Is Ubud worth it? A Complete Guide for Digital Nomads in Ubud

by | May 16, 2024 | 6 comments

Ubud can break you open. It can make you lose yourself and re-discover yourself. And it can serve as a scenic backdrop for your business growth and help you re-connect to your inner guidance amidst juggling it all in business. Digital Nomads in Ubud have a chance of creating a deeply and spiritually integrated experience of their souls, bodies, and businesses.

But you’ve got to know how, and come there equipped with the right resources and intentions. Personally, I came to Ubud a few weeks after a big personal breakup I’d had with a family member, seeking solace, healing, and guidance in Ubud. At the same time, I was in no financial position to break from my business. Somehow, I found both the spiritual guidance and right business mindset to heal the inner wounds and grow the outer business. Allow me to guide you onto your journey to Ubud as a digital nomad.

Let’s get some quick questions out of the way:

Is Ubud good for digital nomads?

Yes. With its many co-working cafes with strong WiFi, many villas set up for work-from-home, and its vibrant community of expats, travelers, and nomads, Ubud is a great place for digital nomads.

What is the cost of living in Ubud for Digital Nomads?

This highly depends on your standard of living and budget. Bali has seen a stark increase in living costs for foreigners in past years. As a baseline, budget for around $1500 to $2000 per month.

What’s the best travel insurance for Bali?

I strongly recommend SafetyWing or PassportCard as both will cover your trip or perpetual travels internationally and without time-limit. SafetyWing will cover all emergencies; PassportCard is a bit more expensive but covers all preventative, ongoing, and emergency needs holistically.

Does Ubud have good Internet?

Yes, the Internet in all major hubs of Bali is strong. Find a place with minimum 50mps and you’ll be good. Most cafes also have strong Internet.

Where should I stay in Ubud?

The best areas for digital nomads in Ubud are Penestanan and Sayan.

What are the best Yoga studios in Ubud, Bali?

Hands-down, Alchemy Yoga and Meditation Center and Intuitive Flow.

Is there coworking in Ubud? Is there coliving in Ubud?

Yes, co-working is possible in most cafes offering Internet, there is a co-working set-up at Outpost which doubles as a co-living facility as well.

Do I need a visa to enter Bali?

Yes, you can get your electronic visa on arrival at https://molina.imigrasi.go.id. The costs vary depending on length and they change regularly. You need to have a passport valid for longer than 6 months past arrival and a flight out. Unless you’re staying for more than 6 months, there is no need to hire an agency to get your visa.

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Is it worth staying in Ubud?

Frankly, I struggled with that answer, because my last trip to Ubud was mostly disappointing due to the risen cost of living, the frequency at which merchants tried to overcharge me, the bad service and poor maintenance of villas, and sheer amount of travelers crowding the city.

Digital Nomads in Ubud, even backpackers, must have had a much different experience 10 years ago. Similarly, I had a much different experience of the city when I first arrived in 2022.

And even though much of the Balinese innocence found in less crowded towns or neighboring islands has made way to greed inside of Ubud, my answer remains YES, it is worth staying in Ubud.

In part despite and in part because of the hype Ubud has undergone post Eat. Pray. Love, Ubud is magically set up for foreigners to come and tap into the spirituality the Island of Gods can offer. While charlatans are on every corner, Ubud is, in fact, home to most authentic yoga teachers, meditation recreations, and gurus that are tapped in. It’s a powerful place to heal, seek, and grow as a human. And a curious place to integrate your inner findings into your business goals and strategy.

Cost of Living in Ubud for Digital Nomads

The digital nomad cost of living in Bali, especially in Canggu, Uluwatu, and Ubud, has significantly gone up in the past two years. The same villa I rented in 2022 for $360 a month now costs over $700 on Airbnb. Same goes for coconuts served at hip places: A $2 coconut is no more, unless you buy one from a motorcycle street vendor.

