Welcome to the complete digital nomad Bali guide covering everything you need.
It’s no secret: digital nomads flock to Bali like birds migrating south for the winter. It’s a great place for newbie remote workers trying to make a living while traveling the world, as well as for old hands at the digital nomad game.
Living in Bali as a remote worker is just so… easy. It’s easy to make friends. It’s easy to be active and stay fit. It’s easy to go on adventures. It’s easy to stay on budget. It’s easy to find a beautiful and comfortable place to work from. And it’s easy to find inspiration and motivation to work on your business or projects.
But what exactly does it take to live in Bali as a digital nomad? When’s the best time to go, how do you get around, how much will you spend, and what safety issues must you be aware of?
We’ve created this handy digital nomad Bali guide to make sure you have all the information have a fun stay in The Island of the Gods.
Best Time to go to Bali
The best time to go to Bali is in April, May, June and September. These months just before and after high season (July and August) are the most comfortable because the weather is dry and relatively cool at a daily mean of about 28° Celsius in coastal areas, while also not yet being completely overrun with tourists.
Rainy season from November to March sees slightly higher temperatures and a lot more humidity, making it a far less comfortable time of year weather-wise – but also keeping a lot of tourist traffic off the island.
Digital Nomad Community Bali
Bali in general, and the districts of Canggu and Ubud in particular, are top digital nomad hotspots. Wifi is available in all accommodation, coffee shops and restaurants, and a slew of coworking spaces that all offer some of the most stable, fibre optic internet connections on the island add to the remote worker vibe.
Situated right on Batu Bolong Beach and Echo Beach, Canggu is a paradise for surfers as well as digital nomads. Meanwhile, jungle town Ubud is extremely popular with yogis and the mindfulness set.
The easiest way to meet people is to join one of the coworking spaces and participate in their community events like workshops, lunches and dinners. You’ll make like-minded friends in no time, because the community of remote workers is extensive and extremely sociable in Bali, making digital nomad life a breeze.
Find out more about both Canggu and Ubud, and other great places for digital nomads to stay in Bali.
There are several different ways of finding the perfect accommodation for your Bali stay. From villas over four-start hotels and guesthouses to hostel-rooms for about 13 USD per night, you’ll find what you’re looking for.
If you want a place locked in for the entire time of your stay before you arrive in Bali, search through old reliables like Airbnb or Booking.com or join local Facebook Groups like Canggu Community; people often offer beautiful accommodation with good internet speed and swimming pools at fair prices right in those groups.
A lot of people who are planning to stay for a while will get accommodation for the first three to five nights of their stay, and find a place for the long-term during that time. The trick is to pop by in person, which lets you check out the place and in most cases negotiate a lower price.
Another great options is to stay with Wifi Tribe in our beautiful coliving villa in the heart of Canggu. Check it out and let us take care of everything for you.
Cost of Living
The cost of living very comfortably in Canggu or Ubud comes down to about 1,500 USD per month on average for accommodation, food, and transportation.
If you’re on a budget, you can pare that down to about 1,000 USD per month by staying in a more basic homestay, or even around 700 USD per month if you stay at a hostel and eat mainly at local warungs (super cheap local restaurants with Indonesian food).
The Best Places to Work From
Bali’s digital nomad hotspots like Canggu and Ubud are every remote worker’s dream when it comes to finding a place to work outside of home. Basically every cafe and warung has wifi, and new coworking spaces pop up on a regular basis. The interior designers know their stuff and basically every single place you work from is Instagram-worthy.
Wifi Tribe’s favorite coworking spaces include:
See our article for a more detailed list of the 12 best coworking spaces all over Bali.
Of course, we also have our favorite cafes, including:
Of course there are many more cafes, and we know where to find them all over this beautiful island.
Visas, Immigration And What to Watch Out For
Depending on how long you plan to stay in Bali, there are several different ways to enter the country.
For a stay of 30 days or less, you don’t need a visa. You just receive a tourist visa waiver when you pass through Immigration at the airport, and have to leave the country when those 30 days are up. An extension isn’t possible.
If you’re staying for 60 days or less, you can buy a Visa-on-Arrival (VOA) for 35 USD or 500,000 IDR at the airport before passing through Immigration. This visa is valid for 30 days – but you can extend it for another 30.
To stay longer than 60 days, you can try to get a social visa or KITAS work permit visa. Those are valid for up to six months.
You can also unofficially “extend” your stay in Bali by flying out of the country and back in again on a so called “visa run.” There are no restrictions on the number of days per year most foreigners are allowed to be in the country, so cheap visa runs to nearby Kuala Lumpur or Singapore are popular.
For more information on the visa options, how to get them and their extension process, read our full article explaining how to extend your visa in Bali.
