Gay Bali: the ultimate LGBTQ travel guide to the island of the gods

Bali is a gay haven in a country which doesn't have the best record for LGBTQ rights. The strong Buddhism influence and large international tourism community has made it more relaxed and accepting than other parts of Indonesia.

Our trekking in Mount Rinjani and scuba diving in the Komodo National Park left us feeling exhilarated, but quite frankly, knackered! We were ready to let our hair down…a visit to Bali was calling us.

Bali has a nice mix of luxury villas and spas in Seminyak, culture and scenic lush green rice terraces in centrally located Ubud. This is our gay guide to Bali including the best places to stay, things to do and of course the fun gay scene in Seminyak.

STAY WITH A GAY LOCAL

Misterb&b is the Airbnb equivalent for the LGBTQ community. Unlike on Airbnb, you know your host is gay, avoiding any nasty surprises when you check in. It is also a great way to meet gay locals and discover the underground gay scene. Click below to get 10 € (or $10) off your first booking.

SEMINYAK: best gay bars in Bali

Indonesia is not really well known as being very gay friendly at all, lacking any comprehensive pro LGBT legislation. But despite this, Bali is the gay oasis of the country, mainly due to its more relaxed Hindu influence. Sophisticated Seminyak with its luxury villas and high restaurants is also where you'll find the Bali gay bars. For more check out our interview about what it's like to be gay in Indonesia with Joko from Java island.

Drinks at gay Bali bar Bali Joe in Seminyak
You will always make new friends on a night out at the Bali gay bars in Seminyak

There are 3 gay bars in Bali, all next door to each other on the road called: Jalan Camplung Tanduk Arcade.

  • Mixwell: this is the main bar we always ended up in. Loved the drag shows and the cute Go Go dancers. Mixwell is open daily from 6pm to 3am.
  • Bali Joe: this has the best abbreviation ever for a gay bar! BJ is the other staple gay bar in Bali we always visited on a night out, with very cheeky Rihanna and Nicki Minaj impersonators. BJ is open daily from 4pm to 3am.
  • Face Bar: also known as F Bar is next to to BJ. The focus is more on the go go dancers, featuring a shower show and pole dancing. F Bar is open Tuesday to Sunday from 7pm to 3am.

SEMINYAK: gay hotels in Bali – Seminyak

There are many gay friendly hotels in Seminyak, some exclusively male only. These are the ones we tried and loved:

W HOTEL RETREAT AND SPA

The W Hotel is a landmark in Seminyak and very popular with gay travellers. It's massive, like entering a mini city in Seminyak with its own long driveway entrance and entire beach section with very large plush pool space. It also has an array of excellent in house bars and restaurants.

Prices for a room at W start from 5,600,000 rupiahs (£265/$406 ) a night.

Gay friendly hotel W in Seminyak Bali
Hanging out at the W Hotel with our friend Josh in Seminyak

IMPIANA PRIVATE VILLAS BALI

The Villas Bali is a luxurious and very gay friendly hotel in Seminyak. We stayed in a private villa, which has a large garden space, sun tanning area, private pool, kitchen and dining area decorated in traditional Balinese style. We also had our own private chef who prepared our breakfast in our kitchen every morning.

This is ideal for either a group of friends travelling together in one of the 3 bedroom villas, or for couples in one of the 1 bedroom villas.

A private villa at Impiana starts from $155 / £115 a night.

Yoga by the pool at Villas Bali Hotel in Seminyak
Sebastien attempting a yoga-esque pose at our pool at the gay friendly Impiana Private Villas

Check out the Flashpacker Family's blog for more information about where to stay in Bali.

SEMINYAK: best spas

We all love a good spa session and the Nomadic Boys will of course never shy away from one. These were our favourite spas we tried, loved and of course had no issue with us being a gay couple.

CHILL REFLEXOLOGY SPA

The massages at Chill Reflexology focus on massaging pressure points. We tried The Ultimate Chill, a 1.5 hours treatment (£13/$20), which was heavenly for our sore backs and legs after all that trekking on Rinjani mountain.

