Living in Bali, an island filled with beaches, waterfalls, and endless rice fields, a place that to many will sound like paradise. Sip on a coconut while working from your laptop, daily yoga classes with the most stunning views, or meeting up with friends at a cafe for some brunch, in many ways living in Bali is like living in paradise. But, you might be wondering if living in Bali would be paradise to you as well. The reality is that just like any other destination there are advantages of living here, but also some disadvantages. And then there of course is cost, while Bali is generally considered a budget destination, you might want to know how much you are looking at when it comes to cost of living. So, to help you decide if you should packing your bags and move to Bali, and how much you should budget, keep on reading to find out everything you need to know about living in Bali!
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FYI: To try to make things easier we have included both IDR and USD in this article. As exchange rates might differ in the future it might be good to know that when this article was written 1 USD = 14,000 IDR.
Living in Bali: The Pros and Cons
Now, before we dive into the actual costs and must knows about living in Bali, let’s start with some of the pros and cons of living in Bali. While these pros and cons are solely based on our personal experience of living almost a full year in Bali, we thought they might help you out to decide if Bali is the place for you!
The Pros of Living in Bali
Healthy Lifestyle – For those who love having a healthy lifestyle, filled with working out, yoga classes and surfing, Bali is absolute paradise. However, it isn’t just the activities that draws so many people to Bali, one other main reason is the healthy food. From local to Western food, Bali is filled with healthy food options, both vegan and non vegan. One of the best places to live in Bali to pursuit this healthy lifestyle is Canggu, location in the South of Bali. Canggu is filled with health food stores and cafes that have the best healthy food options on the menu, with many dishes being so good you won’t even crave that pizza anymore!
The People – The Balinese people are extremely friendly, welcoming, and will almost always go out of their way to help you. It is the kind people that made us fall in love with the island of Bali, and perhaps it will be the same for you! On top of that Bali is currently an extremely popular destination for expats and digital nomads, making it easy to find people with similar interests and to create your own community away from home!
Coworking Spaces & Cafes – As the expat and digital nomad community group grew, so also did the amount of coworking spaces and cafes that offer a decent wifi, a great place to get some work done in between exploring the island. Especially in areas where a lot of expats and digital nomads decided to settle down, such as Canggu and Ubud, you will find these spaces readily available!
The Cost of Living – The cost of living in Bali is considerably lower compared to many destinations in North America, Europe and Australia. Eating out, doing grocery shopping, activities, and even rent are often a fraction of the price. We will go a bit more into detail about how much it exactly costs to live in Bali down below!
Activities – But it isn’t just the great prices, the healthy lifestyle and the people that draws so many travellers to this island, it is also the amount of beautiful sights and activities this island is home to. Stunning temples, pristine white and black sand beaches, endless rice fields, spectacular waterfalls and even a volcano that you can climb for sunrise. This island can keep you busy for months, and due to its size every single one of these places is at most 3 to 4 hours away, no matter where you decide to live on the island!
The Weather – And last, but definitely not least on the list, of the pros of living in Bali is of course the weather. While you might encounter some tropical rain and thunder storms during the rain season, overall the weather in Bali is lovely! Sunny and warm days year round, great for escaping those cold winter days back home.
The Cons of Living in Bali
Transportation – One of the majors cons of living in Bali is the transportation situation. In Bali there is almost no public transportation and the main way to get around quickly and easily is by scooter. While this wasn’t a major con to us personally, we can imagine that if you don’t feel comfortable or confident to drive a scooter in Bali that it would make getting around here considerably more difficult. While cars are available and used frequently on the island, it is a bit more time consuming compared to getting around on a scooter, we will explain why in the next point…
The Traffic – The traffic in Bali can be extremely hectic, chaotic and overall just too much for the small roads that connect many destinations in Bali. For example, Canggu to Ubud is a rough 30km ride, a ride that by scooter will take you roughly 45 min to 1 hour as you can bypass some of the traffic. However, if you are travelling by car you can easily double these times as roughly half the ride you will be stuck in traffic, especially during rush hour and high season when the island is filled with tourists. The time it takes to get around Bali or simply to get around town, can definitely be one of the bigger cons of living in Bali.
