How To Become A Bali Digital Nomad [2021 Update]

Being a Bali digital nomad means you no longer have to use the virtual beach Zoom background. Wherever you take your laptop, you’ll get the real version of nature. 

Hear the waves crashing and watch beautiful sunsets every day. 

Smell the tropical weather Bali has to offer. If that’s not enough, endless green rice terraces, black sand beaches, volcanoes and lush jungles wouldn’t just be places you get to visit on a holiday.  

You can even use your lunch break to surf or visit the religious architecture of this spiritual mecca. Bali is a great choice if you’re embarking on your remote working journey in SE Asia. 

And this guide will show you how.

Here is a summary of what’ll you see in today’s digital nomad article:

  1. Why Become A Digital Nomad In Bali?
  2. Cost Of Living In Bali
  3. Digital Nomad Visas In Bali
  4. Best Place To Live As A Digital Nomad In Bali
  5. Best Food To Try In Bali
  6. Getting Around in Bali
  7. Things You Should Know About Bali

DISCLOSURE

Some of the links on here are affiliate links and I may earn if you click on them, AT NO EXTRA cost to you. Hope you find the information here useful! Thanks.

Related Digital Nomad Posts:

Why Become A Digital Nomad In Bali?

Because Bali provides an affordable high quality life, the weather is great and it boasts a unique culture and friendly locals.

Before you read further, you may wonder if there’s anything bad about Bali at all?

If you stay long-term, you’ll learn about living in Bali pros and cons. But if you live there long enough, you’ll learn that the downsides are nothing you can’t possibly manage.

Affordable Quality Of Life

Of all countries in SE Asia, Bali has long become the favourite destination of digital nomads aside from Chiang Mai. 

According to Numbeo, living in Bali for a month in a villa with a swimming pool, free WiFi and cleaning helpers will not cost you more than $900

The best part is, the price includes food, leisure, transportation and coworking spaces. 

This gorgeous bohemian villa, for instance, costs only $18 per night – a total bang for your buck!

Great Weather

The weather in Bali is warm all year round. The island of Gods is a great place for sun-seekers and surfers, beach bums and adrenaline junkies alike.  

When you’re in Bali, you don’t have to worry about having to pack thick coats, jackets or boots… because Bali has only two distinct seasons – dry and wet!

Read on to find out more about the weather in Bali.

Unique Cultures And Friendly Locals

bali digital nomad

The unique mix of Hinduism and local Balinese culture can be seen in almost every part of Bali. Arts and crafts in buildings like hotels and museums, sacred temples… These are all sophisticated customs that make Bali special. 

It’s not unusual to see the Balinese people in their ceremonial attire, performing religious rituals. Another thing that should be on your to-do-list when in Bali is watching their traditional dances such as the Kecak dance

The Balinese people are friendly and they love small talk. 

Chatting for the first time can make you feel like you’ve known them forever. Don’t get offended if they ask you about your personal life instead of the weather. Just go with the flow but you can always excuse yourself if you feel uncomfortable.

Basic English is widely spoken in Bali but if you’re planning to stay longer, try to learn some words of the Indonesian language. The locals will be happy to know you’ve made an effort. For a start, take apa kabar? (how are you?) and selamat siang (good afternoon). 

You’ll get by!

Cost Of Living In Bali

With less than $1000, you can have a pretty good life in Bali. 

Although yes, Bali is affordable, it can be expensive too. Yoga classes, gym membership, drinks, surf equipment – these are all among the temptations you gotta watch out for. 

But if you can afford them, why not, right? Before you start spreading out the Excel sheet, let’s take a look at the breakdown of: 

  • Accommodation
  • Transportation
  • Internet 
  • Food

Accommodation

  • Low budget: 
  • Mid-range budget:
  • Fancy-nancy:

Ultimately, the longer you stay, the cheaper the price is. So, spend a couple of nights at a location of your choice. Once you’ve ‘warmed up’ to the place, explore further through your new friends and connection.

Transportation

If you live in a town like Ubud or Kuta, you can just walk from one place to another. But mostly, the people in Bali get around by scooter and sometimes, taxis. 

  • Scooter rental: $35 to $40 per month, $4 per day
  • Gas: $0.70 for a one-litre, $1.40 for a full tank
  • A short taxi ride: $3.70

However, if you think you can ride a scooter in Bali license-free, you’re… not quite right.

