Close this search box.
vivir en bali

Living in Bali long term: My personal experience and tips

Is living in Bali a dream of yours? If so, you've come to the right place! Spending a few months in this amazing corner of Indonesia is a dream for many, myself included. Recently, I finally had the pleasure of living on this island for half a year, an experience that I loved and that I recommend to anyone who has the privilege and freedom to be able to do something like this.

I had been to Bali a few times before spending half a year there, so I was familiar with how many things worked. This made it really simple for me to plan my trip. I imagine that not everyone experiences this. I decided to develop this guide so that you would have everything you need to follow in my footsteps.

Next, you'll learn about some of the pros and cons of living in Bali, the ideal time to visit, the area of the island where I advise booking a place to stay, how to get around Bali, how much things cost, how the internet works, etc. I really hope it helps you out a lot.

Table of contents

Living in Bali: pros and cons

nusa penida
Nusa Penida

Before I begin telling you all of my tips about living on this amazing Indonesian island, I wanted to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of residing in Bali. There won’t be any surprises for you.

The best part of living in Bali

Undoubtedly, the biggest pro about living on this island is the lifestyle you can have. The quality of life is superior due to a number of factors.


The cost of goods and services is one of the most obvious factors. Compared to western countries, it is far less expensive to go out to dine, get a massage, or enjoy a drink while watching the sunset on the beach. You will be able to afford to do these activities virtually every day as a result.


Since we’re talking about eating out, it only makes sense to talk about the food. For those who enjoy eating and trying new foods, Bali will quickly become paradise for them. The island has a number of cafeterias and restaurants from all over the world, in addition to excellent local cuisine.

Kindness of Balinese people

Another of the many factors that influence the quality of life in Bali is the kindness of its people. Living somewhere with such genuine and kind people makes me happy. I can promise you that it is very difficult to glance at a Balinese without them greeting you in the morning. Being among folks who are like this makes your days happy.

Culture and Nature

On the other hand, it’s important to acknowledge that Bali is a true treasure in terms of its culture and environment. You’ll be able to ride a motorcycle around the area in your free time to discover some of its more picturesque locations. Be ready to take a stroll among rice fields, take a dip in a waterfall, or spend a morning or afternoon at the beach. To learn more about Balinese traditions, you can also visit some of the island’s most significant temples.


Finally, I should also mention that living somewhere where there are so many other people doing the same thing as you is highly fulfilling if you are a digital nomad and work online. You’ll be able to build lasting relationships and even gain a lot of knowledge from others.

The cons of living in Bali

I can guarantee you that the pros outweigh the cons, but that does not mean you cannot dislike some aspects of Bali.


The traffic is one of the biggest disadvantages of living in Bali. I don’t only mean how crazy it is to drive there; I also mean how many vehicles and motorcycles there are everywhere. Living in areas like Canggu or Ubud would expose you to sporadic traffic jams. Additionally, this lowers the air quality. If you’re riding a motorcycle, I advise you to wear a mask whenever you’re on a busy street.

Far from the rest of the world

Another con about living in Bali is that you are quite disconnected from the rest of the world. It is practically in another part of the world. This can be good or bad. For example, if you have to return to your country for work or some emergency, it will take time to arrive, and, in addition, the flights are quite expensive.


Also, get ready to see a lot of garbage and stray animals. Especially during the rainy season, the beaches of Bali can have plenty of waste that washes on the shore. Something that you can do is sign up for a “beach cleanup” to help collect everything that does not belong in nature.

Stray pets in poor condition

There are also a lot of stray animals, some in very bad shape. You will struggle if, like me, you are sensitive. You can, of course, help by getting in touch with and donating to groups like Mission Pawsible, Bawa, Villa Kitty, or Bali Paws. Additionally, you can buy animal feed and help those in need.

Tips for living in Bali

Next, I am going to tell you step-by-step what you need to know to live in Bali long-term:

1. Visa for Indonesia

mount agung
Mount Agung

The first thing that you will have to sort out in order to stay in Bali is the visa. There are several visas that allow you to be in Indonesia for a certain period of time. The two simplest visas to process are the VOA (visa on arrival) and the B211A (social visa).

The VOA is a visa that you can apply for upon arrival at the Indonesian airport or in advance. This visa allows you to stay in Indonesia for a total of 60 days. In principle, you are given 30 days, but you can extend the visa for another 30 days. After this period of time, you will have to leave the country with the possibility to re-enter if you want to stay longer in Indonesia.

