Adjustment to living in a new country can be more challenging than one anticipates. This blog post covers everything you need to know about living in Bali, including how to get set up, recommended apps to download, a list of do’s and don’ts, and some basic Balinese language phrases.
Whether you are still considering a move to Bali or simply curious about the cost of living, this post has all the answers you need. Make sure to take a look at my blog post: A Complete Guide to Moving to Bali for a step-to-step guide on moving to Bali.
Bali experiences two distinct seasons – the dry season, which lasts from April to October, and the rainy season, which lasts from November to March. The temperature in Bali remains warm and humid throughout the year.
During the rainy season, it may not necessarily rain continuously throughout the day, but rather there may be intermittent periods of rainfall, with some days experiencing heavy rainfall while others remain dry.
Airbnb is the best website to book long-term accommodation as they often give you discounts for monthly stays. What is great about Airbnb too is that most places include cleaning, electricity, gas, water, and wifi!
Facebook groups such as Bali Villas for Rent, Ubud House and Villa, Bali Cheap Villa Rentals, Bali Housing, and Villas are groups to join for more long-term renting options.
Rent is always paid upfront before the month begins. If you decide to privately rent from a local in Bali you will most likely need to pay in cash or transfer money which you can do with a Wise account.
The main supermarket for foreigners is Pepito and they have these everywhere in Bali! Pepito isn’t as cheap as local supermarkets because they carry imported foods.
You can shop at the local fruit and vegetable shops or markets to get a cheaper price on your fruit and veggies.
Sometimes you will see chicken selling on the side of the road but it’s best to buy your meat from Pepito or Prima Freshmart just to be safe. Prima Freshmart sells chicken, sausages, eggs, etc., at a cheaper price than Pepito and they sell in bulk!
If you arrived in Indonesia on a B211A visa you will need to extend your visa after the initial 60-day period.
If you went through a visa agency company usually they will contact you ahead of time to organize your extension. Keep in mind the visa expiry date which is stamped onto a sticker in your passport and make sure to start the extension process one week prior.
To apply for the extension you will need to drop your passports off, fill out some forms, and pay the fee at the visa agency. For the first extension, the visa agency will organize a date and time for you to go to the immigration office for photos and fingerprints.
If you would like to live in Bali longer than 6 months you can apply for the B211A onshore visa which will give you an extra 5 months.
Important To Know: If you plan on living in Bali for more than 3 months you must register your phone’s IMEI number either at the airport on arrival or at a local customs office within 90 days of entering Indonesia! Failure to do this results in your phone being blocked after 90 days. You will not be able to use your phone with any SIM card in Bali.
To ensure smooth processing, ensure that you have the following items at hand: your phone, IMEI number, passport, and proof of arrival flight. In the event that the value of your phone is less than 500 USD, no import taxes will be required. However, if the value exceeds this amount, taxes will be applicable.
Before you visit the local customs office you can register online through this website and receive a QR code to take with you.
I recommend buying a local SIM card for your phone so that you can keep in touch with family, friends, and locals and use it for apps such as GoJek, Google Maps, etc. Data plans are cheap in Bali.
There are many places along the streets to buy a SIM card. Avoid buying one at the airport as they are generally more expensive.
The best mobile provider to go with is Telkomsel. Telkomsel has the best coverage and their internet reception is usually very good.
Data plans last for a month. Before the month ends you will need to top up your SIM card. You can top it up by downloading the Telkomsel app on your phone or through the Traveloka app.
Telkomsel often has deals that make the cost of the data plan, even more, cheaper than it already is! You do have the option to pay via GoPay on the Telkomsel app which would probably be the best way to pay.
GoPay is a digital wallet that stores IDR to pay services such as GoJek and Telkomsel etc. The benefit of setting up GoPay is that they often have discounts and deals. You can set and top up GoPay via cash at any Alfamart.
There is no public transportation in Bali. Most people living in Bali get around by scooter. You can rent a scooter for around $5 a day or $60 a month and you can find places to rent a scooter everywhere.
