Things to know about moving to Bali

Hhhmmmm this could take a while. Things to know about moving to Bali…where do I even start? I posed a question on Facebook a little while ago asking what you would want to know about moving to Bali. I got lots of private messages asking for every detail you can imagine and ones I hadn’t imagined! The most common message…is it easy? No. It’s not. But moving house, even just down the road, isn’t easy so moving countries is going to present a whole lot of new challenges. But is it worth it? Absolutely!

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First things first. Work out why you are moving to Bali. That may sound ridiculous but if you want to enjoy a quiet life, go for long uninterrupted walks, and practice meditation, take Kuta off your ‘which area do I move to?’ list. If you are moving because you want to be close to the beach, consider all beach locations and then look at prices of housing in that area. Remember that the closer you are to the beach, the more ‘interesting’ the housing prices. If you are moving for work, think about your daily commute. Personally if I was working in Ubud, I would live in Ubud. Working in Ubud, but living in Jimbaran because you like the beach…well it’s at best a 3 hour round trip commute every day. Think about schools, convenience of shops, availability of hospitals/dentists/doctors, proximity to the airport or Denpasar, and if you know anyone else living close by. Having someone already in Bali is worth their weight in gold as they have been, done and seen everything already and can help steer you in the right direction.

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Once you have your house, check your lease or get someone with a legal mind to check it. Make sure you meet your banjar when you move in – these guys are important in your community and offer support and assistance if you ever need it. Also make sure you/your real estate agent has registered where you live with the local police. Get to know your neighbours – very handy as they were new once too and will know be a great source of knowledge for things to do and places to go in the area. They too once had a list about things to know about moving to Bali!

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Check with your immigration officer or immigration lawyer before you make the big move. Find out exactly what visa you are entitled to and what that offers you. Some visas require you to leave every 60 days to renew the visa. Some mean you can work in Bali, some mean you can’t. Some are for retirees, some are just short stay visas. Same as Australia or any other country has immigration laws, so too does Indonesia.


Be aware and culturally sensitive to the area you live in and the religious customs. Ceremonies are a beautiful and important part of the Hindu and Muslim life in Bali so you will find your day to day life affected by these ceremonies. I sometimes think the expression ‘Bali time’ comes from these ceremonies, they are not rushed, they fall on a Hindu calendar that changes from year to year, and when it’s ceremony time, everyone and everything stops for the ceremony. So enjoy the time, take a breath, smell the incense, and watch the colour and festivities in your neighbourhood.

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Experience Bali

Travel, see the temples, watch the famous Balinese dances, eat local food (although maybe wait until your stomach is used to the spices), adopt a Bali dog or cat (or several in my case). Join groups, be a part of the community, make friends from all over the world. The best part about Bali, you can have your Vegemite and your Nasi Campur! Bali is a perfect example of a cultural melting pot, with people from all over the world – sure I have lots of Australia friends here but now I also have friends from all over Indonesia, London, Brighton, Singapore, Croatia, Borneo, New Zealand, Holland and Sioux Falls USA!

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There is so much more I could talk about and we all know I like a chat…so how about you let me know what you want to know about moving to Bali. Comment on this blog, email me, get in touch via Facebook and I’ll make sure to feature your question on the next blog about things to know about moving to Bali.

Happy travels and happy Bali planning!

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