Because if the police stop you, you’ll get a fine and be offered ‘help’ (read: bribe) to settle it on the spot. If you agree, be prepared to pay around $100 though it can usually be bargained down.

So to avoid this, you can apply for an International Driving Permit (IDP) in your home country before coming to Indonesia.

Internet And Mobile Data Plans

The wifi speed in Bali for digital nomads is reliable although it’s not Singapore’s internet speed. 

According to Speedtest, Indonesia’s WiFi speed ranks 7th in SE Asia, at the time of writing.

  • Average internet speed: 33.99 Mbps
  • Average download speed: 26.11 Mbps
  • Average upload speed: 15.04 Mbps

Streaming Netflix is rarely an issue, Skyping can get flaky sometimes but generally, you will get things done without feeling like throwing your laptop away.

However, if your internet is slow, tethering is always an option. The speeds are good and the data is quite cheap. 

Here are two recommended mobile data providers in Bali:

SIM cards can be purchased at the airport or small shops in town. The shop assistant will set your phone up for you.

Hot tip: Buy your SIM card from the small shops on the less touristy street to get the best deal. These shops are easily recognised by the logo and big banner of the provider.

Food

If your accommodation has a kitchen and you prefer to cook, here’s a basic grocery price list according to Numbeo (on average):

  • Fruits and veg (1kg): Between $2 to $2.50
  • Milk: $1.82 
  • A loaf of bread: $1.49 
  • Rice (1kg): $1.04
  • Eggs (a dozen): $2.08
  • Chicken fillets (1kg): $4.07
  • Beef (1kg): $11.75

If you prefer eating out, here’s a breakdown of prices on average:

  • A meal at an average restaurant: $1.73
  • A 3-course meal at a mid-range restaurant: $32.78
  • A combo meal at McDonald’s: $5.87
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter): $2.42
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter): $3.62
  • Cappuccino (regular): $2.26
  • Water (0.33 liter bottle): $1.17

Weather

The weather is typically warm all year round so pack light because you’ll be wearing t-shirts, a pair of flip flops and shorts, mostly. Unless you’re staying or travelling to the mountain regions of Bali, it’ll be slightly cooler where the temperature drops to around 10°C.

  • April to October: Dry season, low probability of rain with temperatures between 21 to 32°C.
  • June to August: Hot and sunny with temperature around 28°C (crowded with tourists so prices go up).
  • November to March: Wet season with light to heavy rain with chances of flood and road closures so best to stay indoors.

Hot tip: Bali beaches are beautiful and underwater visibility is great in the dry season so gear up, snorkelers and scuba divers!

bali digital nomad

Digital Nomad Visas In Bali 

The visa requirements to enter Bali vary based on your nationality.

Remote workers from the UK, USA, Canada and EU can enter Bali visa-free for stays of up to 30 days. More than 160 nationalities get free entry into Bali for a maximum of a 30-day stay.

To be a Bali digital nomad, you can apply for a holiday visa which can be divided into three categories: 

  • Staying less than 30 days,
  • between 30-60 days and
  • more than 60 days.

Less Than 30 Days

Firstly, check this list to see if you’re eligible for free entry. This means you don’t need to prepare anything before your departure.

If your country is not listed, you need to apply for a Tourist / Social Visa (B-211) at an Indonesian Embassy or Consulate outside of Indonesia. 

You will be required to present a sponsor letter

A sponsor letter is an official invitation to confirm: 

  • the purpose of your visit, 
  • that you have enough money to fund yourself,
  • that you’re not going to work illegally, 
  • that you commit to respect the laws of Indonesia, and 
  • that you will leave the country upon the visa expiry date.

Regardless if it’s a business owner or a teacher, only an Indonesian citizen with a valid ID can issue the letter for you.

Between 30 To 60 Days

If your country is listed, you can apply for the Visa on Arrival (VoA) which costs $35 with 30-day validity. Payment can only be made in cash and US dollars are accepted. 

You can purchase the VoA in the arrival hall at the airport. The VoA requires no sponsor letter and can be extended once (+30 days). 

More Than 60 days

If you wish to extend your stay, you can make a “visa run”, which means, you leave Indonesia and re-enter, within the same day. 