If you choose not to ride a scooter your next cheapest option is Go-Jek. There are taxis in Bali but they are more expensive. If you need a taxi use Blue Bird taxis only as they are metered.
Go-Jek is similar to Uber and Lyft. If you have signed up for GoPay you will receive discounts on transport also.
Some places in Bali won’t allow pick-up via Go-Jek, especially at the popular tourist attractions. What we do is get a taxi to somewhere nearby that Go-Jek can pick us up from and then get Go-Jek for the rest of the way. It was much cheaper doing it this way than getting a taxi the whole way!
Most rentals don’t have a washing machine or dryer especially if you book on Airbnb. You could hand wash your own laundry and hang it to dry outside however it’s so affordable and convenient to get laundry done.
It costs around $2 to get our laundry washed, dried and ironed. They usually charge by the kilo but occasionally they do charge per piece of clothing.
Laundry is generally ready within 2 days. You can pay for express laundry if you prefer and it only costs a little extra.
Just make sure you find a place that has good reviews on wifi. Most places in the main touristy areas will be fine.
You will find many cafes in Bali that offer free wifi and you will see many digital nomads and ex-pats working at them.
As you are probably aware drinking tap water in Bali can make you sick. If water is not included in your rental then the cheapest way to purchase water is to buy 19L water jugs for about $2.50 – $3.00. Buying 19L water jugs also reduces plastic consumption which helps the environment!
Once you have a water jug it will only cost you around $1.50-$2.00 to get it refilled which means they will swap your empty jug for a new one. Some places offer free delivery!
It’s safe to use tap water for cooking and making tea and coffee.
It’s wise to have travel insurance to cover medical expenses should they arise while you’re living in Bali. I have found SafetyWing the most affordable and convenient travel insurance.
Hotels, restaurants, and large businesses will usually have card machines but it’s good to check in advance.
Be careful when taking out cash at ATMs. Many cards have been skimmed in Bali. Check to make sure the area you place your card in is firmly fixed and has not been tampered with.
Don’t forget your card at ATMs. Some ATMs don’t eject your card straight after you withdraw money. You have to press a selection on the screen to release the card.
Keep an eye on your wallet, phone, and valuables at all times. If you’re riding a scooter avoid having your phone out as there have been accounts where people have had their phones stolen right from their hands by others on scooters. Put them in a safe place in your bag or the scooter seat so no one can get to them easily.
|The locals and businesses mainly use WhatsApp for communication
|Food delivery and transportation service
|Food delivery and transportation service
|To navigate your way through Bali on a scooter
|Mobile provider app to top up data
|To top up data for your phone and cheap flight deals
|If you have a Wise Debit Card/Account this app can be used to access your account
|eHAC for domestic or international travel to and from Indonesia
Don’t drink the tap water in Bali because it can make you sick. Buy bottled water and use this even when brushing your teeth.
Do cover up when visiting the temples. Temples are considered holy places where men and women must be dressed modestly. Wear a sarong or anything that goes below the knee and make sure your shoulders are covered. Usually, when visiting temples they will have sarongs for you to loan.
Don’t visit temples when you are menstruating. The staff at the entrance of the temples will ask women if they are menstruating because it’s considered unclean to be at the temple during this time.
Do bargain but not too much. When visiting markets you can barter with the locals for a better price but don’t be ridiculous! They don’t make much money as it is so try to be reasonable.
Don’t display physical affection such as kissing when visiting the temples as a sign of respect.
Do tip if you receive good service. Balinese people get paid very little so even 10 cents which might seem like nothing to us is appreciated by them.
Don’t step on their offerings on the streets. You will see fragrant parcels made from palm leaves placed on the streets everywhere. These are gifts designed to appease the Spirits. They are usually placed in front of doorways and can also be seen on the pavement. Be respectful and try not to step on them.
|How are you?
|Good or fine
|Soap nama kamu?
|What’s your name?
|My name is…
|I am from….
|Terima Kasih (Indonesian) or Suksma (Balinese)
|Di mana Toilet?
|Where is the toilet?