival

Date varies in October

One of the world’s premier literary events, Ubud has been hosting this gathering of artists, authors and intellectuals every October for a decade. The line-up is always eclectic and the discussions illuminating.


If you’re visiting Bali with kids then Sanur or Nusa Dua are the places to stay. Not only are they free from the rowdy nightlife of the west coast; both the traffic and the waves are much calmer and the beaches are safe for swimming. Children are usually fascinated by the colourful ceremonies that go on every day in Bali, so let them explore the temples near your accommodation in the morning before the day’s adventure begins.


For some wild encounters head north to Gianyar to explore the Bali Safari and Marine Park, home to elephants, orang-utans, and all sorts of other beasts from Indonesia and beyond, as well as a large aquarium. The park is around 45 minutes from most parts of South Bali, and there is a free daily shuttle bus from the resort areas. If you’re still looking for animal encounters the nearby Bali Bird Park has huge walk-in aviaries and beautiful parkland to explore.


Head back south Kuta and cool off at Waterbom Bali, where there are rides, slides and splashes aplenty. It’s one of the biggest waterparks in Southeast Asia, and there’s enough to occupy water-loving kids for a whole day. Finally make your way to Nusa Dua and hunt out The Pirates Bay, a pirate-themed park and beachfront restaurant, complete with tree houses and pirate ship play areas. There’s a menu aimed at children, but also good food for hungry adults.

Romantic Getaway

Bali has all the romance you could ever ask for. There are endless exquisite villas and boutique hotels tucked away in quiet corners, beachfront dining in full view of glorious sunsets, and excursions into emerald green landscapes – and all spiced with a dash of ancient and mysterious culture.


Look for a place to stay away from the hurly-burly of the main resorts. There are peaceful villas and hotels out in the rice fields of Canggu, north of Seminyak – or more peaceful still, up on the high cliff-tops of the Bukit Peninsula. Find the right accommodation and your perfect romantic getaway will come fully formed, but if you do want to step outside the hotel grounds there are plenty of other atmospheric corners.


Start the day with a lazy brunch at one of the many fine restaurants that line the beach at Seminyak (try Breeze at The Samaya). There are also lots of luxurious spas in the same area for a little indulgence. If you’d like to find romance in the natural world, however, it’s time to head south to Padang Padang or Bingin, the most secluded and romantic beaches in South Bali, with soft golden sand and clear waters. Anywhere along the west coast makes a great spot to take in the sunset, but for a truly romantic day’s end head to Pura Luhur Uluwatu to watch the kecak dance with a fiery evening sky for a backdrop.


There are dozens of intimate restaurants in Seminyak, Sanur and Nusa Dua, but a particularly lovely option is to head to Jimbaran where you can dine on fresh seafood at a candlelit table right on the beach.