Bust A Move are posts focused on what Tyler and Megan are thinking and learning before, during and after their move to another country.
For me, this post is to help provide a bit of context that I never got while researching where to find a place for our long-term stay in our first stop Ubud. For me, finding a place got broken down 4 ways:
#1. Google “Bali hotel” and go broke paying whatever Mr. Hilton tells you to
#2. Go on airbnb and you look for the owner with the least creepy profile pic
#3. Join a Facebook group that constantly posts available Bali rentals.
#4. Just walk around and find something once you’re there.
#4 is what I’m referring to when I say I was given no context. When we tried to book via methods #2 and #3 a few months before we left, we got multiple replies with the sentiment “Wow, you’re early birds! I’ll be happy to show you places when you get here!” This was also the advice of many expats on Reddit, and to me… that’s BAZOOKERS!
You expect me to land 10,000 miles from home with nowhere to put my bags!?! What kind of a laid-back, carefree surfer dude do you take me for!?! I’m trying to book a room 3 months in advance ova here!!! It was this “let the universe find your bed” sentiment that left me pulling the trigger on an airbnb rental for $16/night (spoiler alert: that’s still kinda expensive.)
So basically, the context that we never got from all those rental agents and expats is this: there are LITERALLY hundreds of rooms to rent not available on the internet. Here’s a series of pictures I took walking up the road to our current location—and this was just in the first 100ft:
I’m not sure about the history of land in Ubud, but here’s what I’ve gathered from a hand-full of locals trying to explain it to me. For many families, their land has been passed down for generations, and in some instances… it's A LOT of land. Some of them seemed close to 10,000sq ft—the one we’re on now is about twice that. When you rent at these places, you need to understand that some (if not all) of the family will also be staying there with you because you'll basically be living in their home, but these homes aren’t set up like a western homes—it's more like a series of separate villas. There are 14 unique units on the property we’re staying at now, with sizes ranging from 10-year old’s bedroom to 4-unit duplex. And what's amazing to see is that each building serves a purpose—one’s a kitchen, another’s a bed room, another a temple, a family room and so on.
So now, back to the context. With tourism booming and the price to build being low, folks in Ubud have found some pretty sweet passive income by adding extra buildings to their land. And some of the rooms we viewed weren’t even new construction—they’re just buildings from the original layout turned into guest rooms.
And the secret to renting these rooms… it’s super complex, but what you need to do is go up and ask someone inside. 90% of the time, the owner is there and will happily show you a room. We’re here during Bali’s high tourist season, gone to 6 “showings”, we haven’t been told “no vacancy” yet. And price wise…we’ve gotten everything from about $9/night to $30/night.
Mind you, when you do this and you go for a $9/night, you won’t be getting anything fancy. It’ll be a room and there will be a bed… everything else you’ll have to ask about. Our current room costs extra for A/C, so I said no (note: I’m very cheap.) They tell you there’s hot water on the sign for the same reason that massage parlors in Bangkok have signs that say “No Sex”—bc the alternative is simply implied.
What this all boils down to is that it’s easy to find a cheap room in Bali for a long-term stay. People I’ve talked to said it takes about 2 days to find the “perfect spot”, and I get that now—there’s a lot of old-fashioned footwork required. My guess is that 90% of these rooms aren't on the internet—and if they were, they're buried so deep you'd have an even harder time trying to find it than you would on foot. If it’s something you want to try, I suggest just getting an airbnb/hotel for a week in an area you’re interested in, walk around, find your spot and enjoy all that extra rupiah that Tyler just saved your ass!
Comments will be approved before showing up.