Bali is among the top destinations for digital nomads, and for great reasons. Aside from its very affordable cost of living, Bali boasts a laid-back atmosphere and breathtaking natural wonders. Throw in sweet surfing spots, tasty cafes and restaurants, colourful beachfront bars to watch the sunset and roaring nightlife. On top of all this, this Indonesian island has developed tremendously as a hub for digital nomads with its abundance of co-working and co-living options. It has proven that here, with the digital nomad infrastructure already set up you can live as cheaply as you want while discovering a rich culture while enjoying the outdoors. So if you want to be a digital nomad in Bali read through this Bali digital nomad guide written by guest blogger, Marlieke Kemp – Janssen.
Why Choose Bali To Be A Digital Nomad
Living somewhere as a digital nomad entails a few important considerations that you need to take into account. Hence, I’ve listed below a few things that will give you some insights of why digital nomads should choose Bali as home.
Great Co-Living and Co-Working Infrastructure
Lots of Tables, Chairs and Computers in this Co-Working Space in Hub Bali.
Bali is such a popular digital nomad destination because it has gone to great lengths to provide co-living and co-working infrastructure. This means, you don’t have to worry about setting yourself up in accommodation and finding somewhere to work. Because it has already been done.
Good Internet Connectivity
As a digital nomad, this is probably the first thing that you need to consider in choosing a place to settle in. Your work revolves around working online, so it’s needless to say that you prioritise internet connectivity in your checklist. Thankfully, Bali has invested to improve its internet connectivity. The introduction of 4G and fiber optics has created a positive effect. Hotels and cafes around Bali provide easy access to wi-fi, too. Expect 2 Mbps via cafe wi-fi and a hundred times that in a co-working space.
Lots of Things To Do And See In Bali
The diverse natural landscapes of Bali offer a wide set of activities. From surfing and water rafting to cycling and day tours inland, Bali has it all. As a digital nomad in Bali, it’s important to take this into consideration, as you need a break from your routine sometimes. These activities will help you release some tension and stress so that you come back to perform your job significantly energised.
Can You See Yourself Working By This Pool? I Can!
Being a top tourist destination, some parts of Bali can get crazy. But despite that, Bali still has maintained a generally laid-back way of life. This is one thing that digital nomads love about living and working in Bali. While you sometimes have to hustle to meet deadlines and expectations, you don’t easily feel stressed out while working here. However, this works both ways. Some digital nomads also find it challenging to keep up with work because of Bali’s peaceful vibe. Discipline and personal motivation are quintessential.
Other like-minded Digital Nomads to Meet
As Bali is a preferred destination for digital nomads, you are bound to meet like-minded people on the island of the Gods. This is an important benefit for a myriad of reasons. For one, it allows easy networking with peers. Also, it is great to connect with other people who work in the same field as you, or who can complement your business. They say that like-minded people who work and bond together create a positive impact. This can be a change not only to themselves but to the whole community as well.
Bali is centrally located in Southeast Asia
As a working individual, you can easily feel swamped with work and job responsibilities. As a result, we need to unwind as much as we can. The island of Bali is a popular hub in South-East Asia. Whenever you feel that you need to pack your travel gear and leave Bali for a while, worry not? Bali has direct flights to its numerous neighbouring countries.
Co-Living and Co-Working Spaces in Bali
Find yourself co-living in a place like this – ‘Sara Residence’.
Co-Living is where digital nomads share a living space. Basically you will have your own personal space in a bedroom but share the common areas with other digital nomads and remote workers. Co-Living is a great way to meet other digital nomads. Most co-living places are fully-serviced so you can concentrate on your own productivity.
Co-Working is when digital nomads come together in a space and work together. Well you are physically in the same room but working on your own on-line business. Co-working spaces are usually filled with a number of desks, private meeting rooms and large tables both inside and in the case of Bali, outside as well. There will also be shared kitchens and bathrooms. Co-working spaces are a great way to meet other digital nomads who just may become good friends, business investors or even business partners. And Bali has a number of co-working spaces offering monthly packages and day passes. A legendary co-working spot is Dojo Bali which offers a cafe and pool – what an ideal working spot.
