How to Move to Bali in 2024

So you want to move to Bali? Here’s what I wish I knew before arriving…

Having lived in Bali since 2017, and being that friend (or friend-of-a-friend) living abroad for nearly a decade, I tend to get the same set of questions popping up in my DMs:

  1. Can you help me plan my trip to Bali?
  2. How can you afford to live abroad?
  3. How can I move to Bali? 

That last one shocks me every time, but wow, it gets me so excited to see people making the jump! 

Here are the answers to everything I wish I knew when I was first planing my move to Bali. 

Jump to a Question

1. Can I move to Bali?

Logistically, this is the first thing you should figure out.

Can I legally move to Bali? Evaluating factors such as citizenship, passport validity, job, income, savings, and ties to your home country will help you answer this question.

The most simple way to enter Bali (Indonesia) is with a 30-day Visa on Arrival. This is a basic tourist visa and allows for a 30-60 day stay, depending on which version you apply for.

At the time of writing this post, the Visa on Arrival can be obtained at the airport for 500,000 IDR ($35 USD) and remains available to these 93 countries

If you’re planning a 30-60 day trip, then this might be your best option. However, if you want to stay longer or ‘move’ to Bali, then you’ll need to ask yourself these questions:  

  • How long do I want to stay in Bali? Visa options here.
  • How do I plan to earn an income while living in Bali? Most visas do not allow you to work, buy land, or invest in property while living in Bali. However, in early 2024 Indonesia released the Digital Nomad and Remote Worker Visa, the E33G Visa. This is a game changer for digital nomads and travelers working online. 
  • Do I have enough savings to support my non-working lifestyle? If you choose not to work, do you have enough money saved to support your lifestyle? While we have friends who live in Bali for under $1,000 USD per month, we’d estimate ‘comfortable living costs’ to lie somewhere between $1,500-$2,500, depending on your preferred level of comfort. If you choose to live in a private villa, indulge in lavish weekend getaways, or drink alcohol, then costs will typically be higher. 
  • Is there anything at home that needs to be sold? For example, my house, car and other belongings? 

Once you determine if you can legally enter Bali, financially support yourself, and apply for a visa that allows you to move to Bali in the capacity that you desire, the next step is to understand costs.

top spots in bali for digital nomads - kerobokan
Your dream life awaits! - Canggu, Bali

2. How much does it cost to move to Bali?

For me, it was relatively cheap, but that might not be the case for everyone.

Before moving to Bali, I sold all my belongings in America, packed a carry-on backpack, and set off on a world tour, bouncing around and living off of my savings. 

When I arrived in Bali, I had no ‘real’ job and no plan to stay long term.

I entered on what used to be an extendable visa on arrival costing $35 USD (500,000 IDR) to enter for 30 days and another $35 USD (500,000 IDR) to extend for an additional 30 days. 

Now, that process has entirely changed. 

As of 2024, all 30-day visas cost $35 USD (500,000 IDR) to enter and the options for extension are vast.

You do need to decide before arriving, if you will apply for a special visa. There are options for 6 month visas, 1 year visas, 2 year visas, and the ability to open a business and put down roots.

We’ve outlined all the Bali visa options here.

Prices range from $35 USD (500,000 IDR) to several thousand dollars if you’re keen to open a Bali- based business or buy land. 

We’ve mapped all these visa options here to help you decide, including the names and numbers of our favorite local visa agents.

top spots in bali for digital nomads - jimbaran
Imagine having this as your view. - Uluwatu, Bali

3. What is the cost of living in Bali?

This answer varies greatly, depending on your lifestyle preferences and desired location in Bali.

I’ve lived all over the island (and neighboring islands), often spending between $1,200 USD and $2,300 USD per month.

This amount accounted for every penny spent, including:

  • travel health insurance
  • accommodation
  • scooter rental
  • a fancy gym membership
  • weekly massages
  • monthly nail appointments
  • most meals at restaurants

After speaking with friends, I can assure you that this price varies, with some friends spending under $1,000 USD (crazy!) and others enjoying a more lavish expenses that include monthly spa memberships, upgraded villas, and frequent travels for $3,000 USD per month. 

For most, I’d estimate a realistic price range to be between $1,500 to $3,000 per USD. 

Items that have reduced my costs include staying at a guesthouse (private room and bathroom, but shared kitchen and pool) or shared villa, not eating meat, and limiting alcohol consumption. However, my gym membership was $120 USD per month but that’s included in my $1,500-$1,800 monthly budget!

For reference, the cost of living estimates on Numbeo are pretty spot on, with local meals costing $2-4 USD (30,000-60,000 IDR), beers averaging $2 USD (30,000 IDR) at the shop versus $3-4 (45,000-60,000 IDR) at the bar, and rent prices varying by location. Western meals often start at $6 USD (100,000 IDR), but can easily climb higher after adding a drink, tax, and gratuity to the total. 

Choosing where you live such as the pricier towns of Canggu and Uluwatu, versus the more cost effective locations of Ubud, Ungasan, or Sanur, can also make a huge difference in your overall spend. 

