The Pros and Cons of Living in Bali
Bali has been a great place to live for us and especially during Covid. All the health protocols are followed and we never felt stressed by the situation. Everyone just wears a mask and gets on with pretty much a normal life.
Its not a major topic of conversation and definitely something not to divide people no matter what your beliefs are on the situation.
There has definitely been no panic buying of anything at all. I find it just crazy when I see the shelves bare in supermarkets around the world.
The vaccine rate is pretty good here and most have been double vaccinated.
What I do think is great is how easily you can get a rapid test or PCR test. You're basically in and out within minutes and testing stations are everywhere.
This is our 5th year of living in Bali, and for now our base. We hope to later in the year to be able to travel to Europe but we will see what the situation is later in the year.
In the meantime Indonesia has over 17000 islands so we have plenty of places to explore.
We just loved our recent trip to Java, we loved Lombok and in the next couple of weeks we will be heading to Nusa Lembongan and then the Gili Islands.
All are easy to get to and flights to Java and Lombok are really inexpensive.
The thing that I love about living in Bali is that it is a very multicultural community and we in fact rarely get to speak to a native English speaker. There are a lot of Europeans here, Russians, Brazilians etc
I must admit when I speak these days to a non native English speaker I seem to have this weird accent. I have no idea why I do that. I even find I'm also texting in pigeon English.
One of the most fabulous things about living here is that you can have a champagne lifestyle on a beer budget. The type of lifestyle that we lead here would cost a bomb in Australia.
We have a live in housekeeper called Tooki and she is very much a part of the family. She probably speaks 3 words of English but with my limited Indonesian we get by. I am extremely good at charades these days.
She's very funny and laughs a lot. Its a little like living on the set of Fawlty Towers if you can remember that show.
Ladies, you will appreciate this.... I haven't had to do any housework for 5 years now...not one thing.
Tooki always has a cup of black tea with turmeric, ginger and lime waiting for me in the morning.
She will have all our fruit chopped up for breakfast and chops up all our vegetables for dinner.
She changes the bed linen twice a week and washes towels every other day.
I think hubby and I would have to go to a nursing home if we moved from Bali as we even forget how to make a bed.
There is only hubby and I here and we keep it pretty tidy so she has a lot of free time as well.
You might think that a live in housekeeper would be intrusive, as I thought at the start it would be, but its not at all.
Tooki starts work at around 6am and does all the downstairs, sweeps outside, tidy's up the garden, feeds the dog.
When I come downstairs after yoga etc around 8.30 she will then go upstairs and make beds and clean bathrooms etc.
She then comes back down to clean up after breakfast , do the washing and ironing . She will finish this around midday.
She then comes out around 4 and will prepare any vegetables that I have out for dinner, clean up the kitchen and do any dishes. She also sweeps outside again and waters the garden. She finishes around 6pm and she does this 7 days a week.
She won't have a day off and only leaves the house about once a month.
We are always super kind to her and always buy her treats like western style bread and cake, shampoos etc She just loves it when I give her clothes and all the freebies from the hotels that we stay at.
We also have a gardener that comes in twice a week and a pool guy that comes in every morning. On a Friday and Saturday evenings when we are generally busy, we also have a guy that comes in to take the puppy for a run and walk for a couple of hours.
So , you can see its a great lifestyle and you can really enjoy life to the max.
The rent on villas really vary and it just depends what you want and where you want to be. We wanted to be able to walk the beach with good surf breaks, we wanted a view and a modern villa in good condition. We also wanted the living area to be enclosed, as most villas the lounge , dining and kitchen are usually open.
Of course it will be more expensive to get an enclosed villa but it's what we wanted.
Our villa which is really big, has a million dollar sea view, large infinity pool, 3 huge bedrooms and I mean huge all with big ensuites , deep stone baths, beautiful outdoor sitting and dining areas, a yoga studio, massage area and gym. We also have a huge roof deck with amazing views that we never use as every room and area has the same amazing view.
This villa only costs USD$1150 per month, plus electricity and water. Electric and water are approx. USD$100 per month.
Here In Bali they will want you to pay one or 2 years up front so be prepared to have the cash for that.
Its so important here to do your due diligence before you move in as once you've paid the money its bad luck.
You can of course pay a lot less for a villa and most do.
Its very important here to know what's included and what's not. Here when you rent a villa its up to you to pay for anything that breaks down, pool pump, fridge, leaks etc. So its so important to get maintenance included into your contract as it could cost a lot. The rules here are entirely different so be aware of this.
A lot of people will rent their villa out if they go to Europe for a few months. Its very easy to do that.
There are some fabulous restaurants here in Bali too and all very affordable.
We tend to eat out on the weekends but during the week we will eat home most nights.
