Bali Baby: Finding a Place to Stay

Finding a place to stay in Bali sounds like one of those problems you want to have, eh? I did a  full write up on this since I’ve been asked a lot about where we are staying, how we found it, etc. It’s a novel because this is the kinda stuff I nerd out on. You’ve been warned ;)

For me the decision was narrowed by a few clear factors:
1.     I wanted to birth at Bumi  Sehat (not really thinking homebirth at that point-another post!) which is in Nyuh Kuning, Ubud.
2.     I’ve only been to Bali once before and on that trip the only place I went was Ubud and the airport. And in Ubud I stayed in Nyuh Kuning.
3.     With Nava’s birth I stayed 650m from the hospital and felt very confident about not moving until labor was well progressed. And I was glad it took but a few minutes in a taxi to get to the hospital.
So yeah. it will come at no surprise that I was planning to stay in Ubud and most likely wanted to be in or near Nyuh Kuning village.

I eventually narrowed down what I was looking for in the way of amenities to…
1.     Enough space for Nava to play.
2.     A real kitchen. Nothing fancy but not a kitchenette either.
3.     Air conditioning. I boiled in March in Ubud without air con and spent April and May boiling in Laos. Pregnant lady in hot season is just not a pretty picture. I knew the weather was supposed to be mild by when I was moving to Bali but I was beyond reasoning. Plus I figured less mosquito issues with the air con option.
4.     In Ubud.

1.     A pool.  This was a very strong preference and seemed doable but if some pace was perfect but poolless and had options nearby we could easily walk to I figured I might budge.
2.     Two bedrooms. Thus Nava could sleep without being disturbed by newborn care. Plus maybe Suernanny Noi could come with us. Again a ‘very strong preference’.
3.     Wifi. But if not I could get a data plan for my ipad and deal.
4.     Nyuh Kuning or quite close to it.
5.     Maid service. Oh yes. Now is not the time to do housework (is there ever a time to do housework if you don’t really have to?) If not included in the villa my plan was to hire one separately.

There are thousands of villas for rent in Bali (maybe just in Ubud?) listed on the internet. I found a ton of great options but was challenged by my timing. A lot of great villas are booked way ahead with regular customers coming back to them year after year. I was looking for a place in less than 2 months and would be there coinciding with the beginning of high season.  There really is something for nearly every budget but of course cheaper places aren’t as prominent on the web and were more likely booked out. The cheapest I found online searching were $500-800 per month and didn’t have pools or air con and sometimes didn’t have much living space (more like a bedsit arrangement). The high end pretty much had no limit but places that were nice enough for me to dream about without being Hollywood-style fancy went for around $3000 a month.

My budget was based on what I had been expected to pay in Bangkok. Perhaps a silly way to do it but it gave me a great gut reaction to go by. As long as it wasn’t more than I’d pay in Bangkok then the whole Birth In Bali campaign could stay arguably in the Why Not? column. Sure I'd rather spend a lot less but as we own our home free and clear in Laos paying kinda high rent for 2 months wasn't too hard to stomach. And at this point in my research we definitely hadn’t decided 100% on Bali and proving we could get a nice place to stay for the same or less was a big part of my decision making. I had found a place in Bangkok for $1200 a month for 2 bedrooms, meters from the hospital, with shared pool but no wifi and no maid so I had a clear mission.

And I wasn’t doing too well on my mission. It was really hard to find availability in my price range for the specs I wanted. These places existed all right—but they were full. Cue sad music. And then I stumbled on a new website called Airbnb.com. At the time Google found it for me I’d never heard of it. Since then of course I’ve seen ads for it and heard references and found out it’s a bit of a silicon valley darling at the moment.

And that’s when I struck gold. I found a villa. Across the street from Bumi Sehat birth center. With availability.  For $1000 a month. Aircon, maid, wifi, pool, and a real kitchen. Check! The only catch was it was really just like a large one room studio (2 big beds) with a separate kitchen. So we had a decision to make. Could we deal with Nava in the same room as us? Same room as a newborn? Living and sleeping in the same room? No nanny coming with us?

I got very excited but I really wondered if I’d be kicking myself when faced with a cranky toddler lacking sleep while taking care of a newborn. Then I found a friend who not only knew of the villa in question but had been there and whose friend had stayed there for her birth. And the word from that mama was: TAKE IT.  Sout, of course, didn’t see the one room as a problem at all so that was it. Decision made. We had a real, good, affordable place to stay for the same it would cost to go to Bangkok for this birth.

Postscript: How do we like it? We love it. It is exactly as advertised and we hoped. Check it out:
Nava's 'bedroom'

Note the TV to nowhere- No DVD player and a cable connection for local TV only.

The master bedroom

The parlor

The front yard :)

The porch
Postscript #2: How's the Nava sleep situation turning out? Well, we did end up bringing Supernanny Noi for these first 2 weeks before Sout comes (Yes. I'm LUCKY!). She willingly agreed to rough it without her own bedroom in exchange for a trip to Bali :)

But I'd had a month to think about how to best create a good set up for Nava. She can and does sleep with us at times but usually it means a disturbed sleep for everyone as she's noisy and likes to kick! No crib wasn't a problem since she already has a floor bed back home. In fact we all still sleep in one room like this at home anyways--but there it's not the living room as well. I decided to bring a tent for her. A mosquito net tent that we got years ago for Grandpa fit the bill perfectly. It would keep her contained and allow us to dim the lights on her if we were up late with #2.

Ta da! It works. Now if only there was sound proofing...


  1. YES!!!! I LOVE AIRBNB!!!!

  2. Anonymous13.8.13

    Good one!
    I am so glad that I came across this post and had a chance to go through it.
    Awesome room by the way!
    Villas of Sanur


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