Aug 05

I was asked many times over, to update the Cost of Living spreadsheet on this page. Time is definitely ripe for an update, as prices in Bali soared over the last 3 years.

The economic crisis, a weakening Euro and an Indonesian Inflation (unofficially in the double digits) did all their part as well to change Bali from a backpacker’s paradise into a full-blown ‘Tourist Dollar Money Making Machine’.

Tourist numbers rose already to pre-crisis levels in Bali and are still climbing steadily. While most prices also went clearly up, there are still a handful of exceptions.

Read on, to find out where there are still some good bargains to be had:

General observations

Please be aware that those are all local average prices – like everywhere else, you can spend a whole fortune here in a short time; if you don’t calculate, pay attention to your spending or where your money goes. This spreadsheet is simply meant to give you some basic ideas of how the overall Costs of Living are in Bali.

Your mileage will obviously vary depending on many factors, like your disposable income, standard of living, area of residence, length of stay and your ability to haggle and negotiate better prices.

Also most prices for consumables are a mirror of the Kuta area, where the best value of money still can be had for budget travelers.

Property, rental and housing prices soared within the last 3 years and that reflects truly in the spreadsheet.

To compare better, I used a color scheme this time, red stands for prices that increased, green for prices that are lower than during the last update and black for stable prices.

This is the new spreadsheet or chart of Cost of Living expenses in Bali:

Credits: My friend and neighbor Jurgen Morhofer helped this time to look over the prices and edit the spreadsheet for accuracy.

If you want to compare prices with the old spreadsheet, last updated in December 2008, you can find that one here.


Please keep in mind that prices go up all the time. The official inflation rate in Indonesia is currently 5.5% for 2010, in 2009 it was still above 9%. I would rate that inflation rate for goods and services in Bali much higher in reality.

Good for you â€“ if you earn your money in a country with less inflation and your base currency is stable or appreciating, you still save more or spend less over a year – even with rising prices in Rupiah.

Unfortunately currency appreciation wasn’t the case for most leading currencies (especially the Euro, but also USD, Yen – maybe with the exception of the AUD) in 2008-2009.Still, things will look brighter as the world economies keep improving.

Costs in Bali are generally higher than in most other parts of Indonesia, with the exception of Jakarta. Some items here, like internet – even though they came down price-wise recently – are surely still way more expensive than in other parts of Asia or the old World.

Also the bandwidth and quality of service is nowhere near as good as in developed countries. But you didn’t expect that anyway, did you?

It’s still sufficient for daily internet needs, like browsing, chatting, updating your Facebook Status or even uploading your holiday pictures over the course of 1 night. If you run a business here, you will probably anyway go with one of the dedicated service providers and would give the mass internet via 3G SIM cards or internet cafes a miss.

Would you like to see additional items or expenses in this list?

Please let me know via the Comment Form and I will update the spreadsheet accordingly.

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written by Chris

117 Responses to “Cost of Living – Bali 2010 (in Rupiah, Dollar and Euro)”

  1. SergeyNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    link not working

  2. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    I just double-checked the links in the article, but can’t find any that isn’t working. Which link is it? Can anyone confirm?

  3. waimeamamaNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Chris – this is so helpful – thank you!
    Can you give me any idea of the average salary range for expat hotel managment professionals working in Bali? Thank you!!

  4. SergeyNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    now it is working.

    IE internet cost is 970k per 3 month not 1 month. After 3 months – just150k.
    And renting studio in legian is 3500k per month. But houses out of tourist areas starts from 1.5 mil

  5. SergeyNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Internet – Volume Tarif 320GB

    Did you mean MB? not GB?

  6. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Sergey, you are right with the Internet Tarifs, thanks for pointing that out! Changed it already. And yup, there are many options available for both internet and housing. Above I took some averages for the normal tourist areas in the South of Bali.

  7. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    waimeamama, average salaries for locals in Bali are quite low, usually around 1-1.5 Mio Rupiah/month. In the hotel sector maybe a bit higher, depending on job position, reputation and stars of the hotel. Expat packages only exist for Top Positions (GM/CEO), if at all.

  8. SergeyNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    usually start with 4mil per month. Local get 1-3 mil.

    You can survive on 4 mil but it will be hard time for you.

  9. jermNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Chris, again great info. But while most are rather accurate, some are way off. For example, for internet you can now get 5GB for 100k with Three, or 3GB for 200k with IM2, and there are more options coming to town. Also there are still plenty of places you can get small bintangs (.3l beer) for 15k, large bintangs (.6l beer) for 20k and international cocktails for 25k-40k (and yes these are club prices). Last, for housing you can still get decent rooms for under 100k per night and you can still rent decent (maybe even nice) houses for 3-4million per month.

  10. jermNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Sorry I know you averaged them out but it makes Bali seem so expensive. Lol.

  11. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Jerm, thanks for the additions and corrections! The problem with the lower prices you mentioned are, that they are not available for everyone. From the previous chart I got some flak, that the prices seemed too low at the time of publishing, but they were not, if you knew where to go. Most lower prices are available for you, me or Sergey, but the average tourist or traveler wouldn’t be able to get them, due to the double-standard pricing system here and the time involved to find out the best places. Once they are published, prices go up inevitably.

    So this time, the prices are more ‘average’, meaning simply that they are in the middle from high and low. You surely still can get cheaper goods and services, if you spend some time checking, know where and are very familiar with the environment here – like my haircut still costs me only 15K Rupiah in the kampung of Jalan Kunti. But that’s not what most people pay and where they go for a haircut. And for sure you can also still pay double or triple on what is mentioned here. The main fact I wanted to document, is that prices definitely exploded in Bali over the last 3 years.

    Even in places like Kintamani or Lovina, you have to pay now double or triple the daily rental for a small room – and you know the prices for beer or alcohol have basically doubled in general. Yes, internet may be a bit less expensive, but the bandwidth, coverage and reliability varies wildly – and even decreased, as international capacities are not upgraded, just more users added. The mentioned provider ‘3’ (Hutchison Wampoa) has only pockets of coverage for now in the south and is not available at all in most parts outside of the larger Kuta region.

    That doesn’t mean, that those options don’t exist. They are definitely appreciated and good if someone can find cheaper options in his/her area! Just wanted to avoid the impression, that Bali is still the cheap-skate backpackers location it once was (if ever), if people can’t get the prices published here.

    Let’s catch up again, mate and down some to improve the local economy (or the wallet of Bintang’s general manager)! ;-)

  12. sicknoteNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    Prices seem to be creeping up all over the world thats for sure. After looking at the increases in Bali prices perhaps my early retirement is further away than I first thought.

    Quick question…..I have just organised a surprise 12 day trip in Sept for my mum to Bali and hopefully the surrounding areas. If you had 12 days how and where would you split the time? We have never been to Bali before.

  13. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    sicknote, quick question, quick answer. Check out this article, which should give you a good overview on what is possible here. Then you could cut it down based on your interests and budget. 12 days is ample time to visit most interesting sights without being in a hurry.

    Yup, prices increased steeply here, but it’s still possible to find good deals and live cheaply in Bali as elsewhere. It’s a matter of personal needs and finding the perfect spot for oneself. I know, easier said than done. :D

  14. jermNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Chris you forgot to mention the free drinks at Sky Garden. That would even down the rest of the booze price spectrum. Lol.

  15. JurgenNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Jerm, you’re right, but I guess if we continue advertising this on a public forum these offers will be gone soon too… L-) ;-)

  16. sicknoteNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    Cheers Chris, will have a good look over that article.

    Very surprised actually at the steep rise in costs in Bali….but then again Asia is rapidly catching up with the rest of the world.

