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Five Essential Steps You Should Take Before Becoming A Digital Nomad In Bali

Introduction

Have you ever dreamed of working remotely and living in a beautiful beach island? Many digital nomads worldwide have fulfilled this dream of working on their projects and enjoying Bali, a top world-class destination. The good news is, you can do it, too! As long as you do your own research on the Bali lifestyle, fulfill the visa requirements, and get updates on how to get a digital nomad visa Indonesia, then you are set to live your life on your terms and bask in the goodness that Bali can offer.

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Digital Nomads – Why Bali?

Bali is home to white-sand beach resorts, surfing camps, and historical temples that digital nomads from different cultures can easily relate to.

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Beaches where one can party or unwind

Travelers and writers always have a good story to tell about Bali and have ranked the island as one of the best beaches in the world. The mainstream Kuta and high-end Nusa Dua areas abound with a friendly, fun-loving crowd amidst a neighborhood with amenities and resorts to make everyone comfortable and at home in their entire stay. Bali also has remote and more private beaches ready to welcome locals and visitors for a quiet time away from the crowds.

Natural Sceneries

Aside from beautiful beaches, Bali can entertain visitors with natural sceneries. The island has scenic lakes, breathtaking waterfalls, neatly designed rice fields, flower gardens, and secret canyons for your next adventure.

Well-preserved culture

If you are more of a culture vulture type of person, you can satiate your curiosity and immerse in the island’s well-preserved cultural scene and religious temples. The Balinese did a great job remembering their roots and showcased their music, dance, architecture, and festivals to tourists. Religion plays a significant role in the regular Balinese household. Thus, it is customary for each family to have a small temple inside their homes to utter their prayers every day. One can also find magnificent temples where locals pray and hold group sessions.

Bali welcomes plurality, and this makes the island more fun and colorful. Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists coexist peacefully and have their temples open to the public. Tourists can always visit these temples during excursions or in their free time.

World-class hotels and accommodations

When we visit a new place, we may be keen on experiencing something new and exotic. However, a part of us would always look forward to the food and amenities we grew up with. Good thing, Bali is a global destination and has embraced influences, cuisines, hotel accommodation styles from other cultures.

Digital nomads stayed longer in Bali because of lavish hotels and resorts with a low price, luxurious infinity pools, spas, and other amenities!

Traditional and global recipes

Get out of your comfort zone and explore Bali’s traditional recipes. Whether you are into street food or fine dining, Bali has restaurants with outstanding chefs who spent their lives perfecting Bali cuisine. Meanwhile, Bali also has international chefs who have learned and modified recipes to accommodate everyone’s preferences.

Food is never a problem in Bali. If you are tired of the local nasi goreng and nasi campur in a cozy warung, you can always go to restaurants serving American, Mexican, Greek, Chinese, French, or Indian cuisine. If you are into an organic or plant-based diet, you can also find restaurants with organic, vegan, or raw food on the menu.

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Essential Steps You Should Take Before Going To Bali As A Digital Nomad

These reasons may only be the icing on the cake. When you reach Bali, you may find your own set of reasons why you want to stay longer. But before embarking on this journey, consider doing these five essential steps to get you started.

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Learn which Indonesian Visa is the most appropriate for your needs.

The Indonesian government has fairly straightforward, hassle-free Visa rules that attract tourists and digital nomads looking to avail a digital nomad visa. First, let us answer your questions: Is there a digital nomad visa Indonesia? The answer is No.

Unlike other countries, Indonesia does not have provisions for a digital nomad visa. Instead, it has different types of visas that tourists and digital nomads should check out before going to Bali for a long-term stay. Here are the visa options that the Indonesian government currently has.

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Free Visa

Indonesia welcomes citizens from 169 countries and grants them a free visa on arrival. The free visa gives a tourist up to 30 days with few restrictions and minimal planning to tour the country, including Bali. The free visa is good enough if you are a digital nomad who would like a temporary stay in Bali and explore other Southeast Asian countries.

