- Working Remotely in Bali as a Digital Nomad
- Visas and Immigration Requirements
- First Things To Do Upon Arrival After Leaving The Airport
- Getting Around
- Finding Accommodation and Coworking Spaces
- Networking Opportunities in Bali
- Experiences to Enjoy While You Stay in Bali
- Where to Find Good Wifi
- Places to Eat, Drink Coffee, and Relax
- More General Tips
Living and working remotely in Bali can be an incredibly rewarding experience!
Not only will you get to enjoy nature, culture, and breathtaking views, but you’ll also benefit from a more relaxed lifestyle that allows you to focus on your work while still having plenty of time for leisure activities.
Plus, living costs are relatively low compared to Western countries, so you can save money while still enjoying the best of what Bali has to offer.
This post is intended to offer insider tips, valuable resources, and practical advice to help you fulfil your dreams of remote working in Bali.
We’ll cover everything from visas and coworking spaces to places to stay and cultural experiences.
So if you’re ready to take the plunge into the remote work lifestyle in paradise, keep reading and pack your essentials!
Working Remotely in Bali as a Digital Nomad
The digital nomad scene in Bali is a vibrant one. With all the necessary infrastructure already in place and affordable living expenses, it’s easy to see why remote working in Bali has become so popular. The island offers fast internet speeds, convenient coworking spaces, and plenty of places to meet other remote professionals. Plus, with the abundance of natural beauty, from stunning beaches and lush jungles to active volcanoes and sacred temples, you’ll never be bored.
One of the best things about life in Bali is its welcoming culture. Locals are always willing to help newcomers, and the cost of living is low compared to Western countries; remote workers can stretch their income further while still enjoying awesome experiences like surfing or yoga lessons. With a strong expat community and a range of social activities for digital nomads such as networking events or coworking retreats, Bali truly is an ideal place for anyone wanting to work remotely.
Visas and Immigration Requirements
The most common visa to get when going to Bali is the VOA or Visa On Arrival. This visa is accessible to most nationalities (you can check the full list here) and costs around USD 35 for 30 days.
If you’re planning to stay a little longer you can either apply for a visa extension which will give you an additional 30 days stay, or leave the country and come back. For example, you can get a cheap plane ticket to Singapore or Malaysia, spend a few days there, and return to Bali to reset your 30-day counter.
If you want to stay longer (1 year or more), you have a few choices available to you:
- KITAS – Limited stay permit that lasts for 6 to 24 months. You can either get it
- Second Home Visa – Also known as the new Digital Nomad Visa. The official application page was taken down but we still don’t know whether it will be back or not
- Get out of Indonesia every month or every two months
First Things To Do Upon Arrival After Leaving The Airport
Before you can start thinking about remote work in Bali, living the digital nomad life, and enjoying what Bali offers, you first need to get a local SIM card and ideally a scooter.
Getting a SIM card
The good news is getting a local SIM card is super easy. You can pretty much get one from almost any corner shop for a decent price.
The main telecom provider is Telkomsel and I recommend you get a full internet package. You don’t need to make direct phone calls or send SMS as everyone uses Whatsapp for everything here.
You can also use your newly acquired local phone number to sign up for Gojek and/or Grab after downloading the app(s). These two are like Uber on steroids. They have a bunch of functionalities but the main two are getting a ride and getting food delivered.
Getting a scooter
This is by far the most convenient way to get around, especially for drives that are less than 45min or 1h long.
Most of Bali’s roads are very narrow and barely have enough space for two cars to drive side by side. Having a scooter allows you to save tons of time going places.
Many people drive without a helmet or driving license but it’s highly recommended to wear one and get an international driving license before you travel. That way you’ll have full peace of mind when crossing the police, especially if they stop you, and you’ll reduce the chances of dying. I don’t know about you but I’m a big fan of peace of mind and staying alive.
If you don’t want to drive because the roads are too hectic or the journey is too long, you can always book a ride on Grab or Gojek as this is the cheapest option available for transportation.
Grab and Gojek are two of the most popular ride-hailing services in Bali. They offer an easy, convenient, and cost-effective way to get around the island without having to worry about driving yourself or taking public transportation.
Both apps work similarly to Uber or Bolt in Europe – you can book a taxi at any time from your smartphone for a flat rate fare. The cars come with experienced drivers who know their way around Bali’s roads, so you can rest assured that you’ll get where you’re going safely and quickly.
Plus, both Grab and Gojek have great customer service teams if something goes wrong during your journey. All in all, they are reliable and economical ways to travel around Bali!
Finding Accommodation and Coworking Spaces
Finding a place to stay and coworking spaces in Bali is fairly easy but things can get booked out fast. You can find anything from beachside villas to budget-friendly homestays. Plus, with the growing number of coworking spaces popping up, there are plenty of places to get some work done too.
Airbnb and Booking.com have become increasingly popular over recent years and are the primary tools to research and book accommodation before arriving in Bali. It’s also worth looking into co-living solutions such as The Outpost which offer shared living and working spaces at very reasonable rates.
Coworking is another great option if you want somewhere comfortable yet productive to get work done while travelling. Many coworking spaces throughout Bali offer flexible memberships which allow access during certain hours or days each month – perfect if you’re not planning on being around full-time but still need a place where you can focus without distractions!