    Currently on target for early retirement in around 4 years so hunting everywhere for suitable destinations. So far the philippines seems my best bet. The GF is from Africa and this alone is a bit of a headache in regards to visa regulations.

    Maybe I will just need to settle for the Dark Continent……

  17. DanaNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Another thing to consider is where you are buying things because the price can vary wildly.

    Just for an example the part with Mie Ayam and Mie Goreng/Nasi Goreng may very well cost 15,000 and 20,000 respectively in a place that it is a little nicer to eat in, but both of those items would only be about 5,000 when bought from a local warung. Nice list though, I was going to ask you the other day if you planned on updating it again, and then here it is, before I even said anything.

  18. noelNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    hi chris,

    thanks for the update …… i live here now (sanur area) and generally agree with most prices you have posted, though i find sanur is generally a little more expensive than kuta, but a better lifestyle ……. i particularly enjoy genuine indonesian food and eat where the locals eat, which is still very cheap ……….. and, compared to other beach destinations in south east asia, bali is still the best value for money in my opinion for price and variety of facilities available



  19. andraNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    use smart evdo . unlimited plan @ 3.1 mbps around 140k-275k rupiah….

  20. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    sicknote, yup, there is definitely a steep trend to the upside regarding prices. Am trying to make another article, which shows better the cost development in Bali over the last couple of years.

    Dana and noel, you are both right! Depending on where you shop and eat, you can save quite substantially on daily items. The more you can adjust to local life, the lower will be your overall expenses.

    andra, nice try! Although this smart evdo offer looks good on paper, it is unfortunately not available everywhere, but only in pockets of coverage in the Kuta area. But yeah, it’s another options and if it works for you, even better! No pain for others to try it out in their area, I’ve heard that the ‘smart’ people even let you try it out for free for 1 day or so. ;-)

  21. This Time NowNo Gravatar REPUBLIC OF KOREA Says:

    Hello Mr. Chris,

    Would you know of any websites that feature very nice apartments for rent? I would love to rent an apt. for a month and just explore Bali. You know me, I like great interior design, more like budget boutique hotel style. Thank you in advance!

    Felicia, This Time Now

  22. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Hello Miss Korea Felicia! The best advice I can give, is not to rent apartments or villas in Bali via websites or the internet. Because almost all of them are outdated and way overpriced. The best deals still only can be had here on the ground. What I usually recommend, is to come here, stay a few days in a cheap hotel and then go and look for yourself by rented motorbike or with a driver in the area of your choice. This way you will be able so save between 30%-50% of advertised prices. The area around Legian/Seminyak could be a good choice for a first timer in Bali. Countless of options here in regards of accommodation, food, entertainment, shopping and things to see and do. Let me know, when you are planning to arrive and maybe I can give some more specific infos. ;;)

  23. hermitNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Hello there!
    15.000 for a kg of rice?have you actually ever bought one?At this date,22september the average is 8.000 per kg,supermarkets,anywhere.It seems futile,but for Balinese the raise of the price of rice is a major issue.
    it is like the standart of cost of living here.
    (i am not criticising your effort to make Bali more accessible to more people,very laudable.)

  24. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    hermit, buying rice can be a science in itself – if you make it one. While I agree, that you can buy rice for 8K/kg or less on any local market – that’s not what most foreigners do.

    Their problem with local markets is, that you never know, what rice you get, where it’s from, how old, laying already in the water, insect or rat infected. It’s a very common issue here, a few months back there was even an article about the bad quality of subsidized rice and how people still make profit from it. They simply fill it out of the big cotton sacks into any container they can get a hold of and re-sell it, hence the cheaper price per kg. That’s also how it works on local markets.

    I have no issues with that, but lots of people do. They go to supermarkets and buy packaged rice.

    Here the picture looks different. Just an example: in very popular Bintang supermarket in Legian you can buy all kinds of rice: white, brown, organic, special steam rice, gluten-free, fragrant red, whole grain or whatsoever. It’s clearly printed, where it’s from, where and when packaged, even nutritional facts are printed on the package.

    But let’s stick to plain, simple, white rice.

    You can buy those for anything from 6.800-20.000 Rupiah per kg – but only (!) – if you buy a 5kg sack at once. Buying less, like a simple kg of white rice alone, will set you back at least 13.400 Rupiah, around 18-20K for Organic White Rice and can go all the way up to 70.000 Rupiah (!) for one simple kilo of some special brand I forgot the name of. But it’s still white rice only.

    In Carrefour in Jalan Sunset or Hypermart in Bali Mall the options and price varieties are even more manifold.

    So yeah, you are right! Cheap rice or whatsoever can still be had in Bali, but like with anything else, it depends on your preferences, effort, shopping habits and availability in your area of choice. Not everyone likes Hyundai or can afford Mercedes, that’s why Toyota is doing so well.

    Just wanted to explain a bit further, where I was coming from with the above prices. Which price would you like to see there? If I put in 8K, people will complain that they can’t get it where they shop or that this quality they would only feed to their chicken at home. It’s not easy to compromise, so I went with a median, most people should be able to live with. Peace bro? ;;)

  25. martaNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Hey there Chris!

    I’m in Bali at the moment and in search for a 2 bd house to rent for 9 months. Any advice where I can find ads? I’m interested in Kerobokan or Canggu area.
    Thanks a lot,


    If anyone on this forum knows of anything that fit my describtion please contact me off forum at

  26. JamieNo Gravatar CANADA Says:

    These prices make me absolutely sick. I was in Bali in 2008 and it was already tourist hell at that time. Everywhere I looked around the island was being developed. I spent one night in Kuta, woke up the next morning, and knew that I had to GTFO of there ASAP.

    So I hitched a ride to Ubud and found myself with some ability to relax for the next 2 months.

    Here’s my drift…I’m looking for a place…Quiet Very very little tourism. Very inexpensive. Great food. And that’s it. No pubs/bars/clubs. No major shopping. No western restaurants or shops.

    I want to take a couple of months to read, without the sound of incessant automobiles or senseless chatter. I want nothing more than the bristling of quiet leaves or the calls of a tropical bird.

    I am looking for only a roof over my head and fair prices that will allow me to stay for enough time to think. That is all.

    Is this place found on Sumatra? Borneo? or can Bali still hold my desires without the infestation of commercialism?

    Please Help!

    – Jamie

  27. yozaNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    to jamie

    you can go to raja ampat in Papua

  28. JamieNo Gravatar CANADA Says:

    Raja Ampat???

    I have yet to find a place to stay there for less than $100 night. Please provide me with whatever source you are receiving your prices from.

    Raja is a diving hub that is overcrowded with with live aboards and devoid or cheap lodging.

    As stated before, I am looking from something very simple and quiet but also very inexpensive. Ubud was decent but you can already see the signs of development and mass tourism encroaching, which detracts of the quaint charm that it could potentially hold.

  29. MariyoNo Gravatar CZECH REPUBLIC Says:

    Hello! It looks that I’ll be working in Bali from August 2011 as a teacher.
    I’d like to know if I can get products like brown rice, whole grains (barley, quinoa) Miso and other Japanese stuff.
    Thank you!

  30. JamieNo Gravatar CANADA Says:

    Mariyo, see the link below:

  31. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Mariyo, there are manyyyyyy Japanese Restaurants in Bali, most great value for money. Also, brown rice and whole grains are available. Specific imported Japanese stuff can be had and found in places like Bali Deli, sometimes in Carrefour or specific delicacy shops, like the one I forgot the name of – in Seminyak Square in Seminyak. ;-)

  32. SusanNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Hey Chris!
    I´m a 22 year old civil engineer from Venezuela, I just graduated from college and I’m working at a big company right now, but I just decided to drop everything off and go to Bali or somewhere in Asia! But I’m very much in love with Bali.. I want to do kind of what u did actually..

