There is good news and bad news here. The bad news is that there really aren’t any traditional hostels anywhere on the island of Bali, at least the kind with dorm beds and common facilities. The good news is that the reason there are no hostels in Bali is that hotels and guesthouses all over the island start at prices so low that there is really no demand for that sort of low budget communal living.
Low budget beds in Bali
They can go by different names, but generally speaking the lower end of the accommodation scene in Bali consists of guesthouses and small hotels. These places can call themselves inns, cottages, bungalows or a few other things as well, but more good news is that you generally get what you pay for in Bali. If one place charges twice as much as the place next door, chances are it’s twice as nice as well.
Guesthouses – These can range from perhaps 4 small rooms all the way up to 50 rooms or so, but they tend to be very basic. They’ll usually have an en-suite bathroom, but expect something close to campground-style facilities rather than what you normally see in hotels in the US and Europe. Beds tend to be hard and furniture is minimal, and usually you’ll have a ceiling fan as your only method for combating the muggy nights during the rainy season. Prices start around US$5 per room, and most tourist cities in Bali have quite a few guesthouses with prices under US$10 per night. Very few of these places are available to be booked on the internet, unfortunately. There are some very luxurious places that call themselves “guesthouses” so price is probably a better indicator of quality than just the name alone.
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Hotels – In Bali there are a couple dozen large international hotels and most of them are strung together in the Nusa Dua resort area in the south, but throughout the island there are also small, locally-owned hotels. Some only have a few rooms and others are much larger, but they tend to be a bit more luxurious than the aforementioned guesthouses. For only a bit more money you might be getting a refrigerator in the room and a comfortable bed and nice bathroom as well. Air conditioning is available in some rooms at some places, and usually for a higher price. Depending on the person and the time of year, A/C might be your only hope of getting to sleep or a complete waste of money. Many hotels are available online, and prices can start as low as US$15 per night for quite a nice place, so this is a good place for a bit of a splurge for many people.
The center of this famous tourist area is filled with guesthouses and hotels. You can usually get a place by just walking up with your bag in hand, but during peak season and special events it can get quite crowded. There isn’t much chance of having to sleep on the sidewalk (or the beach), but you might have to hoof it around the area for an hour or two and then settle for a place that was way down your list.
If you feel like taking a chance with your room you might still consider booking your first night ahead of time. This means you’ll be able to go straight there and put your bags away, and then you’ll have nearly 24 hours to find a cheaper place you like if you are still motivated. The cheap guesthouse rooms are a bargain in some ways, but they aren’t very comfortable, and often not very clean either.
>>more information on Bali hotels
For more information on hotels and guesthouses in Kuta check out the accommodations on Poppies Lane I and accommodations on Poppies Lane II sections. These are both streets in Kuta that are lined with cheap hotels.