Bali : Living on “The Island of Gods”

Bali : Living on “The Island of Gods”

I would say having being fortunate to travel and see a lot of the world there is just something about Bali that makes it so special, with so much on offer, beautiful locations and people it is such an ideal place for you to head to once you have taken the leap. Bali is a colourful island that lies within the exotic Indonesian archipelago. One among 17,500 islands, Bali’s beauty is unique and incomparable. Known for its fascinating jungles, terraced rice fields, legendary volcanoes, mystical temples and stunning beaches, this island is a welcoming haven for travellers from all over the world. There’s so much to do here – from taking a stroll on the serene Seminyak Beach to getting an authentic Balinese massage to snorkelling or scuba diving in crystal clear waters to visiting the rice terraces of Tegalalang or watching the sunset from the lovely Uluwatu Temple, overlooking the Indian Ocean. The many temples, rituals, crafts and dances are all linked to the ancient Hindu faith. Balinese food is rich and distinctive, packed with flavours and spice. The people are warm and will always greet you with a smile. The island is mystical and spiritual, leaving visitors with a lasting impression and a sense of calmness.

The People
Let’s just start with saying the people in Bali are incredibly friendly respectful people and in over the 1 year i have been here i have not seen anything different that has made me think otherwise….. Bali has a population of around 4.5 million people. Majority of people here follow Balinese Hinduism, with a small percentage following Islam, Christianity & Buddhism. The Balinese, as people are exceptionally artistic and religious and this combination is expressed in their various art forms, including the intricately-decorated temples and the handicrafts. In terms of income, tourism is the largest industry and most businesses are related to it. Most of the people are employed in agriculture or agro-related activities. Apart from rice, the other crops grown include coffee and a variety of fruits and vegetables. Tourists dress in western wear but have to abide by a dress code in the temples and other religious places. In terms of tourism, Bali definitely attracts people from all over the world coming here to experience Bali life. You will meet amazing like minded westerners from all over the world here just to live their life their way and enjoy what Bali has to offer!!

Like most places i would just recommend wherever you go and whoever you meet along the way you greet them with a smile and show respect, especially if you are around their house or in one of the many temple areas on the island.

As like other places in Asia or anywhere in the world…. There are people who are less fortunate then others and therefore when unable to work and turn to crime to make a living….. You will see a little more about this in the Tips section…. Nothing to be worried or alarmed about….. But for sure to be aware of!

The Culture
Bali is not only a beautiful unique place for the contrasting landscape and beautiful surrounding waters with having an active volcano keeping watch over it all….. But as you explore the island you see how special and artistic Bali and the Balinese people are that live here. Bali is famous for its varied and elegant art forms, such as sculpture, painting, handcrafts, woodcarving and performing arts. Though these arts have been constantly enriched by modern artistry, they are still loaded with religious connotations and are performed mainly to please the gods and goddesses. Their dances are like dramas that depict tales from the ancient Hindu epics of the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. Many occasions are celebrated in Bali and they usually revolve around Hinduism, like Galungan festival and Saraswati. The Bali Arts Festival is held every year with parades, dances and more. Nyepi celebrates the New Year in a unique way, with silence and seclusion.. Is quite a special way to spend a day and evening as Bali (including the airport) is put to sleep….. The night sky is truly incredible!!!

Living
Living in Bali….. Is amazing!! Daily struggles include where to go for breakfast, lunch or dinner as there is such a huge variety of incredible restaurants. Also if wanting to watch sunrise or sunset it may be tough to decide which part of which beach to head to…  one of my biggest troubles is resisting the urge to adopt one of the many dogs you see on your travels….. What is nice is that nearly all of the ‘street’ dogs really like humans and are well looked after by the balinese or westerners giving their leftovers to strategically placed dogs outside of restaurants.

Living in Bali….  You realise that even on this 1 island there are different areas that have completely different feels to them and therefore attract and are suited better for different people! Which area will be best for you or will you like the most… well get your ass over here and see for yourself!!!

Canggu – i am living just outside the Canggu area in a spot called Umalas….. And it is perfect… Canggu over the last couple of years has taken off big time….. One road that use to be a dirt track through rice fields is now filled with restaurants, shops and bars!! When hanging out in Canggu you will see a lot of young travellers passing through or doing their yoga course or getting hammered down at a bar good Old Man’s. Living in a villa or homestay in this area is abit more expensive than living just outside of canggu. I am also a 5 minute drive away from Bali MMA which also has the Wanderlust crossfit just next door. I train at Bali MMA most days and the team and location are awesome!!

Seminyak – Seminyak took off before canggu and is very built up…..  Restaurants and bars everywhere and also some really nice health clubs/spas/gym. I go to Soham which has a great gym, outdoor pool, sauna, steam room & cold plunge pool…. Where i get to practice some of my Wim Hof techniques.

Ubud – Ubud i have not spent so much time but a lot of people love it…… much quieter than the hustle and bustle of canggu area… lots of venues that host yoga and meditational retreats….. Alot less development in this area.

