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So you finally decided to come to Bali and see this paradise island that you've heard so much about!
You already know how much money do you need to stay here for a month and now you're wondering how to find the place to stay. Even before your flight, it's a good idea to book a simple place for a week or couple of days. And after you come here you can find a place of your own.
In this guide, you will find information about what kind of accommodation you can expect in Bali. And I will share tips on how to look for a place.
Types of lodging
There are 4 main types of housing in Bali: Guesthouses, Villas, Co-living spaces/camps, and hotels. There are many variations but we can classify them into one of the categories.
The guesthouse is usually the cheapest type of all. In the simplest version, it's a complex with several rooms. Most popular are 4 or 6 rooms guest houses but you can find a lot of different versions. Some of the places are huge and they operate like hotels with many staff members, big territory, a large pool, etc.
You can expect a private entrance, a private bathroom with a shower, and a toilet. Often you can find a small table, wardrobe, and a bed. Sometimes they have a TV and a couple of art pieces on the wall.
The shared territory could be different. It could be a nice garden, pool or shared kitchen. Once I had a rabbit on the territory! 😃
They could be very different as well. The most popular I've seen are 2-3 bedroom villas with one or two floors. It's hard to find a one-bedroom villa. Usually, if you are a couple or a solo traveler you have one additional bedroom. Because of this many people are sub-renting a spare bedroom to other people. If you want to live in a villa but tight on the budget, you can easily find a room in a villa with neighbors on Facebook groups.
Inside the villas, you often have a big bath tab, sometimes even outside. Inside the living room, there is usually a TV. Most of the villas have a private pool and some gardens. Very often in Bali, you can find an open kitchen or/and living room. It is not as bad as it sounds. It's usually under the roof and embedded the way that the sun won't be affecting it. And it often has a ceiling fan. I've been using the open kitchen and its big table as my working place.
It is the best choice for single travelers. It's usually big guesthouses with different amenities. They have one important feature - community. They are themed to gather people with similar interests. The most popular ones in Bali are surf camps or co-livings with coworking for nomads.
In surf camps, you can expect surf instructors, surfing trips, surfing lessons. Sometimes they have special equipment for surf training on-site.
In nomad spaces, you can expect a lot of like-minded people, small conferences, and meetups. It's the best place to find entrepreneurs, developers, designers, and other creative people.
The price is different from place to place. In the surf camps, you can expect surfing lessons and equipment included in the price. In co-living spaces, you will get a free coworking area.
I don't recommend live in hotels in Bali. Usually, I like hotels. Especially if you're going for a couple of weeks vacation and you want the nice service. In Bali, they are overpriced and don't have local charm and experience. I'd say you find a much better deal with good guesthouses and villas. You can rent a nice 2BR villa with a pool for the same price as hotels. Hotels also don't have discounts for a long-term stay.
How to pick the place?
I am using Airbnb for most of my bookings while traveling. It doesn't matter much in Bali. Most of the places you can find on Airbnb are also listed on Booking or Agoda or Instagram or everywhere. Another place to look for accommodations is Facebook groups. I know there are plenty of them, you can try to search for "rent" or "accommodation". I don't use Facebook so can't say if it's better than listed websites.
When I'm looking for a long-term place I open Airbnb and look for accommodations in the desired districts. Usually, Airbnb hides the exact location but you can find the approximate. After I find all the places I like I am trying to find them. A lot of stays in Bali have names and you can find them on Google maps. If I can't find a place I am looking for an owner. It's easy to find people online by having only a name. Then I contact the place or owner and ask if I can see the place in person.
If I can't find the person or a place online I message the host right on the website and ask if I can see the place. It doesn't violate any of the policies of Airbnb to ask this.
Once I meet the host I check the place out, ask all the questions and try to negotiate the price for my budget. After a couple of attempts, I usually find the desired place and agreed on moving in.
I've never had any rental agreements here in Bali and locals don't seem to worry about it as well. But I ask for an invoice for my payment and deposit if they have one.
What to check before moving in?
I'll share a couple of things I am usually checking before moving in and you might find it helpful for you.
- Table for work. For me, the place must have a proper workspace. I wouldn't expect a good desk or chair but it's great to have something. If you're planning to work from home it's a good idea to check this. There are options to work from cafes or coworking spaces and in that case, you won't need it. I like that Airbnb now has a filter "dedicated workspace" which I always use.
- Dishes and cooking equipment. Unless you want to always eat out you'd better check for everything you need for cooking. I also look for a microwave, fridge, and watercooler.
- Shower/toilet condition. Very often I find the place where everything seems perfect until I check the bathroom. It could be mold, broken shower/toilet, very dirty environment, etc. I also don't like outside bathrooms. Unfortunately, it's very popular in Bali.
- Wi-Fi. Bali is an island so don't expect very good Internet. Especially if you've lived in big cities where 100Mb/s is normal. But Bali has decent Internet quality. You can expect 5-20Mb/c and quite a stable connection. But it's good to check it anyway. I have the "Speedtest" and "Ping" apps on my phone. So I test the speed and the stability. It's hard to test it properly but it is something.
- Extra bills. It's a good idea to ask if you should pay something extra. Some places charge you some amount for electricity or cleaning. It's good to know everything in advance.
- Outside area. When you concentrate on the apartment you can easily forget to check the outside area. Do they have a pool? Garden? Maybe even gym? What's the condition of all that stuff?
- Broken stuff. Good idea to check if something is broken. You don't want to pay from your deposit for the things you didn't break.