How to move to Bali, living in Bali

You are dreaming about living in Bali ? Since a few years, more and more digital nomads and remote workers are leaving their country to move to Bali. There are many advantages to move to Bali, it’s a beautiful paradise island, there are many gorgeous spots to explore all the year. Also, the climat is amazing there, you have the impression to be on a vacation all year long. There are many advantages for your business if you are an entrepreneur or a remote worker. The tax advantages is interesting, the network and the ambiance in Bali are amazing. It is an awesome place to develop your business and have new opportunities.

However, even if paradise islands are amazing, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the perfect place to have a balanced lifestyle. As everywhere in the globe, living in Bali also has a lot of disadvantages. And you need to know them before considering moving to Bali!

How to move to Bali

The Visa to live in Bali

To be able to move to Bali, you will need either a renewable tourist VISA either a professional one. The first one means that every 3 months, you will need to get out of the country and have a new VISA. If you want to stay in Bali for a long period of time, maybe you should consider asking for the professional VISA but it’s more complicated and expensive. You will probably enter Bali on a Tourist Visa, which is valid for 30 days. If you want to extend to 60 days, you must purchase a Visa on Arrival (VOA) when entering the airport. Then a visit to Immigration will allow you to extend.

Alternatively, a 60-day Visa can be organized prior to departing your country of residence via the Indonesian Consulate. Further to this, the Retirement Visa is an option, which can give you up to five years hassle free residency. Depending on the Visa you choose, visa runs may be necessary. When a visa expires, you must leave Indonesia before purchasing another Visa on Arrival or organizing a longer visa. Most expats go to Singapore or Australia, just be mindful of the dates you require and book airfares ahead of time to get the best prices.

To live permanently in Bali, it is more complicated. I invite you to go to the Bali government website to learn about this kind or work or affair visa.

How to find a house in Bali

There are a crazy number of agencies online to help you finding a house in Bali. But sometimes, to find a house in Bali, the best is still to come to Bali and ask directly to local people if they know someone that is renting their villa. Often, the prices on internet are higher than the prices you can directly find in Bali.

The advantages of living in Bali

The island of Bali is beautiful

Bali is a beautiful island and there is safe to say that there is a lot to explore. Rice fields, waterfalls, temples, forests, lakes, volcano, cliffs… The landscapes are really various and you will never get bored about visiting Bali and the islands around like Gili and Nusa.

There are also beautiful tropical beaches in Bali. There are beaches everywhere long, flat, sandy beaches with rolling waves in Kuta and Seminyak. And also black sand beaches with unruly waves in Canggu, sheltered coves with cliffs and rocks in Uluwatu, Bingin and Balangan or white paradise beaches in Padangbai.

You can read our complete Bali travel guide to know all the best spots to visit!

The weather is amazing

Bali, being an island, has a hot tropical climate in the summer, from June to September, it’s hot but not too humid and it’s generally sunny every day. At the contrary, in winter it’s really hot, sticky and humid but there’s also quite a lot of rainfall.

You’re exposed to new cultures and sights

This is the main thing that you definitely can’t get at home. The Balinese culture is amazing and the island is a beautiful and unique. In Europe or occidental countries, I don’t look out on ride fields or wake up to the sound of geckos. I can’t visit a monkey temple or a Balinese medicine man, I don’t see Canang Sari flower baskets covering the streets or get offered a massage. Or I can’t go snorkeling, or surfing, bask in the sun or hike a volcano.

It’s a great place to surf and dive

If you love to surf, Bali is a dream come true. With some of the best waves in the world, the main dilemma for a surfer every day is, which break shall I surf? For a beginner it’s a great place to start without the need for a wetsuit.

The Balinese people are super helpful and friendly

The Balinese people are some of the kindest and the most helpful people I have ever met in my life. First of all, the are really open minded, friendly are open to discussions. Also, they are always keen to help you, whether it’s renting an apartment, or getting your bike fixed, someone will be there to do it for you.

It’s a cheap place to live

You can for rent really nice villa with pool for $500 USD per month. And find a three course meal for $10. Also, Bali is an amazing place for vegetarians and vegans. If you’re travelling and trying to make your money stretch further, then Bali is definitely a place you can do that. Even if it’s not as cheap as places in Thailand and other Aisan countries, Bali is still really cheap.

The tax system is really interesting

Then, personal tax rates are 5% on the first IDR 50 million of annual taxable income; 15% on amounts exceeding IDR 50 million up to IDR 250 million; 25% on amounts exceeding IDR 250 million up to IDR 500 million; and 30% on amounts exceeding IDR 500 million.

There’s work opportunity and good vibes

Also, if you are looking for work in Bali, you will see that the people living there, whether expats or Indonesians, are friendly, helpful and have a good and positive attitude. People don’t focus on the negative in Bali, everyone smiles and tries to make a conversation with you and tries to help you out. People seems more open minded, friendly and positive. If you want to start a business in Bali, there’s plenty of opportunity to be creative there!

Click here if you want to learn more about how to become a digital nomad and work from everywhere !

The disadvantages of living in Bali

Food in the supermarket in Bali is expensive

Because most of the stuff is imported, food is expensive in Bali. If you want to buy a year’s worth of rice in a bag it’s ridiculously cheap, but if you want to buy something as simple as a tin of baked beans you’re looking at twice what you would pay in Europe. If you want to cook at home, there are generally no ovens either but just portable gas stoves. Most of expats in Bali eat at restaurants and don’t cook a lot at home.

There is no public transport in Bali. 

If you used to live in Europe of maybe the USA, you are used to have public transportation. But unfortunately there is no in Bali. So you will either be renting a car and get stuff in the traffic, because yep the traffic is crazy in Bali. Either you can rent a scooter but it’s really dangerous.

You can miss the city vibe

Of course, there are a lot of things to do in Bali, restaurants bars and nightclubs, but also, particularly outdoor activities such as hiking, snorkeling, diving or surfing. But maybe you will be bored of the island life… Maybe you will miss the distractions and the facilities of a big city!

There are not so many young expats

There is a large community of English speaking expats with businesses in Bali, but no so much young people. Indeed, there are lots of Aussie tourists and people there for a week or two, but not so many young expats. Trying to meet young people is not easy. So if you want to make some friends, that must be difficult.

Living in Bali is different than coming for a vacation

You need to know that spending a few weeks in Bali is quiet different than living there for a year. First of all, as every place in the globe, when we are coming for vacations we have a budget for activities and we spend a lot of time to explore. So most of the time we have awesome experiences and good feels about a place. The problem is that we you put down your suitcase for longer, you start seeing the disadvantages or a place. Also, you won’t be on vacation, you will work, so you will not enjoy the beach and the landscapes during your work hours. You will only enjoy it in the evenings and the weekends.

Living in Bali pros and cons

Indeed, living in Bali is unquestionably different to holidaying here. Just because you’ve visited Bali 10 or even 20 times it doesn’t mean you know all the ins and outs. Living here is a wonderful experience that can be even better if you’re prepared, but – no matter how many people you speak to, your own experience will always differ. Sometimes not knowing what to expect makes things easier because you adapt as you go. Living in Bali is definitely an adventure; it’s a privilege to live in someone else’s country and an experience to appreciate every day! But you need to be prepared and we aware of all the pros and cons! 😉


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