The B211A is a visa that can be used for tourism or business purposes. This visa allows for a total of 180 days in Indonesia. In principle, the B211A allows you to stay in the country for 60 days, but this visa can be extended twice to for a total of 180 days. After that, you will have to leave or apply for another visa (without the need to leave Indonesia).

In my Indonesia visa guide, you can read more information about the requirements to apply for each of these visas.

If you are looking to stay in Bali for a longer period of time, you can find information about other types of visas, such as the KITAS (semi-permanent residence permit).

Check the requirements to enter Indonesia.

Working in Bali

I would like to remind you that working in Indonesia is not permitted with a VOA or B211A visa. To be employed by a local business requires a visa, which is very difficult to obtain.

Most likely, if you plan on living in Bali long-term, you have funds or earn money through online employment outside of Indonesia. There is no issue in the initial scenario. As long as you do not get compensation from Indonesian businesses. Working online is not strictly regulated; however, you can be held responsible for violating your visa’s terms.

2. Best time to live in Bali

Amed Beach

If you have the option to visit Bali whenever you choose, it is preferable to go at one of the ideal times to visit, taking into account the climate and the volume of tourists.

First of all, you should know that Bali’s dry season is from May to September and the rainy season starts in October and ends in April. Both April and October are still good months to travel to Bali in terms of weather.

On the other hand, it’s important to take into account the island’s peak and off-peak seasons. Easter, Christmas, and summer vacations all fall within the months that have the most tourists visiting Bali. Prices rise and locations become more congested during these months.

If we take into account both factors, May, June, and September are the ideal months to visit Bali. These are the months when the chances of excellent weather are higher and the island is not overcrowded.

Now, do not worry if you are traveling to Bali during the rainy season. Heavy storms do not frequently last for long. In actuality, I have always visited Bali between the months of October and April (rainy season), and I have experienced numerous days of sunny weather.

If you’re still unsure about the best time to visit Bali, don’t miss my article on the subject, in which I go over the weather there month by month.

3. Search for hotels in Bali

how much to travel to bali
Nusa Lembongan

Deciding where to stay when visiting Bali may be one of the most challenging steps. The overwhelming options and the range of prices make it a challenging undertaking.

Next, I am going to show you which are the best areas to stay in Bali long-term and where you can book hotels.

Areas of Bali where I recommend living

If you visit Bali, the finest areas to rent your villa are also the best areas to stay. Next, I’ll list them for you in brief:

  • Canggu. It is my favorite area to live in Bali. It has many cafes and coworking spaces, since there is a large community of digital nomads. In addition, it is next to the coast, which means you will be able to enjoy the sea and its sunsets. Search for hotels in Canggu.
  • Uluwatu. This is a great option if you prefer to be in a quieter area or if you love surfing. It also has many cafes and restaurants, among other services. Search for hotels in Uluwatu.
  • Ubud. Like Canggu, this is an area with many restaurants, stores, etc., and there is also a large community of digital nomads apart from tourists. Ubud is distinguished for being a more spiritual and cultural area, ideal if you are a lover of practices such as yoga. Search for hotels in Ubud.
  • Amed. This town is located at the eastern end of the island and is a more authentic and less crowded area. There are fewer services, but you will have enough to enjoy a quiet life. Search for hotels in Amed.

How to find a place to live in Bali

One of the questions I get from individuals who wish to live in Bali is where to look for a place to stay and if it is preferable to book it in advance or to hunt for it once they are there. There are many options.

You can begin by searching for a place to stay on websites like Booking or Airbnb. They will provide you with a lower price if you choose a stay of a month or more. You won’t be able to see it in person if you make a reservation in advance on one of these platforms which is a drawback. However, you can allow the most recent feedback from other tourists to serve as your guide.

Another option that I discovered on my last visit to the island were a few Facebook groups. In this social network, you can access groups in which rooms, villas, etc. are advertised. These groups are usually organized by areas: Canggu Community Housing, Ubud Housing & Rental, etc.

If you decide to go with this option, I advise waiting until you are in Bali so you can visit the place in person because the pictures might be deceiving. What you can do is make a reservation for a basic room in advance for a week or however long you anticipate needing it, and then explore potential places in person until you find the ideal one.

