Oct 12

Paradise BaliLiving the last 2 years in Bali were surprisingly smooth sailing. Originally we wanted to stay here 6 months only – now I almost can’t believe, how quickly time passed on this lovely island.

Coming from Phuket, the first impressions were quite mixed. What stroke me most initially, was the chaotic traffic and the colder ocean temperatures.

Now it’s time to move on again to new shores. Time for a Wrap-up of good and annoying things you can experience, when you live here as a long-term traveler, Nomad or Expat.

Here we go; the Best, the Good, the Ugly of Bali:

The Best

The best thing about Bali is the rich variety of food and international cuisines for very affordable prices. I don’t think there is another place like this anywhere in Asia, where you can eat out so deliciously – so cheap!

Balinese Mixed RiceDon’t get me wrong – Singapore or Hong Kong offer excellent cuisines of all countries possible, but you will pay with an arm or a leg for it. Everything except food courts will cost you dearly and you will think twice, if you can dine out again at that special Italian Restaurant or that Greek Taverna. Sure, places like Phuket or Boracay offer international cuisine as well, but they mainly cater to the backpacker crowd and classy restaurants are either rare or bloody expensive.

Not so in Bali!

Although it offers an abundance of Indonesian and Balinese Warungs, Restaurants, Food Carts and Food Places – it’s the international food options where Bali really shines and offers the best of all worlds for long-term travelers, Nomads and Expats alike.

You can find classy restaurants of all styles here; Greek, Italian, Spanish, Indian, Belgian, Dutch, German, Moroccan, Brazilian, Mexican, Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Middle Eastern – and all of them in close proximity to each other. Rarely a meal costs more than USD 10-20 for a great dish. A dinner for 2 in your home country could easily set you back 5-10 times the amount you pay here for comparable quality.

I can’t imagine anyone being bored easily with the sheer selection of foods you have here – a problem I faced already 8 months after staying in Thailand.

Affordable Cost of LivingBesides the quality and value of great food – the overall Costs of Living are the best thing about Bali.

I’m yet to run into a place, where you can have a similar comfort, quality of life and low cost of living in one place in Asia. Wikipedia compared the Purchasing Power Parity of countries around the globe; Indonesia (and Bali) are in the 20-25% area – that means, you can live here on a comparable standard to the US or Europe with only 20-25% of the expenses.

Amazing, right?

From Food, Drinks, to Housing or Transportation – Bali will give you plenty of bang for your buck. Your Dollar or Euro will go a long way here – if you want to calculate that in more detail, check out my Cost of Living Chart for Bali.

The Good

Bali Lake Bratan TempleScenery, sightseeing and activity options will keep you busy and never being bored during your time in Bali. Bali is definitely a unique island of magic – a special paradise for many, an island of plenty.

Are you sporty? Do sports here: dive, snorkel, surf, kite, trek, bike, hike, play beach games. Ride a bike or car around the island and explore its hidden gems. Check out its neighboring islands like Lombok, Nusa Penida or Nusa Lembongan. Having driven myself about 25.000 km in the last 2 years on my trusted Kymco Scooter – I can tell you that you will discover some new interesting spots almost every day!

Are you lazy? Relax at the beach, watch birds, the rice fields, read that novel you always wanted to read, pamper yourself with massages, spa, cream baths or wellness programs. Drink a ice-cold Bintang beer or that colorful cocktail, while surfing the internet to get into the right mood. Swim with dolphins or visit sunken wrecks on the bottom of the ocean. Ride a horse on a beach during sunset or sunrise. You name it, Bali has it!

Hindu Celebrations - a part of daily life in BaliYou want nature? Chose between white beaches, yellow beaches, black beaches, grey beaches, stony beaches, sandy beaches, pebble beaches. Deep lakes, mountains, volcanoes, water falls, hot springs, jungles, national parks, rice fields or terraces are here for you. You can simply get lost in nature!

