Bali-which has more than half the hotels in all of Indonesia-offers
the best and widest range of accommodation of any region of Indonesia,
from international five-star hotels with extravagant suites costing US$600
per day to simple, homey, family-run inns with a thin mattress for a bed
and a single hanging light bulb for less than five dollars per night.
Elsewhere in Indonesia, someone is always inviting you home to meet their family. But this is not the case on Bali where accommodations are so cheap and plentiful. Families are not permitted to put you up as long as there's a hotel or homestay in the same village. At the low end of the price scale, Bali offers some of the best value accommodations in all of Asia.
There is a full range of accommodations to fit every budget-from lowly losmen to five-star hotels. Hotel associations are cracking down on the heretofore loose use of the term, and now won't let just anyone call themselves a "hotel" without meeting certain standards. If the front desk clerk speaks English to you, and the tarif as well as all the prices in the hotel gift shop are given in dollars, you're probably in a hotel. They'll take either rupiah or dollars at a bad rate.
In general, in the smaller, family-run homestays of 10-15 rooms you come into more contact with the Balinese way of life than in the large, efficient yet impersonal hotel properties with their huge wings and tower blocks of rooms, run more like luxurious high-rise apartment buildings.
Among the 4,000 hotels on the island you'll find Japanese hotels, Aussie hotels, five-star properties, bamboo and thatch hippy hotels, surfing hotels, dive losmen, hotels that cater to families, hotels that cater only to package tourists, hotels that cater to honeymooners and singles, hotels specifically designed for long-term stays.
You can even stay in a colonial-era hotel, the newly remodeled and modernized Natour Bali Hotel of Denpasar, which retains much of its distinct glamor and charm. Another historical art-deco relic, dating from the Sukarno era, is the grand old Bali Beach Hotel of Sanur.
Many hotels are using their money to build new units rather than repair the old, and Bali is so furiously building hotels in towns and villages all over the island now that at times it feels like you're vacationing on a construction site. Building freezes are periodically announced, yet for unexplained reasons, they're only partially enforced.
Finding a Good Place
Other travelers are the best sources of information. The same person who tells you that a hotel, cottage, or homestay in this book no longer exists will also be able to tell you where another good one is.
The local police set the price of accommodations and are also charged with collecting the tax. With the intensity of competition, particularly among the budget class of accommodations, prices are very reasonable. But no matter what class place you're staying in, bargain. Tell the manager or front desk clerk that the hotel is out of your budget ("Taripnya terlalu mahal untuk saya."). The manager might be amenable to giving you a discount "if you promise not to tell the other guests."
If you intend to be in a particular area for awhile, the best is to just grab any halfway decent place for the night and spend an hour or so the next morning hunting for accommodations which better fit your tastes and budget. There's a tremendous range in the quality and price of the rooms, in the variety of the services, furnishings, and amenities offered, and in locations. It's incredible how different in atmosphere two hotels in the same price range can be, even hotels very close to each other like the Nelayan Village and Puri Buitan in Balina.
For a complete night's sleep, don't choose hotels near schools, bars, discos, or main streets. Also don't stay in hotels where prostitutes or Indonesians stay. Ask what you're going to get for breakfast; sometimes the breakfasts included in the price are really skimpy. It's also important to determine if you're going to be charged service and government tax, which can be as high as 21%! Make sure the place is clean, as your room may be frequented by other guests like cockroaches and rats.
The police are more likely to help you if you stay in a registered homestay, hotel, or losmen. They have a reputation to protect. All melati and bintang class hotels are registered, but with unregistered hotels, sometimes your name and passport number will not be recorded. In the cheaper homestays, always keep your valuables with the proprietor for safekeeping.
You can often tell the nationalities that frequent an accommodation by checking out its library to see what languages the books and magazines are written in. If you search around and find a hotel that suits you, take the room immediately, pay a day in advance, and get the key.
When Westerners stay in places that accept Indonesians and other Asian guests, they find that they have different habits-such as talking, laughing, and playing the radio far into the night. Asians are also more likely to smoke, and many of the rooms at places catering to them stink of cigarette smoke. Rooms in homestays and inns, which cater almost exclusively to travelers, usually don't smell of smoke.
