Serving as one of the world's most popular and famous tropical islands, a vacation on the island of Bali brings in most of the tourists that power Indonesia's tourism. When looking into vacationing here, you may become a bit confused on whether or not there are any overwater bungalows on-site. This is because there is a resort, Club Bali Hai, that claims to have invented the first overwater bungalows.

What you'll find however, is that resort is on the island of Moorea, just off Tahiti, in the South Pacific, thousands of kilometers from Indonesia. So even though the resort's name features the word Bali, the resort is not actually located on the island of Bali. Due to very active tides, Bali isn't the right kind of island for rooms on stilts, so it's unlikely that they'll be coming anytime soon. Bali does however, offer a large selection of 5-star beach resorts, but it doesn't have any shallow lagoons. This means that even if Bali did have water villas off the shore, they'd be above the noisy waves going in and out.

The good news is that there is an amazing assortment of water villas near Bali. Aside from a few overwater bungalow resorts in the Caribbean, most of the world's water villas are in the tropics between the South Pacific, and the Maldives, which is just southwest of India.

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Closest water villas to Bali

When planning your Bali vacation, you may still be thinking of adding in a stay in an overwater resort, if it’s not too much of a hassle to reach. With this, your best bet is going to be Malaysia and the Philippines. Thanks to cheap flights on Air Asia, you could reach either of those areas on a modest budget.

You’ll also want to note that there are also two water villa resorts in Thailand and even though neither one offers the traditional huts-on-stilts over a lagoon that most people are looking for, both are extremely nice and a good value. For more information about these resorts, visit our main Asia water villas page.

Looking for the world's best water villas?

While there are some good choices near Indonesia, most would agree that all the best water villas and overwater bungalows in the world are clustered in both the Maldives and in the South Pacific region. In fact, about two-thirds of the world’s such hotel rooms are in the Maldives, with over 3,400 water villas to choose from.

The Maldives

If you’re traveling from anywhere in Europe, then you’ll want to check out the over water villas in the Maldives. This region is home to around 100 resorts to choose from, each of which sits on its own private island, with prices ranging from surprisingly reasonable to off-the-charts luxury. With only a single plane change in the Middle East, you can easily reach the Maldives in about 12 hours total when traveling from any major airport in Europe.

The South Pacific

If you are traveling from anywhere in the Americas, then you’ll want to choose one of the overwater bungalow resorts that are situated in the South Pacific. Most of these overwater resorts are found on Bora Bora and Moorea, but there are also nearly 30 overwater resorts spread throughout French Polynesia and the rest of the South Pacific, meaning you should have no problem finding your perfect match.


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  1. There are 4 of us that would like to depart Seattle and get to Sunshine in January. We were thinking Bora Bora but are wide open. I was wondering if there are any water bungalows that accommodate 4 people but are still affordable?

    1. Theresa,

      Most of the Bora Bora resort hotels allow 3 guests per room, but I’ve only heard about a couple that allow 4, and those are the super expensive ones that go for close to US$2,000 per night.

      The option that might work are the so-called Brando overwater bungalows, which are privately run and not part of a resort. A couple of them have two bedrooms and they are actually more reasonably priced. Good luck! -Roger

  2. Hi, there is 5 of us wanting to stay closest to Jacksonville Florida (Mom not doing well). That has the bungalows over the water, but HAS to be clear water? Can you help me? I am a disabled vet, and they wanted to do this for me. Thank you, Lisa🌞

    1. Lisa,

      The closest real overwater bungalows to Florida are in Jamaica at two different Sandals resorts, but the water isn’t turquoise like it is in Bora Bora and the Maldives. Unfortunately Florida is pretty much half a world away from the ones with clear water. The closest are probably in Tahiti, but if you go there you might as well go to Moorea, which is right next door. -Roger