    I’m not exactly looking for establishing or living there (although I wouldn´t mind if that happens) I’d just like to spend a couple of months or maybe more over there to enjoy that unbelievable place.. And I’m coming to you actually for some help and information about how much money would I need to survive trough a month.. Nothing expensive, just a nice and comfortable room whit absolutely no luxury or opulence, where I can be around nature and relax, eating at local and low price spots, renting a motorcycle and go around the island..

    by the way! Is there any chance that you could know if my driver license from Vzla. Works over there, or do I need to get a special license?? And also I’d like some information about is it any dangerous to go on a trip like that alone..?? I would really appreciate your help!

    Thanks a lot, and keep going whit with this web site, it’s awesome! Although I couldn´t see the price list and that´s kind of why I’m asking you about that.. hehe! Regards!

  33. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Hi Susan, Bali can be as easy or difficult, as you want it. It’s a very safe place compared to other destinations in Asia. Regarding costs of living, that’s what the above spreadsheet is about to get an overview, as I don’t know you, your needs and expense habits. Locals can live here for as low as 500K Rupiah, an average salary is about 1.5-2 Mio Rupiah per month, but most foreigners would need probably around 3-5 Mio Rupiah to live comfortably with a very basic lifestyle. If you party a lot, need imported goods and have other expensive hobbies, here as elsewhere, only the sky is the limit,

    Your driving license might or might not be enough, depending on your capacity of being hassled, please read up more on that in this article.

    Regarding visas, read up here. Or for specific visa questions, get in contact with Channel 1 directly via this mentioned article or currently via his banner advertisement in the upper right corner.

    Have a safe trip and enjoy your time in Bali! :D

  34. SusanNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Hi again Chris! and thanks for answering so soon! I got a little problem here.. I’m really not that familiar whit some terms in English.. when you talk about 500K rupiah, what’s the “K” mean?? And 1.5-2 Mio Rupiah is what..? 1500-2000?? What that’s “Mio” mean, thousands, millions..?? I’m sorry if I’m asking about something that’s absolutely obvious =s..

    However, I really wanted to ask you about something very personal.. how did you deal whit making this decision and leaving behind your family.. I mean, your life it’s been my dream like forever, I can’t even remember how long, but every time I make the decision to just do it, immediately comes to my head all this thoughts about my family, about leaving behind my grandparents who need my help, my father who counts on me, my little sister who´s just starting college and needs my support.. didn’t you had to deal with this kind of things, walking away from your parents, your wife, or kids or friends.. How did you manage yourself to do it..?

    Thanks again!

  35. JurgenNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Hi Susan, let me help you out with answers to your first question while attending an eventual answer from Chris to your second and personal question:
    K is the international abbreviation for Kilo, as in kg (kilogram) and means one thousand. Mio instead stands for Million, so 2 Mio = 2,000,000

    Hope this helps

  36. JamieNo Gravatar CANADA Says:

    Hi Chris,

    Do you have any recommendations to my post above:

    ‘Quiet Very very little tourism. Very inexpensive. Great food. And that’s it. No pubs/bars/clubs. No major shopping. No western restaurants or shops.

    I want to take a couple of months to read, without the sound of incessant automobiles or senseless chatter. I want nothing more than the bristling of quiet leaves or the calls of a tropical bird.

    I am looking for only a roof over my head and fair prices that will allow me to stay for enough time to think. That is all.

    Is this place found on Sumatra? Borneo? or can Bali still hold my desires without the infestation of commercialism?

    Please Help!

    – Jamie’


  37. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Susan, besides the explanations Jurgen thankfully already pointed out – the thing about the family is really a tricky one. For me it was easy, because I’m in the fortunate position that my family can take of themselves, as it is often in developed western countries. They don’t need my help to survive. To see and visit them is another thing and currently I handle it that we see each other at least once a year for up to 4 weeks at a time. My parents either come to Asia to spend their holiday here or I fly over there for a couple of weeks. Works alright right now and we anyway are on Skype at least once every week via Video, so everyone knows what’s going on and how everyone is doing, Doesn’t substitute personal contact completely, but that’s just how it works at the moment. In my family most are still healthy and mobile, so that maybe eases this issue for me. As with all other things, your mileage will vary and for some people those are the most difficult issues. ;-)

    Jamie, places like you describe still exist – in Bali, Lombok or anywhere else in Indonesia for that matter. If you are looking into Bali, you might want to research Padang Bai, Amed or Lovina for a start, which are very quiet yet still affordable. And you would have always the choice to ‘come back to Civilization’ easily, with just a few hours drive. In Lombok are even more choices to name here.

  38. MaddieNo Gravatar MACAO Says:

    Umm…could someone please help me? I don’t understand Indonesian currency…I’m from Macau and i’m going there this January for 10 days, but I don’t really know how much i’m supposed to bring…How much is 100, 1000 rupiah??

    Please help me

  39. JamieNo Gravatar CANADA Says:


    You can try using a currency conversion tool such

  40. ShitaNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    what is the cost of one kilo of durian and one kilo of banitan? Thanks

  41. AndreeaNo Gravatar ROMANIA Says:

    Hey Chris,
    Your price chart has been really useful for me , but unfortunately I wasn’t able to find accomodation on web within the price range from your chart
    I am intrested in living there with my boyfriend durring summer time for about three months. We aren’t intrested in luxury, only a small, clean and quiet place ( 1 bedroom) Can you recommend us something very afordable?
    And another thing : we would love to try the market and find some work while living there, in case we decide to stay longer. I am an interior designer and my boyfriend works in graphic design-branding and illustration. Can you tell us something about the market in this area?

    Oh and i forgot to mention , the Corrupt Traffic Cops post is hilarious ;-)

    Thank you!

  42. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Shita, I’m not an expert with Durians, but prices vary a lot here as well. There are literally hundreds of variations of Durians, similar to Bananas. Durian is a native fruit in Indonesia, even the name durian is an Indonesian word and means ‘thorny fruit’. What I know is that prices range from 30K Rupiah up to 250K Rupiah or even more per kilogram, depending on the class of fruit, origin, shape and other factors – but honestly I have no idea how to classify them and which ones are good or not and why.

    What is banitan? I never heard that word and googling it didn’t get me any results. :-?

  43. ShitaNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Thank you Chris, what is a value of $5 there in indonesia

  44. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Andreea, the problem with rental accommodation is, that the best deals can’t be found on the internet. Websites with Villas and house rentals Indonesia are notoriously overpriced and not well maintained. I would recommend against booking anything online except a hotel for a few days. When you are here, rent a bike or car, get a local SIM card for your telephone and drive around the area of your choice. You will notice the many signs for rental with telephone numbers. This way you can save around 30-50% compared to the prices online, avoid agents and other middle-man and can make sure your villa is really in the area of your preference. Just don’t send any money for long-term contracts, before you haven’t seen the place yet. Many villas here are also very old, with bad maintenance and things on the ground will most likely look completely different than on the internet.

    Shita, 5 USD are currently around 45K Rupiah. For more accurate and up-2-date numbers, you can use sites like http://www.xe,com, which have other currencies also (for Indonesian Rupiah you must click on ‘More Currencies’ first).

  45. AndreeaNo Gravatar ROMANIA Says:

    Thank you, Chris for your answer, we’ll keep in mind your advices and hopefully a few months from now Bali will be our new home away from home.

  46. BethNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Hi Chris,

    First I would like to say that this article is very informative and helpful.
    I been reading blogs this past few days now.
    I need help on where to stay in Bali. You mention that it is better to stay in Legian/Seminyak could be a good choice for a first timer in Bali.

