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Tips to Move and Live in Bali

Updated on December 31, 2009

Why I wrote this guide

Before I came to Bali, I started researching the topic of living in Bali - visas, starting a business and buying a property. There are a couple of forums on Bali for example: Bali Pod

One of the problems I found with reading through and using the forums that there seem to be more people wanting to move to Bali than people actually living in Bali, participating in the forum.

Not to criticize the operators of the forum, as it is a fantastic resource of 6 information built up over a number of years, but I can understand how this happens. There are a number of travel books published on Bali and various books written by artists who lived in Bali, explaining the intricacies of Balinese culture, unfortunately there is little information written on the practicalities of moving to Bali and trying to make a living.

So what I can imagine happens on the forums, is that many people use them in an attempt to find information on moving to Bali. They probably read them at their 9-5 jobs, dreaming and planning their escape to a new life in Bali.

Of course once they then move to Bali they probably are busy with just enjoying their new life on the island to go back and help answer newbies questions on an internet forum. Not to mention, the internet is very slow and somewhat expensive in Bali.

Many future expats also try to use the internet to find a place to live. Many expensive villas operating in popular areas like Seminyak, have been successful in promoting their properties on the internet, so they are about the only properties you can find and they are generally very expensive. Not to criticize the villa operators as there are some beatiful properties available and can be much nicer than staying in a hotel for your vacation. Unless you are rich though, they are impractical for long term stays.

When people post this experience on a Bali forum, the answer often is “go to Bali, stay in a hotel, make some local and expat friends and tell them you are looking for a house to rent”. I can sympathize with people's frustration on hearing this, as I can imagine it is very difficult to make plans, especially if you are moving to Bali with a family.

Having just moved to Bali myself, I have pretty much found this to be the case. I wouldn't call myself an outgoing person, but I have found the people to be very friendly and open once you tell them you are planning on living in the area. It seems as though everyone and their dog has land for sale or a house to rent.

By hanging out in an area frequented by foreigners, you will get offers of housing, land for sale, motor bikes for rent and so on. I imagine this situation will change eventually, but for now, that is how things seem to get done here. (to be continued...)


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      Clare 5 years ago

      I think people do tend to underestimate how challenging it can be to move to Bali. Word of mouth and just getting out there and talking to people here has brought me a lot of information (although sometimes it can be confusing and conflicting too - everyone has their own opinion!) for those who prefer to have this kind of thing taken care of for them you could try Bali Expat Resettlement (just google them) ..