Bali Blog

Where am I?

For newcomers to Bali

So, you fly into Denpasar, I mean that’s what it said when you booked.  However, the airport, “Ngurah Rai” is actually not in Denpasar, which can be confusing to newcomers, even today with Google Maps etc some newcomers still get caught out. 


I often see posts on facebook such as “I’m landing late, where is a nice clean hotel in Denpasar for the night?”.  If you want a hotel close to the airport you can choose Tuban (walking distance to many hotels or with free airport shuttles) or even Kuta, Kuta is not that far, late at night it will only take 5-10 minutes to get into Kuta.  If you choose Denpasar you may have a bit of a shock when you wake in the morning, and your drive there could be as long as 25 minutes at night, especially if you driver has no idea where he is going…….which happens often here…..and the next day the traffic will be hell and you will be trying to find someone who speaks English to help you get out of there.

Kuta, now there is another one,  there is actually a Kuta in Lombok and many a time I hear of people who have actually booked a hotel on the wrong Island…oops.  We actually live in an area called Kuta Selatan (Kuta South, but we are 1 hour from Kuta).

Uluwatu, villas will advertise anything on the Bukit as Uluwatu but may be in Ungasan or even on the large busy highway to Nusa Dua in a residential area where there is nothing in walking distance and English may be non-existent.

Seminyak, okay so that seems quite clear, but actually many properties advertised as Seminyak are actually in Kerobokan, some as far as Pettinget, confused yet?  Well, marketing for Kerobokan back 10 years ago was a difficult task for the Australian market.  Kerobokan, why have I heard of Kerobokan?  Ahh, the jail is there, so for Australians trying to picture  beaches and fancy restaurants next door to a jail became a downfall in the market, until one clever person started to refer to the area as Seminyak and that changed everything.   Although Kerobokan actually has the highest price real estate in Bali (and parts of the world) and the jail actually has some nice high end furniture stores in the same street, there are still some Australian newcomers to Bali that associate the word “Kerobokan” with drug smugglers and famous Australians who called it home for a while.

Nusa Dua, now this one will have all the Bali experts telling you it’s a resort area only, expensive 5 star hotels in a gated area and you will never see the real Bali, well I am no expert but I can assure you Nusa Dua has a village, a buzzing morning local market, local stores, gorgeous temples, and some smaller lovely hotels, if you stay in Nusa Dua village you will experience the real Bali, they do some of the most beautiful ceremonies in their village. It also has some of the best beaches on the Island. So, you really need to check the exact location, if you don’t want to be in the gated area called Kawasan BTDC Pariwisata Nusa Dua then just check google maps.  Up the road is Tanjung Benoa, not to be confused with Benoa, this is a confusion you do not want being that Benoa is the boat harbour 30 minutes from Tanjung Benoa and there is only one hotel. Tanjung Benoa is a lovely village, it’s where the majority of water sports (jet skiing, parasailing etc) are, most of the hotels are on the beach and many cater to families with kids clubs etc, it is also the only area where you can find the all-inclusive package hotels where every meal and all drinks are included, if that is the type of holiday you are after.

Ubud, well Ubud but not Ubud, that’s how we have it on our website.  Some hotels advertise as Ubud but are actually up to 45 minutes away, I must say the marketing in Bali is the best I have come across.  We actually picked up one family who booked a private villa in “Ubud” for 1 month, they arrived the night before we collected them and were very confused to find that they were in the heart of Denpasar 1.5 hours from Ubud (if traffic was good to them) and staying on a nice busy industrial road, the villa walls had barb wire along the top to keep them nice and safe and not a restaurant, supermarket or English speaking person in sight.  

 Ubud has surrounding villages all advertised as Ubud, which I can understand, but they are actually the ones you want to stay in as opposed to Ubud itself. The marketing may change soon as Ubud is now the most commercialized busiest village on the Island.  Lovely little villages surrounding Ubud which still have that old world charm such as Nyuh Kunning or Pengosekan or Lotunduh etc are worth a look at.

 So, now with google maps, and even better street view you can actually try before you arrive, it’s a good idea if you have never been here before to look up the hotels’ exact location and keep in mind traffic conditions, it may say 15 minutes to the beach but that’s if you go at 4am.  If there is a busy highway in-between your hotel and the beach you want to reach, then keep in mind where are the traffic lights as it may be a hot and stinky walk up to them before you even get to cross.

Also, double check those AirBnB bookings before you book, get the exact address before you hand over any money, we see so many people caught out using this booking service, and the majority have paid in advance before arriving and find themselves in the middle of nowhere or nowhere near where they planned to be… can be fun getting lost on a holiday, but if that’s not for you then check first.

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