Being a digital nomad can sometimes be a lonely business. So living and working in one of Bali’s co-living and/or co-working space can provide you with human contact.
The Digital Nomad Scene in Bali
Bali is a digital nomad heaven. It’s abuzz with both new arrivals and successful entrepreneurs all taking advantage of co-living, co-working spaces and great Wi-Fi connection. There are two main areas where the majority of digital nomads congregate – Canggu and Ubud. These two places offer the digital nomad setting up in Bali everything you need to work on-line while enjoying everything Bali has to offer. Both are quite different also. If you want to sit on the beach and have a beer watching a sunset and then partying then Canggu is a very attractive option. If you prefer to be near lush forests, with magical waterfalls, lots of rice-terraces while having your chakras aligned and meditating in a sunrise class then setting up in Ubud would be more your scene. So it just depends on what type of digital nomad you want to be in Bali! Why not try both!
Bali Visa Requirements
Great news! You can process your visa application upon arrival in Bali. It is valid for 30 days and if you’re not from one of the 169 countries eligible for a free visa, it only costs USD35. At the end of the month you can do a visa run to one of Bali’s neighbouring countries and upon return you can get a new 30 days visa. Or, you can also visit immigration in Bali and extend your visa.
You may also opt for a Social Budaya visa if you wish to visit friends and family. It is valid for 60 days and can be extended 4 times, with 30 days each, for a total of 6 months. For this one you have to apply with a sponsorship letter or go to an agency to assist you.
Where To Live in Bali
Live by the beach or inland near rice terraces.
Digital nomads either live in a co-living space or find their own accommodation in a hotel, hostel, beach resort or rent a villa. I suggest you check out HostelWorld for a hostel bed or if looking for a hotel or beach resort visit Booking.com. For something longer-term there are Facebook pages where accommodation is listed such as the Bali Canggu House & Accommodation Facebook group and the Canggu Community House Facebook group.
A place I can recommend is Sara Residence by Nakula. Sara Residence has spacious two-bedroom apartments located in the heart of Legian, just a walking distance from the beach. It is also close to Kuta and Seminyak where the nightlife scene is very much alive. So whenever the demands of your work feel too much to handle, you can just simply head over there for a night of drinking. To add to that, the ground floor of Sara Residence is a co-working space called Hub Bali where you can meet and hang with fellow digital nomads.
Cost of Living in Bali
Bali’s cost of living depends solely on how you want to design it. It can be as cheap as 10-20 dollars a day or as expensive as 160 dollars daily. With the wide options on everyday needs, you can decide what kind of lifestyle to have if you choose to live and work in Bali.
The monthly membership fee at Hub Bali costs around USD65 while a 2-bedroom apartment at Sara Residence costs around USD850 per month. You can choose to share the apartment with a digital nomad friend, making it a more affordable option. And food is quite cheap and tasty so you can live a very decent life on around USD1200-1500 per month.
Getting around Bali
One of the many things that Bali highlights is its great infrastructure to travel around. It’s easy to go from one place to another, especially when using the toll road. Aside from that, the highways are not complex conjunctions of pavements that confuse a traveller. The toll road is an overwater road with stunning views and the other roads that connect different parts of Bali mostly take you through villages or nature.
There are a variety of options to get around in Bali. For a comfortable ride, you may use the Grab or Gojek app. These apps do not only allow you to book a car or motorbike as your means of transportation; you may also have your food or groceries delivered through the same apps. These apps are very user-friendly and convenient to use.
If you’re on a tighter budget (and a more adventurous one), you can choose to rent a motorbike or buy one. You just have to be extra careful when driving since Bali’s traffic can get hectic sometimes.
We all know that taking the step to live and work in a foreign country can be scary, especially if you’re alone in this journey. Which is why it is great that Bali already has the infrastructure set up for and welcomes digital nomads to its shores. And, like at any other place in the world, while working in Bali as a digital nomad may not always be easy, I am certain that it’s all going to be worth it.
Guest Writer: As founder and managing director of Aureum Hospitality Advisers, Marlieke provides personable and results-driven revenue management and digital marketing solutions to hospitality companies. She has over 10 years of experience in the hotel industry in both Europe and South-East Asia.