Living and working in Bali was probably the best decision at the start of my full-time traveler’s life. The Island of Gods was as I imagined it. I wrote about my experience in this article.
Here I’d like to tell you about the practical side, and why I recommend everyone who wants to become a digital nomad, to start with living and working in Bali.
Cost of living in Bali
First of all, the idea of living and working in Bali is so attractive for many people, because life in this tropical heaven is very affordable. It is possible to find cheap living in Bali if you’re on a budget or have the total luxury for the same price you would pay for something very average in Western Europe.
The same is with restaurants and other services. The only thing which was at the same price as in Europe was sport. Gyms were even more expensive than in my native Slovakia.
Living and working in Bali: Visa
Easy process of getting a visa is the second reason why Bali became established among digital nomads. You don’t need anything to stay there for 30 days, or you can buy a visa on arrival. It is also valid for 30 days, but it could be extended for the next 30. There are a lot of agencies which can help you with visa extension for a reasonable price. For my visa on arrival, I paid $37 and then around $60 for the extension.
I met a lot of people living and working in Bali who had a social visa. It allowed you to stay in Indonesia for 180 days. This one you should arrange in advance at the Indonesian embassy. The easiest way is to go to one in Kuala Lumpur. Near the embassy, you’ll find a lot of agents. They help to arrange all things as invitation, sponsorship letter and other required documents.
Indonesian government considers implementing a special visa for digital nomads. That would be great, while options I listed above officially allow living, but not working in Bali. In reality, immigration police didn’t make any troubles to nomads who worked remotely for their clients. The main thing was not to work for Indonesian companies. But I like the idea of an official visa for nomads, that would be great when it will be official.
Working in Bali
In 2019 and 2020 I lived in Bali, Bangkok, Siem Reap and visited Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. in August 2020 I moved back to Europe due to pandemic and lived in Athens, Heraklion and Chania in Greece. Among all those places Bali was the most comfortable one for living and working.
The reasons were simple. Each room where I stayed had equipped working place. When I was living in Canggu Bali, most of the time I lived in the guesthouse called Digital Nomad’s village. There I worked mainly in the common kitchen, which was great in terms of comfort and socialising with other digital nomads. It was so nice there, that I never needed to go to the coworking.
The third thing which I liked about living and working in Bali was its timezone. My clients were from Slovakia and Czech Republic, so I was several hours before them. I was doing my work in the first part of the day, and they had it on the table on the same day in the morning.
Internet speed and reliability was also the best in Bali, compared with Bangkok, Siem Reap and especially Greece.
I worried about the feeling of loneliness before I came to live and work in Bali. But Island of Gods showed itself as the best place to find friends. During our 1st week, my wife and I lived in a bungalow, and it was a bit isolated. But it changed when we moved to the guesthouse.
There I met people who became my close friends. Even though now we are in different countries, we are still in contact. The positive experience of living and working in Bali for almost 6 months gave me enough confidence and courage to continue to travel full-time as a digital nomad.
Living and working in Bali: free time
While I was living and working in Bali, I had the best time in terms of having fun with friends. While I was living in Canggu Bali, I tried surfing. It was great fun, and I intend to continue surfing in future.
Unfortunately, gyms in Bali were too expensive for me, but my wife found very affordable CrossFit training at the beach. It cost 75 000 IDR for a person, those days it was around 6 USD. We used to go there 3 times a week in the mornings.
And there were a lot of opportunities for weekend trips. With my friends I saw the sunrise at the Volcano Batur:
Also, I loved rafting and Canyon walk. For several hours we were walking barefoot through the river, climbing up the rocks and then going back to the water. It was a real adventure! Probably, it was not very safe, but I loved it.
And of course, temples. My most favourite was Gunung Kawi. I loved the legend about the giant Kebo Iwa, the builder of this place.
If to talk about museums, it was not so many in Bali. But the one I loved to visit when I was living and working in Bali, was the Neka Art Museum in Ubud. I highly recommend you to see it before you go shopping for Balinese art at the Night Market. The things you buy there will make more sense after you know the history.
Nightlife in Bali was great. My wife and I were never the fans of discos, but both of us loved Latino parties at the Berawa beach.
Working and living in Bali was the best way to start my digital nomad life. This place had everything – affordable prices, perfect weather, a lot of fun and opportunities to meet people from all over the world. Living and working in Bali has fulfilled my expectations and gave me the courage to continue to travel full-time.