Culture is your thing? Explore the only Hindu enclave in a sea of 17.000 Muslim islands. Visit temples by the sea, in jungles, on mountains, on cliffs, at the slope of volcanoes or near sandy beaches. Indulge yourself in exotic dances, traditional music, mystic plays, listen to drums and watch fire dances, watch the diverse ethnic cultures, creatures, dresses and ceremonies. Free your body, minds and spirit – completely! ;-)

The Ugly

No place on earth is perfect. Bali is no difference. The most annoying things for long-term travelers, Nomads or Expats I found the following:Visa Regulations in Indonesia suck

The Visa System: Honestly – the Visa System for Indonesia is seriously f…..fflawed. I mean, how can you visit a country with 17.000 islands, 220 Million people and with the size of a regular continent in 30 days with the VOA, Visa on Arrival System? That’s truly impossible!

Yes, they have Working Visas (KITAS) or Retirement Visas, but those exclude everyone below 60, who doesn’t work. The Social Visit Visa is a joke in itself! Anyway, here are some more details on how it works.

You will either spend a lot of money or a lot of time, to get your Visa renewed every month within the country. While I initially thought that this will only be a minor problem – it turns out that for me it was now the most annoying thing – the main factor or deal breaker to move on to another country. The current system is bureaucrazy and corruption combined.

Last month they let me come 6 times (!) to the Immigration Office in Denpasar for one simple stamp in my passport. That means every time about 2 hours drive, fighting through the horrible traffic and pollution of Denpasar. A minimum waiting time of 30-60 minutes every time you are in the Immigration Office in Jalan Panjaitan in the Renon area of Denpasar, legions of paperwork, you will pay exuberant fees for their own forms, copies and the whole procedure is different again every month.

Usually you will see the Immigration Office about 20 times in just 6 months! Unbelievable and my major annoyance for long-term stay here. The alternative? Paying a Visa Agency triple the price then what the Visa Extension costs.

I’m sorry, but I can’t subscribe to that idea anymore!

Corrupt Traffic Cops will annoy you in BaliOther minor annoyances are the Corrupt Traffic Cops, which will stop you every other day to extort money from you for no reason or the beach hawkers, who won’t give you a quiet minute, when you are lazing at the beach.

Over time you will learn to fend off the cops and get away without paying anything, although it remains a hassle, being stopped and questioned every second day. The hawkers on the beach you can simply ignore and you’ll even get used to the dual price system, meaning that as a foreigner you are naturally overcharged at almost every day-2-day situation. Cheating Money Changers are best avoided by withdrawing money solely from ATM’s or exchanging notes directly in banks.

Dirt and filth are something you have to cope with in most 3rd world countries and Bali is unfortunately a very dirty place at least in the main tourist areas. The environmental conscience of the average Indonesian is poorly developed – you will see plastic bags, empty bottles or anything else they want to dispose themselves off landing in the road sides or anywhere else.

Luckily things are slowly improving and the Balinese learn that it will destroy their paradise in the long run, if natural resources are exploited and the mountains of trash in the road sides are growing by the day. So there are efforts on the way for recycling, to separate trash and clean up the mess around, but it will take a bit time to see the fruits of this development in a more substantial way.

That sums it basically up, the experiences of our last 2 years here in Bali. Over time we truly learned to appreciate the many advantages Bali has to offer, compared to living on a smaller island like Phuket or living the City Life in Singapore or elsewhere. Coping with the disadvantages is another thing.

So, the judgment can sometimes sound hard and probably someone else will surely see things differently.

Please share your thoughts by using the comment form below!

Next week will see us leaving Bali for now. Next destination is …… ahem….nahhh……later…… ;-)

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written by Chris

58 Responses to “Living the Good Life in Bali – a Wrap up after 2 Years”

  1. devariNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Hi Chris, I can understand the frustration of expats in Bali when dealing with those government things. It is all over Indonesia not only in Bali, part of idiotic administration system. But I believe there are still some good guys in those offices, they just can’t do nothing but follow the ‘big stream’.

    Btw, are you leaving Bali? Agh almost forget you are nomad :)
    thought you are settle in Bali :). Too bad I did not contact you while I was in Bali (September).

  2. Amanda B.No Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Great Rundown ! I can’t wait to visit soon ! Thanks for all the Bali info and have a safe trip to your new home .

  3. DanNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    So where too next?

  4. MikeNo Gravatar THAILAND Says:

    I remember you wrote about a 3-month visa that the government was thinking of introducing. Seems like they haven’t gotten around to it yet. From what I have read, the Philippines has the best visas for long term travelers.

  5. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Thanks guys! Yep, the 3-month visa didn’t materialize, Mike – too bad!