    My friend and I will be going to Bali in Feb2011 and I’am suppose to book a hotel online but when you said … almost all of them are outdated and way overpriced.Is it better to come first and choose cheap hotels??

    I am afraid we wont be able to get any once we get there because our time of arrival in Denpasar is 21:15 (9 o’clock in the evening). Do you think I should book hotel now? or if not can you recommend cheap hotels to stay for 2D/2N??
    And is it safe to walk in the streets at that time? Do hotels offer pick-up in the airport??
    Thank you so much!!!!! :)
    :) :) :-/

  47. BethNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    ??? :(

  48. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Sorry for the late reply Beth, was on the road visiting the Bromo Volcano in Java the last few days with limited internet access only.

    There will be no shortage of hotels in February, as it’s the low season in Bali. As I said before, I would not book anything online, just come here and stay at any cheap hotel in Kuta Poppies Lane 1 or 2 for a start. 9pm is fine, it’s a great time to come and negotiate good deals, as the hotels would not expect many more guests for the night, so you will be in a good bargaining position.

    Bali is very safe to walk around at night, recently there is even more police presence in the streets, especially Kuta and Legian area, so no worries about that. And yes, some (more expensive hotels) offer pickup from the airport, but you most likely pay with a higher room price.

    With the new Taxi scheme implemented, there is a good and safe way to book a Taxi for a fixed price. Just turn right when you come out from the Terminal and walk to to official Taxi counter. Don’t accept any offers to bring you somewhere from freelancing Taxi Vendors. The normal price to anywhere in Kuta is currently around 50-60K Rupiah.

    Have a nice trip! ;-)

  49. BethNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Thank you very much Chris!!!!
    Your a relief. This is great help. hehe
    Hope to see you when I visit Bali. :-)

  50. AB in BerawaNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Hey Chris,
    Was a big lurker here as we (Martini & Andrew & Dragon) researched for the move.

    Now, we’re residence and stoked beyond.

    Thought it might help others to see our day in dollars.


    $145M for 12 months (about $1300US a month) gets us a really nice brand new including brand new furnishings all the way to pillows 3B w/pool in Berawa Beach, 500 meters up from sand on a silent road.

    Canggu Cafe, usually about 100,000R for two to eat a lot, or 40,000R for two to have yummy Nasi Campor. ($11US/$4.5US)
    LegongKraton Hotel (soooo nice!!!) 150R (US$17) gets us drinks and food.
    Beach: Food Stall guy, delicious plate of Tofu and greens and rice, 5,000R. (50c US)
    Warung: From 10,000R to 25,000R depending on meal (1-2.5US$)
    Groceries: Carfoure style, about $50 US gets a weeks worth of seafood meals, meaning fish, salads, breakies, lunches etc.
    Local Market style, about 500,000R ($5.5US) gets about 3 to 5 KG of fish.

    Operating Costs:
    Electric: 10 days is 200,000R (about $22 US)
    TV: 150,000R a month ($17US)
    Gardner: 250,000R a month ($27US)
    Housekeeper/babysitter for ±40H week, 1,000,000 ($110US a month)
    Car (renting an APV monthly until purchase of a LandCruiser) from local guy, 3M a month ($330US)
    Internet: 600,000R ($66US) gets us solid reliable GlobalExtreme service at a decent enough to Video Skype speed. (install of pole was 2M/$220US)

    Mountain Bike addiction: Free.
    Surfing: Free.
    Kitesurfing: Free
    Hiking to Waterfalls: Free
    Counting Stars: Free


  51. Marisa TubbyNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    Hi Chris, what an absolutely fantastic service you are offering here. I have not been to Bali since ’06 my son and I usually spend a month there. My how prices have increased … still worth every cent though. Gorgeous country gorgeous people. Back soon. M

  52. SeliNo Gravatar SPAIN Says:

    Thanks, Chris, for your info (and for your blog). I’ve been looking around the web for intelligence on Bali and yours is the best I found.

    I have to say, though, that your comments about the Indonesian inflation are worrying me a little. I just came back from a three-month trip to Thailand, where prices are not so good as years ago, but still quite affordable. And now I was planning on moving to Bali for 9 months, starting in April/May 2011. I am a writer and I also work through Internet, so I was hoping to rent a small house for a single person, in a rural/wilderness area, somewhere nice and quiet where I can work close to nature, but not too far from other like-minded expats and long-termers (I like peace, but also the chance of having some social life – although not the Kuta kind!). Do you think I can find (with relative ease) something like that below the 200 euro/month mark?

    Another worry: is mobile-internet available all over the island, or are there many dark spots? I don’t mind if connections are slower than here in Europe, or even dearer, but I do need to have some form of easily accessible internet.

    In a previous response, you mention a few quiet, out-of-the-way places, like Padang Bai, Amed or Lovina. But I wonder if there is some social life (even if an easy-going one) in these and other similar places in the East and North? From the distance, the best combination of local life-style, great locations and social/cultural interaction seems to be Ubud… But how is it really? I have the feeling that it’s not so nice as it seems from here; perhaps getting overdeveloped as someone mentions above or just too commercialised? Maybe prices in Ubud are also quite high. Can you enlighten me on this, please?

    I know that I will only be able to find “my” place once I’m over there. But maybe my expectations are out of current reality (just like the prices you quote!). It would be great to have some first-hand info beforehand, so that I can adjust my plans accordingly and maybe head somewhere else (?). Thanks a lot for your help!!! If I end up going to Bali in April, I promise to offer you one of these Bintangs (or two, if inflation has behaved a bit!).

  53. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Seli, no worries, there are still many bargains to be had around the island. And in most places exists some sort of nightlife, like Padang Bai has a reggae bar and some few music clubs, Lovina also – some spots play live music, there is karaoke available and it’s not that quiet, if you know where to look. Easy to find out, once you are there – but spots are popping up and closing down as anywhere else.

    Ubud is in my view maybe the spot with the most development and inflation recently besides the southern areas, although some friends (like Sergey, who comments here also regularly) might disagree and enjoyed it very much there.

    Mobile internet is really very flaky and mainly consistent in the South (Kuta/Legian/Seminyak) area. But almost everywhere there is at least something available. Just check with the locals, what they use. You might have to buy a few prepaid SIM cards and try out, what works in the area of your choice. SIM cards are cheap and cost anything from 2.000 Rupiah to 30.000 or higher for special vanity numbers, but if you just need it for data, the number shouldn’t matter. Some more info can be found also in this (older) articles about ISP’s and wireless 3G and their more up2date comments.

    So, don’t worry too much, enjoy your trip and your new life! Fortunately, my advice is free of charge, so your ice-cold Bintangs will most likely and luckily trickle down your own thirsty throat, if we don’t bump into each other….. :D

  54. KennyGoodboyNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    AB – can you post pics of your place? It would definitely help to see what $1,300 per month buys. Sounds nice! Thanks

  55. AB in BerawaNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Hey Kenny

    Planning to build out a pic gallery on-line in the next couple days. I’ll toss down a link here. – AB

  56. myraNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    o.k. another question… how about the visa. can we just stay for a year or two on some kind of extended tourist visa?

    or do we need to leave the country every three months….. please elaborate.