Apart from the Facebook groups, you can also search for villas on Google Maps and contact them, or even go around with the bike and ask in person. I warn you that this task can be quite tedious, especially if you go in high season, but as there is a lot on offer, you will end up finding something that suits your tastes and budget.

4. Where to work online in Bali

digital nomads bali

If you are going to Bali with the intention of working online, you will be interested in knowing which are the best coworking spaces. Apart from the following establishments, you can work in your own villa or hotel (make sure it has good wifi) or in a cafeteria, although if you want to enjoy the best services and meet other people, there is nothing better than joining a coworking space.

Best coworking spaces in Bali

5. How much does it cost to live in Bali

how much does living in bali cost

Ok, let’s talk about one of the most interesting points and one that sparks curiosity: how much does it cost to live in Bali? Answering this question is not so simple since it depends much on the style of life that each person takes. Nevertheless, next I am going to detail the price of the basic expenses, such as lodging, food, etc.

How much does a place to stay in Bali cost?

A place to stay will take up a large part of your budget, but the good thing is that there are so many options. Prices range from around $250 per month for a very simple room to over $1,200 (or more) for a studio or private villa. It all depends on what you are looking for and what you are willing to spend.

On our first two visits to Bali (before the pandemic), we stayed in a room in a guesthouse. This set us back about $350 per month. However, the last time we were in Bali (during the pandemic), we stayed in a one-bedroom villa for a few months and in a small apartment for a few months.

The villa cost us about $500 per month, while the apartment cost us about $350 per month. The price includes cleaning, water, and electricity costs.

You have to keep in mind that nowadays it is very difficult to find these prices for a villa or apartment in Canggu, one of the most popular areas to live on the island. We took advantage of special rates because, when we were there, Indonesia had not yet opened its doors to tourism and there was not so much demand.

How much does food cost in Bali

Believe me when I say that eating out can often be more affordable in Bali than going to the supermarket! In a local restaurant, a traditional meal can easily cost you $1.50. You can find meals for about $5 if you visit cafes or restaurants that cater to tourists and foreigners. These businesses are still less expensive than those in our home countries, nevertheless.

On the other hand, conventional supermarkets are not cheap at all. Buying products that are not produced on the island (such as milk, yogurt, cereals, etc.) is usually more expensive than what we are used to. As for basic products such as rice, fruits, and vegetables, I always recommend buying them in local markets, as it is much cheaper.

Other expenses in Bali

Apart from the hotel/villa and the food, you will have other expenses in Bali. In the following list, you can see the approximate cost of other products and services. Also, don’t forget to read my article on how much it costs to travel to Bali, in which you will be able to find more information with respect to this subject.

  • Motorcycle rental: from $35 per month.
  • A liter of gasoline: $0.61.
  • Laundry: $0.50 per kg.
  • Massage: $6 for one hour.
  • SIM card + monthly plan: $15.
  • Gym: from $30 per month.
  • Beer on the beach: $1.50.

6. Safety and health in Bali


In general, Bali is a very safe place. There is hardly any crime against tourists or locals. Although yes, I have heard cases of people who’ve had their phones or purses stolen while riding on motorcycles. For that reason, if you are sitting in the back of the motorcycle and you want to use your cell phone, you will have to do it with care.

Nevertheless, I would say that the greatest danger in Bali is traffic accidents. As much as you learn and get used to driving as it is done there, traffic is always hectic, and some don’t follow transit laws. In our day-to-day lives, we always have to pay a lot of attention when driving, but in a place like Bali, you have to be twice as careful.

Of course, always wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle. There are many people who get overconfident, especially over short distances.

Travel insurance for Bali

The best advice that I can give you is to purchase the best travel insurance for your trip to Indonesia. This way, you will have medical coverage while you are in Bali. I have been using the company Heymondo for several years, and I can offer you a 5% discount.

When purchasing travel insurance, you have the option to purchase a policy for a specific duration of time or to choose insurance for a long stay. If you already know how much time you are going to be in Bali, a standard policy can be a better option. However, if you do not know how much time you will be on the island, it is better to choose the insurance for a long stay since it allows you to extend it.

As for healthcare, as you can imagine, Bali does not have one of the best healthcare systems in the world, but for minor problems, it is more than sufficient. One of the centers that has a better reputation and the one I’ve gone to several times is Siloam, probably the best hospital in Bali.

7. More tips for living in Bali

tips for living in bali
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan

Here are some last tips for you to enjoy your experience in Bali, Indonesia, even more.

