The digital nomad life - a morning walk on the beach, then working from a cute cafe with friends, taking the scooter to a restaurant by the sea, and enjoying the afternoon by the pool. Wishful thinking or a dream within reach?
Well, I am happy to tell you that this could actually be your reality! Of course, it’s not all sunshine and good vibes, but living the digital nomad life definitely has its advantages. And there are many great places where you can make your home when you work remotely, but there is one that has it all (to us at least) - great weather, low cost of living, beautiful beaches, and rich culture. Bali has always felt like home to us right from the time we first stepped foot onto the island.
So many of you have asked what it takes to get to the island of Gods - what do you need, where should you stay, how to move around, and so on. For that reason, we decided to create a “Step-By-Step Guide To Living In Bali As A Digital Nomad”, with the key things you need to know if you’re thinking of living in this paradise.
With the current situation, the rules and regulations can change all the time. Please double-check online or check out the Instagram account: @balisolve
Let’s start with the most important thing that you will need in order to enter Bali - the visa rules. Before you head off for your workation, you need to make sure you’ve got all the right paperwork in order. There are currently a few short-term options for digital nomads looking for a visa in Bali:
- 30-day tourist visa, claimed on arrival: Citizens from 169 countries can get a free visa on arrival (make sure to check online if your country is on that list). This means you can come and explore Indonesia as a tourist for up to 30 days. At the airport, you pay $35 for a visa that allows you to stay for 30 days.
- 60-day tourist visa, claimed on arrival: You can apply for this visa at the Indonesian Embassy, or simply pick it up at the airport (not all nationalities though so double check if this is applicable for you. Certain countries have to apply for this visa from their home country or the country they are currently passing through). This tourist visa is valid for 30 days but you will then be able to extend it for another 30 days. It will cost you $35 for the initial visa and an extra $35 for the extension and you can easily extend the visa at any immigration office in the country. Once the visa expires you’ll need to leave the country though.
- Single entry visa / Sosial Budaya Visa: This visa is officially for visiting Indonesian family and friends and it requires a sponsor (which can either be friends or family, or a company). It allows an initial 60 days and can be extended by 30 days up to four times. This visa is often used as an alternative to an official residency or work visa by foreigners living in Bali. Since the Indonesian Department of Immigration knows that foreigners misuse the visa, you need to do an interview with an immigration official and explain why you are in the country. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend misusing a visa, but I still wanted to mention this option here because you will read about it a lot if you look online. Just keep in mind that with this option you cannot leave Indonesia during that time.
- Multiple entry visa: This visa is valid for 12 months. You can visit Indonesia multiple times, for up to 60 days at a time.
Work and stay permit (KITAS): Lastly, you have the option to get a residency or working visa, however, it can be a bit difficult to obtain. This would allow you to stay for 12 months, but you must be employed by a local company, plus your employer needs to prove that they are only employing a foreigner because they can’t find an Indonesian to fill the position. The only way around this is by starting your own company.
Note: The Indonesian government has announced plans to create a Digital Nomad Visa, which would allow you to stay in the country for five years - how amazing would that be?! And the best news: if you’re making your money from abroad, you do not have to pay taxes within Bali, only if your work is domestic. The government is currently waiting for the COVID-19 situation to calm down before setting up this visa, but this is great news for anyone who wants to experience Bali to its full potential! We’ll definitely keep you updated on our stories if we hear anything!
Now that the paper stuff is out of the way, it’s time to look at where you can stay in Bali as a Digital Nomad.
The most popular places to live in Bali are all within an hour drive of the local international airport. The main urban areas in the south of the island are Kuta, Canggu, Seminyak, and Ubud, but in our eyes, Canggu is definitely the best option. It’s the expat center in Bali and it has everything from cute restaurants, to beautiful beaches, and amazing local shops. It’s super easy to find like-minded people here as you will find a very international community in this region.