Sebastien at Prana Spa, Bali Villas, Seminyak
Sebastien blending in nicely with the colours, patiently waiting for a few spa treatments in Seminyak

PRANA SPA

We tried the 2 hours Mystique Bali Package (£40/$60) here and it felt gooood! First we had a relaxing oil massage, followed by skin polishing and scrub. Then, a yoghurt wash. Yup you read right: a yoghurt wash! We stood in a shower clad in just spa underwear whilst our masseur cleansed our bodies with fresh yoghurt. Our Mystique Massage concluded with a romantic flower bath and tasty fresh herbal tea. We highly recommend it.

Bath of flowers at Prana Spa at The Villas Bali Hotel in Seminyak
A bath of flowers at the Prana Spa at The Villas Bali Hotel

SEMINYAK: Best places to eat

Seminyak has its fair share of high-end restaurants. We particularly loved the Sunday Brunch at Fire and the Royal Rijstaffel experience at Husk, a truly unique Indonesian tradition.

A ROYAL RIJSTAFFEL DINNER AT HUSK RESTAURANT

The Royal Rijstaffel is a Balinese tradition dating back to the Dutch colonial era of the 19th Century and literally translates as rice on table. The rice is served with a variety of accompanying local dishes by a group of female waitresses who dance their way over to you, accompanied by traditional music.

The Husk Royal Rijstaffel dinner is every Monday 6:30-9:30pm (part of the Royal Beach Hotel) and costs £17/$26 per person.

BAMBU RESTAURANT

Bambu is a highly rated restaurant in Seminyak and you need to book in advance. It's expensive, but well worth every penny, and perfect for a romantic meal. Our favourite dishes included the Gohu Ikan Tongkol (yellow fin tuna ceviche starter) and the Bebek Betutu (slow roast duck with galangal, lemongrass, toasted coconut and green bean salad).

They also do really innovative tasty cocktails like Ginger Honey Sling (rum based), Lychee Cooler (with vodka) and Pomelo Julep (also with vodka).

SUNDAY BRUNCH AT FIRE (W HOTEL)

The Sunday brunch at the W Hotel's Fire restaurant is a lavish affair based on hawker street food. It has delicious fresh meats, cheeses and local street food type dishes cooked in front of you. The Sunday brunch at Fire costs £22/$34 per person and includes a welcome drink of bubbles.

Welcome drink FIre restaurant W hotel in Seminyak
A tasty glass of bubbles to welcome us to the Sunday Brunch at Fire restaurant at W Hotel

UBUD: gay hotels in Ubud

Ubud is known as the cultural capital of Bali. It is around 1 hour’s drive away North from Seminyak towards the centre of the island. There's a handful of really lush places to stay, which are extremely gay friendly:

AWANG AWANG: ROMANTIC GAYTEWAY

Awang Awang is a high-end gay friendly villa retreat in the countryside just outside the main town. Each villa has its own private infinity pool overlooking the surrounding tropical jungle. We loved it because we were right in the middle of the tropical Balinese countryside, with cheeky monkeys popping their heads in each morning to say hello.

Prices at Awang Awang start from £145/$220 a night.

SAUDARA HOME

We found Saudara based on the excellent reviews on Tripadvisor. It's based in the middle of the rice fields of the Pakudui village. It's green, serene, extremely gorgeous, and perfect for a getaway type holiday for lots of meditation.

Prices start at Saudara Home start from £30/$45 a night and includes breakfast, but you need to book a minimum of 3 nights.

Stefan infinity pool at Villa Awang Awang in Ubud, Bali
Stefan enjoying our infinity pool at the excellent Villa Awang Awang in Ubud, Bali

UBUD: best restaurants in Ubud

Ubud has many decent restaurants. Check out Tripadvisor's 10 best Ubud restaurants list for some of the highly rated options like Luxe Cafe or Swept Away at the Samaya. For us, we picked these 2 culinary experiences because they particularly stood out for us:

FRESH VEGAN RESTAURANT

Fresh is a super cool raw vegan restaurant. As vegan virgins we were pleasantly surprised: it was not only filling, but everything we tried was bursting with flavour.

Our favourite dish was the vegan answer to lasagne, called Living Lasagne, which consists of zucchini, sun-dried tomato, marinara, almond pesto and served with citrus salad.

