Bali: Home Life

The view from the front gate.

As I have mentioned a few times in recent posts, we rented a cottage while we were in Bali. We found it through Airbnb, which we’ve done for travel going back to 2013. I have a lot to say about Airbnb, so I’ll save all that for another post in the not-too-distant future.

When we were looking for a place in Bali, we started by searching far away from Kuta and environs, because we wanted something family friendly and not touristy. From there, we started looking at places, while consulting maps and guides about the location. Eventually we found this:

The courtyard inside the front gate.


The view from the front door. There's one bedroom to the immediate left and the kitchen in the far back left corner. Two bedrooms and a bathroom are to the right.


Through sliding doors to the back, there's a koi pond, a couple of small tropical gardens, and an outdoor shower.

In short, we had a three bedroom, one bathroom cottage. The kitchen not only had pretty much everything we needed, but the owners had stocked it with breakfast foods, as per the listing agreement.

The cottage came with a housekeeper, who was the owner’s brother. He arrived every afternoon while we were gone and spent a couple of hours tidying, cleaning, and even gardening. No lie, he would sweep the unpaved road in front of the house every day. Before he left, he would gather our laundry and would transport it away on his scooter.

Our shrink wrapped clean laundry. Even our underwear was ironed.

And how much was all this? That’s the interesting part. We did a lot of research and learnedthat accommodations in Bali away from the Kuta area are quite inexpensive by our standards, but still high by Bali standards. For everything I just described, we paid $50/night, plus extra for our drivers. For $75 or even $100 per night, we could have gotten a larger house with a pool and / or a cook.

As for the owners of our cottage, they really went above and beyond. They arranged for us to be picked up at the airport when we arrived and then helped us arrange transportation for all of the rest of the week. They were at the house waiting for us that first morning with fresh juice and tea cakes. They gave suggestions for things to do and when Pete mentioned that he needed to get a SIM card for his phone, one of them dashed out and picked one up for us. After that, they checked in with us every day by text to see how things were and if we needed anything.

Would we rent the house again? Probably not. It was lovely and comfortable, but the location on the island was inconvenient. We were in a tiny rural village that didn’t even have a store, which meant that we were fully reliant on cars for everything. But it was clean, comfortable, and charming, so I am not complaining.

Speaking more generally, housing architecture and functionality in Bali is quite interesting (to me, at least).

In general, Balinese residential architecture is that of a compound. In other words, the entire property will be ringed with a wall and entered through an often elaborate gate. Within, there will be several buildings and structures. One might be a pavilion for receiving guests, another will be a small family shrine, and then others will include cooking areas, living areas, and sleeping areas. As you can imagine, multiple generations live together.

If you click on the photo, it will take you to the website where I found it.

The little house we rented was a tiny version of the Balinese residential compound. The entire wee property was ringed by a high wall and within were all the components — the public greeting place (the front courtyard, a family shrine, the living areas, and gardens.

Here are some photos I took of a few homes in the village where we stayed:

For more information, this article on Wikipedia has a section on domestic architecture.

I think this is going to be my penultimate post on Bali. There’s more I could tell you, but I might post those photos on Facebook instead, as I’ve written about nothing but Bali all month. The last post will be about the odyssey of our return trip, but I’m going to hold it until next week, as events are still playing out.

Since I know someone will ask, yes we are traveling again this summer. We haven’t told the girls yet, so I’m going to keep the details mum for now.

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11 Responses to Bali: Home Life

  1. $50 per night for all of that is a great price!
    I love the idea of outdoor living within a safe, gated/fenced area such as described by the articles. I’m not sure how much of this is because I really like outdoor living rooms or because I like the idea of separate but together. In reality, outdoor living is fraught with bugs, pollen, and the smell of skunks — at least it is here in my part of the world.

    • Jen says:

      Karen, that brings up a good point. The house did not have screens and when we got there, the doors and windows were open to the world. The doors were not sealed and had big gaps around them.

      We would lock things up when we left in the morning (as per the owners’ instructions) and when we arrived late afternoon, the house would be totally open again. When he left, we would start to close things, including drawing the long drapes over the doors, so that we could turn on the individual AC units in the bedrooms and cool things down.

      For all that, there weren’t really a lot of bugs in the house. We discovered quickly the first day not to leave even a single crumb on the counters, because it would quickly be discovered by hundreds of teeny ants. We kept food in the fridge and took trash outside to the can as soon as we created it, but we fought a constant ant battle the whole week.

      There were small lizards that would come in and out of the house, but they never bothered us, except to maybe startle us when it zipped across a ceiling. Still, we kept our suitcases zipped and shook out our shoes every day when we put them on.

      • The ants and the checking of shoes before wearing — you just described our experience of living in San Antonio! However, I would much prefer small lizards crossing the room than snakes and scorpions (hello, SATX).

  2. bdaiss says:

    Wow. Amazing. I keep saying I’m going to try AirBnB, but haven’t yet. (Of course most of my travel is to accommodations we operate, so not a lot of choice there…) I’d love to hear your tips at some point. And of course I’m greatly looking forward to the finale of this tale.

  3. Julie says:

    the details of this fascinate me…I’m a real sucker for real life tips, too. Look forward to your airbnb travelogue!

  4. Smalltown Me says:

    I am loving the laundry!

  5. Laura says:

    Oh my, what a sweet place. Must have been such fun returning there every evening. And a fun place to wake up. I love airbnb and this is a great example of why. And YOU got me started-it was your place on the ranch in Lompoc that really turned my head. Great find, Jen.

  6. Patience says:

    It looks like a great house! I love airbnb.

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