Where To Stay In Bali – Hostels, Hotels & Homestays

Bali is one of my favourite places in the world. In one of my past lives, I believe I was living on the island of Bali – Chip Conley.

Coconut Cottages

I don’t think anyone realises how big Bali actually is. Yes, it is small compared to the vastness of Australia or North America. However, there is so much to see and do in various towns and cities that truly makes up for the size of the favoured Indonesian island. Dan, Alice and I spent an entire month in Bali, and looking back, there was so much more that I would have loved to see and to have done – so much so that I could definitely go back for another month; maybe even longer.

During our short month there, we spent our time wisely, I think. Like I said, we did a lot which meant staying in various parts of the island. In total, we stayed in ten different places: Denpasar, Seminyak, Uluwatu, Sanur, Nusa Lembongan, Padangbai, Gili Trawangan, Gili Air, Ubud and Canggu which meant we stayed in ten different accommodations which consisted of Air BnBs, hostels, hotels and homestays.

In reality, every single one of those places was great. People forget that Bali is still very much a third world country so the fact that there are dreamy hotels and even incredible hostels is amazing. They differed in price, but we were never paying more than $18 (AUD) each per night which equates to around £9. In fact, for some places we were paying around £3 each per night for the three of us which is insane.

JOGLO VILLA

Length of stay: 5 nights.

Price per night: £8.

Website booked through: Air BnB.

City/Town: Denpasar.

POSITIVES

As I was arriving to Bali on my own quite late, I wanted to get to the first accommodation quickly and without a panic. Rudy, who owns Joglo Villa, provides an optional driver to come and pick his guests up from the airport for just $15, which turned out to be a lifesaver. If you’ve never been to Bali before, the roads and traffic are overwhelming. Busy, frantic and manic are words that come to mind.

The first room I stayed in was incredible, especially for what I paid. It was en-suite, had a huge bed with big cushions which helped me catch up on all my zeds from the lack of sleep due to travelling and sleeping in Perth Airport over two days. It had air con, and its own private pathway which was a mini bonus. The second room was a part of a much bigger villa with its own lounge and kitchen – pretty spectacular stuff.

The eating and lounge area was like something out of a dream with its canaries and budgies, couches and cushions. The food served was so good too, especially the breakfast pancakes and Indonesian specialties, even if they were a little pricey.

For a full day trip, complete with personal drivers, a barrel of laughs and a mountain trek included, it was only $45 compared to the $60 price mark we were originally looking at.

NEGATIVES

The location wasn’t great, as in it was pretty much in the middle of nowhere. It was also very busy in terms of traffic, and drivers don’t stop at zebra crossings so you have to gamble with your life a tiny bit if you want to cross the road.

As with every Balinese person you will meet, the people there would try to sell you something and wouldn’t stop until you agreed to it. At least the guy here did it in a nice way, not like the hostile, annoying-to-the-point-of-explosion kinds of people that I met in Bali.

One slight tit-bit was that all of our stuff was moved from one room to another before we could pack anything up; we weren’t exactly told that we had to move rooms so there was a little confusion over that too. It just meant that all our stuff was all over the place and mixed together. Cue the mini panic attacks about the whereabouts of important documents.

KOSTA HOSTEL

Length of stay: 3 nights.

Price per night: £9 (for three people).

Website booked through: Booking.com

City/Town: Seminyak.

POSITIVES

As soon as I saw this place, I was in heaven: blue and white décor, a pool, basket swings, surf boards,  a very cosy looking beach hut and trees (which weren’t great for sunbathing but fab for ambience!). As you will see, I took a lot of photos because I just loved the look and feel of this place, especially as Kosta is classed as a hostel, and it is super-duper cheap for what it offers.

We had our own room which was perfect for our stay. It is probably my favourite room out of all ten accommodations. Inside was a bunk bed and a single bed with the comfiest pillows I have ever laid my head on. No joke. We didn’t even need two of them, that’s how big and fluffy the pillows were. Plus, pristine white sheets are always a bonus when staying abroad. Another big yay was we each had our own plug socket which, when you all need your phone, iPads, iPods and everything else charging, is a blessing.

