Dreaming of following your own Eat, Pray, Love adventure by moving to Bali? (If you haven’t read that book yet, do it! It’s so good!) Moving to Bali will probably be one of the best decisions you have ever made. However, there are a few things you need to know to prepare you before you make the jump. So here are the exact steps on how to move to Bali by someone who actually did it!
1. Find an Online Job
In order to move to Bali for 6 months, you definitely need to have an online job BEFORE you move there.
A lot of people imagine moving to Bali and getting away with running a small business while on a tourist visa, but there are a few reasons why you should avoid doing that:
- It takes away jobs from locals.
- You could get deported from the country and fined.
- You may not be able to return to Bali for a certain amount of time.
Instead, you should either plan to find an online job that is based in another country or just travel to Bali with enough savings and work on a project while you live there.
Jake and I were (and still are!) VIPKid teachers while we lived in Bali.
You could be an English teacher, do freelance work for Upwork or Fiverr, blog, or run any kind of online business! Just don’t try to get employment in Bali or start a business that needs clients that live in Bali.
Is it legal to work online in Bali?
Although working online while you live there is still a bit of a gray area legally, just keep your job to yourself and you should be fine.
A lot of people worry about whether working online is legal, but the main idea is that you aren’t taking jobs from locals, you are earning money that comes from another country, and with an online job, it would be near impossible to get a business or work visa.
Therefore, living on a tourist visa is the best option until countries and laws catch up to working online.
2. Make Sure You Have Savings
Even if you decide to move to Bali with an online job, you should still have a bit in savings before you leave. Of course, the cost of living in Bali is SO much cheaper and you’ll be able to save a ton of money just by living there, but you still should be prepared in case of emergency.
I would recommend having at least enough to buy yourself a roundtrip ticket back home. For me, I’d rather have quite a bit more (we had about $15,000 in savings when we moved to Bali).
However, if you are living somewhere where rent and cost of living is crazy expensive, you may want to get out of there sooner rather than later.
You’ll be able to put a lot more money into savings that you could at home and you may leave Bali with MORE in the bank than when you got there if you’re careful (we sure did!)
3. Get a Social Visa for Bali, Indonesia
The most complicated part of moving to Bali for 6 months is handling the visa. I recommend hiring a company to help you. I chose Visa4Bali and was pretty nervous because the company’s website didn’t look as professional as I would hope.
However, just remember that things are different on the other side of the world! Even though things seemed sketchy to me, I trusted the good reviews on the website as well as on Facebook and I didn’t regret it.
I chose to get a Social Visa Single Entry Visa with extensions included.
Even though you are paying for a service, you still need to apply for the visa at the nearest Indonesian consulate.
Multi-Entry or Single Entry Visa?
You are heading to Bali for 6 months. Do you want to be able to leave Bali and visit the countries around it during those 6 months? If you would like to be able to leave Indonesia, choose the Multi-Entry visa.
If you want to stay only in Indonesia for the 6 months, choose Single Entry.
I decided to choose a Single Entry visa because Jake and I had never lived abroad before and we wanted to spend as much time in Indonesia and around Bali as possible. Plus, the Single Entry visa is a bit cheaper.
I’m so glad that I chose the Single Entry because we traveled so much more inside of Bali and around Indonesia than if we would have been able to leave.
This also saved us a ton of money on traveling since we were staying close to home!
However, if we had to leave Indonesia for any reason, we would have had to apply for a new visa. So make sure you make the right decision since it will affect your stay in Bali.
Since most of the trips around Bali are in boats and around water, you’ll definitely want to order one of these waterproof dry bags and bring it with you!
Paying for Extensions: Why It’s Worth It
When you choose to get a Social Visa in Bali (a visa B-211) you are actually choosing to get a 30 or 60 (depends on what the consulate decides to give you) visa that CAN be extended up to 6 months. It isn’t an automatic 6 month visa.
Instead, you have to go back to the nearest consulate in Bali every time you need to get an extension. OR you could pay this company to handle those extensions for you.
Instead of worrying about your visa every month while you live in Bali, you’ll only have to show up for the first extension. After that, Visa4Bali does them for you.
You will need to leave your passport with them, but you can get it back whenever you want if you plan to travel outside of Indonesia. Just make sure they have it back before your next extension is due.
The Maximum Package may seem kind of expensive if you’ve never had to deal with visas before. If you have, you know that it is SO worth it just to not have to worry about heading to a consulate once a month.
The stress of applying and extending visas is seriously not worth it.
4.Use Airbnb to Rent Long-Term
Instead of worrying about signing a lease while in Bali, just book a long-term Airbnb! (That’s one of my tricks that has allowed us to travel long-term for more than 2 years!)
You can usually find a place with a monthly discount and the rent will most likely be way cheaper than at home!
To see all of the Airbnbs we stayed at while living in Bali, check out this post that details how we spent less than $2000 on rent in the whole 6 months! Also, make sure to avoid these mistakes when booking your Airbnb.
If you are working online and need fast wifi, you should only book a place for a few weeks. Then you can message other Airbnb hosts WHILE you are already in Bali and ask if you can come and test their wifi before you book their Airbnb.
You also should be aware that wifi is sketchy in Bali and there are only a few places that you can live on the island if you need really good wifi.
I only recommend Canggu, Kuta, or Ubud. Kuta being the best of the three for wifi.
5.Choose Where to Live in Bali
Like I mentioned earlier, if you are working online, your options in Bali are very limited. If you don’t need perfect wifi or don’t work every day, you may be able to live in Uluwatu or Jimbaran Bay.
However, I recommend sticking to the 3 most popular areas in Bali in order to get the best wifi, best Airbnb deals, and the most restaurants and grocery stores:
Kuta is my favorite of the three, although most people hate it there. They say there are too many salespeople on the beach or that there are just too many people in general.
However, I’d rather live in an area with “too many people” that are actually Balinese than in another area that is mostly expats.
Kuta is the cheapest, has the best wifi, cheapest Airbnbs, and is much closer to the best beaches on the island. It also has a huge beach where you can boogie board or surf!
It doesn’t rain very often in Kuta, either.
Canggu is the Instagram-capital of Bali. It is beautiful, but rains more often. It is famous for its beginner surfing spots, dark sand beaches, Instagram walls, and smoothie bowls to die for.
Ubud is the spiritual capital of Bali. It is in the middle of the jungle with tons of monkeys, very rainy, and has a ton of temples to visit.
It is known for having a lot of ceremonies done by locals and is a very “zen” area to live in. Because of the rain and being in the center of the island, the wifi is not as reliable.
6.How to Live in Bali for Longer than 6 Months
If you fall in love with living in Bali, you can decide to stay longer than 6 months! I know some people who have been living in Bali for YEARS on the Social visa. All you need to do is go to Singapore for 1 day and get a new visa.
Or you could do this back in your home country, but it’s much easier to do it in Singapore!
I would still use Visa4Bali for this service since it makes it so much easier, but you can definitely do it yourself as well if you want to save a bit of money!