So you want to move to Bali to experience a completely different culture, eat your way through the island’s different districts, experience freedom like never before and have the most amazing time of your life? Well, we’re at that stage already and we are happy to hear you want to do the same!
Finding a place in Bali (read: private villa with swimming pool) was surprisingly easy. However, we want to make it even more easy for you, so here are our top 5 tips about house hunting in Bali.
Of course finding the right location where you want to live is the most obvious step, however if you prioritise location over finding the house or apartment you’ve always been dreaming of, you’ll save a lot of time and money. We’ve visited a lot of beautifully designed houses in Bali, however we ended up choosing the villa that is located close to the best food hot spots and located 3 minutes from the beach. Location is everything, the house is less important. Especially if you’re coming to Bali for a shorter period of time.
That being said, if you’re planning on moving to Bali, you’ll have a lot of options on where to start your expat life. The most popular areas among expats to live in are Kuta, Canggu, Sanur, Seminyak, Ubud and Uluwatu.
Canggu, or the ‘Gu as the cool kids call it (apparently), is Bali’s surfer’s paradise and digital nomad’s heaven. The coastline of Canggu is characterised by its black sand beaches, colourful beachfront bars and hipster tourists.
Kuta is known as Bali’s party scene and the island’s most popular beach resort destination. It’s generally frequented by backpackers and the area is packed with late night bars.
Unlike the other areas mentioned above, Sanur has white sand beaches, is more low key and for those who prefer peace and quiet.
Seminyak is the more expensive side on the south coast, comprised of lots of fine dining restaurants, fancy shopping boutiques and all things luxury. It’s also the place to be for a day of pampering at the spa or hanging out at a beach club.
The green heart of Bali, made popular thanks to Eat Pray Love. It’s the spiritual yoga centre of the island and the perfect place for vegan and vegetarian friendly restaurants.
Known for its beautiful cliffs, Uluwatu is another surfer’s favorite. The cliffs of the area are home to some of the most exclusive hotels and villas.
2. Rent a Scooter
An absolute must when arriving in Bali is to get a scooter ASAP. Traffic on the island is horrible and the only way to get to your destination without too much delay is by driving a scooter. It’s super easy to find a dealer to rent a scooter from for an unlimited amount of time. Prices range between 600,000 IDR and 800,000 IDR a month (excluding gas) so you definitely won’t break the bank. We pay 600,000 IDR (€36) monthly, and includes 2 helmets. As these have been worn by many people before us (think dandruff, sweat, weird smell,…), we immediately bought our own helmets at 300,000 IDR (€18) each. I think we could have bargained more for these, but we still need to get used to the negotiating customs here in Bali 🙂 The nice thing about renting a scooter is that, if we have a problem, we can just WhatsApp our scooter guy and he will come to our rescue anywhere in Bali. What a service!
Weirdly enough though, we just had to pay the renting fee for 2 months, that’s it. No deposit, no passport, no driver’s license, and no contract.
3. Real Estate Agents
We went to an agency, but the properties were a bit too expensive and they had a rather limited amount of available villas they. Also, there’s a chance you’ll need to pay an agency fee.
+ Trustworthy, certified
+ Less work for you
– Agency fees
– Limited offers
– False rumours
About those rumours: we had one agent (we don’t know who), who started talking very badly about us to a lot of other agents, so they would not want to “waste their time on us” and we would not talk to other agents anymore. This of course was a very clever – and pathetic – ruse to get us to talk only to the agent who was spreading those rumours.
4. Airbnb and Booking.com
Airbnb and Booking.com are great platforms to start looking for a place. We found some nice villas and homestays on both websites and then contacted the hosts directly to ask if they had a special discount or fixed price for 6 months or an entire year. Concerning Airbnb, keep in mind that you only get the host’s contact information after you have already booked. Even when trying to talk to the hosts through Airbnb, the platform will delete every phone number, email address and link you’re trying to send. Luckily, most houses in Bali have a specific name, so just Google the name of the villa and you will find a website with contact information.
+ No agency fees
+ Rent paid monthly
– Can be more expensive
5. Facebook Selling Groups
Through Facebook Selling Groups, you will find more housing options than Airbnb and Booking.com, as you will usually talk directly to landlords who haven’t opened up their house (yet) to Airbnb guests.
Facebook is probably the easiest way to find long term accommodation in Bali. You either reply to listings or post your own “item for sale”, i.e. your demands. The item for sale is actually what you are looking for in a villa, and the selling price is your renting budget. Just specify that you are not renting out, but rather looking for a place to rent. Conversations will usually continue in WhatsApp. Once you have found a place, change your listing to “sold”, so others won’t send you any information anymore.
+ No agency fees
+ A lot of options
– Can be sketchy, as there’s no way of knowing who is certified
One of the most annoying things about renting a place in Bali is that most landlords will ask you to pay the full amount of months in rent all at once. This means that, if you’re planning on renting for one year, they’ll want you to pay up front an amount that can easily go up to more than $10.000.