Visas – And last on the list of our personal cons of living in Bali is the visa situation in Indonesia. We won’t get too much into detail of all the different kind of visas here, but overall getting the visa and extending the visa can be quite time consuming and costly. If you are planning on moving the Bali we highly recommend reading a bit more about visas and extending your visa in Bali. Overall the visa situation isn’t that complicated once you get more familiar with the process, however, just like many other things when moving abroad, it might just take some time getting used to.
Living in Bali: Costs and Tips
Accommodation in Bali
Let’s start with one of the most important things: accommodation. With the rise of tourism in the last couple of years you will find no shortage of accommodation in Bali, no matter where you decide to live. One of the most popular areas to live in Bali for digital nomads and expats is Canggu, with Ubud probably ranking second. To get a better idea of how much accommodation costs in Bali here are some rough monthly rental prices you can expect to pay when living in Bali:
- Room in a guesthouse/villa with shared kitchen and pool – 4,000,000 – 8,000,000 IDR
- Private studio with shared pool – 8,000,000 – 12,000,000 IDR
- Private 2 bedroom villa with pool – 10,000,000 – 15,000,000 IDR
Prices differ largely based on where in town accommodation is located, if all the bills are included (wifi, electricity, water, etc.), and of course the accommodation itself. The best way to get an idea of what to expect is by checking out the different Facebook groups and see what kind of accommodation, and the price of the accommodation, is available, but a bit more on that below.
How to find a place to live in Bali
Short term – The best place to find short term accommodation in Bali would be Airbnb in our opinion. While you can use websites such as Agoda and Booking.com we have found that Airbnb often has the best deals as many accommodations offer weekly and monthly discounts on Airbnb. On Airbnb you will be able to find private villas, rooms in homestays and studios, there is something for everyone’s liking and everyone’s budget! If you have never used Airbnb before sign up through this link to get up to 30$ in discount on your first booking!
Long term – If you are looking for long term accommodation in Bali we highly recommend checking out Facebook groups. There are a large amount of Facebook groups available for finding accommodation in Bali. These groups are highly active and new listings are posted every single day, ranging from 3 bedroom villas to basic rooms in shared villas. If you don’t know where to start with looking for accommodation in Bali then these groups might be a great place to start:
- Canggu Community Housing
- Canggu Housing // Find your villa in Bali
- Ubud – Housing & Rental
- Bali Cheap House & Room Rental
- Bali Housing and Accommodation
On top of joining these groups it might also be worth joining the Canggu Community or Ubud Community Facebook groups. These groups are a great place not only to ask questions on, for example, where to buy things, but also to stay up to date on what is happening in the place that you are living in. How about you, have you lived in Bali before? Any tips you have on finding accommodation in Bali? Be sure to share it with us in the comment section down below!
Tip! Always check out the accommodation before making a long term commitment. Many photos online might seem promising, but they can be outdated, or hide angles of accommodation you wished you had seen before signing that lease. We would highly recommend to rent a place short term first so you have the freedom to check out multiple villas, studios and rooms to find the perfect fit for you!
Transportation in Bali
Next on the list of things to arrange when living in Bali is transportation. If you are planning on taking the bus or the train everywhere, I sadly have some bad news for you, public transport in Bali is practically none existent. When living in Bali most people opt to rent a scooter as this is not only the most affordable but also the most convenient way to get around the island, read a bit more about renting a scooter in Bali below.
Airport Transfer – First things first, getting from the airport to your accommodation in Bali. We highly recommend arranging an airport transfer to your accommodation in advance to avoid any hassle when arriving in Bali. We personally always arrange our airport transfer through Klook, an online travel activity and tour services, where you can book your airport transfer with the click of a button. This is our opinion one of the easiest and most affordable ways to arrange your airport transfer, and if you have never used Klook before you can sign up through this link and get a €5 discount on your first booking!
Renting a scooter in Bali
If you are planning on actually living in Bali and being stationary in one place then we would highly recommend to rent a scooter. Scooters are widely available and extremely affordable, and when it comes to living in Bali it is the way to get around town. You can rent scooters by the day, however, prices go down significantly if you rent scooters by the month. Monthly scooter rental prices depend on what type of scooter you rent and start with prices as low as 50 USD a month for scooters such as the Honda Scoopy and the 125cc Honda Vario. Scooters such as the Honda PCX and the Yamaha NMAX, which are both 150cc, are slightly more expensive and go for around 80-100 USD a month. Before renting a scooter we highly recommend to do a bit of research and to read reviews online to avoid getting scammed or to end up with a poorly maintained scooter.