Kuta – I have been here once and am not planning on going back anytime soon….. Is very very built up, with lots of huge shops, restaurants and bars that (don’t mean to offend) are full with australian bogans getting smashed on their holidays. Not quite the most suitable ‘work’ environment!!

Nusa Penida – This is the island of the future…… combined it is the size of all the above and more and is untouched…… surrounded by crystal clear water and incredible landscape…. Watch this space!!!

The Food
The food in Bali is also incredible with an endless amount of amount!! Plenty of local warungs around if you fancy a local Nasi Goreng or Mie Goreng…make sure if you like spicy you get plenty of Sambal. Local restaurants scattered throughout Bali as well as Western restaurants….. More so around Canggu & Seminyak area where you can literally find anything you’re looking for…

If you struggle to find what you are looking for or just can’t be bothered to drive to the restaurant than welcome to the world of Go-jek…… and app that will quite simply transform your time in Bali when it comes to food….(well it has done for me anyway). It is very simply an app that allows you to order from anyway restaurant and be delivered for a very small fee!

Accommodation & Transportation
Depending what area of Bali you are in the price of living is going to change. I would say most nonconformists & young people travelling around getting a feel for Bali stay in Canggu or in the surrounding area for a good chunk of their stay in Bali. As this area has become such a hub for westerners coming to Bali the prices are a little higher than other areas of Bali… i stay just outside of Canggu an if you follow these rental options and end up staying somewhere outside of Canggu then you should be covered with whatever you have put aside for your accommodation & bike rental.

Accomodation – Well you have the choice in Bali of staying in one of the many villas around, one of the many resorts or one of the many Homestays. A homestay usually consists of anywhere between 4-10 private rooms that are on a bit of land behind the owners house. Usually having a kitchen or shared kitchen as well as a shared pool.  They are usually tucked away in great locations, nice and quiet and great if your on a budget. Price ranging from anywhere between 4 – 8 million IDR per month (£250 – £450). For staying in resorts there are plenty around with lots of options likewise with an abundance of villas.

Motorbike’s – Once again wear a helmet!! Plenty of options to rent motorbikes from various locations all around. What i really like, especially after living in Thailand is that there are no scams that i have come across to when renting bikes. You don’t have to give a passport as a deposit so there is no fear of them screwing your over by charging you for damage that was already there in the first place. 1 month bike rental in 750k IDR = £41

Work Spots & Wifi
Well this is something you will not struggle with….. Bali is filled with cafe’s, restaurants & co-working spots that you can go and use their wifi and all you have to do is buy a coffee or something in return. I bought a Telkomsel sim card for £5 & pay 100k IDR (£5)  a month for unlimited 4g wifi…. Which is that good that even if the internet is down i can hotspot my Mac to my phone and use everything i need to for work.

Arrival & Visas
Check out the link below…. As always whichever country you travel to work out what you need to enter and how long you can stay there for. I have had several tourist visas as well as a social (2:1:1) visa that allowed me to stay in Indonesia up to 6 months.

https://www.bali.com/visa-indonesia-entry-requirements-bali.html

Costs

  • ACCOMODATION – £250 – £900 + per month
  • SIM CARD – £5 for 1 month with 12GB
  • CAR – £10 per day
  • SCOOTER – £5 per day
  • TAXIS – Roughly £1 for 5 minutes travel!! Those areas that taxis can be used for Go Jek or Grab Bike. Taxis are generally very cheap indeed
  • FOOD
    • BREAKFAST – £2 to £5 for fruit, eggs and tea / coffee
    • LUNCH – £1 to £15
    • DINNER – £2 to £20 local cuisine to any western food you can imagine
  • DRINKS
    • WATER – 1 litre – £0.20 in supermarkets – £1 at resorts and restaurants
    • BEER – £1.20 at most shops – £2 to £4 at most restaurants
    • WINE – Not huge selections and prices vary massively
    • COCKTAILS – From £1.50 upwards

When to visit Bali?

All year round!! It is indeed possible as many do stay and visit Bali even in the rainy season!

  • FEB / OCT – Perfect conditions
  • NOV/ JAN-FEB – Rainy Season….. is not continuous down pour throughout this time and some days still plenty of sunshine however be aware that it may not resemble a postcard picture you have seen of the beautiful sunny Bali!

Tips

  • Download the App Go-Jek & reap the endless benefits from ordering food, taxis, massages or whatever else you may need while in Bali to your doorstep
  • As like other places in Asia or anywhere in the world…. There are people who are less fortunate than others and therefore when unable to work turn to other avenues to make a living…. So be careful in certain areas when driving around especially at night and especially if you are a girl and alone… if you are carrying a bag than have it between your legs and not dangling off your shoulder.
  • Wear a helmet when on a motorbike….. For safety as well as police do set up roadblocks and ask for a small amount of IDR (100 – 200k) if you are not wearing a helmet.
  • Avoid text messaging/speaking on the phone while driving a motorbike one handed….. Yes this does happen and of course is highly dangerous but also it could be swiped by someone driving past!!
  • Bring an international license with you…. Police also do stop westerners (even if wearing a helmet) to check if you have an international license…. Of course almost nobody does, so again it is just a small amount of IDR (100-300k) they are after and then you will be on your way.

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