Stefan with Living Lasagne and Tempeh toast salad at Fresh restaurant in Ubud, central Bali
Proud Stefan arises the winner of the foodfight, proudly showing off his vegan Living Lasagne and Tempeh toast salad at Fresh

ROOM 4 DESSERT

This is cheeky! You enter a darkroom of pleasure (!) where Chef Will Goldfarb hosts his 50 Shades of Grace desserts. Look out for desserts like the Coco Beware or the Chocobubbles Too with its mouthwatering raisin and kluwak crumble. As our fellow travel blogger Mar Pages of Once in A Lifetime Journey nicely put it, “Now boys, when in Ubud, make Room 4 Dessert!” :

Chocobubbles Too dessert at gay friendly Room 4 Dessert restaurant in Ubud
Chocobubbles Too dessert with its mouthwatering raisin and kluwak crumble at Room 4 Dessert in Ubud. Photo credit: Once In A Lifetime Journey

UBUD: BEST things to do

Ubud has plenty to keep you busy, whether you want to explore the countryside, do a cooking class or see a unique style of dancing. We set out our favourite things to do in Bali based on our first hand experience.

BALINESE KECAK MONKEY DANCE

The Balinese Kecak monkey dance is one of the most popular attractions in Ubud. The dancers use their own body as percussion along with pieces of bamboo as stamping tubes.

You can watch a live Kecak fire and trance show in Central Ubud, every Wednesday and Saturday evening for around 75,000 rupiahs (£4 / $6).

Balinese dance monkey chant ritual Ubud
The Balinese Kobagi Kecak band performing their monkey chant ritual using their body as percussion

EXPLORE THE COUNTRYSIDE ON A QUAD

We set out to explore the scenic paddy fields and numerous little kampongs (villages) around Ubud by quad and buggy tour, which also included guided tubing down the Siap Stream in the Payangan area.

Stefan tubing in Ubud Bali with Bali Quad Discovery Tours
Stefan's favourite position (!) as we go tubing in Ubud

Prices start from 1,200,000 rupiahs (£59/$89) per person for just the tubing and 2,300,000 rupiahs (£112 / $169) for both tubing and quad/buggy driving. Prices include lunch buffet and hotel pick up.

We recommend it as a way to experience the Ubud countryside in quite a unique way.

Quad biking in Ubud countryside in central Bali
Quad biking through the Balinese countryside in Ubud

BALINESE COOKING CLASS

One of the best things we did in Ubud. We were hosted by a family at their organic farmrun. Indonesian couple, Kadek and Made, taught us to make a variety of local specialties like sayur urap (blanched vegetable salad with shredded coconut dressing), satay lilit (chicken satay served in a lemongrass stick) and perkedel jagung (sweetcorn fritters).

All was going so well until greedy Sebastien tried to steal all the freshly made perkedel jaguns…

Cooking class Ubud Seb with perkedel jagung sweetcorn fritters
Sebastien stealing all the perkedel jagung sweetcorn fritters at our Be Bali Day cooking class in Ubud

For more adventures from Ubud, check out Wanderlust Chloe's excellent post about her Mount Batur sunrise hike.

NUSA DUA: the ultimate romantic gay getaway

Nusa Dua is located right on the southern tip of Bali, around 30 minutes taxi ride from Seminyak. This is the place for that ultimate honeymoon retreat, where all the high end luxury hotels of the island are based. The hotels of Nusa Dua are designed so you do not need to leave them. Each one has a variety of excellent restaurants, spas, private beach and other in house activities.

THE ST. REGIS BALI RESORT

We stayed at the St. Regis Bali Resort and bloody hell, wow! You’re blown away from the moment you set foot into the St Regis and are met with your Butler (yes you read right, your own Butler!).

The St Regis is so huge, you need a buggy to go from one end to the other. We particularly enjoyed many peaceful, relaxing moments by the private beach. If that wasn't enough, the St Regis Bali has a massive 3,668 squared metres salt-water lagoon pool and you can rent a private villa which leads directly into it.

A night in a basic Suite at the St Regis Bali starts from £275/$420 a night.

Nomadic Boys on St Regis Bali resort beach in gay friendly Nusa Dua
The St Regis in Nusa Dua, south Bali was our romantic and luxury escape.

THE GRAND NIKKO BALI

The Grand Nikko Bali is a more affordable exotic getaway hotel in Nusa Dua also with a private beach front. It welcomes gay couples, and it got its gay friendly reputation after hosting the second not for profit G-slam gay Tennis Tournament in 2012.