Tips for renting and riding a scooter in Bali:
- Only rent a scooter if you feel comfortable riding a scooter, Bali’s traffic can be quite hectic and you don’t want to put yourself or those around you in danger.
- Don’t leave your passport at a scooter rental office. We have rented from over a handful of different offices and a copy of our passport, or even a drivers license, was always enough.
- Bikes are almost always paid upfront, to avoid any hassle when returning the bike make sure to ask for a signed receipt as a proof of payment.
- Wear a helmet, always.
- Fuel costs around 7,000 – 10,000 IDR per litre and can be found everywhere in Bali. Small shops will sell it in reused vodka bottles or hand pumps, however, to get the best bang for your buck head to the gas stations, this is where fuel prices are lowest.
- Parking at beaches or sights are often around 2,000 IDR, for those places it is good to have some small change handy.
Scooters are mainly convenient if you need to get around Ubud or Canggu, or for simply doing some day trips around the island. If you are planning on moving around the island with all your luggage, however, then you might want to explore other transport options such as taxis or private drivers.
Example Monthly Costs of Transportation in Bali
To give you a better idea of how much, or how little, you could spend on transportation in Bali we have added our personal monthly transportation costs in Bali. Overall, after having lived in Bali for almost a year, our cost of transportation averaged around 1,500,000 IDR a month for the both of us with some months being slightly higher due to having to take an airport transfers or higher fuel costs. As you may notice the largest cost of transportation in Bali is the scooter rental, a cost that you can easily cut if you opt to share a scooter with your partner (like we did), or cut even more if you opt to rent a smaller and more affordable scooter.
Eating Out in Bali
One of the absolute joys of living in Bali is the option to eat out at affordable prices. When it comes to dining out and grabbing breakfast, sometimes it feels even more affordable to go out then to cook at home. Especially in popular expat hubs and touristic destinations like Ubud and Canggu you will find plenty of restaurants and cafes available. No matter if you are vegan, vegetarian or a meat lover, there is something for everyone. You will find plenty of restaurants where you can taste the local cuisine, or opt for international cuisines like Greek, Mexican, Italian, Japanese, Thai and Indian. To get a better idea of how much a meal costs when dining out in Bali here are some example costs we have come across when we were living in Bali in 2020:
Warungs & Local Restaurants
- Nasi Goreng – 25,000 IDR (±1.80 USD)
- Chicken Satay – 30,000 IDR (±2.15 USD)
- Nasi Campur – 30,000 IDR (±2.15 USD)
- Pisang Goreng – 20,000 IDR (±1.40 USD)
- Gado Gado – 20,000 IDR (±1.40 USD)
- Spring Rolls – 15,000 IDR (±1.10 USD)
International Restaurants & Cafes
- Eggs Benedict – 60,000 IDR (±4.30 USD)
- Flat White – 30,000 IDR (±2.15 USD)
- Pizza Margherita – 55,000 IDR (±3.90 USD)
- Quesadillas – 60,000 IDR (±4.30 USD)
- Avocado Toast with Eggs – 50,000 IDR (±3.55 USD)
- Smoothie Bowl – 50,000 IDR (±3.55 USD)
Example Monthly Costs of Eating out in Bali
Eating out in Bali can almost be considered an activity on its own, with the hundreds of different restaurants and cafes that are available on the island you will always have something new to taste, a different cuisine to try. And while eating out is rather affordable, costs do add up quickly, especially if you add a couple of juices, coffees and drinks here and there. The prices above might give you a good idea of how much a meal would be, and the costs of eating out in Bali will really depend on how many meals a day you will be eating out, and what kind of food you will be eating. If you are curious how much we spent in one month of eating out in Bali check out the table below (these costs are for both Rob and I).