You can either run to Kuala Lumpur (KL), Malaysia, or Singapore but I recommend KL, with a same-day return flight for as cheap as $80

Tip: Choose KL because their friendly immigration staff won’t mind your obvious “visa run”.

Upon arrival back at the Indonesian airport, get another VoA. If you’re staying less than 30 days, get the free entry stamp (Visa Exemption) from the passport counter.

Applying For A Visa Extension

Hire an agent to apply for a visa extension because it’s hassle-free. The extension will allow you to stay another 30 days without having to leave the country.

Here’s how:

  1. Start the process at least 7 to 10 working days before your current VoA expires.
  2. Get in touch with an agent e.g. Visa4Bali or iVisa.com for around $70
  3. Hand over your passport to the agent, or get it picked up.
  4. The agent will call you, meet them at the office and process the visa extension (photos and fingerprints). The whole process usually takes less than 3 hours including waiting time. 
  5. Once the immigration officers have processed the visa extension, your passport will be returned to you, safely. 

Retiring In Bali

You have to be at least 55 years old to apply for the Retirement Visa (KITAS)

Here’s a list of other requirements to qualify for a KITAS:

  • Proof of health and life insurance, proof of pension; a minimum of around $1,520 a month, or at least a total of $18,270 for living expenses in Bali.
  • Proof of a rental agreement with the cost fixed at $380 or more a month.
  • A letter of agreement to employ an Indonesian while you live there i.e. an assistant, a household worker, etc.
  • A CV and a statement agreeing you won’t work in Bali. 

No matter which visa you choose, always check Bali.com regularly for updates.

Best Place To Live As A Digital Nomad In Bali

Canggu

The Bali digital nomad community is strong in Canggu. 

Everywhere you turn, you’ll see people typing away on their laptop. You’ll be spoilt for a choice of cool cafes with free wifi, good coffee, and amazing brunch.

Canggu is located an hour away by car, from the Ngurah Rai (Denpasar) International Airport. Before it was popular and development took place, Canggu was a land of paddy fields and a stretch of beach.

But today, Canggu has made it to the top 10 digital nomad places in Asia.  

From gyms to yoga studios, surfing lessons to bars and beach clubs, it’s safe to say that Canggu Bali digital nomads get everything under one roof. 

Ubud

Known as Bali’s art and culture hub, Ubud offers a quieter atmosphere with lush jungles and beautiful paddy terraces. Being here means you get to be ultra productive and get more work done. 

It’s a perfect location for any Ubud Bali digital nomads who wish to escape the city’s busy streets. 

After a long day at work, nothing beats cycling through the rice fields and villages of Ubud. Otherwise, you can always wind down by watching traditional performances or the locals practice their gamelan in restaurants and public areas.

bali digital nomad

Kuta

In Kuta, you’ll meet tons of backpackers and sunburned travellers. It’s THE heart of clubs and nightlife. The streets in Kuta are filled with cafes, pubs, local markets and shopping centres. 

As you can probably imagine, life in Kuta is pretty buzzing and there are tons of activities you can enjoy after spending long hours making ends meet.

It’s also home to the famous Kuta Beach – another surfers paradise, besides Canggu. The beach is perfect for beginner surfers thanks to the soft sand bar and the absence of spiky reefs.

Every day, people flock to the beach for the sunset so grab a cold beer and join the fun! 

Cool Co Working Places For The Bali Digital Nomad

bali digital nomad

Outpost 

Highlight: The most popular and voted the best coworking space in Bali. If you Google “remote work Bali”, this place appears at the top for sure! 

Location: Ubud and Canggu.

Package: 

  • Lite Pass – 25-hour access, from $49 per month
  • Medium Pass – 70-hour access, from $115 per month
  • One Pass – Unlimited access, from $188 per month
  • One Pass Plus – Dedicated desk, from $208 per month
  • Daily rate – From $16 per hour

Biliq Coworking Space

Highlight: A sunny, lush outdoor area complete with a dipping pool.

Location: Seminyak.

Package: 

  • Flexi – From $10 per day
  • 5 days per month – From $45, valid for one month
  • 10 days per month – From $83, valid for one month
  • Unlimited pass – From $132, valid for one month

Connco Work Hub

Highlight: Bright windows, outdoor seating and a rooftop space.

