How to Rent a House in Ubud, Bali

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Our ideal digital nomad destination has warm weather, good vegetarian food, beautiful scenery, interesting things to do, low cost of living, decent WiFi, and availability of apartments (with kitchens) to rent for 1-3 months. The artsy town of Ubud in Bali not only meets all our requirements but we don’t even need to rent an apartment—here houses are the norm, always with a garden, and often with private pools. Since the success of the book and film Eat Pray Love Ubud has become increasingly popular and new villas are springing up in every rice field so there are many to choose from.

If you want to book a rental house in Ubud in advance, look on Airbnb which has many options. It’s cheaper than vacation villa websites but prices will be higher than if you find somewhere once you arrive. If you are staying for a week or more, contact the owner to see if you can negotiate a discount. I’ve written a guide to using Airbnb, and if you sign up here you’ll get $35 off.

If you are staying in Ubud for a month or more and are on a budget, I recommend waiting until you arrive to look for a house—there are many options and prices will be much lower than online.

Before we arrived we booked one of the many guesthouses for a few nights—Gerhana Sari 2 Guesthouse and then we moved to Corner Guesthouse as it was full. (On our second visit we preferred Desak Putu Putera Cottages which has a pool and quiet location.)

The centre of Ubud was overwhelming at first, full of tourist shops and traffic, and I wouldn’t want to stay there for long, but it was a convenient base while we got our bearings and started our house hunt. We ended up spending six nights in a guesthouse before we moved into our house, but you could find a place in as little as a day if you are less fussy than us. We spent one day recovering from jet lag and 3.5 days looking for our perfect house.

Get a SIM Card and Motorbike

It’s a good idea to get a local SIM card for your phone so you can call and message house owners during your search. You can buy a Telkomsel SIM card for 10,000 Indonesian rupiah ($0.70) in Circle K shops. They don’t have the nano size SIM so we went to one of the many cell phone shops on Jalan Cok Gede Rai just outside of town and bought one for 15,000 IDR ($1.10), but they cut it down to size for us and set it up.

A motorbike will be invaluable in your house hunt as most rentals are a few kilometres outside of the centre amongst the rice fields. You can rent an automatic scooter for 50,000 IDR ($3.65) a day—when just one short taxi ride costs 50,000 this is the most affordable and easiest way to get around. Many travel agents rent bikes and they don’t ask to see your driving licence or for a deposit (just your passport number). However, the centre of Ubud is not a good place to learn to ride a motorbike. You can also hire bicycles or get a taxi driver to take you around.

Decide Your Budget and Requirements

Before you start your search decide your budget and what you are looking for. We paid 12 million IDR ($877) a month for a two bedroom house with pool and air conditioning. I’ve seen nice houses without pools listed from 3-6 million ($220-440) a month, and places with pools from 8 million ($584) a month. For large luxury villas you can pay 20 million ($1460) or more.

It’s worth looking at places slightly over your budget as bargaining seems to be expected and you should be able to reduce the rent a little, especially if you are staying for a few months. If you are renting for 6-12 months you’ll be able to get much lower rates.

You are usually expected to pay all the rent in advance so we had to pay for two months. The maximum you can withdraw from ATMs in Bali is 3 million IDR so it’s worth starting to gather your cash when you arrive.

We didn’t have to pay a damage deposit, but we did pay one million of the rent once we made our decision (the day before we moved in) to secure the house.

This was our wish list:

  • Private house
  • 1 or 2 bedrooms
  • Good WiFi – We used the Speed Test app on our iPhone for places we were considering. Fibre optic is sometimes available, especially in Penestanan village.
  • Quiet – There’s a lot of construction in Ubud so keep that in mind.
  • Garden
  • Swimmable Pool – Some places only have small plunge pools.
  • View
  • Kitchen
  • Hot water
  • Sofa
  • Table big enough for working and eating
  • Air conditioning in bedrooms – Most living areas are open air and don’t have A/C.