60-Day Tourist Visa

Globe trotters who would like to have a more intimate experience in Bali may want to apply for a 60-Day Tourist Visa. In the absence of a digital nomad visa, digital nomads may consider this option, settle down in Bali and worry about the visa renewal later.

How does one apply for a 60-day tourist visa? It is so easy. The most convenient way is to apply for this type of visa at the Indonesian Embassy. One can also have this at the airport. The initial visa application costs $35.

If you have consumed your first 60-day stay in Bali, applying for visa extension will take $35. You can facilitate your visa extension at any immigration office around Indonesia. Take note of your visa expiry and make sure to leave the country.

The 60-day tourist visa applies to citizens from 169 countries, except for individuals from ASEAN countries. If you belong in this region, you have to apply for the visa while still in your home country or any country you are currently in.

Sosial Budaya Visa

The Sosial Budaya Visa is basically for foreigners who are visiting Indonesian family and friends. One can use it for 60 days with four renewals of up to 30 days. It is a six-month visa that one can apply for in any Indonesian Embassy, given that the applicant carries a sponsorship letter that a visa agent should provide.

This type of visa is often the go-to and sometimes abused as it is a more accessible alternative to an official residency and/or work visa. Digital nomads who got a Sosial Budaya visa may expect a call from an immigration official and should be ready with a good reason why they are staying in Bali.

Residency and Working Visa

The Indonesian government favors their citizens and puts them on their priority list. Thus, digital nomads aiming to live long-term in Bali or dreaming of getting a Bali digital nomad visa in 2021 may have to re-examine their dreams and consider more realistic visa options. Most often, foreign workers working for a large multinational company or doing classified positions that no other Indonesian can perform are the only ones who can get the residency visa. If you don’t qualify for such conditions, be prepared to take the laborious process of going to the immigration office and renewing your visa every 30-days for another visa extension.

Current Updates On A Possible Enactment of Digital Nomad Visa Indonesia Ruling

In recent years, digital nomads living long-term in Bali have considered arranging formal talks with the government regarding the possibility of establishing a digital nomad visa. This plan covers Bali and other thriving destinations in Indonesia, such as Lombok, where digital nomads frequently visit.

Olumide Gbenro, a popular digital nomad leader with other Indonesian leaders such as Wahyu Taufiq, has drafted a document for the President’s office in Jakarta and an online petition requesting that the government grants a digital nomad visa. To date, there is no information regarding Bali digital nomad requirements and other documents applying for a digital nomad visa indonesia. Digital nomads visiting Bali may stick to the usual options that the Indonesian government has in store for them.

In June this year, the Indonesian government sheds more light on this matter, laying out the possibility of legally approving a five-year visa, including a Bali 5-year digital nomad visa. In the future, digital nomads who may qualify for such visa options may also enjoy no taxation on foreign-sourced income.

However, Indonesia’s Minister for Tourism and the Cultural Economy, Sandiaga Uno, is still observing the Covid-19 situation in the country. He is targeting to set the talks at the end of July this year but gave no definite date yet to hold the discussions.

“We will be waiting for the situation to be more conducive,” he said in an interview.

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Decide the kind of lifestyle you want to lead in Bali.

Before settling in Bali, try to imagine the kind of life you want to lead there. Bali has almost everything to suit your budget. Being clear on how much money you could spend on your apartment, food, daily expenses, and hobbies is essential to maintain a degree of order in your life. Some people may not think about this and use their intuition after their first few weeks on the island.

Apartment

The safest place to find a decent apartment in Bali is its urban areas. One can reach these places easily as they are within an hour’s drive of the local international airport. In the South of Bali, you can choose among the five urban areas: Kuta, Canggu, Seminyak, and Ubud.