Lastly, you can also find plenty of restaurants and cafes that don’t require a membership to get in but offer great internet and even dedicated workspaces in some cases.
Networking Opportunities in Bali
Bali is a fantastic place to network and meet other remote workers. Whether you’re looking for advice, collaboration opportunities, or just want to connect with like-minded people – Bali has something for everyone!
There are plenty of ways to mingle with fellow digital nomads and entrepreneurs in this tropical paradise. Plus, if you’re not scared to put yourself out there, just go to some of the many regular parties on the island or speak to people on the beach! There are numerous options available that can help you make valuable connections while gaining useful skills at the same time. So don’t be afraid to get out there and start meeting people – it could be one of the best decisions you ever make!
If face-to-face interactions are a bit too much for you to start with, you also have the option to join online communities such as the ones on Facebook groups.
Experiences to Enjoy While You Stay in Bali
Bali is the only region in Indonesia that hasn’t a Muslim majority. As such, tourism there can feel unique compared to the rest of the country as Balinese Hinduism heavily influenced the shape of this place.
Here are a few things to experience during your stay:
- Swim with dolphins at Lovina
- Swim with Manta Rays and tour Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan
- Visit Gili Islands
- Visit Ubud and the surroundings (i.e. rice fields, waterfalls, temples, monkey forest)
- Do the water purification ritual at Tirta Empul temple
- Go surfing
- Watch the sunset at Uluwatu (a popular tourist destination)
- Go swim at Melasti beach during low tide (it becomes a beautiful natural swimming pool)
- Take yoga classes
- Go to the Gili islands
Where to Find Good Wifi
Finding good wifi in Bali is essential to anyone who wants to work remotely while visiting the island. With so many different places offering internet access, it can be difficult to find the best spots for reliable and fast connections. Luckily, some hotspots offer great speed and connection stability, as well as plenty of other amenities like comfortable seating areas and coffee shops with delicious food options nearby.
Stay at a place with good wifi
This may sound obvious but wifi speed and reliability can vary greatly from neighbourhood to neighbourhood.
For example, Bingin has ok internet. It can be fast (~40-60mbps) but often cuts off.
On the other hand, some houses in Ungasan enjoy faster (~80-100mbps) and more reliable internet.
When in doubt, ask your host or hotel to provide a speed test screenshot.
Scope out coffee shops
Several cafes have surprisingly good wifi. Next time you go for coffee and/or breakfast, run a quick internet speed test to see if it’s good enough for the type of work you do.
Pro tip: When you explore driving or walking around, look for places with people working on their laptops. This usually means that these have a good coworking space for digital nomads and remote workers.
Use a dedicated coworking space
The advantages of using a “real” coworking space are that:
- You’ll likely meet more remote workers and digital nomads if you want to network
- Likely to have high-speed internet
- Likely to have meeting rooms
- Better quality seating
Places to Eat, Drink Coffee, and Relax
Whether you’re looking for a quick bite during lunch or a cosy café to relax after work, there’s something for everyone! From traditional Indonesian fare to international restaurants, the culinary scene in Bali is diverse and exciting. There are also plenty of great places to get your caffeine fix – from hipster cafes serving speciality coffee blends to quaint beachside warungs (local eateries).
Here are a few of my favourites:
- Warung Local Bingin – Tastiest local food
- Laggas Bingin – Best all-around menu (I’m addicted to their Chicken Pad Thai Nacho starter)
- La Baracca Uluwatu – Great Italian restaurant
- Ulu Artisan (Uluwatu and Ungasan) – Great for breakfast and coffee
- Lola’s Cantina Mexicana Uluwatu – Amazing Mexican food and cocktails. Need to book in advance
- Single Fin Uluwatu – One of the best sunsets you’ll see from there. It’s crowded though
- Alchemy Bingin – Vegan restaurant with a dedicated coworking space and great atmosphere. They have a live band every Tuesday
More General Tips
- Learn some basic Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian language), even a few words such as “Good morning” and “How are you?” are appreciated by locals and can go a long way
- If you feel adventurous as a digital nomad in search of co-working facilities, co-working spaces in cafes, co-living spaces etc. then hop on your scooter and just drive around. You’d be surprised by the number of hidden gems you’ll discover
- Tourism is one of the main drivers of the local economy. During your stay in Indonesia, make sure to support small local businesses and even a small tip for a great service can mean the world to them
- Whatsapp will be your best friend during your stay in Indonesia. Locals use it all across the country for everything from chit-chat to booking a tour in Ubud or Mount Batur, etc.
- Make sure you always carry some cash on you. For example, if you go to a beach there’s a good chance you’ll have to pay an entry fee or at least parking
Staying in Bali is a great way to get away from your usual routine and explore the magical island. With plenty of delicious food options, exciting places to explore, and serene beaches for strolls – there’s something here for everyone! So take advantage of all that Bali has to offer by following this guide on how to work remotely in paradise. Enjoy the journey!
About the author
Karim Bel Hadj
As his name suggests, Karim is the founder of Creme de la Karim. He fell in love with remote working since he left his first corporate job and never looked back! And because something you love is almost always better shared, he is on a mission to help all remote workers and digital nomads make the most of this amazing lifestyle. You can reach out to him via Twitter @cremedelakarim