Finding low cost accommodation
|The majority of
tourists who travel to Bali take advantage of the special package deal holidays that
include all fares transfers and hotel accommodation. Generally the cost of the better
hotels is less if you book a package deal from home through your travel agent.
The budget traveller will find however, that no need to book accommodation before arriving in Bali. Finding somewhere to stay will be easy, although a little effort may be required to find the best places.
If you want a very inexpensive stay, you will be able to find hostel style shared rooms for as little as Rp.25,000 to Rp.50,000 per person. These places are basic, and often have shared bathrooms. You may be required to have your own sheet (a hostel sheet is a useful item to carry), but a sarong will usually be OK. Some places in this class offer a locker or safety deposit box for security.
Next up the scale are homestays and losmen. You can expect to pay about Rp.50,000 to Rp.150,000, although some very comfortable losmen may ask up to Rp.200,000. Usually the price of this class of accommodation will cover two or more people in a room, which can work out to be cheaper per person than the dorm rooms.
Breakfast, often toast and eggs, fruit salad or Bali's famous banana pancakes (Kue dadar pisang), as well as tea and coffee are almost always included in the price, making these places excellent value. The more expensive homestays, cottages and losmen will have private bathroom facilities, although hot water may not always be available.
Some of the smaller hotels fit into the Rp.100,000 to Rp.200,000 price range (or very near to it), especially in the villages outside of the southern tourist area and also in central Kuta (try Poppies Lane), and there are some in this price range that even have swimming pools! Although it may be difficult to find air- conditioning and hot showers in low rate places, a good fan will help you sleep (it may also help keep the mosquitoes away) and a cool shower is truly invigorating (even character building).
If you are paying extra for hot water, be sure that it works. This is also important for items such as fans (listen for annoying squeaks), lights, taps and electrical outlets.
Beyond the Rp.500,000 range are larger hotels and luxury bungalows, where prices such as Rp.1000,000 or even Rp.2,000,000 are not uncommon (prices may be charged in Rupiah but will typically be quoted in US dollars).
International hotels almost always charge in US dollars, but often accept other currencies (at relatively poor exchange rates). It is fair to say, that the higher priced accommodations are generally far more luxurious than the budget places, Almost all of the upmarket places will be air-conditioned, with western bathrooms including hot showers, and of course there will be restaurants, bars and fantastic swimming pools. This style of accommodation is generally best purchased as part of a package deal before you leave home. Most travel companies and airlines have special deals that cannot be matched by "walking up to" a large international style hotel.
Villas are fast becoming a most popular form of accommodation, usually offering great rooms with more facilities than a typical hotel or resort cottage, and a more genuine "Bali experience". Villas often feature traditional Balinese architecture, gardens and furnishings, with the added possibility of home-cooked meals and full service. The best way to find out about prices or to make bookings is to visit the Bali Villas web site.
Finding somewhere to stay is never difficult. When you arrive in a village loaded with your gear, the chances are high indeed that you will be approached by someone with photos, a brochure or information of some kind about a the best place to stay. Sometimes several touts will be waiting to attract travellers to their homestay or losman. Far from being annoying, this gives you a chance to compare prices and facilities, and may save you a lot of time searching when youd rather be getting on with your adventure.
Even if you are not approached directly, why not have a drink or a snack at a nearby warung, and ask there for a suggestion of the best place to stay.
After deciding on a place, never commit yourself to a long stay (pay only one night in advance). It would be most disappointing to pay up-front for a week, then find there was a mosque or factory you didnt notice next door that wakes you at 5:00 a.m., or an army of ants invade your snack food, leaving you in fear that you will be carried away in their next wave. Give yourself the chance to move on if you must, without causing too much fuss or argument.
Beds and bedding are really the most important thing to look for when finding your place to stay. A damp mattress may mean a leaky roof, and if rain is likely, you probably wont be able to sleep. Clean sheets are usually not a problem, but it is usually worthwhile carrying your own hostel sheet, or making do with a sarong where you feel the need to. Mosquito nets are an added bonus, especially in the central part of the island.
Also important, is the ability to lock your room. Many places have doors which allow you to secure them with your own padlock. Even if you feel confidant that your room is secure, never leave important items such as your money, cameras and passports in your room. If you cannot carry them with you, try to have them stored in a safety deposit box.
Bathrooms and toilets are one thing that will have a great influence on the price and standard of a room. Many of the cheapest places may only have cold water, and Asian style (squat) toilets, although western style (sit) toilets are becoming more widely available in Bali due to tourist demand. If the style of toilet is important to you, ask for a room with a western toilet, and check that it actually works. If you want hot water, be sure that it works too.
Asian toilets may be a little off-putting at first, but most adventurous westerners will find them unavoidable at some stage during their travels, and soon realise that they are quite acceptable. It would be a shame to leave what could otherwise have been the cheapest or best place in the village simply because you could not adapt yourself to the local bathroom facilities. Get used to it if you intend to visit elsewhere in Asia!
Facilities to wash clothes are not always available but many places offer a clothes washing service for a small charge. Most places do not allow guests to wash and dry clothes in their rooms, but small items such as socks and underwear are usually not a problem in this regard. Sometimes you may be allowed to use your hosts laundry facilities for larger items if you ask.
Finally, it is very worthwhile to look for a room that has an outdoor sitting area, perhaps a shady balcony, a verandah or even a garden. Relaxing in the cool shady breeze with a good book is a wonderful alternative to sweating it out in a stifling hot-box.
Although you cannot always expect the standards to match those of your home country, it is worthwhile complaining (in a friendly and constructive way) when you find problems at the place where you are staying. You may not personally benefit, but future guests may.
© 1994-2000 Wayne Reid. Bali: The Online Travel Guide
Contributions, including corrections, updates, new information and suggestions are welcome.
Disclaimer: All of the information available within this site is believed to be correct, however the author accepts no responsibility or liability for any outcomes that may result in using this site's contents.