As you can see, the cost of living varies greatly by lifestyle choices, but there are plenty of options to meet your needs. 

top spots in bali for digital nomads - seseh beach udara yoga center
Fully immerse yourself in new activites, affordably. - Seseh, Bali

4. Where is the best place to live in Bali?

I could go on and on about the best places in Bali; in fact, I did. You can read all about Bali’s hotspots here.

Having lived all over the island, there is certainly a clear distinction between each town. You’ll find all of the information in the article above, but here are the most popular places as of 2024.

Canggu

Canggu and it’s surrounding locations including Berawa, Pererenan, Umalas and Seseh are certainly the most populated areas on the island right now. What was once solely referred to as ‘Canggu’, has now branched off into a variety of niched neighborhoods and areas, all with their own unique charm. 

Canggu is known for its vibrant social scene, huge variety of restaurants, consistent surfing, and expansive beaches. It’s also the 2024 ‘go-to’ spot for digital nomads and influencers. 

Be warned, the town is overpopulated and the traffic is a nightmare. If you value peace and quiet, consider moving to the outskirts of town (that’s what we did!).

However, with the chaos comes a variety of options and activities to keep life exciting and fun. For us, it was a comfortable life, but it doesn’t resemble the culture and tranquility that initially drew us to Bali. 

Uluwatu

Having recently lived here for just over a year, I can say with confidence that the crowd is growing and the hype is real.

What was once a picturesque cliffside haven filled with surfers and chill vibes, Uluwatu is now teeming with construction and beginning to resemble a mini Canggu.

It feels like the longterm Bali residents moved to Uluwatu when Canggu got too crowded and now, they’re recreating the same chaos.

The demographic is a bit older (think 30+) and the vibe is more upscale, as reflected by the increased prices. At its heart, Uluwatu remains a (mostly) chilled out surf town with a relaxed pace of life. 

Ubud

Ubud is the Eat Pray Love capital of Bali, or at least it was before the tourists came.

While it still maintains its hippie woo woo vibes and rice paddy fields, there are heavy crowds and a shocking amount of tourists within the city. 

Having lived here for over a year, I can tell you that you can certainly find a pocket of peace and quiet away from the crowds, as the expat community often lives on the outskirts of town. 

Ubud is known for its lush landscapes, spiritual community, and thriving yoga scene. It’s a great place to get lost in nature, find yourself, or slow down. 

However, while I loved living there, I did not find it as grounding for digital nomads or online work. 

Cliffs and beaches in Uluwatu Bali, Indonesia
Cliffside beaches. - Uluwatu, Bali

5. How to get a visa for Bali?

We touched on this before, but let’s dive into it again.

There’s a variety of visas to enter Bali, ranging from the simple 30-day visa of arrival (tourist visa) to a more complicated 2-year KITAS for those investing in Bali or starting a foreign-owned business. 

We’ve outlined each visa type and all the details you need to know on our Bali Visa page. We’ve even added the names and numbers of local visa agents we recommend to help you get started.

TL;DR:

  • Coming for fun? A 30-day or 60-day visa on arrival is enough.
  • Dabbling with a passion project or exploring? A 6-month B211a visa is your best bet. 
  • A digital nomad or remote worker? Try the new Remote Workers E33G visa.
  • Looking to invest in land or property? Start a foreign-owned business (PT PMA) and apply for a 2-year temporary stay visa (KITAS) to manage the project.
Remember, a separate work permit is required if you are completing any work in Bali. It’s best to ask a local visa agent for the specific rules and regulations. Check out the visa page for more information.
top spots in bali for digital nomads - ubud rice fields
Rice fields further than the eye can see. - Ubud, Bali

How to move to Bali?

So, there you have it – the in’s and out’s of how to move to Bali. 

Like anything in Bali, it can be the most simple and straightforward process or complete chaos and confusion, as most things in Bali ebb and flow between the two extremes. 

Let’s recap:

  1. Determine how you’ll support your lifestyle.
  2. Apply for the correct visa to meet your needs. 
  3. Book your flight. These are our favorite ways to save on air travel!
  4. Plan your trip.
  5. Get the right gear.
  6. And go!

If you need help with any step of the process, comment below or shoot us an email. Moving to Bali changed both of our lives and we’re more than happy to pay it forward in any way we can. 

Max quit her corporate job in 2013 to take a chance building businesses online while traveling the world. Armed with an adventurous spirit and a can-do attitude, Max has traveled to more than 50 countries, embracing slow travel as a digital nomad and long-term living in places such as Thailand, India, Nepal, and Indonesia. Max currently resides in Bali where she oversees content creation for DNG as our resident travel aficionado.
Picture of Max Pankow
Max Pankow
Max quit her corporate job in 2013 to take a chance building businesses online while traveling the world. Armed with an adventurous spirit and a can-do attitude, Max has traveled to more than 50 countries, embracing slow travel as a digital nomad and long-term living in places such as Thailand, India, Nepal, and Indonesia. Max currently resides in Bali where she oversees content creation for DNG as our resident travel aficionado.

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