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Thursday, 14 April 2011

Advice on Renting a House / Apartment in Bali

Renting a house / apartment in Bali

NB - Follow this link if you are looking to rent a villa in Bali!

If you have just found work in Bali or are thinking of moving to Bali then you will obviously be wondering where to stay and what kind of accommodation is on offer. This post is intended for those looking for a long-term place to stay.  If you are looking for a holiday rental this is not the post for you. I will try to explain the different types of accommodation in order, starting from the cheapest moving up to the most expensive.

First of all, things in Bali are quite different to what you may expect regarding accommodation: despite there

being a lack of space and lots of overcrowding, apartments are rare in the Western sense with most people living in small rooms called kos (or boarding house).

A standard kos complex in Bali,

Rooms in a kos generally comprise of a bedroom with a bathroom without cold water and often no sit down toilet, just a hole in the ground and a bucket.  They normally have a communal kitchen on the grounds and are usually single storey.  Standard is for them to be empty except for a mattress.  They are often in blocks of 10s or 20s and so privacy can be an issue also.    However, kos can be much more complete than as described above - if you are willing to pay a little more you can find kos with hot water, air-con, furnished and a kitchen, but these are rare and will usually cost up to 3 or 4 times that of a standard kos.  A bog standard kos might cost around 500,000 Rupiah / month whereas a complete one will be more in the region of 1.5 million Rupiah & up.
When looking for a kos, usual signs are Kos Kosan, Terima Kos, Rumah Kos. (see below for further Indonesian vocabulary for house hunting)

A traditional Balinese home
(courtesy of Swallow House Trading)
If you have a bit more money, you may want to consider renting a house.  This, however, is not as straightforward as it may seem.  Most landlords looking to rent a house prefer people to live there long-term with some even asking only for people interested in 2 years rent minimum.  Another frustrating thing about trying to find a house for rent in Bali is that many ask for you to pay a full year's rent in one installment - yes, that's right, one lump sum!  This is what rules out many people from renting a house as, even though the rent for a year is actually quite reasonable, having that kind of cash at hand is not possible for everyone, especially seeing as many will have just spent a lot of money on a flight to get to Bali.  The cheapest prices for a year's rent I have seen are around 15 million Rupiah (empty, no furniture, excluding electricity and water bills).  More of an average price would be around 25-30 million Rupiah for which you should be able to find a furnished house in a nice area.  Many landlords often promise to improve the premises with lump sum you will have paid for the rent and I have heard of many sticking to their word and doing - I would advise you to ask them what they will do to improve the house as building works may also be annoying.  I would like to point out that, if you are looking for a house in the dry season, when the rainy season comes you will only then find out how good the roof is as many house have leaks.  This usually solved by a quick call to the landlord but can be a major annoyance if it gets onto your bed or sofa!
A housing complex is usually called perumahan and will be a set of detached / semi-detached houses in an enclosed area.  This is not like a gated residence elsewhere & is definitely not to be taken as a sign of good quality.
Houses are also available to rent for a month but these often cater to holiday rentals and hence the prices are quite a lot more for obvious reasons.  Having said that, houses for monthly rent should be fully furnished - this is not a general rule so it's best to check before going.
One final point is that these may be in a traditional Balinese style which adds a certain character and uniqueness to them.

A modern villa in Bali courtesy of > 
Finally, the top end of the market has many villas for rent.  These should be fully furnished and often come with perks such as swimming pools, maids, possibly even security if part of a housing complex.  For yearly rental of a villa I believe the prices would be in the 50 million Rupiah & up category.
One problem with villas is that they cater for holiday rentals more than yearly ones so many landlords prefer to make their money from tourists rather than long-term rental.

Another point is that, generally speaking, prices in Denpasar are lower than eslewhere as it is in the city (not the preferred choice for many expats).  Kuta, Nusa Dua, Canggu & Sanur  are all popular tourists hot spots and ex-pat locations hence the higher prices.

Here are some useful links for finding accommodation in Bali:

Here is some useful vocabulary for house hunting in Bali:

Indonesian                             English
     AC                                        Air-con
 air panas                               hot water
 bulan                                     month
 bulanan                                 monthly
 dapur                                    kitchen
 dijual                                     for sale
 disewakan                             for rent
 juta                                       million
                          kos                                        bedsit / boarding house
 kosong                                  empty
                          lengkap                                 complete (i.e. furnished)
 listrik                                    electricity
 mandi                                    shower
 pembantu                              maid

                                     perumahan                            housing complex / residence
 tahun                                     year

© Stephen Beale @ 

Renting a house / apartment in Bali


  1. Some written KOST (look at the T)
    Some kost electricity and water included but some you have to pay by your self.

    Good post!

    Baby Dugong-Dugongan

  2. I think as a general rule and for living in your Kos, house, Villa, Rich or poor you need to acknowledge the "Gods" that will be present in your house. Whilst this may not be a western, eastern, asian belief it is a Balinese belief. You are in the Island of Gods. Muslims, Hindus, Christians will all tell you one thing. Before you enter your place of residence say please, thank you and excuse me. As the old saying goes When In Rome, Do as the Romans do :)

  3. Bali is belong to the world!

    please check my website if you need any accommodation in bali..

