A Guide to Living in Bali

Bali is a superb place when it comes to relocating – the pleasant weather, the great food, the warm culture and the overall low costs make the Island of Gods an appealing destination for lots of people. Whether you want to move here only for few months or looking for a permanent new home, we compiled the most important points you should know before moving:

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Guide to living in Bali

  1. Visa

Most nationalities receive a Visa-on-Arrival for US$ 25, valid for a month and extendable three times. If you plan to stay longer, speaking getting a residential permit, it’s best to consult an agent. Doing the paperwork on your own may turn into a really difficult task, especially if you don’t know anyone who could help you. It’s worth paying a few bucks on top.

  1. Accommodation

Balinese live mostly in houses/bungalows with large terraces and small gardens. If you plan on living in something more western oriented (i.e. pool and housekeeper), there are plenty of residential areas focused on foreign residents. Consider spending 1500-3000 US$ a year for a decent 2-3 bedroom house, 100-150 sqm, middle-class area. A villa with pool starts at 12.000 US$ a year. Most houses are partially furnished. The flipside with rentals in Bali is that you have to pay in most cases the rental-fee for an entire year upfront. Always make sure to have a contract; rent from the owner directly, don’t take an agent as they tend to ridiculously overcharge foreigners. Do note that ACs and hot water in regular Balinese houses are not common; an AC cost about 3.000.000 IDR, hot water generator 1.500.000-2.000.000 IDR.

Do your research careful and get advice from foreigners living in Bali. Check houses on OLX and AngloBali. Look out for signs on door and gates saying ‘’Di Kontrakan” (for rent).

  1. Transportation

Bali’s public transportation is still one of the least developed industries on the island due to several reasons. Given also the massive and at peak times chaotic traffic, it’s best to rent a motorbike, even over a car.

Buses:

As there are no regular buses around, Kura-Kura would be a clever alternative: these mini-buses serve however only the southern tourist areas Kuta, Jimbaran, Legian, Nusa Dua and Ubud in central Bali. (http://kura2bus.com/)

Motorbikes:

Prices for used motorbikes (1-4 years) cost between 6.000.000 – 10.000.000 IDR. New ones start at 12.000.000 IDR, of course that depends on brand and model. If you prefer renting one, consider spending at least 850.000 IDR per month. You can rent motorbikes almost everywhere, especially in the south of Bali, just make sure you check it properly before renting.

Cars:

As mentioned earlier, buying a car would be only an option if you’re not based in the south, but rather around Ubud, Lovina, in the west or east as it literally takes hours to get from one point to another. There are plenty of used cars available on OLX.

Taxis:

Generally, taxis in Indonesia are among the least expensive ones in Southeast Asia. Bluebird Taxi (Tel.: 701 111) is widely known for their honesty and fair prices. As example, a 30 minutes-drive will cost you just between 35.000-40.000 IDR.

Fuel:

Fuel in Indonesia cost 6500 IDR per litre at gas stations (standard price) and 1000-1500 IDR more if you buy fuel from a kiosk; fuel is sold in old vodka bottles and meant for motorbike drivers.

  1. Dining

If there is one thing you never need to worry about, it’s the food. You can get food almost 24 hours a day and that nearly everywhere. Prices start from 50.000 IDR for a main dish in an where many foreigners live, but if you live somewhere where primarily locals reside, dishes start at only 8000 IDR for common meals like Nasi Goreng (fried rice) or Mie Goreng (fried noodles). Food stalls, vendors, markets and Warungs (local restaurants) open from morning until late night.

  1. Shopping / Groceries

‘Tiara’ and ‘Bintang’ supermarkets are all over the island and offer great selections of national and international products. In addition you can find almost everywhere a branch of Alfamart, Indomaret or Circle K which are all very similar to 7-Eleven and open 24 hours. Note that dairy products are very expensive in Indonesia; a regular 100 gr. yoghurt costs between 9000-10.000 IDR. Vegetables and fruits can be found on local markets at very low prices and chances are high that there is a market in close distance to your house – don’t forget to bargain though!

  1. Co-Working Spaces

Bali is currently gaining attention as one of the best places for digital nomads and online entrepreneurs, given the low cost of living and high quality of life. Here are the top co-working spaces in Bali:

Hubud : Bali’s first co-working space located in Ubud, surrounded by beautiful rice paddies.

Lineup Hub : Located on Jalan Sunset Road in Kuta.

Liveit Spaces : Co-working spaces located across six Balinese-style villas in Batubulan, southeast Bali.

Wave Bali : Located right in the heart of Kuta, the bustling beach town in southern Bali.

The Sanur Space : The Sanur Space is a comfortable co-working space in a typical Balinese setting located in Sanur.

  1. Jobs

Finding a job in Bali can be very difficult; naturally any job is prioritized for locals. Look in advance for jobs on career boards and see whether you fulfil the requirements. Chances are good if you work in the hotel –and tourism industry or as teacher at international schools.

  1. Weather

The climate is pleasant all year round with an average of 31°C in coastal areas and slightly lower temperatures in the central highlands. The dry season falls from May to October with exceptional weather. The rainy season happens from November to April, while daily torrential downpours are the case.

  1. Religion / Etiquette

About 85% of Balinese are Hindus, while the rest are Christians, Buddhists and Muslims. Regardless which religion one is adhering to, it’s mostly the central focus in the life of Balinese families (there is a reason why Bali is called the ‘Island of Gods’). Hinduism is celebrated differently from places like Nepal or India as the religion has influences of local ancient beliefs here. Churches, mosques and a small number of Buddhist temples can be found all over Bali.

  1. Phone / Internet

The best coverage offers SIMpati, not only in Bali but also the rest of Indonesia. Fees for SMS and calls within Indonesia are very low and you can top up your balance for as low as 5000 IDR at most supermarkets (Alfamart, Circle K, Indomaret) and kiosks. The SIM itself cost 25.000 IDR. International calls will set you back at 10.000 IDR per minute.

If your landlord doesn’t provide internet and you start thinking about installing a whole new wifi-system, consider buying a USB router along with a SIM card. ‘Tri’ (written as 3) offers reliable and fast internet connection. A card with 5GB volume costs 90.000 IDR.

  1. Spare time & recreation

Bali offers a diverse range of activities for everyone, especially nature enthusiasts praise Bali’s serene beauty. Get yourself a bicycle and start exploring local neighbourhoods, parks and other natural places, especially if you should live around Ubud in central Bali. There is an abundance of trekking and hiking options, whether you prefer leisure walks through rice paddies or more demanding hikes on volcanoes. Well and if you’re into swimming, Bali has some many different beaches, whereat some are more recommended for swimming while others are better for water sports such as surfing. Gyms can be found everywhere with monthly rates starting from 500.000 IDR.

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