    The Philippine Visa system isn’t too shabby, as you can stay up to 2 years in the country and the monthly extension is pretty straightforward and takes maybe about 1 hour per month. The only concern we had were the current costs, about 80 USD per person per month, that makes 160 USD for 2 persons just for the Visa alone. For that amount I can almost rent a house someplace else. So we decided against the Philippines for now and will move to a place, where you can get a 6-month Visa for about 75 USD.

    More in the next couple of days… :D

  6. ZishaanNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    Nice round-up. Thanks for the article.

  7. Working NomadNo Gravatar MALAYSIA Says:

    Can I have a guess where you are going? Two clues, the visa length time of 6 months and the time of year in terms of monsoons….


  8. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Ahem Working Nomad, how did you….ahhhh……ppsssssstttt! ;-)

  9. Amanda B.No Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Is it ?

  10. TomNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    it’s gotta be :D

  11. TomNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    oh, i just want to share with people here who can understand this (why I’m not pursuing corporate gold) … In 2 weeks or so, i will be going to the philippines for a 9 month stay!

    I am 26.

    I love this :)


  12. Bye bye Bali - Welcome Singapore!? | nomad4ever UNITED STATES Says:

    […] of you guessed right already, so you will be able to find me at least for the next 6-12 months in Goa, […]

  13. Amanda B.No Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Can’t wait for the future posts ! Great guess Working Nomad !

  14. Indonesia travelerNo Gravatar CHINA Says:

    This is so nice! Thanks for sharing, I’ve bookmarked your article for later reference!

  15. Englishman in PenangNo Gravatar MALAYSIA Says:

    Nah, best variety of cheap food is in Penang! I settled here with my Indonesian wife a year ago – we dismissed Indonesia for the same visa related problems you describe. MM2H long stay visa here is great as long as you can meet the financial requirements. Also direct Air Asia flights to Jakarta & Medan to visit wife’s family.

  16. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Englishman in Penang – great info! Malaysia is pretty similar culture-, climate- and food-wise to Indonesia. So I bet, you and your wife have no problems getting along and enjoying the good life over there. Sounds like a good idea to think through for us mixed couples. Will consider it for sure for one of the next destinations…thank you!

  17. balidreamhomeNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    fair and informative info about Bali stuff.

    Have a great day in Goa buddy :-)

  18. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    So far so good, balidreamhome. Thanks for dropping a line and all the best towards a quick end of the rainy season in Bali! ;-)

  19. kerrsanNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    Hi there, I have just discovered your website and I am finding it really valuable. I live and work in Australia and will have reasonable assets built up here by the time my children finish their schooling (6 more years) I will be 50 by then and keen to throw in full time working “rat race” life for a more relaxed existance in Asia.
    Sad to hear about the VISA hassles involved in living in Bali as I was hoping to spend time there, I surf and swim a lot and it would be close and cheap to return home to Perth when needed (a consideration for my wife more so than me). Anyway great site and information and I will continue to explore and enjoy your site as I plan my early retirement:-) – keep up the good work

  20. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    kerrsan, no worries! When you turn 50, there are hopefully other options by then. A Retirement Visa is unfortunately only for people of age 55 and above, but I really hope that countries who want to attract foreigners come to their senses and do something about those visa regulations. The Philippines were setting a trend some 18 months back, there are rumors that Thailand will ease their now complicated visa structure again and hopefully others will follow suit. Worst case, you pay an agency to get your Social Visa extended every month. ;-)

  21. raquelNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    wow, i wanna go to bali too. :) you’ve been all over asia. that’s lovely!

  22. raquelNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    i didn’t know that indonesia works like the philippines in some ways. *wink*

    we have the bounty of our nature but uh-oh, corruption is also something that irks the rest of the nation.

    Purchasing Power Parity? wow, that’s a good-to-know info. thanks for that! :)

  23. willemNo Gravatar NETHERLANDS Says:

    Hoi Chris,

    Thanks a lot for your advise. I am from Holland end been now several times in Bali. In oktober 2009 i am going again and i met a girl there and when i am retire in 20010 i wil also be om a social visa for 6 month. I hope we can meet sometime when i am i Bali? Send otherwise you email and we can make a appointment.
    Greatings Willem


  24. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    raquel, yep – seems that Indonesia and the Philippines are pretty much alike in more than 1 ways. :D

    willem, all the best for your plans in Bali and your future with your girl. Sounds, like you are pretty excited? I’m currently not in Bali anymore but in the Philippines, but plan to return in about 2-3 years. Maybe we can catch up then? ;-)

  25. willemNo Gravatar NETHERLANDS Says:


    Ok i hope we can meet then. Your experience with Bali has helpt me a lot. I think i will live as expat sometime in Bali. Nice to see that you also go to the Phillipines. I follow your comment on that.

