Note on February 2013 - This article about Bali nightlife is a little old now, you can read my 2013 update here: Bali Nightlife Update 2013 and my 2014 update: Bali Nighlife Tips.

A few people asked me how partying in Bali compared to Jakarta. They intended to spend some time in both and they wanted to know in which place they would have the best parties. I'm not a specialist of Bali nightlife, but I've been there enough times to have an opinion. If you think you know better, please comment.

Partying in Bali can be done almost exclusively in a tiny area that goes from Kuta-Legian to Seminyak.
In Kuta, the crowd is dominated by young Australians in T-shirt and shorts as well as tourists from all over the world. It is what I could call holiday partying: In any given nightclubs, you will find a whole bunch of people who just happen to be on holidays in the same spot; they aren't always regular clubbers and do not have a lot of expectations except getting drunks, hear music they know, find a girl/guy for the night, etc...
Kuta is laid-back but I don't really like it. One night is fine because it is a part of any trip to Bali, but after that, I get easily tired with the lack of "refinement".
Paddy’s and Bounty are two of the most famous places in this area: The entrance is free so you should at least try one of them.. Slightly better, you have the Sky Garden lounge which is similar to M Bar Go but more trendy these days: The crowd is more educated, the music not as predictable and you see more regular clients. Another popular venue in Kuta is the Hard Rock Café, where most patrons are locals or Asian people. I never tried it but I know they have some good rock bands.
Otherwise, you have a fairly good number of small bars with live music or DJs that are quiet most evenings. Actually, my favourite place in Kuta is the Deejay Café (update needed though because I went there 3 years ago) which is similar to a Jakarta's Kota nightclub, dark and populated by weirdos. It is a place for "afters" so you should go there only around 4-5 am... The music is tribal electro, the same you hear in Stadium.

Seminyak is only a few kilometers away from Kuta but it's far better. In Jalan Dhyana Pura, Bahiana is quite popular for latin music. Patrons are mostly expats or regular travellers, and you'll meet many french people (the owner is French). A little down the road, there are some bars with live music, and many gay spots actually. I think this part of Bali is the best place to start a night slowly in a relaxed atmosphere. Depending on the traffic, you can then choose to try Jalan Legian in Kuta (see above) or go directly to the Double Six area.

The Double Six area is where everyone who intend to stay up after 3am meets. The area has 4 main venues: Bacio, the best club in Bali at the time of writing, la Vida Loca, a popular hangout with live music and lots of Indo girls, the club 66 (Double Six), which can be great when they manage to fill it and Deja Vu, which is similar to Bacio. Doing the 4 of them in one evening is very easy and a fun thing to do! I forgot to mention Ku De Ta, very exclusive and perfect for a drink before sunset but way too expensive compared to other places (I paid 120 euros for a 2-persons meal with one mojito and a coke...).

Apart from Kuta/Legian/Seminyak, Bali is quiet. Ubud has a few bars with live music but it's definitely not a party place. Sanur is famous for having hundreds of "massage parlours" and karaokes but no good bars or clubs. Near Lovina Beach, i went to a really big club once with only Indonesian people inside but I forgot the name…

So how does all this compare with Jakarta?

To me, I think in terms of venues, Jakarta is much better than Bali. In Jakarta, you have at least 20 world-class venues that can host international DJ performances compared to 5-6 in Bali. This means that even after 3 years in Jakarta, i'm still discovering new places whereas in Bali one week is enough to try everything. This blog has almost 300 entries for bars and clubs in Jakarta, I’m sure I could never do the same thing in Bali. Jakarta 1 – Bali 0.

Also, Jakarta has a real clubbing culture when Bali is more focused on partying. Yes, partying and clubbing are different things. Clubs in Jakarta pay a growing attention to the music played and many residents DJ are starting to have a good knowledge of the worldwide electronic music scene. In Bali, music often comes second because the clubs have people from various backgrounds and to satisfy everyone, they choose to play mostly mainstream music. Unfortunately hearing all the latest radio hits one by one every night is not my thing at all. Jakarta 2 – Bali 0.

I also find the service (waiters, taxis, etc) to be worst in Bali, where people are always trying to over-charge you for everything you buy. This is probably due to the fact that most foreigners in Jakarta are expats, i.e. permanent residents of Indonesia, when most people in Bali are there for a short period of time. Clearly, I don't get the same respect in Bali than in Jakarta. I don't blame people for trying to make a living but surely I blame many westerners for behaving as people not worth respecting. Jakarta 3 – Bali 0.