In brief, Bali is no longer the super affordable paradise it once was. Lack of integrity on the island and tourists’ demand for space has turned the island into a strongly priced destination for digital nomads.

As part of my digital nomad money management system, I track my variable expenses by month and destination and here’s what I and my boyfriend spent as a digital nomad couple while in Ubud in February 2024:

  • $1000 on a super basic two bedroom + pool + kitchen accommodation in Sayan
  • $150 on a 125CC motorbike
  • $50 on airport-Ubud roundtrip (email me if you’d like the number of my driver)
  • $196 on two monthly Yoga passes at Alchemy Yoga Center
  • $280 on groceries (mix of expat supermarket and local veggie stories)
  • $290 on eating out (mix of local Warungs and coworking cafes)
  • $20 on laundry (this is higher-end)
  • $120 on my very cute haircut
  • n/a activities as we mostly took the bike out and had our heads in our businesses otherwise.

There are MUCH more expensive ways to stay in Ubud as a digital nomad. Some of the villas that used to cost $1000 a month now go for over $2000. To us, that simply seemed out of proportion.

Protect yourself: Vaccinations and travel Insurance for Bali

While Bali’s immigration laws constantly change, they generally require you to be covered for the entire trip while in Indonesia. There is usually a minimum coverage requirement and Covid coverage requirement, depending on the season. Besides, getting Bali Belly, a broken limb, ring worm or another skin decease while in Bali is, unfortunately, very likely.

In my experience, there are two insurances that will let you sleep at night: SafetyWing and PassportCard. My boyfriend uses SafeyWing and I use PassportCard. Both are fantastic, but they satisfy slightly different personal preferences:

SafetyWing: easy, cheap, for emergencies

SafetyWing is a super convenient insurance that won’t break the bank and is tailored to digital nomads. Without prior notice, they’ll cover your emergencies world-wide*, in Bali today, and in Lima tomorrow. You can sign up with them while you’re already traveling.

While SafetyWing will cover your broken leg, they won’t cover annual check ups, a teeth cleaning, or similar. Their prices are very cheap – and you can check for yourself what your personal quote would be right down below:

PassportCard: holistic, comprehensive, for all health needs

PassportCard costs are higher, starting at $150 a month. So why bother? Well, I’ve been with PassportCard for three years now and have only great things to report. They sent me a credit card that I can activate within 30 seconds to pay for anything minor or major right at the doctor’s office. This has been a huge help for bigger expenses such as X-ray scans, etc.

Their app and customer support make healthcare almost enjoyable. I’m on their premium package and have been able to get 100% reimbursements for cancer scare check ups, acupuncture, medical massages, my prescription sunglasses (!!!), and multiple annual check ups abroad and in Germany, my home country (many insurances will only cover you abroad). Moreover, they cover pregnancy care around the world, transportation costs in case of illness, pay out hospital sick day coverage, and more.

To me, this is the most comprehensive insurance for expats, remote workers, and digital nomads and an absolute priority in my budget.

You can inquire about fees and packages using this (affiliate**) link.

*Always note that most insurances charge a premium for coverage in the US. Check if you can add that coverage temporarily for the days you’ll be in the U.S. PassportCard covers emergencies in the US at no premium charge.
**Even their affiliate program is one of the best I’ve come across, not only in payouts, but most of all in the personal connections they build with their partners.

Vaccinations

I can’t tell you what to put in your body, and Bali doesn’t usually demand to see your vaccination records, unless it’s the height of Covid, but consider this: Bali is a melting pot of tourists from all over the world, traveling through 1000 of airports, and bringing potential deceases from countless of countries. It’s a great idea to update your regular vaccinations and check with your trusted primary doctor on any additional vaccinations that could keep you healthy while traveling through South East Asia.

