There were lots of highlights in our year living in Bali – the Balinese New Year with its creepy ogoh-ogoh monsters, climbing Mt. Batur for sunrise, and having a honeymoon in paradise all come to mind. One of the best things about spending so much time on the Island of the Gods, though, was being able to stay in a bunch of incredible villas. Thanks to Airbnb (use our link to get $40 off your first booking of $70 or more!) and other similar sites, it’s possible to rent out entire private villas with a pool for under $100 a night. Whether we were headed up to Ubud for a music festival, showing family and friends around, or just exploring the island a bit on our own, we were fortunate enough to stay in at least 15 awesome Bali villas. Hotels are nice and all, but we’ll take a traditional Indonesian joglo house with a colorful garden and our own pool over a hotel any day. Here’s a little description of each along with plenty of photos.
Bali Beach Towns
We’re not the biggest fans of the Kuta/Legian area of Bali, but it has its time and place. When my brother and his girlfriend were visiting over his birthday, we decided to get a villa there so we could enjoy the beach during the day and hit the all-you-can-eat and drink madness at Sky Garden.
This place has two bedrooms, a pool and a nice little outdoor living room. It’s located down an alley off the main road in Legian, about a 20-minute walk to the beach. We had stayed at another one of the owner’s villas previously and offered to make him a little video of both, so he gave us a great discount and let us stay two nights for just $100.
After our trip to Flores, we had four visitors in Bali at the same time. Rather than cram into our village house, we rented this great 3-bedroom villa in the heart of Seminyak.
This place wasn’t anything special, but it certainly did the job for our group’s short beach holiday. The two rooms downstairs were pretty simple but the master bedroom was quite nice. We gave it up to our friends who were celebrating their engagement because we’re nice. This place was also a steal for only $100 a night total!
For our last two weeks in Bali, my mom and sisters came to visit. We started off with four nights in Seminyak at yet another awesome Bali villa.
This 3-bedroom pool villa is right off the main street in town, meaning we had plenty of great restaurants and bars right around the corner. It’s not too far from the beach, either, and a great bargain at $120 a night for five people.
You only have your dirty thirty once, so we had to go all out for Rachel’s. Another friend was visiting who was keen to chase waves, so we stayed in the surfer town of Canggu for a few nights in this ridiculously nice villa.
Maybe it’s because it was rainy season, or maybe it’s because there was construction going on nearby, but this massive 2-bedroom place with a great outdoor seating area and pool was only $55 a night.
The construction noise early in the morning on the weekdays kind of sucked, but we would be willing to put up with that to live in a place this nice for so cheap! It was also one of the most nicely furnished villas we stayed in, and it even had an extra chill space and a massage room.
The master bedroom here is absolutely epic. It’s actually two levels – that little chill space is upstairs, and there’s also a nice terrace. It’s certainly one of the best places we’ve ever stayed.
When Rachel’s parents were visiting, we finally stayed in the East Bali town of Candidasa. This place is definitely a resort – it’s got a reception, tourism office, a pool, a restaurant, and spa. However, the units are individual villas so it still counts.
Thanks to Airbnb, we scored a 2-bedroom place here for way less than the price listed on the resort’s main website. It was only $66 a night for the four of us and was a great home base for exploring the area.
We like to live life at a rather frenetic speed, so it was nice to slow down a bit in this quiet town and enjoy an actual vacation. Sure, we were living in Bali, but we were doing so on savings and my very meager stipend through the Darmasiswa program I was studying in. Most days were spent in a sweat-box of a cramped studio apartment, eating the local mixed rice and working at home. Having guests gives you an excuse to act like you’re on vacation, too!
After Canggu, we went back to the village and our buddy spent the week in a surfer hotel. For his last couple of nights, he rented out this unreal villa in Jimbaran. Rachel really did get to have a “birthday month” that year!
This place has three bedrooms but we only needed two. It’s got a great outdoor living room as well as a really nice pool with a cold jacuzzi. There’s even a long lap pool just outside the gate that’s shared with a few other units.
This place is so fancy it even has a couch in the bathroom! You know, just in case you want to kick it in the bathroom for a while. There’s also three massage tables here and they’ll set up an appointment for you. Gotta love that Balinese hospitality!
Being away from home is tough, especially during major holidays. We usually manage to find turkey somewhere on Thanksgiving, except that time in Vietnam where we ate goat instead. We found out about a party going on at a grand villa and just had to check it out.
This place is massive and is definitely meant for things like family reunions, parties, or weddings. It’s beautifully decorated, full of old photos of Bali. There’s a huge garden outside with one of the coolest playgrounds we’ve ever seen. The pool is stunning and has plenty of comfortable seating around.
For this special event, they were renting out the rooms individually. By putting together a short video for them to use on their website, I scored a sweet deal on the night and the Turkey Day buffet. And you know I was up at 3AM with a cold one watching my Lions, who actually won!
Check out the short video I put together for Moments Jimbaran.
Our last few days in Bali were spent at this beautiful villa in Jimbaran with my mom and sisters. It’s actually two units – the main house and a small studio apartment – that share a pool and a great rooftop deck.