Kuta is where there are lots of clubs and cheap drinks. This place is where budget travelers go. To have a more laidback experience, considering going to Ubud, a haven with lots of nature and rice terraces. Ubud is the place for the yoga and bohemian crowd. If you are into surfing, you should go to Canggu. Meanwhile, Seminyak is the place where rich people stay with its luxurious hotels and high-end shops.

These are a few generalizations. However, it goes to say that you should be keen on where you stay in Bali as a digital nomad. Your environment dictates your lifestyle, experiences, and budget in your entire stay. Your area is also a key determinant of the kind of people you will interact and network with.

How much do you need?

Looking for a decent place to stay in Bali is pretty easy. The island has accommodations ranging from budget rooms to comfortable, airy villas. Excellent apartments in Bali, more or less, start at $1,000 per month.

Yes, you can still find places below $1,000. However, these places may be smaller and may not have a nice kitchen, dining room, or a refreshing ocean view. The lovely villas you can see on advertisements cost around $2,000 plus a month! If you dream of staying in those places, be prepared for a hefty sum of money in exchange for the kingly life you asked for.

How to find a place to rent? The easiest way is to check the options in Airbnb. You can also check out Facebook groups that talk about Housing and Accommodations in Bali. For people looking for long-term rentals, these Facebook groups often provide smart suggestions. Some groups also talk about short-term rentals and house shares.

If you want to spare yourself from the inconvenience and the long wait, you can always go to letting agencies. These agencies employ staff members with decent English and thus, can transact with locals easily.

Daily Cost of Living

New Bali digital nomads may find it quite a surprise to know that one’s daily cost of living in Bali may depend on the neighborhood you belong to, your lifestyle, and your resources. Being careful with your money and living below your means is possible with cheap restaurants on the island.

Prices for a meal may start at $1 and go as high as $50 in high-end restaurants. A regular digital nomad can always live in between these two extremes.

As a rough estimate, one may enjoy three meals for around Rp 150,000 – Rp 250,000 a day (about $10 to $20 US dollars). From this amount, you can enjoy a coffee or beer in the evening. There may be days when you want to have an early night and thus shell out less money.

Then, there is the option to cook at home. This may be a standard practice in the West. However, you need not do it in Bali anymore, considering the presence of restaurants everywhere. Further, cooking at home may become more expensive as you need to buy individual ingredients from the shop.

Moving around

Most people in Indonesia have a scooter instead of a car. Digital nomads can also imitate this and rent a scooter to get around the island quickly. Renting a bike may cost around Rp 80,000 a day. If you move a lot, you have the option to get a month-long rental and spend less money compared to daily rentals.

Wherever you go, always ride your bike with a helmet to avoid encountering problems with authorities. Also, before getting your bike, always check for scratches and other issues. Make sure to report these issues to the owner or ask for a new and more efficient scooter.

Bali traffic enforcers will not look for any digital nomad visa among foreigners and Caucasians. However, they will look for your international driving license.

In most cases, the authorities will not honor a national license. To avoid problems, always bring your international driving permit to avoid fines for breaking the law. Yes, you may be lucky if the police will receive your bribe. However, it is best to be safe than feeling sorry for breaking the law.

If you want to apply for an international driving license, the whole process of procuring the document may require you somewhere between Rp 50,000 – Rp 200,000.

Partying on weekends?

What do you do in your spare time? Do you party back home? Whether you want to pop a pill before partying or smoke a joint, you should handle those acts responsibly. Indonesia has strict rules against drugs.

In Europe, North America, and Australia, partygoers with such possessions may only experience a slap in the wrist and one night in a prison cell. However, in Bali, those acts may lead you to spend the next five years in a dirty cell. So think twice before doing drugs in Indonesia.

The best way is to restrain yourself from taking prohibited drugs in Bali and only do that in other countries with mild penalties. That is, if you feel like losing your mind if you cannot do it.

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Get yourself a local Sim and avail of a VPN service when using the Internet.