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Tips for making your Digital Nomad experience in Ubud an unforgettable one

Ubud is a culture you can easily and quickly immerse yourself in, and it helps if you know where you need to go in order to have an authentic experience. Here are my top tips for living in Ubud in the most authentic way possible:

  • Get talking to your homestay or villa host. They usually speak fine English and can point you in the right direction for Warungs, tours, gurus, and holistic healers.
  • Speak to the person next to you: at a cafe, on the yoga mat, or the room down the hall. Ubud has a vibrant and diverse digital nomad community. Tap into it!
  • Check out bulletin boards. Yes! They’re all-over Ubud and carry great information about meditation events, kirtan nights, cooking classes, and more.
  • Unless you’re set on a co-living space, don’t book your entire stay in advance. Rather, book a place to land for one or two weeks, and explore options while on the ground. You have better negotiation leverage and can easily avoid scams this way.
  • Download Grab before getting to the Island, have a driver* waiting for you at the airport.
  • Buy a Telkomsel SIM card from OUTSIDE downtown to get a better deal.
  • Negotiate: I’ve found that offering 50% of the asked price still makes the merchants a profit.
  • Bali can sort of eat you up, and many travelers come there with a bit of an escapist mindset. Before arriving, get clear on your priorities and how you’ll be relating to your digital nomad business while there.

*Email me if you’d like the number of my driver in Bali. Happy to recommend him.

Renting a house in Ubud longterm

Ubud by neighborhoods

In my opinion, the best neighborhoods for digital nomads in Ubud are Penestanan and Sayan. Both are a little ways outside downtown. That said, they are packed with coworking cafes, and yoga studios, and offer various tranquil and private villas, co-living, and private rooms.

However, if you’d like to be closer to the temples and hustle-and-bustle, I recommend staying in Bisma. It’s a strip basically ‘above’ downtown and offers you 5 walking minutes of access to downtown while being slightly quieter at night. There are no villas here, however, you can rent private rooms with shared kitchens in this area.

Finally, if your budget is bigger and you enjoy the luxurious side of things, you might consider staying in a resort around Pajangan. Typically, resort prices aren’t negotiable and there are no long-term discounts, however, they do come with the best service in the country.

Renting a Villa On Facebook, by walking

Bali is the land of negotiation, and while you could do some of this via Airbnb, it’s done most effectively in-person. This is how I found my first long-term rental in Ubud. There are a few active Facebook groups that offer villa rentals in Ubud. Names change frequently, so simply search “villa rental Ubud” in Facebook and see which ones are most active.

I’ve had the best luck by reaching out via private message to those that post villas that look appropriate for me. Don’t simply post and comment – it’s likely that this gets lost in the crowd.

Don’t provide any personal information via Facebook, of course. Rather, set up an appointment for the same or next day and go to negotiate in person.

While you’re walking or driving, I highly recommend looking for “for rent” signs. In Penestanan, you’d want to walk down the narrow path on the right of Alchemy Cafe (if you’re standing in front of it), to the left of a sushi restaurant. If you spend 10 minutes there, you’ll find multiple free rentals. Call the number stated or find a clerk on site.

Now, I’ll be honest. While I could recommend villas here from Airbnb and booking.com, you won’t get the best deals there for a villa. The best deals live on Facebook and on rental signs outside the villas.

Best Homestays in Ubud

Of course, there are some gems in Ubud that you can fairly securely and easily book on Booking.com. Personally, I prefer booking.com over Airbnb as the fees are lower, the loyalty program offers great incentives, and the customer service is better.