The bathroom deserves its own paragraph: so amazing. Walking in, there were plenty of hooks to the left where we could hang our towels, swimwear and clothes, a huge mirror adorned the partition above the sink with plenty of space to throw toothbrushes, makeup and sun cream around it. The shower had the waterfall-type head which is the best kind to have a blissful shower. The heat was slightly temperamental at times. The best part (apart from the shower) was the fact that the toilet and shower were both hidden and in separate compartments, so there was complete privacy even after the bathroom door had been closed, meaning that if somebody was bursting for the loo, they could go even if the shower was occupied.

The location was great if you simply wanted to walk into Seminyak, but when it came to Uber or Grab, they wouldn’t come to that specific area due to the more narrow roads. Bluebird did though, and they’re pretty cheap for taxis.

Fab scrambled egg too!

NEGATIVES

Perhaps the only negative for Kosta Hostel is that the employees would come and make your bed before 10am (I know, it’s not a huge deal at all), so there was no time for a big lie in.

 

VILLA RICA

Length of stay: 2 nights.

Price per night: £9 (two double rooms for three people).

Website booked through: Booking.com

City/Town: Uluwatu.

POSITIVES

The people who ran Villa Rica are some of the loveliest people I met in Bali. The lady giggled a lot, namely due to her lack of English-speaking skills which she profusely apologised for despite getting by quite easily. The guy, Fernando I think, had amazing English skills and they were both so hospitable as if they were welcoming you into their own home which, I guess they were because at least Fernando lived on site.

We were greeted by a very cute puppy and his mum which definitely has to be a part of the positive list.

The grounds were stunning with overgrown trees and even what looked like part of a temple ruin in the centre of the accommodation. It looked like how I imagine all of rural Bali to be, aka no western shops and bars which was refreshing.

It was very cheap. We got two double bed rooms for around £9 per night for the three of us, so £3 each. Roughly.

NEGATIVES

The room was extremely basic which  – for what we paid – is okay. However, the shower was right next to the loo so much so that the loo got soaked every time I showered. Not great when you need a wee after you’ve gotten dry.

There was no soap… and soap is really important when you are out in places such as Bali in fear of catching the Bali belly which I did, right after staying here. TIP: Always keep a hand sanitizer handy just in case.

No WiFi. I know, it’s very first-world-problem of me, but when you’re away and in an LDR especially, WiFi becomes your life. It wasn’t horrendous but I would have loved to have it.

PURI DALEM HOTEL

Length of stay: 2 nights.

Price per night: £35 (for three people).

Website booked through: Booking.com

City/Town: Sanur.

POSITIVES

The hotel grounds were stunning. There were two pools, sun loungers, the infamous Bali trees, a decent sized hotel room complete with TV and WiFi; it was a pretty big complex. The beds here were really comfortable too which was perfect for my sick bed day. Also, there were small soaps, toothbrushes and other bits and bobs that you always find in a hotel, and topped up daily – they were swiftly put into my backpack.

The food here was fab; hot all you can eat breakfast buffet, alongside continental and fruits, in the mornings costing around $6 (£3) until 10am. They served lunch and dinner also, which you could ring and order it for room service: I had spring rolls (it became a regular occurrence throughout Bali) whilst Alice had the tuna salad and Dan had Gado Gado – both of which looked super healthy and yum.

There was a cute old lady who had super strength for massaging all the clicks and aches of the body away. She was tiny; I still ask myself how was she so strong? It only cost 10,000 rupiah ($10/£5) for a full body massage, with oil.