Our initial budget was 10 million IDR a month but we went over budget for the right place. The pool and A/C increase the price, and the view and sofa were the hardest to find. I also wanted somewhere secluded, without other houses around, but this is difficult to find these days.

Note that I’ve given the exchange rate at the November 2015 rates, but when we rented the house at the beginning of September we were getting a better rate. 12 million was £550/ $827 at the time we paid. Exchange rates in Indonesia fluctuate a lot. 

Rental house in Penestanan, Ubud

A typical house in the Penestanan area of Ubud – nice garden but no view.

Ask Around and Look on Noticeboards

Once you are in Ubud ask everyone you meet if they know a house for rent. Look for signs advertising houses on noticeboards at restaurants like Bali Buda, Alchemy, Pizza Bagus, and supermarkets Delta Dewata and Bintang.

Explore Different Villages and Look for Rental Signs

The most common advice for finding a house is to wander around and look for “To Rent” signs. You won’t find any in the centre of Ubud so you need to head out to the surrounding areas.

A good place to start your search is Penestanan, a village just outside Ubud that’s the most popular area for expats to live. It’s quieter than the centre but there are plenty of restaurants and yoga studios.

A Penestanan landmark is raw vegan restaurant Alchemy on the main road Jalan Raya Penestanan, so start there. We looked at many houses in the area just behind it—with your back to Alchemy go left and on the left hand side is a narrow road (motorbikes only) that leads into the rice fields. Look for the sign to Hotel D’Omah.

Rental houses Ubud- Penestanan sign

Look for this sign in Penestanan. Follow the path for lots of rental houses.

There are lots of signs for houses to rent in this area, and you can also ask anyone you see. Locals get a commission if they take you to see a house and you rent it, so many are happy to help. This area is cute but felt too built up and crowded for me, like a little suburb in the rice fields.

Another area with lots of rental signs is opposite Alchemy—look for the pedestrian only path that leads to the Intuitive Flow yoga studio and Yellow Flower cafe. Cafe Vespa is another landmark further away from Ubud with lots of rentals nearby—head down the side streets into the rice paddies.

Other areas to look are north of Ubud along Jalan Tirta Tawar (where we ended up living) and Jalan Sri Wedari. There are fewer restaurants here than in Penestanan, but I prefer the area as it feels more spacious, less foreigner focused, and has better views.

I would not recommend living near the Monkey Forest as the monkeys are thieves and can be aggressive—not ideal when many houses are open sided.

Post in Facebook Groups

As we didn’t know Ubud well we found randomly looking around tiring and hit or miss. We had our most luck by posting our requirements in the Facebook groups Ubud Rentals and Ubud, Bali – Housing, Rental & Pricing Awareness. We got many responses, arranged a number of viewings, and this is how we found the house we eventually rented. We know others who’ve had success with it too.

The Facebook groups are the best place to start your search as you can browse the ads and get an idea of what’s available. If you arrange some viewings, even if you don’t like the houses, you’ll get ideas of which areas to look. To save time post your requirements a day or two before you arrive in Ubud and set up viewings for your first day.

Our House in Ubud

We looked at more than 10 houses and eventually set ourselves a time limit to chose the best of the options. I had a clear idea of my perfect house (yes, I wanted the Eat Pray Love house but with a pool and A/C!) and had to let that vision go. Despite my initial concerns I ended up very happy with the house we chose.

Ubud house rental pool

The shrine and pool at our house

Our house Villa Heaven is a two storey, two bedroom house down a narrow path through the rice paddies off Jalan Tirta Tawar in Junjungan village. It’s 3 km north of Ubud and a 5-10 minute motorbike ride into the centre. There are a couple of restaurants in walking distance and a few very basic shops in the village. We have neighbours on both sides but it feels private and quiet.

Downstairs is one ensuite bedroom, an open sided kitchen and dining room, swimming pool and sun loungers, garden, and pavilion. We love the view of the frangipani, banana and coconut trees, jungle covered gorge, and rice paddies beyond. We even have a shrine where the landlord’s wife or daughter brings offerings and lights incense to keep the gods happy.