Side note: The number of days you’re allowed to stay includes both your day of arrival and your day of departure. So if you touch down in Bali on July 1st and get a 30-day tourist visa, you have to leave on July 30th at the latest.
Money, ATMs And What to Watch For
The local currency in Bali is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR), and you’ll feel like a millionaire when you hold your first batch of cash in your hand, due to all the zeroes on the bills. At the time of writing this, 1,000,000 IDR equals 70 USD.
Don’t exchange your currency at the airport if you don’t want to pay an arm and a leg. It’s better to get to the area where you’re staying and go to one of the exchange offices there. They will always be cheaper than at the airport. But…
Make sure it’s a reputable exchange office. Don’t go to one of those shady-looking stands on the side of the road – they are experts at ripping your off. Best is to ask at your hotel or guesthouse if they can recommend a good place.
Even when you’re at a proper currency exchange place, look up the current exchange rate before handing them your money, so you have an idea of how much you should approximately be receiving. And always always always count your money as soon as they hand it over to you, to make sure you’re receiving the right amount.
Withdrawing money from the airport is a pretty safe bet – unless the ATMs have run out of cash, which can happen. But at the airport and at ATMs inside the banks themselves, is the least likely place you’ll get “skimmed.”
Skimming devices include cameras to watch you type in your PIN and card readers are attached to the ATM that look like the real card slots. This gives the perpetrator all the data to create a clone card of your credit card and use your PIN to withdraw money from an ATM.
ATMs inside banks are the safest bet, but actual bank buildings aren’t exactly widely spread in some areas in Bali. ATMs, meanwhile, are all over. While some of them have a reputation of being skimmed more than others, it could happen to any of them. Make sure to check if there are any movable or removable parts on the ATM of your choice before sliding your card into the slot.
If possible, set up your banking app to receive notifications whenever a withdrawal or transaction is made from your bank account. That way you’ll realize quickly when someone is using your credit card info and can do something about it fast.
Pro tip: Don’t forget your card in the machine. Most ATMs in Bali give you your money before spitting our your card – many people have grabbed their money and forgotten to take back the card, only to come back two minutes later to find the card already gone.
Crime, Safety Issues And Measures You Can Take
In general, Bali is a very safe place to travel, including for solo female travelers. On the whole, people are friendly and super helpful, most locals speak at least some English, and crime is low compared to many other places in South East Asia.
Sadly, petty theft like pickpocketing has been rising in Bali, especially in the touristy areas. Thieves drive by you on scooters and snatch your phone out of your hand or purse off your shoulder – even when you’re also on a scooter. Breaking and entering is also becoming more common in those areas.
Here are some basic safety tips for Bali:
- Wear a backpack or at least a bag you can secure across your body. Fanny packs aren’t popular, but still the best way to keep your valuables from being grabbed.
- Always turn your bag towards the side of the road when you’re walking. This doesn’t guarantee it won’t be snatched from your shoulder, but it makes it more difficult at least.
- Don’t walk and text or make a phone call. You loose track of your surroundings and are too easily distracted, making you an easy target.
- Don’t keep your phone in the front nooks of your scooter, either. It’s tempting to do so when you want Google Maps to show you the way; but the thieves look for valuables in those pockets, and they’re good enough drivers to swoop in next to you, grab the phone or wallet right out from under you, and speed off with them.
- When you leave valuables like laptop and passport at home, lock them in the safe. Most guesthouses and homestays provide a wardrobe or bedside table that locks. If there isn’t one, at least lock stuff away in your suitcase with a little padlock you can get at any airport.
- Always lock your room when you leave the house.
- If you can find one, stay in places that lock up the premises at night, and have cameras in the entrance area.
In general: Be smart and alert. People aren’t going to mug you at knife- or gun point in Bali, but they do take advantage of people who are unaware of their surroundings and don’t lock up their belongings.
The above-mentioned safety issues are the most prevalent to watch out for in Bali, but there are more things to consider to stay healthy and safe. Check out this article for more information.
SIM-cards are super cheap in Bali, especially if you don’t buy them at the airport. But even there, you’re not putting any sort of major dent in your wallet. You can get 10-GB cards for 30 days at less than 100,000 IDR.
A popular provider is Telkomsel, which provides an app with the SIM, making it easy to top up data if you run out or your time is up.
Transportation Options And Prices
In general, getting around Bali is easy. There are a ton of options out there, from renting your own vehicle over hiring a driver for the day to using taksis or ridesharing options.
Renting a car in Bali costs 15 – 25 USD per day on average, though you’ll pay more for an automatic transmission.
You can always rent a car at the airport, but a cheaper option might be to ask at your accommodation. Your host will likely know someone you can rent from. The caveat is that the cars are most likely not insured, meaning you’ll end up paying for any damages. Insurance also isn’t necessarily automatically included when renting from a rental agency. Make sure to consult with the owner or agency about insurance and understand what you’re liable for.
