What is your idea of heaven on earth? Welcome to our personal heaven! There are a lot of great places to stay in Bali and picking where exactly you want to go can be difficult. Each geographic area has its own appeal and unique history.
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Why West Bali is One of the Best Places to Stay in Bali
West Bali is the least known, unspoiled, and uncrowded area of Bali, which makes it one of the best places to stay in Bali! It is the perfect place to get away from your busy every-day life. The days you will spend here are utter bliss and there is no better place to just disconnect.
West Bali is dominated by the West Bali National Park, a mostly uninhabited jungle. It is home to quiet and deserted beaches, great places to surf, and shallow waters perfect for snorkeling and diving. Most tourists don’t know much about West Bali and don't venture this far west on their Bali trip. Not even the locals visit the “wild west.” This provides for a very quiet surrounding and the perfect base for a retreat and exploring nature.
How to Get There
West Bali is relatively secluded but still accessible via car or scooter. There are two ways to get to West Bali, taking the road along the south shore or along the north shore, via Munduk. Either route will take around 4 hours, depending on traffic. Since the roads are quite narrow and windy, this makes for a long drive but trust me, it is completely worth it!
What is the best month to go to West Bali?
West Bali has relatively constant temperatures throughout the year, due to its proximity to the equator. However, there are two main seasons: the wet and the dry season. October – April is usually the wet season. During this season, the weather can be quite unpredictable and as the name suggests – wet. April through September is called the dry season and will have relatively little rain. This might sound great, but the lack of rain also affects the vegetation and might leave forests and hills looking more dried up than expected.
In our opinion, the best months to go to Bali are April – June. It’s right at the end of the rainy season / the beginning of the dry season. This means humidity levels are slightly lower than during the wet season and the vegetation is lush and green. Further, if you travel outside the peak season, flight prices are likely cheaper. If you would like to learn more about saving money on cheap flights, check out our 5-step guide to booking cheap flights.
Where to Stay in West Bali
West Bali is truly a place where you can fully relax. With the weather being perfect almost every single day, it is one of the best places to stay in Bali and the perfect place for a retreat.
We stayed at Sumberkima Hill in North West Bali. The hotel consists of private Bali villas with a main area for yoga classes and spa treatments. You stay in your very own villa, which includes a personal pool, a kitchen, living room, dining room, bedrooms, and bathrooms. It is basically your new luxurious home away from home. Sumberkima Hill has 2 main restaurants on site to either dine in or order from so that you can dine in your own villa.
If you like spending time in the pool, you will love the opportunity of having a floating breakfast. You can let the staff know a day in advance when you place your breakfast order and they will serve it on a floating tray. There is really nothing quite like having a smoothie bowl and a coffee with these pool views.
@travelwithtalia and I enjoying our floating breakfast at Sumberkima Hill.
In case you ever feel like leaving your villa (which we didn’t), Sumberkima Hill offers yoga classes for beginners or seasoned yogis with the most breathtaking views. You can also enjoy a spa, massage or reflexology treatment onsite. This was one of our favorite places to stay in Bali and we are already planning to go back.
Check availability for your stay at Sumberkima Hill!
Disclaimer: We were hosted by Sumberkima Hill and had a wonderful time! We are excited to share our trip with you here. As always, all of the opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting the businesses that support us!
What to Do in West Bali
The best thing about West Bali is the chilled lifestyle and the ability to completely relax. However, West Bali also has some of the most amazing natural sites on offer which brings it to the top of the best places to stay in Bali.
Snorkeling in North West Bali
In North West Bali, you can find the largest area of shallow reefs in Bali! Given the shallow water, the experience is perfect for beginners but also has plenty to offer for intermediate snorkelers and divers. Since the North West Bali reefs are relatively unexplored by tourists, you’ll also be sure that nobody ruins your view or bumps into you as you’re trying to take a photo of Nemo.
If you’re an avid diver, a tour of the coral garden at Menjangan Island is definitely worth the trip. In addition to an abundance of small fish, there is also the possibility to see larger fish cruising by the outer reef. Think reef sharks, tuna, eagle rays, sting rays, and wild sea turtles.
Most hotels in the area will offer to organize snorkeling and diving tours for you, including a personal guide.
Canoe Trip in the Bay of Sumberkima
The Sumberkima Bay is lined with mangrove trees which provides for amazing views when canoeing. The trees with their high arching roots are a spectacular sight to see for anyone who loves exploring nature. Rent a canoe or book a canoeing trip with your hotel to explore the area. Depending on the tide, you can also reach Gili Putih, a small white sand island which is located in the bay. During high tide, the island is relatively small, almost not visible, and only accessible by boat. During low tide, you can walk to the island from the mainland which is about one mile (1.5 km) away.