NEGATIVES

As soon as we walked in, we were greeted with a juice each which was very nice, until the receptionist started trying to sell us boat tickets straightaway. I was feeling ill at this point and had no desire to sit there saying no thank you, no thank you, we’ll think about it, no thanks for longer than necessary. He literally would not stop, and this was our first impression of the hotel. Even when I rang about breakfast the next morning, he asked me if I had any more thoughts on the subject. Due to this incessant nature (there’s selling and then there’s being ridiculous), none of us wanted to buy tickets from him. I know it’s his job, and he would probably earn a commission, however don’t push it.

When we did eventually buy tickets from the hotel, they completely messed up what they had promised in the first place: a free pick up from the boat and a ride to Ubud. The receptionist we bought them off said that it wasn’t possible, at which point Alice had to speak to the other receptionist over the phone. This was on the morning that we were due to go to Nusa Lembongan too, which added more stress than was necessary. Then we asked if we could go to Padangbai to which he said “yes”. At the boat registration, we were then told no.

Upon our return, the hotel driver had no clue what he was doing. He didn’t speak a word of English, (I get it, we’re in their country not the other way around, however) this led to more confusion where we stood in the car park for a full twenty minutes before he took us to his car (after chin-wagging to his friend), even after somebody explained to him where we wanted to go. This was after our moped accident too so patience was running low and we had to get to a pharmacy.

WIDIA HOMESTAY

Length of stay: 3 nights.

Price per night: £20 (for three people).

Website booked through: Booking.com

Island: Nusa Lembongan.

POSITIVES

The family who ran Widia Homestay were very lovely. The kids would always smile at us every time we passed, with an energetic wave before going back to their colouring or playing on their family iPad. The owner was forever grinning and he and his daughter came to pick us up on their mopeds when Alice and I fell off of ours; that’s a sign of the full package that comes with hospitality. They even took us to their local doctors for treatment which was a lovely gesture but, in hindsight, we could have saved ourselves $45 each by buying our own plasters.

Our room was so much better than I thought it would be for the price. We had a balcony that overlooked the pool as well as the east side of the island; watching the sunrise one morning was pretty incredible. Plus, we had wardrobes and cabinets (not that we used them – living out of a backpack is literal when it comes to backpacking Indonesia) too.

The location was great. Nusa Lembongan is a small island, however you still need some form of transport to get around. Where we were was on the main street which also had some of the amazing cafes and restaurants nearby.

NEGATIVES

Thinking back, there wasn’t anything that I thought could have been better really, especially for the price we paid. I do wish I could have gotten into the pool one day but that’s my own fault for falling off a moped!

MIMBA PRIVATE HOUSE

Length of stay: 1 night.

Price per night: £17 (for three people).

Website booked through: Booking.com

City/Town: Padangbai.

POSITIVES

The family who ran this establishment were fabulous. We were greeted with hot cinnamon tea and the WiFi password. An extra mattress was brought to the bedroom and the old lady got down on her hands and knees to make the bed despite my protestations that she really didn’t need to do that as I would have. Her son was making conversation with us, and telling us that his dad would take us down to the town after free breakfast had been served.

The breakfast was incredible. We didn’t have any say in what we would get which was a slight negative especially for vegan, Dan. We were served egg bagels/sandwiches after a platter of watermelon had been served alongside the hot cinnamon tea. It is safe to say that I was definitely full from the food – and it was free!

The villa was quite basic but it had everything we needed, including a kitchenette and dining area, free bottled water, and a seating area outside where I lounged and read for a while whilst listening to the crickets in the night.

NEGATIVES

Like I said, a small negative (for someone who isn’t allergic or has a severe dislike of certain foods) was that we didn’t have a choice of food for breakfast.

Another thing was the location. It was unclear where Mimba House was on Google maps and on the roads coming up to the villa. In the end, the driver had to call the property to ask where we were heading and we had to guess (using my non-sense of direction) a little to help us get there.

GOOD VIBES BUNGALOWS

Length of stay: 3 nights.

Price per night: £29 (for three people).

Website booked through: Booking.com

Island: Gili T.

POSITIVES

Everyone is friendly and smiley and happy all of the time.

The beds were extremely comfy.

