Located in Indonesia, Bali is the country’s most popular tourist destination; tourism accounts for 80% of its revenue. It is easy to see why Bali, the fabled Island of the Gods, is sometimes referred to as the “Paradise on Earth” because of its stunning natural scenery, which includes rolling hills and volcanoes, lush rice terraces, as well as pristine white sand beaches and craggy coastlines, all of which provide a picturesque backdrop to its vibrant, deeply spiritual, and distinctive culture. Bali is one of the world’s most popular island destinations and a perennial winner of travel awards due to its world-class surfing and diving, as well as a wide variety of cultural, historical, archaeological sites, and a vast selection of lodgings. Subak, the irrigation system for rice fields in Jatiluwih (central Bali) was designated a Natural UNESCO World Heritage Site in June 2012. Bali was awarded the Traveler’s Choice award by TripAdvisor in March 2017 and January 2021 for being the best travel destination in the world.
Are You Planning to Visit or Move to Bali? Here’s What You Need to Know!
Questions to Ask Yourselves
Before we start talking about anything you need to know and prepare to visit/move to Bali, you need to ask yourselves some questions:
- In what region of Bali would you reside?
- How much time do you have to cook? Do you prefer eating at home, or do you prefer dining out?
- Do you have children who must attend school?
- Do you like going out and drinking alcohol?
- Will you hire housekeepers?
- How are you going to travel around?
After that, pick and choose the information listed below that suits your needs.
The most generally spoken languages in Bali are Balinese and Indonesian; despite this, the great majority of Balinese are multilingual. Although Balinese is quite different from Indonesian and more challenging, anybody who makes an attempt to learn a few phrases will be much appreciated by the locals. Due to the demands of the tourist sector, as well as the sizeable English-speaking community and Chinese-Indonesian population, English and Chinese are the second most prevalent languages (and the main foreign languages) of many Balinese. Other foreign languages, such as Japanese, Korean, French, Russian, and German, are often used in multilingual tourist signage.
Bali is Indonesia’s sole Hindu-majority province, with 86.9% of the population adhering to Balinese Hinduism.
Dance & Music
Balinese dancing and music are also well-known and popular among tourists to the island. The gamelan orchestra and wayang kulit shadow puppet theatre prevails, as they do in neighboring Java. The most renowned dances are barong (also known as “lion dance”), calonarang (also known as “monkey dance”), and legong keraton.
People in Bali enjoy a laid-back pace of life. The inhabitants are quite tolerant and hospitable to tourists. However, they are also very modest and courteous people, so dress and act modestly. As throughout Indonesia, public display of affection (PDA) is discouraged; although the Balinese are more tolerant than the rest of the country, and 60% of visitors to Bali come from the mainland. Hence, public kissing and nudity are not permitted. Balinese tradition also forbids grumbling and yelling in front of others.
The Day of Absolute Silence (Nyepi)
Balinese people are deeply religious, and rituals permeate every aspect of daily life, and Nyepi is particularly a significant one. On this day, they must deceive the demons of Bali into believing that no one is on the island. They believe if they are successful, the bad spirits will leave Bali Island alone for another year. Nyepi is a complete shutdown of the island between 6 a.m. on the first day of the new year and 6 a.m. on the second day. Tourists as well as locals are required to remain inside and be as quiet as possible for the duration of the event. Light must be kept to an absolute minimum after dark. The beaches and streets are off limits to the public. A team of police and security personnel is on standby to enforce this order. The only exceptions to this rule are in the event of a true emergency. The airports and ferry harbors are closed all day, so there are no flights in or out of Bali for a full 24 hours. Nyepi’s exact date varies every year and isn’t finalized until later in the year prior. If your flight has been moved up or back because of Nyepi day, you may have to change your hotel reservation.
Climate, Weather, and Natural Environment/Landscape
Daytime temperatures are pleasant, varying between 20-33⁰ C (68-93⁰ F) year-round, with the average temperature around 30°C (86°F) with a humidity level of about 85%. The west monsoon is in place from approximately October to April (wet/rainy season), and this can bring heavy showers and high humidity, particularly from December to March. From May to September (dry season), the humidity is low, and it can be quite cool in the evenings. At this time of the year, there is hardly any rain in the lowland coastal areas.
Regions and Cities in Bali. What Are the Differences?