Location: Canggu.

Package:

  • Fixed Desk – From $208 per month
  • Unlimited pass – From $139 per month
  • Hourly pass – From $83 per month (100 hours), $55 (50 hours), $35 (25 hours)
  • Day pass – $8

Bali Bustle Coworking Space

Highlight: Super close to the beach and surrounded by boutique stores and restaurants.

Location: Kuta

Package:

  • Day pass – $7
  • Weekly pass – $35
  • Monthly pass – $76
  • Yearly pass – $714

Tropical Nomad 

Highlight: A bright, beach house style space surrounded by tropical gardens and bright white interiors.

Location: Canggu

Package:

  • Trial pass – $8 
  • One-day pass – $12
  • Starter pass – $49
  • Hourly pass – $69 (50 hours), $118 (100 hours)
  • Unlimited pass – $187
  • Dedicated desk – $208

Dojo Bali

Highlight: One-minute walk to Echo Beach, with the fastest wifi available on the island.

Location: Canggu

Package:

  • Day pass – $10
  • Hourly pass – $49 (30 hours), $69 (50 hours), $118 (100 hours)
  • Off-peak pass – $90
  • Unlimited pass – $187

Colabo Coworking

Highlight: Packed with weekly events and activities, perfect for meeting with like-minded digital nomads.

Location: Jimbaran

Package:

  • Day pass – $10
  • Basic membership – $42, valid for 2 weeks
  • J-Pro membership – $76, valid for one month
  • Unlimited pass – $139, valid for one month
  • 3-month unlimited pass – $347

Livit Hub

Highlight: A 360° view of the little island town from the rooftop, epic sunsets, meditations, and delicious smoothies!

Location: Sanur

Package:

  • Cafe coworking – $7 daily, $34 weekly, $121 monthly
  • Cafe coworking plus – $11 daily, $57 weekly, $199 monthly
  • Premium coworking – $21 daily, $100 weekly, $348 monthly
  • Premium coworking plus – $406 monthly

Kinship Studio

Highlight: An ex-garment factory with an industrial, warehouse vibe and it comes with a photography studio. The first of its kind in Bali.

Location: Canggu

Package: 

  • Day pass – $15
  • Weekly pass – $55
  • Monthly pass – $139
  • Permanent desk – $187
  • Photography studio – $173 (half day), $277 (full day)

GoWork Park 23 

Highlight: Indonesia’s leading premium coworking space. It has stylish and modern interiors, equipped with amenities and tools for digital nomads and entrepreneurs.

Location: Kuta

Package:

  • Hot Desk daily – $9 per day
  • Hot Desk flexible – $69 per 10x use
  • Hot Desk monthly – $90 per month
  • Private office – $159 per month

Best Places To Stay In Bali

bali digital nomad

Bali has a wide array of accommodations that suit all levels of budget. To start your journey, spend a few nights in the neighbourhood of your first choice. 

And then, you can explore the rest of the island to look for a long-term stay.

For a start, we’ve filtered some of the best and affordable accommodation for you:

If you choose areas like Ubud, typically, the houses are nicer and affordable. To get to town, you can always rent a scooter.

If you choose to stay in a town like Kuta or Seminyak, your best bet would be hotels or hostels/guesthouses. There will be restaurants, cafes and coworking space that you can access on foot.

Once you’re ready to look for long-term accommodation, you can visit this property website

Also, you can get in touch with the coworking Bali community via any of these Facebook groups:

The best way to get the best deal is by meeting the accommodation owner in person. And remember, the longer you stay, the cheaper the price is.

Best Food To Try In Bali

The most popular food in Bali is babi guling (suckling pig). 

Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim country so it’s highly unlikely you’ll find babi guling outside of Bali. But here, everywhere you look, you’ll see ‘turning pig’ on an open fire.

