(like me), however, prefer to fly to Singapore or Bangkok for dental treatment.
Bangkok, in fact, has an outstanding hospital that expatriates from all
over the world use for yearly check-ups.
The Cost Of Living Like In Bali?
That all depends
on what your lifestyle is like. The more Western you get, the higher your
overhead will be. Electricity and telephone charges are relatively high.
If you plan on having a large house with lots of lighting, you are going
to be paying out some serious money. If you crave a lot of Western foods
and material items, you will be paying more for them than you would back
home. On the other hand, if you blend your lifestyle in with local realities,
shop in local markets, and keep the overhead down, you can get by on a
relatively modest income. For example, my family of six and a ravenous
German Shepard gets by comfortably on about $1,500 a month.
have at least one Balinese employee, a pembantu (maid); many also have
a driver and gardener as well. The cost of household help is quite reasonable.
You can expect to pay between $40 to $70 a month for each person. Many
employers supplement their staff’s pay with contributions to their children’s
education, gifts for ceremonies, and help with medical expenses when necessary.
Of Material Goods Are Available?
Bali has a
variety of shopping opportunities. You can get all of the usual Asian fruits
and vegetables in Bali like durian, rambutan, and jackfruit. Seafood is
plentiful if you live by the coast although the cost for things like prawns
has gone up a lot over the past decade as more and more of the catch goes
to hotels and restaurants. The Balinese aren’t supposed to eat beef, and
the Muslims aren’t supposed to eat pork. Both are available for the expatriate.
If you regularly eat local dishes like nasi goring (fried rice) and mie
goring (fried noodles), you’ll find that your food bill will be quite low.
Bali has the
superstore, Makro (http://www.makro.co.id/makro),
which sells just about everything. It’s a supermarket with a stock similar
to what you would find in a Western supermarket. It also carries electronic
goods like televisions and microwaves and music systems, tools, toys, clothes,
and office supplies. You’ll find it full of Westerners buying items in
bulk. Bali now has a number of computer stores, and it is cheaper to buy
your computer and peripherals here than bring them in as customs charges
an excessively high duty on imported electronics. If you really have the
shakes and need to do some Western shopping check out the new malls down
in the Kuta tourist area – there is even an Ace Hardware store there now.
doesn’t have cable tv, it does have a subscription satellite company, Indovision,
which receives approximately 40 channels. You can buy inexpensive televisions
or the more expensive large models. We recently purchased a 43-inch television
for approximately $1300.
is another expense. The motorbike is the most common vehicle on the road.
A 100cc Honda goes for around $1200. Make sure that you get an international
license before you leave your home country. Automobiles are relatively
expensive in Bali, although several new inexpensive models have been released
and can be purchased for as low as $10,000. Driving in Bali can be a harrowing
experience, and if you are not a skilled driver, it would be worth your
money (and your life) to hire a driver.
Get Internet Access In Bali?
are a number of ISPs in Bali. Generally, telephone lines in Bali are of
poor quality and do not transmit data quickly. Internet access is relatively
inexpensive. Some Internet Service Providers are: Wasantara net, Indosatnet,
Meganet, and Indointernet. Internet access is best in the south of Bali.
Additionally, there are many internet cafes in Bali.
There are very
few opportunities for employment in Bali. The Indonesian government is
very strict about allowing foreigners to take jobs that Indonesians can
do, and with the high level of unemployment that is only as it should be.
That being said, if you are a hotel professional, an English language teacher,
or a certified teacher from one of the Western countries, you may be able
to find employment in Bali. My experience is in the teaching field, and
positions for teachers are few and the competition is very stiff. The compensation
is also considerably lower than what you would expect in your home country
or another less desirable place, but it is more than enough to get by on.
The Laws Pertaining To Owning Property?
legion about foreigners who have been cheated out of their money and land
when buying property in Bali. People tend to get starry-eyed and act with
less caution than they would if they were buying property in their home
country. You need to proceed slowly and with caution.