In general, Bali is divided into 6 different regions, namely:
- Southern Bali (Kuta, Bukit Peninsula, Canggu, Denpasar, Jimbaran, Legian, Nusa Dua, Sanur, Seminyak, Tanah Lot)
Kuta and Seminyak, in particular, are the most popular destinations on the island.
- Kuta: surfer mecca, and by far Bali’s most developed region. Lots of shopping and nightlife, as well as the epicenter of Bali’s lower-end party scene.
- Bukit Peninsula: the southernmost point of Bali, home to world-class surfing, beautiful beaches and the stunning cliffside Uluwatu Temple.
- Denpasar: a thriving city that serves as the island’s administrative headquarters and transportation hub but is not a popular tourist destination.
- Jimbaran: seafood restaurants, seaside resorts, sheltered beach.
- Legian: the name of the major street in Kuta; located between Kuta and Seminyak
- Nusa Dua: home to upscale resorts and a stretch of golden sand beach
- Sanur: seaside resorts and beaches favored by senior citizens
- Seminyak: tranquil, premium seaside resorts and villas to the north of Legian, with chic upmarket restaurants and hip designer nightclubs and dance clubs.
- Central Bali (Ubud, Bedugul, Tabanan)
The cultural center and core mountain range of Bali.
- Ubud: the epicenter of art and dance in the foothills, with a number of museums, the monkey forest, and several arts and crafts stores. It is also the number one destination for people interested in Yoga and meditation.
- Bedugul: a golf course, botanical gardens, beautiful alpine lakes, and the renowned Ulun Danu Bratan Temple
- Western Bali (Negara, Gilimanuk, Medewi Beach, Pemuteran, West Bali National Park)
Ferries to the West Bali National Park and to Java are available.
- West Bali National Park: Bali’s only significant natural protected area, offers bird viewing, trekking, and diving.
- Northern Bali (Lovina, Munduk, Singaraja).
Historical capital city and peaceful black sand beaches.
- Lovina: magnificent beaches with black volcanic sand and coral reefs.
- Eastern Bali (Amed, Besakih, Candidasa, Kintamani, Klungkung, Mount Agung, Padang Bai, Tirta Gangga)
Relaxed coastal villages, Mount Agung, and an active volcano.
- Amed: a region of tranquil, traditional fishing villages with black sand beaches, coral reefs, and good freediving or scuba diving.
- Candidasa: a serene coastal town that serves as the Bali Aga and entryway to the island’s eastern coast
- Kintamani: Bali’s biggest lake, lower temperatures, Mount Batur (an active volcano), beautiful mountain scenery, fruit and vegetable farming.
- Mount Agung: Bali’s tallest peak and the mother temple of Besakih.
- Padang Bai: a peaceful traditional fishing hamlet with several tourist attractions. A fantastic location for relaxing on the beach, snorkeling, diving, and eating fish.
- Southeastern Islands (Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida, Nusa Ceningan)
Peaceful offshore islands that are well-known amongst divers.
- Nusa Lembongan: Fantastic for snorkeling, diving, and surfing.
- Nusa Penida: wild, untamed, rocky, popular for its Kelingking Beach.
Food & Restaurants
Balinese cuisine is delicious, and the traditional meals are fairly healthy (many of them are vegetarian friendly). Local eateries, known as warungs, provide cheap and good meals. Rice, chicken, and even tempeh are common ingredients in many cuisines. If you stick to local restaurants, you can eat on a budget. Fresh fruits and vegetables are very beautiful, making it simple to purchase local goods and prepare at home. It’s also celiac-friendly since it’s a rice-based society. Due to the large number of new-age hippie types residing in Bali, the locals are acquainted with vegetarianism and gluten-free diets. In general, it’s a fantastic choice for those who have dietary limitations. Eating out will only cost you a few bucks, particularly if you dine at a local warung or restaurant. However, if you love foreign cuisine, it becomes somewhat more costly, yet still inexpensive in comparison to costs at your home country. Going to the local daily markets is the most cost-effective method to shop. You’ll find them in every town, and the produce is generally sourced from surrounding farmers, so you’re not only receiving the freshest food, but also contributing to the local economy. There are also foreign food outlets on the island. Naturally, imported things are more costly, but many individuals are willing to splurge on the few items they may miss from home. Local markets provide all of the fruit, vegetables, eggs, meat, and fish you’ll need, and a trip to the grocery store for additional necessities like coffee, milk, and cheese will keep the cabinets stocked neatly. If you are really busy, you may also utilize on-demand delivery apps (Grab/GoJek/Shopee/Traveloka) to get meals delivered from the mentioned partnering restaurants. However, bear in mind that the food portions at Indonesian restaurants are modest by Western standards; you may need to order more than one portion of the meal.