How to find a house to rent in Ubud - our kitchen

Our kitchen and dining room

How to find a house to rent in Ubud - our dining room

View from our dining room

The layout is strange with the staircase on the outside of the house. Upstairs is a very basic living room with just a couch and coffee table, and the second ensuite bedroom. All the rooms have large sliding doors to take advantage of the views and breeze.

How to find a house to rent in Ubud - our bedroom

The bedrooms both have really comfy beds

How to find a house to rent in Ubud - our view

Our pavilion and view from the upstairs balcony

How to find a house to rent in Ubud - our living room

Our minimalist living room. We bought some cushions for the sofa to make it more comfortable.

We have air conditioning in the bedrooms, and good WiFi throughout—we get about 4-7 mbps down, 2 mbps up. Netflix works fine; Skype can be a bit flaky.

The house is lovely but it was missing some things to make it liveable—hangers in the wardrobes, cushions for the hardback couch, and lots of kitchen equipment—so we bought them to make our stay more comfortable. The kitchen is basic with two gas burners, fridge, blender, and toaster. We bought a rice cooker as it makes life in Asia so much easier.

How to find a house to rent in Ubud - our pavilion

We lacked comfy seating so bought this mattress chair. It’s my favourite reading spot surrounded by jungle.

We enjoy having an open sided kitchen. It’s cooler to cook in, and we have a great view for our meals. There is a wall and locked door around the outside of our garden. It wouldn’t be difficult for someone to jump over the wall so we don’t leave any valuables in the outside area, but theft doesn’t seem to be a major problem here. There’s no comfortable seating downstairs so I tend to work on the couch upstairs and Simon has set up a desk in the air conditioned bedroom.

How to find a house to rent in Ubud - my digital nomad office

My office

One of the things we found difficult to get used to was the owner turning up frequently without warning or knocking—we’ll be eating breakfast and he’ll just appear. The Balinese live in family compounds so there’s a very different sense of privacy here!

Our house was listed at 15 million IDR ($1100) a month, but we negotiated it to 12 million ($877) a month including electricity, internet, gardener, and pool maintenance. We pay for cleaning (50,000 IDR/ $3.65 for two hours), sheets and towels laundry (16,000 IDR/ $1.17 a set) which the cleaner arranges, and gas for cooking which has cost us 23,000 IDR ($1.68) for one bottle in two months.

Many people have asked us how to book our house but booking in advance wouldn’t be practical as our landlord doesn’t speak much English and I don’t know how you’d pay the deposit. If you are in Ubud let me know and I can give you his phone number.

We love Ubud and our house so much that we extended our initial two month stay to four months and we’ll be here until the end of December. There aren’t many places in the world where we can afford a beautiful house with private pool and jungle view so we’re making the most of it!

If you want to stay in Indonesia for more than 60 days, make sure you apply for a 60 day tourist visa in advance from your nearest Indonesian embassy—here’s how we got ours in London and in Singapore. This visa can be extended by 30 days four times for a total stay of six months. 

Read more about our digital nomad life in Ubud, our cost of living in Ubud, and our detailed guide to living here

Do you have any tips for finding a house to rent in Ubud? Leave a comment and let us know.

Are you planning a trip? See our Travel Resources page for our favourite tools and gear to help you plan the perfect trip. 

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53 thoughts on How to Rent a House in Ubud, Bali

  1. Hello,

    Thank you very much for all the useful information and tips!
    Would you mind giving me the contact information of the landlord of the house you rented?

    All the best,
    Zsofia

  2. The landlord entering the home we’re renting would be a huge problem for my wife and I.

    Is this just something you’ve experienced from your landlord or is this something you have heard from other expats renting in Bali?