Besides eating out and having drinks on the beach another expenditure when living in Bali would be groceries. From buying a beer in the supermarket, to getting some new shampoo, the costs of groceries in Bali are quite low, but they can quickly add up. If you are planning on staying in a more touristic area of Bali you will have no trouble finding supermarkets in your area. From fresh fruits, to bread, pasta, rice, cereal or milk, most products that many of us consume back at home are available in Bali as well, however, some just come at a slightly higher price. Just like restaurants local produce and locally made products, understandably, is a lot more affordable. Imported products such as pesto, cheese, nuts, or imported fruits and vegetables, can be slightly more expensive. To get a better idea of how much things might cost when grocery shopping, here are a random selection of example prices we came across in the supermarkets when we lived in Bali in 2020:
- Water (1.5l) – 5,500 IDR
- Bintang Beer (330ml) – 15,000 IDR
- Nescafe Ice Latte – 11,000 IDR
- Milk (1l) – 22,500 IDR
- Almond Milk (1l) – 92,000 IDR
- Yogurt (0.5l) – 42,500 IDR
- Ricotta Cheese (250g) – 32,500 IDR
- Chicken (per kg) – 62,500 IDR
- Eggs (10) – 20,000 IDR
- Strawberries (per kg) – 48,000 IDR
- Limes (per kg) – 12,000 IDR
- Apples (per kg) – 32,000 IDR
- Watermelon (per kg) – 6,500 IDR
- Onions (per kg) – 12,000 IDR
- Garlic (per kg) – 17,000 IDR
- Tomatoes (per kg) – 10,000 IDR
- Cucumber (per kg) – 7,500 IDR
- Mushrooms (per kg) – 50,000 IDR
- Nutella (350g) – 71,000 IDR
- Oats (200g) – 13,500 IDR
- Pasta (500g) – 30,500 IDR
- Pesto sauce (200g) – 64,500 IDR
- Tempeh (500g) – 5,000 IDR
- Rice (3kg) – 32,500 IDR
- Olive Oil (1l) – 102,000 IDR
- Coconut Oil (500ml) – 55,000 IDR
- Wraps (10) – 75,000 IDR
Besides the general supermarkets you will also plenty of local markets, fruit stalls and vegetable stalls in Bali. You will find that local produce at these places are often slightly more affordable. Apart from the general supermarkets and stalls you will also find more zero waste, eco-friendly and health stores popping up in Bali, especially in Canggu. Places like Bali Buda, Alive Wholefoods, and Zero Waste Bali are a great place to shop for nuts, seeds, nut butters, healthy drinks such as jamu, and other plastic free items (bamboo toothbrushes and q-tips for example).
Example Monthly Costs of Groceries in Bali
The cost of grocery shopping will depend on what kind of food you like to eat, if you like to cook and of course how much you eat out. We hope that the example prices above give you a bit of an idea of what to expect when it comes to grocery shopping in Bali. We personally ate 1 to 2 meals out a day and cooked other basic meals like eggs, salads and pasta at home. This totalled up to about 3 to 4 million IDR on average every month. And, for those that are still wondering about our expenses, as with all other categories we have added an example month of our grocery costs below:
Coworking Spaces in Bali
Bali quickly became a popular destination for digital nomads to live and work, and as such coworking spaces became more and more popular. Both Canggu and Ubud are home to a handful of coworking spaces, here are some of the currently most popular co-working spaces that might be worth checking out:
Coworking Spaces in Canggu:
Prices differ per coworking space, it is best to check out the websites above to get a better idea of what kind of costs you will be looking at if you are planning on signing up. We personally have never been to a coworking space in Bali, however, we have heard from many it is a great place for those who need a high speed internet connection, or simply a quiet space, to get some work done. Have you ever used a coworking space in Bali before? Share your experience with us in the comment section down below!
Activities & Sports in Bali
One of the reasons many expats and digital nomad decide to live in Bali is not just for the weather, or how affordable it is, it is because of all the amazing activities and sights this island has to offer. From going to the gym, doing yoga, surfing, diving to chasing waterfalls, there is something for everyone’s liking in Bali! If you are a fitness lover then the best place to be in Bali is probably Canggu where you will be surrounded by gyms, yoga classes, beaches perfect to catch some waves, and cafes filled with healthy food. Ubud, on the other hand, is especially loved by yoga lovers, and is considered a great base to explore the surrounding rice fields and waterfalls due to its central location. In the end it doesn’t matter where you live, adventure can be found everywhere in Bali. Take a weekend trip to Amed to go diving, or perhaps visit nearby Nusa Penida to snorkel with manta rays, Bali’s most spectacular sights are just a short ride away!
