Gay Bali, famed as a surfing paradise with exquisite beaches, ancient cliff top temples and mountainous rice paddy fields. Bali is one of Asia’s most desirable destination for a gay holiday. It’s true Bali deserves every bit of its paradise reputation. Bali has hotels to suit every holiday from trendy beach resorts to romantic mountain top villas or even budget hostels on backpacking party streets.
Bali’s culture allows for gay visitors to be accepted across the island. Gay Bali is focused around a groups bars located in Seminyak on Jalan Camplung Tanduk Road. Seminyak is South Bali’s trendy neighbour, located just north of Kuta, it’s filled with luxury beach resorts, chic restaurants and trendy bars.
Gay Bali Nightlife
Bali’s gay scene is relatively small but growing. Jalan Camplung Tanduk (sometimes referred to as Dhyana Pura) in Seminyak is the center of gay Bali’s nightlife. The handful of bar are located next door to each other making the area perfect for bar hopping.
As you travel between the bars expect drag shows, international pop, inside smoking and plenty of Indonesian working men. Most of the action kicks off around 11 pm – 12 am with majority of the bars closing around 3 am. Like most holiday destinations, parties takes place every night of the week, all year round on Bali.
Outside of the gay scene Bali is home to some great nightlife. Most of the large luxury resorts have trendy cocktail bars and beach clubs, the best of which can be found at Potato Head and W Seminyak. At the other end of the scale, Bali’s backpacker’s know how to party. Kuta’s main street Jalan Legian is lined with bars and clubs. Seminyak and Kuta are located only 15 -25 minutes’ drive apart so if you are into partying be sure to check into a hotel in this neighbourhood.
Gay Saunas in Bali
Gay Bali’s sauna scene is limited with only one male only sauna on the island. Elegantz Spa & Sauna recently opened in Seminyak offering steam and sauna facilities along with private massage treatments.
For relaxation and therapeutic treatments the hotels on Bali offer world class service at relatively affordable prices. Prices vary dramatically between street side shops to luxury hotels. Balinese massages have become world famous for relaxation and invigoration and where better to try them than the laying on the white sand of Bali’s beaches.
Bali’s Gay Friendly Accommodation
From chic to cheap Bali has it all. Whether you are looking for that isolated honeymoon villa or trendy beach resort Bali’s got it. Party people should stay in south Bali’s Seminyak or Kuta to make the most of the nightlife. These two towns are located next to each other and make up most of the island’s tourism hot spot. But if you are looking for deserted palm fringed beaches you should check out north Bali with its incredible black sand beaches. Inland Bali around Ubud is great for panoramic mountain views over the hillside rice paddies. Read our full guide to Bali’s districts.
If you are looking for something a little more freeing, you might want to check out some of Bali’s gay only resorts. Many of these resorts have “clothing optional” policy.
Getting around Bali
While you might not expect it from a tropical island, Bali can have horrendous traffic jams. Consider this when planning activities and choosing your hotel location.
Airport – Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) – commonly referred to as Denpasar International Airport, is Bali main airport located in the south near to Denpasar city and Kuta. Taxis are plentiful at the airport remember to ask for meter or negotiate before getting in the car. Most hotels offer airport pickups which can relieve some of the arrival stress.
Taxi – widely available across Kuta and Seminyak. Taxi offer a cheap option to travel around the island. It’s not uncommon to hire taxis for a full day or set hours to explore the island. Negotiation is key and it may be best to ask your hotel for similar services to compare prices.
Bemo – Bali’s budget public transportation system of open-air minibuses. Prices can vary, especially for visitors who are frequently overcharged. Try to see how much the locals are paying and have small change ready. If traveling with large bags expect to pay extra for the bag.
Area’s of Bali
A short guide to the main areas of interest for LGBT tourists when visiting Bali. Most of the tourist activities are centralised around south Bali especially Kuta Beach and trendy Seminyak. The main gay bars on Bali are located in Seminyak on Jalan Camplung Tanduk Road.
Kuta — backpacking hub and surfing central. Kuta is the most developed tourist area of Bali. Its great for budget travelers with parties, shopping and markets.
Seminyak — home to fashionable hotels and restaurants. Located just north of Kuta, neighbouring Seminyak is Kuta’s trendy older brother. Home to some of Bali’s best beach clubs, such as Potato Head and luxury resorts including W Bali. Located on Jalan Camplung Tanduk Road in Seminyak are the handful of gay bars and clubs that make up Bali’s gay nightlife.
Denpasar — The administrative hub of Bali. The island’s main city unseen by most tourists due to the lack of attractions.
Ubud — Bali’s hill station, located on the island’s central foothills. This creative little town has developed an arts and crafts vibe with many vibrant independent galleries and shops opening here.
Jatiluwih – One of the best areas to see Bali’s iconic and beautiful rice paddy cover hills. This region has been nominated for designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Jatiluwih is located slightly further inland from Ubud.
Lovina — Famed in the northwest of Bali for its beautiful black sand beaches and unique coral reefs.
Gays and The Law
In terms of public tolerance and acceptance of homosexuality, views are very mixed across Indonesia. Bali is one of the most accepting parts of Indonesia. There are many factors for this including the island’s original Hindu religion and it’s recent history as a tourist hot spot. Across Indonesia, similar to many nations, LGBT acceptance is more widespread in urban areas.
Male and female same-sex activity is legal in Bali. Gay marriage and international same sex marriages are not recognised in Bali or Indonesia. LGBTQIA residents of Bali and Indonesia are not offered the equal legal protections that are given to non-LGBTQIA (straight) people.
Getting Tested in Bali
The best place to get tested in Bali is in a private hospital. Tests are unsubsidized and can be relatively expensive. BIMC Bali is the island’s leading private hospital which offer full HIV and STI testing and treatment. Local HIV initiative, Gaya Dewata maintains an up-to-date list of other recommended clinics.
The HIV infection rate among gay men living on Bali is as high as 20% and for sex workers it’s much higher. Condom and lube are widely available across Bali with all convenience stores and supermarkets stocking them.
Before you travel purchase travel insurance which covers HIV treatment and testing, not all travel insurances cover this these procedures.