Homestays in Ubud strike a great balance between being a shabby hostel and an impersonal hotel. Depending on the room you choose, mostly all homestay are set up for digital nomads with fast wifi and a private desk. You’ll often get to know the host and their families over time. Here are five I can highly recommend:

Metteya Healing House ($)

Metteya Healing House is the perfect oasis for first time Digital Nomads in Ubud. Kobe and his wife Helen are the epitome of hospitable. Their staff is kind, and their rooms are acclimated and clean. While situated in Bisma, the house is set back and accessible only via a small trail which makes nights peaceful. I stayed here for the first two weeks when I first came to Ubud and loved it. Delicious breakfast is included in the price (try the pancakes!) and two of their rooms come with a private kitchen – perfect for digital nomads. Al rooms have a private balcony and bathrooms and are equipped with a desk. Book here, and say hi to Kobe for me. If you ask him, he’ll invite you to come along to his guru and interpret for you.

a blue bed with mosquito nets: my first homestay room as a digital nomad in Ubud
My first homestay room in Ubud was text-book magical

Umala at Bisma ($)

Umala at Bisma is yet another great homestay in Ubud, close to Metteya. Their prices are similar, and they have a pool, as well. As well, they’re rooms with A.C, a balcony, a desk to work on, and room service. Breakfast is offered at an extra charge. I walked into this homestay myself and the only reason I decided not to stay, was the location. It looked clean, bright, and the staff was lovely. Prices vary by season, but should keep you under $1000 for the month. You can check prices for your preferred dates here.

Sampara Ubud with Mindrum Group ($$)

Sampara Ubud will place you right at the heart of Ubud Downtown. The staff here provides around-the-clock service, free coffee, water, and tea, are included, as is weekly cleaning. The rooms are clean and the pool is refreshing. I noticed that the rooms are bigger than most, which provides great space for morning yoga. The rooms come equipped with a desk, as well.

Alam Pracetha Bali Ubud ($$)

Alam Pracetha is located closer to Sayan and Penestanan – truly a great area for digital nomads in Ubud. Here the noise and traffic will die down after 8pm. Alam is great – it offers lovingly decorated rooms, strong wifi, a pool, and a built-in community. While it offers on-site breakfast, great room service, and modern amenities, it also is an adult-only homestay, which might be preferable for busy digital nomads. It’s a lovely choice for someone looking to be near authentic spiritual events, away from the downtown hustle, and still connected to a like-minded community full of seeking and exploring individuals. You can book private rooms right here.

Best Hotels in Ubud

The staff at hotels tends to be trained and paid better, which, of course, shows in the service and quality offered. While most homestays come with a shared or even private kitchen, that’s not typically the case for hotels. Thus, the option of booking a hotel might be more suitable if you’re staying for a shorter amount of time. That being said, I did include a few hotels that have private villas with private kitchens available on their compounds. These are real gems:

Semana Residencies by Cove ($)

Semana Residencies are located in a quiet area of Ubud, boasting spacious rooms with private bathrooms, AC, and a desk to work on. The hotel has an in-house restaurant and a large pool. For your breaks in between work sessions, there is a sundeck, reached by WiFi, of course.

There are differently sized rooms available – always a great option for flexibility, especially if you need a little extra space when traveling with your partner. Check out their options here.

Kailash Suites by Pramana Villas

Kailash Suites have struck a perfect balance between traditional Balinese architecture and modern standards. Their property has an in-house restaurant and wellness and spa area, as well as two large pools. Their rooms are equipped with a balcony to sunbathe on, as well as large desks and spacious bathrooms. Additionally, the rooms offer added comfort with slippers and bathrobes..you know the homey things you can’t typically fit inside your suitcase when you travel. They, too, have various options available and their suite option appears to offer ideal separation between a work and a sleeping space.

Royal Ganesha Resort ($$$)

Royal Ganesha Resort is where my partner and I hightailed it to after noticing a gas leak inside our villa. Not to be corny, but the resort offer the perfect ambiance to catch our breaths. We booked two nights in one of their private villas which comes with private kitchen and pool (hello skinny dipping!). There are more affordable options available inside their various houses, wherein each room is equipped with a balcony, AC, desk, and spa equipment.