The whole concept of nonsmoking rooms is only now just beginning to catch on in Indonesia. For example, it's almost impossible to find a room that doesn't reek of tobacco smoke in some of the beachfront hotels of Kuta like the Sahid Jaya. Repulsive! If you're booked into a hotel frequented by Asian guests, always choose the "cottage" block, a part of the hotel which is apt to more frequented by Europeans or North Americans, who generally smoke less than Asians.
Virtually any hotel, no matter what the class, will offer to store your luggage in special storage rooms while you're traveling around Bali or to other islands of Indonesia. In lower-priced homestays, the owner will even store your gear in the family quarters with the tacit understanding that you'll stay there again upon your return.
Seasons and Bookings
The low season is Jan.-June, when even Bali's expensive hotels will give as much as 50% off. But during the high season (July, August, and December), accommodations are booked solid in all the main tourist areas and you'll have to head for the hills to find a night's lodging. During this time, hoteliers don't need your business to survive, are not inclined to bargain, and charge 10-15% more. Lovina's accommodations, for example, all increase by Rp5000-10,000 during this time.
Make reservations ahead of time during such national religious holidays as Leberan, the high tourist season, and during Christmas and New Years. There's a "shoulder season" (16 Sept.-9 Oct. and 16 Jan.-31 Jan.) when reservations are not as necessary but wise.
Don't neglect to take full advantage of fax. Most moderately priced-and-up accommodations now have fax machines. It's an easy matter to fax ahead and make all your bookings; you also eliminate any travel agent fees. If you're in Java, Kuala Lumpur, Australia, or the U.S.A. you customarily receive a speedy reply from Bali within 48 hours.
At Denpasar airport there are accommodations service desks in both the domestic and international arrival lounges. These dispense excellent information and the staff will even call a hotel of your choice and order transportation which is usually free, though you could end up paying for it. To the Four Seasons, it can cost Rp40,000. Find out who pays before you commit.
As you emerge from either the domestic and international terminals at Bali's airport, drivers or their assistants will be waiting there to escort guests to the hotel of their choice. They'll be holding up hotel signs; if you have already decided to stay at a certain hotel, take advantage of the free ride.
Hotel touts are another excellent source of recommendations. When arriving at the airport, you'll be approached by locals with offers of a room. These could be quite good, newly opened, and eager to please. If you're approached by hotel reps, all competing for your patronage, this is an excellent time to ask for a discount. Many homestay owners (like Pande in Peliatan) even meet overland travelers at Denpasar's Kereneng Bus Station, though most (around 25) wait for travelers to arrive at Batubulan station.
Accommodations at Tourist Sites
Most travelers do not look upon actual tourist destinations as viable places to stay, but they can be. At night, after all the tourists have gone home, the tourist site is turned back over to the Balinese and it becomes a unique place to stay-a small, self-contained scene where you can really get to know the locals who run the shops and warung. Examples of these out-of-the-way sites which have accommodations are: Yeh Pulu, Tirtagangga, Pemuteran, the Ahmed area, Medowe, and to some extent Tanah Lot.
Don't be afraid to follow a sign and venture down narrow back roads in search of places to stay. At the north end of Candidasa is a very elegant and comfortable hotel called Puri Bagus. It's located at the end of a nondescript road that feels like it leads to nowhere. In Toyabungkah on the shores of Lake Batur you'll find accommodations as low as Rp5000 s-some of the best deals on Bali-with breakfast, mountain view, and fewer hassles than tourist-trap Penelokan above the lake.
Hotels in Ubud, Denpasar, Bangli, and Klungkung are situated in the palaces (puri) of Brahmin families, with individual bale converted to Western tastes with full bathrooms, Western toilets, and front verandas. Charging between US$35 and US$60, these traditional-style hotels have great personality and charm. A tip: Don't wait until too late in the day to arrive at popular places like Ahmed, Tulemben, and Padangbai as most of the best accommodations-no matter what the class-fill up by noontime. Get there as early as you can.