This was the perfect place to stay to wind down our time on the island and my family’s trip. We all enjoyed lounging by the pool in between trips to nearby beaches and temples. It was another amazing deal at around $110 a night for the entire place.
It was definitely hard to say goodbye to this villa and Bali, especially since our flight home ended up being the trip from hell. That’s a story for another day, though.
We actually spent most of our time in Bali living in the chilled out town of Sanur. Some even call it “Snore” because of its slow pace. We figured it would be a great place to stay for a few nights when Rachel’s folks visited, and we were right!
This place has two ensuite bedrooms, an outdoor living room/kitchen, and a great pool. It’s one of three in the complex, and the owner’s place on site is insane! We had to use his stove as our gas had run out and it was too late to buy more, so he gave us a little tour. Wow! I just wish we had taken some pictures.
The best part about this place was the night lights. As a couple of jam band kids, we always appreciate a good light show! This was definitely an awesome Bali villa, and at just $150 a night it was very affordable for a vacation.
When it comes to kickass villas, Ubud has been very good to us. The cultural center of Bali, famous for its rice paddies and yoga studios, is one of our favorite places to visit on the island. Here are a few of the villas we stayed in there:
When we found out about the Bali World Music Festival, we knew we had to go. When I was offered a ticket and a press pass, we decided to take the money saved and get a nice villa. It was a last minute booking so we didn’t have too many choices, but we’re happy with what we got.
We only stayed for one night, but this was definitely one of the best “tents” we’ve ever had for a music festival! It was only $50 for the night, which was a steal with a small pool and a great view of the rice paddies.
A few weeks before Rachel’s birthday, a bunch of friends were visiting from China as it was the Spring Festival. I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and throw a massive surprise party for her. We got this huge villa with a pool for $200 for the night and split it amongst six of us. We spent the day drinking, cooking, swimming, and enjoying our friend’s company on a rainy Bali day.
Speaking of surprises, I got Rachel real good on our second trip to Bali in 2014. We were in the midst of our gap year, so we were staying mostly in hostels to stick to a tight budget. It being our 5-year anniversary as a couple, I decided to spring for a nice villa for a couple days to surprise her.
I told her we were staying at a hostel out in the rice fields. Upon seeing the pool with only two chairs, she wondered out loud “But where am I going to sit when other people are out here?” Her blonde-ness is pretty funny at times. Needless to stay, she was pretty stoked to learn that she wouldn’t be sharing the pool at all!
In addition to the amazing pool, this place had a great terrace off the bedroom where we enjoyed coffee in the morning and cold Bintangs at night. At just $72 a night, we definitely hit the jackpot with this one. Of course, it was a bit tough to go back to hostels and guest houses after that, but anything to keep us on the road!
Check out the Top 10 Things to Do in Ubud.
A few years later, we found ourselves back in Ubud to finally have our tropical honeymoon. For four nights, we stayed in this incredibly beautiful joglo house with a colorful garden and a great little pool.
The family that runs the place is super nice as well, and I really enjoyed chatting with them as my Indonesian was pretty decent by this point. They’ve put so much love and effort into this place and it really shows.
It was our little slice of paradise and a great place to come back to after a day of museums, hiking, and getting pampered at the spa. Can you believe that this place only set us back $50 a night?! And you wonder why people never want to leave Bali!
Of course, we had to take our families to Ubud when they visited. That gave us a chance to book two more awesome Bali villas – something we’ll always take!
We all really enjoyed the decorations here, as they are very authentically Indonesian. This is another reason why we prefer Air BNB to hotels. You don’t really get the feeling that you’re in Indonesia so much when you stay at a Holiday Inn.
The four of us had this entire, massive 2-bedroom house to ourselves and just shared the pool with one other guest who was renting out the studio downstairs. It really is out there in the rice fields – we had to park about 20 minutes away and walk in with all our stuff. So worth it, even in the intense Bali heat!
I still can’t believe it, but we scored this place for only $70 a night! It’s too bad it was the end of their trip, because we all wanted to extend our stay indefinitely.
Alright, this is the last Ubud villa! Actually, this one’s not even really in Ubud – it’s about a 20-minute drive out of town in the village of Sebatu. It was far from the action, but that was fine with all of us.
This place actually has a main house as well as a few joglo houses down in the garden. It’s almost like a small hotel, all to yourself!
The best part of all is the pool looking out into the jungle. There’s a nice little pagoda where we enjoyed lazy afternoons before heading into town for dinner and dance performances. This entire place only cost $120 a night. Can you believe it?!
Ready to book that trip to Bali and start looking at which awesome villas you can stay in? If you’re not already on Airbnb, I highly advise you sign up. It’s pretty much the only way we travel these days and it would be really hard to go back to hostels and hotels. If you sign up through our link, you’ll get $40 off your first trip of $70 or more and we’ll get a little credit for future bookings as well. For those who sign up through our link, we’re also happy to share more specifics about these villas if you’re interested in booking any of them.