Another thing I don't like about Bali, especially Kuta, is that it can be quite vulgar and cheap. In many clubs, you will find people getting really drunk, just like they would do in Dundee (Scotland, I was there and it was the same thing). When you have ten Aussies dancing without their T-shirts on next to you, you wonder why you had to fly 18,000 km to a paradise island to end up with the same idiots you have back home. Once again, one or two evening is fine, but too much of that would make me mad. Jakarta 4 – Bali 0.

Bali nightlife has one good point actually: It feels like holidays. And even though I don’t like it, I always spend a night partying in Kuta when I go to Bali. I drink an illusion in Bounty, go on the podium in Paddy’s, struggle to get a cab to Bahiana, then always end up too early in Double 6. I don’t know if it’s fun but I know that when I’m there I’m on holiday and nothing else really matters… Jakarta 4 – Bali 1.

In conclusion, if you are on holiday and you want to have fun, Bali is great. You will meet a lot of people from all over the world that are looking for the same thing as you. The music is not great, the venues are a little dirty and you might get ripped off by the taxi driver, but you will end up drunk in your hotel, probably with a girl if that’s what you are after. If you have more time to spend in Indonesia and if you are more serious about clubbing, come to Jakarta. Jakarta nightlife is completely different, but I'm sure you will enjoy it too. It’s not as laid-back, but maybe more “mature” and more diverse. To give you a more precise idea, you should read my guide "Jakarta Nightlife Tips" and "5 Things You Will Love About Nightlife In Jakarta".

I hope this blog article gave you a first idea of the main differences between partying in Bali in Jakarta. Please comment this article if you feel I've been unfair with Bali...

Update 2015: I also wrote about the 12 Best Nightclubs in Bali.

The second and third photos have been taken by Phillip Salzman, the first picture by me!

27 comments to '' Bali Nightlife Vs. Jakarta Nightlife: Which one is the Best? "

  1. hi
    is all right i been in bali < in there night life you not feel comfort at all when most of night , because there a lot of the patrons are Australian gay , they get horny and came to Bali for a weekend and they get drunk and try to fuck every thing any where , ( imagine that you are in nightclub and there are an Australian football team they all drunk , it is getting noisy ind too much fighting , ) i could say Bali in the day better thane Jakarta and in night i did nit try the nightlife in Jakarta yet so until that i well desid what is better at night

  2. i just can agree. iv been on bali last week and nothing changed since u guys have been there. half naked drunken australian apes are climbing on the stages like the monkeys from the ubud monkey forest. the avarage is 20y,so if u r lil bit older u miss serious partying. thanks to the hookers the club gets a really nasty and dirty touch. if u r living in a big city and use to go to a good club Bali is nothing more than a provincial destination. During the day its another story...

  3. In my opinion, Jakarta is a little bit of paradise, a lot of people dont like it as it is not really a touristy destination, but that sits ok with me, the less people who know about it the better I reckon.

  4. I think, you forgot one thing in your comparison, even though it has nothing to do with nightlife:

    In Bali there is a lot to do besides nightlife, while in Jakarta the best is to sleep all day long, unless you work there. And if you work there, you will not have the choice anyway. Those who can choose are tourist and I think Bali is much better for them.

  5. i have been just short time in jakarta and defenetly for night life is 100 times better ...but you forgotto mention 2 point important:
    _a very good club in seminyak is living room and not far distance ( and quality ) is uhuh night club..
    living is in a week-end a place to be in bali after 3 am diraction bacio or home if you was lucky :D
    - the most beautiful indonesian girls are in jakarta :D

  6. The hottest and most beautiful Indonesian girls all live in Jakarta I must agree!

  7. I agreed that Jakarta nightlife are way better but I love Bali nightlife cos it's so laidback and you can dress down :)

  8. yeap, I also strongly agree at all, the night in Jakarta is very beautiful, almost equal to the night life in the city of Surabaya.
    and Bali, also quite good. .
    I feel comfortable dancing there

  9. Hi there, really witty and honest article! Great job! Particularly the part,"Another thing I don't like about Bali, especially Kuta, is that it can be quite vulgar and cheap. In many clubs, you will find people getting really drunk, just like they would do in Dundee (Scotland, I was there and it was the same thing). When you have ten Aussies dancing without their T-shirts on next to you, you wonder why you had to fly 18,000 km to a paradise island to end up with the same idiots you have back home". I couldn't agree more... Cheers and looking forward to more witty articles!