Also, don't settle for low standards in high-priced accommodations. For example, the Bali Intan of Kuta is expensive, and everything's got a surcharge-use of the telephones, room service, taxes on drinks and meals. House movies never come on when they say they're going to come on. The rate of US$120 per night is simply not worth it. You would never pay this for a hotel back at home-for just a plain room, nothing special. Much better values are the so-called "Beach Inns," "Homestays," "Cottages," and "Bungalows" that are everywhere and five to 10 times cheaper. Read on.
Losmen, Inns, Beach Inns, Homestays
These are small enterprises of only 10-15 rooms. The nicest places are found down the back lanes on the wings of such resorts as Kuta, Candidasa, Lovina and Ubud where it starts to get quiet and shady; these tend to be lower-priced and more relaxing. But these locales don't have a monopoly on the best homestays. Some excellent ones can be found in the villages of Peliatan, Penestanan, in the vicinity of Amlapura, Singaraja, and even in the capital of Denpasar itself.
In these small budget accommodations, you're under the charge of an ibu (literally "mother," your hostess, the "lady of the house") who will probably speak an abbreviated, easily understood "tourist" dialect of Indonesian. Your gear is safe as there's always some family member around, and barking dogs go into a frenzy whenever a stranger enters the confines of the family home. In remote places like Toyabungkah (Batur) and Lovina (on Bali's north coast) you'll find rooms as low as Rp5000 s, but usually the tarif is Rp8000-10,000 s, Rp12,000-15,000 d.
Rooms are set in a row, an ideal way of meeting other travelers and swapping information while having meals or drinks throughout the day or night. When not out sightseeing, you spend much of your time outdoors, breakfasting on the covered veranda furnished with a small table and two bamboo chairs often facing a garden or courtyard. Room service depends on the particular accommodations or on the ibu. Tea or coffee is often available free throughout the day. Laundry service is available with a price list posted.
Most of these bargain accommodations are built in Balinese style with separate bungalows or rooms surrounding a family courtyard. There's electricity, shower, and a private mandi and toilet inside your room. The room itself is usually a spartan affair-four thin walls, table, chair, bed with batik cover, batik curtains, perhaps a wardrobe-but what do you want for five bucks a night? Each guest is issued one bed sheet-or you can use your sarong. The better places will be well screened, but few budget accommodations provide mosquito nets, so bring your own or use an electric mosquito coil.
Be prepared. Roosters, babies crying, children playing, and loud music all begin promptly at 0600, and Bali's apocalyptic dogs will serenade you asleep at night, so if you've got a full day ahead of you make sure you turn in early. Houseboys are very conscientious about waking you up to catch a bemo, bus, or plane, and these places are less strict than hotels about enforcing the out-by-noontime rule.
Budget accommodations are run by a family or a group of friendly, unsophisticated young boys under the supervision of an absentee owner or manager. In many of the "beach inns" of Kuta, Legian, Tulamben, Lovina, and Ubud, there's not a family member in sight. The houseboys who run the place are overworked and underpaid and give the rooms occasional perfunctory cleanings which are mostly symbolic.
Because you may live right inside the family compound and participate in the life of the family, homestays can be the finer experience and preferable over luxury-class hotels in the tourist enclaves of Nusa Dua or Sanur for immersing yourself in the life and culture of the people. You get to relate to the Balinese in the family context rather than relating to them while they're driving you around or serving you in restaurants.
You learn how to make offerings from the mother, flutes from the father, kites from the small ones, and how to cook lawar from the grandmother. The grandfather will take you out for a drink or two of tuak at the local warung, and the daughter will show you the shortest way to the dance hall or how to sew a kain into a skirt. They may well give you snacks to sample, transportation advice, and descriptions of good walks in the area.
Your losmen owner can also find you the best dance, painting, or wayang kulit teachers, take you to a wedding, odalan, toothfiling, or some other special ceremony. In fact, many travelers choose their homestay for the extras provided; e.g., the family teaches dancing or silversmithing or gives Bahasa Indonesia lessons, lends bicycles, offers a bigger or better breakfast, or has an outstanding paperback library.
Almost all accommodations charging under US$10 include breakfast in the price. Breakfast is a very flexible term but usually includes a cup of strong hot Bali coffee or tea with sugar, toast, egg, freshly picked bananas or a bowl of fruit salad, though some places just give tea or coffee. The best places offer a different breakfast each morning, rotating between omelettes, fruit salad, pancake, toast, or sometimes all four!