Support Balinese community

Bali is a second home for many people who feel a huge connection to this island. The least we can do is take care of it and its people as much as we can. To begin with, it is very important that you know and respect the local culture and customs, especially when visiting the temples.

On the other hand, I encourage you to local businesses to help the local community even more. It does not mean that you have to always go to local restaurants, but it would be great if you did a bit of both. Also, you must know that in Bali, it is not obligatory to leave a tip, but if you can afford it, they will be very grateful to you.

Finally, as I mentioned at the beginning, there are many stray dogs and cats that need everyone’s help. If you can donate some money to organizations like Mission Pawsible, Bawa, Villa Kitty, or Bali Paws, you will be doing your part to improve the lives of thousands of animals.

Outbound flight from Indonesia

As you may have already seen, one of the requirements to enter the country is to have a departure flight from Indonesia. The problem is that, on many occasions, one does not know how much time he or she is going to be spent in Bali. To solve this, there are two options.

The first option is to buy the cheapest flight you see leaving Indonesia on a date before your visa expires. You will probably not take this flight, and you will lose the money, but this way you will not have any problems when boarding the flight or entering the country.

Another option is to use the website Onward Ticket. This platform allows you to “rent” a flight for a duration of 48 hours to 14 days for only $14. This is a real flight reservation, so there should be no problem. I have used this option myself on a couple of occasions, and it has worked well.

Bali Belly

If you are going to spend a long time in Bali, it is likely that at some point you will have “bali belly,” which is when you have stomach aches and spend at least a couple of days vomiting or going to the bathroom all the time. Remember to hydrate well and take probiotics. If it doesn’t go away, see your doctor.

How to meet people

A good way to meet other digital nomads or meet new people is through Facebook groups. Just as they can be useful for finding a place to stay, they are also useful for finding people who are doing the same thing as you. I joined Canggu Community and Canggu Nomad Girls.

These groups can also be used to buy something secondhand or sell something you don’t want to take back home.

Withdrawing money

To withdraw money, I recommend going to ATMs at banks. I would always go to BNI bank, as they don’t charge an extra fee for withdrawing money. By the way, always use cards like N26 or Revolut to avoid the high fees of traditional banks.

How to communicate with Balinese poeple

As for the language, the majority of Balinese who are usually in contact with foreigners speak English quite well. Even so, I always recommend learning some basic Indonesian words, such as “good morning” (selamat pagi), “thank you” (terima kasih), etc.

International drivers license

If you are going to drive in Bali, remember to get an international driving license. If you are from the US, you can get one at AAA. It is very normal that a policeman stops you and asks you for drivers license and your international drivers permit. If you do not have it, they will fine you.

If you are not going to drive, use the Grab and Gojek (Uber-like) apps to move around the island. They are more affordable than a cab. These apps also deliver food.

Tourism in Bali

While you are on this beautiful island, take advantage of your free days to explore it. Its culture and its nature will fascinate you. To begin, do not miss these 25 things to do in Bali. Then continue with:

The best waterfalls in Bali.
The best beaches in Bali.

Visa extension

If you want to save some time, you can process the visa and extensions through an agency. It will be more expensive, but you will not have to worry so much about paperwork. During my last stay in Bali, we went to the agency Bali Solve, located in Canggu, so that they could take care of the necessary steps for us.

Don’t miss my Indonesia travel guide to finish preparing your trip.

I truly hope that this information on living in Bali long-term has helped you plan your trip to this amazing Indonesian island. Please feel free to email me or leave a comment if you have any questions. I hope to see you again soon!

↠ Book free tours and guided visits on Civitatis or GetYourGuide. I always use these platforms to check what organized activities there are at my destination.

↠ To pay with card in foreign currency or withdraw money from ATMs, I always use this card (there are free and paid plans). It works the best!

↠ Traveling with travel insurance to a destination where you don’t have healthcare coverage is a must. Get your insurance 5% cheaper with this link.

↠ If you want to have cellphone data at your destination from the moment you land and don’t want to waste time, there is nothing like this eSIM. Use the code “comeamaviaja” for a 5% discount.

↠ Check out Booking’s offers, a platform I always use, as I always find very good options thanks to its search engine with filters.

↠ For destinations where I need to rent a car, I always check Discover Cars and Auto Europe search engines. I recommend them!

↠ If you still need to buy flights for your trip, there is no better search engine than Skyscanner (although I always recommend booking the flight on the company’s website).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *