(Based on my experience of four months living the digital nomad dream in Bali, which Paradise Interns helped me achieve!)
First, let me tell you how I came across this digital marketing experience.
After stumbling upon the Paradise Interns website for the first time, I immediately imagined myself taking a flight to heavenly Bali. However, all the insecurities swooped in on me – it just sounded too good to be true.
Well, after a never-ending search through my browser history, I leaped and applied to the Paradise Interns digital marketing internship.
It took me a week to overcome my woes and fears. I also wanted to live a digital nomad experience and make a change in my life.
I hopped on a plane to Bali. In hindsight, it turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life!
As I was landing in my new life, I was pretty much a newbie on social media marketing.
However, you don’t really need that much experience as the one-month bootcamp has loads of lessons. You will certainly learn enough to get through all the tasks during the 5 months at your placement.
After the bootcamp month, I eventually moved to North Kuta – the core of the digital nomads in Bali.
What is life in Bali like?
The little paradise is aptly named. Bali is both the temple of zen attitude, the den of digital nomad life, and the venue for all Australian partiers.
Highly popular with tourists, you will not be alone, but the island is vast enough to flee and find your personal retreat.
Surfing, chill out, cocktail, yoga, and beach parties are part of the Balinese experience.
Besides, Bali has a fusion of nature and landmarks.
Enjoy their impressive volcanoes, lime-coloured rice paddy fields with Hindu temples embedded in the forests and dreamlike beaches. All this accompanied by a wonderful tropical climate.
Bali has a wide array of options for travellers, which is why it’s one of the most frequented destinations for those who work remotely.
But why would Bali be one of the top destinations for digital nomads?
Simply because the living environment is heavenly, the cost of living is relatively low, the island has advanced infrastructure to provide good wifi in some places – all this contributes to being a comfortable place for remote workers.
Cost of living
The cost of living in Indonesia is great. I was able to match my expenses back home and enjoy all the comforts that I would back in my home country of Spain.
Accommodation in Seminyak or Canggu is around 3.5 million IDR ($220) per month. This provided me with a very comfortable private room with access to a kitchen, an en-suite bathroom, and was in a central location.
If you are looking for an affordable, cost-effective destination to work and travel, then Bali should definitely be taken into consideration.
Food prices in Bali
Local food is cheap, like in the rest of Asia. But you have to be aware of where you are going because it is too easy to get into a place for tourists and end up paying twice as much.
If you go to local places, with 30,000 IDR ($2.5) per person you eat well (drink included). At western food places, you will eat for 100,000 IDR ($5-6) per person and in tourist sites, it may cost around 200,000 IDR ($9-10) per person. As you can see, it’s quite affordable, even at tourist prices.
Renting a motorbike
If you live in Canggu or Seminyak, chances are you have your own transport. Spend the day exploring the island with your motorbike.
Therefore, you will soon realize that travelling around Bali you will need a scoopy (moped).
Prices hover between 650,000 and 800,000 IDR per month or around 50,000 IDR per day.
Digital Nomad Workspaces in Bali
In Bali you will find free wifi nearby all restaurants and cafes. There is a huge number of restaurants, cafes and coworking spaces that offer a place to enjoy a healthy, affordable meal and jump online.
In fact, there are many people who have a coffee and turn cafes into their workplace – one of my favourite routines.
Having a coffee and working turns out to be a real option.
There are so many coworking and coliving spaces where you can meet like-minded people and share your adventures.
Wifi and SIM cards in Bali
When it comes to network coverage, the one of Bali is directly proportional to your happiness. Good almost everywhere, you can download all your favorite series in 4G/LTE without a problem.
When you arrive in Bali, Paradise Interns provides you with a SIM card from the Telkomsel company, with a decent package of megabytes to get by the first days.
The cost is around 50,000 IDR ($4) for 16 GB. However, beware, a SIM card is only valid for one region. If you move regularly, you will have to either invest in a “global” recharge or recharge in each new zone.
The best connections are in the coworking centres, which have several lines together to achieve greater speed.
Just in case the internet doesn’t work properly, phone internet data is an option. Even though they are offered at the airport, I do not recommend you that buy them, since they are twice as expensive.
On the other hand, if you run out of data you can top up the card at any phone shop, in some stands on the streets, or from the mobile app.
After buying a cheap SIM card, the Telkomsel app can be downloaded and used to top up your data whenever you need it (for a laughable low cost).
Connectivity does not need to be a concern when working in Bali. However, it’s important to pick your destination wisely and stick to the popular digital nomad spots if you want reliable connectivity.
Mobile apps to make your digital nomad life easier in Bali
One thing that really surprised me when I arrived in Bali is that you can order anything wherever you are.
GoJek is an app that will make your life easier in Bali.
GoJek app can supply you with food, a coffee, medicine, an ice cream, a data recharge for your phone, a masseuse, a doctor, a cleaning service, hairdresser and/or makeup at home… basically anything you might need for super low prices.
Of course, you can also use GoJek to get a lift to anywhere around the island on a moped or car.
What to know before you get to Bali
One of the advantages of the country is the friendly visa policy, making it even more attractive to international freelancers.
Citizens of most countries can travel to Indonesia without a visa for up to 30 days, but note that in this case, you cannot extend your entry past the 30 days.
If you want to stay in the country for a maximum of two months, you can obtain a visa upon arrival, which can be extended for an additional 30 days.
For those wishing to stay in Indonesia longer, it is recommended to apply for a 60-day tourist visa in advance. This visa can be extended for 30 days at a time, for the total length of stay of up to 180 days.
Luckily for me, my way was easy and straightforward. I’ve got my 60-days visa from the Indonesian embassy in my home country.
Afterwards I contacted one of the visa agencies (there are many) which would be in charge of all my visa extensions until my last month in Bali (up to 180 days).
In a nutshell
From my point of view, the pros far outweigh the cons and so I think Bali is an ideal destination for digital nomads.
The overall life of being a digital nomad in Bali:
- You’ll like your freedom – creating your daily life the way you want to spend it
- You’ll love to live in nature that surrounds you and recharge your batteries in incredible landscapes
- You’ll enjoy new encounters you’ll make every day, that will open your mind in all possible ways
- You’ll love to see people working, talking, living, and inspiring you
- You’ll like to meet like-minded individuals on the same travel and work trajectory
I don’t know if this choice of life will please everyone. On the other hand, I know that anyone can decide to do it and get there.
But Bali is definitely one of the most suitable places in the world for digital nomads. Internet, infrastructure, environment, people, food… everything is there for you to feel good and live your best digital nomad life.
If you ever get the chance to go to Bali and live the digital nomad life, don’t hesitate and take it!