Ever thought about moving to the Island of the Gods for an extended stay?
There are tons of expats and non-Balinese Indonesians craving that Bali life.
For living, opening a business, making money or retiring, Bali is a dream destination.
The cost of living in Bali varies depending on your lifestyle. Prices for luxury accommodation, Western meals and lavish beach clubs will be A LOT more expensive than a simple guesthouse, small cafe, sandy sunsets kind of life.
Bali is for everyone, and everyone can do it! For some insider insights into what it costs to live in Bali, keep reading..
Rent in Bali
Private villas and boarding houses, or kos-kosan, are the 2 most popular types of accommodations in Bali.
For long term stays, you are able to negotiate reasonable prices and give yourself a comfortable home base.
Areas like Canggu, Seminyak and Ubud are going to be more expensive than the more rural, further out spots.
If you want to be in the heart of the action, be prepared to spend a little bit more than you would in among the local villages.
The starting price for renting a private villa in Bali is around IDR20 million/month (USD $1335), but does not include any of the additional facilities and services (electricity, cleaning, etc).
And that’s the minimum, prices can get as high as IDR 50-75 million/month (USD $3320-$5000)!
Found all over the island, in tourist hotspots and more rural areas, a private villa is perfect for families, groups of friends and those with some extra cash on hand.
You can have multiple bedrooms, private gardens, a private pool and living amenities to really feel at home on the island.
If you have the means, you can have a super luxurious home.
Guesthouses & Homestays
For those who want something more understated and affordable, guesthouses, homestays, lofts and mini apartments are available.
They have great facilities, often including shared pools and gardens. The rooms vary from place to place, but more commonly include a private kitchenette, living space, bedroom and bathroom.
Budget spots in the center of towns will start around IDR 4 million/month (USD $266).
Kos-kosans are the most affordable type of accommodation in Bali.
They are incredibly simple with just a bed and bathroom, in a large complex with many other rooms.
Popular among locals, it’s rare to find an expat living in a kos-kosan, however it’s totally possible if you are looking for the cheapest option.
Located outside of central areas, they are normally close by to schools, local markets and surrounded by traditional Bali life.
Transport in Bali
There isn’t a whole lot of public transport available on the island.
Local buses run outside on the tourist centers, but aren’t to be relied upon for day-to-day getting around.
The most common type of transport in Bali is scooters or motorbikes. They are flexible and affordable to rent, at around IDR65,000-100,000/day (USD $4-7).
Long timers on the island sometimes go as far as to buy their own motorbike, but it isn’t completely necessary if you find a trustworthy and reputable renter.
Many private drivers offer packages of 8-10 hours, for tours, day trips and exploring. Curate your own trip or ask them to take you on the adventure of a lifetime!
Apps like Go-Jek and Grab offer motorbike and car taxis. It will keep your cost of living down, but you can still get around with ease.
Being able to get out and about is a huge part of enjoying living in Bali. There are so many efficient ways to do it, life on the island will be easy breezy.
Food in Bali
Bali is a foodie heaven! You can find every kind of cuisine and style of dining.
The most obvious, and cheapest, way to eat is at local warungs or from the street food stalls. Indonesian food is out of this world – the flavors, spices and tastes are OUTSTANDING.
You can pay around USD $2-3 for a full meal and drink!
Mid-range restaurants and cafes are incredibly trendy and popular – especially around Canggu. You can expect to pay a little more for a coffee and breakfast, however the fresh ingredients, vibey atmosphere and social aspect make it worthwhile. You will be looking at USD $10 upwards for a dinner and drink.
For the luxe-livers among us, fine dining in Bali is also possible. With magnificent settings, fabulous set menu options and 5-star service, you are paying for quality and experience.
Drinking in Bali
Do not drink the tap water in Bali! It is not filtered or treated.
It’s perfectly safe for bathing, washing your veggies and brushing your teeth (given you don’t swallow it).
Bottled water and water galons are easily found and affordable. A 1.5 liter bottle of water will be around IDR10,000 (USD$0.60), while a large 17 liter galon will be IDR20,000 (USD $1.20).
We highly recommend getting yourself a good water dispenser, and finding the nearest galon delivery service. No need for unnecessary disposable plastic!
Alcohol in Indonesia as a whole is quite restricted, however Bali is a lot more loose and accepting.
Local beer – Bintang – is the cheapest alcohol, and can cost less than USD $2 per bottle.
Cocktail prices range from USD $3-10 depending on the place and quality of alcohol. Many spots host happy hours and cocktails deals – especially at sunset!
The most expensive alcohol on the island is wine. Local options cost around USD $3-5 per glass, while imported wines are USD $5-10 per glass.
Thanks to the import tax on alcohol, the price of alcoholic beverages is quite high. If you want to pick something up at duty free, the allowance into Bali is 1 liter of alcohol per adult.
Staying Active in Bali
Staying active on the island is super easy.
There are SO MANY gyms, yoga studios, pilates studios, CrossFit classes and PTs. Whatever your exercise of choice, Bali has it!
For a spiritual yoga escape, Ubud is the place to go. There are retreats, studios, classes and teacher training options.
Canggu has a little of everything from HIIT, CrossFit, pilates, yoga and martial arts. It’s a great all-rounder.
