Bali is perceived by many as a mythical island where every day is filled with tranquillity and harmony. Meditations, surfing, scooter rides, and communion with nature—all of this is wonderful, but expats often experience cultural shock when relocating. Read this article to find out what you need to know about life and real estate in Bali.
- #1. Your leisure time will change
- #2. You will want to work less
- #3. You will socialise face-to-face more often
- #4. Renting a villa in Bali can be quite affordable
- #5. You will have a variety of premium real estate options to pick from
- #6. You will own property for a specific period
- #7. Utility bills are another story
- #8. Balinese real estate has its weak points
- #9. Bali has a rainy season
Accept it as a fact: life in the island has a completely different routine and pace than in a metropolis or even a province. After work, you will head to the beach for a sunset swim and then enjoy fresh seafood. Most weekends will be spent walking around and exploring nearby islands: do not be surprised if your online friends start missing you, as you will want to spend much less time on your phone and social media. But keep in mind that wherever you go, finding a secluded spot will be almost impossible. After all, Bali is a massively popular tourist destination, and there are always many people around, regardless of the season.
Here, your priorities will change, and career matters will take a back seat, as you will want to dedicate more time to health, relaxation, and other important aspects of life. Moreover, the island offers more affordable prices for everything, be it food, apartments, or entertainment. This is why Bali is popular with downshifters, who choose a slowed-down and mindful lifestyle over living in a constant rush and chasing promotions in the office.
The cost of living in Bali will start from USD 850 per month per person, but if you are on a tight budget, you will still feel quite comfortable. A monthly income between USD 1,500 and 2,000 will provide more opportunities. With a budget exceeding USD 2,500 per month, you may even be able to afford to rent a villa.
Many people relocating to the island rebuild their life from scratch: they learn a new profession online and choose a different line of work, usually related to art or digital technologies. Moreover, the location has many co-working spaces, and the internet here is excellent. Canggu is the centre of digital nomads in Bali. When it comes to finding a workplace, you will find the widest range of options here. There are also plenty of co-working spaces in Ubud, whose surroundings resemble an untouched jungle, which, however, does not take away from it being a solid choice for those working online.
Regardless of your social skills, the island will make you a more sociable person. It is home to a huge number of migrants from all walks of life, each with their own stories of how they ended up in Bali. The community maintains a warm, friendly, and supportive atmosphere, and to find services or goods, you are more likely to turn to other expats than browse through marketplaces.
There is no better place to live in the island than a villa. An entire house can belong to you and your family or friends. Moreover, this will cost just as much as living in a new apartment. However, privacy and comfort in such a home will be at a much higher level.
Most villas have their own swimming pool, so you can enjoy relaxing in the water whenever you want. Maintenance and cleaning services are usually provided by the owner of the complex, and you can also order additional services such as a nanny, a chef, or a masseur—all within your home.
The island offers not only traditional Balinese-style bungalows but also modern cottages. Minimalist homes are comfortable villas with air conditioning in the living room and floor-to-ceiling glass windows opening up views of the garden and pool. Do you want a traditional wooden house with an authentic feel? Or do you prefer a lush tropical garden with flowers, ponds, waterfalls, and swaying palms? Maybe you would like a large swimming pool with a terrace for al fresco dining and barbecues? You can find all of this within one island. Some villas are built on elevations, surrounded by lush greenery, while others are tucked away in the heart of beach towns. Whatever you choose, you are sure to get a breathtaking view from the windows.
Many villa options are located in the centre of popular towns such as Seminyak, Canggu, Ubud, and Uluwatu. These are great homes if you love entertainment, bustling locations, beach clubs, and a lively atmosphere. For those seeking seclusion in nature, we recommend heading to the outskirts of Ubud, to Sidemen, Amed, Lovina, or Pemuteran. This is where less noise from motorbikes and more sounds of nature await you.
If you plan to buy a home, keep in mind that only long-term leases are available here. Only Indonesian citizens have hereditary property rights and can legally own land or any property indefinitely. Foreigners are offered to invest and use property in Bali for a specific pre-paid period—this type of ownership is called leasehold. Normally, the ownership period is 30 years, and then you can renew the lease as per the agreement.
Water and electricity in Bali are metered, but you will likely have to buy your own gas. Simple tabletop gas stoves with 2 burners, which are connected to a cylinder, are common in the island. Locals will easily guide you on where to buy a new cylinder when the gas runs out.
When choosing your future accommodation, you should be very careful when inspecting it. The most common problems with villas in Bali are mould and dampness inside the house, termites, and leaking roofs. These happen due to poorly thought-out designs, non-compliance with standards, low construction quality, and a lack of proper maintenance. The good news is, if you are afraid of making a mistake, you can turn to a professional appraiser with a good reputation—there are many of them in the island.
The rainy season starts in November and ends by the end of February or the beginning of March. Heavy rain can last continuously for several hours, and during this time, everyone stays at home. During the rainy season, social activity decreases, and people stock up on food and essentials to avoid travelling to the city. It is something you just need to get used to, and if you plan to live in the island, choose a quality property with this in mind. Your home should be a place where you will be willing to spend days on end without feeling trapped.
We hope these facts about the island have been useful to you. Note that Bali has many more advantages than disadvantages. As for the existing drawbacks, you can fairly quickly adapt to them if you choose where to live wisely.