Hiring a Driver
If you like having the comfort of a car but don’t want to drive yourself, hiring a driver for the day is cheap in Bali compared to lots of other countries around the world. Prices range from between 300,000 to 700,000 IDR per day, depending on where you book and how good you are at haggling.
Scooters are an easier way to get around Bali than cars. You get stuck in traffic far less and narrow roads are less of a problem. On the other hand, scooters are far less safe than cars, and if you’re not comfortable riding one it can be a stressful experience.
If you’re unfamiliar with riding a scooter, we highly recommend getting lessons before you rent and hop on your own. If you’re staying in the Kuta / Seminyak / Canggu area, contact Musli from Bali Scooter Lessons. He’s given several of our Tribers lesson, and they feel safer and more confident on their scooters for it.
Monthly scooter rentals cost anywhere between 750,000 IDR to 1,400,000 IDR, depending on the rental place. You can also rent scooters by the day or week. Our favorite rental place in the Canggu area is J&D Scooter Rental Canggu, whose bikes are in really good condition (for Bali standards) at super competitive prices starting at 750,000 IDR per month. Contact Gede, the owner, via WhatsApp at +62 819 1676 6088.
Like cars, most scooters won’t be insured, even if you get them from scooter rental agencies. You’ll have to pay for repairs if anything gets damaged.
Side note: Legally, you need an international drivers licence as well as your actual drivers licence to operate both a scooter or a car in Bali. No rental place will actually ask you for them, but if you get stopped without the international licence, you’ll have to pay a fine.
It should also be noted that driving in Bali can be a challenge – whether you’re driving a car or a scooter. Especially in city areas, the roads are chaotic with all the scooters zipping around and traffic laws being regarded more as a set of loose guidelines. Streets can be narrow, and pockmarked with potholes and cracking edges, and there are stray dogs everywhere that don’t always look out for traffic.
Taksis are the Balinese cabs, and people who know their way around them avoid them like the plague. They’re expensive and drivers can be pushy – especially at the airport. Imagine stepping off the plane after an exhausting flight, taking your first step into Bali, and immediately being surrounded by a gaggle of very insistent taksi drivers offering a ride and trying to rip you off in the process. If you don’t know any better, you may end up paying 600,000 IDR for the ride from the airport to Canggu, and think it’s a good price.
Of course, compared to many western cab prices, 600,000 IDR (approximately 43 USD) is a great price for a drive that can last up to one and a half hours. But there are far cheaper ways to travel to your accommodation, even if the taksi drivers will try to convince you otherwise.
Way more comfortable and cheaper is to ask your accommodation to send a driver to pick you up. From Ngurah Rai airport to Canggu you shouldn’t be paying more than 300,000 IDR to be picked up.
Using ridesharing apps like Grab or Gojek are also an option to get a ride from the airport, though the so called “taksi mafia” puts quite a damper on that. Yes, Balinese taksi drivers have a reputation that goes beyond ripping off unsuspecting travelers. They’re so possessive of their potential passengers, that they’re reported to gang up on drivers from ridesharing apps to beat them up. No joke. The taksi mafia is real.
Pro tip: Avoid if you can, be firm in dealing with them when you can’t, and always agree on the price before getting in the car.
Ridesharing apps like Grab or Gojek (for scooter rideshares) are legal in Bali, and have become far more popular than taksis. For one, they’re a lot cheaper and second, you call them via an app on your phone instead of them pushing themselves on you to the point of following you down the street to offer you a ride. Of course, this is the reason why taksi drivers may resort to violence towards Grab- or Gojek drivers – they’re taking away good business.
Which, in turn, is why most Grab- or Gojek drivers are quite literally scared to death of picking people up in areas where taksi drivers tend to hang to wait for passengers. Those include beachfront roads, areas close to the hopping nightlife, and the airport. They’ll drop you off but most won’t pick you up there. If you’re looking for a ride home from the beachfront or club, just walk up the road a little way away from the busiest part. Gojek-drivers will happily pick you up as long as you’re not too close to where the taksi mafia patrols their territory.
Some Grab drivers will pick you up at the airport, but they’ll ask you to wait for them just inside the parking deck on the departures level instead of at the taksi stand on the arrivals level.
Come and Stay in Bali The Easy Way – With WiFi Tribe
If all of this sounds daunting or you’re looking for a group of like-minded people to live, work, hang out and go on weekend trips with, check out the WiFi Tribe villa in Canggu. We love Bali and Canggu in particular, and can introduce you to this beautiful island and community with the least amount of hassle you’ve ever had when coming to a new place.
Let us show you around and become a part of our awesome community of remote workers. Just apply here and join us!