Bali’s tap water is unfit to drink. If you drink from the tap, you’ll get a bad case of “Bali belly.” You can get 1L bottles for $0.50 a piece or large 20L bottles for $1.80. The money spent on alcohol is particularly significant for many foreigners. Alcohol is heavily taxed in Bali, and it is out of reach for people on a shoestring budget. Consider other Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and Vietnam if you want to reside someplace that is both economical in general and affordable for a daily drink. Bintang, the native beer, is the cheapest choice, costing $1.50 in a store and $2 – $3 in a pub or restaurant. Imported beer or cider may be twice as costly, and wine is also highly expensive – the unsatisfactory local stuff is about $15, while an imported bottle of typical Australian wine begins at $20. Drink “arak” with caution; unscrupulous merchants may put methanol into the arak (this mixture may cause blindness or death). As a result, always get it from reputable vendors/bars. Arak may be prepared from coconut blossoms, sugar cane, grain, and a variety of fruits, although it is often manufactured from rice or coconut palm sap.
The good thing is that you have a variety of alternatives when it comes to choosing where you will reside in Bali! You may rent everything from modest rooms at a homestay to magnificent villas with full facilities, and anything in between. A modest room at a homestay will cost you roughly $300 per month; this price often includes air conditioning, hot water, occasionally a small kitchenette, and frequently your Internet connection. If you choose to stay in a private home or villa, size, location, and whether or not it has a pool and/or furnishings will all affect the price. In average, a 2–3-bedroom villa with a pool will begin around $8,000 per year. However, it is not unusual for luxurious villas in prime locations to cost up to $25,000 per year.
There are various means of transport in Bali, for instance, bus, bemo, bicycle, self-drive car/motorbike, rental car with a driver, local taxi, and on-demand transportation apps (Grab/GoJek). Unfortunately, traveling by train amongst cities in Bali is not an option.
- Self-Drive Car/Motorbike
Driving on the left side of the road is the norm in Bali. Car and motorcycle rentals are readily accessible, but you should carefully consider your ability to navigate Bali’s lack of official traffic laws. Consider renting a vehicle with a driver so that you may relax, be safe, and avoid getting lost. Renting a four-door Toyota Avanza or Daihatsu Xenia should cost 200,000-500,000 IDR/day ($13.36-$33.39). If you have a smaller budget, you should be able to rent an old, Suzuki Jimny for 90,000-110,000 IDR ($6-$7.35)/day.
Renting motorbikes may be an exciting and terrifying experience at the same time; a 125cc, with automatic gearboxes will cost 40,000-100,000 IDR ($2.67-$6.68)/day (for renting more than a week, you can get a cheaper price). In regions outside of the tourist enclaves of south Bali, a motorcycle is a fantastic way to explore the island. However, where traffic is dense, the likelihood of an accident is significantly higher. The International Driving Permit (IDP) will be required to rent your vehicle and will also be asked by the police when they stop you.
Riding a motorcycle without a helmet is banned throughout Indonesia, and local police in Bali often enforce this rule. Helmets are reasonably priced in Denpasar; however, the renter should give an appropriate helmet with the motorbike rental. In 2009, the road traffic laws were revised to demand the lighting of a motorcycle’s headlight and rear lights during daylight hours. This is a safety program that requires lights to be turned on at all times while riding a motorcycle on any route in Bali.
Because the motorcycle rental company does not offer insurance, you are personally liable for any damage. If you injure a local on foot, on a motorbike, or in a car, you might be expected to pay a hefty compensation. Check your travel insurance policy thoroughly to confirm that your coverage is still in effect when riding a motorcycle or driving a car. Turn signals are obligatory; even though local drivers seem to not care about it, you still need to follow the rule.