    • I know of expats who haven’t had this problem so it really depends. We’re back in Ubud again right now and our new landlord doesn’t come around very often. But there are often staff in our garden gardening, cleaning the pool or setting out offerings.

  3. Hi Erin Thank you for the info, we are hoping to have a short stay soon. We live in Darwin 2 hours 20 minutes flight away by Air Asia. We visit 2 to 3 times a year. Usually rushed but soon Ubud and Bali will be a more regular place to stay. We welcome visitors as we run a bnb
    in Darwin ,roger.steele@ymail.com.
    Best Regards

    • We’re not renting it anymore but I don’t know if it’s available. You could try calling the landlord Wayan on 082144425110. His English isn’t great but you should manage.

  4. Love this post. I plan to go to bali for 3 months and was initially looking to rent a place in advance on airbnb but i was not really satisfied with my findings and price points. It makes alot of sense to wait till i got there. Thank you for this. I am so concerned about snakes too

  5. Love this blog and entry and this was so helpful to my search- thank you!! I just came back from UBUD, and this time, plan to return for 2 months and would LOVE to rent your or a similar guesthouse- my BIGGEST concern between the guest houses vs. a homestay or hotel right in the center is the BUGS and/or SNAKES. I will be traveling alone and I will truly go into shock if I see a cockroach, or SNAKE INSIDE the premises!! Please let me know if you had any such encounters (I’ve learned to coexist w/the lizards, geckos, (besides their LOUD sounds) an occasional spider (please not the GINORMOUS ones!) and the garden variety ant- but snakes and cockroaches, I cannot do! Please advise, and thank you much! 🙂 Candy from SLC. 🙂

  6. Could it be possible to have the phone number? We will be there in less than a month for a month or 2.

    Thank you in advance,

    J

  7. Hey Erin,
    I hope this finds you well.
    I love your and Simon’s blog. I have found it very inspirational and helpful. I will be traveling much of next year and look forward to using the App that Simon created.
    Planning to spend a month or so in Ubud to practice yoga. I see you stayed off off Jalan Tirta Tawar. Was it very difficult to get to Intuitive Flow?
    Thanks for your help,
    James

    • It wasn’t the most convenient studio but with a motorbike it only took about 10 minutes. Sometimes the traffic gets bad and it can take longer but that’s mostly a problem at busy times of year like August and Christmas. Have a great trip!

      • Hi Erin

        My wife and I have had a few vacations in Bali, but only spent one day in Ubud doing the tourist thing. However, we will be spending two weeks in Ubud – arriving on 02 August. This vacation will not only be for relaxing however. We also plan to meet some expats and find out more about living in Ubud.

        We are currently living in Perth Australia, and putting plans in place which will enable me to work from anywhere, and based on what I’ve seen so far, Ubud seems to be exactly what would suit me.

        What’s the chance of meeting up for a drink while we’re there?

        Warm Regards
        Darryll & Gina

        • We’re actually not in Bali anymore. Enjoy your trip though and I’m sure you’ll find plenty of expats to meet – the Facebook groups are a good place to find people.

  8. can i get the owner phone number? i’ve plan to stay in ubud for around 3 months. i think this place is a good choice. thank you

  9. Hi, I am looking for a place in ubud so that my kids can attend the Shaun McGurgan school for a month. I have found many beautiful place but not knowing over the net whether they are genuine or not I am not sure whether to part with my money. I am a one parent two children and would like a pool, August September. Bit scared to just show up with two kids. Any suggestions? I from Margaret River Australia

    • You could look on Airbnb but really you’ll pay much less if you follow the advice in this post and look around when you arrive. It’s difficult to book the cheaper places in advance. Good luck!

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  11. Hi Erin,

    Your blog is so clear and practical, I found it very useful, thankyou.
    I’m looking at renting in Ubud in about a month’s time. Your place looks awesome.
    When are you leaving? Would you please give me the phone number of your landlord?
    Thanks so much.
    Bridget

        • After six months you have to leave the country to get a new visa – most people go to Singapore. Some expats seem to manage to get multiple visas in a row for years without problems. There was some talk of the government cracking down on that, but I don’t think it has happened. It’s probably best to ask in a Facebook group like Ubud Community for up to date info.