The least expensive accommodations ordinarily provide a tank of cold water for bathing and a squat toilet (no toilet seat). Forget air-conditioning. If there are nights that are temperature-perfect, Bali has them. Some homestays have native-style, open-air sleeping pavilions (bale); these are really cool and comfortable as the atap roof and open sides are conducive to napping or spending the night.
Bungalows, Cottages, Guesthouses, and Pondok Wisata
"Cottages" and "Bungalows" usually consist of one- or two-room freestanding buildings, with each room having its own bath. The asking price for these is far higher than for the average losmen, but they are far nicer. If it's the low season, you may be able to bargain as low as Rp15,000-20,000 per person per night for a really nice "cottage" with a shower. Often these accommodations have a decent restaurant, comfortable beds, ceiling fans, and plumbing that works. Some even have lovely garden bathrooms.
When found as a part of the name, such as "Siti Bungalows," these are all different twists on the same-grade accommodations. Usually built in Bali-style, these places have nicely furnished rooms complete with all the amenities-but not the price-of proper hotels. They charge $20-30 per day for rooms with red brick walls, traditional atap roofs or brownish-red roof tiles, verandas, tile floors. Inside you'll find bamboo furniture, fresh flowers, private bath with European shower, hot water, ceramic Western-style toilet, and wooden beds. To accommodate a family, Rp5000-10,000 is charged for an extra bed.
Some mountain guesthouses, like the Lila Graha of Candikuning (near Bedugal), look like Swiss chalets. In Ubud, they are usually located overlooking rice paddies. The majority of these moderately priced accommodations sell tours like horseback riding, rafting, and birdwalks and will phone to have the operator pick you up in the morning and drop you off in the afternoon. A pondok wisata is a house where the owner lets out rooms for a moderate price. The owner often stays there too. No meals usually.
Youth Hostels and Campgrounds
There's only one legitimate youth hostel on Bali, the Bali International Hostel on Jl. Mertasari 19, Banjar Suwung Kangin, Sidakarya, Denpasar Selatan (tel./fax 0361-63912). But unless you feel a dogged loyalty to always staying at a YH, better deals can be found elsewhere. Campgrounds are rare on this small, densely populated island. The only place to camp is in the Bali Barat National Park in west Bali. Don't underestimate either the terrain or the chill. Take rain gear because precipitation is always a possibility, even in the dry season. In the back-country areas of this reserve, it may be necessary to pack in water.
In Indonesia there are two types of hotels: the melati (jasmine) class and the bintang (star) class. There are three classifications of melati: one jasmine, two jasmine, and three jasmine. The one-star to five-star hotels are higher standard, with the five-star hotel the highest.
Medium-priced melati class have all the mod-cons including a/c, hot water, adjoining bath, a coffee shop, restaurant, and almost always a swimming pool. Melati may even offer International Direct Dialing (IDD) from your room, often provide vehicles for rent, and take small groups of guests on a personalized tour (ask the manager). They do not however offer the range of sports facilities and activities the luxury class hotels do.
Melati class are just as comfortable and cost-as a rule-only US$20-25, or US$30-35 per day if it has a swimming pool. You can even find some very comparable accommodations, like Oka Kartini's in Ubud, that charge as little as $15-20 per day with pool. You tend to get a bigger bang for your rupiah in hotels outside of Kuta, Nusa Dua, and Sanur. For example, check out at the Puri Bagus and Rama Ocean View in Candidasa, and the Baruna Cottages in Lovina.
It's rare that any accommodation, like melati class, charging over US$10-15 per day, won't include breakfast in the price of the room. Starting at around 0700, meals can either be served in the rooms or in attached restaurants. In the venerable Hotel Tjampuan of Campuan (near Ubud) room service is summoned by sounding a gong in the form of a demon using a penis-shaped cudgel. If you have to get an early start, order breakfast at almost any time, even at 0500 in the morning. However, the earlier the hour, the least likely you'll be served a hot breakfast.