  57. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    myra, check this article here, with lots of Visa Info, Questions, Updates. It was originally written with the Sosial Budaya Visa in mind, but had meanwhile more than 200 Comments with almost all Visa Types covered. If you have specific questions, that would also be the right article to ask via the comment form, as Mr. Channel One (a very professional Visa Agent in Bali) would see and answer your questions there more likely. :-B

  58. RickyNirvanaNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Hi Chris, You seem to be very busy with your travel advice :0). I have a few cut and dry questions that if answered would help me greatly. I am going to be in Bali May 14th-30th 2011. My purpose of this trip is “tranquiility, relaxation, and peace (CHEAP TRAVEL):

    1. Amount you rweccomend to bring for the 2weeks ill be in Bali (Total)
    2. Flying out of bali to and from Jakarta, Malaysia, Singapore, Philipines with AirAsia? Is that a good idea?
    3. Is it best to just Land and go (i.e. hotel, rooms, food, itenerary)?? Is it best to just land and just go with the flow with no plans??
    4. What are the women like?? I met a women on my traveling website travbuddy and she seems to be desperate and saked for money? What shoyuld I do??
    5. What will be the best route to take if i want to hit all the hot spots (i.e. bali, Ubud, Padand Boi, local spots, inland communities etc. Should I land in Bali then venture out, or land somewhere else and end up in Bali??

    Thanks Chris. Hopefully you will have time to answer these questions. PS are you in Bali in MAy 2011??

  59. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    RickyNirvana, here some answers to your questions:
    1. no idea, it depends on your preferences and demands, everyone is different. Although I would not recommend to bring huge wads of cash, but withdraw money from ATM’s when you need it. Here and here is why.
    2. Sure, why not? AirAsia is the best and most reliable budget carrier in Asia. Need more info? Read here.
    3. That’s completely up to you. Many people like package deals and have someone organize their trip for them. I don’t and prefer to go with the flow. In Bali that is even easier than most places in Asia, as the island is good developed in the South and Tourism is the main income of the island. So whatever you plan to do, there will be an easy and many more differentiated ways.
    4. Women in Bali? Same like anywhere in the world. They have different anatomy/mindset/features from you and me and that’s what makes them so attractive in my view. You have very sweet, nice, honest, beautiful, ugly, fat, evil, skinny, aggressive, mellow brown, white, yellow, clean, smelly, independent, possessive, cheap, high-maintenance or whatever girls and women here – and of course the odd black sheep. Same with men. The most important advice on any travel or dating site is always, not to send money to people you only met on the internet. It can be anyone and his dog.
    5. Same like number 3. Just 1 advice: Bali is very big and distances are easily underestimated. So it pays to take some more time and not plan everything on tight schedules. For more info about what to see and do in Bali, just click here and scroll/scan through the dozens of existing articles.

    Hope you enjoy your trip! ;;)

  60. Amy CaroleNo Gravatar CAMBODIA Says:

    Hi Chris!

    Thanks for putting this together, you have no idea how many questions you’ve answered for me :)

    I’m heading to Bali in March for an extended time frame to get online and build a website, dive deep into yoga/meditation, etc. I just spent the past 3 months in Arambol, Goa and loved the vibe there. Right now I’m looking at what area would be best to stay in and was quite curious about Seli’s comment about Kuta: “I like peace, but also the chance of having some social life – although not the Kuta kind!” What’s this all about?


  61. Amy CaroleNo Gravatar CAMBODIA Says:

    Lol ok nevermind, I found my answer about Kuta…no need to post :)

  62. SurenNo Gravatar GUYANA Says:

    Hey,gud work here just was browsing ,seems u hv a lot of time on ur hands 2 do this, im in Guyana ,used 2 live in Canada im thinking of indonesia as another place 2 spend sum time, i hv about 800usd to live on per a month but can increase that to 1000usd so i think that will b enough 4 me just a 1 bedroom self contained apt wil do fine .Food prices seem ok as im not a picky guy wil luv the local food as rice is a what is here in Guyana,as one guy said 50 cents gets u a plate of rice tofu n greens that sounds like a healthy meal as i do suffer from cholestorol ,so u think i can make it 4 about 3 months at a time ,im 50 years but look like early 30’s lol .
    thanks suren

  63. dub WrightNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Hey Chris – Been following the messages here and the information is very beneficial. Note, I was last in Indonesia in 1967; I will be taking my retirement to Bali, perhaps as early as 2012. Am told that the crime rate has been increasing – any advice or words and warnings?

  64. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Suren, congrats that you look like 30, even though you are 50. I’m end of 30’s and probably look like 50, so we have something in common, even though from different angles…! I’m sure, you can survive in Bali, if you can survive elsewhere on 800 USD/month, but your mileage will vary. Some can, some don’t – and it’s really hard for me to tell you from far away, without knowing you. But in our 30’s, we anyway still can survive from love and hot air alone, can’t we? ;-)

    dub Wright, crimes rates are increasing with the increasing tourism and influx of shady elements who want their share of the cake. They are surely higher than 1967 – but Bali is in my view still one of the safest place in Asia, maybe with the exception of Singapore. Just use common knowledge, don’t let your money hang out of your pockets and you will probably be more than fine. ;;)

  65. dub WrightNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Any words on Healthcare?

  66. BethNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Hi Chris… I already been in Bali and I was awesome!! And I would like thank you for all your wonderful advice. Its been easy for us to roam the island for first time because of your blog. very helpful! I message you December 5th, 2010 at 6:25 am…Thank you so much. I will definetely be back in Bali.:) :)

  67. BeccaNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Oops! I just noticed you were referrring to the cost of electricity in the home @ under $30 and not the monthly rent. Sorry!

  68. NinadNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the brilliant info that you have here and these Q&A help with even more (though I haven’t scanned thru all of them)

    Just wanted to know some information about BaliSpirit Festival. Have you attended any? My band is performing in this year’s festival at Ubud. Wanted to know how’s the crowd like. We will be in Bali by next week. How’s the weather in late march there?


  69. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Ninad, I’m sorry, I haven’t heard about that festival, maybe some other readers has? Ubud is a pretty unique area in Bali, with all kinds of crazy, alternative and creative people, hehe! Usually not my crowd, though.

    Regarding the weather, normally in March you literally only have the last drops of the rainy season, which is from Nov. to March, but the last couple of years were very much unpredictable, either due to climate change or other reasons. Nobody can give you a definite answer on how the weather will be. Currently, what I heard (am only back on 25/03) it’s still raining sometimes, but generally it’s warm as always, although Ubud generally has a bit cooler climate, especially at night. You will still love it, don’t worry too much! ;-)

  70. MartineNo Gravatar not found Says:

    Hi Chris,
    your blog is really cool.. my question is what’s the price for a nice little hotel in bali let’s say for a week for 2 adults… and what area would you advice us if we want to do shopping….(interior design like sofa or basin etc)…from mauritiu

    Many thanks


  71. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Martine, hotel prices in Bali still start from 50-80k Rupiah for a small room with outside bathroom in Kuta and other main tourist areas. A decent 3-4 star hotel room costs around 300K Rupiah currently in the low season, but has no limits up.

    Areas for furniture and interior design in Bali are surely Ubud with its many manufactures, but also Kerobokan around Lio Square and the Jalan Gunung Tangkuban and Jalan Tangkuban Perahu areas, which have plenty of small furniture shops and factories. Hope you can find what you’re looking for! ;-)

  72. GloriaNo Gravatar GERMANY Says:

    Hi there!
    I am planning to do some voluntary work in Ubud and I will need accommodation for 4-6 months. I am looking for a simple apartment/small house with one or two bedrooms. How much would it roughly be?

  73. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Gloria, just check the spreadsheet above, it’s all there. Also you should see all places by yourself and negotiate heavily on the spot. Good luck! ;;)

  74. Serge GluhovNo Gravatar VIET NAM Says:


    Onebedroom will be starting 2mil (i saw very nice but very small at 1.5 mil), normal size& very good quality -2-3 mil, two bedroom house you can find from 3 mil, very good quality 4 mil.