We hired bikes from here and the receptionist was so chilled out about when to bring them back, and they were really good bikes too which was great for a born-again bike virgin like myself.

If you want a party hostel on Gili T, this is a great choice for you as there is constant music on day and night with the bar opening from 10am.

NEGATIVES

However, if you want to actually get some sleep before 1am-2am, do not go to this hostel. The music blared throughout the early hours; the walls are made from bamboo so you can hear everything, even next door’s loo flushing. There was a kind of push to always be on it, always be having fun and it’s like I’m on holiday, I want to actually chill out at some point and not just get smashed off of my face. Thanks. I’m not a boring person – I like to go out and have fun, but coming here made me feel the opposite because of the pushiness.

Unfortunately, we got there in the pouring rain, so walking through puddles with our lives on our backs made us a little moody. Due to the rain, there was a leak right above my bed, meaning that my sheets were soaked. I had to strip them completely and just put new ones on as there was no place else to put the bed in the room, and there were no spare rooms for us to go to. The bed was still damp even after I had changed my sheets, however they soon dried after the lack of rain. Not the best start to the Gili island life.

COCONUT COTTAGES

Length of stay: 4 nights.

Price per night: £21 (for three people).

Website booked through: Booking.com

Island: Gili Air.

POSITIVES

The complete area was beautiful. It was like stepping into a forest or fantasy woodland and getting lost in it. Leaves hung down from trees; bushes and flowers aligned the narrow paths which led to each cottage. In the centre was an outdoor dining area and reception which was colourful with full of geckos crawling across the ceiling.

The cottage itself was pretty incredible, especially for the price. Our cottage was on stilts so we had a few steep steps to climb. Our private cottage had a large balcony fronting the entire length of the cottage itself complete with an outdoor seating area, coffee table and a hammock to lounge on. Inside, the beds (one double and one single) were surrounded by mosquito nets giving them an air of protection as well as a princess-style. The room had plenty of space for us to throw our backpacks to the ground.

The bathroom was amazing. A rush of heat always hit us because the shower was under the roofless sky. It was made out of grey stones which obviously helped with the incredible, modern-looking décor. The shower was definitely the best I had ever seen (shame it had salt water instead of fresh water), just because there were two steps leading up to it, plus its length was the entirety of the bathroom’s back wall. Standing under the night sky and being able to see the moon whilst showering is also a huge, huge travel plus for me.

NEGATIVES

On Booking.com, it says that the WiFi connects to all of the cottages in the area. It doesn’t, and was also ridiculously temperamental; we had to go and sit in the reception area which was fine and everything, until the owner plays ridiculous music so loud that your brain pumps to the beat. Plus, he claimed he was a healer, and would help you. Again, a fab host and show of hospitality… until he started a full body massage in a small room with nobody around. I really didn’t know how to take him at times: he was always smiling and happy, but then it got borderline creepy so I tended to stay out of his way, and wouldn’t go and sit in the reception area on my own.

Outside of our cottage, the hand rail for the steps was broken which was never fixed in any way during our time there. It wasn’t a huge deal, but in terms of safety, it should have been steady, especially for such high steps and during the night when we would be more cautious.

ARJUNA HOMESTAY

Length of stay: 2 nights.

Price per night: £12 (for three people).

Website booked through: Booking.com

City/Town: Ubud.

POSITIVES

The location was great. It was a short walk to the main street where the huge variety of shops and market stalls are in Ubud.

The place itself was basic but it had all the amenities needed to eat and sleep comfortably, including a free breakfast with a choice of scrambled or fried egg sandwich among other items as well as a bowl of fruit for afters. The blankets were really colourful on the beds, and the room had a huge space to fling luggage about. Plus, the outdoor sitting area for every room was comfortable and a great place to start the day with our breakfast.

NEGATIVES

I can’t really think of any particular negatives with Arjuna. Perhaps, we weren’t given that much loo roll on arrival?

SERENITY ECO GUESTHOUSE

Length of stay: 5 nights.

