Fall semester in Bali is just about to start, and our exchange students are looking to find the best accommodation for their exchange period. Often, the best, student-friendly villas get booked in advance, so the rental agents concentrating on students in Bali are kept very busy at this time of the year.
Although there are many villas listed online on Facebook groups, one should always remember that renting a property in Bali from an unknown agent or a private person can be a risk. It the last few years, some student groups who tried their luck through a contact they had found on their own, have fallen victims of villa rental scams, some of them losing large amounts of money. Asia Exchange recommends two villa rental companies who have been accommodating our students in Bali for years, and can be 100% trusted.
We caught up with our trusted partners, Farah, the owner of www.bali360.net and Christian, a co-founder of www.study-in-bali.com and Auslandssemester-Bali.de to hear what they have to say to students looking to book a villa in Bali.
We reached Farah via Facebook, while she was visiting Finland..
AE: Hi Farah. You are just visiting in Finland, how is the trip going?
Farah/Bali360: Hi there and greetings from Finland. It is amazing, I get to visit annually every summer to enjoy Summer cottage, sauna, picking wild berries etc. I love the clean nature of Finland. They say I need to see the winter too some day to understand better why so many of you are traveling to tropical Bali.
AE: Your company, Bali360, is a recommended villa rental agent for Asia Exchange students. What should a student remember when looking for a villa?
Farah/Bali360: I am honoured to be Asia Exchange’s trusted partner. Our journey together started back in 2009 at the very beginning. We have been in the business of helping AE students to enjoy their special time in Bali since. Hassle-free, nice and safe accommodation plays a big role. Few tips to start with: Gather a group among the people you want to live in and start a dialogue early about the location and facilities you are after. Contact your trustworthy and recommended agent well in advanced as the best villas sell fast.
AE: What’s your favorite listing that you have for the students at the moment?
Farah/Bali360: We have villas in areas of Seminyak, Jimbaran which is close to the University, and also in Umalas/Kerobokan area. It is very hard to pick a favorite because all the villas are great in one way or another but to choose one, one of our all time student favorites has always been Villa Cemara, in the beautiful expat area of Bumbak Umalas. It is a huge 8 bedroom villa with maid service, and security. Perfect for a big group of friends.
Christian was reached via Facebook as well. At the time of the interview, he was in Bali, busy getting prepared for the starting semester..
AE: Hi Christian, thank you for finding the time to answer our questions! What is new on the property market for the students this year?
Christian/Study-in-Bali: No problem at all! I’m always so happy to get to share information on how to book a villa here! Seminyak has always been the most popular area for students to stay since the beginning of all exchange programs. This hasn’t changed over the years but recently we receive some more enquiries for Canggu and Jimbaran areas. Since our office is in Seminyak and everything you may probably need during a longterm stay in Bali is located in Seminyak we will still have our focus on this area for the upcoming years.
AE: What’s your favorite listing that you have for the students at the moment?
Christian/Study-in-Bali: I would say Villa Rajawali. Unfortunately it’s not located in Seminyak but the price value ratio is great. You get 10 bedrooms, a big pool, open kitchen, enough sitting space outside, a gazebo and even a pond. Also everyone who stayed there loves the staff Domingo and his wife and kids who live in front of the villa. This villa usually gets booked between 6-12 months before the semester starts. Yes, some students book this place already one year in advance 😉
AE: There are more and more house listings from Bali online from private house owners. Why is it important for students in Bali to use a reputable agent when booking their villa accommodation?
Christian/Study-in-Bali: That’s an easy one. Why would go to to a foreign country and try your luck renting from someone you don’t know and risking to loose your money?
Trust and reviews: When I buy some product or service I usually read the reviews first before I read the product description. If I would rent from someone privately I would at least make sure someone I know or someone who studied in Bali before used the service and was happy with it.
Experience: Study-in-Bali.com (Auslandssemester-Bali.de) is the first website that specialized in student rental only so we know exactly the needs of students. Furthermore, two of our team were studying in Bali as exchange students before. We often are the first phone number someone dials when they have an accident or another problem and need advice on where to go or what to do. We have experience in villa rental for more than 10 semesters and still keep learning and improving.
Price and Support: You shouldn’t be paying more when you use an agency compared to when you book directly to the owner. But the advantage is that if there is any problem with the villa or owner/management you still can ask the agency for help if you aren’t able to solve the problem directly or if it takes too long.
Avoid scams!! Private people can show up and disappear the other day. They have nothing to lose. A reputable agency can’t do this. The entire future of the company depends on the service.
We had some cases during the last couple of semesters where students lost all their money, I remember one case where they had paid for a 4 bedroom villa for the whole stay in advance for about 6.000 Euros. When they arrived the owner and management didn’t know about any booking. They found out that the email account of the owner got hacked and someone else replied instead of him and the hacker provided a different bank account number for the down payment.
AE: Farah, Bali has been changing a lot during the last 10 years. In your opinion, which are the new nice living areas for exchange students?
Farah/Bali360: The majority of the students like to stay in Kerobokan and Seminyak areas. One should remember that student exchange is a lot more than just going to lessons at Jimbaran Campus and there is plenty of free time to spend in Bali as well. Seminyak and Kerobokan have a vast variety of mouthwatering restaurants, fun nightlife, and other activities, and not to mention the surfing and great sunsets you can watch on the beach every night.
AE: And what is the most often asked question that you get from the students? (let us know the answer too)
Farah/Bali360: The question I get most often is: “How far is the Villa from Uni and how to get there?”Answer: in Bali, everything is relatively close, especially once you get confident riding your scooter. (Get your international license done before coming to Bali!)
AE: Christian, You have been living in Bali as an ex-pat for some years now. Which are your favorite places in Bali to visit that you would recommend for those students who are coming to Bali for the first time?
Christian/Study-in-Bali: I love Dreamland beach in Bali. If you arrive at the beach and it is low tide, you can walk to the right and may have a quiet spot for yourself aside from the touristy area with umbrellas and beach sellers. But make sure to come back in time before the tide comes back because it will get difficult and dangerous to go back once the beach disappears under the water.
Secondly, I just discovered Nusa Penida. I don’t know how I was ignoring it for so long. It is like Bali 30 years ago. There’s no tourism, and it is very traditional. Not many accommodation options yet. I will be back again soon.
Lastly, Gili Trawangan. I have been there about 15 times already but if someone would ask me “Do you want to join me for Gilis next week” and I have no urgent tasks, I am always in. I can’t tell if it is just the fact that there are no cars and scooters, just bicycles and horses, or if there is something else that I haven’t figured out yet. The island definitely has a very positive vibe to it and the parties in Sama Sama reggae bar aren’t bad either 🙂
AE: Is there anything you would want to remind the new students of?
Christian/Study-in-Bali: Actually we packed all information in our newsletter series. Five people worked over 5 months on this newsletter to make sure we don’t forget anything important. Also compared to the time I was studying in Bali the internet and Facebook groups are flooded nowadays with information. Therefore it is even more surprising that so many students still make many beginner mistakes, such as getting ripped off by the police. Enjoy the starting semester and your time in Bali!
Farah/Bali360: Firstly I would like to say congrats for choosing Bali and Asia Exchange. Your student exchange to Bali is a journey into something special you will never forget! It´s like a sensory overdose into goodness you didn’t know exists. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. And remember to respect the local people and law! You are not in your home country, and remembering to show respect to local people and their customs is very important. Other than that, I’m looking forward to seeing you all in Bali, and happy and safe travels!