Night Hike on Mount Ijen and the Blue Flames
Possibly the most exciting excursion you can think of is hiking Mount Ijen. Mount Ijen is located on East Java, Indonesia’s most populated island. It’s a 2-hour ferry ride away from the west Bali harbor Gilimanuk. The Gilimanuk harbor is very close to Sumberkima Hill and. This makes Sumberkima Hill a great place to stay for a Mount Ijen hike.
Mount Ijen is famous for the electric-blue sulfur flames and the stunning views from the top of the crater. The blue sulfur flames are a result of the burning of sulfuric gas which emerges from the cracks of the volcano. The volcano is the largest blue flames area in the world and the locals call it blue fire.
Blue Flames at Night
As the blue fire is only visible at night, night hikes are the best way to see them. We booked our night hike with Sumberkima Hill who organized everything for us. The entire hike was seamless and well planned. This was our first time going on a night hike and we forgot to adjust our sleep schedule! Trust me when I say we were incredibly tired in the end. If you are planning to do a night hike, we highly recommend you take a longer nap in the afternoon, or sleep at least 4 hours before embarking on your hike.
Mount Ijen Night Hike – The Experience
After a 30-minute car ride to the ferry port, a 1-hour ferry ride, another 1-1.5 hour drive to the base of Mount Ijen, we started our hike at 2am. The entire hike is guided but completely in the dark. You wear headlamps so that you see where you step and a gas mask to wear in the crater of Mount Ijen. The hike is relatively steep but the terrain is easy, which makes for a great cardio work-out.
Depending on your speed, you will reach the rim of the crater in an hour or two. You will then start your descent into the crater, which takes about 40 minutes. The descent is technically more challenging, and for anyone who is scared of heights also emotionally challenging. The drops on either side of the path are significant, and can be deadly. That being said, our guides were extremely helpful. One guide even took one of our co-hikers by the hand as she is terrified of heights. Even though she didn’t love every second of the hike, she was still extremely happy she did it!
On your way down into the crater, you will pass mine workers. Sulfur miners extract sulfur pieces and manually carry them out of the crater. These mine workers face extremely dangerous working conditions on a daily basis. They walk up and down the crater multiple times per day and often carry a load of 50lbs or more. Whenever you pass a mine worker, make sure to step to the side as sign of respect and to make things easier for them.
Once you get closer to the crater, your guide will ask you to put on your gas mask as the smoke from the burning sulfur can make it very difficult to breathe. Seeing the blue flames at the end of the hike makes it worth all of the effort! There is no better way to describe it than spectacular. We have never seen anything like this before and it was an incredible feeling to stand there and stare. The flames’ size and shape varies by the minute as different amounts of sulfuric gas emerges from the ground. It’s an incredible experience and a must see if you like adventurous travel.
The hike back up the crater is relatively quick and timed in a way that you reach the top of the crater rim in time for sunrise.
Mount Ijen Famous Instagrammable Spot
Instead of heading back to the bottom of the volcano, we asked our guide to take us further along the crater rim for a better view of the Mount Ijen crater lake and the area. The crater lake appears in a bright turquoise blue due to the high acidity and is an incredible sight.
Chicwish Skirt (also available in red, yellow, blue, and black) / White Top / Other Similar White Top
If you are planning a trip to Bali but don’t know where to go, we can highly recommend spending a few days in West Bali. The serenity of the area together with the natural wonders makes it one of the best places to stay in Bali. Especially if you are looking to avoid the other overly touristy areas.
The Next Trip Top 5 Tips for Things to Do in West Bali
1) Be ready to relax!
With West Bali being the least populated and touristy area in Bali, it is one of the best places to stay in Bali to kick back and enjoy some peace and quiet. All areas of Bali have spa-like retreats, but we were most relaxed while at our Sumberkima Hill villa in West Bali.
2) Plan out the activities you would like to do in West Bali.
Some of the water activities are highly dependent on the tides and won’t be as worthwhile every day. We had initially thought of doing a canoe trip, but the tides didn’t line up with our schedule so we had to pass until next time.
3) Plan on visiting towards the end of the wet season.
The best time to visit is between April and June, to get the most amazing view of the lush surrounding hills. We visited West Bali in November which is at the end of the dry season. As a result, the majority of the flora was relatively dry.
4) Hike Mount Ijen!
It is hands-down one of the best experiences we have every completed and worth every minute of sleep deprivation. Since it is relatively cold at night on the volcano, make sure you dress warm for the hike and bring a scarf just in case.
5) Enjoy the best sunsets!
We saw the most amazing sunsets from Sumberkima Hill in North West Bali. Make sure you plan a few evenings at your villa and have your camera ready and charged to capture those precious moments! As Bali is so close to the equator, sunsets don't last very long.
Save this post to your Bali travel Pinterest board for when you plan your next vacation!
I’ve never been to Bali but I would definitely love to one day! And your photos are beautiful Bettina as always!
Wow Mt. Ijen looks amazing! What a spectacular sight and what a great adventure it must be. I like the idea of West Bali being less crowded, that’s always my style.