Should You Stay in Kuta or Ubud while in Bali


Does it matter where you stay in Bali?

Well, in a normal world, this would matter a lot. I mean if all the tourist attractions were open and hordes of people hit the beaches and night clubs then yes, it would matter where you stay. At the moment the location of your Bali hotel, hostel, home-stay or guesthouse is not that important. Why not? It’s due to the famous pandemic which later will be laughing about and telling stories of how dumb we were. For now, if you’re stranded in Bali as I am, you may find the price and quality as the only important criteria to choose your long-term stay. Unless your private jet lands soon.

However, if you’re reading this after the fog of war, here are the pros and cons of staying in Kuta while in Bali. Or in Ubud. Or in Sanur, Uluwatu, Seminyak, Legian and other areas of the island.

Why Kuta vs Ubud when staying in Bali?

You’d finally have to pick between these 2 places. Why? Since Kuta is South and you could, technically, include the other areas in the South of Bali. Some of the important “other areas” are Legian, Seminyak, Sanur, Jimbaran, Canggu and Uluwatu. Except for Uluwatu and Canggu, all the areas mentioned are quite close to Kuta - Legian and Jimbaran are basically neighbours. Hence the logic - staying in Kuta could also mean staying in one of the adjacent settlements. That makes Kuta and Ubud the 2 big ones.

So, it’s nice and normal again. Let’s pretend. And you’ve narrowed it down to these 2 areas. How to choose? It boils down to a few important factors and I am going to give you a breakdown point by point for each destination.

Staying in Kuta - List by importance

Reasons to stay in Kuta

  1. It is very close to the airport and close to the beach
  2. Lots of clubs, bars, restaurants, massage shops and plenty of nightlife options
  3. Long beach and beautiful sunsets
  4. Low to medium prices

Not so positive views about Kuta

  1. The beach is crowded
  2. Bad traffic (though not particular to Kuta) and noisy at night (depending on your hotel)
  3. Hotels can be expensive for what they offer (value for money equation)
  4. Most temples and tourist attractions are outside Kuta (though quite widespread around the island)

Staying in Ubud - List by importance

Reasons to stay in Ubud

  1. Ubud is a quiet and natural area with rice terraces and bamboo forests, waterfalls
  2. Wide range of accommodation options. Ubud is definitely cheaper than Kuta
  3. Quite a few temples, monuments, waterfalls and scenic views
  4. Ubud has a more authentic feeling and a true traditional vibe

Not so positive views about Ubud

  1. It is far from the airport and far from any Bali beach
  2. Unless you’re staying centrally you’d probably need to rent a scooter or motorbike
  3. Not so many “fancy” venues such as high-end clubs and bars
  4. Some guesthouses can be basic without hot water, no air conditioning and even with shared bathrooms

Do you want the easy way to choose?

Beach nearby vs no beach nearby. In this case, you’ll probably want to pick Kuta - since you are interested in the beach life. Ubud has no beach and it could take roughly 2 hours by car to get to the sand.

What about the other areas?

Rest assured, I will make a post detailing the pros and cons of the other areas. Sure, you won’t probably find a spa and massage store in the middle of the island but the nature is amazing. As always, it depends on what you want.

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