    When you come back give me a mail then we can catch up again.

  26. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    willem, I’m sure you won’t get bored easily in Bali. There are soooo many things to do, see and explore. And after that, there are still the surrounding island to cover. If I would’ve found a better way for my visa troubles, I would’ve stayed probably longer. But then it’s sometimes nice to see new shores and come back one day to feel at home again and do things differently. Anyway – thanks for your compliments and enjoy your time in Bali! ;-)

  27. SunnyNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    I suggest that the Indonesian, Chinese, Indian, Thai, Vietnamese and Filipino governments seriously think of a offering a Permanent VISA for investors, like what the Malaysians and Hong Konge governments had done. Malaysia My Second Home is attractive to those with less to invest, while Hong Kong’s programme appeals to those with more money to invest.

    Since all these couuntries-China, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam- already have a large population and need more investment, they should offer those who don’t mind their lower standard of living a Permanent VISA. Having even a million investor-immigrants move there won’t make much difference to their overall population, but would create significant economic activities. They will suddenly have a niche market for services that appeal to these immigrants, which develops their sophistication and development in these value-added industries (eg. medical, spa, golf, gastronomy, cultural). More jobs can be created.

    A few features that I think should be included:
    1) Low investment: Example US$100k
    2) Long-term visa (10y or lifetime)
    3) Tax incentive (money brought into the country should be tax-exempted)
    4) No estate duties (like Singapore)
    5) Right to buy and own 1 residential landed property and private car
    6) Right to employ maid
    7) Right to bring their parents, spouse and children under 25 with them under same application
    8) Right to study in local public schools
    9) Use of English in the department in govt in-charge of promoting this programme
    10) The investment should not be paid as fees, but be required to be used for investment (like HK) or bank deposit (like Malaysia)
    11) Right to convert the VISA to Permanent Residency VISA after a few years
    12) Right to open bank account in multiple currencies and to transfer fund in and out of the country without restriction
    13) Easy and fast to get approval after standard documents and application form are submitted
    14) Ease to withdraw from the program without penalty anytime
    15) Right to use the nursing homes and hospitals in the country

  28. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Sunny, great ideas as usual. Now we just have to hope that the governments of the mentioned countries read here also and fix their systems ASAP! Wow…. :D

  29. JurajNo Gravatar SLOVAKIA Says:

    …not sure if this is the right place for my question. ANYWAY, could anyone recommend (or compare in short) what place is much worth to travel in: Malaysia(Penang,Langkawi,Cameroon Highlights,KL) or Bali/Lombok? Me and my girlfriend can not deside, which one place to go for honeymoon (we prefer cheap one but consider quality too. at least western toilet ;) We have benn in Thailand, we like it very much (Krabi,KohSamui,Phangan.Tao). PLease any advice would be appreciated as need to book flight to … `till October!
    Thanks a lot! =D>

  30. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    It would depend on your preferences, Juraj. There is none generally better or worse. Malaysia and Indonesia are both worth more than one visit. You can arrange honeymoon arrangements with your hotels, they will be more than happy to help you with it. The main difference between these destinations is maybe that Bali has a lot of things to offer in closer proximity, most tourists sights are usually less than 2 hours travel away. Malaysia as a country is naturally much bigger and would require maybe some more arrangements beforehand. Also I would say that Malaysia is more expensive than Bali or Lombok, quality-wise I don’t see big differences. It’s more a matter of taste and preferences – hard to give more concrete advice without knowing what type of person you are, your budget and you are looking for. Anyway – best of luck planning your trip. ;-)

  31. DarrenNo Gravatar SINGAPORE Says:

    Hi Chris

    I’m about to return to Bali, for a longer visit.
    Can you recommend anywhere long term to stay? Maybe a cheap apartment.

    Also what did you do for internet access. I have been enjoying EDGE network in Thailand. Do you know about Bali?

    Many thanks


  32. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Darren, there are too many places to recommend any. Take your time and look around, rent preferably from owner and avoid agents. As for internet, check out these articles here (ISP options in general) and here (3G internet). Have a great trip and enjoy paradise island! ;-)

  33. AndreNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    The best article about Bali by a foreigner’s eyes.

  34. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Thanks Andre, you are too friendly! :D

  35. roseNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Just came across here while doing research on Bali. Wow Actually rejecting the modern society system and living the actual dream.Truly nspirational. Good for you!

  36. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Yup rose, more and more people seem to do that – and I can’t blame them! :D

  37. DewiNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    I’m Indonesian I like Indonesia but I don’t like the government. They didn’t give what should their citizen get. Comfy thing seems an expensive price in Indonesia…only people who have lots of money could get that. I can’t apply as government officer if I have foreigner husband. and if u change ur passport the government will say ur betrayed the country. And they will not see you as Indonesian anymore…un least if your famous artist like Anggun. Especially if you want to process document don’t wish as smooth as it is…if you don’t have enough money! Do I have to wait the next 200 years to see Indonesia change!!!

  38. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Dewi, true, but in other countries it can be even worse. No place is perfect and I complain a lot about my home country and about the cumbersome visa process in Indonesia. But it’s also the whole package that counts in the end. And here, Indonesia has a lot to offer for Nomads and Travelers – beautiful landscapes, nice climate, thousands of islands and beaches, great food, friendly people, an easy-to-learn language and so much more. :D

  39. DewiNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Well, Cris if it compare to some poor countries in Africa yes I would say I’m still lucky live in Indonesia. And it is right no place is perfect but when I saw outside of Indonesia and how far away the system I got compare to my neigbour countries it’s open my eyes. When I visited Singapore and Australia what amazed me is not Merlion or Opera House but public transportation there, tidy and nice looking city and also people who live in the countryland that they are as the simple and friendly as my people. And I wish I could have tidy and compfy public transportation, have good system healthcare and good standard of education. Not lots of big malls in Jakarta or bars in Kuta.
    And yeah Indonesia offer to nomad and travellers things that u mention above but I also wish not only foreigner who could enjoy that but at least 50% of 240 million people of Indonesia could have the same opportunity just like you got. Once again the fact is ur euro has more power than my rupiah. :D

  40. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Here I agree with you Dewi again, a lot of public funds and taxes could be spent much better in Indonesia.It’s actually a rich country, yet still exploited by only a few with questionable agendas. The eradication of corruption, which had decades to grow here, is a daunted task and not to be taken lightly. The whole culture and mindset of the nation has to change. If you compare it with Singapore – they are 40 years ahead in that regard, its founder Lee Kuan Yew preached and lived that principle with every breath, while Indonesia had its fair share of dictators who only had one goal, to enrich themselves. This is also a similar problem in the Philippines, a very bad legacy and hard to overcome.

    Also, the improvement of infrastructure, public transportation and healthcare systems come with steep increasing Costs of Living. In Singapore I could not survive today like I can here. The real estate prices literally doubled over the last 4 years alone, even the older generation is forced to take up jobs and work again, it’s getting harder and harder to survive on a certain level, due to the competitiveness of the whole citystate.

    Progress surely comes with disadvantages, but overall I would say, you are right. It would be nice, if more people could benefit from it. ;-)

  41. JuliaNo Gravatar CANADA Says:


    My husband and I are planning a long holiday (Jan-Feb 2011) before he starts school – we’ve never been to Bali but are very interested!! The one thing holding us back is the weather reports – sounds overcast and rainy at that time. Could someone provide some weather experiences from this time of year? Is it really as bad as the reports indicate?

    Thanks so much!

  42. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Rainy season is actually between November to May every year here, but the last few years saw also a shift of weather patterns in Bali. The really heavy rains only started in February, but it’s still raining now and then even in July. So everything is a little bit later than usual. But that doesn’t mean, it rains all the time. It’s mainly only short showers in the evenings or nights, so you will still enjoy it as it’s cooling the air also. Of course, a heavy rain shower can easily cause flooding and terrible traffic conditions here, but you won’t stay only in Kuta anyway, will you Julia? ;-)

  43. SusannaNo Gravatar HONG KONG Says:

    ….Looking for a maid for house cleaning and experienced one in Bali..any suggestion? please give me some advice if u have any idea…grateful!