They have a large pool, two in-house restaurants, and a bar, as well as a well equipped gym and extensive spa menu. Their service was top-notch, and the desks offered are among the largest I’ve seen inside a hotel. You get to eat with a view over the rice fields and the rooftop offers a stunning 360 view towards the mountains and all the way to Sanur. When I return to Ubud, this will be where I’ll book.


If the above doesn’t cover your taste, I can’t recommend booking.com over Airbnb enough when it comes to Bali:

Ubud Co-living Options

If you’re coming to Ubud as a digital nomad, renting a room inside a co-living space has great benefits. The one inside Ubud is Outpost which is beautifully located. Co-living, of course, offers a built-in community, events, and co-working spaces.

Outpost Co-living and Co-working

Outpost facilities are located in the heart of Penestanen, right behind the popular Alchemy Cafe. Their facilities are large, modern, uniquely decorated, and offer direct access to the delicious kitchen of Alchemy, a pool, and one of the most creative co-working spaces I’ve ever been to. If you’re not interested in living in community, you could consider booking one of their co-working packages separately.

Ubud Co-working

The 6 months I’ve lived in Ubud, I’ve never consistently gone to a designated co-working space. I simply loved the slightly more busy co-working cafes round Ubud, each one of which had great WiFi. So, while I’ll only recommend what I know, this site offers fantastic insight into co-working in Ubud. Outpost, mentioned above as co-living, is a great option and I can attest that the facility and view is one of a kind. Meanwhile, the following are the best coworking cafes in Ubud.

Best Coworking Cafes in Ubud

The Elephant Cafe

Elephant Cafe must be the most scenic way to work on your business: Overlooking Campuhan Ridge Walk, you get comfortable chairs, great service, delicious and healthy food, and a beautiful atmosphere at this cafe. It’s a little out of the way, which makes it quiet throughout the week. I enjoyed coming here and grabbing groceries across the street on the way home.

The creative business-juices were flowing while working here

Good Day Resort and Pool Bar

While it’s a bit of an adventure to drive to Good Day Resort, your efforts will be rewarded with a unique mixture of stunning views, a large free-of-use pool, fast wifi, and two separate coworking spaces. For some reason, not many digital nomads in Ubud seem to have heard of this gem. This place was almost always empty, and I don’t know why. Oh, and did I mention the delicious food and drinks? Forgot your towel? No worries, they’ve got you covered. I wrote a lot of newsletter from here.

productivity hacks for digital nomads
Working from Good Day Ubud felt otherworldly

Tropical Ants

If you’re looking for a tranquil place, away from the chit-chat you’d get downtown, Tropical Ants is your unlikely but perfect destination to work from. Take the quick drive outside town to decompress here. It’s a great place to get light computer work and intense big-picture work done.

Alchemy Cafe

Alchemy Cafe might just be one of the mot popular restaurants in town, especially for digital nomads in Ubud. It’s a vegan cafe offering most delicious food with ingredients all sustainably and locally sourced. their staff is kind and exceptionally well trained, and their Internet is lightening fast. The cafe does have open windows and gets called only by ceiling fans, so it tends to get a bit stuffy in the afternoon. For me, I loved working here in the morning before heading across the street to the beautiful Alchemy Yoga center.

Concluding

Ubud was and remains a magical destination. Sadly, in past years, it has become less affordable to have a great experience in Ubud. On top of that, greedy vendors and ignorant tourists have turned the place into one that is much harder to find tranquility in. However, with the right intention and a bit of mental sharpness, Ubud will provide you with kindness, spiritual guidance, and a truly memorable experience.

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Hi! I'm Dina

Way of the Founder offers a pathway to holistic success, where personal growth, spiritual exploration, and business leadership converge. Come join me on this incredible adventure called LIFE!

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6 Comments

  1. Meg

    Looks great 👍

    Reply
  2. Stephanie

    What a detailed post to get started as a digital nomad in Ubud!

    Reply
  3. Sierra

    So many fantastic tips and details! Ubud is now on my nomad bucket list!!

    Reply

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