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Bali is one of the world’s best destinations for digital nomads, especially right now. The government has handled the pandemic well and life on the island is mostly normal, albeit with some social distancing restrictions in place. As an expat in Bali, you can enjoy a high standard of living for a relatively cheap price, so why not take advantage of the island’s cool cafes, beautiful scenery and luxurious beach hangouts? Let’s dive into my ultimate Bali expat guide to help you settle in to island life.
Of course, the first thing that you’ll need to do is obtain the right visa and travel to Indonesia. Right now, the easiest visa for foreigners to obtain is a B112A business or social visa and the fastest way to do it is through an agency such as Gaya Bali Visa or Bali Legals.
At present, it’s not possible to fly directly to Bali. In order to enter Indonesia, you must travel to Jakarta and quarantine for five days in a designated hotel. You’ll also need to take a PCR test and receive a negative result within 72 hours of departure from your country of origin.
Once you make it to Bali, you will need to think about where you want to live. Traditionally, expats tend to live in either Ubud, Canggu or Seminyak.
At present by far the liveliest area of Bali is Canggu (and the surrounding villages of Berawa, Perenan and Umalas). There is less traffic than usual but fewer businesses have closed and there’s plenty to do, both during the day and at night time. The only downside is that incidences of muggings and pickpocketing have greatly increased during the pandemic – more on that to follow.
Seminyak is a good choice for those who prefer somewhere a little quieter, but many of the area’s shops and cafes have sadly closed due to the pandemic.
Personally, I love Ubud and it’s the perfect destination if you’re spiritually inclined. However, be aware that it is very quiet at the moment and many businesses have closed.
Expats in Bali usually live in shared villas or guesthouses. If you’d prefer the former and have someone to share with, it’s a good idea to start out by renting a place via AirBnb. You can also find many listings in Facebook groups such as:
If you’re looking to move in with roommates, keep an eye on the following groups:
Most expats in Bali start driving a scooter sooner or later. In Bali, there are three main types of bike that you’ll see both expats and locals using: a Yamaha Nmax, a Honda Vario or a Honda Scoopy. The nMax is the most powerful of the three, but you may feel more comfortable with a Vario or Scoopy if you’re a beginner.
You should also download Grab and GoJek, the two most popular ride-hailing apps in Indonesia. Both apps allow you to choose from a bike or a car. I always recommend using these apps if you are going out late at night, for safety reasons. These apps also allow you to arrange food and grocery deliveries, which is very useful when you’re feeling unwell, or just lazy.
There are many digital nomads in Bali and if you’re keen to join their ranks, a coworking space is the way to go. Coworking spaces offer better wifi than most villas or guesthouses and regularly organise community events to help you meet your fellow remote workers. Some of the best coworking spaces to check out are:
One thing you’ll notice when you get to Bali is that almost everyone is super fit. Whether you’re into yoga, Muay Thai, CrossFit or weightlifting, you’ll find a gym to suit your needs on the Island of the Gods.
Safety has become something of a concern for a Bali expat during the pandemic. Whilst violent crime remains low, incidences of theft are increasing as the border remains closed. Many women in particular have had their bags or phones snatched whilst riding their scooters, and pickpocketing is common in bars and nightclubs.
There’s no need to live your life in fear, but make sure to put all of your bags under the seat of your bike when driving, or ask your driver to do so. If you go out partying, I always recommend taking a car home – your safety is most definitely worth a few extra dollars.
If you’ve got a shiny new phone and are concerned about it being stolen, I recommend buying a cheap backup or using your old phone for going out at night.
For more on living as a digital nomad, check out this list of the best destinations around the world to live and work in luxury or this essential packing list.
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Your Luxe Lifestyle was founded by luxury world traveler Isabella Garofanelli bringing you the very best the globe has to offer in travel, lifestyle, and wellness.
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