A lot of people living in Bali will either eat out every meal or organise food to be delivered.
Food is very reasonable here and you can either shop in Western style grocery stores or shop in the local markets, we do a mix of both. The fruit and vegetables are so good here and a huge range to pick from.
Chicken and fish are really inexpensive compared to Australia. I never buy red meat as I have always found it be disappointing.
Alcohol is quite expensive here due to the duty. Beer is drunk by most as its affordable and generally you can buy a bucket of beers (4) for USD $8 Wine is expensive compared to Australia . A bottle that would be about $8 in Australia will be $40 here. Spirits are also expensive.
Phone credit is extremely cheap. We pay $4 per month for very fast Wi-Fi and more data than I can use.
I find the Wi-Fi in Bali really reliable and fast.
The Indonesian people are super friendly and always want to stop and speak to you. We always walk about 5 kms in the evening and everyone yells out "hello, where are you going" (They are super inquisitive) They often will stop on their motorcycle and have a chat. Its really sweet.
Our puppy is a bit of a novelty for them and they always want a picture with her or they will try to pick her up.
I always feel very safe in Indonesia as there isn't a drug or drinking problem here at all and drugs totally illegal of course. They have big signs at the airport advising the death penalty.
You never hear of armed holdups or anything of that nature. It will just be petty crime.
Even though the traffic is terrible here, the drivers in cars and motorcycles are so well mannered and patient. I'm amazed each time we go out that it all just flows and no one gets upset and you never see road rage or anything of that nature.
I find that just living here in Bali gives you a very positive attitude and I'm not sure if that is because its summer all year around.
It is also an easy place to be fit and healthy and eat good food. Most people think along the same lines so it becomes a lifestyle thing.
There are some fabulous yoga studios and gyms here and you are spoilt for choice. So if you are into health and fitness like me its the perfect place to be among like minded people.
Bali is of course known for some great surf spots and hubby is more than happy to surf them.
As you know Bali has been fabulous for me to design and make fashion. There are so many great fabric stores and you also have a street in the capital city that is designated just to fabric.
Once you've picked your fabric there are dressmakers and tailors everywhere and all very reasonable.
You can also get shoes made here as well. I haven't done that but I will definitely look into it in the future.
We are on a retirement visa in Bali and we get it renewed each year. Its not a difficult process and costs around about $1000 per year per person. Its much easier if you get an agent to do it all for you.
There are of course negatives living in any foreign country but nothing major or anything that spoils living here.
The first one due to Covid is you cant get back easily to your own country to see family and friends. Its been two years now since we've been back to Australia and I think it will be quite a while longer yet. In a normal year we would be back about twice a year to see family.
Another negative is the language barrier and learning another language. I do suggest learning all the basics and that way you can communicate with local people. You can either have private lessons or try using a phone app like Duolingo.
In the tourist areas they speak OK English but if you live in a more rural area like us not as much. None of our staff speak English
It is much better to be able to speak some Indonesian as there is definitely a price for locals and Westerners. .If you can communicate in Indonesian you will have a far better chance of getting a local price.
I would always recommend if you are thinking to come and live here even for only a few months , not to book a villa online before you arrive. The reason for this is that I can't tell you the amount of times that you see a Facebook page or similar and it looks awesome but when you get there you can see the pics are about 10 years old. Villas here deteriorate very quickly due to the warm humid weather and a lot of the villas are all open apart from the bedrooms.
I would highly recommend booking a villa with an enclosed living area. I just hate the thought of stray dogs, cats, rats and not to mention snakes sleeping in my house.
The traffic here is Bali is pretty horrendous and the roads are pretty ordinary on most parts of the island. You need to be able to ride a motorcycle as otherwise you will be stuck in traffic for hours in a car. A motorcycle to hire is around $70 per month for a decent one. We were in Java last month and only had 18kms to travel but it took 4.5 hours in a car!!!
Living is Bali is also a great starting point to travel to other areas of Asia. Before Covid if we found a cheap airfare we would whip across to Singapore for the day. You could have a yummy lunch at a local restaurant , a stroll around and just have a great day for little money.
I would never be able to go back to Australia to live after living overseas. I love to visit for a couple of weeks and catch up with family and friends but when you have lived overseas life is so much more interesting.
Its not only the break from the routine in your own country but there is so much interesting things to see and do.
Our plan is when we can travel more freely again to head over to Vietnam check out the surfing situation and maybe live there for a couple of months. We also want to head over to Turkey around August for a couple of months and see what it would be like to live there for a few months a year..
When we head anywhere we never buy a return ticket and just arrive at our destination and work it out from there. I love being as free as a bird.
So, I hope that's given you a bit of an idea on life in Bali with some pluses and minuses.
Yours in fashion, fitness, travel and beauty
Call Me A Gypsy