    Try to rent a room for a week go and ask prices, but do all negotiation not in one day, if you will trade 2-3 days you will get lower price becouse people will see that you are spendong time to look for best oprion and you have time to do it.

  75. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Gloria, listen to Sergey, he is da man! He lived a couple of months in Ubud and saw it all! Great tips, Sergey! :D

  76. robert zorayanNo Gravatar not found Says:

    i am 53 and just want to know if it easy to find jobs in bali . i speak 5 languages mayby in the tourism industry ? thanks for your reply

  77. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    robert zorayan, hard to say, depends on your skills, nationality and ability to live a local life. There are certainly jobs, if you are planning to work in Expat companies or opening your own business. Salaries in Bali are generally on the lower side, but should allow you basic survival and lifestyle.

  78. GigiNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    I will have sabbatical leave next year and am considering spending a few months in Bali with my 16-year old daughter. She needs to go to the Bali International School’s IB program in Sanur. Would it be possible to live economically near Sanur? that is, in a less touristy area? Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks for your reply!

  79. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Gigi, Sanur is not that much touristy as Kuta and also close to Denpasar. There are many options for cheaper or local living available and you won’t have troubles finding affordable accommodation and food options.

    My advice is to go there, rent a bike or car and drive a few days around the area, talk with locals, expats and check things out for yourself. Most people found eventually what they were looking for in the area of their choice.

    Avoid booking anything online for inflated prices until you’ve seen the area and have a better first-hand understanding on what you want and what’s available.

  80. GigiNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Thank you Chris! Do you think we will need a car? I had read that it’s best to hire a driver when you need one. Is that still the case? Could we get by with just bicycles for the most part? Thank you for your advice!! Gigi

  81. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Gigi, it all depends if you feel comfortable driving in a foreign country yourself and how many people you are with/without luggage. In Indonesia you drive on the left side. It’s easy to rent a motor-bike, car or car with driver almost anywhere on the island. Bicycles are nice for short trips, but if you enjoy multi-day trips riding bicycle, then Bali also has a lot to offer, but it’s actually too big an island to see much in just a few days. I enjoy riding motor-bike here, because you are so close to nature, can spell the flowers and rain, hear all the sounds, the wind in your face – priceless for me! You might be different. ;-)

  82. GigiNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Thanks again Chris. we lived in NZ for a year, so I am comfortable driving on the left. I was also wondering if we need a car on a daily basis, or can my daughter get to school via public transit (is there any?) or bicycle? Is it reasonable to function on a daily basis without a car? we do love to ride bikes, so no worries there. Then we can rent a car or motorbike when we want to travel further around the island. :-?

  83. SergeyNo Gravatar CHINA Says:


    Bali in not NZ – it is overdeveloped, full of motobikes island.

    Some people does not like it at all.

    There is no public transport system (there is bebo or whatever these minivan are named, but there is no time table, they are quite dirty and too much people inside). Some people are using them but mostly these who did’t earn enought money for motobike =)

    The car is also not best choice – thera are too much traffic jams, and you need to learn how to drive car which is “covered” by motobikes. It is not easy at all.
    And i cant name Bali roads wide – usually only two cars can fit it, so sometimes driving looks a bit dangereus.

    Most of expats living there are using motobikes, which is ok and cheap way to fight bali jams.

    BTW – how is living in NZ? is it good?

  84. helenNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    Hello All,

    Planning to move to Sanur area and my teenager to go to the international school next year. I’m told by the school I need at least 13 million a month for a 2 bed of a nice standard. This plus the school fees is unaffordable for me and writes me out! Originally I was calculating about 4-5 million a month for me and my daughter. We are both very creative and unconventional, I am no way looking for a luxury ex pat style situation although something small in a decent area would fit.Perhaps the school has mostly rich clients and this is already worrying me that we won’t be up to their standards! Please can someone advise re renting somewhere in Sanur area? I am coming in December to do the footwork and I appreciate its best by foot, but a reliable answer reassurance at this stage would put my min at rest because the rent rate I am being told from the school is London prices! One of the reasons we want out!



  85. AB in BerawaNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Hi Helen

    As one in Bali in the middle of a search for the non-villa lifestyle I can give you some perspective. It’s not 100% right, it’s just what I’ve learned.

    Minimum housing cost for non-locals, is about 40,000 a year. That means a small simple 2 bed house (read: no pool maybe a/c tiny yard simple kitchen) that could be cool as long as you’ve got the arms to clean and eyes for painting. Location wise, more than likely you’re not in Sanur but Denpasar. BUT!, not a sure thing.

    We live in Berawa Beach, and like Sanur, is pricey, but we’ve seen 40,000,000 a year places here. The trick is, you’ve realllly got to be friends with locals to find these places. Or at least, know some Indonesian and look at sign posts/walls/intersections where posting for low budget places tend to collect.

    Bottom line, your 4-5M a month rent (and remember, for most places you pay a year up front) is possible but your school most likely assumes you want a “western standard house/villa.”

    A suggestion: when you come to look, skip realtors and instead have a couple days of fun in Sanur, on the beach, where you talk with locals and let them know you’re looking for a simple non-expat styled house. (house is important, not villa) Everyone knows everyone and if you are easy to find, they will send along a friend, most likely cousin, who knows all the locals who own houses that don’t qualify to villa standards and are looking to rent them.

    If this works, tell them to show you as much as possible. Don’t be afraid to say no. They will show you more. Keep looking keep looking. And when it comes time to sign, make sure you use a good notary. I forgot the name of ours, but you could ask here.

    Good luck. – AB in Berawa

  86. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    AB in Berawa, thanks for helping out helen. Those are really valuable tips. It definitely pays off to take your time, look around and avoid those property agents, if your budget is more in the local range. I’m sure you can still find lots of places in the region your are shooting for. :D

  87. helenNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    Thanks so much AB, that was a brilliant answer and so quick too. I have some balinese local friends, I am sure they will help me, and when you are creative and tend to find local opportunities quickly.

    So one more question to all of you in the know. Is $2000 US dollars a month enough bottom line to live on including rent ? Assuming I will not run a car or go out to eat very much etc. Savings would only be used in emergencies.

    I appreciate your frankness.


  88. AB in BerawaNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Hello Helen
    $2K is a-ok as a budget, assuming you find a 50,000,000± house. Our budget it the same, and here’s how it breaks down:

    Rent $450 month (remember, you usually pay a year up front)

    Electric: $80

    Cooking Gas: About $10

    Trash: $10

    Drinking water: Delivered is 14,000 a bottle, which lasts about 3-4 days for two of us and our little boy.

    Cable TV $20 (basic)

    Internet $120 (crazy expensive for a “good” speed which is really a horrid speed compared to my house in Santa Barbara, California and twice the price, but I’m a pro writer so it’s a necessity.)

    DayCare: $200

    Housekeeper $100 (I am sure you’ll think this unnecessary, but it really pays off, as the community is very appreciative of you giing them employeement, and as well, our housekepper Ayu helps us so so so much with local info, local prices on food etc)

    Food: Here’s where you can spend a lot or a little. Suggestion. Rethink “eating at home” to save money. In your country, yes. Here, we have our favorite warungs (food stalls) where a two person big nasi campor meal (fish, rice, veges) 17,000 rup ($2US) and could not cook it for less, or nearly as good. Plus it’s really fun to go out and discover local cooking. Overall, food can be a big factor to raising or lowering your budget.

    Scooter will run you about 500,000 a month±.

    Petrol: 5,000 a liter.