  10. some i agree with a better night life in jakarta comparing in bali...but for sure if u guys really want to know about the western people having a crazy party, then bali could be the one of example..b'coz i've been living in europe for a few years than whats happen in bali is quite the same, especially when its summer time party near the beach area..dress less, drink much get laid with finding someone to be it depends how you choose ur atmosphere is..with a nice dress? than go to exclusive club in jakarta..but for the opposite u goes to bali..just becareful with people arrounds you.

  11. I think that if living in Indonesia it's nice to escape Jakarta and hang out with Western people on holiday. It gets you out of the expat/Indonesian girl psychology and is completely refreshing, even if it's vulgar. There are plenty of clubs in Bali near or on Jl. Petitenget (sp) which class it up a bit, coming equipped with Continentals in white linen and blue sunglasses.

  12. I love bali but hate kuta.spend most nights in seminyak.Leave Legian and Kuta to Kath+Kim and the rest of Oz

  13. Well, if you want to see some idiots from OZ wearing "Bir Bintang" T Top shirt go to kuta/legian area. But drive up a bit to Seminyak, or kerobokan area, there are more bars, restaurants and lounges. the hottest now is Potato Head..try it!

  14. After reading above post, I am certainly agree with it

  15. Spot on Jakarta 5- Bali 1

  16. Most foreigners who come to Bali are poor in their own countries.

    Most foreigners who come to Jakarta are rich as got a massive pay job offers.

    Jakarta 6 Bali 1

  17. LOLz.....
    Bali sucks... a lot of scammers, over price, nasty clubs...
    Jakarta is much more awesome!
    Jakarta 7 Bali 1

  18. this is jakarta..with the jakartan.

  19. But Bali more famous than Jakarta

  20. Bandung west java is a right place if you looking for beuatiful indonesian girls ....

  21. Jakarta is a place, you have to live in for at least 3-4 months to begin loving it and to always want to come back. And if you stayed there for an year - ia udah, as Indonesians would say - you'll be ready to dig a tunnel from your country to come back there... You will not find it as a favorite tourist destination in the tourist guides.
    Bali is a world known tourist spot for many reasons, partying being as a consequence only...
    Of course Jakarta 8 - Bali 1

  22. I like cheese the cheese is good I like gay australian so Bali for me

  23. Here in Oz, Bali is notorious for all the wrong reasons - current media focus is on 'homegrown' cocktail-induced deaths. I pray that our 20-somethings never discover Jakarta - it just isnt a 'binge drinkers cheap holiday' like Bali. I already cringe in other parts of Asia when someone asks me if I'm Australian - believe it or not, we have even worse than the Bali Brigade back in Oz.

  24. i was born 39 years ago in jakarta but now i live in holland for about 15 years and still got indonesian nationality.but at my 15 yearsold of age i for the first time visited some disco's in jakarta at least once or twice a month.until my age 23 yearsold i experienced jakarta'snightlife.mostly i enjoyed it.example;tanamur,stardust,matra,bengkel,and somewhere in tebet in the hotel,tambora,grand menteng,voila was very great there.i visit indonesia not so often about once in 3 years due to my pocket budget.every visiting indonesia i come to bali too and yes i have the same idea as above.jakarta is the place for serious clubbing while bali is the place for partying for holiday makers there.however jakarta is the country capital with billions residents,so ofcourse there are so many choices of clubs/entertainments.most of holiday makers in bali just want lye down on the beach or surfing and they are already happy when the night comes to hang at the bars or disco to get their drinks with some music(top 40,80's,90's and so on).JAKARTA 9 and BALI 3

  25. Agree with many comments shown above. Bali is a great place without doubt would be much better if the idiots from Australia predominantly from Perth and Darwin stay where they are. Absolute moorons with no class at all. If you were to behave like that in Europe you would get the shit kicked out of you.

    Seminyak is the way to go! Kuta is 10 times worse than the cross if you like that sort of thing.

  26. Very nice an acurate review... Bali is more like a tourist destination and party/nightlife is only one of the consequence. Jakarta is not tourist spot, but more like destination to specific nightlife, clubbing and high end bar/party spot. Jakarta 10 and Bali 1