Traveling and working can easily transform you into an internet slave: always checking for the best position to have a better signal, running speed tests and picking hotels and cafes based on the quality of their internet connection. The internet isn’t the only thing that you need to have for a productive day on the road.
One thing that I look for as well is a quiet space. It’s true that even if a place is loud you can use your headphones but it’s also true that in a cafe on the side of the street with constant honking and shouting, the headphones can be useless. Another one is a comfortable seat: a high stool, from where I slide down and where my short legs can’t reach the ground so they keep falling asleep, drives me crazy after 5 minutes.
When working from a cafe, good food and coffee are definitely an irresistible bonus as well. Jarel and I have been testing the internet situation and the remote working conditions in few different countries and those are the criteria that we have been taking into consideration when picking up the best or worst places.
What about Bali
Even though Bali is one of the expats’ favourite destinations, dealing with internet isn’t always easy. The signal is often weak and inconstant, the majority of hotels, cafes or restaurants offer free wifi but it’s not always good enough and uploading a picture can take 10 minutes, if you manage at all, which isn’t exactly ideal.
Phone-wise we have been using Telkomsel, which has the best coverage in Bali.
Here is a list of places that we tried and what we thought about them.
Hotel: The beautiful and homey Nyoman Karsa Bungalow had 3 Mbps of download and a bit less than 1 Mbps upload, which means that Skype calls are hard, delayed and broken up and uploading can be difficult. If you need to upload or Skype, you might have to use your hotspot which had very good signal and aloud perfect Skype conversation. The hotel has about 8 rooms which are distributed in two buildings; one new and modern and one older with traditional balinese architecture. We stayed in the older building and I don’t know if it is different in the other one.
The rooms are bright, there’s a small desk plus a balcony with table and chairs as well. The table is low so isn’t the most comfortable for working but good enough and you have a quiet, nice working space by the pool as well.
- Tropical View Cafe: The connection is very slow. Okay for some basic surfing and research but you will not be able to really upload or download anything. The setting is beautiful with the view on the rice fields, relaxing music, quiet, perfect atmosphere and plugs available. It has a perfect working ambience if you don’t need high speed. The food is delicious as well. Score: 3 out of 5
- China Moon Cafe: 2.91 Mbps upload, which is the fastest that I found in Ubud, and an average download. Good enough to do anything without the help of your hotspot. The location is not ideal, on the side of the street, but it is not too noisy and the food and coffee is good as well. Score: 3 out of 5
- Semestra Warung: Okay internet with a slow upload. The place is quiet with big tables, lots of space, friendly people and amazing food. Score: 3 out of 5
In general in Ubud the public wifi that you will find is not ideal but the environment is definitely quiet and will make you feel more productive so I would rather choose a nice setting and use the hotspot when needed.
Hotel: The Bali Ayu Hotel has a good internet connection and the rooms are far enough from the noisy street to give enough a quiet spot to work. The desk is not very comfortable and the rooms are well shaded, which is good for the heat but it also make them a bit dark. Again around the pool is quiet enough for working but the internet is not as fast and if you are doing something more than basic browsing you will have to use your hotspot.
Cafes: As I mentioned before (what-to-expect-in-seminyak) in Seminyak you will be able to find anything you want for any budget and stylish hipster style cafes are not missing for sure.
- DROP: Internet is very slow, you can just do some basic browsing and be patient. There are no inside seats and it is on the side of the main road which makes it hot and very loud. The food is okay and the coffee is excellent. Score: 1 out of 5
- OLIVE: Good internet, no need of help from your hotspot. It is just a couple of steps after DROP, always on the main street but somehow it is slightly more quiet. There is an inside part as well if you prefer some extra quiet space and aircon. We just had coffee, which was good but I have no idea how good the food is. Score: 3.5 out of 5
- Revolver: Download: 1-1.5 Mbps, upload 1.5 Mbps, ping: 40-60 ms. The internet is okay to do some basic work. The place is very small but quiet and a bit retro with very good coffee, snacks and nice staff. We were going in the one in Jalan Petitenget, but there are more then one arounf Bali Score: 3.5 out of 5
- Bali Juice Park: Download: 2-3 Mbps, upload: 2-3 Mbps, ping: 40-100 ms. Good internet connection and this place is right on the beach. It is less busy than other places in the area, has nice juices and you will finally feel on holiday even if you are working. Score: 4 out of 5. One step before this there is La Plancha which is much more popular but more busy and has very very bad internet.
- Gourmet Cafe: Good speed internet connection. It is located on the side of the street but is not too noisy. You can choose between inside or outside comfortable seats. The place is a little bit impersonal but the food is very good and the service excellent. Score: 3.5 out of 5
Those are the few that we tried.
Which one are your favoirite places for remote working in Bali?