    Also, don’t forget visa. If you pay a service, usually about 600,000 per passport. Do it yourself for less but a bit tricky to learn how. Highly suggest you go social budaya rather than flying in and out. Social budaya sounds complicated until you do it, then it’s actually a piece of cake.

    Good luck. -AB

  89. helenNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    Dear AB,

    I really appreciate your time put into the answers, even more so as I had started to believe the prospect of coming to Bali was unrealistic. They really are useful to me, and I’m sure to everyone else who comes across this excellent page. I am in Bali with my daughter in December/January and we would love to meet you. I’m a pro’ artist photographer and like you need the internet. Its good to know someone like me is surviving on this budget and by the sounds of things doing well. I won’t post my personal email on here but perhaps I can post my website and there are contact details there.

    Best Wishes and thanks so much!

  90. GigiNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Helen and AB,
    Just clarifying, you mean $2k US dollars per month, correct?

    AB, Is it possible to rent a home for only ~four months, or is it difficult/impossible to find a rental for less than a year? My daughter and I would be in the same budget range, so I would be looking for a local sort of home, not a villa.

    Thank you so much for that most excellent summary of living expenses! Very helpful.

  91. helenNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    Hi Gigi,

    Yes I hope so! £ is a very different matter! Best of luck and thumbs up for this page and the contributors.


  92. AB in BerawaNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    @Gigi. Yes, US dollars. As for a three to four month place, toughie to get, but, 1. try and look for people who are bailing on Bali, sometimes have a short amount of time left on their lease and trying to fill it for dollars. (here it’s called “Over Contract” spelled a million different and always wrong ways.)

    Also, consider, a really great way to get into Bali easily for low dollars and try out different areas. Seems like room rates run about 20-30$US a night, and you’re not committed. Which, brings up another point…….

  93. AB in BerawaNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    ….@Helen. a suggestion:

    Try NOT to commit to anything when you first move here. Don’t buy a house. A business. Or a bowling ball.

    I have seen over and over and over times a millionbillion people like Mr Pancake Man (not his real name of course) who get here, are so beyond excited, and immediately purchase or long lease a house, or build house, buy business, etcetcetc, only to find out they don’t like either the area or the island, and are now completely 100% ironchained to the place.

    I highly suggest you come only with what will fit in two suitcases (or less, remember, wherever you travel, if you need it, they sell it and sell it for less than you can buy it at home) and commit to nothing. (If if if you can, sign a lease you can afford to break/leave if necessary or at the very least, is only one year.) Give yourself some time here, say three months to six months, and then leave. Stay away for at least a couple weeks, and then you will know if you like Bali.

    There is a lot here that’s very very frustrating, from endless stupidity on the road (and as an addicted cyclist who does massive miles as well as an LA grew-up-in-cars-love-to-just-cruise-around driver, it’s a major issue) to brutally slow/non existent internet speeds to a lot of other stuff.

    It’s easy to say “that won’t bother me” but you don’t really know until AFTER the honeymoon stage, which seems to last 2-8 weeks.

    That said, Bali is big enough to offer Endless Adventure and small enough to be able to do it all, and that is a very very rare combination in this world.

    But, this world does have a lot of seriously amazing and beautiful place to explore, to if Bali does prove to not be your place, waiting for you are plenty other sunshine adventures. -AB

    PS: Big thanks for the offer to meet, super look forward to it.

  94. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Priceless advice, AB in Berawa! You should write a guest post for my website. Mau? ;-)

  95. AB in BerawaNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Hey Chris
    Much thanks for the offer, would love to, super fun. – AB :-/

  96. AB in BerawaNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Just to give you further perspective, we just looked at a 2bed house, local house, in Dalung (just NW of Denpasar) that is asking 18,000,000 a year. (That’s $176US a month.) And amazingly, it’s ok. Not great. Not good. But yes, ok in a feng shui kinda way.

    Gang (means “lane”) is nice. Parking spot in front.

    Walk up the parking spot to front door. Into the house, tile floor that’s new, kitchen to the right that doesn’t exist but they would put one in, (very common in Bali to find that situation) to the left, a living room that runs front to back of house, say 15 ft sq, opening in the back to a small trashed back yard that elbows and sweat could make nice. Up front is a small cozy porch looking over the gang.

    Walk across the living room to the two bedrooms with side by side doors. Both are ok size for Bali. 10x10ft.

    In the backyard is a maid’s quarters which could be tweaked into a small office pretty easily. All share on squatter toilet mandi shower bathroom, but, swap to a sit down toilet is cheap, and blowing out the mandi for a shower is easy. Or, set up a shower in the backyard, as it’s super private.

    With good ideas and a good stock of paint, for 176$US a month, can’t beat it. As well, because you’re in a local’s almost-only hood, you’ve got tons of great cheap healthy warung’s (food stalls around) that usually charge say 7,000 – 12,000 (77cents to 1.30$) for a meal, depending on how good your Indonesian is.

    But like I said, you gotta be honest about your ways. This living also includes tight quarters with neighbors. If they have rats, you have rats. If they have a loud scooter, you have 2am loud. But for 176$US a month, kinda hard to complain about a tikus (mouse/rat).

    And, these same neighbors who also are on a budget, so entertainment is gonna be free stuff, like music and chatting and watching kids run up and down the gang.

    Take all the best stuff in Bali, indah panti (beautiful beach) indah gunung (mountain/volcano) indah pantai (beach) and every other beautiful image you can imagine, toss them all in a blender, hit frappe, and you get a Balinese person. -AB in Bali and sometimes but seemingly less and less Santa Barbara


  97. AB in BerawaNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    (correction: “indah laut” rather than “indah panti” twice)

  98. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    I love the level of detail and knowledge in your comments, AB in Berawa and I’m sure, Helen and other readers of this site enjoy them the same way! :D

  99. helenNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:


    I owe you and your family dinner or some nice english import when I come to Bali in December. That’s if english imports seem desirable after all the rioting by disillusioned young people we have had on our streets these last two days, hit the news there? All the more reason to get my teenager out of hackney maybe and bring her to Bali. Your input and detailed advice has really shifted my tempo and feeling about trying it out. I can see you really know what you are talking about and clearly understand the sentiments of many who will be reading this post too, I am very grateful. Thank you.

    Hope I can do the same for others in the future as it’s all very encouraging. I am someone who needs to give something back to any community I live in too so all the ‘local’ info is really appreciated and very important indeed, why would I want to live any other way. I’m glad it feels that way online too.


  100. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Wish I just could press LIKE on this comment. This is what makes it all worthwhile to maintain a website for, other people helping each other and learning from (often painful or costly) experiences. :D

  101. SunnieNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Hi Chris! Wow….between you and AB I feel like most of my questions about coming to Bali have been answered. However, I have one that is specifically for you. Somewhere else in this blog, I remember reading that jobs are much easier to come by if you have a special skill set, such as “chef, etc.” I am looking to come to Bali for about a year. I am a professionally trained, international executive chef and have owned 3 restaurants and a large catering and event company. Currently, I am consulting, helping others to open their own restaurants and design and implement menus for them. I wouldn’t mind getting “back behind the line” again in the kitchen, or even considering opening another restaurant. First question: How is the market for international restaurants there? Completely saturated, or areas that something like that would still work well? Second question: If I didn’t open my own, where would be a good place to start to look for a position, as a chef? I understand that Chris Salens’ has a Michelin rated restaurant there called “Mozaic”. Could you please help me out with your thoughts? FYI, I am female, but have travelled and lived in many other countries by myself and am very self-sufficient and outgoing, while being mindful of local customs and cultures.