  4. Hi,

    I am coming to Bali next month for 4-5 weeks with my girlfriend, and I would like to get into surfing properly and am looking for a place to stay.
    Would you have any recommendations for a nice hostel/hotel for about 10-15 GBP a night, far enough from the noise, calm and walking distance to the beach, probably kuta or a nice beach break around.

    Much appreciated.

  5. Hi Jim,
    For that price it might be difficult to be right by the beach - I would recommend you to look into staying near Tugu/Batu Bolong beach (it has a few different names) or Berawa(also written 'brawa') as both spots have nice, mellow beachbreak waves and are out of the chaos of kuta. The thing is, with those areas being so close to where I live, I have never actually stayed in any of the places there! You could also try one of the millions of places on Jalan Padma Utara as it is close to a nice beach break and the waves are good but it's halfway into the chaos of Kuta(but without the noise).
    If you find some places, I'll tell you what I know about them! Sorry I can't be of more help.

  6. Hi Steve,
    It's my first time to view your site - thanks for putting the Swallow Guesthouse photo in. It looks great! All the best for your summer season.
    From all of us, Wayan, Putri and Suzan

  7. You're welcome! Have you received much traffic from the link? Was looking for a 'traditional house in bali' and yours came out in google!

  8. I always consider living in that place. It's definitely great and beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

    rent serviced office

  9. Thanks for all these useful information. I'll be considering these when I have a chance to go to Bali.

    apartment for rent in Makati

  10. This guy always put the cart before the horse...maybe he don't know which is cart and which is horse....

    Long Term Rentals

  11. ben, ill like come live in bali with my familly, i want rent a apprtment in kuta , with 1 bedroom, kit hen, furnished inside, security too, how much can be a month or a year ? , or for rent villa no far for town , no far for kuta , how much a month or a year ?, please can help me, this month, i must come there , my girlfriend from gbete too, but but she don,t know to mu h the price of apprtment and house

  12. In Kuta probably 2 million+ Rp per month for something like that buy maybe more. A standard kos in Kuta is around 500,000 Rp.

  13. hi my boyfriend and i are moving to bali in march, he has a teaching job in Densapar, we have 4 million to spend a month on rental, would we get a pool and maid with this kind of money? where would be nicer to rent where the comute wont be too long but near the surf?

  14. @goode70 - I wrote you a reply a while back but it seems I didn't publish it :O and it was a detailed answer too!
    You can get a place with a pool and maid for that kind of money but what most people do is search for a maid (or pembantu) separately when they arrive. I would recommend Sanur as there are waves and it's a short drive into Denpasar (assuming that's where your boyfriend has a job?). Sanur is also a relaxed area and has more of a village atmosphere than the chaos that is Kuta!
    You can ask me more on my facebook page if you like:

  15. Hi,
    Thanks for running this website.

    Me and my friend are looking for a house/ kos in Kuta. we can spent about 2 mln rupiah per month. We are curarrently in kuta, but so far the only options we see are over 10 mnl, and price 2 mnl seems unreal. Coudl you help us somehow. We are flexible about location, can be not very close to the beach, and not neceserily kuta. Could be Canggur, Legian, Seminyak, Sanur, anything on south Bali. Maybe you know personaly some place near you that offers such a rent. We'r planning to stay for about 4-5 months,and we r not too crazy about high standart. Simple liveble contitions would be just great.
    Thank you for your reply,
    Marcin and Filip

    1. @Marcin & Filip,

      Sorry - I thought I'd got back to you before! It's perhaps a bit late now but the best places to look are in a kos komplit/lengkap as some of these are quite big and already have everything you need. You can find them for 1-2million depending on location. The further away from the beach you go, the cheaper they get! Have you found somewhere yet? Hope all's well!

  16. Is it hard to find a flat or a house for rent in Bali?........At time of writing there seems to be an over supply of short term accommodation, particularly budget type hotels but an under supply of good quality Expat longer term accommodation particular at a cost effective monthly rental price.

    How to find a home in Bali: classifieds, real estate portals, real estate agencies?.........All of the above, Classified's Bali Advertiser. Some Real Estate agents have been known to considerably mark up the actual owners price and take their 5%-10% commission so beware. The web works.

    How much is the rental for a house, an apartment?...The question is subject to where in Bali, and what quality accommodation is required. It can range from US$350 per month for a studio in Kerobokan or Denpassar to US$ 30,000 per year for a three bedroom Villa in Semanyak

    What are the formalities or the required documents for renting an accommodation?...Usually just a signed lease, copy of passport and KITAS

    Which advice would you give?..Long term accommodation (say one year) rentals are payable in total in advance which is hard for many. at Canggu offers a monthly rental deal for brand new furnished one and two bedroom Villa's

  17. balieasyliving is a smart concept but definitely overpriced especially for yearly.


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