Two of Bali’s most popular resorts are the Kuta and Seminyak regions. Both are situated in the Southwest of the tiny tropical island, and both provide an ideal place for the holiday-goer and backpacker alike. So…when both places are so perfect, where should you stay?!
On a recent trip to Bali, my boyfriend and I stayed in the Seminyak area, however this wasn’t really because of hours of extensive research – in fact, we didn’t have a choice. Our insanely cheap-priced package holiday deal (which also included a mini break in Kuala Lumpur on the way back to London) included a stay at the lovely Centra Taum in Seminyak, which is a resort away from the hustle and bustle of the main square.
However, we did also get to visit Kuta too (the island really is tiny), and observed the various differences, good and bad, between the two destinations.
- Seminyak for Luxury
It can’t be denied that Seminyak is far more luxurious. With beach clubs, day spas, and just general extravagantly decorated hotels lining the winding roads, you could easily spend hundreds of pounds here in a single day. If you’ve got the cash to splash and want a pampered holiday you won’t forget, Seminyak is the place you’re looking for. Potato Head Beach Club and The W are two of the most popular places here, and for good reason.
2. Kuta for Backpacker Hostels
When we visited Kuta, it was full of backpackers. We’d gone from being one of the youngest couples at our hotel to easily fitting in with the crowd. The back-streets are full of hostels advertising cheap rates for shabby accommodation, perfect if you’re on a budget. Although we did see a few hostels in Seminyak, there were certainly a lot more in Kuta and therefore probably much cheaper.
3. Seminyak for Quieter Beaches
We lounged on the beach in both Kuta and Seminyak, but Seminyak was by far less populated. You’ll get beach sellers wherever you go in Bali, but they were definitely less pushy and generally nicer in Seminyak, making for a better experience. We didn’t feel uncomfortable about leaving our bags to go into the sea at Seminyak either, as quiet often we were one of the few groups of people or couples on the almost deserted beach. It was idyllic.
4. Kuta for Surfing
In contrast, the beach at Kuta was buzzing with life and excitement. Small ‘beach bars’ were every few metres, and in between these were the informal surf schools offering cheap lessons for holidaymakers. The sea was full of surfers taking to the waves, many of them seemingly first-timers. I’m guessing because of the shear abundance of people offering their surfing expertise, lessons in Kuta are probably much cheaper than those in Seminyak or elsewhere in Bali.
5. Both for Shopping!
Depending on what kind of thing you’re looking for, both Seminyak and Kuta are great for shopping. Kuta has a huge shopping centre full of worldwide known brands like Mango and Bath and Body Works, but Seminyak is better for more bespoke, island-inspired pieces. Kuta does also have many market stalls selling the typical holiday-wears, but Seminyak has a central market too.
5. Seminyak for Food and Drink
Although Kuta does have more clubs, bars, and general drinking places, I do think that Seminyak still wins this category overall. (However, if you just want to get drunk on a budget, Kuta probably wins for you!). Seminyak has classier, more varied restaurants and bars, and you won’t find yourselves tempted by Western chains like you can be in Kuta. Sometimes it’s better to have less option, and be forced to try something you wouldn’t usually go for.
As you can see, there are pros of staying in both destinations, and deciding between the two can be tricky. However, with the price of transport between Kuta and Seminyak being so cheap (either by taxi or the Kura-Kura bus service), you can easily take advantage of the amenities of both places. You could go shopping then have a surf lesson in Kuta, and still be back in Seminyak in time for dinner then drinks a beautiful beach club….it’s a hard life!