I’ve traveled to Bali a lot. During past four years I’ve visited eight cities, stayed in 18 hotels and rented three apartments in Bali. I don’t consider myself a complete expert, but I’ve learned a thing or two about how to rent an apartment Bali over the past few years.
Because my current trips to Bali are more long term and work related than your average traveler, I much prefer to stay in apartments. Not only is it cheaper to rent a villa in Bali compared to paying for hotel rooms, but it’s far more spacious and comfortable. Plus, having a place where I can cook my own meals, have a dedicated work space and feel at home is really nice.
I may know Bali fairly well, but it has taken me awhile to really crack the whole renting-an-apartment-in-Bali thing. In the past I’d always landed on this island assuming that finding a place would be a cinch, but I never really put the effort into researching or house hunting. And the result was always me renting over-priced, sub-par studio apartments or living out of hotels rooms for weeks on end. And let’s face it… that can get old, fast.
This time I was bound and determined to do things differently. Before my current trip to Indonesia I did a bunch of research on how to rent a villa in Bali and reached out to anyone I knew who might be able to point me in the right direction.
I contacted an Indonesian acquaintance who lives in the Canggu area – the area I ideally wanted to base myself. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to just ask if they knew of anyone who was looking to rent out their place for a month or two. While they didn’t know of anything they gave Aaron and I a few tips that ultimately landed us our dream villa in Bali.
If you’re curious about renting a villa in Bali during your next stay, but don’t know where to start, fear not. I’m here to help. This guide is all about how I rented my short term, two-month rental in Canggu, Bali, and what I learned along the way. But these steps can easily be applied to those looking for long term (yearly) or even super short term (daily) rentals. Honestly guys, there is no shortage of villas in Bali — there’s something for every budget, desire and length of stay.
A guide to renting a villa in Bali…
Reach out to anyone you know who might help
This could be a travel blogger or a friend or anyone. It never hurts to ask people who have experience renting an apartment in Bali. People are surprisingly friendly and helpful, so don’t be shy. In fact, the whole reason I’m writing this post in the first place is because one of my readers and travel blogger friends responded to one of my Facebook posts inquiring about how I found my villa in Canggu. (This one’s for you Nathan!)
Decide where in Bali you’d like to stay
Bali isn’t the biggest island in the world, but there are a lot of different places from which to base yourself. You can check out my full guide on the different places to stay in Bali if you’re wondering which area might suit you best.
Join the right Facebook groups
Facebook groups might just be the best way to find a villa in Bali. Not only does it help to browse through community- and rental- oriented Facebook groups during the days and weeks leading up to your trip, but you should also create a little post announcing what you’re looking for.
Because I was looking in the Canggu area, I posted on the Canggu Community Facebook page. I made my ad pretty basic.
Hi, we’re a California couple in our 30s and we’re looking for a 1-bedroom apartment in the central Canggu area to rent during June and July. We are both professionals who will be working from home, so fast internet, a quiet atmosphere and a comfortable space is what we’re looking for.
You can totally find villas using an agent. It’s super easy but it’s going to be far more expensive. It’s actually not a bad option if you’re looking to splurge on a villa for a few days, but if you’re looking more long term it’s way better to do things yourself. You can also find a lot of options on sites like Airbnb and Flipkey, but again you’re going to pay way more than if you find a place yourself.
Hit the pavement
Don’t be afraid to walk around town and look for rental signs. You never know what you’re going to find. A lot of community centers and popular bars and restaurants have bulletin boards advertising available local rentals. So keep your eyes peeled!
Look at places in person before you commit
You never know what you’re really going to get until you see a place in person. The pictures could be beautiful, but you just never know. Is the apartment located next to a construction site? Are you living below the neighbors from hell? Does the couch smell so badly you can’t sit on it? (Yes, I’ve experienced all of these things with previous rentals.) Seeing a place in person is especially important if you’re staying long(er) term.
Before I decided on my villa, I looked at another apartment in Canggu. It looked lovely in the pictures, was within my price range and had a private pool. It pretty much ticked all of my boxes and judging by the photos I was immediately sold! But when I looked at the place in person I was pretty put off. Let’s just say the current tenant was not the cleanest person. The furniture was gross and the kitchen was a mess. And the worst part was the landlord didn’t seem to mind how little care the current tenant paid to his place. It made me question how comfortable I would be staying there for two months.
House Hunting Tip: Avoid looking at places between the hours of 11-2 because workers may very well be on lunch and you might not hear that construction project next door. Yeah, I made that mistake when apartment hunting in Phnom Penh.
Make a checklist of things you need and want
Any HHI fans out there? (I’m obsessed with that show.) Well, then you should be familiar with the idea of finding a place that ticks your required boxes and hopefully ticks a few things off your wish list too.
For me having strong internet, a private villa with at least one bedroom (that was separate from the living area), and a place where I could work were all required. I also ideally wanted a place that was quiet (no construction, no roosters and limited street noise), in the center of town and close to the beach. I also really wanted a private pool and to be within walking distance of the beach but realized those things might not be attainable. I was pretty flexible with my budget (and willing to splurge) so I was looking at anything between $700 and $1,800 a month. But ideally I didn’t want to spend more than $1,000 per month.
In the end I got pretty much everything I wanted for way cheaper than I expected. We even got a private pool!
Look at a few different places before you commit
The quality in Bali varies, so don’t feel like you need to commit to the first place you come across. Unless you have unlimited funds, you might not get every single thing you want. But you honestly should find something that ticks most of your boxes. Don’t settle.
Make sure you’re comfortable before you commit. Honestly, there are so many places to choose from in Bali. I almost took a place that I was lukewarm on that would have cost $1,300 a month. But I ended up finding a much nicer and more centrally-located villa for only $500 a month. It paid to be patient.
How I found my apartment in Canggu…
Because I knew I wanted to look for places in person, I rented a little studio apartment through Agoda during my first week in Bali. I figured that would be enough time to get settled and give me a chance to go apartment hunting without feeling too rushed.
With the help of the Canggu Community Facebook Group and my little post in the group I ended up connecting with a guy who was looking for someone to rent a bedroom in his villa. His place looked epic but since we were looking for a fully private villa, we politely said no thank you.
The guy then responded saying that he would be leaving for the summer (the dates lined up almost perfectly to ours) and that he just really wanted someone to be living in his place and keeping an eye on things while he was away. And he only wanted to charge us the fee for renting one bedroom to do it.
He explained that we would have the place all to ourselves, including the upstairs guest bedroom, the private pool and open-air kitchen and living room. We would also get free electricity and internet, a house cleaner and pool cleaner. All for the rate of 7 million rupiah per month (that’s $500 per month or $17.50 per day for two people).
It honestly sounded too good to be true. But when we went to see the place in person it was even better than the pictures. Everything was clean and well furnished, the pool was like a small little oasis, the bedroom had views of the rice terraces, the location was within walking distance of great cafes and restaurants and the beach was only a two-minute drive down the road. It was pretty perfect. We also didn’t hear any sign of roosters or construction, just a little street noise from the road nearby.Now that I’ve been here for two weeks, I’m pretty much in love with my villa in Canggu. I kind of don’t want to go home!
If you’re thinking about renting a villa in Bali and have any questions feel free to contact me or just leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you. Happy house hunting!
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Have you ever rented a place in Bali or abroad? Do you have any tips?