  44. SusannaNo Gravatar HONG KONG Says:

    Anyway..gonna move there next year around April …im from HK..so its a big change for me from city life to island life…the ugly part like rats in the villa hse is my big problem….Sooooo scare of rats !!! Anyway,like to share some of my problems and obstacle before i move there…..

  45. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Dear Susanna, I just send you an e-mail regarding a pembantu or household helper, I might be able to recommend someone, please check your inbox.

    And don’t worry too much about rats, most houses don’t have any. If your pad is in the middle or near a Rice Padi, chances might be higher of course. :D

  46. Susanna TsangNo Gravatar HONG KONG Says:

    Dear Chris:
    Thanks for your “quick” reply and i replied u back…waiting for your reply about the maid things…Thanks !! ;;)

  47. KenNo Gravatar COSTA RICA Says:

    I am an American expat who moved to Costa Rica last year. Now I’m considering moving around the world to stay in various countries each for a year or two. Obviously, the visa requirements are key. What I’m seeing here is that I can stay in Thailand or Bali for a maximum of 6 months, which is too short a period of time. Costa Rica allows you to leave the country every 90 days, stay away for 3 days, and return for another 90 days. No limit. Or you can do as I did and apply for permanent residency. Are either of these possible, and not costly, in Thailand or Bali?

  48. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Ken, for Indonesia and Bali you could check this article here and its up2date comments for recent developments.

    For Thailand I have no idea about its current regulations, as I ‘fled’ the country in 2006 mainly due to its ever-changing and over-complicating visa regulations, which required monthly (!) Visa Runs to surrounding countries back then. The last thing I heard is that they now offered visa-free entry and stay, due to the decreasing tourism numbers because of the Thaksin/Red-Shirt crisis, but that offer was probably limited.

    The problem with Thailand like with any other country is, that those regulations change all the time and it’s hard to keep up with recent developments for several countries at once, Most countries prefer short-time and weekend tourists over long-term travelers and Expats and seem to make it regularly harder for people like us to stay in a country long-term.

    You might want to ask you specific questions in forums like the Lonely Planet forum, which are more up2date. ;-)

  49. GregcNo Gravatar HONG KONG Says:

    Hey Chris, Not sure if you are still in Bali but would be grateful for your comments on the nicest place to stay in Bali for a few months possible longer. We left from Ireland a few weeks ago for and in hong kong now and heading to Bali in 2 weeks for a few months. I’ve been searching online for info on places to stay but all the guides seem pretty downbeat on everywhere these days! We are lookign for somewhere just to relax in a villa and enjoy the island during the day and get some online work done too in the evening during UK time. Some places sounds like a spanish tourist resort now which is not what we want but at the same time want to be able to pop to nearby restauraunts and bars and be within walking distance of a nice beach or maybe we will hire a scooter to get to the beach. Would love your input based on all your experience there which area you think may be best? :)

  50. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Gregc, hard to say….there is no nicest place…and there are literally thousands of nicest places in Bali. It all depends on your preferences. My advice as always in that situation: stay 1 week in a hotel in an area of your choice, rent a bike or car and drive around. Checkout Canggu, Umalas, Kerobokan, Seminyak, Legian, Kuta, Jimbaran, Sanur, Nusa Dua for a start. If you busy there for you, venture further out. Everyone has different taste of what one likes….you will have also. Take your time, see a lot of places, negotiate hard and don’t take the first place you’ll see.

  51. GregcNo Gravatar HONG KONG Says:

    Good answer Chris- I Like it. Yes have decided to stay in a cheap hotel for a while to suss things out but it seems the current place for most peoples tastes seem to be Seminyak and Kerobokan from what I have been seeing online.

    Hope you are somewhere nice yourself at the mo! Although I had already decided to travel around the world trying to live on western income and living on eastern standards, while doing the research I came across your site and your blogs have really inspired me. Thanks for doing this site and hope we have some more posts from you soon ;) greg

  52. AndreeaNo Gravatar ROMANIA Says:

    HI Chris,

    We decided to spend our 3 months of summer (mid july to mid october) in Indonesia, starting with Bali, Lombok and the rest of Nusa Tenggara and if we have time maybe Kalimantan. Although i read all the lonely planet books possible, I still have a few questions and maybe, from your experience you can help:
    1) What is the best visa option? We hope to recieve the 60 days turist visa from the ambassy in our country and I don’t know which is the best way to extend it… Maybe a trip in Malaysia and back? (is there an easier way?)

