Bali Bobo Review: Checking out Bali’s friendliest new luxury backpacker hostel
There are many backpacker hostels in Bali but I was really excited to check out and review Bali Bobo – Bali’s newest luxury hostel. Bali Bobo is located in beachy Jimbaran, only 20 minutes south of Ngurah Rai International airport and 30 minutes north of world-famous surfing destination Uluwatu. Jimbaran is one of the nicest areas of Bali but, before Bali Bobo opened, really lacked affordable accommodation options. Luckily Bali Bobo is the perfect hostel for budget travelers with high standards that want to escape the tourist crowds.
‘Bobo’ means sleep in Indonesian, and the name of the hostel is especially fitting since you’ll definitely be able to get a good night’s sleep at this upscale hostel that’s located well away from the chaos and noise of overcrowded, touristy Kuta.
This purpose built, luxury hostel recently opened its doors in May 2019, and it couldn’t be better timing, as more and more travelers are looking to escape the more well-known tourist traps like Kuta and Canggu. Jimbaran, with nicer beaches and less tourists than the other overcrowded Bali villages, is the perfect combination of ideal vacation destination and local Balinese neighborhood.
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South Bali boasts excellent beaches and some of the world’s best surf breaks, all of which are just a short scooter ride away from Bali Bobo. The location is also super close to the airport and the immigration office which is super handy if you need to extend your visa (a lengthy process that requires 3 visits to the immigration office)
At the peak of high season, in the middle of the day, the white-yellow sand of Jimbaran beach stretches out in both directions completely undisturbed except for a small smattering of tourists lounging around working on their tans and even fewer fishermen hauling the day’s catch in from the sea.
At sunset Jimbaran Bay is the place to be if you want to sample some of Bali’s best and freshest seafood restaurants in a romantic candlelight beachfront setting. The beaches are cleaner, the sand is whiter, and the water is bluer than what you can find in either Kuta or Canggu; this area of Bali is a local gem that’s very much “hidden in plain sight.”
And it’s through this more local aesthetic that Bali Bobo seeks to offer guests a unique glimpse into the island’s rich cultural history. As one of the owners, Ralf, so eloquently put it: “Bali is not a beach destination, it is a cultural destination with great beaches.”
And this philosophy guides every decision he and his wife, Elly, make about the hostel: from the location in Jimbaran to the beautifully painted murals that decorate the walls, and the small, thoughtful info cards placed on the beds each night that invite guests to learn something new about the local culture – the Hindu belief in karma, the tradition behind Balinese names, the history of famous temples, and so much more.
Ralf and Elly really go out of their way to make sure that guests have everything they need – both knowledge and personal recommendations – to fully immerse themselves in the local culture.
They even host various themed-nights throughout the week (such as durian night, Babi Guling night, Balinese cultural costumes night, etc.) to introduce guests to every aspect of local life.
But while all of these amazing additions truly add to guests’ experience in Bali, even the day-to-day running of Bali Bobo is nothing like your typical, family-run operation. Immediately when you arrive, Gina and Esther, the evening and morning managers, are there to greet you with a glass of fresh, chilled coconut water and as much or as little information as you’d like to receive about the surrounding area and all there is to do and see in Bali.
Once you’ve checked in though, you’ll quickly notice that unlike most hostels, Bali Bobo is pristinely clean. Not only are all the staff at Bali Bobo completely dedicated to keeping it as clean as even the nicest of hotels – you’ll never see dirty dishes piled up in the sink or walk into a smelly bathroom at this hostel – their genuine desire to help guests have a truly amazing time in Bali is unmatched.
And it’s no surprise that guest experience is at the heart of Bali Bobo since, between them, Ralf and Elly have a combined 52 years’ experience in the hospitality industry. Elly previously worked as a stewardess for Singapore airlines and Ralf has managed several 5-star hotels in Bali over the past three decades.
Their combined experience in the hospitality industry really shines through in even the most minute details of the hostel:
- all of the showers have hot water and the shower pressure is good and strong
- each bed has a privacy curtain
- each bed has a huge locker underneath – large enough for even the biggest backpacks
- each bed has a light and power socket
- the rooms are equipped with air conditioning
- the WIFI is fast and reliable
- and even the showers have an added curtain between the door and the shower head to ensure that your clothes and towel don’t get wet while you shower
And the owners put just as much thought into the overall design of the hostel: The large, open courtyard garden scattered with colorful beanbag chairs; the fun swimming pool; the equally large, open-layout communal kitchen; and the inclusion of a common room stocked with games, exercise equipment, and a TV all help make Bali Bobo feel more like a home-away-from-home than a hostel. The hostel also offers scooter rental to make exploring Bali easy.
Each of the hostel’s 8 dorm rooms sleeps 10 guests, and two of the dorms are female-only. The hostel also has one four-person shared bedroom that is perfect for young families; this one also has an ensuite bathroom.
The two shared bathrooms are uniquely color-coded (blue and pink) to differentiate between which of the toilets and showers should be used by men and which should be used by women: another small touch that speaks volumes about just how much the owners prioritize guests’ comfort.
A generous breakfast is included in the room price (110,000 IDR), and can be eaten any time between 7 am and 11 am. While this is much already a much longer period of time than most hostels – and even hotels – allow guests to eat the included breakfast, if you happen to miss it, you can help yourself to complimentary tea, coffee, and fruit at any time throughout the day.
From the big things (like cleanliness and helpfulness) to the little details (like a longer timeframe to eat breakfast and a way to keep your towel dry while you shower), Bali Bobo shines as an up-scale option for budget travelers who want to save on accommodation without skimping on experience.
Without a doubt, Bali Bobo is one of the best backpacker hostels in Bali and makes the beautiful area of Jimbaran so much more accessible for budget travelers. I’m already looking forward to returning to Bali Bobo next time I’m in Bali. Check out more reviews of Bali Bobo on Tripadvisor and Booking.com and check out more information and photos and book direct at www.balibobohostel.com – you’ll even get a free airport pick up if you book for at least 5 nights (if you book direct)