  102. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Sunnie, you have every major 4 or 5 star hotels here, with their restaurants staffed accordingly. Also there are thousands of mid-range to high-class international restaurants, so a chef with international skills and experiences you should naturally have an advantage of finding a job easily. The market is pretty much saturated, but then, Bali also grew the last 2 years like never seen before.

    Still, I would recommend to apply and secure the job before-hand, if you don’t want to come here for just an holiday only. Anything less than the dried ink on a contract is worth nothing in Indonesia and even then there could arise some problems. But if you deal with those international companies (Hyatt, Mariott, Shangri-La etc) online, you should have at least a bankable document before deciding to move here and take up a job offered. I’m not sure, how that applies to consulting, which is a very underdeveloped industry in general here, it’s more trial and error, although multi-national firms could be sticking to tried and tested processes in that regard.

    I guess, your second question I answered almost above also. I would stick with multi-nationals, which are mainly concentrated in the Kuta/Legian/Seminyak belt and further on in Nusa Dua, Sanur and partly in Jimbaran. All other areas have a very thin density of international renowned brands, restaurants and hotels. Good luck with your ventures! ;-)

  103. SunnieNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Thanks so much for your advice, Chris. I really appreciate it!

  104. Anna FNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    Hi there,
    Thank you so much for the info! Getting through and can’t get enough ;-)
    Can anyone give an advice please? I’m going to Bali on 16 of Dec and will be back to Me on 1st of Jan. Thinking of the place in Ubude to live, can’t decide should I book entire stay online from AU or get 2-3 nights and find the rest on arrival??? I would definitely go for that option if it was a low season, but keeping in mind that I’m going to hit the Christmas peak…
    Thank you in advance!

  105. AnnNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Well there are a lot of vacation place here in Indonesia. Not just Bali or Jakarta. If you want to visit a quiet place with affordable price you could go to Magelang. Though it’s quite and affordable, there are only few good hotels with price range from 500k Rupiah – 3 Mio Rupiah. This city is also near Jogjakarta, a Javanese centre culture

  106. AB in BerawaNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Hey Anne F
    Not sure if you’ve finalized your Bali plans, but I’d highly suggest It’s a super duper easy way to get low cost rooms that are up and running for your stay in numerous locations around Bali, so you can skip the stress and instead just cruise around and have fun. Just had a friend do the airbnb thing for his two months in Bali and it helped him a lot. As for the time you’re here, stay in various places, not just Ubud. Have fun and be slow and safe on the scooter. Remember, whatever the rules of road are for your neighborhood, they are not the same here. Best tip, in intersections that are total chaos due to no one stopping, you want to make sure you go pack mentality. Have fun. – AB in Bali (and wondering if Bali is still worth it)

  107. Anna FNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    AB in Berawa,
    Thank you so much for your comment! will definetely check the website!

  108. YasminNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Hi there,
    I am moving to Sanur, Bali in January 2011 and I need to find a place to rent for me and my two very small dogs. Preferably not far from sanur beach and preferably a house, Indonesian house is fine, nothing to flash needed.
    If anyone can help me when I get to Bali on the 1st January, I would be very appreciative!
    Thank you very much!

  109. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Yasmin, as mentioned many times, I can only recommend taking your time, looking around on your own and negotiating hard to find a place that suits you. The longer you stay and the longer the terms for your rental objects, the cheaper it gets overall. Stay in a hotel for the first couple of days or even weeks and start searching for a house immediately. I assume you will first arrive without your dogs, or maybe they are in quarantine for a while. If not, you might have to give them to a pet shelter until you find a permanent stay.

  110. CraigNo Gravatar CANADA Says:

    Hi Chris

    Very informative site. Thank you. We are a family of 5 (three kids under 11) and we’re planning a move to Canggu for six months. I know you said it’s best to have a look around before renting a house/villa but this will be hard for us to do so I have been looking at the Bali Advertiser. Generally, can advertisers there be trusted, are they overpriced etc?

    Thanks again


  111. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Craig, yes, offers in BaliAdvertiser are generally way overpriced. Most better properties are also listed there in USD instead of the local currency IDR. That should tell you something. These properties mainly target rich foreigners, who don’t compare before-hand or count their money before getting into a contract. I have only seen a few odd and fairly prices objects there in the last couple of months. But maybe it’s just me and I’m outside their target audience (I am for sure….lol).

    BaliAdvertiser might be good to get an overview, which areas are popular or coming up strong and to get an impression about what’s currently IN and OUT, but renting a place to those prices would seriously mean you overpay big time, because countless of middle men are involved or landlords there have distorted realities because of huge dollar signs in their eyes and mind. Enough said! :D

  112. andrewbaker77No Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Our Canggu Villa 3Bed/Pool with 24/7/365 construction noise included for FREE was 145,000,000.

    Our brand new Perenenan House 3B/Pool with 24/7/365 silence included for FREE is 60,000,000.


  113. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    +1 for andrewbaker77. ;-)

  114. CraigNo Gravatar CANADA Says:

    That’s great, Chris. Thanks for the feedback.

  115. RyanNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Selamat Malam Chris!

    i was in bali for 2 months (aug 2012 – oct 2012) with my family. got to surf/snorkel/adventure at all the sites in bali. i need to come back!!!

    i want to come back with my gf and live for 3 months. would living on 2000 USD in bali for 3 months be feasible??? we want to stay in a koskosan/ motorbike to go to the beach and surf/ motorbike to go to north eastern coast and northern coast to scuba dive ( around tulamben and ahmed), maybe go to lombok and hike rinjani. we are dedicated to buying from the local market and cooking the majority of our meals. but we are ok with eating the local street vendor food too. might get a couple things from carre four to satisfy our western appetites.

    our daily activities would be cheap seeing as we would just surf or snorkel.

    experience is very different from the theoretical, and in theory we have crunched the numbers (you have given) for daily living but would like some wisdom from someone who has lived in bali. could you help us out?

    terima kasih banyak!

  116. harryNo Gravatar NETHERLANDS Says:

    As of January 2013 i am renting a small kos with all amenities needed on jalan nakula seminyak for 950.000 rupia per month
    It is full furnished with AC, fridge inside and hot and cold water, and medium sized spring bed and a tv.
    The good thing is that laundry and security and electricity and water are included.

    Groceries and dining out set us back 3,5 million per month (for 2 persons) but my girlfriend shares one million per month for food so that is 2.5 million. for me

    (My grocery bill is so high because i am a very big eater.)

    Our motorbike (rented per month) costs me 1 million rupia (including gasoline)

    My gym membership (Hammerhead Fitness conveniently close by) sets me back 300.000 rupia per month, (my girlfriend only pays 165.000)

    Sauna (yes i am crazy enough to go to the sauna in Bali) and swimming pool costs about 200.000 per month

    We don’t really go to clubs and bars a lot (about twice a week) but apart from that i go out with some friends a couple of times a week for some Bintangs so i estimate our costs for entertainment at about 2 million per month at the most. NIghtlife is very cheap in Kuta compared to Jakarta, if i would do the same in Jakarta in the way of drinking and sharing i would spend probably 3 times as much.

    Clothes, DVD, Cinema internet connection, and mobile phone sets us back about 600.000 million per month
    150.000 avg for clothes
    100.000 buying dvd’s and cinema visits
    150.000 internet connection
    200.000 for mobile.
    My girlfriend takes probably one third of the tab for this so it will be about 400.000 per month for me.

    Visa extension about 1 million per month and another million for costs i missed

    So in total i spend about 10.3 million per month

  117. KrisNo Gravatar not found Says:

    Thanks so much for all of your comments , looking for a base like Ubud or Gilli islands for a base for 4-6 months maybe a year. Any suggestions looks like 1000 to 2000 USD a month would be a good budget . ???

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