If your plane leaves at 1800, try to bargain for a "day rate." There's usually no extra charge for children under 12 occupying the same room as their parents if no extra beds are required. More and more often now a 15.5% government tax and service charge is added to your bill. No matter what class hotel you're staying in, you usually have to vacate the room by noon the next day or you'll be asked to pay for an additional day.
International-Standard or Berbintang Hotels
Bali unquestionably has Indonesia's swankiest international-class hotels. A "star system" (berbintang) is used whereby hotels are assigned a certain number of stars to denote their class. Five-star is the highest rating, one-star is the lowest. Prices range from US$120 to US$170; suites are US$200-2500. About half the guests are European, about 15% Indonesian, 12% Australian, 12% North American, and the remainder Japanese, Singaporean, and Taiwanese.
All of these luxury hotels have the capacity and facilities to cater to all nationalities and tastes. They have huge vaulted lobbies, closed-circuit color TV in the rooms, in-house video programming, fridges and minibars, round-the-clock room service, International Direct Dialing (IDD), business centers, fax machines, laundry and dry-cleaning services, safe deposit boxes.
On their extensive grounds are Chinese, Italian, Asian, and Indonesian restaurants, pizzerias, piano lounges, discos, 24-hour coffee shops, shopping arcades, house clinics. Also offered are floodlit tennis courts staffed by professional coaches, fully equipped aerobics and fitness rooms, jogging tracks, game and video rooms, and children's playgrounds.
On their private beaches you can enjoy a smorgasbord of water activities: surfing, parasailing, sailing, windsurfing, outrigger sailing, and waterskiing. There are free-form swimming pools with sunken bars, poolside cafes, jacuzzis, and saunas. Their poolside areas transform into open-air theaters, restaurants, and pasar malam at night. In spite of their central location, these huge hotel properties offer tranquility because they're huge and have extensive grounds, and guarded gateways keep the public out.
In this class of hotel you may arrange guided tours and sporting adventures (scuba diving, snorkeling). They'll order you transport, post your letters, reconform your flights (Rp5000), and charge it all to whatever credit card you carry. Baggage may be carried to your room on a battery-powered cart along the winding garden walkways. Shuttle service into the nearest shopping center is frequent, and transfers to and from the airport are often free. In any "starred" establishment, you can count on a 21% govenment tax and service charge being added to your lodging and food bill.
Most of the major international-class hotels are concentrated in Denpasar, Nusa Dua, Kuta, and Sanur-the tourist triangle of Bali. First-class hotels are also starting to appear in Ubud, the upland art center of Bali. Some call the unbelievably posh hotels of Nusa Dua, with their extravagant, groomed lawns and artificial Bali-style facades, the ultimate vacation getaway. Others call Nusa Dua a tourist ghetto where pampered tourists reside and where the Balinese not employed there are not even allowed to enter.
Though Nusa Dua is scarcely Bali, its greatest value is that it offers an escape from the cacophony of Kuta and Sanur. However, the negative of Nusa Dua's-and Bali's-luxury hotels is that they have a pervasive atmosphere of administrative overkill and often feel sterile, soulless, and cut off from Bali.
The Aman and Four Season Resorts
Off the map. Hotelier Adrian Zecha's Aman hotels-the Amandari of Kedawatan, the Amankila in Bugbug in east Bali, and the Aman Nusa in Nusa Dua-are in a class by themselves. Architecturally speaking, these are Bali's top hotels-the ultimate in luxurious living. All are situated on high points (the architect is fond of grand vistas) and every detail has been integrated so it all fits together-even down to the ashtrays and napkins. The Amans' combination of natural and modern materials create a refined sensual indulgence unequaled in any other resort of Bali. Of course, at US$600 a night, they ought to. Only the Four Seasons of Jimbaran and the Oberoi of Seminyak can hold a candle to them.
Each Aman resort is set in a different environment-coastal, mountain, and cosmopolitan. The Amanusa, on a promontory over the fairway of the Nusa Dua golf course, is so magnificent that it feels as if it has lost its human scale. The Amankila was built in the proper proportions. Soaring dramatically 100 meters above the beach, with its white collanades and enormous open public places, its architecture is reminiscent of an opulent palace by the sea. The smaller Amandari near Ubud is a re-creation of the stark integrity of a traditional Balinese village-but without the mud, pigs, and screaming children. Its smaller proportions make it more introspective and intimate than the other Amans.