If you prefer something a bit smaller and more local you could also try Uluwatu. It’s less city-like and has beautiful white-sand beaches. There are a lot of temples, various sunset spots, and you’ll definitely see a few monkeys here and there. The only thing to keep in mind is that the WiFi connection can be a bit tricky here, so keep that in mind, especially if you need a stable connection to work.
Lastly, let’s look at Ubud, which is the rainforest region. It’s home to the most beautiful waterfalls and temples and has a more spiritual and calm vibe. You’ll be able to find a lot of activities around spirituality and wellbeing, such as yoga classes or meditation sessions. Definitely more calm than the other regions but it also has a large international community.
I suggest you take your time when you choose where to live as a Bali digital nomad. It will impact the kind of people you meet, the things you do, and the overall experience you have. Of course, you always have the option to move around while you’re here, but it’s important to make sure that you keep your needs in mind and see what suits you most.
Finding a place to stay
Once you found the right city for you, it’s time to get you a place to stay! There are so many places to choose from - you just need to know how to find them. You can rent a room or small apartment which usually consists of one room plus a bathroom, a shared kitchen, and a garden area. To find accommodation like this, it is best to ask around once you arrive in Bali because these are often not listed online and are much less expensive if you find them offline. I’d recommend you get a hotel for your first few days and find your long-term stay once you arrive. If you want to try finding them before arriving, try to get connected with locals or ex-pats through Facebook groups. There are special Facebook groups that help people find housing in many areas of Bali. Our favorite ones are “Canggu Community Housing”, “Canggu Nomad Girls Accommodation" (only for girls), and “Bali Canggu housing & accommodation”, but there are so many others that you can find. Just type in “Bali Housing and Accommodation” in the Facebook search and you will get a bunch of groups that you can join.
If you are wanting a more vacation or luxury vibe, you can also find a lot of beautiful villas on pages like Airbnb, rental sites but also on Facebook groups. Also, if you book somewhere through Airbnb and enjoy your stay you can oftentimes directly contact the owner and see if there is a long-term availability at a reduced price.
One last option that you have and one that’s quite common for digital nomads in Bali is to live in a co-living space. It’s a great option when you come alone and want to easily meet new people that are in a similar situation to you. Two of the most known options are “Outpost” and “Dojo” where you can live, work and network all in one place. Both provide everything you need as a digital nomad – from fast internet, comfy workspaces, and private meeting rooms.
Co-working Spaces in Bali
Now, you obviously didn’t come here just for pleasure, even though it might be tempting to put on your swimsuit and enjoy the sun all day. After all, you came to Bali to live the digital nomad life and that includes working.
In Bali, coworking spaces can range from cozy cafes with great internet speeds all the way up to resort-style spaces with pools and gyms! You will find cute cafés with fun food and Instagram-able opportunities all over the island. Many of these are great to set up your computer and get your work on. If you want to read about our favorite cafés to work from, you can check out our Instagram guide right here.
Daily cost of living in Balii
Lastly, let’s look at the cost of living in Bali, so you can see how much money you will need to live a comfortable life there. The good thing is: you’ll be able to find everything at all price levels. Food can cost you anywhere between 1€ to 50€ a day, housing can range from 200€ to 700€ a month, and to move around the island, we suggest using a scooter, which will cost you roughly 3€ to 5€ a day (make sure you have an international license for that. A national license is not good enough).
And that completes this guide on living as a digital nomad in Bali! There are of course many other beautiful places that you can work from as a digital nomad, but Bali has definitely won our hearts.
I hope this blog post answered a few of your questions. If you would like to know anything else you can always send us a DM on @clublifedesign and we’ll be more than happy to help you out as much as we can.
P.S. If you are one of our “The Free Lab - How To Make Money Online” Students, we will soon have a live class about the digital nomad life in Bali where you will be able to ask us all your questions! As always, we’ll send out an email once we have a set date!
Lots of love,