- Rental Car with A Driver
Depending on your negotiating abilities and the class/age of the car, you may expect to pay anywhere from 300,000 IDR to 600,000 IDR ($20-$40) each day (often considered as 10 hours); make sure the price covers the cost of the gasoline, the driver, and parking for the whole day. Please take a note that the distance driven is a consideration if you have not established a fixed daily renting price. You should also consider whether or not you need to provide lunch for your driver. With certain government subsidies removed in recent years, the price of gasoline has risen substantially (although it is still extremely inexpensive by international standards). Most of Bali’s main tourist attractions may be seen in three days or less if you hire a vehicle and have a driver accompanying you. In Bali, drivers are often available to accompany tourists to popular tourist spots. Many destinations are unknown to the general public and have not been included in any travel guidebooks.
- On-Demand Transportation Apps (Grab/GoJek)
I personally prefer to use Grab/GoJek, as they are cheap, fast, and hassle-free. The only issue with these apps is that the English translation is inaccurate; you might face a language barrier/miscommunication with the driver. We suggest you prepare your personal mask and hair cap, as most drivers do not bring them with them nowadays. The GPS is also sometimes inaccurate; hence the drivers might find it difficult to find your address/precise location. We suggest you go to the nearby well-known cafes/restaurants to make it easier for the driver to pick you up. However, I still believe this is the best transport option.
Compared to New York (US)
- You would need around $2,483 (36,829,214 IDR) in Bali to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with $ 8,700 in New York, NY (assuming you rent in both cities).
- Consumer Prices in Bali are 60.16% lower than in New York, NY (without rent)
- Consumer Prices Including Rent in Bali are 71.46% lower than in New York, NY
- Rent Prices in Bali are 84.01% lower than in New York, NY
- Restaurant Prices in Bali are 78.73% lower than in New York, NY
- Groceries Prices in Bali are 56.79% lower than in New York, NY
- Local Purchasing Power in Bali is 82.09% lower than in New York, NY
Compared to Sydney (Australia)
- You would need around A$3,567 (36,551,045 IDR) in Bali to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with A$8,200.00 in Sydney (assuming you rent in both cities).
- Consumer Prices in Bali are 49.15% lower than in Sydney (without rent)
- Consumer Prices Including Rent in Bali are 56.49% lower than in Sydney
- Rent Prices in Bali are 68.92% lower than in Sydney
- Restaurant Prices in Bali are 67.48% lower than in Sydney
- Groceries Prices in Bali are 42.36% lower than in Sydney
- Local Purchasing Power in Bali is 84.21% lower than in Sydney
Compared to Toronto (Canada)
- You would need around C$3,176 (36,605,655 IDR) in Bali to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with C$6,900 in Toronto (assuming you rent in both cities).
- Consumer Prices in Bali are 46.12% lower than in Toronto (without rent)
- Consumer Prices Including Rent in Bali are 53.97% lower than in Toronto
- Rent Prices in Bali are 67.21% lower than in Toronto
- Restaurant Prices in Bali are 70.27% lower than in Toronto
- Groceries Prices in Bali are 39.63% lower than in Toronto
- Local Purchasing Power in Bali is 82.28% lower than in Toronto
Compared to London (England, UK)
- You can rent a luxury villa with a pool in Bali for less than the cost of a flat in London.
- You would need around £2,030 (36,723,816 IDR) in Bali to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with £5,100 in London (assuming you rent in both cities).
- Consumer Prices in Bali are 49.60% lower than in London (without rent)
- Consumer Prices Including Rent in Bali are 60.19% lower than in London
- Rent Prices in Bali are 74.84% lower than in London
- Restaurant Prices in Bali are 74.72% lower than in London
- Groceries Prices in Bali are 25.51% lower than in London
- Local Purchasing Power in Bali is 76.90% lower than in London
Laws & Regulations
You need to keep in mind of some things that are considered to be illegal in Bali, namely:
The drug regulations in Indonesia are extremely strict. Prohibited substances include marijuana, heroin, and cocaine and many more. Possession of these substances is punishable by life in prison, while drug trafficking is punishable by the death.
Some prescription medicines are forbidden in Indonesia, so if you rely on sleeping pills, codeine, morphine, or ADHD medication, you should double-check with the Indonesian Embassy beforehand. The embassy may give a Certified Document of Approved Medicines for a charge, but the website states: “The letter is not legal nor an assurance that you will be immune from any checks and legal implications that may emerge.”
- Alcohol consumption
The legal drinking age in Indonesia is 21; if you want to buy alcoholic drinks or enter pubs/clubs/bars, you must show your ID.
- Damaged or nearly expired passport
Your passport must be valid for a minimum of six months, otherwise you may be refused ewntering the country. Additionally, you might be deported if you enter the country with a damaged passport.
In Indonesia, all types of gambling are outlawed.
Is Bali a suitable destination for remote work, blogging, or other location-independent endeavors? Ten years ago, the response was categorically “no.” The internet infrastructure was just too sluggish, and power shortages throughout the rainy season made it difficult to have an online conference. Now, however, things have changed, and Bali’s internet in 2022 is different. When it comes to expats who require lightning-fast internet to operate an online company, Bali is still merely mediocre.
Banking & Payment
It is feasible to open an Indonesian bank account, and you may desire to do so if you plan to reside in Indonesia for an extended period of time. Bali is still predominantly a cash-based culture. Larger, more westernized businesses will probably take card payments, while smaller, more ethnic enterprises will almost certainly not. Having said that, bank-to-bank transfers are also quite common for services. Online money applications such as GoPay and OVO require simply a local phone number for registration. There are lots of ATMs in Bali’s tourist destinations, but they are less common in the countryside, rural communities, and local neighborhoods. Always use ATMs located inside stores or banks; random out-of-the-way ATMs may have been tampered with by skimmers. Paying using your home country’s bank card can cost you a lot of money in transaction fees, so it’s advisable to avoid doing so. As an alternative, we suggest having a few different travel banking cards, each of which offers free ATM withdrawals up to a specified limit. This means you will be able to withdraw roughly $600 a month using Wise, Revolut, or Monzo cards. Payoneer is a great option for making and receiving international bank transfers without paying any fees.
- Child Friendliness
Bali is a good place for kids; but, if you’re moving to Bali with school-aged children, you will need to think about where they will go to school. Even if they accept your children, the local public schools in Bali are not a good alternative for your children as international schools have much more extensive and in-depth curricula; hence, you should enroll your children in a private or international school. A significant expat community means that there are a number of excellent international schools in the area. A term at an international private school might cost between $8k-$20k per student.
- Pet Friendliness
It is risky to bring your pet with you to Bali. The island is overrun with stray animals, some of which were brought there by expatriates who believed it would be a good idea to bring their pet from a rabies-free area to Bali. There have been instances in the recent past when it was hard to take your pet with you while leaving due to the presence of rabies. You should plan on a 14-day pet quarantine on one side or the other and be okay with periods spanning months or years during which you cannot leave the nation with your animal companion. Unless you are certain that Bali will be your permanent home, rehoming your pet with relatives or friends may be less traumatic both for you and your furry friend as well.
Bali is generally a safe and joyful place to live. However, things may still go wrong; while uncommon, criminality does occur. Similarly, visitors and expatriates are equally susceptible to scooter accidents, surfing mishaps, and tropical illnesses. Some expats who are contemplating coming to Bali are concerned about the quality of medical treatment available. Denpasar is home to Sanglah Hospital, the city’s primary medical facility; in the event of a serious sickness or injury, here is where you should get treatment. Despite the existence of clinics in other parts of the island, the Denpasar hospital is the only place where patients with life-threatening injuries may be treated. If you ever find yourself in need of significant medical attention while on vacation in Bali, your best chance is to seek treatment abroad; Singapore is a popular destination for patients requiring complex procedures. If you are in good health, the medical facilities in Bali should be enough for your needs.
For a long-term stay in Bali, a foreigner might pick from a variety of visas and permissions. Foreign tourists may generally get the following sorts of visas:
- Visa Exemption
Visitors with passports from 169 countries are permitted to enter Indonesia visa-free for up to 30 days beginning in 2016. The exemption only applies to people going to Indonesia for activities like tourism. Visitors who use the visa-free option can’t extend their stay or change it into a different kind of visa. Only the following types of activities are permitted with this visa: leisure, tourism, family, social, artistic, and cultural activities; government visits; giving lectures or attending seminars; attending meetings held by head offices or representative offices in Indonesia; and continuing a journey to another country.
- Visa on Arrival (VoA)
Citizens of a select group of nations—62 nations as of 2017—may apply for a Visa on Arrival (VoA, costs $35) at a number of Indonesian airports and seaports for a 30-day maximum stay that may be extended by another 30-day period at the immigration office. Return tickets must be presented in advance. Foreign nationals must apply for a visa at an Indonesian embassy or consulate in their home country if they want to make multiple entries, have their visa renewed, or are not qualified for Visa-Free Short Visit entry or Visa on Arrival (VoA). Afghanistan, Cameroon, Guinea, Israel, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, and Somalia nationals would need authorization from Indonesia’s Immigration Office before visiting for business, tourism, or social visits (this regulation is known as the “Indonesian Calling Visa”).
- Single Entry Visa
One of the most popular choices for medium-to long-term stays in Bali is the single-entry visa. The visa permits stay in Indonesia of up to six months. Foreign nationals may reapply for a single-entry visa after the first six months if they want to extend it for an additional six months. Repeating procedures several times is possible, but, foreigners who perform this procedure too often could be scrutinized by immigration officials. There are many single-entry visa categories; the most popular varieties are:
- Social single-entry visa (sosial budaya visa), this often permits foreigners to participate in social events when sponsored by an Indonesian national. This kind of visa has a 60-day validity period that may be renewed four times for another 30-day period.
- Single-entry business visa, where a firm from Indonesia must serve as the sponsor. Foreigners may have business meetings in Indonesia with this visa.
- Multiple Entry Visa
Although it may be used for other reasons as well, the multiple entry visa is often utilized for business travel; other purposes include seeing relatives, going to seminars, and engaging in art and culture. Foreigners may travel multiple times and remain in Indonesia for up to 60 days each visit throughout the visa’s 12-month validity term. Only Indonesian corporations may sponsor the multiple entry visa. The multiple entrance visa, like the single-entry visa, does not allow foreigners to work in Indonesia.
- Limited Stay Permit (also known as ITAS or KITAS)
- Depending on the kind of stay permission, the limited stay permit may be extended inside the nation for up to two years. Furthermore, holders of a restricted stay permit are issued a multiple re-entry permit. This enables individuals to enter and exit Indonesia without jeopardizing the validity of their restricted stay permission. There are many forms of restricted stay permits, which we shall discuss briefly below:
- The working stay permit, allows foreign nationals to work and reside in Indonesia. The foreigner acquires a work permit (from the ministry of manpower) as well as a stay permit (ITAS/KITAS) from immigration. Foreigners who are employed by an Indonesian firm often apply for a working stay permit.
- The investor stay permit, applies to foreigners who hold stock in an Indonesian limited liability firm (PMA). There are a few benefits to the investment permit. First off, it eliminates the need for a work permit from the ministry of labor, saving the bureaucracy costs of up to $1,200/ year. Second, the permit has a longer validity period than other forms of stay permit—two years as opposed to one. Foreigners save money on processing costs since they only need to renew their licenses once every two years.
- The family stay permit, requires a sponsor by an Indonesian spouse. With this form of stay visa, a foreigner may dwell in Indonesia for an extended period of time but cannot work. The foreigner needs a work permit from his or her employer in order to be permitted to work.
- The retirement stay permit, is accessible to non-citizens over the age of 55. The permit is sponsored by an organization authorized by the general directorate of immigration. The retirement stay permission prohibits foreign nationals from working in Indonesia. It just permits them to spend their retirement in Indonesia.
- Permanent Stay Permit (also known as ITAP or KITAP)
There are two options for obtaining the permission. Several criteria, including status transfer from ITAS, qualify you as a permanent resident; nevertheless, in order to get your ITAP through this route, you must at a minimum:
- Reside in Indonesia for more than three years in a row
- Get married for at least two years to an Indonesian national.
- You must meet a number of requirements in order to immediately be eligible to acquire ITAP, including:
- You had dual citizenship as a child
- You are a child of an ITAP holder who was born in Indonesia
- Former Indonesian citizen who lost citizenship
You will have to pay taxes if you work or run a company in Bali. If you are an employee of Indonesian company, your company will handle this for you. However, if you plan to start a company, get an accountant who will advise you on what you need to do. If you want to live in Bali independently or as a digital nomad, you will certainly be required to pay taxes in your home country. Indonesia has tax treaties with a number of Western nations; check to see what applies to you. However, if you want to live in Bali full-time, you should pay your taxes there since you will benefit from the island’s clean air, policies, and social stability.
Due to its pleasant environment and affordable cost of living, Bali is already a preferred location for remote workers. But sadly, present visa regulations don’t make it easy for digital nomads to remain for extended periods of time. Digital nomads may now apply for a temporary visa that would allow them to work from Indonesia. The Visa on Arrival (VoA), which is good for 30 days, the tourist visa, which may be extended for a total of 60 days, and the business visa, which can be extended for up to 180 days are the available options. Visitors who remain longer are considered local tax residents and must pay Indonesia’s tax rates on their foreign income.
However, in the coming years, Bali will provide “digital nomad visas,” which will be valid for 5 years, to anybody who relocates there permanently and “works from home.” As long as their income originates from outside the nation, it permits remote employees to live there tax-free. The anticipated five-year visa for digital nomads will be issued. The minister said that the nation anticipates receiving 3.6 million visitors from outside in the next year. The goal of the digital nomad visa and the increased promotion of eco-tourism and spiritual retreats is to attract visitors who are willing to spend more and stay longer. This concept was already in the works in 2021, but the epidemic compelled the island to seal borders and impose tourist restrictions, causing preparations to fall through.
Things to avoid
- Don’t go into temples with your shoes on, in clothes that show too much skin, without a sarong or something to cover your waist, or when you have your period.
- Avoid drinking tap water, it is not hygienic.
- Don’t give or take things with your left hand, as that is considered rude.
- Don’t bring drugs with you, buy them, keep them, or use them. You can go to jail if you have drugs or use them.
- Maintain decorum throughout nyepi.
- It is against the law to honk for no reason.
- Don’t point your toes at a statue or sign of Buddha.
- Don’t point with your index finger; instead, point with the thumb of your right hand, palm up.
- Do not laugh at religious processions.
- Don’t eat raw or undercooked meat or milk that hasn’t been pasteurized.
- Don’t step on the ritual offerings to the gods (sesajen) that people have put on the ground.
- Don’t get mean with the monkeys.
- Don’t wear a cross-body bag, especially if you’re on a motorcycle, so thieves don’t take it from you.
- Don’t drive a car or motorcycle if you don’t have a license.
- You should never ride a motorcycle without a helmet.
- Watch out for the bites of stray dogs, cats, and monkeys. Rabies is quite common.
- Don’t get the wrong visa or stay longer than you’re allowed.
- Don’t go anywhere without getting travel insurance.
- Don’t touch the head of a Balinese person or child. People think of the head as a holy part of the body.
- Don’t put your feet up on a table or chair so that the bottoms of your feet are visible. It is a very rude thing to do.
- Don’t use a red pen to write a letter to someone from Bali. People think that red ink shows anger.
- Don’t rent autos unless you have insurance. If you damage the car without insurance, it could cost you a lot of money.
- Only bargain at the markets if you actually intent to buy things.
- Don’t talk about sensitive topics.
- At the beach, be careful when you swim and surf.
- Don’t leave your drinks and other things lying around without watching them.
- Stay out of fights with the locals.
- Do not urinate in public and sacred places.
Living in the ups and downs of Bali
Before visiting or moving to Bali, it is good to know to know the pros and cons, so that you can manage your expectations. Here are some pros and cons from our points of view:
If you want to start a business, Bali is a great place to start, particularly for young entrepreneurs. It’s easy to get by on a tight budget because of the low cost of land, labor, and investment capital. As a result, a large number of new businesses opt to begin their operations in this location since they are able to start small while gaining a foothold in the market.
- Climate, Weather, and Natural Beauty
When you visit Bali, you don’t need to bring a lot of different kinds of clothing, you don’t need to constantly check the weather app before making plans or deciding on your outfit of the day (OOTD), crops grow all year long, and you don’t have to deal with sudden mood shifts due to weather changes (time to say good bye to winter depression). Are you suffering from eyestrain from spending all day in front of a computer screen? No need to be alarmed! Go to the beach and watch the sun go down! In the neighbourhood of Petitenget (Seminyak), it’s a short stroll (free entry). You’ll fall in love with the country’s diverse environment, which includes mountains, coastlines, rice terraces, and volcanic slopes, as previously stated. In addition, Bali’s outdoor activities are top-notch. Bali’s biodiversity is well-known due to its location in a tropical nation. It’s a great way to get a taste of some of the more extreme activities in Bali, like Bali Buggy Adventure in Ubud, Bali Marine Sport and Bali Water Sport at Tanjung Benoa Beach-Nusantara. Bali is also a major world surfing destination with popular breaks dotted across the southern coastline and around the offshore island of Nusa Lembongan. In the Coral Triangle, Bali and the island of Nusa Penida have a broad variety of reefs and tropical marine life to explore. The Asian Beach Games were held in Bali in 2008. It was Indonesia’s second time hosting an Asian multi-sport event, after the Asian Games in Jakarta in 1962.
- Relaxation Center
After a full day of work, do you feel tense? Isn’t it time for a relaxing spa experience at a reasonable price? For those who like massages, Bali is a haven. Mandi Lulur, which includes an exfoliation and nourishing yogurt body mask, may cost up to 150,000 IDR ($10) at a local salon. Creambath is a 45-minute scalp and shoulder massage in which a rich conditioning cream is massaged into the hair and scalp. The average cost of a creambath in Indonesia is 60,000 IDR ($4). In a high-end hotel, you’ll pay a lot more for the same services. Small fish chew dead skin off your feet and hands in a fish spa treatment, which costs roughly 35,000 IDR ($2.34) for 15 minutes. The world’s best yoga and wellness facilities and retreats can be found in Bali.
- Limited Job Opportunities
Life in Bali may be wonderful if you have a company or a private source of money. It is not a nice area for a foreigner to be if when it comes to looking for employment.
- Internet Speed
Despite being a veritable mini-mecca for digital nomads, Bali’s internet may be spotty at times. If you need to get some serious work done, there are several coffee shops and co-working spaces that provide dependable internet service. While the internet at hostels and vacation rentals is often enough to operate a blog, it does suffer with activities that need more data, such as video chatting or cryptocurrency trading. Moving to a more rural area of town may mean you are continuously struggling to get online and might even result in losing clients; believe us, we have been there. If work is a priority, we advise thinking about sticking to Ubud or Canggu. Co-working spaces are a fantastic choice for the growing population of digital nomads. While you don’t even need to get dressed to work from your bed, co-working spaces provide a lot of advantages. They have better internet, the opportunity to connect with like-minded others, and the psychological impact of “getting to work” may be quite effective in combating procrastination, an old enemy.
Scams are common in Bali, just like in many other places. Some popular scams in Bali include ticket touts, market touts, shady commission drivers, police corruption (pungli), and unscrupulous merchants putting methanol into arak (this mixture may cause blindness or death). Some individuals have a “bule” pricing perspective as well. “Bule” is an Indonesian term for foreigners and/or non-Indonesian nationals, particularly those of European ancestry (‘white,’ ‘Caucasian’). Be wary of getting overcharged by the counter employees, who may cite reasons such as new prices. Do some research before going on a shopping spree. Knowing ahead what prices are reasonable will help you avoid being scammed.
When you reach your location, you can run into challenging walking circumstances since most of Bali’s sidewalks are nothing more than the covered tops of storm-water drains, and many of them are barely 60 cm (2 feet) wide. This makes walking in a single line adjacent to traffic awkward. Frequently, a motorcycle or a caved-in portion blocks the walkway, forcing people to risky dash into traffic. The majority of the island’s traditional roadways are just not made for pedestrians. Large tourist districts and coastal locations are easy to navigate on foot. Sanur, for instance, has a broad beachside route lined with several cafés and restaurants. The walking conditions are challenging, but they are by no means impassable. Numerous visitors and residents use the roadways on foot, and even the traffic normally gives walkers plenty of room if it has time to respond.
- Health and Social Services
There isn’t much assistance or a support system for you if you become sick or have financial difficulty. Make sure you have funds, insurance, and a local support system in case you ever need assistance.
Visiting Bali for a holiday is always a good idea. We recommend you stay at least 1 week there, since visiting less than 1 week will not be enough to explore the beauty of Bali. However, moving to Bali from your home country is a personal preference. For example, if you want to disconnect from the world, love nature, and enjoy a slow living pace, Bali is a perfect place for you. But, if your work needs high and stable internet speed (e.g., crypto mining), prefer fast-paced living (e.g., like in Silicon Valley), have a beloved pet in your home country, and have serious medical conditions, then Bali is probably not a good place for you. It is important to do prior research (e.g., by reading many articles such as this) before visiting or moving to Bali to know what to expect and prepare. You are on the right track!
1 thought on “The Ultimate Guide to Bali”
This information is very complete. I believe this information is very helpful for tourists who are going on vacation to the island of Bali. I am a native of Bali, very proud and grateful for sharing information on tourists who will vacation in Bali