None of the Amans advertise; their fame is spread by word of mouth, and bookings are essential during the high season. All share the same philosophy. There are no TVs in the rooms. The guests are instead encouraged to relax in an atmosphere of understated elegance. There's no check-in; guests just discreetly slip their American Express Gold Card to the concierge. Also there's no signing for food or laundry (in deference to guests, who shouldn't be bothered with such mundane annoyances).
The Aman resorts don't have twin-bedrooms; couples have to take two double-bed bungalows. This is why some guests prefer the Four Seasons, which does have twin-bedrooms. Four Seasons villas also have private plunge pools, but at Aman you have to pay extra for units with their own pool. Four Seasons are generally more guest-related, hands-on hotels than the Amans. They offer more hotel-type amenities like business services, color TVs, and stereos in every room. You can watch HBO, CNN, and Monday night football back home. Four Seasons staff are dressed to the hilt; there's a captain's table each night, and cocktail parties every Monday night in a special guest dining room. Amans, on the other hand, are more elegantly au natural.
Because of the competition between the accommodations and the huge concentration of tourists, Bali offers the best long-term residence opportunities in Indonesia for the money. A bonus is that you are not the object of constant scrutiny as you would be on almost any other island of Indonesia. On Bali there are so many tourists that no one even takes notice of you-except the street vendors or if you're in a remote village. On Bali you can go about your business anonymously.
Rental homes can be found through a legal service with several offices in Ubud. Westerners and Japanese either lease land for 20-35 years, build a structure, make improvements on the property, then hand it back to the Balinese owner at the end of the lease, or they lease already built residences. Around Seminyak and Petitingit on the coast west of Kuta are hundreds of homes that have been built by Westerners. These can be thatch-roofed bungalows built for Rp20-25 million (US$12,000) or elaborate US$100,000 multistoried structures.
A popular inland locale for long-term residents is the Ubud area, particularly around Penestanan (rice paddies, views, country life) and Peliatan (for its appeal to students of culture). Another way to settle into Bali is to negotiate for a room or section of a house "under contract." If you're studying dance, music, painting, or puppetry for several months, this is the way to go.
Talk to people in your hotel and they might know someone with a house for rent. Look for rumah disewakan signs along the road up to Tanjung in the Bukit Peninsula and in north Bali (around Yeh Sanih) where houses still rent for around Rp200,000 per month. If you're spending Rp5 million per year for a two-bedroom house with kitchen and veranda, you're doing real good. A cook and housekeeper cost about Rp100,000 per month extra.
Or just find a nice homestay, guesthouse, or hotel and ask for a special long-term rate; you could arrange for a nice bungalow with room service for as little as US$10 per night. For extended vacations, there are a whole string of isolated hotels on the south coast at Petitenget, Canggu, and Berawa. An excellent choice for families, small groups, and honeymoon couples is Serendipity (Jl. Padma Utara, Legian, Kuta, P.O. Box 41, tel. 0361-751331, fax 753333), which offers complete, fully equipped, spacious, and very private two-story homes.
If you're looking for a long-term rental, advertise in the Bali Advertiser, Jl. Tanjung Mekar 28 D, Kuta (tel./fax 0361-755392). Distributed in Kuta-Legian, Denpasar, Nusa Dua, Sanur, Ubud, Lovina, and Candidasa, for commercial ads brought into their office, a 25% discount and faster service is offered.
Private Villa Rental
Private Villas Ltd. offers short term rental of about 30 private villas in Bali. Most of these leisure homes are owned by affluent foreigners who occupy them for only a short period of time each year and have agreed to rent them through Private Villas on a weekly or monthly basis to reputable tenants from overseas. You can choose from cozy hideaways for just two persons to large, prestigious estates, accommodating up to 12 or more guests in comfort.
Rental prices range from US$1750 to US$10,500 per week (US$250-US$1500 per day) depending on the season, the number of bedrooms, and the facilities of each villa. All costs for household staff, electricity, water, and tax are included. Your only additional expenses are for food and drinks. The most expensive property, a magnificent two-hectare beachfront estate renting for US$1500 per day in the high season (US$1000 per day in the regular season and US$800 per day in the low season) features a main building of 11,000 square feet, three bedrooms, a large swimming pool, archery range and tennis court, veggie and herb garden, seaview sauna, and the use of a game fishing boat. This spectacular residence is serviced by 14 full-time household staff, including an Italian chef.