Here’s a list of must-try foods in Bali:

  • Gado-gado (Indonesian salad) – Best for vegetarians. It has tempeh, tofu, cucumbers, bean sprouts, kidney beans, and sometimes eggs – topped with a special peanut sauce dressing.
  • Sate (skewer) – A popular street food in Bali. Mostly sold by vendors from smokey carts. Types of Balinese sate include chicken, beef, goat, and rabbit.
  • Pepes Ikan (steamed fish) – A whole marinated fish, usually mackerel, sardines, and snapper, wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed. 
  • Laklak (Balinese cake) – A sweet traditional Balinese cake made out of rice flour, usually comes in two colors: white and green. 
  • Bubur Sumsum (black rice pudding) – A traditional dessert made out of coconut milk, rice flour, topped with palm sugar syrup. 

Getting Around Bali

Knowing how to ride a scooter is deemed essential if you’re staying in Bali. For a start, you can sign up for a scooter riding class here

Once you’ve mastered the art of riding a scooter, you can start renting one. Before confirming your ride though, ensure to check for any scratches or dents. 

Now that you’re ready to turn the engine, you can follow these tips:

  • Always wear a helmet. A good quality helmet costs just $30
  • Ride on the left side of the road.
  • Hire a local driver if you plan to ride further and longer.
  • Ride slowly and safely through the narrow roads and the busy traffic.

Things You Should Know About Bali

  1. Drugs And Other Funny Business

As much as Bali is a party haven, try not to get involved in drugs. Possessing drugs and being on drugs will land you in the notorious Kerobokan prison one of the worst prisons in Asia.

If you’re still keen on getting high, read Hotel K or Snowing in Bali. 

  1. Don’t Drink Tap Water

Boil tap water and fill your recyclable water bottle like the Simpl Bamboo Water Bottle. Go green, keep hydrated! 

  1. Be Respectful Of The Culture

The streets of Bali are full of canang sari, the colourful daily offerings given to the Gods every morning made by the Balinese Hindus. So when walking, be mindful of your steps.

  1. Support Small Laundry Shops 

Small laundry shops usually charge around $0.50 per kilo of laundry – much cheaper compared to hotel laundry service. Save money, support small businesses!

  1. Monkeys Mean Business

When visiting the beautiful temples, be cautious of the monkeys. 

Keep your phone and wallet out of sight because according to this article, these monkeys can recognise valuable items to ransom (for food).

  1. Check Your Food Bill Before Paying (Added Tax)

An additional 21% tax on the food/drink prices in bars and restaurants is common. But it’s best if you check your bill again before paying, especially if it’s an unusually hefty one.

Some places have already added it to their menu, some include it in a small print on the receipt. 

  1. Nyepi Day

Nyepi means quiet. On this day, Bali completely shuts down. Even the airports stop operation for 24 hours. 

You’re free to do as you wish as long as you stay indoors and keep the lights off.

  1. Red Flags At The Beach

If you see red flags along the beaches, avoid swimming or surfing. The red flags serve as a warning that there are rip currents and it’s not safe for any water activities.

  1. Download Go-Jek And Grab Apps

Go-Jek and Grab are ride-sharing services in Bali, available in Play Store and App Store. 

Both apps are easy to use and cheaper compared to taxis. Go-Jek also does food delivery.

  1. Money Matters

It’s best to use cash because withdrawal fees for foreign bank cards (Visa/Mastercard) are quite high. ATMs dispense Rp 50,000 ($3.50) or Rp 100,000 ($7) bills. If possible, get cash at the airport to avoid rigged ATMs. 

Always exchange money at a bank because scams are quite frequent in Bali although some standalone currency booths have signage that says “Authorised”.

Staying Safe

Although crimes do occur (like pickpocketing), Bali is a relatively safe place. 

Just keep these tips in mind:

  • Don’t walk alone at night.
  • Watch your drinks so they don’t get spiked.
  • Arrange accommodation before you arrive.
  • Keep your things with you at all times.
  • Don’t use your phone while riding a scooter to avoid accidents and to keep it from getting snatched by another passing motorbike.

If you’ve read this far, you know now why Bali is so special. Even if you come solo, the warm welcome and thriving digital nomad community will never make you feel alone. 

If you like, you can check out the Digital Nomad Summit Bali to listen to how other ‘legends’ did it.

Anywho… There’s always something exciting in Bali for everyone and every budget. Just remember to research that something before you go for it.

This incredible place will ensure you leave with the “I Love Bali” t-shirt on. The truth is, it’s not uncommon for digital nomads and remote workers alike to extend their stay. 

And you might too!

How To Become A Bali Digital Nomad

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