Make sure you budget for a gym membership if it’s important to you. It will raise your cost of living in Bali, but we know how important it can be for your mental health.
Gym memberships can start from IDR1 million (USD $65) depending on the gym, facilities and types of classes.
And, let’s not forget getting active in nature!
Bali has some impressive hills and volcanoes for hiking. You can find hiking tours that will take you up Mount Agung or Batur for a stunning sunrise view. There is also active options like water sports (duh, surfing), running, volleyball, and tennis. Literally anything you can imagine!
Visas in Bali
One of the important things that must be considered in your Bali cost of living is a visa.
We aren’t experts, and there are many grey areas in living in Bali on a ‘non-stay’ visa.
There are a lot of expats, ‘living’ in Bali on non-sufficient visas, and immigration are getting wise to it.
There are several visas that you can apply to be able to enter Bali.
Most countries are applicable for a Visa on Arrival that will allow you 30 days of holidaying on the island.
There is an extendable Visa on Arrival available that can be bought at the airport and extended for an additional 30 days – getting you 60 days in total.
Many expats apply for the B211 visa which allows for business activities, but not official working. You can’t earn money in the country. You will get 60 days, and will be able to extend an additional 2 times for a further 60 days each – 180 days in total.
Visa rules are constantly changing (especially in the wake of COVID). We highly recommend finding yourself a reputable agent who can handle the nitty gritty for you.
Digital Nomads in Bali
Digital nomads are swarming for Bali to make the tropical island their office.
Affordable, freeing and offering an amazing work/life balance, it is easy to see why the remote workers are so keen.
Bali is packed with coworking spaces for the ever-growing number of digital nomads passing through.
A quiet, social place for remote workers to get together and find some working buddies, the majority of coworking spots on the island have some kind of payment terms, whether it be hourly, weekly, monthly or just a minimum spend.
Far more exciting and comfortable than the average office, you can look out over magnificent jungle views, have a thoughtful break beside a pool, and sip coconuts encompassed with greenery. The tropical setting makes for a stunning working set-up.
The average day pass ranges from USD $3.50-$10 (depending on the hours of use), USD $35 for a weekly pass and >USD $100 for a monthly pass with unlimited access.
Some have all the luxurious extras you could dream of, while others are a bit more relaxed and simple.
If you want to work and stay all in the same place, there are coliving spaces that have an onsite or affiliate coworking space.
Tribal Hostel is our favorite coliving option. Located in Pererenan, it is strategically placed near to trendy Canggu hotspots and beaches.
It is a great choice for backpackers and digital nomads who want to work comfortably during the day, and relax in the afternoon. There are desks, standing desks, shared benches, private booths and couches, all equipped with LOTS of electrical sockets and amenities.
The internet in Bali, while not the fastest in the world, is good for work purposes.
There are a whole load of services to choose from, including data services from local SIM cards or providers of home routers.
Fibre-optic has recently hit the island and many companies are offering high speeds for reasonable prices.
For as little as IDR350,000 (USD $25) you can have a decent internet speed, that can withstand Netflix and your regular working tasks.
Digital Nomad Visa
At the time of writing, September 2022, there is no official digital nomad visa. There are options for investors, business makers and company workers, but nothing for a remote worker.
Many digital nomads work the system at stay long term on a business visa, earning money outside of Indonesia and not paying taxes. It is a grey area, and not something we would encourage.
The legal way to work on the island is to apply for an investors visa and have your own business on the island, where you can also earn money outside of the country.
Pros and Cons of Living in Bali
- Bali has one of the best work/life balances for digital nomads. Work in the jungle, lounge on the beach, look out over rolling paddies – the island has it all.
- The cost of living in Bali is still considered one of the most affordable in the world for those on a Western wage.
- Bali has every kind of food you could imagine! No stomach will need to worry, every McDonald’s craving will be satisfied.
- Everything is easy! Want your laundry done? Express 3-hour service available. Water galon delivery? Done. Want a quick clean of your villa? Easy. Anything you wish for can be done at the drop of a hat.
- The community in Bali is one of the things that keeps people coming back. The international mixture of folk keeps you interested. Get business advice from entrepreneurs, learn about a different culture, get tips about fitness, see the inside workings of a jewelry business – you will meet all types of people from all over the world!
- Everyday feels like a holiday in Bali. You need excellent self control and discipline to be able to work in paradise.
- Being in a tropical country, the days can be scorching hot. If you’re not used to it, it can be quite distracting. Stay hydrated and topped up with suncream! Most places have air-conditioning to keep you cool anyway.
- Expect traffic! The roads weren’t created with masses of cars and bikes in mind. It’s not uncommon to get stuck in some hefty traffic jams.
- As gentrification takes over the popular areas of Bali, rental prices are rocketing! Be ready to make sacrifices when looking for your dream island home – unless you have a full bank account to back it up.
- Scams and robberies are prominent in Bali, especially for foreign tourists. Be incredibly careful with your belongings when walking and driving on the street. Keep valuables locked away at home and only the bare necessities in your day to day bag.
You will find many articles telling you the cost of living in Bali is super cheap! And it can be, if you are willing to give up some Western luxuries.
Despite being renowned as affordable, be aware that your version of affordable is the local Balinese version of expensive.