Deciding to take a gap year could change your life! Whether you’re taking it before university, or jumping on the trend of quitting your 9-5 and heading out for an adult gap year, there has never been a better time to take a gap year in Bali than now!
Gap years are an excellent opportunity to learn about the world, and yourself.
I’m serious; I literally tell everyone that travel has been the best education for me. I genuinely wouldn’t be where I am today without it.
In today’s world of emphasizing a work-life balance, it’s time to cash in on that life part.
Let me show you just how easy, and affordable, it can be to have an incredible gap year in Bali!
Taking a Gap Year in Bali
Just image – a year of culture, adventure, and relaxation. A gap year in Bali promises to be an unforgettable, diverse time.
Bali is the perfect host for breaking away from the daily grind.
Careful though, you might just find yourself not wanting to go home, just like the rest of us 😉
Is Bali Good for a Gap Year?
Is Bali good for a gap year? Uh, YA! Come on, ask me a hard question.
Unless you hate beautiful beaches, lush rainforests, friendly locals, amazing food, and cheap spa days, then maybe you shouldn’t come – and you should also go see a doctor.
But, if all of those things feel like your vibe, then Bali is the best spot for a gap year, for all ages!
Besides being one of the world’s most coveted vacation spots, many aspects of the island make it perfect for an extended visit.
I’m assuming if you’re taking a gap year, regular money is no longer coming into your bank account – don’t worry, we’ve all been there, a time or two. It is totally normal and exactly what a gap year is all about! Whether you’ve saved up a pretty penny or you’re living on a tight budget, Bali is the perfect place for both.
You can easily enjoy Bali for less than $800 a month, and still have a really fantastic lifestyle.
And let’s not forget, there are so many volunteering options that often accommodation and meals. You could find yourself living on even less!
The cost of living in Bali is really affordable, and allows you to do pretty much everything you want without forking over your life savings. You can go out for good meals, explore the vibrant nightlife, take part in yoga classes, go surfing, hit the beach – you name it, Bali has it without breaking the bank.
Seeing as you aren’t planning to live long term in Bali and just have a fun filled gap year, take the risk and fork out for those fun, more pricey activities – you won’t regret it.
You might be a little worried about the safety of having a long stay in Bali. I’ve got to say, it’s one of the safest spots in the world for all kinds of travelers, including solo female explorers.
The Balinese people are known for their warmth and hospitality, and I’ve never felt in danger while on the island.
That being said, just like anywhere, crime does happen. Typically, it’s petty crimes like pickpocketing or a motorbike snatching your bag and driving away, but if you remain aware and use your common sense, you shouldn’t run into any problems.
Honestly, I’d say the biggest danger and hassle when visiting Bali is getting sick. We’ve all heard of the dreaded ‘Bali belly’, aka food poisoning, and let me tell you – it exists, and it’s out for vengeance! Whether it’s brushing your teeth, or trying some new cuisine in a street side stall, it can hit at any moment.
It isn’t the big horror that social media makes it out to be though. As long as you are careful with your water consumption, avoid local spots if you have a more sensitive stomach and make an effort to take probiotics ahead of your trip, you’ll be peachy keen.
Do Your Part
We are big believers in enjoying the beauty and magic of Bali without taking advantage. Making sure you have the right visa, respect the locals and their culture, and pay your way on the island is all a big part of leaving a positive mark after your stay. While doing your gap year in Bali, do your part to ensure you aren’t having a negative impact – pick up your trash, pay appropriately for services, don’t take advantage of local kindness, and be on the right visa!!
Visas for a Gap Year in Bali
Some people take a gap year to explore all over the world, while others choose one spot and have an extended stay there. Both ways give you an excellent chance to visit Bali!
If you’re looking to spend a short time in Bali, you can easily get a visa on arrival at the airport – it costs $35 and is valid for 30 days.
For those who like to be prepared, there is an e-VOA option that can be applied for before leaving home. Both the VOA and e-VOA are valid for 30 days, and you can extend the visa for another 30 days in Indonesia for a total of 60 days on the island.
Top tip: Make sure to apply for the e-VOA through the government’s official website. There are a few scammy websites out there will overcharge you.
Now, for those who are looking to stay longer in Bali – yay – you can apply for the Single Entry B211A Tourist Visa.
It’s currently the best visa choice for non-residents and tourists who want an extended stay in Bali. It’s also available for tourists who’s nationality doesn’t qualify for the VOA.
There are two options – the “Business Visa” or the “Tourism Visa”. Getting applied through a visa agent will make the process a lot easier. Make sure you clarify you want the tourist visa, and they will sponsor you for your stay.
Top tip: Required documents include a passport with six months validity and an onward ticket.
The B211 Tourism Visa costs approximately $270, including agent and visa fees. It allows for a 60-day stay, with the option to extend twice for an additional 60 days each time – 180 days total. Each extension costs around $250 and must be applied for at least two weeks before the visa expiry date. I know it sounds a bit pricey, but hey, you’re moving to a tropical paradise for 6 months – it’s worth it!
I highly recommend using the same agent for both the initial application and extensions to make it much more seamless.
Keep an eye on this post for details about the anticipated Indonesia digital nomad visa.
Where to Stay in Bali During a Gap Year
You are gonna be doing a lot of adventuring during your gap year in Bali which might mean you aren’t based in just one spot. If you are bit more of a homebody, check out these top areas to stay!
Right in the heart of the island is the spiritual haven of Ubud. I always recommend Ubud to anyone wanting to participate in yoga classes, meditation, and spiritual retreats. It’s also home to some stunning temples and beautiful rice paddies. You can take tours of the outstanding cultural spots, and get lost in the magic of the island.
You can find all kinds of different places to stay in Ubud, from cheap hostels to luxury villas. Prices start at about $10 a night for a basic room and go up from there. If you’re looking for more of a cultural experience, a homestay will give you an insight look to local life.
At a homestay, you will stay in a room at a local family’s house. You’ll be able to learn about the Balinese culture and traditions firsthand, while also having an affordable spot to stay.
Split up your stay between homestays, hostels, and villas for a well-rounded experience. It’s your year, spend it how you like!
Located on the southwest coast of Bali, Canggu is the perfect place to stay if you want that beach bum life everyone is chasing – at least I am.
Canggu has become THE place to be in Bali. Every day is a beach day – the waves are incredible, the sand is lined with beach bars and the sunsets are top notch! It has a very hipster feel to it with healthy cafes, yoga studios, and loads of holistic spa options.
But don’t let that fool you, Canggu knows how to party! Some of the best beach clubs in the world are located in the area. Sun all day, party all night – doesn’t sound too shabby for a gap year in Bali if you ask me.
Canggu is the go-to spot if you want to work from your computer or transition to a digital nomad lifestyle. There are plenty of coworking spaces and other nomads that you can meet and connect with. The area hosts a whole load of different kinds of meet ups, with the opportunity to network and meet other people with similar interests to you. Its easy to make life long friends on the island!
It is more expensive to stay in Canggu than Ubud. But if done right, it can be affordable. Hostels start at around $10 a night, and you can find private rooms for less than $20. Team up with some friends to rent a villa or home for more space and a bit more privacy! It all depends on your budget really.
Uluwatu is home to the most stunning beaches in Bali. The perfect white sands, clear azure waters and towering cliff sides are an outstanding setting for your Bali gap year. For those who are wanting that surfer life, Uluwatu is the place to be.
With a mix of culture, hipster living, tourist action and local life, Uluwatu has it all, and is much less busy than Canggu or Ubud.
I love Uluwatu as the beaches and backpackers of Seminyak and Canggu can be a bit much for me these days – just being honest. I prefer a clean beach with secret spots that feel undiscovered, and that’s what you get in the coves of Uluwatu!
Unfortunately, it’s a little more pricey than other places on the island, but it’s not too noticeable, just a few dollars difference.
For those after the waves, the surfing is a little more advanced than in Canggu, so I don’t recommend it for beginners.
I highly recommend this area to those who are taking an adult gap year. Life is chiller in Uluwatu, and the vibe is a little more grown-up. There are still plenty of bars and restaurants, but the atmosphere is more low-key. There aren’t too many 18-year-old Aussies running around 😉
What to Do During a Gap Year in Bali
Okay, so now that I’ve sold you on doing your gap year in Bali, let’s talk about what to do during your gap year!
Volunteering in Bali is one of the most wholesome things to do on a gap year. There are so many great organizations that offer volunteering opportunities, from teaching English to helping out with environmental projects. It’s a great way to give back and get involved with the local community!
Bali is a hotspot for tourism, and over the years, I’ve seen this beautiful island be put through the wringer with pollution, trash, and all-around mistreatment. Any help this island can get is much appreciated.
Yoga Teacher Training
If you’ve always wanted to get your yoga teacher certification but never found the time, I think a gap year in Bali will give is all the time you need!
There are a ton of yoga studios and retreat centers across the island where you can do your 200 hours, perhaps even 400 if you are going for a deeper knowledge. It’s also a great way to meet people with similar interests who are staying in Bali.
And at the end, you’ll have your official certification and a whole new loads of skills – sounds like a winner to me.
My favorite topic – maybe ever! Remote working has changed the game when it comes to gap years and traveling. I mean, is it considered a gap year if you’re still working? I don’t know, but I’m all for it.
Working remotely has increased my quality of life more than I can explain. From working in a 8×10 cubicle, to wearing my bikini at my 9am meetings – I can’t recommend the change enough.
Bali is a hotspot for digital nomads and remote working, so there’s plenty of opportunity to get your work done while still enjoying that beach life. It just might take a few weeks to get the right routine and discipline in place to ignore the sunset cocktails and get down to emails.
Tell me a better way to spend your gap year than learning how to surf – I’ll wait.
Lucky for you, Bali has some of the best waves in the world! It is literally a world renowned spot where professional surfers from all over the world head. There are plenty of surf schools across the island that offer classes for all levels.
If you’re a complete beginner, don’t worry, we all have to start somewhere. After a few lessons, you’ll be just as addicted to catching the waves as the rest of us.
Live your life!!!!
If you haven’t figured it out by now, let me be the one to tell you – life is about living! And Bali is the perfect place for living life to the fullest.
If I have any advice on how to spend a gap year in Bali, it’s living your life to the absolute max. I don’t know about you, but every year is just going by faster and faster, and I never want to look back and think I’ve missed out.
Explore the island, meet new people, and try things you never thought you would. I have to say, that’s exactly what a gap year in Bali is all about.
Bali is the ULTIMATE destination for a gap year, and I hope this guide has convinced you of that. As soon as you land, you’ll be thanking yourself for making the leap of faith.
Whether it’s to recharge, work remotely, or just live life to its fullest, a gap year in Bali is about to be the best decision you’ve ever made.
You’ll have days on the beach, nights out with friends, and plenty of time to relax and enjoy yourself. And I guarantee you’ll come back looking forward to the future with a smile on your face.
So go ahead, pack your bags, and book that flight – it’s time to start planning your gap year in Bali!
Featured image: Home-Bience Hostel