Let’s face it. As digital nomads, our job efficiency greatly relies on Internet speed. A nomad’s happiness is directly proportional to the Internet speed in an area. The good news is, the Internet speed in Bali is reasonably fast.

You can watch Netflix, stream videos, run webinars or upload content to any platform in an instant. Plus, finding a decent Wi-Fi connection is manageable in Bali. Every villa, hotel, cafe, and restaurant offers a free Wi-Fi connection to its customers.

Thus, you can always bring your laptop and sit in your favorite cafe while enjoying your favorite drink. When tapping into a public Wi-Fi network, consider using a VPN to protect your files.

It would be more convenient to buy a local SIM card when in Bali. In doing so, you can avail of your phone’s hotspot while working from your computer. Having your SIM card also gives you convenience in ordering food online or communicating with locals.

Buying a SIM card is easy as almost every shop sells them. You may choose from XL and Telkomsel. Before using it, ask the shop attendant or any local to register the card under your name.

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Consider learning basic Bahasa and the local Balinese language.

The Indonesians are a friendly bunch. And, they will be closer to you if you impress them with some basic phrases in Bahasa Indonesia. Bali also has its language but still uses the Bahasa Indonesia to communicate with locals and foreigners.

Most people in Bali can speak some English, especially among younger city dwellers. However, you may have a hard time communicating when going to the villages. Without knowledge of basic Bahasa greetings, you may end up relying on hand signals to get your requests done.

There are Indonesian classes in Bali that you can participate in. Giving at least one week in attending those classes will yield multitudes of benefits in your social life. Locals will smile more at you, and you can forge new friendships with locals who may help you make your stay in Bali more enjoyable.

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Get in touch with other digital nomads in Bali.

As a digital nomad who may have set foot in other countries, you may have learned the importance of networking when in a new place. Networking expands your horizons that may lead to knowing fellow freelancers, new friendships, or opportunities with business owners.

Consider creating your network and establish a group of friends when in Bali. Joining a tribe is easy. Try visiting co-working spaces. These are places where you can find other digital nomads and freelancers who may look for future collaborations.

Meanwhile, co-working spaces in Bali may be pretty pricey. A working space may cost around Rp 200,000 a day and provide you with a quiet working area and fast Wi-Fi connection.

You may want to lower your expectations on the quality of coffee they serve, though. However, think of the benefits and future connections you may gain when availing of a co-working space.

The more time you spent in co-working spaces, the higher the likelihood you will find other freelancers. For first-timers, they can start by dropping by at a co-working space at least once a week. They may increase the frequency of going there later on.

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More safety tips

There is always something in store for every digital nomad in Bali. With comprehensive knowledge and careful planning, digital nomads can fully enjoy the area and maintain their performance in their remote work.

Here are a few more safety tips before you live in Bali.

Avoid walking alone at night. Bali is generally a safe city. However, we can never tell who is lurking on a dark street corner. When going to a pub or club, always watch over your drinks so they will not get spiked. We must protect ourselves and avoid sexual assaults when in a different country.

Ensure to take care of your accommodations before you arrive on the island. In this way, you won’t have trouble moving around.

Keep an eye on your phone, laptops, cameras, and other expensive gadgets wherever you go. Don’t leave them on the table of a cafe unattended. Doing so only attracts the bad guys in the area.

Stop using your phone when riding a scooter. Text-driving may lead to road accidents. Also, you are exposing yourself to possible pickpockets and snatchers using other motorbikes looking for their next victim.

Current Updates: Is Bali already open to tourists?

As the Covid-19 pandemic raged on, digital nomads living long-term in Bali have to return to their home country as flying every two months is impossible without international flights.

Currently, Bali do not accept tourists due to the rise of Covid-19 cases on the island. The authorities are also scared of the Delta variant that infected many other islands, including Bali.

Meanwhile, the government requires local and domestic travelers to undergo a PCR test and only grants entry to negative results.

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