It has no fewer then 8 in house restaurants, 4 inter connected swimming pools, water slide, 3 tennis courts, fitness centre, spa and much much more…

Prices at the Grand Nikko start from £100/$150 for a double room with garden view and private balcony.

For a more romantic and remote experience, check out the stunning Nusa islands and read more about Bali from our friend Kathryn.

Aerial view Grand Nikko gay friendly hotel in Nusa Dua
Aerial view of the Grand Nikko Hotel in Nusa Dua, south Bali

OUR FAVOURITE TRAVEL TIPS

⭐️ TRAVEL INSURANCE — We recommend you always take out travel insurance before your next vacation. What happens if you suffer from illness, injury, theft or a cancellation? With travel insurance, you can have peace of mind and not worry. We love World Nomads travel insurance and have been using it for years. Their comprehensive coverage is second to none and their online claims process is very user friendly.

⭐️ SAFETY & SECURITY — All travelers (gay or not) can sometimes encounter danger when traveling. CloseCircle is your “virtual body guard” mobile app which provides security alerts and support wherever you are in the world. They have a 24/7 emergency response team monitoring their users who will contact you immediately if the SOS swipe button is activated. Support can include anything from practical advice, to free evacuation from areas with extreme weather or security risks. You can read more about CloseCircle in our article about how to stay safe whilst traveling.

⭐️ ONLINE ANONYMITY — A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a must in many countries: it allows you to surf anonymously and maintain your privacy whilst traveling. You'll particularly need it in countries where gay dating apps are blocked by the government. We recommend ExpressVPN, a reliable and cost effective service which we used and loved during our travels.

⭐️ HOTELS or APARTMENTS — When we plan a trip, we always look for the best hotel deals. We love Booking.com because not only do they have a comprehensive listing of accommodation options, they also offer the best prices. Added bonus: they provide 24/7 support and free cancellation for most listings.

⭐️ SIGHTSEEING and ADVENTURES — When we travel somewhere, we like to seek out the best experiences, whether it is cooking with locals in Bangkok, hiking on a glacier in Patagonia, or going on a wildlife safari in Sri Lanka. Our favorite place to look is GetYourGuide because they have over 30,000 highly rated activities, a user-friendly booking process with free cancellation and a 24 hour customer support.

This article contains affiliate links. If you click on them, we may receive compensation which keeps our website alive and helps us bring you to more destinations.

If you enjoyed reading, Pin me for later. Also, check out our gay travel guide to the Gili Islands, and also to Labuanbajo on Flores Island.

59 thoughts on “Gay Bali: the ultimate LGBTQ travel guide to the island of the gods”

  1. Hey guys!
    I’ve been an avid follower of your blog since I read this post just before going to Bali myself. I stayed in Spartacvs based on your recommendation, and it was so much fun! I stayed in another clothing optional resort called Bali au Naturel, though that was not as much fun.
    However, while in Bali did you guys hear of any Gay Traveler’s Hostels? I always prefer youth hostels because of the community, but couldn’t find any gay ones.
    Anyway, thanks for the recommendation! I’m traveling to Thailand and the Philippines next so imma try and find your posts from those countries next 🙂

    Lots of love,
    Rohan

  2. Hey guys 🙂

    Awww, love your photos, they make me want to go to Bali right now! St. Regis Bali will definitely be my top choice and Be Bali Day cooking class too 🙂 Keep going!!! Look forward to see you both again soon, safe travels.

  3. Hi Both
    I was reading your trip notes from my facebook friend and had so much interset6 reading it especially while you guys are in bali.
    Dropby in our café if you are returning to Bali again. We just open like 9 months ago and specialises in Singaporean and Malaysian fares with some Indonesian favourite too.
    As I am establishing this café to be gay friendly, it also gay owned. We do have team of Englisg speaking staff.
    Come down if you can and we will be delighted to let you sample our food and hospitality.

    See you guys
    Badrull
    We are also on tripadvisor.
    #warongmimiloma

  4. Wow! What a great and detailed review of Bali. Can’t wait to go visit next year and will be referring back to you suggestions for ideas. Sounds like you had a great time though. Cheers

  5. Hey Hey!

    LOVED this article. Man did I have a laugh reading this.
    Also now I have a suitcase half packed ready for Bali! Meh! Must travel, getting travel-depressed-from-deprivation!