The laws have
been slightly modified recently which offer more options to the foreigner
who wishes to buy or lease property in Bali. The laws are complex enough
that I will not try to explain them here. There are several web sites that
detail the regulations of property acquisition. The one thing that all
of them have in common is insisting that the buyer beware and find legal
representation. A few web sites to consult are: Wonderful Bali (http://www.wonderfulbali.com/index.htm),
and Bali Information (http://www.bali-information.com/).
An Available Supply Of Housing, And What Are The Costs?
there is a plethora of housing options available in Bali that range from
$1,000 a year Balinese-style houses to rent to million dollar villas to
buy. It is possible now to find a house to fit any budget. A number of
real estate companies have moved into the Balinese market over the past
decade. A few examples (which I am only listing, not endorsing) are: Bali
Karma Properties (http://www.balikarma.com/properties/index.html)
which sells and leases land and villas, as well as building swimming pools,
etc., Bali Property Information (http://www.bali-information.com/),
and Tropical Homes: Bali’s Best Properties (http://www.tropicalhomes.com.sg)
which is a very upscale real estate company. In addition to selling and
leasing incredibly expensive luxury homes, Tropical Homes also has two
bedroom apartments for sale in the range of $80,000 to $135,000.
these companies obviates the difficulties of looking for a place to live
on your own, they tend to charge extremely high prices (compared with what
you might be able to negotiate on your own, not to mention what an Indonesian
would pay for the same property). An example is a five-room house located
in the less popular north of Bali which has a Balinese-style bathroom and
which lists for about $42,000.
The Rules For Foreigners Who Want To Live In Bali?
its visa policy this February. Previously, tourists from many countries
were granted a free 60 visa on arrival. The new law offers tourists from
a limited number of countries visas on arrival for 30 days and at the cost
of $25. Tourists from other countries must apply for a visa in their country
before they arrive in Indonesia. It is possible to obtain 60 days visas
for an additional fee if you apply in your home country. However, all of
these visas are not appropriate for the potential expatriate. Many expatriates
hold a social visa that is good for six months, but must be renewed monthly
at the immigration office. Applicants for a social visa need an Indonesian
sponsor. These visas are relatively inexpensive, but the monthly renewal
can be time-consuming and irritating. A favored option is to use a visa
service like Bali IDE (http://www.cyberbali.com/bali_ide)
that will take care of the paperwork you need to obtain the visa and then
renew it for you monthly. There is a new retirement visa for people 55
years of age and older. Applicants for this type of visa need to have proof
of a pension plan or sufficient funds in a bank account, health insurance,
life insurance, proof of residence in a designated tourist area, and at
least one Indonesian employee. Additionally there are several other visas
– business, working permit – that can be obtained with the correct documentation
Information on Bali
are a few web sites that have a wealth of information about living on Bali:
Bali Blog (http://www.baliblog.com)
– this is a daily blog written by an expatriate living in Bali. You can
find information here about buying a car in Bali, real estate, shopping,
hotels, and a variety of other things.
(http://www.cyberbali.com) - is
my web site which has information about Bali, Papua, Sumbawa, Pakistan,
and pages with information for teachers.
has an incredible number of links to web sites about Bali.
Living in Bali
can be the experience of a lifetime, and there are many expatriates who
have lived there blissfully for years. But like with any major lifestyle
decision, caution needs to be exercised. I can’t tell you how many foreigners
I have met over the past 15 years in Bali who arrived lock, stock and barrel
and were gone within a year because they weren’t prepared for all the realities
of living in Indonesia because in spite of what some expatriates like to
pretend, Bali is still part of Indonesia with all of the good and bad that
that situation encompasses. Come and visit, study the culture, do your
research, talk to long-term expatriates, monitor the Bali forums on the
internet, and then make your move if you feel that Bali is really for you.
It could be the best thing that you’ve ever done for yourself.
are the previous articles Bruce wrote for the magazine:
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