However, even the least expensive villa (US$250 per day in the shoulder season) has two comfortable bedrooms with a private bathroom, dining and living areas spacious enough to entertain visitors, a fully equipped kitchen, and a beautiful garden with a private pool. Serviced by two staff, it's located less than 600 meters from the beach.
Although private villa rental is not cheap, the total cost of a villa holiday always turns out to be surprisingly reasonable compared to staying in hotels. Villa guests experience substantial savings on food and beverage, as they pay only low supermarket prices for anything prepared for them by the household staff. A few U.S. dollars per head for food per day is still a lot of money on Bali, and even French champagne can be bought for just US$20 per bottle. The total extra costs per day, therefore, will probably be less than the price for an appetizer in a hotel restuarant. Extra costs are usually less than 10% of the accommodations costs in contrast to hotel holidays where the extras can more than double your bill.
No units are rented less than a week. A security deposit of US$1000 plus US$100 per day deposit against telephone use (refundable eight weeks after you leave) is required. Bookings should be made through Private Villas Ltd., tel. (0361) 703060, fax 701577, e-mail email@example.com. Mailing address: P.O. Box 1166, Tuban, Bali. On the Web, find Private Villas Ltd. at http://ww.balivillas.com. For the high season, book a year ahead.
The verb bermandi means to bathe or wash; the noun mandi means the place where you bathe or wash. Western-style toilets and showers with running, piped-in water are becoming more and more widespread, even in the cheapest accommodations. A mandi could be an ornate, tiled washroom with jacuzzi in a high-priced "star" hotel, or an open-air, roofless, shoulder-high cement bathing enclosure in a domestic courtyard of a homestay near the coast where you can shower in the warm sun in complete privacy.
Some of the dive losmen on the north and east coast offer rooms with an inside mandi equipped with a large water tank. Bobbing in the middle of the water is a plastic or metal scoop with which you throw water over yourself, elephant-fashion. Don't climb in the tank and bathe, which fouls it. Instead, soap yourself down and rinse yourself off while standing on the mandi floor. The water is warm to cool; you'll welcome its refreshing tingle after spending a day in the tropical sun.
In mountain towns like Kintamani, Penelokan, and Bedugul, or in those places that are supplied with water from underground wells, the water could be icy cold. In these cases, wait until the hottest part of the day to bathe or talk the proprietor into boiling some water for you. It'll be provided in buckets. There may be an extra charge of Rp2000 or so.
Pronounced "WAY-say." This abbreviation stands for "water closet," the basic European designation for toilet. Other Indonesian phrases for toilet are either kamar mandi, or kamar kecil ("little room"). The toilet can be either Western-style or Asian-style. Sometimes, but increasingly rarely, the WC is located in the mandi room itself. More often it's a separate, darkened enclosure. If you just need to urinate, it's quite socially acceptable to use the floor of the mandi; just rinse the floor down afterwards with a couple of scoops of mandi water. In places that have Western-style toilets, toilet paper most of the time will be provided, but if you're attached, bring some in case it isn't.
Once in a while you can still run into an Indonesian-style WC which consists of two footpads and a drainage hole made of molded cement. One squats on the pads and afterwards cleans oneself and the hole by splashing water from a nearby can or plastic dipper. Fill the can either from the mandi water or a faucet beside the toilet for that purpose. For urine, throw in two or three scoops; for feces throw in five or six scoops or until the water is clear.
The Asian-style WC is rapidly giving way all over Bali to Western-style sit-down toilets, which is a shame because there's not a more comfortable, orthopedically sound, and physiologically natural position in which to relieve yourself than squatting on your haunches. Also, using water is a more hygienic cleaning method than smearing yourself with toilet paper. In fact, not only is toilet paper expensive and hard to find, but Indonesia's squat toilets are not designed to flush paper products. Westerners, who are reluctant to do as the Romans, often clog up WCs with their copious and inappropriate use of toilet paper.