    • Hi Erin and Bridget,

      Did you two connect on renting? If so, Bridget are renting by yourself? I am inquiring for April (last minute).

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  14. If I’m planning on arriving in the middle of the month, do you think it’ll be harder to find a place to rent? Or can you start your lease pretty much whenever!

  15. I have to laugh about your sofa. That’s how we choose our rentals as well. We spend so much time relaxing and want comfortable seating – and other cultures just don’t get it.
    Another great post. I appreciate how you share information. Makes me want to visit Bali. We’re on our way to Chiang Mai and Cambodia in about 6 weeks. I’m going to go back and reread your posts from Thailand.

    • I think as the Balinese grow up sitting on the floor it’s not a problem for them, but that’s not something we can easily get used to.

      Enjoy Chiang Mai and Cambodia – both places we love!

  16. You always seem to find the most amazing places! Do you try to book ahead of time? Do you end up staying in short term places (hotel) until you can find the right place? Do you find that you get better rates once you arrive and are ready to move in? Thanks for everything you share!

  17. Lovely to read about your adventures in Ubud. You provide a well-written, honest and useful description of the area and the process. In 1999 my wife and I came to Ubud from USA on a 10 day visit, purely on a lark. On our third day we found the Champuan Ridge trail and began to fall in love with this place. By the end of the visit we had found some land to contract, hired a contractor and an attorney, and put down a deposit. 4 years later we quit our jobs in the States and moved here. We’ve never regretted it. Things have changed over the years, both for the better and the worse (better internet and restaurants, but lots more people, traffic and development), but we still love it.

    Nice to hear people like you can still find and appreciate the magic that exists here.

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  19. Great timing for this post! Literally just trying to work out how to best go about renting for a month or two in Ubud (also looking at some less popular options for long term rental like Cambodia). This pretty much answered all the questions I had so thanks a lot!

  20. Great post. I spent a week in Ubud, and if I had to rent a house I wouldn’t know where to start! I’ll definitely keep this one handy in my favorites.

    You guys ended up in a gorgeous place. When I think what a similar rental would cost in Europe…

    The one thing I loathed about Ubud, and Bali in general, is traffic. It looks terribly stressful, and I’d probably have to think twice before deciding to hop on a scooter, as this is something I’ve only done a few times before and don’t feel confident at all, let alone in that kind of traffic.

    There are so many drivers in Bali that I suppose it’d be possible to strike a good deal with one of them to drive you around, but I’m not sure I’d like that as a permanent solution.

    • Hello, loving your blog, cant help myself from commenting on the price, yes it’s cheap, but in Sweden where Im from, one ofthe most expensive countries in the world, you can rent a so called “guest house” same size and standard for 12 000 000 Rupies, as long as its not in the capital.

    • Hey Fernando!

      I am wondering if you know about a nice, relaxing, affordable place in Ubud, Bali.
      My roommate just moved to Bali and heard wonders about this place. She is looking for a nice home for a year, affordable, preferably with a pool.

      Do you know any place she could look ?
      Thank you sooo much!

  21. Ahh…this brings up so many memories of our Bali stay 3 years ago. Thank you for this informative post. I had been wondering how much things might have changed. It doesn’t sound like prices went up too much. We are in Chiang Mai now but are wondering if we should change things up a little in Bali for a few months 🙂

  22. I love these specific, actionable blog posts, thanks guys.

    I am in South America currently but plan to head over to Asia early next year so have bookmarked this as everyone seems to be talking about Ubud 🙂

    Keep them coming!
    Tom

    • Thanks Tom. Ubud is a great chilled out place to spend some time. I’ll have more posts coming later in the year on our favourite vegetarian restaurants, yoga studios, cost of living, and general living here tips. I’m still in research mode!

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