    2)Have you done any vaccination? Hep A/B?
    3) Is malaria a real problem?
    4)How reliable is the internet connection outside bali? We have to work so beeing off the turist trail and having good internet connection will probably be a challenge..

  53. andrewbaker77No Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Hi Andreaa
    1. As you only have three months, highly suggest you do a VOA (Visa on arrival) and get it reset (before your 30 is up) for another 30. Then, a quick same day or overnight to Singapore is your cheapest bet. Book ahead on Air Asia and you’ll find 60$US each way tix. Avoid Jetstar as they often cancel flights so you’re reset will be screwed. S’pore, for a day or two, is a nice relief and tons of killer food. Just remember, in SEA, the less you spend on food the better it is.
    2. No. 3. No.
    4. You’re screwed on that one. Internet here, when it’s good, still sucks. Best bet in South Bali is Starbucks. They use BizNet and offer up 3mbps. Thats wicked fast compared to just about any other traveler (meaning not set up with a pole like us at home) option. (BTW, we get 2mbps and pay $270US a month for it.) So, if you really need to work while you travel, do big downloads, Skype, etc go to Philippines. Way better connections, as well as a million times cleaner ocean, rivers, beaches, air, etc. – AB in Bali

  54. AndreeaNo Gravatar ROMANIA Says:

    Thanks for the reply , it’s a relief to know we can survive without vaccinacion :)
    it seems like the internet connection is a big problem, hopefully we can find a good solution considering we will stay in bali just for a month tops and then move further east, and Philippines is not really an option because it will be a rainy season…

    Thank you agian for your great advices and have fun in your next trips ;)

  55. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Sorry for chiming in so late, Andreea. But I can only say, listen to andrewbaker77, he’s in the know. ;;) Hope you enjoy your trip, I’m sure you will have a ball of a time based on your destinations chosen. :D

  56. AgnesNo Gravatar not found Says:

    Hey! Im indonesian and had a good laugh on your writing. You’re right and i cant agree more. Being a chinese born indonesian, i too have to pay twice the actual price to get my ID, passport, visa done/renewed. Must be tough for you coping with bali’s disadvantages! Oh, and about the ‘sounds that kaki 5 food carts make’ – i myself never realize that, nor question that, until i read your writing! Haha perhaps bcs i’m already used to them since i was a kid!

  57. AgnesNo Gravatar not found Says:

    And some more regarding comments about why indonesia dont make easier process for visa: 1 reason: money
    If u only come once and it is done they only can get money once. Make you come 10 times they are making u tired therefore u will pay whatever it takes to not come there again and get your matters done.

    My dad once in court, the judge telling my dad he is in the winning position but need 3 more times for hearing till it is confirmed. Why? Bcs when my dad comes to jakarta 3 times for 3 hearings = gov will pay the judge 3x hearing fees. Actually he is only expecting my dad pay for his compensation losing 3x hearing fee + tip/bonus by saying that.
    He also said, you’re in winning position but I AM the judge. (Means he can make up the decisions)

    And why indo gov dont want to make easier burpucracy to attract investors ? Though they need it?
    As read on chris’ post abt stereotypes….indonesians are “live for today no need to think abt tomorrow” so they only care to get money now (corrupt). The wellness of the country is a “future” thing so they can’t think about it now bcs they are too busy corrupting while they can now.

  58. AnggaNo Gravatar AUSTRALIA Says:

    Hi, I’m an Indonesian. I think almost all countries have problem with the government and bureaucracy. Not only in Indonesia. I have visited some countries which I won’t mention here. What I got wasn’t totally different, people almost don’t satisfy with their government and bureaucracy. So, do not wonder about it.
    One thing that our people have to change, is “inferior” feeling (according to 55 stereotypes of countries that wrote), I think that’s why Indonesian people are polite, oh sorry, not polite but “too” polite, especially to foreigners! :lol: :lol:
    Thank you!

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