    It looks like you two had an amazing time.
    I love the photo of you on the Quad Bike *Giggle*.

    Some of those bars look amazing too.
    I am not male, nor gay, although I am a female who is openly bisexual and hates labels so this is a nice twist on the LGBT community while travelling. I wouldn’t have known about any of this had I not read your place, as you mentioned Bali is not the 1st place that comes to mind in regards to LGBT travel.

    *Clothing Optional* Love that too 🙂

    Can’t wait to jump into your posts this weekend and read more on your adventures!
    Come find me on Twitter at @CeecesTravel, I am on my way to find you 🙂

    #LoveAndTravelHugs©
    Cee

  6. Hello
    My name is Maria Grazia Bucchioni and I am a wedding planner in Florence. I expect you all to give you a honeymoon dream in one of
    the most beautiful cities of the world

  7. Nice guide. Loved the pictures. I’ve never been to Bali but if I ever go, I’m definitely checking out the Grand Nikko Hotel, looks amazing! And the spas seems amazing. I was supposed to spend today at a spa, but instead will get to do it on New Years Eve. Could be worse, I suppose 😉

  8. You guys know how to have fun! This is a very comprehensive gay (and not) travel guide to Bali with lots of useful recos. I will be checking out the St regis for sure. and the W brunch next time I am in town

  9. Great detail provided in this guide, from what time to eat and drink at various restaurants, to cost to the in depth reviews on TripAdvisor. I had no idea Bali had so much to offer to the LGBT community but I’m very happy to see that’s the case. What a great resource, I’ll pass this guide onto some of my LGBT friends who I know are looking to head this way in the near future!

    Greig

  10. The bar photos are quite funny. It looks like you had a blast.

    The Grand Nikko Bali looks like a great family place as well. My daughter would LOVE the pools!

  11. First, I need to say you guys are so fun-loving, you basically personify my relationship goals! Second, that was a really great guide to Bali! Third, it looks like you had an absolute blast! Awesome post!

  12. I always enjoy reading your guides, but the best part are the pics. You guys are so adorable and goofy in all your pictures! Is the champagne from that brunch place purple? I would drink a lot more champagne if it was served purple!

    • Thanks Prianka! Goofy? Oh my he he he – we deliberately called them “bubbles” not champagne as we weren’t sure it was that and would otherwise risk upsetting our very proud Frenchman (Sebastien!!)

    • Can definitely see why you think so, but but – did you go to Ubud? Cause that was extremely beautiful/full of culture/awesome photo opps etc

  13. You guys definitely had a better time in Bali than I had… I truly didn’t fall for it. I suppose you were able to do your thing and pick the places you really wanted to visit, which definitely helps. Your pictures are HILARIOUS.

  14. Wow, didn’t know Bali has everything to offer my fun-loving LGBT friends. Hope they take me with them! Would be so much fun.

  15. I can see how a place like Bali (so open minded, hippy-central, etc! 😉 ) would be a great place for the LGBT community. I love the idea of the Spartacvs.! Can there be a “clothing optional” hotel option for people who aren’t gay!?!? I’d be there in a heartbeat!

  16. Well, you two certainly made the most of Bali! That husband and wife cooking team are so cute, I’d love to learn how to make those delicious corn fritters. Would love to experience that ROYAL RIJSTAFFEL DINNER AT HUSK RESTAURANT.

  17. Fantastic guide – I hadn’t picked Indonesia as being gay friendly at all, so it’s good to know that there are options through Bali. We’re in Australia so really close by; Bali is a super popular travel spot for everyone here. I’ll pass this on to my LGBT friends … I feel like I have a friend visiting Bali every other day!

  18. om swastyastu,
    dear stefan and sebastian

    its such amazing experiences that both of you had shared to all of us and as balinese, whose nomadic as well perhaps we shared similar feelings and emotions, and thank you (suksma) to bring these happy vibrations.

    and hope both of you will come visit and join bali pride in the future, perhaps with the rings. ?

    suksma. ?

    hugs,
    san in beijing

  19. Wonderful guide for Bali! You guys hit on a lot of our favorite spots too! We 100% second taking a cooking class. Some of the spiciest food we have ever had and now we know how to make it!

    I only wish Bali was closer to the US. We would visit every year for sure!

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