Price per night: £31 (one bunk bed and one double room for three people).

Website booked through: Booking.com

City/Town: Canggu.

 POSITIVES

The massage here was the best massage I’ve ever had, despite having a nervous tummy for whatever reason that was. The woman really pushed on all of my muscle crinkles and made me feel so amazing afterwards. It was located in a separate area where all of the spa treatments take place. Plus, we received a free fruit tea to cleanse our insides too; it wasn’t very nice but I still drank half to be polite.

The pool area was great, and the area outside of Dan and Alice’s room was great to chill out in; it was almost like a personal sitting area for us because we were the only ones there half the time.

NEGATIVES

Our first impression of Serenity was not the best, and this was before we had even arrived. 24 hours before arrival, Alice received an email saying that they were sorry but they were unable to accommodate all three of us in one room. Instead, one of us would have to go into a separate room in the hostel area rather than the hotel; they were talking about prices and we had already paid so were adamant that we weren’t paying any more. I went to the hostel room which was a really nice room, don’t get me wrong. However, it was a ten-fifteen minute walk away from the main accommodation and where Dan and Alice were staying. This was a little bit of a pain at night when I wanted to return because in order to get the free shuttle, it had to be before 10pm.

The people on reception were not very gracious at greeting new guests, all sitting and talking to one another over the computer. I understand if you are busy, but at least acknowledge a new guest. Alice and I stood in front of them for at least five minutes without being seen to. Not a good start. The receptionists were clearly new on the job, or didn’t have much training, and lacked the kind of hospitality and professionalism that I had seen in much smaller homestays and hostels.

It seemed that messing up people’s stays was a common occurrence as I heard of at least two other cases where guests had to either be split up from each other, or moved around in various rooms which for a yoga place – a place of “zen” – and a guesthouse which holds a lot of people isn’t really on.

The last thing is we tried to hire bikes for the day. First of all, there was a 50,000 ($5/£2.50) holding fee for a 25,000 day rate for rental. Then, there was a lot of waiting around to put it into a computer, and then some bike swapping because one had already been hired, but not picked up yet. Basically, it was all a bit of a faff for simply hiring a bike when, in other places, we got the bike and went within ten seconds. And then, the bikes either had flat tyres or just wouldn’t function properly. I didn’t even get halfway up the first hill before we turned around and took them back.

Kitten at Kosta Hostel

All in all, the accommodation in Bali is incredibly cheap and you are (mostly) greeted with amazing Balinese hospitality and a really comfortable bed for a couple of nights. There are definitely places I would return to – Kosta Hostel for one – and places I wouldn’t. Plus, I’d love to see what else Bali has to offer in terms of hostels, hotels and homestays.

Where have you stayed in Bali? Any of the above? What are your recommendations? I’d love to read them for future (hypothetical, dream) trips!

Love, Faye xo

 

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4 Comments

  1. May 24, 2017 / 7:58 am

    This was so helpful, loved the positives & negatives you did for each one. Really want to visit Bali in the next few years!! 🙂
    – Dani, dansy.co.uk

    • Faye
      Author
      May 24, 2017 / 9:03 am

      Thank you! I would love to go back soon! Writing about it really made me miss it! Xx

  2. May 29, 2017 / 8:04 pm

    I absolutely loved Bali when I went but totally agree with your positives and negatives! The hard sell does get annoying especially when you want to just chill and enjoy ‘being’ for a while! I stayed in Seminyak which for me was a bit too much but better on the level of less partying than Kuta! Ubud was absolute bliss but out of the way. I hope I can go again and if I do I will definitely be checking out some of the places that you stayed.

    Great post 🙂

    • Faye
      Author
      May 30, 2017 / 8:39 am

      Exactly! I hate the hard sell. If I’m going to buy something, I’ll buy it! I loved Seminyak! I didn’t go to Kuta and we didn’t party that much actually haha! More day drinking.. oh fab! Definitely do.. thank you! Xx

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