Example Monthly Costs of Activities & Sports in Bali
While visiting a waterfall will often only cost you a couple of dollars, prices such as monthly membership at a more upscale, air-conditioned, gyms will easily set you back 80 – 100 USD a month. To give you an idea of what prices you might be looking at when moving to Bali we have included example cost of what a month of living in Bali for us looked like. Most months looked roughly the same, a gym membership for Rob, and 3 to 5 sights that we explored that month together, adding up to 1.25 – 1.5 million IDR a month on average.
|1 Month Gym Membership||1,200,000||85.71|
|Leke Leke Waterfall x 2||100,000||7.14|
|Pengempu Waterfall x 2||20,000||1.43|
|Tibumana Waterfall x 2||30,000||2.14|
|Campuhan Ridge Walk||free|
Internet & Sim Cards
Internet is widely available in Bali and wifi can be found almost everywhere, even in the more remote locations. However, the speed and quality of the wifi may very largely. In the more touristic destinations such as Canggu and Ubud wifi in general is a lot better then the more off the beaten path destinations. However, if you are planning on doing some exploring on the island, or just make sure you have a 24/7 connection to the internet then you might want to get a sim card.
Sim cards – Sim cards are very affordable in Bali and are quite easy to obtain. You can get a sim card either upon arrival at the airport or get a sim card upon arriving at your destination, in which the latter is definitely the more affordable option. We personally recommend to get a sim card from Telkomsel as they have the largest network across Indonesia, perfect if you are planning on doing some exploring to nearby islands! In January 2020 a Telkomsel sim card, including 6GB of data, was IDR 80,000 ($5.70) at the official Telkomsel stands. Once you have purchased a sim card be sure to download the Telkomsel app so you can track your data and top it up when your 30 days have expired or when you have used all your data.
VPN – If there is one thing that you need for Bali then it will be a VPN, especially if you plan on living here. Wifi is widely available across the island and if you are planning on working from your laptop or phone you will probably be logging on to tens of different wifi networks in cafes, restaurants and hotels. These wifi connections are not always the most secure and for that reason we highly recommend getting a VPN. As an added bonus a VPN will also allow you to access websites that otherwise might be restricted in Bali (websites such as Reddit, and up until July 2020 even Netflix was blocked by one internet provider). If you have never used a VPN before you can read a bit more about how a VPN works and why you need one here. We personally use ExpressVPN on both our laptops and our phones and have been extremely happy with our choice!
And the last on the list, laundry. Almost no accommodation in Bali comes with access to a washing machine, luckily, it is quite easy to get your laundry done. Especially in more touristic areas such as Canggu and Ubud you will find laundromats on every single corner. You will either have the choice to do laundry yourself, or find a laundromat where they will wash, dry and fold your clothes for you (more common) and you can pick it up either the next day or sometimes even the same day. We highly recommend to find a laundromat where they charge per kilogram, the costs at laundry services where they charge per item an add up quite quickly and can be a costly monthly expense. On average we have paid around 7,000 – 15,000 per kilogram as prices do vary slightly per laundromat. On average we paid around 150,000 IDR (10.71 USD) a month to get our laundry done for the both of us.
Tip! All your clothes will be thrown into one washing machine when dropping of your clothes at a laundromat. It is therefore best to check that you don’t have any clothing items (like a red sock) that could possibly stain and ruin the rest of your clothes before dropping off your laundry.
Our Monthly Cost of Living in Bali
Now that we have discussed all the different possible costs, including some of our personal monthly costs, we thought we would add up one month of all our cost. From eating, chasing waterfalls to visa extensions, this is exactly what we spent for the two of us in a month living in Bali. While months differed slightly in cost, the table below might give you a good idea of how much, or how little depending on what you were expecting, it can cost to live in Bali.
|Activities & Sports||1,350,000||96.43|
|2 Sim Cards||160,000||11.43|
|2 Visas on Arrival||1,000,000||71.43|
|2 Visa Extensions||1,000,000||71.43|
|Total for 2 people||20,238,000||1445.57|
These costs include all our expenses that relate to living in Bali, our personal expenses we have left out. Of course these costs can be much higher if, for example, you rent a private villa and dine out every single day. Or your costs could be much lower, if, for example, you decide to eat at local warung, skip the gym and rent a more budget friendly scooter. What did you think, were these costs higher or lower than what you expected when it comes to living in Bali? Be sure to share your thoughts, or questions, with us in the comment section down below!
And there you have it, everything you need to know about costs, pros and cons of living in Bali! Has this article convinced you to move to Bali? Then be sure to check out some of our other articles filled with inspiration of things to do, see and experience while you live and travel in Bali: