[Photos of our house are below!]
Two days of searching in shirt-sticking sweat was getting the best of Daniel and I. We knew finding a house to rent for one month in Bali wasn’t going to be easy, considering our last-minute searching and price constraints, but we didn’t factor in the heat. After looking at yet another house that didn’t quite fit the bill, we were ready to give up for the day.
As we started our descent down one of the many steep staircases we’d walked up, we were approached by a man who asked if we were looking for a house. We were, in fact, and he happened to have one to show us. His smile, like many of the Balinese people we had met, was warm and inviting and his enthusiasm, expressed in broken English, was too charming to deny. Daniel and I looked at each other and decided, ‘okay, one more.’
The man walked us down multiple long, winding lanes before stepping through a large stone gate into a compound with a few houses. A woman inside, the elderly man’s daughter, showed us to one of the houses just down the path. On first glance, it was a pleasant and peaceful space, quite nice for for the price. Daniel and I immediately realized this house had potential…until we asked to see the kitchen. And herein was the problem with many of the other bungalow’s we’d looked at in the past two days: No kitchen. All this house had was a small refrigerator for storing a few items.
We came to Bali not only to cruise through the island’s beauty on a motorbike and jump into the ocean every chance we got, but to rent a house for one month to relax, read, write and cook after 4 months of constant movement. Having a kitchen was one of our biggest excitements. We wanted to walk through the local markets and haggle with shop-keepers for the best priced veggies and fruit to fill our fridge. We wanted to cook up our own dinner each night, trying to recreate the meals we’d eaten throughout Southeast Asia. A kitchen was a necessity.
So we thanked the father and daughter duo and walked out of the complex back into the heat, eager to sit in front of our rooms fan for a few minutes (or hours). But we were followed out by the man who said he had one more house to show us, his other daughter’s property. We were reluctant at first, and really didn’t feel like seeing another house. However, Daniel and I eventually looked at each other, shrugged, and followed the man down another path.
We were told that this house was a little further away in the town of Sayan, just outside of Ubud, so we would need to ride our motorbike over, and could he have a ride? I told Daniel to drive himself and the elderly man over to the house while I waited for him to come back and swoop me up. After 15 minutes, I began to get anxious. How far away was this house, and was it even worth the wait?
Finally, Daniel showed up with a beaming smile on his face, told me to hop on and whisked me away down a path that would lead to the beautiful Balinese villa I’m currently sitting in.
Daniel told me right away that I was going to love this house as we sped down narrow paths; it was charming and spacious and, best of all, had a great kitchen. When I walked through the stone gates and saw the house for the first time, I knew it was perfect. We met the old man’s other daughter, Wayan, and she told me to follow her inside.
Light flooded in through the giant glass front doors as we stepped into the house. A daybed sat to our left next to a wood dining room table with 4 chairs. To the right was the kitchen, closed in by a long, clay-colored tile bar, filled with every amenity we’d ever need to cook up some fancy concoctions. Next to the kitchen was a door that lead to the bathroom, an open air space with a large stone-lined shower, bathtub and a few geckos hanging out.
Up the staircase lead us to the bright and airy master bedroom. An elegant dark wood bed with sheer white curtains hanging from the bedposts sat in front of two windows that looked out onto the lush gardens that lined the front of the house. A matching dark wood vanity sat in front of another set of windows to the side of the bed, as well as a giant wardrobe, waiting for me to fill it with my (meager assortment of) things.
A welcomed gust of wind entered the room as Wayan turned around and opened two large wooden doors, showing us the view from the balcony. Countless green rice paddy fields stretched from the edge of the house and on for miles. And just beyond them, on the horizon, was the ocean. It was breathtaking.
Daniel and I picked our jaws up off the floor, walked back in and told Wayan we’d love to rent the house. We were floored by how inexpensive the price for one month was and asked her if we could move in the next day. With a yes, some handshakes and big smiles from Wayan and her father, we hoped on our bike, headed to our guesthouse and began packing up our backpacks. The next day we moved into our dream-like villa in the town of Sayan on the island of Bali.